Israel

As soon as Israel attacked Gaza in its “Operation Pillar of Defence”, it was clear the context in which its war was launched was very different from “Operation Cast Lead” in 2008-09.

The shift in regional context is largely due to the Arab Spring, which has shaken the Middle East. The most concerning development from Israel's point of view was Egypt's January 25 revolution, which overthrew US- and Israel-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak last year.

In a clear indication of Israel’s shocking callousness and disregard for civilian lives, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon today told PRI’s The Takeaway that most of those killed and injured in Israel’s eight day long bombardment of the Gaza Strip “deserved it.”

Jews Against the Occupation (JAO) respond to their critics on everything from claims that 'Israel is a democracy' to 'you are not real Jews', from why they support BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) to why they see Israel as an 'apartheid state'.

They also explain where their anti-occupation stance came from and why they started to question Zionism (support for an exclusively Jewish state).

Contact Jews Against the Occupation at jao.org.au

Renowned Jewish-American academic and author Noam Chomsky visited the Gaza Strip over October 25-30. The article below, on the suffering of the Gazan people, is areprinted from www.chomsky.info.

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The Israeli army has hidden from public view a YouTube video that suggested UN-run schools in Gaza were used as rocket launching bases after the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) strongly denied the allegations.

The violence Israel has unleashed on the Gaza Strip is not a war.

On one side there is a highly militarised state, with one of the best equipped armed forces in the world, generously subsidised by billions of dollars in Western military and non-military aid. On the other side there are 1.5 million people, subjects of this state, which has herded them into a walled ghetto on which it imposes a starvation siege.

To start with, why do the news channels ask Tony Blair for his advice on conflict in the Middle East? It’s like asking Gary Glitter for advice on what to do about Jimmy Savile.

But somehow it fits with the rest of the coverage. A report yesterday morning began with the sentence: “Rockets have continued to be fired from both sides...” Then, to illustrate this, we saw a demolished building in Gaza in which 11 people had perished, and a woman in Israel standing next to her car with a smashed windscreen.

Let's start with a fact. On November 16, the Israeli Air Force bombed the 10,000-seat Palestine Stadium “into ruins”. The stadium also headquartered the centre for youth sports programs throughout the Gaza Strip.

This is the second time Israel has flattened the facility. The first was in 2006 and the people of Gaza have spent the past six years rebuilding the fields, stands and offices to keep the national soccer team as well as club sports alive in the region.

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Soldaten, On Fighting, Killing & Dying: The Secret WWII Transcripts of German POWs
By Sonke Neitzel & Harald Welzer
Scribe Publications, 2012
448pp, $22.99

Our Harsh Logic, Israeli Soldiers Testimonies from the Occupies Territories, 2000-2010
Compiled by Breaking the Silence
Scribe Publications, 2012
400pp, $22.99

There is unmitigated evil in both these books ― cruelty, violence, criminal’s countries. The fact that the awful truth comes out of the mouths of the perpetrators makes it all the more shocking.

As in every vicious military offensive Israel carries out in Gaza, the dominant narrative is that it is a response to rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel. This is how it’s being reported in the US, and this is how virtually every American understands it. And it is a lie.

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