While no proof exists that Hamas uses human shields, Israel has admitted it does — 

Israel’s Use of Human Shields
     While human rights organizations haven’t yet addressed “human shields” allegations in the ongoing round of Israel-Gaza violence, they did after the 2009 round when Israel killed at least 773 Palestinian civilians, compared to three Israeli civilian casualties (a ratio of 257:1), and used the same “human shields” argument to deflect responsibility for those deaths. When the dust settled, Amnesty International investigated the matter and concluded that there was “no evidence that [Palestinian] rockets were launched from residential houses or buildings while civilians were in these buildings.” More attention-worthy was the report’s note that,

… in the cases of [Israeli] precision missiles or tank shells which killed [Palestinian] civilians in their homes, no fighters were present in the houses that were struck and Amnesty International delegates found no indication that there had been any armed confrontations or other military activity in the immediate vicinity at the time of the attack.

     By contrast, the same report found that “in several cases Israeli soldiers also used [Palestinian] civilians, including children, as ‘human shields’.” Going back in time just a little further to put this into context is important: when the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that the Israeli military had to stop using Palestinian civilians as human shields, the Israeli “defence” establishment objected to the ruling. The appeal against the ruling failed, and the practice remains technically illegal, but Israel implicitly encourages it to continue by offering an “inadequate … slap on the wrist,” as Human Rights Watch put it, to Israeli soldiers caught using this reprehensible tactic.
     This reveals two important things: the first is the moral hypocrisy and chutzpah on display when Israel ignores its own use of human shields as it accuses its enemies of using them. The second is Israel’s self-contradicting logic: If Palestinian militants had such disregard for Palestinian civilian lives, why was the Israeli military so invested in maintaining the ability to use Palestinians as shields? The fact that the Israeli army wants to use Palestinian human shields actually proves that they believe Palestinian militants prefer not to endanger their own civilians.
When Intentions Are Clearer
     There may be more discipline among Israeli leaders in how they talk about the war on Gaza this time, but that wasn’t the case in previous conflagrations. In the 2012 assault, Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai said the “goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.” Gilad Sharon, son of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, said “we need to flatten entire neighbourhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza.” And if you think that’s just rhetoric, consider that Amnesty International previously documented Israel had “flattened … busy neighbourhoods” into “moonscapes.”
And it wasn’t just human rights organizations that were exposing Israeli war crimes in Gaza, but Israeli soldiers whose conscience could not bear to remain silent about the atrocities they had committed were also coming forward. And in the 2006 assault on Lebanon, one Israeli commander referred to the dropping of more than a million cluster bomblets over Lebanon like this: “What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs.”


 — from  “Collective punishment or human shields?" by Omar Baddar.
Photo:  Palestinians flee their homes in the Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza City, after Israel had airdropped leaflets warning people to leave the area, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (Credit: AP/Lefteris Pitarakis)

While no proof exists that Hamas uses human shields, Israel has admitted it does —

Israel’s Use of Human Shields

     While human rights organizations haven’t yet addressed “human shields” allegations in the ongoing round of Israel-Gaza violence, they did after the 2009 round when Israel killed at least 773 Palestinian civilians, compared to three Israeli civilian casualties (a ratio of 257:1), and used the same “human shields” argument to deflect responsibility for those deaths. When the dust settled, Amnesty International investigated the matter and concluded that there was “no evidence that [Palestinian] rockets were launched from residential houses or buildings while civilians were in these buildings.” More attention-worthy was the report’s note that,

… in the cases of [Israeli] precision missiles or tank shells which killed [Palestinian] civilians in their homes, no fighters were present in the houses that were struck and Amnesty International delegates found no indication that there had been any armed confrontations or other military activity in the immediate vicinity at the time of the attack.

     By contrast, the same report found that “in several cases Israeli soldiers also used [Palestinian] civilians, including children, as ‘human shields’.” Going back in time just a little further to put this into context is important: when the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that the Israeli military had to stop using Palestinian civilians as human shields, the Israeli “defence” establishment objected to the ruling. The appeal against the ruling failed, and the practice remains technically illegal, but Israel implicitly encourages it to continue by offering an “inadequate … slap on the wrist,” as Human Rights Watch put it, to Israeli soldiers caught using this reprehensible tactic.

     This reveals two important things: the first is the moral hypocrisy and chutzpah on display when Israel ignores its own use of human shields as it accuses its enemies of using them. The second is Israel’s self-contradicting logic: If Palestinian militants had such disregard for Palestinian civilian lives, why was the Israeli military so invested in maintaining the ability to use Palestinians as shields? The fact that the Israeli army wants to use Palestinian human shields actually proves that they believe Palestinian militants prefer not to endanger their own civilians.

When Intentions Are Clearer

     There may be more discipline among Israeli leaders in how they talk about the war on Gaza this time, but that wasn’t the case in previous conflagrations. In the 2012 assault, Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai said the “goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.” Gilad Sharon, son of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, said “we need to flatten entire neighbourhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza.” And if you think that’s just rhetoric, consider that Amnesty International previously documented Israel had “flattened … busy neighbourhoods” into “moonscapes.”

And it wasn’t just human rights organizations that were exposing Israeli war crimes in Gaza, but Israeli soldiers whose conscience could not bear to remain silent about the atrocities they had committed were also coming forward. And in the 2006 assault on Lebanon, one Israeli commander referred to the dropping of more than a million cluster bomblets over Lebanon like this: “What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs.”

— from  “Collective punishment or human shields?" by Omar Baddar.

Photo:  Palestinians flee their homes in the Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza City, after Israel had airdropped leaflets warning people to leave the area, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (Credit: AP/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Bombing a school full of kids was probably a bad long-term plan.  If the next generation of Palestinians wasn’t already actively planning to take up arms against Israel, they certainly are now. 
'The world stands disgraced' as Israeli shelling of school kills at least 15(by Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem and Hazem Balousha in Jabaliya for THE GAURDIAN)

Analysis of evidence gathered at the site by UNRWA led to an initial assessment that Israeli artillery had hit the school, causing “multiple civilian deaths and injuries including of women and children and the UNRWA guard who was trying to protect the site. These are people who were instructed to leave their homes by the Israeli army.”

Bombing a school full of kids was probably a bad long-term plan.  If the next generation of Palestinians wasn’t already actively planning to take up arms against Israel, they certainly are now. 

'The world stands disgraced' as Israeli shelling of school kills at least 15
(by Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem and Hazem Balousha in Jabaliya for THE GAURDIAN)

Analysis of evidence gathered at the site by UNRWA led to an initial assessment that Israeli artillery had hit the school, causing “multiple civilian deaths and injuries including of women and children and the UNRWA guard who was trying to protect the site. These are people who were instructed to leave their homes by the Israeli army.”

A Neo-nazi is running for Toronto City Council…

     A man who served time for the racially-motivated drive-by shooting of a black man in Texas 23 years ago is running for a seat on Toronto city council.  Christopher Brosky, described as a neo-Nazi skinhead, was 16 when he and two friends killed a 32-year-old man named Donald Thomas outside Thomas’s Arlington home, the New York Times said.       Brosky served 16 years in prison before being released and deported back to Canada.  When asked about the swastika he wears around his neck, he denied he’s a racist.  “I do know people,” he said. “I know a lot of people, but I know a lot of people on a broad range of political beliefs and ideals.”       The city’s Municipal Elections Act only prohibits candidates currently “serving a sentence of imprisonment in a penal or correctional institution.”  Brosky filed his nomination papers in June for Ward 28 — Toronto Centre-Rosedale — where he’ll go up against long-time incumbent Pam McConnell this fall.
(sources:  The New York Times,  680news)

… no doubt hoping to win Ward 28 for “Ford Nation”.  The fact that he’s probably going to come in dead last notwithstanding, perhaps it’s time we amended the city’s Municipal Elections Act to bar persons convicted of serious crimes from running.

A Neo-nazi is running for Toronto City Council…

     A man who served time for the racially-motivated drive-by shooting of a black man in Texas 23 years ago is running for a seat on Toronto city council.  Christopher Brosky, described as a neo-Nazi skinhead, was 16 when he and two friends killed a 32-year-old man named Donald Thomas outside Thomas’s Arlington home, the New York Times said

     Brosky served 16 years in prison before being released and deported back to Canada.  When asked about the swastika he wears around his neck, he denied he’s a racist.  “I do know people,” he said. “I know a lot of people, but I know a lot of people on a broad range of political beliefs and ideals.” 

     The city’s Municipal Elections Act only prohibits candidates currently “serving a sentence of imprisonment in a penal or correctional institution.”  Brosky filed his nomination papers in June for Ward 28 — Toronto Centre-Rosedale — where he’ll go up against long-time incumbent Pam McConnell this fall.

(sources:  The New York Times680news)

no doubt hoping to win Ward 28 for “Ford Nation”.  The fact that he’s probably going to come in dead last notwithstanding, perhaps it’s time we amended the city’s Municipal Elections Act to bar persons convicted of serious crimes from running.

Israel vs Gaza by Matt Bors (Website, Tumblr).

Israel vs Gaza by Matt Bors (WebsiteTumblr).

Noam Sheizaf of +972 on how Israel creates support for Hamas:

… Israelis, both left and right, are wrong to assume that Hamas is a dictatorship fighting Israel against its people’s will. Hamas is indeed a dictatorship, and there are many Palestinians who would gladly see it fall, but not at this moment in time … … Hamas tells the Palestinians the simple truth: freedom comes at the cost of blood. The tragedy is that we usually provide the evidence. After all, the evacuation of settlements in Gaza came after the Second Intifada, not as a result of negotiations. The Oslo Accords came after the First Intifada; before that, Israel turned down even the convenient London Agreement between Shimon Peres and Jordan’s King Hussein …… Palestinians are convinced Israelis are looking to enslave them, and that as soon as the war is over the siege will be reinforced. Since this is exactly what Israel intends to do, as our government has repeatedly stated, they have no reason to stop fighting … 


Source:  Why do Palestinians continue to support Hamas despite such devastating losses? by Noam Sheizaf
Photo:  A Palestinian crying near rubble of his home after the latest round of Israeli attacks against Al Shaja’ia, Gaza City, July 20, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Noam Sheizaf of +972 on how Israel creates support for Hamas:

… Israelis, both left and right, are wrong to assume that Hamas is a dictatorship fighting Israel against its people’s will. Hamas is indeed a dictatorship, and there are many Palestinians who would gladly see it fall, but not at this moment in time …

… Hamas tells the Palestinians the simple truth: freedom comes at the cost of blood. The tragedy is that we usually provide the evidence. After all, the evacuation of settlements in Gaza came after the Second Intifada, not as a result of negotiations. The Oslo Accords came after the First Intifada; before that, Israel turned down even the convenient London Agreement between Shimon Peres and Jordan’s King Hussein …

… Palestinians are convinced Israelis are looking to enslave them, and that as soon as the war is over the siege will be reinforced. Since this is exactly what Israel intends to do, as our government has repeatedly stated, they have no reason to stop fighting …

Source:  Why do Palestinians continue to support Hamas despite such devastating losses? by Noam Sheizaf

Photo:  A Palestinian crying near rubble of his home after the latest round of Israeli attacks against Al Shaja’ia, Gaza City, July 20, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Israel’s deputy speaker of the Knesset certainly doesn’t want peace … 


… have a look at what the deputy speaker of the Knesset, Moshe Feiglin, posted on his official website Tuesday. It’s a seven-point tract named, without a hint of irony, “My Outline for a Solution for Gaza.” 
Point one is titled “Ultimatum,” and here it is, word for word:


One warning from the Prime Minister of Israel to the enemy population, in which he announces that Israel is about to attack military targets in their area and urges those who are not involved and do not wish to be harmed to leave immediately. Sinai is not far from Gaza and they can leave. This will be the limit of Israel’s humanitarian efforts. Hamas may unconditionally surrender and prevent the attack.


Enemy population? To whom, exactly, is the deputy speaker referring? Perhaps point two will offer clarification. It’s titled “Attack”:


Attack of the entire ‘target bank’ throughout the Gaza Strip with the IDF’s maximum force (and not a tiny fraction of it) with all the conventional means at its disposal. All the military and infrastructural targets will be attacked with no consideration for ‘human shields’ or ‘environmental damage’. It is enough that we are hitting exact targets and that we gave them advance warning.


All of this, writes this top Israeli parliamentarian, is aimed at ensuring that Gaza “will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews.” And as for the Palestinians already there, “those who were not involved in anti-Israel activity will be offered a generous international emigration package.”
Generous? As one Palestinian was quoted today as saying, “you leave your home to die a thousand times, or refuse to leave and die once.” The ground invasion may have begun, but the Palestinians of Gaza remain steadfast.



Source:  Shedding the pretense of ‘precision’ by Samer Badawi

Israel’s deputy speaker of the Knesset certainly doesn’t want peace …

… have a look at what the deputy speaker of the Knesset, Moshe Feiglin, posted on his official website Tuesday. It’s a seven-point tract named, without a hint of irony, “My Outline for a Solution for Gaza.”

Point one is titled “Ultimatum,” and here it is, word for word:

One warning from the Prime Minister of Israel to the enemy population, in which he announces that Israel is about to attack military targets in their area and urges those who are not involved and do not wish to be harmed to leave immediately. Sinai is not far from Gaza and they can leave. This will be the limit of Israel’s humanitarian efforts. Hamas may unconditionally surrender and prevent the attack.

Enemy population? To whom, exactly, is the deputy speaker referring? Perhaps point two will offer clarification. It’s titled “Attack”:

Attack of the entire ‘target bank’ throughout the Gaza Strip with the IDF’s maximum force (and not a tiny fraction of it) with all the conventional means at its disposal. All the military and infrastructural targets will be attacked with no consideration for ‘human shields’ or ‘environmental damage’. It is enough that we are hitting exact targets and that we gave them advance warning.

All of this, writes this top Israeli parliamentarian, is aimed at ensuring that Gaza “will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews.” And as for the Palestinians already there, “those who were not involved in anti-Israel activity will be offered a generous international emigration package.”

Generous? As one Palestinian was quoted today as saying, “you leave your home to die a thousand times, or refuse to leave and die once.” The ground invasion may have begun, but the Palestinians of Gaza remain steadfast.

Source:  Shedding the pretense of ‘precision’ by Samer Badawi

A colourised photo of Albert Einstein, found here.

A colourised photo of Albert Einstein, found here.

This Land Is Mine, a video by Nina Paley, gives us a brief history of the land called Israel/Palestine/Canaan/the Levant.  A who’s-killing-who guide for viewers can be found here.

The NBC reporter who made up one half of the “living political cartoon” on Jon Stewart’s July 14th show has been recalled from Gaza by NBC following his aggressive reporting of the murder of several Palestinian children by one of Israel’s gunboat crews.  Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Fisher report that…

Ayman Mohyeldin, the NBC News correspondent who personally witnessed yesterday’s killing by Israel of four Palestinian boys on a Gazan beach and who has received widespread praise for his brave and innovative coverage of the conflict, has been told by NBC executives to leave Gaza immediately. According to an NBC source upset at his treatment, the executives claimed the decision was motivated by “security concerns” as Israel prepares a ground invasion, a claim repeated to me by an NBC executive. But late yesterday, NBC sent another correspondent, Richard Engel, along with an American producer who has never been to Gaza and speaks no Arabic, into Gaza to cover the ongoing Israeli assault (both Mohyeldin and Engel speak Arabic)…  Mohyeldin was removed completely from reporting on Gaza by a top NBC executive, David Verdi, who ordered Mohyeldin to leave Gaza immediately.

The NBC reporter who made up one half of the “living political cartoon” on Jon Stewart’s July 14th show has been recalled from Gaza by NBC following his aggressive reporting of the murder of several Palestinian children by one of Israel’s gunboat crews.  Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Fisher report that…

Ayman Mohyeldin, the NBC News correspondent who personally witnessed yesterday’s killing by Israel of four Palestinian boys on a Gazan beach and who has received widespread praise for his brave and innovative coverage of the conflict, has been told by NBC executives to leave Gaza immediately. According to an NBC source upset at his treatment, the executives claimed the decision was motivated by “security concerns” as Israel prepares a ground invasion, a claim repeated to me by an NBC executive. But late yesterday, NBC sent another correspondent, Richard Engel, along with an American producer who has never been to Gaza and speaks no Arabic, into Gaza to cover the ongoing Israeli assault (both Mohyeldin and Engel speak Arabic)…  Mohyeldin was removed completely from reporting on Gaza by a top NBC executive, David Verdi, who ordered Mohyeldin to leave Gaza immediately.

     Jon Stewart, in commenting on the new round of violence in the Middle East, has pointed out the lopsided nature of the conflict in a way that most of the major news networks, in their reduction of the story to a two-sides binary, haven’t bothered to do.  
     The photo jumps to video of Stewart’s July 14th broadcast.  Skip to 5:22  to see the bit about Gaza.  The link below connects to a breakdown of the issue, written by Bethan Parry.


It is certainly frightening for Israeli civilians to live under the uncertainty of rockets, but Palestinians do not have the same might protecting them from Israel’s deadly air strikes. It’s an inequality that’s important to keep in the narrative, no matter which story we are telling.  It’s a story that deserves to be told correctly. 

~ Bethan Parry

     Jon Stewart, in commenting on the new round of violence in the Middle East, has pointed out the lopsided nature of the conflict in a way that most of the major news networks, in their reduction of the story to a two-sides binary, haven’t bothered to do.  

     The photo jumps to video of Stewart’s July 14th broadcast.  Skip to 5:22  to see the bit about Gaza.  The link below connects to a breakdown of the issue, written by Bethan Parry.

It is certainly frightening for Israeli civilians to live under the uncertainty of rockets, but Palestinians do not have the same might protecting them from Israel’s deadly air strikes. It’s an inequality that’s important to keep in the narrative, no matter which story we are telling.  It’s a story that deserves to be told correctly.

~ Bethan Parry