Yvonne Ridley: PIRATES OF THE MEDITERRANEAN

NOT content with committing war crimes and human rights atrocities in full view of the world, Israel has now confirmed itself as a rogue state by launching into international piracy.

ss-dignity.jpg

The SS Dignity

Dawn had not yet broken over the Mediterranean waters in which the SS Dignity was sailing when an Israeli naval gunboat appeared from the inky black and rammed the aid-bearing ship. The act of aggression on a peace mission was launched in international waters 90 miles off Gaza, without any warning to the captain of the Dignity or the crew.

Israel claimed the incident was an accident and that its naval officers had made numerous attempts to communicate with the Dignity. It was an accident that was to repeat itself three times.
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Agent of a foreign power? By William Bowles

31 December, 2008

I’m compelled once more to put pen to paper, or precisely fingers to keyboard as I traverse the flood of news that isn’t being shown on the mass media about the ongoing destruction of an entire country and its identity as Palestine and our collective non-response to this outrageous crime against Humanity.

I also have an admission to make about the last piece I wrote ‘No place to run, no place to hide’, I just picked the very first BBC piece on the destruction of Gaza that I came across. It wasn’t difficult, believe me, any person with the right approach to life and a reasonable command of the English language could do it.

And the clowns who write that garbage for the BBC actually think they’re smarter than I am, and you too, dear reader. Well maybe they are. But how do they sleep at night, like a baby (but not one in Gaza I’ll bet)?
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Beit Hanoon By Ewa Jasiewicz, reporting from besieged Gaza

30 December, 2008

It happened at 9am this morning. We were speaking to Sabrine Naim at the time, standing and talking in the Naim family home which had been wrecked this morning. Chunks of debris – one a meter long and a foot wide – glass, and sharp slices of their own broken roof, had smashed onto beds, chairs, their kitchen and living room. Only two of their family of 12 had been home at the time. They were expecting an attack. And it came at 4am – a missile strike by an F16 on the local police station and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine offices. Smouldering rubble and rocks and dust were strewn across the heart of Beit Hanoon – the market, taxi rank and main street littered with debris.

Sabrine had been hit in the face with small chunks of her neighbour’s home. One side of her right cheek was covered with a thick white dressing. She looked watery eyed and exhausted. Debris had also struck her in her heavily pregnant stomach. With only a month to go until giving birth, she spent two hours in the local hospital before being discharged.
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PCHR: On the 4th Day of IOF Offensive on the Gaza Strip, the Number of Palestinians Killed Mount to 310, Mostly Civilians, Including 37 Children and 9 Women

30 December, 2008, Time: 12:00

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have continued their offensive on the Gaza Strip for the fourth consecutive day. They have increasingly bombarded civilian facilities, mosques and houses, without paying attention to the lives and safety of Palestinian civilians. Israel claims that such civilian facilities, mosques and houses were related to Hamas, but investigations conducted by PCHR indicate that IOF have used excessive lethal force and that the majority of the facilities that have been targeted are public and private property located in densely populated areas, making Palestinian civilians pay a heavy price from their lives and property. All of the victims of recent attacks are civilians, and dozens of houses have been heavily damaged. Due to the current siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, the reconstruction or reparation of the houses that have been destroyed or damaged is extremely difficult.
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PCHR 9 Palestinian Children Killed Raising the Number of Children Killed Since the Beginning of the Current IOF Offensive against the Gaza Strip to 31

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights LTD (non profit)
Press Release

Ref: 118/2008
Date: 29 December 2008
Time: 14:15

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have continued to launch an open war against the Gaza Strip for the third consecutive day. IOF have continued to attack children, women and old people in disregard to their lives, humanitarian appeals and international humanitarian law and human rights law. PCHR’s investigations indicate that IOF have used excessive lethal force throughout the Gaza Strip, which is the most densely populated area in the world. They have launched dozens of heavy missiles from the air and the sea on houses, civilian facilities and mosques in densely populated areas. In a very horrible crime, last night and this morning, 22 Palestinian children were killed or wounded while they were sleeping at homes. Five sisters were killed in Jabalya refugee camp; 3 brothers were killed in Rafah refugee camp; and a 9th child was killed in Gaza City. Thus, the number of children killed in the past three days of the IOF offensive against the Gaza Strip has mounted to 31 out of 280 Palestinians who have been killed so far. The victims also include 9 women. Additionally, at least 140 children have been wounded.
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Seamus Milne: Israel’s onslaught on Gaza is a crime that cannot succeed

The US-backed attempt to bring Hamas to heel by overwhelming force is in fact more likely to boost the movement’s appeal

Israel’s decision to launch its devastating attack on Gaza on a Saturday was a “stroke of brilliance”, the country’s biggest selling paper Yediot Aharonot crowed: “the element of surprise increased the number of people who were killed”. The daily Ma’ariv agreed: “We left them in shock and awe”.

Of the ferocity of the assault on one of the most overcrowded and destitute corners of the earth, there is at least no question. In the bloodiest onslaught on blockaded Gaza since it was captured and occupied by Israel 41 years ago, at least 310 people were killed and more than a thousand reported injured in the first 48 hours alone.
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Nir Rosen: Israel’s failure to learn

When George Bush, the US president, first entered the White House as the commander-in-chief in 2001, Palestinians were being killed in the al-Aqsa intifada.

Eight years later, as Bush prepares to leave office, Israel is carrying out one of the largest massacres in its 60-year occupation of Palestine.

The US, then and now, strongly backs Israel’s offensive, justifying it as being, in fact, defensive.

An Israeli general recently threatened to use military force to set Gaza back decades in much the same language used before the invasion of Lebanon in 2006.
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Glen Ford: Israel and the U.S.: Partners in Permanent Aggression

31 December, 2008

gaza-dead.jpgIsrael is taking measure of the incoming Obama administration’s sensibilities to the spilling of Palestinian blood in the besieged enclave of Gaza.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

‘There is only one other nation whose appetite for violence is comparable to the United States: Israel.’

Just before the U.S. elections, Senator Joe Biden shot off his mouth about the certainty that Barack Obama would be ‘tested’ early in his presidency. ‘Watch,’ said the blathering vice-presidential candidate. ‘We’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.’ Biden didn’t predict where the test would come from.
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GazaFriends: – Israeli Gunboats Came out of the Darkness and Rammed us Three Times

(Lebanon, Tuesday 30 December) – Today the Free Gaza ship “Dignity” carefully made its way to safe harbor in Tyre, Lebanon’s southern-most port city, after receiving serious structural damage when Israeli warships rammed its bow and the port side. Waiting to greet the passengers and crew were thousands of Lebanese who came out to show their solidarity with this attempt to deliver volunteer doctors and desperately needed medical supplies to war-ravaged Gaza. The Lebanese government has pledged to provide a forensic analysis of what happened in the dark morning, when Israel rammed the civilian ship in international waters, and put the people on board in danger of losing their lives.

The Dignity, on a mission of mercy to besieged Gaza, was attacked by the Israeli Navy at approximately 6am (UST) in international waters, roughly 90 miles off the coast of Gaza. Several Israeli warships surrounded the small, human rights boat, firing live ammunition around it, then intentionally ramming it three times. According to ship’s captain Denis Healy, the Israeli attack came, “”without any warning, or any provocation.”
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