Top 5 Lies About Israel’s Assault on Gaza

From GazaTalk.com

Lie #1) Israel is only targeting legitimate military sites and is seeking to protect innocent lives. Israel never targets civilians.

Location of Gaza Strip
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The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated pieces of property in the world. The presence of militants within a civilian population does not, under international law, deprive that population of their protected status, and hence any assault upon that population under the guise of targeting militants is, in fact, a war crime.

Moreover, the people Israel claims are legitimate targets are members of Hamas, which Israel says is a terrorist organization. Hamas has been responsible for firing rockets into Israel. These rockets are extremely inaccurate and thus, even if Hamas intended to hit military targets within Israel, are indiscriminate by nature. When rockets from Gaza kill Israeli civilians, it is a war crime.

Hamas has a military wing. However, it is not entirely a military organization, but a political one. Members of Hamas are the democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people. Dozens of these elected leaders have been kidnapped and held in Israeli prisons without charge. Others have been targeted for assassination, such as Nizar Rayan, a top Hamas official. To kill Rayan, Israel targeted a residential apartment building. The strike not only killed Rayan but two of his wives and four of his children, along with six others. There is no justification for such an attack under international law. This was a war crime.

Other of Israel?s bombardment with protected status under international law have included a mosque, a prison, police stations, and a university, in addition to residential buildings.

Moreover, Israel has long held Gaza under siege, allowing only the most minimal amounts of humanitarian supplies to enter. Israel is bombing and killing Palestinian civilians. Countless more have been wounded, and cannot receive medical attention. Hospitals running on generators have little or no fuel. Doctors have no proper equipment or medical supplies to treat the injured. These people, too, are the victims of Israeli policies targeted not at Hamas or legitimate military targets, but directly designed to punish the civilian population.

Lie #2) Hamas violated the cease-fire. The Israeli bombardment is a response to Palestinian rocket fire and is designed to end such rocket attacks.

Israel never observed the cease-fire to begin with. From the beginning, it announced a ?special security zone? within the Gaza Strip and announced that Palestinians who enter this zone will be fired upon. In other words, Israel announced its intention that Israeli soldiers would shoot at farmers and other individuals attempting to reach their own land in direct violation of not only the cease-fire but international law.

Despite shooting incidents, including ones resulting in Palestinians getting injured, Hamas still held to the cease-fire from the time it went into effect on June 19 until Israel effectively ended the truce on November 4 by launching an airstrike into Gaza that killed five and injured several others.

Israel?s violation of the cease-fire predictably resulted in retaliation from militants in Gaza who fired rockets into Israel in response. The increased barrage of rocket fire at the end of December is being used as justification for the continued Israeli bombardment, but is a direct response by militants to the Israeli attacks.

Israel?s actions, including its violation of the cease-fire, predictably resulted in an escalation of rocket attacks against its own population.

Lie #3) Hamas is using human shields, a war crime.

There has been no evidence that Hamas has used human shields. The fact is, as previously noted, Gaza is a small piece of property that is densely populated. Israel engages in indiscriminate warfare such as the assassination of Nizar Rayan, in which members of his family were also murdered. It is victims like his dead children that Israel defines as ?human shields? in its propaganda. There is no legitimacy for this interpretation under international law. In circumstances such as these, Hamas is not using human shields, Israel is committing war crimes in violation of the Geneva Conventions and other applicable international law.

Lie #4) Arab nations have not condemned Israel?s actions because they understand Israel?s justification for its assault.

The populations of those Arab countries are outraged at Israel?s actions and at their own governments for not condemning Israel?s assault and acting to end the violence. Simply stated, the Arab governments do not represent their respective Arab populations. The populations of the Arab nations have staged mass protests in opposition to not only Israel?s actions but also the inaction of their own governments and what they view as either complacency or complicity in Israel?s crimes.

Moreover, the refusal of Arab nations to take action to come to the aid of the Palestinians is not because they agree with Israel?s actions, but because they are submissive to the will of the US, which fully supports Israel. Egypt, for instance, which refused to open the border to allow Palestinians wounded in the attacks to get medical treatment in Egyptian hospitals, is heavily dependent upon US aid, and is being widely criticized within the population of the Arab countries for what is viewed as an absolute betrayal of the Gaza Palestinians.

Even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been regarded as a traitor to his own people for blaming Hamas for the suffering of the people of Gaza. Palestinians are also well aware of Abbas? past perceived betrayals in conniving with Israel and the US to sideline the democratically elected Hamas government, culminating in a counter-coup by Hamas in which it expelled Fatah (the military wing of Abbas? Palestine Authority) from the Gaza Strip. While his apparent goal was to weaken Hamas and strengthen his own position, the Palestinians and other Arabs in the Middle East are so outraged at Abbas that it is unlikely he will be able to govern effectively.

Lie #5) Israel is not responsible for civilian deaths because it warned the Palestinians of Gaza to flee areas that might be targeted.

Israel claims it sent radio and telephone text messages to residents of Gaza warning them to flee from the coming bombardment. But the people of Gaza have nowhere to flee to. They are trapped within the Gaza Strip. It is by Israeli design that they cannot escape across the border. It is by Israeli design that they have no food, water, or fuel by which to survive. It is by Israeli design that hospitals in Gaza have no electricity and few medical supplies with which to treat the injured and save lives. And Israel has bombed vast areas of Gaza, targeting civilian infrastructure and other sites with protected status under international law. No place is safe within the Gaza Strip.

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Human Appeal International – Gaza Appeal

Gaza Under Siege: More than 315 dead and 1 000 seriously injured

More than 315 dead and 1 000 seriously injured these figures are sure to rise with more air strikes imminent and a possible ground assault in the coming days.

18 months of an existing blockade and a lack of vital medicines has resulted in hospitals being unable to cope with the overflow of dead and injured people.

via Human Appeal International – Gaza Appeal.

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Johann Hari: The true story behind this war is not the one Israel is telling – Johann Hari, Commentators – The Independent

The Israeli government did indeed withdraw from the Gaza Strip in 2005 ? in order to be able to intensify control of the West Bank. Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser, Dov Weisglass, was unequivocal about this, explaining: “The disengagement [from Gaza] is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians… this whole package that is called the Palestinian state has been removed from our agenda indefinitely.”

“The American and European governments are responding with a lop-sidedness that ignores these realities. They say that Israel cannot be expected to negotiate while under rocket fire, but they demand that the Palestinians do so under siege in Gaza and violent military occupation in the West Bank.”

via Johann Hari: The true story behind this war is not the one Israel is telling – Johann Hari, Commentators – The Independent.

Twenty-five things to do to bring peace with justice

Twenty-five actions you can take for Gaza

Taken from RamallahOnline with addition of UK related information.

Based on the following news article:

Los Angeles Times: Behind closed doors, U.S. seeks Israel exit strategy (12/31/2008)

I’d like to focus on #3 below to be taken in the next 24-48 hours: Demand Israel stop its genocidal killing spree in Gaza before they send ground troops in to further traumatize the 60% of Gaza who are below 15 years of age.

Dreading the first days of 2009,
Sam

From the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People

So far hundreds of civilians have been killed in Gaza. Five sisters in one family, four other children in another home, two children on a cart drawn by a donkey. Universities, colleges, police stations, roads, apartment buildings were all targeted. The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian areas issued a statement that “The Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war.”

Who will ever break the silence on Israel?

1) First get the facts and then disseminate them. Here are some basic background information

http://www.interpal.info/the-palestinians

http://www.btselem.org/english/Gaza_Strip

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4933.shtml

The true story behind this war

http://www.mepeace.org/forum/topics/the-true-story-behind-this-war

If Gaza Falls http://www.unitedforpeace.org/downloads/If%20Gaza%20falls.pdf

Gaza massacres must spur us to action http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10055.shtml

2) Contact local media. Write letters to editors (usually 100-150 words) and longer op-eds (usually 600-800 words) for local newspapers. But also write to news departments in both print, audio, and visual media about their coverage. In the US http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/media/ You can find media listings in your country using search engines like google.

3) Contact elected and other political leaders in your country to urge them to apply pressure to end the attacks.

In the US, Contact the State Department at 202.647.5291, the White House 202-456-1111 the Egyptian Embassy 202.895.5400, Email (embassy@egyptembassy.net ) and the Obama Transition Team 202-540-3000 (then press 2 to speak with a staff member).

In the UK, Write to your MP urging them to insist that Prime Minister Gordon Brown acts to ensure: An immediate end to Israeli’s military assault on Gaza. An immediate end to the blockade and siege on Gaza. An end to Israeli’s violations of international law. An end to Israeli occupation. You can find the contact details of your MP on http://www.writetothem.com. Please use the sample from my earlier post.

4) Organize and join demonstrations in front of Israeli and Egyptian embassies or when not doable in front of your parliament, office of elected officials, and any other visible place (and do media work for it).

5) Hold a teach-in, seminar, public dialogue, documentary film viewing etc. this is straightforward: you need to decide venue, nature, if any speakers, and do some publicity (the internet helps).

6) Pass out fliers with facts and figures about Palestine and Gaza in your community (make sure also to mention its relevance to the audience: e.g, US taxpayers paying for the carnage, increase in world instability and economic uncertainty)

7) Put a Palestinian flag at your window.

8) Wear a Palestinian head scarf (Koufiya)

9) Wear Black arm bands (this helps start conversations with people)

10) Send direct aid to Gaza through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). http://www.un.org/unrwa/ , Interpal, Ummah Welfare Trust

11) Initiate boycotts, divestments and sanctions at all levels and including asking leaders to expel the Israeli ambassadors (an ambassador of an apartheid and rogue state). See Palestinian call http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10056.shtml

12) Work towards bringing Israeli leaders before war crime courts (actions along those lines in courts have stopped Israeli leaders from traveling abroad to some countries like Britain where they may face charges)

13) Calling upon all Israelis to demonstrate in front of their war ministry and to more directly challenge their government

14) Do outreach: to neighbors and friends directly. Via Internet to a lot of others (you can join and post information to various listservs/groups).

15) Start your own activist group or join other local groups (simple search in your city with the word Palestine could identify candidate groups that have previously worked on issues of Palestine). Many have also been successful in at bringing coalitions from different constituencies in their local areas to work together (human rights group, social and civil activists, religious activists, etc).

16) Develop a campaign of sit-ins at government offices or other places where decision makers aggregate

17) Do a group fast for peace one day and hold it in a public place

18) Visit Palestine (e.g. with http://www.sirajcenter.org)

19) Support human rights and other groups working on the ground in Palestine

20) Make large signs and display them at street corners and where ever people congregate.

21) Contact local churches, mosques, synagogues, and other houses of worship and ask them to take a moral stand and act. Call on your mosque to dedicate this Friday for Gaza actions.

22) Sign petitions for Gaza, e.g. http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_time_for_peace/98.php?cl_tf_sign=1

23) Write and call people in Gaza, they need to hear from the outside world

24) Work with other groups that do not share your political views (factionalism and excessive divisions within activist communities allowed those who advocate war to succeed).

25) Dedicate a certain time for activism for peace every day (1 hour) and think of more actions than what are listed above.

I’dd add, 26) urge your local radio talk shows and news editors to call any of us here in Palestine to report live what is happening on the ground.

US and Canada: For support and contacts of people in Gaza or to volunteer, please contact the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People, via gaza@imemc.org , or call +1-989-607-9480 (from the US and Canada) or +972-2-277-2018 (from other places).

UK: Spread the Word: http://www.interpal.info/get-involved/spread-the-word

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign:
Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Box BM PSA
London
WC1N 3XX

Tel: 020 7700 6192 Fax: 020 7609 7779

Email: info@palestinecampaign.org Web: www.palestinecampaign.org

Friday Khutbah (02 January 2009): Israeli attacks on Gaza, What we must know. What action should we take?

Friday Khutbah (02 January 2009): Israeli attacks on Gaza, What we must know. What action should we take?

Friday Khutbah (02 January 2009): Israeli attacks on Gaza, What we must know. What action should we take?

See also

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