Tag Archives: #GazaUnderAttack

U.N. Commission makes recommendations — is anyone listening?

Now that Obama has a veto-proof Congress in favor of his Iran nuke deal, I’m wondering how Netanyahu is going to spin this. Will he dig in his heels and rant about this treachery? Or will he try to rebuild bridges between Israel and the U.S.?

Given Bibi’s response in June to the recommendations of the Independent U.N. Commission of Inquiry charged with investigating Israel’s so-called Operation Protective Edge, I suspect Netanyahu lives in a bubble — a bubble of his own reality untouched by contrary evidence.

The Israeli government’s response to the U.N. report was also predictable.

It is regrettable that the report fails to recognize the profound difference between Israel’s moral behavior during Operation Protective Edge and the terror organizations it confronted. This report was commissioned by a notoriously biased institution, given an obviously biased mandate.

The State of Israel has never taken any U.N. recommendations to heart, so it’s unlikely there will be a change of heart in 2015.

676.        The persistent lack of implementation of recommendations – made by previous commissions of inquiry, fact-finding missions, United Nations treaty bodies, special procedures and other United Nations bodies, in particular the Secretary-General and OHCHR – lies at the heart of the systematic recurrence of violations in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. 

Israel is the recalcitrant child who rejects authority figures and refuses to take any responsibility for his own predicament.

recalcitrant child

The U.N. recommendations are quite rational. Hopefully, the adults in the community of nations will take note and recognize that these reasonable recommendations must be implemented to avert another humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

677.     The commission calls upon all parties to fully respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including the main principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution, and to establish promptly credible, effective, transparent and independent accountability mechanisms. The right of all victims to an effective remedy, including full reparations, must be ensured without further delay. In this context, the parties should cooperate fully with the preliminary examination of the International Criminal Court and with any subsequent investigation that may be opened.

The Palestinians are pressing the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel for war crimes in Gaza and for continued settlement expansion in the West Bank. Israel

678.    The commission also calls upon Israelis and Palestinians to demonstrate political leadership by both refraining from and taking active steps to prevent statements that dehumanize the other side, incite hatred, and only serve to perpetuate a culture of violence.

I think #678 is a very important recommendation, but I haven’t seen any evidence that either side acknowledges or takes it seriously.  Bruce Katz, co-founder of Palestinian & Jewish Unity, was recently interviewed on Press TV — see here.http://presstv.ir/Default/embed/426545

Katz: There is nothing surprising and it is absolutely inhuman but it is part of the overall process of dehumanization that the Palestinians have suffered at the hands of Israel’s successive apartheid governments and the Netanyahu government simply seems to be the worst of all. Obviously you can only do what they have done to the Palestinians in Gaza, if you consider them to be subhumans which is exactly what the Israeli officials believe and that was reflected just recently by a statement coming from Moshe Ya’alon who is Israel’s defense minister; he as a matter of fact threatened Iran with a nuclear attack that would rival Nagasaki and Hiroshima [attacks]. He also said in that statement that he would kill as many children in Iran as in Gaza.

The remaining recommendations from the U.N. Independent Commission of Inquiry address Israel, Palestine and the international community.

679.    The commission calls upon the Government of Israel to conduct a thorough, transparent, objective and credible review of policies governing military operations and of law enforcement activities in the context of the occupation, as defined by political and military decision-makers, to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law and human rights law, specifically with regard to:

       (a)           The use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in densely populated areas, including in the vicinity of specifically protected objects;

       (b)           The definition of military objectives;

       (c)           The tactics of targeting residential buildings;

       (d)           The effectiveness of precautionary measures;

       (e)           The protection of civilians in the context of the application of the Hannibal directive;

       (f)            Ensuring that the principle of distinction is respected when active neighbourhoods are declared “sterile combat zones”;

       (g)           The use of live ammunition in crowd control situations.

680.   The review should also examine mechanisms for continuous review of respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law during military operations and in the course of law enforcement activities in the context of the occupation.

In June, Israel exonerated itself over the killings of the four Bakr children on the Gaza beach. Does anyone have any hope that Israel can investigate itself?

681.    The commission further calls upon the Government of Israel:

       (a)           To ensure that investigations comply with international human rights standards and that allegations of international crimes, where substantiated, are met with indictments, prosecutions and convictions, with sentences commensurate to the crime, and to take all measures necessary to ensure that such investigations will not be  confined to individual soldiers alone, but will also encompass members of the political and military establishment, including at the senior level, where appropriate;

       (b)           To implement all the recommendations contained in the second Turkel report, in particular recommendation no. 2 calling for the enactment of provisions that impose direct criminal liability on military commanders and civilian superiors for offenses committed by their subordinates, in line with the doctrine of command responsibility;

       (c)           To grant access to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory for, and cooperate with, international human rights bodies and non-governmental organizations concerned with investigating alleged violations of international law by all duty bearers and any mechanisms established by the Human Rights Council to follow up on the present report;

       (d)           To address structural issues that fuel the conflict and have a negative impact on a wide range of human rights, including the right to self-determination; in particular, to lift, immediately and unconditionally, the blockade on Gaza; to cease all settlement-related activity, including the transfer of Israel’s own population to the occupied territory; and to implement the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory;

       (e)           To accede to the Rome Statute.

682.    The commission calls upon the State of Palestine:

       (a)           To ensure that investigations into violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including international crimes, by the Palestinian Authority, the authorities in Gaza and Palestinian armed groups, where substantiated, comply with international human rights standards and that full accountability is achieved, including through criminal proceedings;

       (b)           To accelerate efforts to translate the declarations on Palestinian unity into tangible measures on grounds that would enable the Government of national consensus to ensure the protection of human rights and to achieve accountability for victims.

683.    The commission calls upon the authorities in Gaza and Palestinian armed groups:

       (a)           To respect the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution, including by ending all attacks on Israeli civilians and civilian objects, and stopping all rocket attacks and other actions that may spread terror among the civilian population in Israel;

       (b)           To take measures to prevent extrajudicial executions and eradicate torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; to cooperate with national investigations aimed to bring those responsible for violations of international law to justice; and to combat the stigma faced by families of alleged collaborators.

684.    The commission calls upon the international community:

       (a)           To promote compliance with human rights obligations, and to respect, and to ensure respect for, international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, in accordance with article 1 common to the Geneva Conventions;

       (b)           To use its influence to prevent and end violations, and to refrain from encouraging violations by other parties;

       (c)           To accelerate and intensify efforts to develop legal and policy standards that would limit the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas with a view to strengthening the protection of civilians during hostilities;

       (d)           To support actively the work of the International Criminal Court in relation to the Occupied Palestinian Territory; to exercise universal jurisdiction to try international crimes in national courts; and to comply with extradition requests pertaining to suspects of such crimes to countries where they would face a fair trial.

685.   The commission recommends that the Human Rights Council consider conducting a comprehensive review of the implementation of the numerous recommendations addressed to the parties by its own mechanisms, in particular relevant commissions of inquiry and fact-finding missions and explore mechanisms to ensure their implementation.

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Day #51 – August 26, 2014 – The End until it Begins Again

On this day last year, Israel and Hamas agreed to end the 51 days of fighting.

2,251 Palestinians in Gaza were killed, including 551 children, and 11,231 were injured.  During the fighting, more than 500,000 Palestinians were displaced (28% of the population in the Gaza Strip).

More than 18,000 homes were destroyed, and an estimated 80,000 homes and properties need to be rehabilitated.

63 water facilities were damaged and 23 were completely destroyed.

Gaza’s education sector was already overstretched prior to the hostilities – with a shortage of 200 schools in 2014, and almost 80 per cent of school classes running double shifts. The destruction of, and damage to 209 schools as a result of the conflict exacerbated these deficits. Three universities are reported to have been directly hit by Israeli strikes, while eight sustained collateral damage. 274 kindergartens were damaged and 11 were destroyed. Overall, the quality of education in Gaza is reported to have worsened, because classes are now larger, the time spent at school shorter and psychological and economic challenges are considerable, according to UNFPA. (para. 585, UN Independent Commission of Inquiry).

The World Bank has reported that the economy in Gaza is on the verge of collapse. Youth unemployment exceeds 60%, the highest in the world. 39% of the population lives below the poverty line.

More than 1,500 children were orphaned during the 51 days of Israel’s campaign against the Palestinians in Gaza. Almost 800 women were widowed. The psychological trauma inflicted on the youth especially cannot the underestimated.

“Children are afraid to die; they ask all the time if there will be another war.” Dr. Mona El Farra, a Palestinian doctor in Gaza.

The U.N. Independent Commission of Inquiry concluded that the impact of the 2014 war cannot be assessed separately from Israel’s long-term blockade, and made a number of recommendations which I’m going to share in another post.

Denny Cormier from Santa Fe, New Mexico lived in Gaza during Israel's 51-day assault in July-August, 2014.

Denny Cormier from Santa Fe, New Mexico lived in Gaza 

An American, Denny Cormier, living in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge shared his observation that night when the fighting ended.

This is a night for joy and happiness.

Nader and I took to the streets of Al Jundi, and it was a night when thousands and thousands came to celebrate. The mood was infectious – for a few hours, the war was left behind, and the future looked brighter.

There were joyful prayers from every mosque in the city… the prayers filled Gaza and were the first reactions to the cease fire… and then came celebratory firing of rifles in the area – cries of Allahu Akbar.

Children filled the street – released from a too long confinement.

Parents and others followed close behind.

Banners were hung at Al Meena. Firecrackers were all around us.

Cars and trucks passed by in parade almost immediately – filled with young men who waved banners, shouted slogans announcing the end of war – holding hands up in the sign of peace.

I was immediately overwhelmed…. tonight was a night for joy but I also wept from the pure joy of seeing my Palestinian friends at this special moment in this journey to Gaza.

I will remember this night forever.

The people of Gaza have suffered horribly during these last 50 days. So many have died and been seriously injured. We have witnessed the photographs of so many martyred and injured children. Many villages have been destroyed altogether…. thousands and thousands of homes and mosques and buildings now lie in rubble. Many residential towers lie in ruin…. with another joining them in Gaza City last night.

Some might wonder how Gaza could celebrate in the face of such great loss and destruction…

But there is much that we have yet to learn about this people of the resistance.

Gaza celebrated its survival, its resistance, its relief, its innate love of life tonight – its strong belief in a merciful and loving Allah – and took a few hours to celebrate the end to this war, and the hope of a new beginning.

And I swear to you – I truly believe that even those who lost their lives and are now in Jannah also joined this celebration.

But this is just a beginning, my dear friends…. the celebration of the evening is fading – and now the real works begins.

The final ceasefire agreement is still filled with question marks and unresolved issues – years of reconstruction lie ahead – the dead are still being buried – the injured may have months of recovery and rehabilitation before them – the infrastructure has been destroyed – raw sewage still pours into the sea. More then 50% of the working population is unemployed (and that number will rise in the coming days)…. many people have become homeless (hundreds of thousands of them)…. and many of them have no place to go – no home to return to….. thousands and thousands are without food and water (or are food insecure)….

As one astute observer in Gaza wrote tonight – We have won the war but there is still no electricity and water tonight… the city is mostly dark, my dear friends.

There is reason for celebration in Gaza tonight because nearly 50 days and nights of bombing were a horrific experience for many who thought that they might die at any moment… that their children would meet the same fate.

Children will look to the sky for many weeks to come and run to their mother or friends hoping to find protection.

The drones are still in the sky over Gaza tonight.

Gaza is still an open air prison.

More than at any other time – the good people of Gaza need our support.

They need protests in the street until their freedoms are won.

They need us to learn more about their heritage and their future.

They will need us to dig deep in the coming days.

They will need us to continue the work of boycotting Israeli goods and investments in Israeli corporations (and those corporations that have supported years of apartheid in the West Bank and years of siege and blockade in Gaza).

There is still much to be done.

The bombs and destruction have ended for the moment – but please remember that little has changed yet – and it will not change at all without our support.

Israel is still the Occupier. The blockade and siege remain in place except for a piece of paper and promises.

One of the world’s largest armies is ready to attack again at any moment.

Thanks to Allah, I am alive – thanks to Allah, the nights are quieter – thanks to Allah, there is “temporary” peace in this land of beautiful people.

Thanks to Allah for your prayers and support and for your sacrifices, dear friends.

Gaza is still under attack.

And it will be for years to come unless we continue our work.

We must continue this work.

I love you, dear friends.

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Day #45 – Aug. 20, 2014 – The Golden Rule

A year ago, the fighting had resumed in Gaza and people resumed their killing, dying and acts of inhumanity beyond the comprehension and power of anyone to stop it.

In May 2015, Jimmy Carter visited Israel and Palestine with the former Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland. As the world knows, Carter has devoted much of his energy to searching for justice and peace in the Middle East, but in May, Israeli leaders rejected him and refused to meet with him. Carter called the situation in Gaza 8 months after the war ‘intolerable’. The deplorable conditions haven’t changed.

Gro Harlem Brundtland & Jimmy Carter visit a kibbutz next to the Gaza border.

Gro Harlem Brundtland & Jimmy Carter visit a kibbutz next to the Gaza border.

There’s much that can be said, and should be said, to remind the world (and especially the young people) about President Carter’s contributions at home and abroad. This interview in September 2011 is one of the best I’ve read.

I’ve admired him for many years. I wrote to him a few years ago when Zionists were suing him for defamation over his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.  I thanked him for writing the book and I soon received a handwritten note back from him, thanking me for my words of encouragement. That epitomizes for me his generous spirit.

I saw him in person only once, about a month ago in Washington, DC where he was signing his new book “A Full Life” at Politics and Prose Bookstore. Hundreds of people, me included, waited in a line outside as the rain began to pour, hoping to catch a moment with President Carter inside. He signed every single book with a smile, but his security men kept the line of people moving and we never had a chance to exchange words or a handshake.

President Jimmy Carter autographing his new book, A Full Life.

President Jimmy Carter autographing his new book, A Full Life.

I started a petition this Spring, a petition urging Congress to invite President Carter to speak to both Chambers about his recent visit to the Middle East. That petition is now sitting with my Representative. I hope she will forward it to Congressional leaders with her letter of support. Whether or not Carter would/could accept the invitation to speak to Congress, I think it’s important to honor and respect his wisdom about the Middle East conflict.

I’ve written a short card that I’m sending today.

Dear Mr. President and Mrs. Carter,

In the ugly, dark world of politics and greed,

You shine a light of what is good and right.

While humanity causes so much hurt and pain,

You both share hope and love.

From the global to the personal,

Your spirit infuses us all with

Kindness, gentleness, and compassion.

Thank you, gracias, shukran!

For modeling a life of transformative power,

For modeling the Golden Rule

Day by day, year by year.

God bless you!


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Days #42-43 Aug. 17 & 18, 2014 — Sumud

I walked out of the courthouse in Albuquerque today feeling pissed and angry. The Judge ruled against me, but it shouldn’t have surprised me. I didn’t have the expert testimony and couldn’t prove my case.

My case was no larger than a tick on a flea on the back leg of a fly resting on a dog’s tail. It was nothing. But it represented 18 months of hassling and haggling and took my energy away from where it might have been better focused. I’m disappointed.

Many losses this past year.  Maybe they’re catching up with me.

A good friend succumbed to cancer in January —- a slow and painful end. And with that passing was also the death of a friendship.

Another good friend succumbed last December to many health maladies that she had been fighting for years. I said ‘goodbye’ to her a month earlier knowing it would be the last time I would see her.

An Uncle passed away in January — the last member in that generation of my family. Although I spoke with him a week earlier, I didn’t realize it would be our last conversation. I would have said “I love you” twice as hard as I did.

And now this itty bitty loss today in court has brought up all the tears.  Crazy!


The word “SUMUD” came to mind as I stepped onto the elevator at the courthouse. I learned about “Sumud” from the Palestinians in Gaza. They told me it means “steadfastness.”  It means so much more.

Sumud is standing your ground when Israel is throwing one of the world’s most modern arsenals at you.

Sumud is teaching your children to understand and appreciate their ancestors’ history and struggle.

Sumud is resisting the occupation by whatever means it takes to hold on to your land and your dignity.

The Palestinians in the West Bank, Jersusalem and Gaza teach the world about “Sumud” every today. Maybe today the lesson is meant for me. Even when I feel like a loser, when I feel the losses of people dear to me, when I get discouraged, when I lose hope about acheiving my dreams, I need to show “Sumud”.

Sumud 2

I need to be a role model for the next generation. The generation that’s growing up in a more hostile environment than the one I grew up in the 1950s-1960s. The generation that has inherited a burdensome debt and an insecure future. I need to show them “Sumud” — steadfastness — and determination even in the face of loss.

This time last year, the Palestinians in Gaza were waiting to hear whether a negotiated truce might end Israel’s horrific assault. As reported on Democracy Now on August 18, 2014:

Israel and Hamas are continuing indirect talks in Cairo as a five-day ceasefire is set to expire. A Palestinian official says the two sides remain far apart on a long-term agreement. Hamas has made an end to the blockade of Gaza a central demand, while the Israeli government has reportedly hardened its stance in recent days. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is prepared to continue the assault.

Protestors worldwide were demanding an end of the assault. Thousands of Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv in support of negotiations with the Palestinians.

In the United States, protesters in Oakland have prevented an Israeli ship from docking in protest of the assault on Gaza. The Zim Piraeus had been due to unload its goods at the Port of Oakland on Saturday. But several thousand activists with the “Block the Boat for Gaza” campaign gathered at the port, forcing a delay. Clarence Thomas of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union took part in the action.

Haaretz reported these headlines:

PA urges Hamas: Continue Gaza truce talks, even without immediate guarantees
Palestinians: Egypt seeking extension of cease-fire for talks
UN: Gaza reconstruction 3 times more dire than after 2009 war
Netanyahu tried to hide Egyptian cease-fire proposal from cabinet
Israel, Palestinians agree on 24-hour extension of Gaza cease-fire as sides try to reach a deal

In the face of all of this, Palestinians in Gaza displayed Sumud last summer and every day.

sumud 3

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Day #41 – August 16, 2014 – Jon Snow in Gaza

I remember seeing this last summer —- Jon Snow’s emotional plea to stop Israel from killing more children in Gaza. The numbers of dead and wounded continued to grow day by day with the world watching on. At the end, Snow says “Togeher, we can make a difference!”   I wonder if he would say the same thing today, a year later, with the suffering continuing.

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Day #39 – August 14, 2014 – Bombing IUG “a merry sport”?

"Nation Building for Palestine - A Way Forward"  Keynote Address at the 7th Technological Engineering Days Conference "Inspired Engineering for a Sustainable Environment." Islamic University of Gaza -- March 10, 2013 — ‎at ‎غزة

“Nation Building for Palestine – A Way Forward”
Keynote Address at the 7th Technological Engineering Days Conference “Inspired Engineering for a Sustainable Environment.”
Islamic University of Gaza — March 10, 2013 — ‎at ‎غزة

Some of my fondest memories of Gaza are at the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG). The pride and joy among the students and faculty was palpable. Walking across campus, whether on the men’s side or the women’s side, I observed their intensity to excel and achieve their goals.  A university degree might be their ticket . . . to a good job, to graduate studies abroad . . . to having some measure of control over their future.

A student at IUG successfully defends his thesis about the impacts of climate change on the aquifer and is awarded his Masters Degree. — ‎at ‎غزة‎.‎

A student at IUG successfully defends his thesis about the impacts of climate change on the aquifer and is awarded his Masters Degree. — ‎at ‎غزة‎.‎

Why did Israel target IUG and other schools in the Gaza Strip?

Brookings reported in early August 2014 about “Israeli forces bombing the Jabalia Elementary Girls School in northern Gaza while it served as an U.N.-designated shelter. At least 15 people—including four children—were killed, and many more wounded. An Israeli strike in the immediate vicinity of an U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school in Rafah killed at least nine and injured over 25 people, while on July 23rd, a similar attack on another UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun left 15—including six children—dead and over 100 injured.” Israel destroyed 141 schools during its 51-day bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

Soccer players at IUG

Soccer players at IUG

Refaat Alareer teaches world literature and creative writing in the English Department at IUG. He’s also Co-Editor of Gaza Unsilenced, along with Laila El-Haddad, and describes the level of destruction at IUG during Israel’s bombardment last summer, including the administration building, and the personnel department and English department offices.

Why would Israel bomb a university? Some say Israel attacked IUG just to punish its 20,000 students or to push Palestinians to despair. That is true, but to me IUG’s only danger to the Israeli occupation and its apartheid regime is that it is the most important place in Gaza to develop students’ minds as indestructible weapons. Knowledge is Israel’s worst enemy. Awareness is Israel’s most hated and feared foe. That’s why Israel bombs a university; it wants to kill openness and determination to refuse living under injustice and racism. But again, why does Israel bomb a school? Or a hospital? Or a mosque? Or a 20-story building? It could be, as [Shakespeare’s] Shylock put it, “a merry sport”?

Islamic University of Gaza Summer 2014

Islamic University of Gaza – Summer 2014

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Day #35 – August 10, 2014 – Gaza Unsilenced!

Last summer we heard ad nauseam from Mark Regev, the Israeli spokesperson, on every mainstream television channel telling us the Israeli spiel about Operation Protective Edge.   Over and over and over again.

I wanted to hear from my friends in Gaza.

When electricity was restored (typically only a few hours each day) they would “appear” on Facebook and Twitter (al-hamdulillah). A few were even interviewed by international media via Skype.

Now their voices have been unleashed, thanks to Helena Cobban at Just World Books and the co-editors of a new book, Gaza Unsilenced. Refaat Alareer and Laila El-Haddad have collected many strong writers from Gaza and beyond to share the reality of what happened last summer from the perspective of those living (surviving) there.

I found the book in Baltimore at Red Emma’s yesterday.  In future blog posts, I’ll be sharing thoughts about the stories I read in Gaza UnSilenced. You can buy your copy online for $21 here.  Spread the word . . . please spread their voices.  Israel wants to control the narrative, diminish the Palestinians’ right to fight back with their words, and we must not let that happen. Check out the Table of Contents below.

Gaza Unsilenced - Just World Books

Gaza Unsilenced – Just World Books


  1.  Everyone Is a Target: The Human Toll

The Story of My Brother, Martyr Mohammed Alareer (Refaat Alareer)

The Boy Who Clung to the Paramedic: The Story Behind the Photo (Belal Dabour)

My Son Asks if We Are Going to Die Today (Ghadeer al Omari)

“Wake Up, My Son!” None of Gaza’s Murdered Children Are Just Numbers (Ali Abunimah)

Devastated Family Remembers Cheerful Boy Cut Down by Israeli Fire on Gaza Beach (Rami Almeghari)

Gaza: Israel Puts Paramedics in Its Crosshairs (Mohammed Suliman)

Losing a Good Friend (Mu’taz Hilal Muhammad al-‘Azayzeh)

In Gaza’s al-Shuja’iya: “I Just Survived a Massacre” (Mohammed Suliman)

An Eyewitness to Genocide: A Night in Khuza’a (Sarah Algherbawi)

Israeli Army Uses Gaza Children as Human Shields (Rania Khalek)

Psychological Damage of Gazan Children Will Have Long-term Consequences (Lynda Franken)

A Gaza Mother amid the Airstrikes (Eman Mohammed)

Gaza: A Human Tragedy (Sarah Ali)

2.   Destitute by Design: Making Gaza Unlivable

“The Tank Shells Fell Like Rain”: Survivors of the Attack on UNRWA School Report Scenes of Carnage and Destruction (Sharif Abdel Kouddous)

Poems of Mass Destruction at Gaza University (Refaat Alareer)

Israel Destroys al-Wafa Hospital as Staff Evacuates All Patients (Allison Deger)

Water Disaster Hits Every Single Person in Gaza (Ali Abunimah)

Farming in Gaza near the Buffer Zone (Rina Andolini)

Farming under Siege: Working the Land in Gaza (Tom Anderson and Therezia Cooper)

Gaza Olive Harvest Hit Hard by War (Rami Almeghari)

Farmers Forced to Stop Growing Strawberries in Gaza (Rami Almeghari)

Destroyed Factories in Gaza: An Attempt to Rise Again (Palestine Information Center)

Gaza Fishermen “in God’s Hands” (Patrick O. Strickland and Ezz Al Zanoon)

Gaza’s Economy Shattered by Israeli Siege (Rosa Schiano)

The Great Game in the Holy Land: How Gazan Natural Gas Became the Epicenter of an International Power Struggle (Michael Schwartz)

The Ancient Mosques of Gaza in Ruins: How Israel’s War Endangered  Palestine’s Cultural Heritage (Ahmad Nafi)

3.   Elsewhere in Palestine . . . 

Administrative Detainees on Hunger Strike Issue Their Will as They Stand “at the Edge of Death” (Shahd Abusalama)

Merciless Israeli Mobs Are Hunting Palestinians (Rania Khalek)

As Israel Bombs Gaza, It Kills Palestinians in the West Bank Too (Maureen Clare Murphy)

The Constant Presence of Death in the Lives of Palestinian Children (Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian)

Palestinian Civil Society in Israel Demands Urgent Action on Gaza (The Arab Association for Human Rights)

Israel Arrests Activist for Hosting Skype Chat with Resistance Icon Leila Khaled (Patrick O. Strickland)

Arrabeh’s Eid in Gaza’s Shadow (Hatim Kanaaneh)

Why Palestinian Citizens of Israel Are No Longer Safe (Ron Gerlitz)

4.  Gaza Burns, the World Responds: Analysis and Commentary

Something Rotten in the Operations Manual (Sharif S. Elmusa)

Institutionalised Disregard for Palestinian Life (Mouin Rabbani)

International Solidarity with Palestine Grows with Israeli Assault (Beth Staton)

Gaza Traces (Kim Jensen)

Controversial, Illegal, and Documented: Israeli Military Strategies in Gaza (Sami Kishawi)

Why Gaza Fought Back (Ramzy Baroud)

Blaming the Victims (Diana Buttu)

The Palestinians’ Right to Self-Defense (Chris Hedges)

No Exit from Gaza: A New War Crime? (Richard Falk)

Egypt’s Propagandists and the Gaza Massacre (Joseph Massad)

Collective Punishment in Gaza (Rashid Khalidi)

5.  The Pen, the Keyboard, and the F-16: Creative Resistance in the Digital Age

War on Gaza, Social Media and the Efficacy of Protest (Hatem Bazian)

Social Media: The Weapon of Choice in the Gaza-Israel Conflict (Yousef al-Helou)

In Asymmetric Twitter War over Gaza: Palestinians Are Winning (Belal Dabour)

Selection of Tweets, July 5 – August 26 (Farah Baker)

Tweets from a Doctor in Gaza, July 26 (Belal Dabour)

Palestine Unbound (Excerpt) (Steven Salaita)

Palestinian Artists Illustrate the Deadly Realities in Gaza (Mariam Elba)

Three Poems for Gaza (Nathalie Handal)

Palestine, Summer 2014 (Kim Jensen)

The UN Counted the Number of Our Dead (Samah Sabawi)

Ferguson and Gaza (Zeina Azzam)

From Dawn to Dusk (Lina H. Al-Sharif)

An Unjust World (Nour ElBorno)

Seafaring Nocturne (Lena Khalaf Tuffaha)

This Miraculous Terrorism (Omar J. Sakr)

6.   51 Days Later, and Counting: The Untenable Status Quo

How Israel Is Turning Gaza into a Super-Max Prison (Jonathan Cook)

Under Siege: Remembering Leningrad, Surviving Gaza (Ayah Bashir and Esther Rappaport)

Investigators: Israel Fired on Civilians Carrying White Flags (Charlotte Silver)

Revealed: Gaza Orphans Israel Trip Was Government-Backed PR Stunt (Ali Abunimah)

Uncovering the Truth in Khuza’a (Ruairi Henchy)

A Call From Gaza: Make Israel Accountable for Its Crimes in Gaza — Intensify BDS! (Gaza Civil Society Organizations)

One Thing They Can’t Bomb (Ned Rosch)

We Shall Live to Tell the Stories of War Crimes in Gaza (Hana Baalousha)

Who Benefits from Billions Pledged for Gaza Reconstruction? (Maureen Clare Murphy)

Editors’ Afterwords

Re-humanizing Gaza (Laila El-Haddad)

When Will We Go Back Home? (Refaat Alareer)

Names of the Dead



About the Contributors


About the Editors





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Day #33 – August 8, 2014 – No national dialogue in Israel yet

A year after Israel’s murderous campaign against the Palestinians in Gaza, has anything really changed?

Jodi Rudoren of the New York Times writes (Aug. 6, 2015) that many Israelis are now engaged in a national soul searching” exercise — not about the killing of 2,251 Palestinians in Gaza last summer (most of them civilians including 551 children).

Israelis are gathering to “dialogue” about the deaths of the Palestinian toddler, Ali Saad Dawabsheh, burned to death by an Israeli settler extremist in his West Bank home and the 16-year old Jewish girl, Shira Banki, fatally stabbed at a gay rights parade in Jerusalem.

Ali Saad Dawabsha was killed when assailants firebombed his home at night (www.bbc.com)

Ali Saad Dawabsha was killed when assailants firebombed his home at night (www.bbc.com)

Jews everywhere, and particularly Israelis, are fooling themselves or perhaps attempting to fool the rest of us, into believing that “things will improve” and “we’re learning from this recent violence” and “these atrocities will not be repeated.”

Shira Banki killed in a Gay Rights Parade in Jerusalem

Shira Banki killed in a Gay Rights Parade in Jerusalem

The mourners can pat themselves on the back and wave their “soul-searching dialogue” as a sign of their humanity in the face of evil.  It changes nothing. Worse yet, it’s delusional and merely propaganda to soften the harsh, cruel realities that exist inside Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

Real soul searching requires courage, and that’s exactly what 34 Israeli reserve soldiers displayed last summer when they sent this letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, refusing to “take part in the State’s actions against Palestinians”. They wrote:

Millions of Palestinians have been living under Israeli military rule for over 47 years. This regime denies the basic rights and expropriates extensive tracts of land for Jewish settlements subject to separate and different legal systems, jurisdiction and law enforcement. This reality is not an inevitable result of the state’s efforts to protect itself but rather the result of choice. Settlement expansion has nothing to do with national security. The same goes for restrictions on construction and development, economic exploitation of the West Bank, collective punishment of inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, and the actual route of the separation barrier. (Read letter here.)

Listen to these three Israeli intelligence veterans speak here about why they decided they could no longer serve. This is soul searching!  And they paid a price. In January, the IDF dismissed them.

Real soul searching requires —

  • courage and insight, not platitudes
  • the ability to remove the blinders and see evil where before you saw valor
  • empathy for others, not only for your own tribe
  • truth-telling and the refusal to sugar-coat the atrocities

The CNN interviewed Avner Gvaryahu, a spokesman for Breaking the Silence, last summer following Operation Protective Edge.  Listen to this 8 minute video. This is true soul searching and the type of national dialogue Israelis need to have! It’s not happening yet.

In publishing soldiers’ testimonies from Operation Protective Edge we set out to expose the public to the reality that took place in Gaza this last summer. According to CNN we succeeded in starting a conversation – and that’s definitely the first step.

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Day #30 – August 5, 2014 – Baroness Warsi resigns

This day a year ago, the IDF was three-fifths (3/5) through its campaign in Gaza.  Day #30 of 51 days.  Of course, no one knew how long Operation Protective Edge would last.

There had been discussions of humanitarian ceasefires, but these were more Israeli PR opportunities designed to appease the world’s condemnation than negotiated ceasefires. In fact, Hamas learned about one of these so-called ceasefires on social media.

August 5, 2014 marked the beginning of a 72-hour ceasefire mediated by Egypt.  1,830 Palestinians were dead, most of them civilians. Israel had lost 64 soldiers and 3 civilians.

Baroness Sayeed Warsi outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster. Photo by  Ian Jones

Baroness Sayeed Warsi outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster.
Photo by Ian Jones

On this date, Sayeeda Hussain Warsi, Baroness Warsi, a British-Pakistani lawyer, politician and Senior Minister for the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, handed in her letter of resignation over her disagreement with the government’s policy on the Gaza conflict.

I admire her. I wish there had been some politicians in the United States Congress who had spoken so directly and honestly about the atrocities in Gaza.

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Day #27 – August 2, 2014 – Thoughts

A child burns – a Palestinian child.

A rock throwing teenage boy is shot and killed – a Palestinian teenager.

An old woman in a wheelchair sits helplessly as soldiers invade her home and is shot point blank in the head – a Palestinian old woman.

A young man searches in the rubble for his family and is target practice for a sharp shooter – a Palestinian young man.

The images go on and on and on.  I can’t get them out of my head.  I don’t want to get them out of my head.

We know the victims — all Palestinians. Who are the killers?

Jewish/Zionist/settlers/terrorists in the first case.  Well-trained, well-supplied Israeli soldiers in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th cases.

Netanyahu condemns the first and praises the 2nd, 3rd and 4th. He has the power to label the terrorists.  He knows who is terrorizing whom.

Israeli citizens feel remorse in the first case, but national pride in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th cases.

Religious leaders in Israel are split on whether to condemn or praise the murder in the first case, but none speak up against the killings in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th cases.

What hope for a future is there when terrorists act with impunity?  When the State of Israel is not held accountable?  When Palestinian lives are cheaper than the olive trees that the Jewish/Zionist/settlers/terrorists destroy?

There was a time when I could distinguish between Jewish/Zionist/settlers/terrorists.  Today, now, in this moment, I can’t.

And that worries me more than words can say.




Young Palestinian men enjoying a BBQ at the beach in Gaza.

2013-05-05 21.01.54

أنا سعيد

أنا سعيد

2013-03-31 23.10.042013-03-15 17.43.28311237_4811158402750_630842074_n882476_10200861114876058_444992083_o885287_10200849363462280_2015785777_o

Palestinian children playing at the park.


Friends in Gaza

Friends in Gaza


Gaza 2014 - credit D. Cormier

Shujaya 9


Filed under IDF, Israel, Israel Defense Forces