Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Aid Convoy Arrives In Gaza: Media Blackout Continues

News Blackout in the US concerning Gaza Aid Convoy-

Gaza Convoy Siege War Crimes

Gaza Aid Convoy enters Gaza
Israel otherwise still blockading Gaza
allowing only a trickle of aid in
Ghettoizing of the Palestinian Peoples
Israeli Apartheid

George Galloway's first speech from inside Gaza (9 March 2009)

George Galloway's Aid Convoy Arrives In Gaza Sky News UK, March 09, 2009

An aid convoy led by George Galloway has arrived in Gaza after traveling more than 5,000 miles.

The Viva Palestina convoy left Hyde Park in London on Valentine's Day, with more than 100 vehicles driven by volunteers including the Respect MP.

They brought aid worth more than £1.5m including medical supplies, clothes, food and toys as well as 20 ambulances, two buses, a fire engine and a fishing boat.

Mr Galloway kissed the ground as he walked through the Rafah crossing and met Palestinian prime minister Ismail Hania.

"Our message is we are all Palestinians now," he said.

"They said this could not be done, but we have done it.

MEDIA BLACKOUT:It is odd that this aid convoy traveling from Great Britain across Europe and into North Africa and into the Middle East and finally being able to enter Gaza breaking through Israel's blockade should have received so little media attention in Great Britain or the United States. Given that the Israeli invasion of Gaza dominated the news for weeks you would think there would be more public and media interest in a convoy attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to war torn Gaza.

But after all they tell us these Palestinians are all potential terrorists who belong to a culture of death and martyrdom and so should not be pitied when they are under siege by Israel so if they starve to death or suffer or die due to lack of medical aid the world should not mourn the loss of a single one of them or even the deaths of all of them.

With Israel's new government things can only get worse for the Palestinians and for all Arab-Israelis who are despised by most Israelis and the current bunch of thugs and racist who are now in control in Israel. These people don't even bother to cover-up their racist views and policies.

It does show that the Israeli and American media propaganda demonizing Hamas and all Palestinians has worked fairly well at least in America and Israel.

For instance they erroneously painted Hamas as a well armed terrorists organization capable of putting up a good fight against the Israeli war machine. They further erroneously claimed that it was Hamas which had breached the ceasefire between Israel and Gaza. In fact it was Israel which had broken the ceasefire first. The other claim was that Hamas had been raining down terror on the Israelis using the less than accurate Qassam rockets.

According to most international human rights organizations including the ICRC, Red Cross, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and United Nation's personnel who were in Gaza at the time of the Israeli invasion that it was a disproportionate response using all of Israel's might against a rag-tag band of poorly armed and poorly trained fighters. Much of Gaza was reduced to rubble and over 1300 Gazans were killed and some 20 Israelis were killed.

But the Americans and Israelis have designated the legally and democratically elected Hamas as a terrorist organization even though it was the Americans and Israelis who insisted upon Gaza holding an election before they were ready to do so. Democracy is fine as long as a country puts into power a party pre-approved by the US or Israel.

Since Hamas was characterized as an imminent threat to Israel the Israelis were given free rein to do whatever they wanted to in Gaza and that the Geneva Conventions and International Laws are not it appears applicable to Israel in its conflicts. To even suggest criticism of the Israeli military, the IDF or its commanders is grounds for characterizing such critics as anti- Israel and anti-Semitic. This is especially a difficult issue for the America media which has more often than not taken Israel's side in any conflict or even when it comes to human rights violations within Israel proper.

As I have argued before it is difficult for the US or even Great Britain to object to actions taken by Israeli forces in Gaza when both countries have themselves been accused of committing War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan. So it seems that the United States, Great Britain and Israel believe that they are not to be judged by these international standards in conducting warfare .

They argue these rules and standards are meant for other countries and not them since they are I guess the Good Guys. So when they bomb civilian targets they do so for a reason. When they bomb hospitals , schools , UN compounds , ambulances and show no regard for non-combatants they always have a convenient excuse.Even when they kill civilians with their hands up waving a white flag they being outside these quaint old fashioned laws have every right to shoot and kill .

Besides according to the Israelis and the US administration and the British all Palestinians , all Arabs and all Muslims are the enemy whether they are three years old or ninety years old . Besides if the Americans and British can get away with killing a million Iraqis 1300 Gazans is barely worth a mention in the British or American media. But every Israeli , every American every British soldier killed is we are told is a tragedy but the deaths of Arabs , Iraqis, Afghans, Palestinians , Pashtuns etc. are a reason for celebration . And so whole families , neighborhoods, towns and cities and even wedding parties are we are told legitimate targets because there might be a terrorist hiding amongst these civilians or non-combatants.

Viva Palestina Email Alert Midnight, Sunday 8th March 2009 " Viva Palestina is your story "

Here was a truly incredible story – of an aid mission that in just eight weeks had galvanised community after community to create a convoy of over 100 vehicles, laden with over £1 million of aid and then driven over 5000 miles and two continents to relieve the suffering in Gaza.

And it was a movement that was created from scratch, with no full time staff - just a website, a few blogs, text messages, public meetings and a million conversations. Surely this would be worth reporting; surely this was news….

But the sad reality is that the Viva Palestina convoy, carrying the love and human solidarity from the people of Britain to the people of Gaza has been deemed un-newsworthy by nearly all of the British media.

The BBC, who next week will entreat us all to do ‘something funny for money’ in aid of Comic Relief has felt fit to mention the Convoy just three times on its website (and once hidden away in the Africa pages). The Guardian, that bastion of ‘liberal Britain’ only reported it once it thought it had the makings of a nasty little smear. The Independent showed its ‘independence’ by spiking a column by Mark Steel, which discussed Viva Palestina.

Depressingly, our most prominent publicity came when nine of our convoy members were arrested in the piece of pure political theatre on the M65 - the day before the convoy departed. Yet the same media outlets, that reported the arrests with such gusto on the day of departure, chose to ignore or downgrade the news that all nine men were entirely innocent and had been released without charge. Even the terrible damage to community relations in Blackburn and Burnley resulting from these arrests was not a news-worthy topic for Britain’s ‘quality’ press.

The Viva Palestina convoy has been a remarkable achievement; it has overcome a virtual media blackout, the cynical arrests of some of its members and the refusal of banks to allow us to open accounts.

Meanwhile The International Criminal Court believes that there are possible grounds for prosecuting Israel for War Crimes. The chances are though that the US and Britain will fight any attempt to prosecute Israel soldiers or commanders or those higher up in the Israeli government who either gave the orders to the military to commit such crimes or did nothing to interfere with such criminal activities on the part of the Israeli military . Meanwhile the soldiers will deny everything or make up a hundred excuses or claim they were just following orders. In all likelihood little will come of any prosecutions since Israel like the US and Britain answer to no one.

ICC zeroing in on Israeli war crimes? The International Criminal Court prosecutor is exploring ways to launch an investigation into Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip." Press TV, March 10, 2009

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the Hague-based ICC, said he is mulling over the prosecution case of Israeli officials responsible for the suspected crimes committed during the recent offensive in Gaza.

"We are in the analysis phase. I have not yet decided whether we will launch an investigation, but it is a possibility," Moreno-Ocampo told the Argentinean newspaper Perfil.

Israel is suspected of committing war crimes including the use of the deadly white phosphorus shells in densely populated civilian areas, as revealed in an investigation by The Times in January.

While Israel initially denied using the controversial weapon, later mounting evidence forced Israeli officials to admit to having employed the shells.

The International Criminal Court, a treaty-based court, was created in 2002 to allow legal action against war criminals that committed offences after its inception.

Meanwhile the UN and EU have been critical of Israel's ongoing siege of Gaza but what can they do about it with Israel being backed by the United States and Great Britain. In the UN the US can use its veto to stop any resolutions being made against Israel that would carry any practical weight .

Global pressure mounts against Israel By Adel Safty, Special to Gulf News, March 08, 2009

Israel is facing unusual pressure for its continued siege of the Gaza population, and for its conduct of the Gaza war.

The United States, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations have demanded that Israel allow at least 500 trucks of aid daily into Gaza - Israel has been allowing less than 200.

According to Israeli officials, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has relayed messages "expressing anger at obstacles Israel is placing to the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip". George Mitchell, the US special envoy to the Middle East, reportedly issued "a sharply worded protest" against Israeli behaviour.

Senior US officials told the Israelis that "Israel is not making enough effort to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza".

Senior EU officials have also protested about delays in the flow of aid into Gaza

IDF War Crimes - Random Palestinians Used as Human Shields - West Bank
Live March 11, 2007

As for Egypt it tried but failed to stop the Aid Convoy since the people on the convoy refused to split up as requested and then later removed police barricades themselves in order to proceed. It appears there was too much media attention for the Egyptian military or its hired goons and death squads to do what they had hoped to or what Israel wanted the Egyptians to do so that Israel's hands would appear clean. Odd since Israel's Mossad has rarely been bothered by appearances as it disappears people or assassinates them inside or outside Israel. Like the US CIA and the British MI6 they answer to no one. Though once in a while there is some sort of show trial in which a scapegoat or two are handed over to make it look like they actually act reasonably or responsibly and that they obey International Laws.

" Egypt: Hundreds Still Held Over Gaza Protests :Blogger Who Criticized Israeli Policies Detained Incommunicado for Almost 3 Weeks " Human Rights Watch,March 4, 2009

(New York) - Egyptian authorities should immediately charge or free Diaa Eddin Gad, a blogger held since February 6, 2009, Human Rights Watch said today. Gad is among a number of bloggers and activists arrested in relation to protest in Egypt since the beginning of the Gaza offensive in late December 2008.

"Apparently it's not enough for the Egyptian government to imprison its own critics," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "It is now intent on silencing Egyptians who criticize Israel as well."

Gad, a 23-year-old student whose writings on his blog, "An Angry Voice," had been critical of Egypt's tacit support of Israel's attacks on Gaza and of Egypt's decision to close its Rafah crossing into Gaza, had attended a demonstration in Cairo protesting the Gaza offensive. On February 6, four State Security Intelligence (SSI) officers seized him outside his family's home in Qutour, in Gharbiyya province.

And there are more concerns raised over the Israeli forces destruction of private homes which the Israelis claim was necessary while Human Rights organizations see it as a wanton act of cruelty and savagery and barbarism.

"Gaza homes destruction 'wanton' " BBC , March 6, 2009

Human rights investigators say Israeli forces engaged in "wanton destruction" of Palestinian homes during the recent conflict in Gaza.

Amnesty International has told the BBC News website the methods used raised concerns about war crimes.

Israel's military said buildings were destroyed because of military "operational needs".

The Israeli Defense Forces said they operated in accordance with international law during the conflict.

However, the use of mines to destroy homes contradicted this claim, the head of the Amnesty International fact-finding mission to southern Israel and Gaza, Donatella Rovera, has argued.

Israeli troops had to leave their vehicles to plant the mines, indicating that they faced no danger and that there was no military or operational justification, she said.

Breaking the Silence, an Israeli group that gathers and circulates the testimonies of Israeli soldiers, has also told the BBC News website that its findings from the Gaza war suggested many demolitions had been carried out when there was no immediate threat.

"From the testimonies that we've gathered, lots of demolitions - buildings demolished either by bulldozers or explosives - were done after the area was under Israeli control," said Yehuda Shaul, one of the group's members.

IDF shows disrespect for civilians of Gaza during the Gaza invasion. These barbaric actions are more like those of hooligans rather than members of a supposedly well trained well disciplined army which supposedly has high moral standards. They may high moral standard but not when it comes to dealing with the Palestinians or Arabs or any Jewish Israeli who might sympathize with the plight of Arab-Israeis or the Palestinians. Since as these soldiers make quite clear they do not believe that the Palestinians have any claim to equal rights or to even be treated with common decency since they appear to believe that Arabs and Palestinians are sub-human.

This attitude can be traced back to the early days of the creation of the State of Israel during which the Israelis were involved with a few massacres and other atrocities committed against the Arab population in order to terrorize them so that the Arabs would just leave the whole area to the Jewish Israelis. It is often forgotten that the original Jewish Israelis in the 1940s were themselves involved in terrorist activities against the British and against the Arabs.(1946, July 22: Irgun and Stern Gang Zionist groups blow up King David Hotel, Jerusalem.)* So this most recent attack on Gaza is not the end of the story but is part of the Israeli policy to drive the Palestinians and all Arabs out of the region. The Israelis message to all Arabs is that they should leave or accept in silence whatever treatment is given them by Israeli soldiers and Settlers.

" Pots of urine, feces on the walls - how IDF troops vandalized Gaza homes " By Amira Hass, March 6, 2009

GAZA - We had already visited this house, belonging to the Abu Eida family. It is the only one of the family's nine large houses that remained standing at the eastern edge of the city of Jabalya following Operation Cast Lead. The demolition of the family's houses and its four cement factories spells the loss of 40 years of hard work.

One Hebrew word scrawled on a wall tells the story of the 10 days when young Israeli soldiers became the ostensible prison wardens of five people. The youngest is Suheila Masalha, 55; the eldest is her mother Fatma, who is perhaps 85 or 90 or older. The only man is her brother Mohammed, 65, who is paralyzed and dependent on the women of his family. And there were two more women from the Abu Eida family - Rasmiya, 70, who owns the house, and her sister-in-law Na'ama, 56, who is blind.

"Jail" ("mikhla'a" in Hebrew), wrote the soldiers on the wall of the room where they kept the man and the four women. They did not allow them to use the toilet, but forced them to use all kinds of plastic containers kept in the room, for nine of the days.

From other graffiti you can conclude that it was the soldiers of the Golani Brigade - who were drafted in August 2007, and in January and March of 2008 - who sketched orientation maps on the walls of nearly every room. For example, "Position: entry. Direction: southeast," and a few squares that indicated the houses in the area. "Us," or "We are here," or just an X marked on square No. 5 - Rasmiya Abu Eida's house that became an Israel Defense Forces base.

The soldiers kept kosher, judging by the words "meat" and "dairy" scrawled in red on the kitchen cabinets. Maybe someone was kidding around, or maybe someone thought this was going to be their base for several more months, because they also wrote "Kosher for Passover" on one of the cupboards. Also in red.

...On January 18, when the forces pulled out, similar sights awaited people whose homes had become military bases in their absence. There were bullet-pocked walls, ripped-up sofas and armchairs, smashed televisions and computers, shards of glass and porcelain dishes and broken wooden thresholds. Clothing was ripped up. And there were mountains of very Israeli garbage - empty tin cans, cardboard boxes, empty bags of potato chips and chocolate, and full bags of sugar and raspberry-flavored drinking powder. Everything was kosher for Passover under the supervision of the Chief Rabbinate. And there were Hebrew newspapers, including the January 9 issue of the army magazine Bamahane.

...In the midst of all of this were plastic bottles of urine and many closed bags - in some houses, olive-colored ones - of excrement. People assumed that the commanders stayed there. There are houses where excrement was smeared on the walls, or where dry piles of it were found in corners. In many cases, the smells indicated that soldiers had urinated on piles of clothing or inside a washing machine. In all the houses the toilets were overflowing and clogged, and there was filth all around. When the Abu Eidas returned to house No. 5 in Jabalya, they discovered pots of urine and excrement in the refrigerator.

"Like ants, so many of them," says Na'ama, an Arabic teacher, of the soldiers who came into their home on January 5. She recalls that the soldiers had to be told that Mohammed could not put his hands up, and that they ordered the residents to strip. (Na'ama refused and one soldier made do with prodding and probing; they told Suheila to strip because they thought she was wearing an explosives belt.) The soldiers were amazed that the house was so large - "For just five people" - and kept saying that "this is Hamas money." They also asked, "Where are the tunnels, where is Hamas, if everyone left why didn't you leave?"

The soldiers ordered the five people to go into one room and stay there. They let them take some food: bread, olives, oil, water. They confiscated the mobile phones when they saw Na'ama holding one: "You want to call your brother to come with Hamas, to shoot at us," said one of the soldiers. "Liar," they said a lot, as well as "shut up, you donkey," in broken Arabic. They imitated her mockingly when she said "Ya Rab" ("Oh God"). The five prisoners could not pray, as they were not allowed to clean themselves up before prayer and were forbidden to stand up. They were given two blankets, which were not enough, especially because the windows were smashed and the door was always open. A soldier always sat next to the door aiming his rifle at them. All five still have colds.

...Soldiers broke down doors of grocery stores and helped themselves to candy and snacks. There were some who handed out candy to children; sometimes soldiers asked a child whom they forced to accompany them, as a human shield, to hand it out.

The lowest common denominator By Avi Sagi and Yedidia Stern,, March 10, 2009

The surprise of the elections is the party championing "No loyalty, no citizenship." One out of every eight voters (and if you discount the sectarian votes of the Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox, one out of six voters) reported for the Israeli loyalty roll call.

The new demand for loyalty is the natural continuation of our everyday, banal attitude toward the Arab minority. The Arabs are citizens, but to a limited extent. They face discrimination in the civilian realm, and they are excluded from the political arena and the Israeli experience as a whole. Yisrael Beiteinu's slogan did not change things. Rather, it bluntly articulated the facts of life in Israel.

The proposal to condition the Arabs' pseudo-citizenship on a declaration of loyalty runs contrary to the liberal-democratic discourse, which posits that even those who refuse to pay their debt to the state - for example, by not enlisting, not paying taxes, and not standing at attention during the national anthem - may keep their citizenship. We have not heard anyone demand that convicted murderers - not even the murderer of a prime minister - be stripped of their citizenship. An Israeli citizen who spies for the enemy - from Mordechai Vanunu to Udi Adiv and Yisrael Bar - remains an Israeli citizen in his jail cell. Citizenship is not a "payment" or a "punishment." It is the foundation, the cornerstone of the state's most basic covenant, which gives its laws validity.

It is clear that the Liebermanian sails were filled in part by the irresponsible hot air emanating from the extremist mouths of the Arab political leadership. Yet it is sad and frustrating to realize that mere words have kept many from seeing that the Arab minority is kith and kin to Israeli society. The Arab is the doctor who greets us at the entrance to the emergency room. He is the police officer who looks out for our personal security. He is the tracker who clears land mines while on patrol. Every person, Jew or Arab, has a name. Not just the name given by father, mother or deity, but a name given by the state - citizenship.

also see:

" Palestinian doctor killed by IDF while treating Gaza wounded " By Amira Hass Jan. 14, 2009
* Note:
The Bombing of the King David Hotel at The Jewish Virtual Library

The King David Hotel was the site of the British military command and the British Criminal Investigation Division. The Irgun chose it as a target after British troops invaded the Jewish Agency June 29, 1946, and confiscated large quantities of documents. At about the same time, more than 2,500 Jews from all over Palestine were placed under arrest. The information about Jewish Agency operations, including intelligence activities in Arab countries, was taken to the King David Hotel.

A week later, news of a massacre of 40 Jews in a pogrom in Poland reminded the Jews of Palestine how Britain's restrictive immigration policy had condemned thousands to death.

Irgun leader Menachem Begin stressed his desire to avoid civilian casualties and said three telephone calls were placed, one to the hotel, another to the French Consulate, and a third to the Palestine Post, warning that explosives in the King David Hotel would soon be detonated.

On July 22, 1946, the calls were made. The call into the hotel was apparently received and ignored. Begin quotes one British official who supposedly refused to evacuate the building, saying: "We don't take orders from the Jews."1 As a result, when the bombs exploded, the casualty toll was high: a total of 91 killed and 45 injured. Among the casualties were 15 Jews. Few people in the hotel proper were injured by the blast.

Note **: " Terrorists – and Freedom Fighters? "

by Patrick J. Buchanan, at, March 17, 2004

...Terrorism has been defined as the murder or massacre of innocent men, women and children for political ends. In that sense, 9-11 qualifies, as do the Hamas bombings of buses in Jerusalem.

But looking back over the 20th century, no fewer than three Israeli prime ministers have been accused of terrorism: Menachem Begin, whose Irgun blew up the King David Hotel and carried out the massacre of Palestinian villagers in Deir Yassin in April of 1948. Yitzhak Shamir, head of the Stern Gang that murdered Edward Lord Moyne in Cairo in 1944 – enraging Churchill, who gave Moyne's eulogy – and assassinated U.N. mediator Count Bernadotte in Jerusalem in 1948.

Ariel Sharon, as head of Force 101, is accused of massacring scores of Palestinian villagers at Qibya in 1953 in a reprisal raid for the murder of an Israel woman and her children.

Nobel Prize winner Yasser Arafat has been charged in the cold-blooded assassination of U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel in the Sudan in 1973. His PLO is an umbrella group embracing organizations for whom the weapon of choice in the war against Israel is terror.

Nelson Mandela, another Nobel Peace Prize winner, did not get life imprisonment on Robben Island for sitting in at lunch counters, but if memory serves, for plotting terror to overthrow the regime.

Jomo Kenyatta, the "Grand Old Man" of Africa in the 1960s, was the leader of the Mau Mau in the 1950s. Ahmed Ben Bella led Algeria's war of independence, in which terror was the insurgents' weapon and torture the counter-weapon of the French.

During Tet in 1968, the Viet Cong went through the city of Hue with hit lists, executing 3,000 civilians. Within months, America was negotiating "peace with honor" with the V.C. US ties are now improving with Hanoi, where the body of Ho Chi Minh lies in state, as does that of Mao in Beijing and Lenin in Moscow. All three employed terror.

" One People's Terrorist Is Another People's Freedom Fighter" by

Note ****

"Israeli Settlers Terrorise Palestinian Villagers"
By Mel Frykberg March 10, 2009 -- AT TUWANI, West Bank, Mar 9 (IPS)

Note ***** :
Mr. President, Yes, You Could An open letter to President Obama From Alan Hart March 10, 2009

In my assessment your chances of success will be greatly improved if you are prepared to look one Great Truth in the face. It is that Israel’s political and military leaders are not interested (and never have been) in peace on any terms the vast majority of Palestinians and most other Arabs and Muslims everywhere could accept.

Note ******:

PASSIA: Jerusalem Chronology

British Mandate; 1917-1948

1917, Dec. 9: Ottoman forces surrender in Jerusalem: allied forces led by General Allenby conquer Palestine; Jerusalem under British military administration.
1918, Jan. 27-Feb. 10: First Palestinian National Congress meets in Jerusalem, sends two memoranda to Versailles Peace Conference rejecting Balfour Declaration, demanding independence.
1920, April: British remove Musa Kazim al-Husseini, mayor of Jerusalem, from office for opposing their pro-Zionist policies. San Remo Peace Conference assigns the Mandate for Palestine to Great Britain. 1921,May-June: 4th Palestinian National Congress held in Jerusalem, decides to send delegation to London to explain Palestinian case against Balfour Declaration.
1922: Britain obtains League of Nations mandate to rule Palestine; Jerusalem becomes capital under British civil administration.
1922-1939: Period of Palestinian revolts against British occupation and massive Jewish immigration.
1925, March: Palestinian general strike to protest against private visit by Lord Balfour to Jerusalem.
1928,June: 7th Palestinian National Congress convened in Jerusalem.
1928, Nov.: Islamic Conference meets in Jerusalem,urges protection of Muslim property rights at Wailing Wall, itself a Muslim holy site.
1929, Aug. 28-29: Palestinians up-rising in reaction to militant demonstrations at Wailing Wall.
1931, Dec. 16: Pan-Islamic Congress held in Jerusalem, 145 delegates from Muslim World attend.
1933, Oct.: Demonstrations in Jaffa and Jerusalem protesting against British pro-Zionist policies.
1936, May 8: Conference of all National Committees in Jerusalem calls for ‘no taxation without representation’. General strike begins.
1946, July 22: Irgun and Stern Gang Zionist groups blow up King David Hotel, Jerusalem.
1947, Nov. 29: UN Partition Resolution 181 recommends that Jaffa be part of the proposed Palestinian state and that Jerusalem and Bethlehem be a corpus separatum under a special international regime administered by UN Trusteeship Council.

and so it goes'

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