Jeremy Bowen: I saw no evidence of Hamas using Palestinians as human shields

“Trouble has been brewing between Israel and Hamas for months. The signs were there before the Israeli and Palestinian teenagers were kidnapped and murdered, and before Israel’s crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank. It’s all horribly familiar. Missiles, rockets and threats, and another Israeli prime minister saying that this time military action would make his people safer.

History shows that military action merely deepens the conflict. Only a proper peace deal will make Palestinians and Israelis safer. There is no chance of one right now, which means more small wars, which will eventually become much bigger ones.

Palestinians who live in Gaza often call it the world’s biggest prison. They mean that about 1.8 million people live in a small strip of land, and most of them are not allowed out by Israel and Egypt, which control the border crossings. In Gaza, the human spirit is strong and it can be a surprisingly cheerful prison, but not now, of course.

The main route into Gaza for a journalist is through the Erez checkpoint from Israel. Erez looks a shiny airport terminal, empty and echoing except for the security guards with automatic weapons, and bored young women in the glass passport booths checking their mobiles. To cross, you need a foreign passport and an Israeli press card.

After a series of corridors and steel turnstiles is a concrete wall with a steel door. It slides open, controlled by a distant Israeli at the other end of the CCTV, and Gaza is on the other side. Next comes a kilometre-long wired-in walkway. If you’re lucky, a few Palestinians granted permission by Israel to approach the gate will be waiting. They run a shuttle service that links up with taxis that take you to the Hamas checkpoint. Israel destroyed their small terminal when the current war started. Now they’re back to noting down passport numbers in a ledger on a table under the shade of a tree.

It wasn’t always like that. When I started visiting Gaza in 1991, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians crossed Erez every day to get to work. Paul Adams, my BBC colleague, told me that when he first went to Gaza, teaching on a gap year in 1980, he took a party of Palestinian children on a public bus from the West Bank for a day at the seaside.

Now, anyone who could negotiate a public bus service from the West Bank to Gaza would at the very least get a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. The diplomat who found a way to stop the killing on Gaza’s beaches and streets would deserve much more than that.

I saw Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, giving an interview to the BBC after Israel had killed more than 60 people in the Gaza district of Shejaiya. He said he regretted the civilian casualties in Gaza but they were the fault of Hamas. Netanyahu said Israel had warned people to get out. Some had taken the advice; others had been prevented from leaving by Hamas.

I was back in London for my son’s 11th birthday party by the time all those people were killed in Shejaiya. But my impression of Hamas is different from Netanyahu’s. I saw no evidence during my week in Gaza of Israel’s accusation that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields. I saw men from Hamas on street corners, keeping an eye on what was happening. They were local people and everyone knew them, even the young boys. Raji Sourani, the director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza, told me that Hamas, whatever you think of it, is part of the Palestinian DNA.

I met Sourani first when he was condemning abuses by Yasser Arafat’s men. He has taken an equally tough stance on Hamas. Now he says Israel is violating the laws of war by ignoring its legal duty to treat Palestinian civilians as protected non-combatants.

Hamas, human rights groups say, also violates the laws of war by firing missiles at civilians. I used to be very cynical about international humanitarian law. When I heard, some time around the end of the Bosnian war in 1995, that the UN was setting up a tribunal to prosecute war criminals in the former Yugoslavia I thought it was a bad joke. I feel differently now, especially after testifying four times at the tribunal. I don’t think anything similar is coming for the Israelis and Palestinians. But the laws of war are the best way we have to measure the degrees of horror that human beings inflict on each other.

When I left Gaza, Palestinian rockets were landing uncomfortably close to Erez crossing. When the alert sounded, our Israeli driver leapt out, leaving the engine running, and took cover behind a wall. It is very frightening to be caught up in a rocket attack like that. Israeli civilians have been protected by the Iron Dome anti-missile system, by a big investment in civil defence (in the border town of Sderot, even the bus stops double as bomb shelters) and because their people are trained from childhood about how to take cover.

But it is wrong to suggest that Israeli civilians near Gaza suffer as much as Palestinians. It is much, much worse in Gaza. I defy anyone with an ounce of human feeling not to feel the same after ten minutes in Gaza’s Shifa Hospital with wounded and dying civilians. In the mortuary, it’s so overcrowded that the bodies of two children are crammed on to a single shelf. One day, they had only found enough of the remains of six women and children to fill a single stretcher.

Before Gaza, I’d spent most of the past two months in Baghdad, Beirut, Jerusalem, Aleppo and Damascus. The Middle East is on fire. I haven’t seen anything like it since my first reporting trip to the region in 1990. I don’t think anyone knows how to put the fire out”.

http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/2014/07/jeremy-bowens-gaza-notebook-i-saw-no-evidence-hamas-using-palestinians-human

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Hamas Did Not Kidnap And Kill Three Israeli Youths [see comments for link]

Israel’s reasons for attacking Hamas are coming apart at the seams.

 

 

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Only An Evil Man Could Blame Gazan Civilians For Their Own Deaths!

We can now add evil to Chris Proudlove’s growing list of shame. Today this evil man posted a blog titled

 

GAZANS VOTED IN  HAMAS WARMONGERS

 

In his vile and evil ramble he says,

 

What about the innocent adults and children who have died in the Mediterranean coastal enclave during the current conflict with Israel? Well, blame the electorate who voted for Hamas knowing it is the jihadists group’s aim to “obliterate Israel.

 

How can anyone who claims to be a ‘Christian’ make such an evil and vile comment?

 

On a related subject. B’Tselem has listed the names of the dead Palestinian children murdered. You can find their names here,

 

http://www.btselem.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Lies Keep Rolling Off Mike Fryer’s Tongue

In an article on the Christians for Zion website titled ‘Hamas refuse to discuss a ceasefire’ Fryer makes the following claim,

Israel are open to a discussion on a possible ceasefire with Hamas but Hamas are refusing to enter into any discussions regarding a possible ceasefire.

Israel are also refusing to to entertain the possibility of a ceasefire as can be seen in the following quotes from Netanyahu.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Thursday that a cease-fire with Hamas was not on the agenda.

I am not talking to anybody about a cease-fire right now,” Netanyahu told the committee. “It’s not even on the agenda.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.604284

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, said late on Friday that he would continue the military campaign until he achieved his goal.

“No international pressure will prevent us acting with all our force against a terror organisation that is calling for our destruction. We will continue to forcefully attack anyone who is trying to hurt us,” he said on Friday.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/israel-bombs-hit-centre-disabled-gaza-201471274035753506.html

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday that his country will resist foreign pressure to halt its operations.

“The objective is to restore quiet to the cities of Israel, and I intend to achieve this objective,” he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28275414

I know at the beginning of the week Hamas are wanting a ceasefire along the lines of the 2012 ceasefire and as i understand it this has now chanmged but for Fryer to claim as he has is a downright lie.

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Mike Fryer Spreading False Information.

Christians for Zion director Mike Fryer who is in Israel and claims,

I am currently in Israel and able to gather first hand reports of what is happening not only in the Southern Israeli communities but also from areas such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem which have also been under attack from HAMAS.

Has today made the following claim,

The BBC reported today that “Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli attacks” when the truth is that approximately 100 mainly terrorists have been killed as their terrorist positions and facilities have were destroyed.

That is a lie. According to a BBC report the UN say three quarters of the dead are civilians including at least 21 children and 11 women.

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/media.aspx?IsMediaPage=true

Here’s a BBC report,

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28275414

How can this supposed ‘Christian’ tell so many barefaced lies!?!

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‘Why I’m on the brink of burning my Israeli passport’

“I can no longer stand by while Israeli politicians like Ayelet Shaked condone the deaths of innocent Palestinian women and children”

Gaza

“She is young. She is pretty. She is a university graduate and a computer engineer. She is also an Israeli Parliamentarian – and the reason why I am on the brink of burning my Israeli passport. Because behind that wide-eyed innocent face lurks the Angel of Death.

Ayelet Shaked represents the far-right Jewish Home party in the Knesset. This means she is well to the right of Benyamin Netanyahu, just in case you thought such a thing was not possible.

On Monday she quoted this on her Facebook page: “Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

A week earlier, just before 17-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair was snatched and burned alive, Shaked wrote: “This is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. The reality is that this is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started it.”

So even before the boy died horribly she declared him to be the enemy, and afterwards, without any apparent hint of guilt or remorse, she was calling for the deaths of innocent women and their unborn babies.

She made me think about my mother’s sister Klara and her three small children who were living in Krakow in 1939 when the Germans invaded. They decided that the Jews – all Jews – were the enemy and had to be eliminated, not least the women and the little snakes they were raising. “Why? Ask them – they started it”, as the Nazis would say if asked.

I never met Klara or her children who had perished by 1942. I did meet my uncle Romek, who survived by working in Oskar Schindler’s factory, and his wife Yetti who survived because she spoke good German and was able to pretend she was a fine German woman who had kicked out her Polish Jewish husband, as she smiled prettily at every Nazi she came across.

My father’s brother Shmuel and his young family also perished before I was born, taken in Holland, to where they had escaped from Berlin, to the same camp Anne Frank died in.

I know what it is to have been helpless victims, living and dying under racist oppressors’ boots, and I know that today’s Israelis are no longer the victims but the perpetrators of the current crisis. Yes, Hamas are dreadful hate-filled killers and woe betide Israel had they had the wherewithal to carry out their intentions. But the fact remains that it is Israel which has the tanks, bombers, artillery, nuclear warheads and missile defences of Goliath, while ordinary Gazans had nothing a week ago and even less today, as even hospitals and schools were bombed.

Shaked got what she wanted: the death toll in Gaza is nearing 100, one in four being children. Hundreds more have serious injuries in a place where hospitals have also been bombed and medical essentials are running out.

In Israel, in spite of Hamas’s best efforts, not one death has been recorded, nor any serious injuries, although a wedding party was disrupted and got on the television news.

And, as the bombs rain on Gaza, Israeli teens have taken to tweeting scantily-clad selfies alongside their political sentiments. In two now deleted tweets, one wrote “Death to all of you Arabs you transfag”, while another proclaimed “Arabs may you be paralyzed & die with great suffering!” Another teen simply tweeted “Death to these f****** Arabs”, and attached a photo of themselves pouting alongside it.

Seeing these angelic faces of evil spouting such genocidal rhetoric, I pick up my Israeli passport and a box of matches. “Not in my name, people. Not in my name!”

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/why-im-on-the-brink-of-burning-my-israeli-passport-9600165.html

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‘Our Wretched Jewish State’

“Now we know: In the Jewish state, there is pity and humane feelings only for Jews, rights only for the Chosen People. The Jewish state is only for Jews.

By Gideon Levy

July 07, 2014 “ICH” – “Haaretz” – – The youths of the Jewish state are attacking Palestinians in the streets of Jerusalem, just like gentile youths used to attack Jews in the streets of Europe. The Israelis of the Jewish state are rampaging on social networks, displaying hatred and a lust for revenge, unprecedented in its diabolic scope. Some unknown people from the Jewish state, purely based on his ethnicity. These are the children of the nationalistic and racist generation – Netanyahu’s offspring.

For five years now, they have been hearing nothing but incitement, scaremongering and supremacy over Arabs from this generation’s true instructor, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Not one humane word, no commiseration or equal treatment.

They grew up with the provocative demand for recognition of Israel as a “Jewish state,” and they drew the inevitable conclusions. Even before any delineation of what a “Jewish state” means – will it be a state that dons tefillin (phylacteries), kisses mezuzot (doorpost fixtures with prayer scrolls), sanctifies charms, closes down on the Sabbath and keeps strict kashrut laws? – the penny has dropped for the masses.

The mob was the first to internalize its true significance: a Jewish state is one in which there is room only for Jews. The fate of Africans is to be sent to the Holot detention center in the Negev, while that of Palestinians is to suffer from pogroms. That’s how it works in a Jewish state: only this way can it be Jewish.

In the Jewish state-in-the-making, there is no room even for an Arab who strives his utmost to be a good Arab, such as the writer Sayed Kashua. In a Jewish state, the chairman of the Knesset plenary session, MK Ruth Calderon (from Yesh Atid – the “center” of the political map, needless to say), cuts off Arab MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al), who has just returned all shaken up from a visit to the family of the murdered Arab boy from Shoafat, impudently preaching to him that he must also refer to the three murdered Jewish teens (even after he did just that).

In a Jewish state, the High Court of Justice approves the demolition of a murder suspect’s family home even before his conviction. A Jewish state legislates racist and nationalist laws.

The media in the Jewish state wallows in the murder of three yeshiva students, while almost entirely ignoring the fates of several Palestinian youths of the same age who have been killed by army fire over the last few months, usually for no reason.

No one was punished for these acts – in the Jewish state there is one law for Jews and another for Arabs, whose lives are cheap. There is no hint of abiding by international laws and conventions. In the Jewish state, there is pity and humane feelings only for Jews, rights only for the Chosen People. The Jewish state is only for Jews.

The new generation growing in its shadow is a dangerous one, both to itself and its surroundings. Netanyahu is its education minister; the militaristic and nationalist media serves as its pedagogic epic poem; the education system that takes it to Auschwitz and Hebron serves as its guide.

The new sabra (native-born Israeli) is a novel species, prickly both on the outside and the inside. He has never met his Palestinian counterpart, but knows everything about him – the sabra knows he is a wild animal, intent only on killing him; that he is a monster, a terrorist.

He knows that Israel has no partner for peace, since this is what he’s heard countless times from Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett. From Yair Lapid he’s heard that they are “Zoabis” – referring dismissively to MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad).

Being left wing or a seeker of justice in the Jewish state is deemed a crime, civil society is considered treacherous, true democracy an evil. In a Jewish state – dreamed of not only by the right wing but also by the supposed center-left, including Tzipi Livni and Lapid – democracy is blurred.

It’s not the skinheads that are the Jewish state’s main problem, it’s the sanctimonious eye-rollers, the thugs, the extreme right wing and the settlers. It’s not the margins but the mainstream, which is partly very nationalistic and partly indifferent.

In the Jewish state, there is no remnant of the biblical injunction to treat the minority or the stranger with justice. There are no more Jews left who marched with Martin Luther King or who sat in jail with Nelson Mandela. The Jewish state, which Israel insists the Palestinians recognize, must first recognize itself. At the end of the day, at the end of a terrible week, it seems that a Jewish state means a racist, nationalistic state, meant for Jews only”.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39010.htm

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