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Bedankt Harry

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Nadat Harry een welkomstkus aan Esther had gegeven, is hij totaal gevallen voor haar … ik bedoel dus voor Israël. Harry van de SP heeft kleur bekend, nee geen rood van de SP maar blauw van de Israelische vlag. In een korte boodschap heeft hij aangegeven dat er meer druk moet komen op Hamas om het staakt-het-vuren te accepteren. “Desnoods moet financiële steun aan Palestina stoppen om te voorkomen dat de financiën bij Hamas terecht komen.”

Duidelijke en krachtige taal. Harry is binnengetreden in het rechtse kamp en omarmt dan maar meteen de boodschap van de bezettende macht. Harry van de SP die nog stond voor alles wat met Palestina te maken had, is van zijn voetstuk gevallen en heeft zijn ware gezicht laten zien.

Harry staat niet achter Hamas, neen Hamas moet het staakt-het-vuren gewoon accepteren.

Het is toch niet door de kus dat Harry van de SP is veranderd? Wat is er mis gegaan?

Ik vraag me af of Harry het nog wel helder ziet. Hoe kan Hamas kiezen voor een staakt-het-vuren dat voorgekauwd is door de VS en de bezettende macht en op het internationale bord gespuugd werd door Generaal Al-Sisi. Juist Al-Sisi met joodse familieleden zou het voorstel brengen, een man die de Moslim Broederschap op de terroristenlijst heeft gezet. Laat het daarbij dan ook nog zo zijn, dat Hamas – volgens de woordvoerder – niet gekend is in de voorwaarden en alles moest horen van de media.

En Hamas zou moeten instemmen met zo’n voorstel? Dat is toch niet serieus bedoeld? Bedankt, Harry.

Palestina gaat al ruim 65 jaar gebukt onder een wurggreep van een bezettende macht die per dag kilometers land inpikt. De Palestijnen hebben niets dan een bezetter die aan elke kant het leven onmogelijk maakt.

De Palestijnen worden opgepakt, gemarteld, bont en blauw geslagen, ook kinderen, en als het niet genoeg is, worden ze gewoon vermoord.

Hoe kan Harry van de SP voorstellen om  de druk op Hamas te verhogen? Heeft Harry wel gezien wat zijn vrienden uit Israël momenteel aan het doen? Ze zijn begonnen met een grondoffensief, gesteund door aanvallen vanuit de lucht en van zee. Dit is een bloody war.

En daarnaast geeft de bezettende macht fijntjes in de media aan dat Hamas het staakt-het-vuren niet heeft geaccepteerd. Vanuit Hamas gezien is het duidelijk, de stroman van Israël in Egypte, Al-Sisi werd gedwongen om met een voorstel te komen. Al-Sisi die juist De Moslim Broederschap op de terroristenlijst had gezet. Juist die persoon moest met een voorstel komen. Vind je het gek dat Hamas deze persoon niet vertrouwde? Daar naast is het minimaal vreemd te noemen dat president Abbas aan gesprekken deelnam en het voorstel van Al-Sisi omarmde.

Daarentegen heeft Hamas een verlanglijst openbaar gemaakt voor een staakt-het-vuren. Verrassend is hoeveel mensen daar naar gekeken hebben. De punten van Hamas voor een (komend) staakt-het-vuren zouden zijn:

1. Een onmiddellijk staakt-het-vuren van beide kanten

2. Het stoppen van militaire en beveiligingsaanvallen van alle soorten van beide kanten

3. Israël zal zich verbinden tot het volledig opheffen van de land-en zeeblokkade van de Gazastrook:

- Israël zal alle grensposten, alsmede de Gaza-poort openen, om de toegang van alle goederen, elektriciteit, gas en alle andere Palestijnse benodigdheden mogelijk te maken

- 12 mijl zal worden toegevoegd aan de Gaza visserijzone.

- Palestijnen zullen worden toegestaan ​​om vrij in het Gaza grensgebied te verplaatsen en er zal geen bufferzone zijn

4. Een plan voor het herstel van Gaza zal in gang worden gezet

5. Stoppen van  Operation Brother’s Keeper:

- Israël zal haar verplichtingen nakomen van de Shalit deal, waaronder de vrijlating van Palestijnse gevangenen die werden vrijgelaten als onderdeel van de deal en die in juli 2014 opnieuw gearresteerd tijdens de Westelijke Jordaanoever operatie.

- Israël zal alle collectieve straffen en acties tegen de Palestijnen op de Westelijke Jordaanoever beëindigen die werden gestart sinds de ontvoering en moord op de drie Israëlische tieners.

- Israël zal alle aangehouden verdachten vrij laten die tijdens de operatie gevangen zijn gezet, waaronder de voorzitter van de Palestijnse Wetgevende Raad Aziz Duwaik.

- Israël zal Hamas instituten op de Westelijke Jordaanoever die werden stilgelegd tijdens de operatie heropenen.

- Israël zal alle openbare bezittingen die tijdens de operatie in beslag zijn genomen, teruggeven

6. Israël zal haar administratieve detentie beleid beeindigen en stoppen met het straffen van Palestijnse gevangenen in Israëlische gevangenissen

Harry van de SP, zijn deze punten bekend? En daarbij de vraag, zijn het vreemde voorstellen? Mag de leiding van een bezet land dit soort eisen stellen?

Harry van de SP, ik weet niet waar je mee bezig bent, maar de SP heeft op deze manier voor mij afgedaan. Bedankt Harry.


KhamakarPress Persbureau

@KhamakarPress

 

Written by altahrir

July 22, 2014 at 9:56 pm

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The Lancet: Leading doctors and scientists denounce Gaza violence

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More than 20 leading doctors and scientists* from the UK and Italy denounce ongoing Israeli military aggression in Gaza in a letter to The Lancet, published today [Tuesday 22 July].

“On the basis of our ethics and practice, we are denouncing what we witness in the aggression of Gaza by Israel,” write the authors. “We ask our colleagues, old and young professionals, to denounce this Israeli aggression.”

“We are appalled by the military onslaught on civilians in Gaza under the guise of punishing terrorists. This is the third large scale military assault on Gaza since 2008. Each time the death toll is borne mainly by innocent people in Gaza, especially women and children under the unacceptable pretext of Israel eradicating political parties and resistance to the occupation and siege they impose.”

The letter states that tightening blockades imposed on Gaza by Israel in the last year have not only caused starvation and poverty for residents of Gaza, but have also resulted in a dangerous lack of access to medicine and healthcare.

“Wounded and sick people cannot leave easily to get specialised treatment outside Gaza. Entries of food and medicines into Gaza have been restricted and many essential items for survival are prohibited. Before the present assault, medical stock items in Gaza were already at an all time low because of the blockade. They have run out now.”

* The full list of signatories is as follows:
Paola Manduca, Professor of Genetics, University of Genoa, Italy
Sir Iain Chalmers, James Lind Library, Oxford, UK
Mads Gilbert, Professor and Clinical Head, Clinic of Emergency Medicine, University Hospital of North Norway
Derek Summerfield, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, UK
Ang Swee Chai, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, London, UK
Alastair Hay, Dept of Environmental Toxicology, University of Leeds, UK
Steven Rose, Emeritus Professor of Life Sciences, Open University, UK
Hilary Rose, Professor Emerita, University of Bradford, UK
Angelo Stefanini, MD, Public Health, Bologna, Italy
Andrea Balduzzi, Zoologist, University of Genoa, Italy
Bruno Cigliano, MD, Paediatric Surgeon, University of Naples “Federico II”, Italy.
Carmine Pecoraro, MD, Nephrologist, Santobono Children Hospital, Naples, Italy,
Emilio Di Maria, MD PhD, Medical Genetics,University of Genoa, Italy
Franco Camandona, MD, Gynaecologist, ASL3, Liguria, Italy
Guido Veronese, MD, Clinical Psychologist, University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy
Luca Ramenghi. MD, Neonatology, Gaslini Childrens’ Hospital, Genoa, Italy
Marina Rui, Chemist, University of Genoa, Italy
Pierina DelCarlo, MD, Paediatrician, Massa, Italy
Sergio D’agostino, MD, Paediatric Surgeon, Hospital Vicenza, Italy.
Silvana Russo, MD, Pediatric Surgeon, Santobono Children Hospital, Naples, Italy.
Vincenzo Luisi, MD, Paediatric Cardiac surgeon, Massa Hospital, Italy.
Stefania Papa, Environmentalist, University of Naples, Italy.
Vittorio Agnoletto, MD, University Statale, Milan, Italy
Mariagiulia Agnoletto, Psychiatrist, Milan, Italy

“As we write, the BBC reports of the bombing of another hospital, hitting the intensive care unit and operating theatres, with deaths of patients and staff. There are now fears for the main hospital Al Shifa. Moreover, most people are psychologically traumatised in Gaza. Anyone older than 6 years has already lived through their third military assault by Israel.”

“None of these are military objectives. These attacks aim to terrorise, wound the soul and the body of the people, and make their life impossible in the future, as well as also demolishing their homes and prohibiting the means to rebuild.”

“We as scientists and doctors cannot keep silent while this crime against humanity continues. We urge readers not to be silent too. Gaza trapped under siege, is being killed by one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated modern military machine. The land is poisoned by weapon debris, with consequences for future generations. If those of us capable of speaking up fail to do so and take a stand against this war crime, we are also complicit in the destruction of the lives and homes of 1•8 million people in Gaza.”

(Source / 22.07.2014)

Written by altahrir

July 22, 2014 at 7:44 pm

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Gaza healthcare services on verge of collapse: WHO

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The World Health Organization (WHO) says health services are on the verge of collapse in the besieged Gaza Strip amid escalating Israeli attacks.

The UN health agency said on Thursday that Gaza has faced severe shortages in medicines and fuel for hospital generators.

“The recent escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip raises concern about the ability of the government and the Ministry of Health of the occupied Palestinian territory to cope with the increased burden of medical emergencies on the health system, given the high levels of shortages of medicines, medical disposables and hospital fuel supplies, and rising healthcare debt,” WHO said in a statement.

Around 100 Palestinians have been killed in the ongoing Israeli offensive against the coastal enclave which started on Tuesday. According to Palestinian sources, one third of the casualties are women and children.

“A hospital, three clinics and a water desalinization center in a refugee camp have also been damaged. More airstrikes and missile attacks are likely,” WHO said of the Israeli attacks.

The Health Ministry in Gaza has only 10 days of fuel reserves for hospitals during frequent power cuts while state health workers have not received their salaries in recent months.

Elective surgeries have been stopped in hospitals in the past week as they are only carrying out life-saving ones, WHO added.

The organization called on donors for USD40 million for essential healthcare supplies through year-end and a further USD20 million toward the debt owed to East al-Quds (Jerusalem) hospitals which receive cancer patients from Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

Dr. Ala Alwan, WHO regional director, said that the situation was similar in 2008–2009 and in 2012 in the Gaza Strip, when stocks were low and medicines were urgently required.

(Source / 21.07.2014)

Written by altahrir

July 21, 2014 at 9:03 pm

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Survivors of Shujaiyya assault recount horrors at Shifa hospital

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GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — 60,000 Palestinians fled their homes in the neighborhood of Shujaiyya in Gaza City on Sunday amid an intense Israeli assault that left 66 residents dead and hundreds more injured.

Thousands of those who fled have sought refuge in the al-Shifa Hospital in North Rimal, a neighborhood in Gaza’s west that many are hoping will not be bombed by Israeli forces.

Survivors of the assault recounted their experiences to a Ma’an reporter at the hospital.

One survivor said that the shells started falling on people’s homes on Saturday evening, but because people had nowhere else to go they stayed put.

As dawn fell, however, the shelling intensified and people fled to the streets.

Iman Mansour, a woman who was staying at the hospital with her three injured children, said, “We left our houses forcibly because shells rained down on us.”

“No one could reach the bodies of the martyrs or the injured people because of the continuous violent shelling on houses,” she added.

Her husband Hamad Mansour said that the shelling was not as intense at sundown, “but with dawn, the random shelling began. Hundreds of shells hit homes, which led people to leave their houses running.”

They all moved to the al-Shifa complex, he added.

Umm Wael Mansour, another survivor, told Ma’an: “I lived through the 1967 war, and other wars as well, but this one is indescribable. It’s more difficult than the Sabra and Shatila massacres,” she said, referencing the killings of thousands of Palestinians in Beirut by Israeli-supported militias during the Lebanese civil war.

“People who came to save us after a shell hit our home were killed on the street,” she added, “and there were remains of the bodies of children, women, youth, and elderly on the ground.”

She wondered why the houses of innocent people were targeted when there were no militants in them.

Umm Rafat Abu al-Qumeez, meanwhile, cried for her family whose bodies had not yet been recovered from the rubble.

She told Ma’an: “My children are under the rubble, send ambulances because people are dying in Shujaiyya.”

A young child Qusai Abu al-Qumeez told Ma’an that he did not know what had happened to his father as he tearfully said, “Dad is at home. I am scared for him.”

(Source / 21.07.2014)

Written by altahrir

July 21, 2014 at 7:40 pm

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Children scarred by Gaza violence as entire families lost

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Paramedics carry a child into a hospital in Rafah, southern Gaza, following an Israeli airstrike.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Children are suffering from the devastating consequences of escalating Israeli violence in the Gaza Strip, with entire families lost in single airstrikes and severe physical injuries likely to require long-term medical treatment.

UNICEF estimates that 121 children have been killed since Israel’s assault began on July 8, with the death toll in Gaza now standing at over 500 Palestinians.

In the past 24 hours, 28 children were killed – among them 20 in Gaza City’s besieged Shujaiyeh neighborhood alone.

Over 80 of those killed are 12 or younger. An estimated one-third of all civilian casualties are children, UNICEF says.

“This is the highest number (of child deaths) since Operation Cast Lead. It is a huge toll, and rising, and more worryingly, 76 children were killed in the past three days,” Ivan Karakashian, from Defense for Children International – Palestine Section, told Ma’an.

On July 16, four children aged nine to 11, were killed by Israeli military shelling while playing on a beach in Gaza City, one of the territory’s few open and free spaces accessible for children and adults alike.

Days later, three children aged seven to 10 were killed while feeding ducks on the roof of their Gaza City home.

On Monday, five members of the al-Yaziji family, nine members of the al-Qassas family, 11 members of the Siyam family at least 26 members of the Abu Jami family were killed in Israeli airstrikes.

“There is no safe place for children at this moment, no safe havens to escape to. Israel says it is carrying out targeted operations, precision strikes, but it is very difficult to see that when you look at the mounting casualties of women and children,” Karakashian says.

With over half of Gaza’s population under 18, children have the highest likelihood of being killed by Israeli military attacks.

Karakashian says nearly all children in Gaza are in a state of “shock and horror,” barely able to process the psychological trauma they have witnessed.

“One day children have a large family and the next day they are orphans. The practical implications of this will affect them forever. Children grow up in a environment where they realize they have no security in their own homes. Even their bedrooms are not safe anymore.”

A wounded boy receives treatment at al-Shifa hospital, in Gaza City, on July 18, 2014.

‘Never seen it this bad’

Monica Awad, a spokeswoman for UNICEF, told Ma’an that 72,000 children are in need of immediate psycho-social support, but the five teams available in Gaza are facing severe restrictions on movement amid the threat of being targeted by Israel’s military.

Over 904 children have been injured since Israel’s military operation began. Shrapnel wounds, severe burns, and the loss of limbs account for a high rate of critical injuries which will require long-term attention and severely impact the victims’ future quality of life.

Awad says that children are also suffering severe psycho-social distress and are afraid, angry, crying and constantly clinging to their parents.

Maintaining a secure family life has become an impossible task, with 2,200 family homes destroyed or damaged and 100,000 people displaced and seeking refuge in UNRWA facilities.

Adults are also overwhelmed by trying in vain to protect their loved ones.

Over 1.2 million people are not getting access to water due to damaged pipes and insufficient electricity, Awad says, and children are at the highest risk of water borne diseases.

Children who have been orphaned face a horrific process of dealing with their loss as the shock of war gradually wears off, with most having to rely on humanitarian assistance for future survival.

“It’s clear from the insane amount of children killed over the past three days that children are bearing the brunt of Israel’s offensive,” Karakashian, the DCI official, says.

“To be honest, we have never seen it this bad for children.”

(Source / 21.07.2014)

Written by altahrir

July 21, 2014 at 7:31 pm

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SYRIA NEWS: OPPOSITION FIGHTERS BREAK OUT OF JOBAR AND GIVE ASSAD A FRIGHT BY ATTACKING CENTRAL DAMASCUS

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By Peter Clifford           ©            (www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3/)


http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3

SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

In a surprise move, Opposition fighters broke out of the suburb of Jobar on Sunday and launched their first major assault in the capital for months, attacking Assad regime checkpoints and advancing towards central parts of Damascus.

Heavy regime losses were reported by Opposition activists as the Opposition fighters threatened Abbasiyeen Square and the Mukhabarat security services headquarters.

The Opposition, who are holding the Arfe checkpoint, are seen firing rocket grenades just 1 kilometre from Abbasiyeen Square, HERE:

Opposition Fighter Readies his Machine Gun Near Idlib

 

Opposition Fighter Readies his Machine Gun Near Idlib

While is is unlikely the Opposition fighters will remain in the regime normally-held areas, it will undoubtedly draw Assad reinforcements from other positions where they are already known to be short of manpower.

Interestingly, the Opposition in the Ghouta region have also announced the “readiness of an air defense system after tests”.

Quite what this is, is currently unknown, though Opposition fighters did capture a SA-8 Gecko mobile surface to air missile launcher 2 years ago and little has been seen of it since.

South of Damascus, the Opposition are additionally reporting that over the weeekend they have cleared the Islamic State (IS) from the villages of Beit Sahem, Yalda and Babila and as a result the extreme Jihadists fled to Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Tadamon and Qadam where they have a stronger presence.

At dawn today, Monday, the moderate Oppositon fighters, determined to drive them out of the whole Damascus area, attacked Al-Hajar Al-Aswad and Qadam, saying that they are sick of IS abuses, even extending to IS killing their fighters and commanders when they were asleep.

In Raqqah city, where the Islamic State are in complete control, they have been trying to “win hearts and minds” during Ramadan by handing out Zakat, or alms, amounting to 2,000 Syrian pounds (around $12 at current rates) per person, with a total of 20,000 SYP per family.

However, the “gift” comes with conditions. Everyone who takes the money must swear allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) and gets an IS date stamp on their identity card. This can be a problem for some, especially those who have to travel to Government held areas to get their civil service wages.

IS has also launched an FM radio station in Raqqah, but the evil of its extreme Islamic “law” was portrayed last Thursday when a widow was accused of “adultery” (probably raped) and stoned to death.

In Hama province, Opposition fighters are reported to have taken a military checkpoint at Al-Salba, killing 20 regime troops, while losing 2 of their own.

Al-Saba is east of Morek, where heavy fighting continues amid reports of the capture of a significant number of pro-Assad fighters and Hezbollah.

In Idlib province, regime forces tried to invade the Opposition-held village of Qmenas, south-east of Idlib city, but were repelled, while further south in the province Opposition fighters used an enormous 200 mm artillery mortar against the Wadi Deif Army base, HERE:

Opposition Break Out of Jobar into Central Damascus

 

Opposition Break Out of Jobar into Central Damascus

SYRIA NEWS: FOLLOWING HUGE NUMBERS KILLED IN FIGHTING OVER SHAAR GAS FIELD, SYRIA 2 DAY TOTAL REACHES 700 DEAD:

In the desert landscape of eastern Homs province 3 days of fighting have followed the capture of the Shaar gas field by the Islamic State, with latest reports saying that the Government side lost 60 troops in the battles.

Additionally another 270 are thought to have been killed in battle or executed by the Islamists, mainly members of Assad’s National Defence Force, civilians and security guards. At least 40 Islamic State Jihadists have died in the fighting.

SYRIA NEWS

 

Inhuman Animals of Islamic Front Stone A Woman to Death

These extreme numbers bring the total of deaths in Syria last Thursday and Friday to over 700, the highest 2 day figure since records began in March 2011.

In the south of the country in Quneitra province the Opposition forces have advanced on regime forces stationed in Majduliyah village, HERE:  and in adjacent Daraa province figters have shown off the Kornet Anti-tank missile launchers they captured at Sheikh Saad (scroll down – see below).

Dozens of Opposition brigades have also announced this morning, Monday, that they are coming together to finally eliminate the Assad regime from Daraa province.

In Aleppo’s Old City parts of it were still burning Saturday after a heavy airstrike, HERE:, while 7 Opposition fighters and their commander were killed in a barrel-bomb attack on their headquarters in Al-Ansari Al-Sharqi.

At the same time, the Opposition have been attacking Assad’s forces stationed at a cement factory south-west of Aleppo city, HERE: and have resisted an attack by the Islamic State at Akhrareen, where 17 were reported killed yesterday.

The citizens of Aleppo on all sides are continuing to suffer water problems which have been going on for 90 days. Much damage to the system was caused by barrel-bombs, while all involved parties have shown incompetence at getting the pipes, valves and pumps running again. As a result, many of the older wells which people have been relying on have run dry or are contaminated.

IRAQ NEWS: ISLAMIC STATE SEEKS TO CONTROL WATER AND ELECTRICITY IN IRAQ AND EVICTS MONKS FROM NORTHERN HOLY CHRISTIAN SHRINE:

In Iraq, the Islamic State offensive continues with no sign of it abating or being driven back by the failing Iraqi Government forces.

Overnight, 16 people died in 2 Iraqi cities as mortar bombs rained down on Mahmoudiya, 30 kilometres (20 miles) south of Baghdad on Sunday night, killing 11 civilians and wounding 31, and in Baghdad’s western suburb of Abu Ghraib where a roadside bomb struck an army patrol, killing two soldiers and three volunteers.

The Islamic State has also claimed responsibility for 2 suicide bombings on Saturday carried out by a German and a Syrian they say, killing 24 in the process near checkpoints in the capital.

An earlier suicide bombing last Thursday near a Baghdad mosque, killing 3 and injuring dozens, was apparently carried out by an 18 year old Australian, a report which authorities in the Australian capital Canberra described as “deeply disturbing”.

As in Syria, the Islamic State in Iraq is carefully trying to seize strategic points such as border crossings and to control supplies of crucial resources such as oil, electricity and water.

In Mosul, residents fled when the Islamic State (IS) cut off water and electricity, but many returned when it was switched back on after the Jihadist take over.

Iraq’s 32 million people rely on the water from the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, both of which arise in Turkey and flow southwards across what is now IS controlled territory. IS already have the dams at Falluja and Mosul under their power and are trying to capture the dam at Haditha, which is crucial for the hydro-electricity supply to Baghdad.

Water from the 2 great rivers is vital to life in southern Iraq, while water from Mosul dam is crucial to the survival of Kurdistan in the north. By controlling these resources, IS know that they can manipulate cooperation from their enemies in the long run and support from their friends in the short term. You can read more, HERE:

There are also reports today, Monday, that Iraqi businessmen are sending tanker trucks across the border to the IS controlled oil-fields in the Deir Ez-Zour province of Syria to buy oil at $20 to $40 a barrel – on the international open market it sells at over $100.

IRAQ NEWS

 

Mar Behnam Monastery, Northern Iraq

The expulsion of Mosul’s Christians by IS over the weekend on pain of death if they remained and did not convert, has been widely condemned throughout the world.

Today, Monday, it has been followed by an Islamic State assault on the 4th century monastery at Mar (Saint) Behnam near Qaraqosh in northern Iraq on Sunday.

According to reports the 5 monks were told, “You have no place here anymore, you have to leave immediately,” and despite pleading to be allowed to take holy relics with them they were denied and forced to leave on foot with nothing but their clothes.

The monks walked several miles along deserted roads and were eventually picked up by Kurdish Peshmerga militia who drove them to Qaraqosh.

Mar Behnam is a major Christian landmark in Iraq and was built by the Assyrian King Sennacherib II as a penance for having his children Behnam and Sarah killed because they had converted to Christianity.

Local people traditionally visit the shrine to pray for healing and fertility.

The United Nations said on Friday that at least 5,576 Iraqi civilians have been killed this year and 11,665 wounded. In June alone, as the Islamic State swept across the country, 1,531 civilians died. More than 1.2 million Iraqis have been displaced within Iraq and there are now 2.9 million Syrian refugees living outside Syria, many on Iraqi soil.

Although Iraqi President Jalal Talabani returned from Germany on Saturday after a long spell of illness, the post comes up for re-election soon. Traditionally given to a Kurd to spread the ethnic balance, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) has chosen Fuad Masum as its candidate.

Written by altahrir

July 21, 2014 at 7:14 pm

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IRAQ NEWS: CHRISTIANS IN MOSUL ORDERED TO CONVERT, LEAVE OR DIE, WHILE ISLAMIC STATE INVADE PERIMETER OF CAMP SPEICHER

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By Peter Clifford          ©                (www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3/)


http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3

SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

After Friday prayers in Mosul, the Islamic State issued an ultimatum to Christians in the city, saying that they must either convert to Islam, pay a tax on non-Muslims known as Jiziya, or give up their possessions and property and leave the city. Failure to comply would result in the death penalty as “a last resort”.

The statement was issued after Christian leaders failed to respond to a summons to attend a meeting with the Islamic State. As a result, most of the Christian population of the city, estimated at around 3,000, are said to be leaving as quickly as possible.

Islamic State Burns the Catholic Church in Mosul

 

Islamic State Burns the Catholic Church in Mosul

Some reports say that the property of those who have already fled has been confiscated and Christian families being stopped at Islamic State checkpoints on the way out are being relieved of money and jewellery.

Most of the families affected are heading for relative safety of Dohuk and Erbil in neighbouring Kurdistan.

The main Catholic Church in Mosul was set on fire this morning, Saturday, and completely destroyed.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Consular building in the city is apparently being used as the headquarters of the Islamic State in Mosul, the whereabouts of the Turkish Consul-General and 48 of his staff and their families still unknown.

Both US and Iraqi forces have confirmed that as many as 52 X 155mm M198 artillery howitzers fell into IS hands in their rapid advance across Iraq and hundreds of Humvees. Each of the sophisticated artillery guns is equipped with GPS and have a range of 20 miles. Cost? Around $500,000 a piece!

There are also reports that the Islamic State is giving up the eastern part of Mosul to Naqshbandi forces (former Ba’ath Party members who followed dictator Saddam Hussein), while retaining control over the western half of the city, thereby releasing more of their fighters to travel south to their base at Tikrit.

The extent of the Islamic State’s complete rout of Iraqi Government forces in their attempt to retake Tikrit last week is only now becoming clear, with dozens of soldiers killed, many fleeing and the only support helicopter running out of fuel. A Shia fighter said the “doors of hell” opened as Government troops prepared to raise the Iraqi flag over state buildings.

“The bullets rained on our heads from everywhere and the suicide bombers were throwing themselves from the windows and detonated themselves in the air.” This second failed attempt to regain Tikrit has confirmed the view of military analysts that the Iraqi military on its own will never be able to retake western and northern Iraq.

Courtesy of the Institute for the Study of War, this is the latest visual and detailed ground situation report from Iraq on July 18th:

IRAQ NEWS

 

Iraq Situation Report July 18th 2014

On Thursday Islamic Front fighters penetrated nearby Camp Speicher, snipers and suicide bombers clearing a path all the way to the runway. Pilots flew out helicopters from the base to save them from destruction, but a Russian model failed to take off and was destroyed. The Government side claim that they killed at least 35 attackers.

IS claim that they had killed many pilots and soldiers, shot 2 helicopters out of the air and burned several aircraft on the ground as well as destroying army vehicles, fuel reserves and communications equipment.

Fighting for complete control of the base is ongoing and its loss would put a severe dent in the Iraqi Government’s already limited capabilities to launch attacks against the Islamic Front in the north of the country.

Elsewhere in Iraq, the Islamic State have launched another attack on Dhuluiya, north-west of Baghdad and to the north-east of the capital clashes are reported around Muqdadiyeh.

South of Baghdad fighting is also reported near Babel with deaths on both sides and an IS suicide bomber killed 6 policemen and wounded 3 more near the Balad airbase not far from the capital.

Unconfirmed reports say that up to 400 Iranian Revolutionary Guards have arrived in Iraq to protect Shia shrines, many of which have already been attacked or destroyed in IS controlled territory.

On the political front, the Iraqi parliament eventually got its act together this week and elected a Speaker, Salim Jabouri, and in a surprise move it was announced that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, who has been in Germany for long term medical treatment since December 2012, is returning home today, Saturday 19th July, to “resume his duties”.

Finally, the new “Caliph” is said to be anti-smoking in all its forms, including the Sheesha water pipe and has ordered its destruction.

Mass Destruction of Sheesha Pipes by IS

 

Mass Destruction of Sheesha Pipes by IS

SYRIA NEWS: ISLAMIC STATE SEIZE GOVERNMENT GAS FIELD NEAR PALMYRA, WHILE ASSAD ACCUSED OF YET ANOTHER GAS ATTACK

In an audacious move, the Islamic State (IS) Jihadists, using their new found fire power captured in Iraq, yesterday, Thursday, attacked and took control of the Shaar Gas Field in the eastern part of Homs province not far from Palmyra.

As many as 90 – 100 pro-Assad militia, civilian security guards and employees were initially reported killed in the take over with another 340 unaccounted for. Another 30 militia are said to have escaped to the nearby Hajjar field.

SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

 

Islamic State Fighters Parade in Raqqah, June 30th 2014

25 of those killed are reported to be civilian workers at the plant, while most of those guarding it were members of Assad’s National Defence Force or contractors working for Syria’s Oil Ministry. Gruesome video on the Internet shows the desert landscape at the site littered with dead bodies, some of them mutilated.

The Government state website, SANA, has made no mention of the attack.

The Islamic State, who are said to have lost 12 men in the fight, neutralised 8 checkpoints around the site with suicide bomb attacks before moving in and taking control of the whole gas field.

Latest reports on Saturday, say that IS have killed as many as 270 in fighting or by execution. A counter attack this morning by Government forces is said to have killed 40 IS Jihadists with the loss of another 11 pro-Assad fighters, but they have regained some ground. At least 100 are still missing.

In southern Damascus, there have been protests against the actions of the Islamic State, HERE:, while nearby at Al-Qadam, not far from the Yarmouk camp, there there have been clashes between Opposition  and Government fighters.

According to unconfirmed activist reports, all Opposition fighting groups in Ghouta, east of the capital, will unite into one army and command next week, with other unconfirmed reports claiming that 200 members of Hezbollah have been killed since the start of Ramadan.

In a suburb of Malieha to the north-east of Damascus, Al-Nusra Front carried out a suicide bombing attack using an armoured personnel carrier while at the same time the Assad regime is reported to be raining down a new type of rocket on the town called an “earthquake” or alternatively an “elephant”, HERE:

On Wednesday, Bashar Al-Assad was sworn in as President of Syria for a third 7 year term, telling Western and Arab governments that they will pay a heavy price for “supporting terrorism”.

The much publicised “amnesty” of  “thousands” of political prisoners announced by Assad shortly after his “re-election in early June, has  turned, not unsurprisingly into a bit of a farce. A lawyer working with political detainees in Damascus said releases has not exceeded 1,300 people including ordinary criminal detainees.

Those  released included about 400 people who went before the Anti-Terrorism court, 200 from Sednaya prison, 200 from the security branches, and 150 others from other governorate prisons. Some judges had apparently sent the files of some detainees due to be released under the amnesty back to the public prosecutor, requesting a change to the charges so that would then fall outside the scope of the general amnesty. You can read more fromHuman Rights Watch.

Yesterday, Opposition fighters repelled yet another attack from Government forces on the town of Morek (Mork) in Hama province, which is key to the route from Hama to Idlib. Following a ground attack the Opposition were hit with 15 airstrikes with significant losses on both sides and the frontline moving backwards and forwards almost hourly.

Trying to destroy the Opposition and their positions in surrounding towns and villages, the Syrian Air Force also hit Kfar Zita for at least the 3rd time with barrel-bombs containing a chlorine like substance that caused severe breathing difficulties in the local population, HERE:

Chlorine, being a widely used chemical in industry, was not listed as part of Assad’s declared stock chemical weapons arsenal, most of which, apart from a few unexplained discrepancies, has now been removed from the country. 200 tons of Syria’s neutralised chemical weapons arrived in the UK earlier this week for final destruction at specialised facilities.

SYRIA NEWS: OPPOSITION DESTROY MORE CHECKPOINTS AROUND LAST REMAINING ASSAD BASES IN IDLIB AND CAPTURE BASE IN DARAA PROVINCE

In Idlib province, the Opposition have moved forward yet again, destroying the Dabaan checkpoint protecting the Wadi Deif Army base and the Hajanak military checkpoint inside the Hamadiya Base, both of which have been under siege for over a year.

SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

 

The Children of Kafranbel Expression Their Simple Dreams

The resupply of these bases is connected with the fight at Morek (see above), a very slim physical corridor now remaining to the Assad Government between the bases and territory it controls in Hama city (see map below).

Opposition fighters have additionally shelled with mortars the “poultry-barrier” at Camp Alhamdeh, HERE:

In Daraa province in the south, the Opposition have also captured the base of Battalion 26 and the Infantry Brigade 61 at Sheikh Saad, south of Nawa and north-west of Darra city. This video footage give a tour inside the base, one of the largest in Syria, HERE:

The fighters seized truck loads of weapons and ammunition, HERE:,including anti-tank missiles, HERE:

Sheikh Saad is seen as strategically important as it lies close to Al-Sanamayn and Izraa, two districts in Daraa which were seen as the first defence line for the capital Damascus.

North-east of Aleppo city the Islamic State are trying to invade the city of Akhtareen, while in Latakia the Opposition have repelled an Assad regime attack on Utiyraa village, south-east of Kassab.

A regime helicopter is reported to have dropped a TNT barrel-bomb on their own forces by mistake at Kafr Sagheer, killing 21.

In Deir Ez-Zour, the Islamic State (IS) are reported to have clashed with Government forces just a few hundred metres from the military airport, while IS following recent advances are estimated to be in control of 35% of Syria.

In the north of Raqqah province the Kurdish YPG militia lost 3 villages near Tal Abyad to the Islamic State, while 2 Belgian fathers came looking for their sons.

Both the sons were fighting with the Islamic State, one needing 4 insulin injections a day for diabetes, but the pair refused to return home. Video Report from the BBC’s Syria News service.

In Raqqah city itself there is now an all-female Islamic State Brigade that keeps “other women in order” and makes them dress, behave and follow the “faith” appropriately. You can read more, HERE:

At the same time there are also reports that a woman in Raqqah province has been stoned to death by the Islamic State for adultery, the first reported case in Syria. The appalling act of stoning took place in a public square in Tabaqa on Thursday evening. The victim was a 26 year old widow.

From Jordan, Save the Children Fund now says that the number of child marriages among Syrian refugees has now almost doubled since 2011, when it represented 13% of all weddings. Now it is over 25% in 2013 with the figure reaching 32% in the first quarter of 2014.

48% of the underage women were forced into unions with men at least 10 years their senior under laws which allow such marriages with the courts permission. Girls who marry before 18, says Save the Children Fund, are more likely to experience domestic violence than their peers who marry later, and they have much more limited access to sexual and reproductive health, putting severe strains on their very young bodies. You can read more,HERE:

From Turkey there are reports that the Government there is to take extreme action against the 1 million Syrians refugees living and begging on the streets of Istanbul, forcibly deporting them back to camps near the Syrian border if necessary.

800 Kurds from the Turkish side of the border are additionally said to have crossed the frontier to aid the Kurdish militia in their struggle to resist attacks from the Islamic State who are trying to get control of the border region of Ain al-Arab (Kobani in Kurdish).

A unanimous vote at the UN Security Council on Monday, Russia and China for once not exercising their veto, has ensured that cross border aid deliveries can be made to Opposition held areas of Syria, whether the Assad Government “gives its permission” on not.

The deliveries will come in via 2 border crossings from Turkey, 1 from Iraq and 1 from Jordan. The mandate lasts for 180 days and then will have to be renewed.

In this map, courtesy of @, note how vulnerable some regime outposts are now around Daraa city, Idlib, Deir Ez-Zour, Aleppo, Raqqah province, Hassakah province and Qamishli, with very narrow entry and exit points, here:

Syria Situation Map 15.07.14

Syria Situation Map 15.07.14

 

Written by altahrir

July 20, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Posted in Peter Clifford

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Fear grips Gaza hospital bombarded repeatedly by Israel

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A wounded Palestinian man waits in the corridor of the Al-Wafa rehabilitation hospital near Gaza City on July 16, 2014
SHEJAIYA, Gaza Strip (AFP) — At Al-Wafa rehabilitation hospital near Gaza City, a handful of doctors and nurses hover over paralyzed patients, wondering how to protect them from more air strikes as threatened by Israel.

The patients lie mostly inert in beds lined up in the hospital’s reception, where staff moved them after an Israeli rocket crashed into the fourth floor.

The staff have appealed to international agencies for protection, and say the hospital is known to the Israeli army.

But it was hit again on Tuesday night.

Shortly afterwards, the Israeli army contacted the hospital three times, saying everyone should be evacuated by morning as the air force was planning to intensify its air strikes.

Director Basman Alashi explained that the 14 patients in the facility, many of them paralyzed or in a coma, are in no position to be moved.

And even if they were, he said, there is no place to take them.

“There is no place safe in Gaza! If a hospital is not safe, where is?

“We cannot leave our patients, they are helpless. They cannot move, they cannot walk, they cannot eat, they cannot even scratch their heads by themselves,” he said.

Even as he spoke, the sound of shelling rattled the hospital windows.

‘Hospital shaking’

More than 200 people have been killed in Gaza since the latest confrontation between Israel and Hamas militants erupted in the early hours of July 8.

After an Egyptian truce effort failed to get off the ground on Tuesday, there appears to be no end in sight.

Mercifully, said staff doctor Hassan Sarsur, many of the patients are unconscious and unaware of what is happening.

But for others, the situation is terrifying.

“Several of our female patients are paralyzed but conscious, and during the night they were crying with fear and clutching our hands,” Sarsur said.

Aya Abdeen, one of eight women in the facility, is paralyzed from the waist down because of a tumor in her spinal cord.

“Yesterday, when they said that we have to evacuate and with all the shelling, of course I was afraid,” she told AFP.

“There was shelling all around and the hospital was shaking. And I am as you see, I can’t move,” she said.

“We are sick people, in a hospital!”

Karam Shublaq suffered a gunshot wound to his spinal cord in 2006 and is also paralyzed from the waist down.

He is being treated for pressure sores and is fitted with a colostomy bag.

“We wake up to shelling and we go to sleep to shelling,” he said.

“We can’t even move and they hit the fourth floor of the building several times, so they moved us down here.”

To care for the patients, the staff are working 24-hour shifts, battling fatigue but also fear.

“We are human beings, of course we are scared,” said Sarsur.

“We don’t know what to do to protect the patients. We’d already evacuated the fourth floor and now we’ve evacuated all the floors except the reception.”

Several patients have been sent back to their families, but others require medical care that relatives can’t provide.

Watching over brother

Sixteen-year-old Nur Okasha has been sleeping at the hospital for a week to keep watch over his 13-year-old brother Mohammed who has been in a coma for several months after nearly drowning.

He lies motionless on the bed, his eyes half open as Nur flicks away flies.

“We wanted to take him home, but the tube in his trachea requires a suction machine, and we don’t always have electricity at home,” the teenager explained.

He keeps vigil at Mohammed’s side, putting in his eyedrops and talking to him.

“I want to make him feel like someone is always here. I tell him that his friends miss him. I talk to him about anything except the war,” he said.

Doctors at the hospital have reached out to international agencies in a bid to secure Israeli assurances that the facility won’t be hit again.

And a group of foreign activists are staying at the hospital in the hope that their presence might deter further attacks.

“The Israelis told the (international) agencies that the hospital was not the target, only the area around it. But they have already hit us directly,” Sarsur said.

“We are helpless, the war comes to us and there is nothing we can do to stop it.”

(Source / 17.07.2014)

Written by altahrir

July 17, 2014 at 7:01 pm

Posted in Zorg / Health

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HOLOCAUST IN PALESTINE

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By Jafar M Ramini     Jafar Ramini
 
Far be it from me to quote ‘a holy book’ but if you think of those holy books as terms of reference as opposed to a rigid doctrine of worship then quoting them becomes acceptable.
 
It says in the bible that our journey in life, the human race, is limited to three score years and ten, adding up to seventy. Try to tell that to the many mothers, sisters and grannies in Palestine who suffered the loss of a child before they even made it to ten years, slaughtered by Israeli brute force. A force that is supplied, equipped, trained and sanctioned by western powers, especially the United States of America.
 
 How could a mother or a granny or a sister bow her head in acceptance of the loss of a beloved child who perished before his time while playing football on the beach?
 
How could you comfort a family when many of its members, mostly youngsters are blown to smithereens while sitting in a café in front of a TV screen watching football?
 
How could you explain the floods of wrath of an evil God that was rained on the heads of entire families who were wiped out while sitting peacefully eating their evening meal during the fasting month of Ramadan?
 
How could you further explain that the utter carnage that is being brought upon a defenceless civilian population is sanctioned? And by immense powers that describe themselves as civilized? Nations that invite us all to emulate their way of life and their ‘values’?
 
Are you tongue-tied trying to find the words to express your indignation?  That is an understandable state of affairs, if you are thinking as a member of the human race and consider yourself a decent human being.
 
In my last article, ‘Like Shooting Fish In A Barrel’, about the suffering of the people in Gaza I wrote:
‘Now they are out of harms way.  No one can make them suffer any more.  But the 1.7 million inhabitants of Gaza have more loss, more terror, more pain, more suffering, more loss of limb, more loss of life to come their way yet.’
 
And it certainly did. At the last count there were over 220 Palestinian innocent children, women and men dead and on the other side one dead Israeli.
 
Not a bad ratio, you would have thought when a certain rabbi said, ‘a million Arabs are not worth a Jew’s fingernail.’ *
 
All of this and more has been brought upon us for the last seven decades.  And our heinous crime?  We were born on a piece of land that has historical and biblical resonance to three religions.  And in a region that was blessed or cursed, dependent on your point of view, with an abundance of natural resources, which are still lusted after.
 
Nobody with a smidgeon of integrity could dispute that the tragedy that is Palestine is unparalleled in history. Yet despite the glaringly obvious injustice and savage behaviour of the Israeli Occupation Forces still the western powers stand by and state that this is all in ‘self defence’.
 
We have a proverb in Arabia that goes something like this. ‘He hit me and he cried. And then he ran first and complained.’
 
Which brings me neatly to the many devastating wars of aggression that were and still are brought upon the defenceless Palestinian population by the Neo Nazis in Tel Aviv.
 
 In 1948 they invaded Palestine, massacred thousands and expelled hundreds of thousands and they blamed it on the Arabs.  You would have thought that we invaded them, not the other way around. And the west, especially the Zionist media sang the chorus approvingly and perpetuated the lie.
 
The same in 1956, when Britain, Israel and France invaded Egypt.  Egypt was made out to be the aggressors and the media applauded.
 
1967 and the same again.  Another Israeli war that brought mayhem and destruction and created more hundreds of thousands of refugees. They swallowed up what was left of Palestine and as a bonus the Golan Heights and the Sinai Desert. Yet victorious Israel was made out to be the humble little lamb that held off the wolves that surrounded it.
 
1973, another war with Egypt that culminated in the Camp David accord which rendered the most powerful Arab Army as null and void. And still no respite for the millions of Palestinian refugees.
 
In 1982, the peace-loving nation of Israel invaded Lebanon and created more havoc and destruction. The declared purpose of the leader of that invasion, Arial Sharon, was to wipe out the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, then based in Lebanon, once and for all.
 
The PLO was not totally crushed but were expelled from the Lebanon, bloodied and weakened.
 
The list is endless.  The loss of life and limb is countless.  And the wanton destruction of homes and infrastructure is incalculable.  Yet still Israel is portrayed as the victim and patted on the shoulder as its crimes are explained away as ‘self defence’.
 
Now, after Israel has momentarily quenched its thirst for our blood a so-called truce was declared. Forget the thousands of homes, schools, hospitals, mosques that have been destroyed. Forget the utter devastation of the infrastructure in Gaza.  Forget the total strangulation of Gaza from land, sea and air. Forget the hundreds dead. Let’s talk truce. Trouble is, nobody told Hamas.
 
Mr. Tony Blair, war criminal told Mr. Kerry who told Mr. Al-Sisi, the new dictator in Egypt but the so called combatant, the resistance fighters of Hamas, not a word.
 
As per the script, Israel declared that it accepted the truce. Hamas naturally rejected it. How could they not? They were not even consulted. So the show went on, the aggression continued – still in self defence – obviously and more slaughter, more destruction continued.
 
As of now the United Nations have reached a truce agreement between both parties that will last for five hours to allow humanitarian assistance to trickle through Gaza.
 
Does this sound familiar? Does it fit the repeated scenario of the Neo Nazis in Tel Aviv when they create chaos and bring Armageddon on our heads and then shrug their shoulders and say, ‘But we are defending ourselves. They want to destroy us.’ So the leaders of the western powers nod their heads and not only agree, but supply more and more support in arms, money and blanket political and diplomatic cover.
 
It’s not about self defence.  It’s not about secure borders. It’s not about an existential threat.  It’s not about right or wrong, good and evil.  It’s very simple. It’s land theft. It’s genocide. It’s ethnic cleansing. It’s the supremacy of one race over another.
 
If this is not sanctioning a holocaust in Palestine I don’t know what is.
If you are still unconvinced have a look at this:
 
http://www.sott.net/article/282012-CrossTalk-Gaza-under-siege-with-Miko-Peled-Gideon-Levy-and-Fred-Lazin
 
* Rabbi Yaacov Perrin, in his eulogy for mass murderer Barouch Goldstein, who massacred 29 worshippers at Al-Ibrahimi Mosque, Hebron in 1994.

Written by altahrir

July 17, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Jafar M Ramini

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This chart shows every person killed in the Israel-Palestine conflict since 2000

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A September 2005 photo shows an Israeli tank near the Gaza town of Khan Younis

SINCE 2005, 23 OUT OF EVERY 24 CONFLICT DEATHS HAVE BEEN PALESTINIAN

It’s no secret that the death tolls in the Israel-Palestine conflict are lopsided, with Palestinians far more likely to be killed than Israelis. But just how lopsided is driven home by looking at the month-to-month fatality statistics, which the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem has been tracking since September 2000. Those numbers also tell some important stories about the conflict, how it’s changed, and maybe where it’s going.

Here are the monthly, conflict-related deaths of Israelis and Palestinians since September 2000:

Ip_conflict_deaths_total

You’ll notice right away that the overwhelming majority of the deaths are Palestinian, and have been for the almost 14 years since B’Tselem began tracking. Overall, the group has recorded 8,166 conflict-related deaths, of which 7,065 are Palestinian and 1,101 Israeli. That means 87 percent of deaths have been Palestinian and only 13 percent Israeli. Put another way, for every 15 people killed in the conflict, 13 are Palestinian and two are Israeli. (Statistics for the past two months are from United Nations Office for the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs.)

THE DISPARITY HAS WIDENED OVER TIME

That number is even more staggering when you consider that there are about twice as many Israelis as there are Palestinians. This means, very roughly, that a Palestinian person has been 15 times more likely to be killed by the conflict than an Israeli person. Of course the conflict impacts Palestinians and Israelis far beyond just conflict deaths, but these statistics help show how utterly disproportionate the conflict has become in its toll.

The disparity has widened dramatically over time. Since January 2005, when the conflict began to change dramatically, it has killed 4,006 people, of whom 168 have been Israeli and 3,838 Palestinian. That means that, since January 2005, only four percent of those killed have been Israeli, and 96 percent Palestinian. Since January 2005, in other words, the conflict has killed 23 Palestinians for every one Israeli it claims.

Still, even though Israelis are killed at a far lower rate than are Palestinians, that does not make Israeli deaths any less real or traumatic. Here are just the Israelis killed in the conflict:

Israeli_deaths_total

This chart shows just the 1,101 Israeli deaths in the conflict since September 2000. Of those, 744 were civilians and 357 security forces, meaning that an Israeli killed in the conflict is much more likely to be a civilian than uniformed — a legacy of the bus bombings and other terrorist attacks frequent during the early 2000s. But the most striking thing about this chart may be how dramatically the rate of Israeli deaths has declined since the early 2000s, with many months passing with no deaths at all. Here are a few bigger-picture lessons from these two charts.

Deaths on both sides were very high in the Second Intifada of the early 2000s

763420

A 2002 bus bombing in Jerusalem that killed 18

B’Tselem began tracking these numbers when the Second Intifada, or second mass Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation, began in September 2000. And you can see that reflected in the numbers of deaths of Israelis as well as Palestinians.

The Second Intifada included riots, large-scale clashes, bus bombings and other acts of terrorism against Israelis, Israeli targeted killings against Palestinians, and perhaps most costly of all large-scale Israeli military assaults. This is when Israeli deaths hit their peak, with 283 killed in a five-month run from February through June of 2002. Even then, though, Palestinian deaths were much higher, with 659 killed over that same period. This is the closest that Israeli and Palestinian deaths have gotten to symmetrical, and still more than twice as many Palestinians were killed than Israelis.

Israeli deaths dropped in 2005 and have stayed low since

57168937

A Palestinian woman carries her daughter near the Israeli wall surrounding Bethlehem

That is when Israel, fed up with the violence of the Second Intifada, responded in part by dramatically increasing the size and number of walls separating Israeli from Palestinian territory. Israel also withdrew its military and all settlers from Gaza, which is the smaller of the two Palestinian territories.

Both of these actions did a lot to remove Israelis from harm’s way, which you can see reflected in the dramatic — and sustained — reduction in Israeli deaths. But they did not end the conflict, especially not for Palestinians, who continued to be killed in large numbers even after the Second Intifada felt like it had ended for most Israelis.

THE WEST BANK WALLS AND GAZA WITHDRAWAL REDUCE ISRAELI DEATHS, BUT PERPETUATE THE CONFLICT

These two Israeli changes — installing more walls and withdrawing from Gaza — have also done their share to perpetuate the conflict. They drastically deepened the physical and metaphorical barriers between Israelis and Palestinians, further raising the pain of occupation for Palestinians and making it easier for Israelis to accept the conflict as status quo, and thus less likely to elect governments that will take risks for a long-term peace deal.

After the withdrawal from Gaza, the terrorist group Hamas took power there and has held it since, using the territory as a base for regular rocket attacks against Israel. While those rocket attacks do not in themselves cause nearly as many deaths as the violence of the Second Intifada, they are part of the conflict between Israel and Gaza-based militant Palestinian groups that occasionally flares up to cause massive numbers of Palestinian deaths, as is happening this week.

Incidents of very numerous Palestinian deaths have increased

156655584

Palestinians gather near the rubble of a Gaza City home destroyed by a 2012 Israeli air strike, killing seven family members including four children

Since 2005, the conflict has settled into a new pattern: fewer Palestinian deaths during “calm” months with occasional spikes into catastrophic numbers of Palestinians killed.

These spikes, of which the chart shows four since 2005, are all times when Israeli forces attacked Gaza, where Israel was targeting Hamas and other militant groups but also ended up killing large numbers of Palestinians civilians. In mid-2006, form June through November, Israeli forces invaded Gaza as part of Operation Summer Rains, which was sparked by Palestinian rocket fire into Israel and by the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was released five years later.

THIS APPROACH IS SOMETIMES CALLED ‘CUTTING THE GRASS’; IT IS NEVER-ENDING BY DESIGN

In late 2008 and early 2009, Israel again invaded Gaza as part of Operation Cast Lead, which caused only 13 Israeli deaths but ended with well over 1,000 Palestinians killed and devastated the Gaza Strip. Those two months were by far the deadliest for Palestinians since B’Tselem began tracking in 2000.

Israel launched extended bombing campaigns in Gaza in late 2012 and again this month, both of which have killed dozens of Palestinians. While Israeli strikes are targeting Hamas and other militant groups that arefiring rockets into Israel, a local UN office estimated on Friday that 77 percent of people killed in Gaza up to that point were civilians, including 30 children. A separate UN agency estimated on Sunday that 70 percent of the killed were civilians, including 27 children.

The conflict is settling into a terrible cycle

127502977

A woman walks with her baby past graffiti in Gaza City

You can see the pattern of the last several years clearly on the top chart: the conflict remains at a relatively low level until, every couple of years, it flares up with heavy Israeli strikes on Gaza that also cost a large number of Palestinian lives. This status quo, on net, clearly causes a large number of Palestinian lives. But it kills very few Israelis, which is a big part of why Israeli voters and leaders have appeared willing to accept it.

This Israeli strategy is sometimes described as “cutting the grass.” In this thinking, Israel never really solves the conflict or even tries; it tolerates a level of violence from Gaza-based militant groups, but every few years bombs and maybe invades Gaza to weaken militants there and destroy their weapons – to cut the grass. It treats the Israel-Palestine conflict, at least as it pertains to Gaza, as something to be managed rather than solved.

It is important to stress that this strategy is not one that ever produces peace or that is designed to lead to a solution. It accepts a low level of Israeli deaths from rocket fire, and occasionally dozens or hundreds of Palestinian deaths from air strikes, as status quo.

Correction: This post initially reported erroneous fatality statistics. I had misread B’Tselem’s data tables in a way that significantly under-counted Israeli deaths, as well as some Palestinian deaths. The charts and statistics in this post have been corrected to reflect the accurate count. I regret the error and thank Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner for pointing it out to me.

CARD 11 OF 24LAUNCH CARDS

What were the intifadas?

The intifadas were two Palestinian uprisings against Israel, the first in the late 1980s and the second in the early 2000s. Some analysts believe a third intifada is likely if the Obama Administration’s current peace overtures break down.

The First Intifada was a largely spontaneous series of Palestinian demonstrations, non-violent actions like mass boycotts and Palestinians refusing to work jobs in Israel, and attacks (using rocks, Molotov cocktails, and occasionally firearms) on Israelis. Palestinian fatalities dramatically outpaced Israeli ones, as the Israeli military responded to the protests and attacks with heavy force.

The Second, and far bloodier, Intifada grew out of the peace process’ collapse in 2000. Negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat broke down, and the Intifada began shortly afterwards. Typically, Israelis blame a conscious decision by Arafat to turn to violence for the Intifada’s onset, while Palestinians point to an intentionally provocative visit to the contested Temple Mount by Israeli politician (and soon to be Prime Minister) Ariel Sharon. While both Arafat and Sharon played some part, the central cause was likely a basic mistrust between the two sides that made war inevitable after peace talks broke down.

The spark that lit this powder keg was a series of Palestinian demonstrations that Israeli soldiers fired on. Palestinian militants subsequently escalated to broader violence, and the PA refused to reign them in. Unlike the First Intifada, Palestinian tactics centered on suicide bombings, rocket attacks, and sniper fire – which Israel met with even deadlier force. The conflict petered out in 2005, but not before about 1,000 Israelis and 3,200 Palestinians were killed.

The main fear today is that the Second Intifada could repeat itself. Secretary of State John Kerry is engaged in an intense effort to broker a deal between Israelis and Palestinians; both sides are concerned that a breakdown in peace talks could send a signal to Palestinians that the only way this conflict ends is through war.

(Source / 15.07.2014)

Written by altahrir

July 15, 2014 at 9:39 pm

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