Posts Tagged ‘Red Cross’

The U.S. and Israeli presidents publicly affirmed their ‘special, unbreakable bond’ and sought to justify Israel’s nuclear proliferation, Patty Culhane reported today at Al Jazeera English (2:41):

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News and views from around the web posted to the Wonderland Wire:

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Jason Leopold, deputy managing editor at Truthout, reports on the Physicians for Human Rights report, “Experiments in Torture: Human Subject Research and Evidence of Experimentation in the ‘Enhanced’ Interrogation Program.”

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The Obama Administration has ordered the construction of new units at the detention center of the U.S. air base in Bagram.

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News and views from around the web posted to the Wonderland Wire:

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News and views from around the web posted to the Wonderland Wire:

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Video report provided by RAWA the day of the Granai Massacre, of which WikiLeaks reportedly will release classified footage. The U.S government has always reported 26 civilians were killed though, investigations by rights groups have said more than 90 children alone were killed in the airstrike. The government has also claimed that the Taliban was responsible for a bulk of the casualties, though civilians claim the Taliban had left well before the U.S. warplanes rained bombs on their village through the middle of the night. (2:08):

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Prisoners, physicians and psychologists describe ‘humiliating punishments’ and ‘deteriorating’ conditions during the Obama Administration at the U.S.-run detention center, Andrew Wander reports at al Jazeera.

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  • Teenage detainee released from Gitmo
  • C.I.A. report details new torure abuses including mock executions
  • Holder appoints special prosecutor to investigate torture in a limited limited probe
  • Obama was create a new rendition policy, continuing the Bush policy
  • McChrystal wants 45,000 more troops in Afghanistan
  • Israel increasing West Bank settlements
  • Pittsburgh wants 4,000 for the G-20 Summit in September (more…)

ICRC: “More than a month after the end of the war, people in the Gaza Strip are still struggling to rebuild their lives. Tens of thousands of people have had their houses partially or completely destroyed, while thousands remain without access to running water.” (more…)

UN Special Rapporteur and Special Investigator on Torture Manfred Nowak said on CNN the US has an “obligation” to investigate the Bush administration for war crimes and that there is already enough evidence to prosecute former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. (more…)

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al Jazeera – “Gazan Father Mourns Death of Baby” – 05 Jan 09 (1:27):

After ten days of Israeli attack, the water and sewage systems are “collapsing”, 89 women and 30 children are among the over 540 Palestinans dead, and more than 2,450 are wounded. As shortages for basic living needs increase and temperatures drop, Israel continues to block electricity and the Red Cross:

Israeli government officials say they are not targeting civilians, but only seeking to halt rocket fire from the Palestinian Hamas movement governing Gaza.

There are also fears that the humanitarian situation will further deteriorate as the strip, home to 1.5 million people, is suffering from acute shortages of fuel, food and medical supplies.

Iyad Nasr of the Red Cross in Gaza City said that the military operation has worsened the hardships created by the Israeli blockade over the last 18 months.

“The size of the operations and the size of the misery we are seeing here on the ground is just overwhelming,” he said.

“We are trying our best to support the infrastructure that has been depleted … and prevent the total collapse of the medical systems….

“The ICRC has to contact the Israeli authorities for each single wounded to be evacuated with an ambulance,” he said.

Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Gaza City, said that many other Gazans have fled their homes taking refuge in schools converted into temporary shelters by UN agencies.

“The United Nations says 13,000 people, over 2,000 families, have now been internally displaced because of the fighting, and that is just in the north of the strip,” he said….

Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, has said that there is no crisis and that aid is getting through, but Christopher Gunness, the UN Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa) spokesman, said her denials were absurd.

“The organisation for which I work – Unrwa – has approximately 9,000 to 10,000 workers on the ground. They are speaking with the ordinary civilians in Gaza… People are suffering,” he said.

“A quarter of all those being killed now are civilians. So when I hear people say we’re doing our best to avoid civilian casualties that rings very hollow indeed.”

About 250,000 people in the northern part of Gaza are also reported to be without electricity. The main power plant has been shut down for lack of fuel due to Israel’s blockade.

The British-based Save The Children charity on Monday warned that newborn babies in the Gaza strip were at risk of hypothermia because of the power cuts and freezing winter temperatures.

We need to deliver more food and blankets to ensure that children do not die of hunger and cold,” Dominic Nutt, a spokesman for the group, said.

“People also must be able to move freely and safely so they can provide for their families when food does become available.”

UN press conference by Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Roberty Serry – 5 Jan 09:

The protection of civilians, the fabric of Gaza, the future of the peace process and regional stability were all trapped between the irresponsibility of rocket attacks by Hamas and the excessiveness of Israel’s response, the United Nations Special Coordinator said today.

While an immediate cessation of hostilities was absolutely vital, it was clear that new conditions must be created on the ground to prevent a repeat of the conflict, he said, emphasizing that a simple return to the status quo ante would not be enough. After a ceasefire, further arrangements must be found to solidify it. To that end, certain elements that had previously not been on the table should be discussed, including the reopening of border crossings on an uninterrupted basis. “Of course, this will require commitments from Hamas that all rocket attacks and weapons smuggling will end.” It would also require bringing Gaza back into the fold of the Palestinian Authority. The international community must now be prepared to put structures on the ground to make that happen.

Both the Security Council and the wider United Nations had an important role to play in that regard, he said. “It is now more vital than ever that Israeli-Palestinian peace is achieved. The underlying issues must be addressed: end of conflict; end of occupation; and the creation of a Palestinian State alongside a secure Israel.”

Asked if he could agree with the term “genocide”, since the United Nations had been blaming Hamas alone for the crisis, he said the Organization was very deeply concerned and working around the clock, both at the political level and on the ground. The United Nations was clear in its position: the Secretary-General condemned the indiscriminate and irresponsible firing by Hamas of rockets into Israel, and had been clear and unequivocal about the excessive and irresponsible ongoing Israeli military attacks.

Responding to questions about fatalities and the number of civilians killed, the Special Coordinator said he did not have the latest figures, but the number was “astounding enough”. There had been far more than 300 people killed, among them a very significant number of civilians, including women and children.

The US blocked a UN Security [sic] Council proposal for a cease-fire in an emergency meeting Saturday night.

From our YouTube playlist, “Israel Attacks Gaza” – Phyllis Bennis, fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., specializing in Middle East and United Nations issues, discusses the US coddling of Israel on Democracy Now! (transcript):

Gaza’s population density traps the civilians, giving them little options for safety. Amira Haas, reporting from Gaza for Israel’s Daily Ha’aretz, tells the story of a family laying bloody for twenty hours and two young boys killed by an Israel missle strike while building a fire to heat their homes due to the lack of electricity and gas:

Three hours after the Israel Defense Forces began their ground operation in the Gaza Strip, at about 10:30 P.M. Saturday night, a shell or missile hit the house owned by Hussein al A’aiedy and his brothers. Twenty-one people live in the isolated house, located in an agricultural area east of Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood. Five of them were wounded in the strike: Two women in their eighties (his mother and aunt), his 14-year-old son, his 13-year-old niece and his 10-year-old nephew.

Twenty hours later, the wounded were still bleeding in a shed in the courtyard of the house. There was no electricity, no heat, no water. Their relatives were with them, but every time they tried to leave the courtyard to fetch water, the army shot at them.

Al A’aiedy tried to summon help on his cell phone, but Gaza’s cell phone network is collapsing. Shells have hit transponders, there is no electricity and no diesel fuel to run the generators. Every time the telephone works, it is a minor miracle.

At about noon Sunday, Al A’aiedy finally managed to reach S., who called me. There was nothing else that S., who lives nearby, could do.

I had known Al A’aiedy for eight years, and I called Physicians for Human Rights. They called the IDF’s liaison office to ask it to arrange to have the wounded evacuated. That was shortly after noon – and as of press time, the liaison office had still not called PHR back.

Meanwhile, someone else had managed to reach the Red Crescent Society. It called the Red Cross and asked it to coordinate the evacuation of the wounded with the IDF. That was at 10:30 A.M. – and as of press time Sunday night, the Red Cross had still not been able to do so.

While I was on the phone with PHR, at about noon, H. called. He just wanted to report: Two children, Ahmed Sabih and Mohammed al-Mashharawi, aged 10 and 11, had gone up on the roof of their Gaza City house to heat water over a fire. There is no electricity or gas, so fire is all that remains.

An IDF missile hit the two boys, killing Ahmed and seriously wounding Mohammed. Later Sunday, an Internet news site reported that both had died. But H.’s cell phone was not answering, so I could not verify that report.

Democracy Now! – “Palestinian Journalist Sameh Habeeb on Gaza Under Siege” – 5 Jan 09 (6:32):

Daily Kos

“You’ve also got to understand the distinctiveness of Jewish anxiety about annihilation, which is real… But at the same time, anti-Semitism should never be a blinder or an impetiment of understanding the suffering of Palestinian people under occupation and the difficulty of having any serious bridge building when you are an occupied people.”

-Dr. Cornel West

The Newspeak out of Israel is that “there is no humanitarian crisis in the [Gaza] Strip.” and Israel is targeting Hamas, not the Palestinians.

If so, they’re doing a great job of missing their targets, to say the least.

Hypothetically speaking, were Hamas to target an Israel military installation on a Palestinian settlement and wound a child, the Newspeak would be that ‘Hamas is killing children’ out of Israel. When Israel targets a Hamas operative and kills 20 Palestinian civilians, the Newspeak stinks of “collateral damage” that we’re just supposed to accept as a necessary evil of self-defensive war.

The conundrum in this Newspeak is another ‘it’s wrong when they do it to us, but not when we do it to them that loses its transparency as its repeated by our leaders [sic] in the West, giving the Newspeak illegitimate credibility.

The best way to battle Newspeak is with fact (from our YouTube playlist, “Israel Attacks Gaza”):

al Jazeera – “Nowhere to Run for Those Trapped in Gaza” – 30 Dec 08 (3:11):

al Jazeera – “B’Tselem Questions Israeli Account of Attack” – 1 Jan 09 (2:38):

al Jazeera – “Gazans Struggle to Survive Amid Onslaught” – 1 Jan 09 (2:41):

ei – “Civilians are Paying the Price in Gaza” – Haider Rizvi reports from the UN:

International aid groups, including several United Nations agencies, are warning of a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza if Israel does not stop its military action there immediately.

“The consequences of [further] military action by Israel would be disastrous,” said Jeremy Hobbs, director of Oxfam International, a London-based aid organization that is providing food and water for Palestinians affected by the Israeli blockade.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza depend on Oxfam and other international aid agencies for the basics of life — clean water, food and sanitation. Before the recent Israeli bombing campaign, Gaza had been cut off from the outside world for 19 months.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is also expressing similar concerns about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. The group says hospitals are “overwhelmed and unable to cope with the scale and type of injuries that keep coming in.”

At the time this article went to press on 30 December, more than 300 Palestinians are reported to have been killed — and nearly 1,000 wounded — since the Israeli air force began bombing Gaza Saturday….

Before the recent attacks on Gaza, aid organizations had repeatedly stressed that the Israeli blockade of Gaza was hindering their efforts to reach out to Palestinians who were in dire need of food and medicines.

Currently, nearly half of the population in Gaza does not have enough food to meet its basic needs. A majority of the population are refugees who were driven out of their homes by the Israeli occupation in 1948.

“The blockade is illegal and constitutes collective punishment of ordinary men, women, and children,” said Diakonia’s Christoffer Sjoholm, who, although critical of Palestinian rocket attacks, condemned Israel’s plans to carry out further attacks on Gaza….

On Monday, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) expressed deep concerns about the impact of the Israeli aerial attacks and demanded that the self-declared Jewish state must allow the humanitarian supplies to enter.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also called for Israel to take such actions.

“The frightening nature of what is happening on the ground, in particular, its effects on children who are more than half of the population, troubles me greatly,” Ban said. “I have continuously stressed the need for strict observance of international humanitarian law.”

A statement released Tuesday by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that many more deaths are likely as hospitals in Gaza are lacking sufficient medical supplies.

“The ability of the hospitals to cope with a problem of this magnitude, if the situation continued unchanged, will result in surge in preventable death,” a UNICEF spokesperson said in a statement. “Civilians are paying the price for a long blockade.”

In recent days, the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) has repeatedly expressed its concern over the Israeli efforts to stop aid supplies. The agency stresses that days and weeks before the current military action the blockade was already hurting some 1.5 million people.

In a statement, UNRWA’s head Karen AbuZayd said she was horrified by the current situation in Gaza and wanted the Israeli government to heed calls for ceasing its bombardment of Gaza.

ei also relays a press release from Al Mezan Center for Human Rights:

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) has continued its military operation in the Gaza Strip for the fifth day. Today, it targeted an ambulance and its medical crew with a missile, killing a doctor and an orderly and critically injuring its driver. According to Al Mezan Center’s monitoring, the number of Palestinian casualties since the start of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead at 11:30am on 27 December 2008 has risen to 315, of whom 41 were children and nine women. At least 939 people have been injured, including 85 children and 52 women. The number of civilian objects that have been destroyed is as follows:

  • Seven mosques have been completely destroyed from direct air strikes;
  • 38 private industrial and agricultural enterprises have been completely destroyed;
  • 16 schools have been damaged;
  • Nine CBO offices were completely destroyed;
  • Eight private vehicles were destroyed;
  • 16 governmental facilities were destroyed.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights asserts, according to its monitoring of the situation on the ground, that the IOF has perpetrated grave breaches of the international humanitarian law, amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, in the course of its military actions in Gaza. The Center also asserts that the vast majority of IOF’s targets in Gaza are civilian targets that must not be deliberately targeted. This includes houses, mosques, police stations and at least one ambulance. Most of the casualties are not combatants and were not involved in any hostilities when they were targeted by IOF. This behavior reflects a blatant disregard of civilian life and of the international law that is supposed to protect it.

Al Mezan Center condemns the IOF’s violations of international law applicable in times of belligerent occupation and armed conflict. In particular, the violations by IOF of the Fourth Geneva Convention and its Protocol I have caused extreme suffering as well as loss of civilian life. Articles 15-19 of the Convention prohibit the disruption of the working of health facilities during times of conflict. Article 20 requires respect and protection of the persons who are involved in the search for civilians, the sick, the wounded, the elderly and mothers and care for them. IOF violates international humanitarian law by imposing a strangulating blockade that disrupts, and sometimes prevents, the provision of humanitarian aid to the population of the Gaza Strip.

Despite The New York Times bad paraphrasing, the quote from the UN official estimates “a minimum of 25 percent of all those killed are civilians and it may well be far higher.”

Another interesting Newspeak tool is to manipulate the meaning of “civilian.” Targeting Hamas and killing Gazan police officers make the police officers more “collateral damage,” but they are left out of civilian fatality estimates. The common term is “non-combatant” and that statistic is never reported.

ei:

Reports said that many of the dead were Palestinian police officers. Among those Israel labels “terrorists” were more than a dozen traffic police officers undergoing training.

Ha’aretz:

“Seventy policemen were killed there, not all Hamas members,” said S., who opposes Hamas. “And even those who supported Hamas were young men looking for a job, a salary. They wanted to live. And therefore, they died. Seventy in one blow. This assault is not against Hamas. It’s against all of us, the entire nation. And no Palestinian will consent to having his people and his homeland destroyed in this way.”

Battles between authorities, especially when one or more authorities are the State admist an election season, always harm those already oppressed under the illegitimate authority more than those dominating the oppressed. Those in power have the primary objective (meaning over all other objectives) of maintain and strengthening the power of their institution. This is the cynical nature of institutions — even those that are generally benign because were the benign institution to lose power, clout, resources, etc., the institution would struggle to exist.

The Palestinian people do not have a legitimate amount of clout in the authorities that govern them, yet are being destroyed more than their most direct dominators: Hamas, Fatah, and Israel.

A 0.29 second Google News serach of “Gaza children” wields almost 15,000 results; the first page of which can make your head spin and question the legitimacy of the governments issuing tacit consent to the TerrorState of Israel.

Tariq Ali could sum this up best:

“There is no other way. And Israeli citizens might ponder the following words from Shakespeare [The Merchant of Venice] that I have slightly altered:

“‘I am a Palestinian. Hath not a Palestinian eyes? Hath not a Palestinian hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Jew is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that…the villainy you teach me, I will execute; and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.’”