[www-features] FEATURE PROPOSAL: "Palestine Bleeds; the World shudders"

Petros Evdokas petros at cyprus-org.net
Tue Dec 30 09:10:34 PST 2008


BCC: Zikit, Marco, Rona, Sue
CC: imc-palestine, eastern mediterranean, imc-cyprus.


Hello,

We have a new Feature proposal, which included a global overview as 
suggested by some of you, and a summary of the most recent events of 
today. It will soon be on the pages of Israel Indymedia and the 
Temporary page of Cyprus indy.


The material for publishing the proposed Feature is pasted below the 
dotted line in the format of:
HEADER, TITLE, PICTURE, ABSTRACT, BODY.

I've also attached in rtf format to enable easier and more accurate 
copy-pasting. There's no need for any HTML.

I do not have access to the global imc editorial tools. If there are no
objections to publishing it, can someone please take care of it?


Thank you very much for all your help,
Petros
------------------------


HEADER:
PALESTINE, ISRAEL, CYPRUS

PICTURE:
https://israel.indymedia.org/usermedia/image/10/large/gaza-child-pileofdead-belal.jpg

TITLE:
Palestine Bleeds; the World shudders

ABSTRACT:
A comprehensive view of censored and under-reported realities from the 
battle zone, front lines and the global scene

In this report:
- Israeli navy attacks humanitarian aid ship from Cyprus to Gaza; ship 
rammed and fired upon.
- Overview of the global protests against the Israeli attacks on Palestine.
- Summary of the military situation, including views of the Resistance 
and civil society.
- Gaza has run out of medicines; How you can help with humanitarian aid.
- Legal and Diplomatic developments.

As hundreds of thousands of people all over the globe are protesting the 
US-armed and funded Israeli acts of war and zionist genocide against the 
Palestinian population of Gaza, the slaughter continues with more 
bombings, siege and a blockade, plus a threatened ground war.

~ Israeli Navy Attacks Civilian Mercy Ship ~

The Free Gaza Movement issued this statement on the fate of its 
humanitarian ship, The Dignity, that was subjected to live fire from 
Israeli ships and then rammed. Three hours ago this statement was issued 
by the organization:
"(Larnaca, Cyprus, 10:00 am) On Tuesday, December 30, at 5 a.m., several 
Israeli gunboats intercepted the Dignity as she was heading on a mission 
of mercy to Gaza. One gunboat rammed into the boat on the port bow side, 
heavily damaging her. The report from the passengers and journalists on 
board is that she is taking on water and appears to have engine 
problems. When attacked, the Dignity was clearly in international 
waters, 90 miles off the coast of Gaza.

BODY:

The gunboats also fired their machine guns into the water in an attempt 
to stop the mercy ship from getting to Gaza.

As the boat limps toward Lebanon, passengers have been in contact with 
the Lebanese government who have said the captain has permission to dock 
and are willing lend assistance if needed. Cyprus sea rescue has also 
been in touch, and has offered assistance as well."

This violent act of piracy that occurred clearly in international 
waters, 90 miles off the coast of Gaza is a violation of International 
Law and the Law of the Seas. There was brief contact with the vessel as 
the attack were occurring:

"The Dignity, a Free Gaza boat on a mission of mercy to besieged Gaza, 
is being attacked by the Israeli Navy in international waters. The 
Dignity has been surrounded by at least half-a-dozen Israeli warships. 
They are firing live ammunition around the Dignity, and one of the 
warships has rammed the civilian craft causing an unknown amount of 
damage. Contrary to international maritime law, the Israelis are 
actively preventing the Dignity from approaching Gaza or finding safe 
haven in either Egypt or Lebanon. Instead, the Israeli navy is demanding 
that the Dignity return to Cyprus - despite the fact that the ship does 
not carry enough fuel to do so. Fortunately, no one aboard the ship has 
yet been seriously injured.

There are 15 civilian passengers representing 11 different countries. At 
approximately 5am (UST), well out in international waters, Israeli 
warships began surrounding the Dignity, threatening the ship. At 6:45am 
(UST) we were able to establish brief contact with the crew and were 
told that the ship had been rammed by the Israeli Navy in international 
waters, and that the Israelis were preventing the ship from finding safe 
harbor. We heard heavy gunfire in the background before all contact was 
lost with the Dignity."

Survivors of the encounter include world-famous dignitary US Congr. 
Cynthia McKinney who was the Presidential Candidate of the Greens for 
this year's elections.

Other members of the mission include Cyprus Member of Parliament Dr. 
Elena Theoharous, MP who is active with the Doctors Without Frontiers 
movement, and several other medical doctors, solidarity activists and 
journalists.

For the latest information and ways you can help, please see:
http://www.freegaza.org/
and our links at the end of this article.


~ Global Protests ~

Demonstrations of all types have broken out all over the world in 
solidarity with the people of Palestine and in protest for the Israeli 
atrocities against civilians. The protests are too numerous to report in 
detail, but some elements are characteristic of the upsurge:

Unarmed Palestinian demonstrators throwing rocks at Israeli troops were 
shot with live fire. At least two demonstrators have been killed; 
Israeli troops and special security forces are also attacking with clubs 
and chemicals. There are many injuries and arrests. There are labour and 
merchant strikes all over Palestine for the last four days, beginning 
with the first moment of the massacres on Saturday.

Within Israel itself, an estimated more than 40% people polled are 
opposed to the war. Protests against the war occurred in Tel Aviv, Haifa 
and Jerusalem. Some of the protests were attended by both Jews and Arabs 
together. Israel IndyMedia continues to give prominence to all efforts 
to oppose the war:
https://israel.indymedia.org/newswire/display/9995/index.php

Writing for Gush Shalom, a branch of the Israeli peace movement, Uri 
Averny stated, " The war in Gaza, the bloodshed, killing, destruction 
and suffering on both sides of the border are the vicious folly of a 
bankrupt government. A government which let itself be dragged by 
adventurous officers and cheap nationalist demagoguery, dragged into a 
destructive and unnecessary war which will bring no solution to any 
problem – neither to the communities of southern Israel under the rain 
of missiles nor to the terrible poverty and suffering of besieged Gaza."

All over the rest of the world, in every major city, demonstrations and 
all forms of protest took place over the weekend, and continue every 
day. An effort to make a comprehensive listing proved the amount of 
reporting to be so voluminous as to be impossible to summarize easily. A 
"global roundup" compiled by Sue Scandale is here:
"International Response to the Israeli Massacre in Gaza"
https://israel.indymedia.org/newswire/display/10048/index.php

and another by the IMC for the San Francisco Bay Area, here:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/12/27/18556550.php

In the summaries there are descriptions of protests from Turkey to 
London, and from New Zealand to New York and the Canary Islands. The 
entire world is aroused in anger.

~ The military situation ~

Palestinian resistance organizations have multiplied and expanded their 
armed, diplomatic and political responses to the massacres. Street and 
neighbourhood based militia are preparing for the possibility of a 
ground assault. About 60 rockets were fired into Israel today from Gaza. 
Some of those reached the deepest ever into Israeli territories. The 
majority of those rockets were improvised.

The self-organized popular militia are estimated to be around 20.000 
strong, but armed mostly with light weapons, very few mortars, anti-tank 
weapons, no artillery, no air force and no naval forces. There is no 
armour and no anti-aircraft weaponry, either. Many of the weapons of the 
resistance groups are home-made or improvised in backyard workshops, 
with questionable results. The deficiencies in weaponry and firepower 
are counterbalanced by an excellent morale, exceptionally high 
discipline, and total dedication to the cause.

US-supplied Israeli warplanes have been bombing frequently since 
Saturday, and by Tuesday morning have completed more than 350 bombing 
runs. All of the weapons being dropped and fired against the population 
are made in the US. An estimated 300 tons of bombs have been used so far 
in the densely populated areas of Gaza, with devastating results.

Israeli nave ships have joined in by lining up along the Palestinian 
coast and shelling Gaza with heavy artillery.

Israeli troops and tanks are amassing at the border, and there are 
strong indications that a ground war might be initiated. Many military 
observers are reporting that the army being assembled is not strong 
enough for the stated "objective goals" of the attacks on Gaza, but the 
danger of escalation remains high.

Hezbollah forces in Lebanon, north of Israel, which delivered the first 
ever military victory against Israel two years ago have stated that they 
are "by the side of our Palestinian brothers" but have not yet initiated 
any moves.

Many Fatwas (religious decrees) declaring Holy War against Israel have 
been spontaneously issued by a multitude of Islamic religious figures 
all over the world. Secular organizations of all colours within 
Palestinian society and in the wider Arab world and in many Islamic 
countries, have joined the mobilizations with a great militancy, uniting 
patriots, liberals, socialists, communists, anarchists, Feminists and 
Greens in actions of resistance of all types.

Civil society within Palestine is almost without infrastructure. 
Electricity is scarce, fuel is scarce, food is scarce, hospitals have 
run out of medicine (more on that below), telephone and internet 
services are down.

The fact that even though almost the entire civilian Police has been 
wiped out in the bombings and yet there is no crime among the population 
in Gaza manifests the high degree of morale and high principles that 
characterize Palestinian society, the commitment to each other among the 
people of Gaza. Even this simple thing, unthinkable in any other city of 
a million and a half in the "civilized West" shows that indeed, the 
clash of civilizations that George Bush and Israeli Zionists are waging, 
is about human values. Or the lackthereof.


~ Gaza has run out of medicines; How you can help with humanitarian aid ~

The organization of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel has issued a Gaza 
Emergency Appeal. It states. "Gaza Hospitals Already Filled to Capacity; 
Medical Supplies on the Verge of Depletion". It has published a list of 
supplies needed to treat the casualties and to maintain some sort of 
emergency healthcare for the population of Gaza.

The organization is assembling medical aid to deliver to Gaza. It states:
"With a medical system already on the verge of collapse as a result of 
the ongoing closure, 1.4 million civilians are in desperate need of 
urgent medical help from outside the Gaza Strip. PHR-Israel has the 
means to transfer this help within days and is seeking to raise 700,000 
USD during the next week for purchase and direct transfer of supplies to 
Gaza hospitals."

Please look at the information on how to help with this humanitarian aid 
effort. Every dollar counts to save a life - this is where solidarity 
translates into hands-on direct action ~ please give generously, the 
page contains information on how to send money:
http://www.phr.org.il/phr/article.asp?articleid=653&catid=55&pcat=-1&lang=ENG

Many sources are reporting that the bodies of those killed in the air 
raids are chopped to pieces, and relatives who go to collect the remains 
of their loved ones are often being given a decapitated body, a mashed 
or split head, a limb torn to shreds. Corridors of hospitals and morgues 
are over-filled.

Civilians continue to be the highest percentage of those killed in the 
bombings. Every single story emerging of homes being blown up and entire 
neighborhoods blasted to rubble confirm this every day. Today, Tuesday, 
Israeli bombs hit the Islamic University (it had been hit again on 
Sunday, twice), demolishing it. Bombs also hit the Bureij Refugee Camp 
in the central Gaza Strip, Gaza City’s Omar Bin Al Khattab Mosque, and 
the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of Zeitoun, plus the Bani Suhaila 
Municipality building in eastern Khan Younis . The total number of 
casualties from these raids is unknown.

So far the known number of deaths is approaching 400 and casualties are 
around 1600. "Casualties" refers to people requiring treatment by 
wartime standards in a society with a collapsed medical and civic 
infrastructure. By peacetime standards the number might be as high as 
4000. This excludes psychological injuries. The person standing next to 
his son's friend who was decapitated while standing, or the mother who 
lost all her children within one blast do not count as casualties in 
current assessments.

Deaths are expected to increase even if the ground war does not 
materialize, since medics are being killed in the raids which hampers 
life-saving operations, and hospitals are almost unable to treat people 
without medicines, electricity, etc.

More details about Tuesday's bombings were published by the Palestine 
News Network here:
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4343&Itemid=1 


Egypt has resumed a partially helpful stance today allowing some 
casualties to be evacuated through the border it controls. Anger is 
mounting against its Government for collaborating with the Israeli 
blockade because on Monday it had closed the border to refugees running 
for their lives and went to the point of ordering its guards to shoot in 
the air to prevent people from crossing.

Some talks and negotiations are taking place, both openly and covertly, 
among representatives of Fatah and Hamas in efforts to delineate some 
sort of basis for unity that can help Palestinian society get through 
this time of crisis. Lack of trust is a major obstacle, which in the 
recent past had led to even armed confrontations between these two major 
forces, with deaths on both sides.

~ Legal and Diplomatic developments ~

The President of the United Nation's General Assembly, Miguel D´Escoto, 
issued a Statement on the Crisis in Gaza. In it he stated that "The 
behavior by Israel in bombarding Gaza is simply the commission of wanton 
aggression by a very powerful state against a territory that illegally 
occupies.
Time has come to take firm action if the United Nations does not want to 
be rightly accused of complicity by omission."

He also said:
"The Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive 
violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva 
Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and 
in the requirements of the laws of war.

Those violations include:
Collective punishment...
Targeting civilians...
Disproportionate military response...

...I remind all member states of the United Nations that the UN 
continues to be bound to an independent obligation to protect any 
civilian population facing massive violations of international 
humanitarian law.."
Please read the full text here:
https://israel.indymedia.org/newswire/index.php

Another UN official, the Specially appointed Rapporteur for Human Rights 
in the Occupied Palestinian Territory Professor Richard Falk said that 
the Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip represent “severe and massive 
violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva 
Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and 
in the requirements of the laws of war.” Please read that report 
published by the Palestine News Agency here:
http://english.wafa.ps/?action=detail&id=12479

Given that the Israeli war machine would not last a month without active 
and constant arming and funding by the US, the ramifications of any 
movements - and responsibilities! - of the US Government in this crisis 
are enormous.

The exiting US Government of Vipers, Condoleeza, Bush and Dick Cheney, 
have continued their highly immoral and illegal support of the genocidal 
actions by the Israeli Apartheid regime. President Elect Obama has been 
"on vacation" and avoiding to make any coherent statement on the slaughter.

U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich has officially requested that the 
United Nations launch an independent inquiry into Israel's war against 
Gaza. The US lawmaker stated that "The attacks on civilians represent 
collective punishment, which is a violation of Article 33 of the Fourth 
Geneva Convention. The perpetrators of attacks against Israel must also 
be brought to justice, but Israel cannot create a war against an entire 
people in order to attempt to bring to justice the few who are responsible."
Please read the rest of his statement and his letter to the United 
Nations Secretary General here:
https://israel.indymedia.org/newswire/display/10052/index.php


All in all, the present crisis has not yet shown the full depth or 
intensity that it might take.

We pray that the forces of Peace and Justice will prevail. Our thoughts 
are with the martyrs; our actions fully in solidarity with the survivors.

Cyprus IndyMedia Collective
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our thanks to Belal Doufesh of the Union of Palestinians in Cyprus for 
supplying the photo that accompanies this article. It helps us remain 
aware that these terrible events have a face:
that of a child with a shattered head lying in a pile of dead bodies.
https://israel.indymedia.org/usermedia/image/10/large/gaza-child-pileofdead-belal.jpg

Further Resources:

"Israeli Navy attacks and wounds Dignity in International Waters"
http://www.freegaza.org/index.php?module=latest_news&id=40e777e07fd7eb5b584efa42e09fdee3&offset=

"Solidarity ship attacked in Mediterranean, includes US official and 
doctors"
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4344&Itemid=1

"Resistance movement locally and abroad takes lead in face of government 
trepidation"
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4335&Itemid=1

"Most Gaza casualties were non-combatants, civilians"
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10063.shtml

"A vicious folly of a bankrupt government"
by Uri Averny
http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=34273

An overview of global and local responses to the events:
http://links.org.au/node/823

Tuesday's Targets:
http://www.imemc.org/article/58228

Additional Independent Resources:

- Electronic Intifada
http://electronicintifada.net

- International Middle East Media Center (en)
http://www.imemc.org

- The Palestine News Network (en/ar/he/fr)
http://www.pnn.ps

- WAFA - Palestine News Agency (en/ar/he/fr)
http://english.wafa.ps/

- Ma'an News (en/ar)
http://www.maannews.net






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