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Transcript of former US President Jimmy Carter’s Address to the United Nations Relief Works Agency’s Human Rights Graduation in Gaza, June 16, 2009.

By Jimmy Carter | Information Clearing House, June 16, 2009

Director of UNRWA operations John Ging, thank you for inviting me to Gaza. Distinguished guests, children of Gaza, I am grateful for your warm reception.

I first visited Gaza 36 years ago and returned during the 1980s and later for the very successful Palestinian elections. Although under occupation, this community was relatively peaceful and prosperous. Now, the aftermath of bombs, missiles, tanks, bulldozers and the continuing economic siege have brought death, destruction, pain, and suffering to the people here. Tragically, the international community largely ignores the cries for help, while the citizens of Gaza are being treated more like animals than human beings.

Continued >>

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Israel Shells UN Headquarters In Gaza

IBRAHIM BARZAK and AMY TEIBEL | January 15, 2009 10:32 AM EST | AP

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel shelled the United Nations headquarters in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, engulfing the compound and a warehouse in fire and destroying thousands of pounds of food and humanitarian supplies intended for Palestinian refugees.

U.N. workers and Palestinian firefighters, some wearing bulletproof jackets, struggled to douse the flames and pull bags of food aid from the debris after the Israeli attack, which was another blow to efforts to ease the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Dense smoke billowed from the compound.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is in the region to end the devastating offensive against Gaza’s Hamas rulers, demanded a “full explanation” and said the Israeli defense minister told him there had been a “grave mistake.”

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the military fired artillery shells at the U.N. compound after Hamas militants opened fire from the location. Three people were wounded.

MORE HERE

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Osama Bin Laden Challenges Obama In Tape

LEE KEATH | January 14, 2009 10:18 AM EST | AP

CAIRO, Egypt — Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden urged Muslims to launch a jihad against Israel and condemned Arab governments as allies of the Jewish state in a new message aimed at harnessing anger in the Mideast over the Gaza offensive.

Bin Laden spoke in an audiotape posted Wednesday on Islamic militant Web sites where al-Qaida usually issues its messages. It was his first tape since May and came nearly three weeks after Israel started its campaign against Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers.

The al-Qaida leader also vowed that the terror network would open “new fronts” against the United States and its allies beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. He said President-elect Barack Obama has received a “heavy inheritance” from George W. Bush _ two wars and “the collapse of the economy,” which he said will render the United States unable to sustain a long fight against the mujahedeen, or holy warriors.

“There is only one strong way to bring the return of Al-Aqsa and Palestine, and that is jihad in the path of God,” bin Laden said in the 22-minute audiotape, referring to the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. “The duty is to urge people to jihad and to enlist the youth into jihad brigades.”

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Sudhan @ 18:55 CET

Oxford professor of international relations Avi Shlaim served in the Israeli army and has never questioned the state’s legitimacy. But its merciless assault on Gaza has led him to devastating conclusions.

  • Avi Shlaim | The Guardian, UK, January 7,  2009
A wounded Palestinian policeman gestures

A wounded Palestinian policeman gestures while lying on the ground outside Hamas police headquarters following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City. Photograph: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

The only way to make sense of Israel’s senseless war in Gaza is through understanding the historical context. Establishing the state of Israel in May 1948 involved a monumental injustice to the Palestinians. British officials bitterly resented American partisanship on behalf of the infant state. On 2 June 1948, Sir John Troutbeck wrote to the foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin, that the Americans were responsible for the creation of a gangster state headed by “an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders”. I used to think that this judgment was too harsh but Israel’s vicious assault on the people of Gaza, and the Bush administration’s complicity in this assault, have reopened the question.

I write as someone who served loyally in the Israeli army in the mid-1960s and who has never questioned the legitimacy of the state of Israel within its pre-1967 borders. What I utterly reject is the Zionist colonial project beyond the Green Line. The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the June 1967 war had very little to do with security and everything to do with territorial expansionism. The aim was to establish Greater Israel through permanent political, economic and military control over the Palestinian territories. And the result has been one of the most prolonged and brutal military occupations of modern times.

Four decades of Israeli control did incalculable damage to the economy of the Gaza Strip. With a large population of 1948 refugees crammed into a tiny strip of land, with no infrastructure or natural resources, Gaza’s prospects were never bright. Gaza, however, is not simply a case of economic under-development but a uniquely cruel case of deliberate de-development. To use the Biblical phrase, Israel turned the people of Gaza into the hewers of wood and the drawers of water, into a source of cheap labour and a captive market for Israeli goods. The development of local industry was actively impeded so as to make it impossible for the Palestinians to end their subordination to Israel and to establish the economic underpinnings essential for real political independence.

Gaza is a classic case of colonial exploitation in the post-colonial era. Jewish settlements in occupied territories are immoral, illegal and an insurmountable obstacle to peace. They are at once the instrument of exploitation and the symbol of the hated occupation. In Gaza, the Jewish settlers numbered only 8,000 in 2005 compared with 1.4 million local residents. Yet the settlers controlled 25% of the territory, 40% of the arable land and the lion’s share of the scarce water resources. Cheek by jowl with these foreign intruders, the majority of the local population lived in abject poverty and unimaginable misery. Eighty per cent of them still subsist on less than $2 a day. The living conditions in the strip remain an affront to civilised values, a powerful precipitant to resistance and a fertile breeding ground for political extremism.

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Kucinich: Israel may be using American weapons illegally

RAW STORY
Published: Tuesday January 6, 2009

Responding to media reports that Israel had bombed a UN school serving as a refuge for Palestinian civilians, Congressman Dennis Kucinich is calling for a Congressional report on Israel’s possibly illegal misuse of US weapons.

His letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice follows.

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Dear Dr. Rice:

I am writing concerning Israel’s military offensive against Gaza, which began on December 27th. I support Israel’s security and its right to exist in peace, without the fear of rocket attacks from Hamas. Moreover, I abhor the violence being visited upon the citizens of our firm ally. However, no nation is immune from the legal conditions placed on the receipt of U.S. military assistance.

I believe that with the current escalation of violence in Gaza, a legal threshold has been reached, warranting a Presidential examination and report to Congress. I hereby request an examination of Israel’s compliance with the provisions of the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 (AECA).

MORE HERE

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Israel escalates offensive into Gaza cities

Agence France-Presse
Published: Tuesday January 6, 2009

GAZA CITY (AFP) – Israeli tanks and helicopter gunships went blazing into towns across the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, attacking Hamas targets and searching for its leaders as the war death toll approached 600.

Troops fought Islamist militants around the back alleys of Gaza’s main city in the heaviest fighting of the 11-day-old offensive to halt rocket attacks on Israel. Hamas made its deepest rocket strike yet into Israel.

On the diplomatic front, Arab nations pressed the case for a UN Security Council resolution condemning the onslaught, but Israel rejected ceasefire calls by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and other leaders.

“Europe must open its eyes,” President Shimon Peres told an EU ministerial delegation that demanded a truce. “We are not in the business of public relations or improving our image. We are fighting against terror and we have every right to defend our citizens.”

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BREAKING: Israeli ground forces storm Gaza

RAW STORY
Published: Saturday January 3, 2009

Update: Hamas responds

Hamas vowed on Saturday to turn the Gaza Strip into a “cemetery” for the Israeli army, which launched a ground offensive in the enclave following a week of air and naval bombardment.

CNN reports:

“‘We will defeat the army just like they were defeated before,’ Abu Thaer, spokesman for the military wing of Fatah — the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades — told the television network Al Jazeera.

“‘We will rub their noses in the sand. To the Arabs of 1948, today it is the time to act, to carry martyrdom operations in the heart of Israel. In case they will get in really on the ground, they will be taught a lesson that they will never forget. The Israeli army is the loser from ground operations in Gaza.

“‘They claim that the Palestinian resistance was hit, but we say that the resistance will not be defeated, and we will not receive them with roses. We will receive them with bombs and that will not stop, God willing,’ Thaer said.”

Update: ‘We have many, many targets’

MORE HERE

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Israeli Troops Move Into Gaza

Military Says Objective Is to ‘Destroy the Terrorist Infrastructure of Hamas’

Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, January 3, 2009; 4:55 PM

JERUSALEM, Jan. 3 — Israeli ground forces rolled into the Gaza Strip on Saturday night, as the military announced the beginning of the second stage of a massive, eight-day offensive that has already cost more than 430 Palestinian lives.

MORE HERE

—WARNING GRAPHIC PHOTOS—

>>>PHOTO GALLERY HERE<<<

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