summer holidays

had a very relaxing Christmas / summer holiday in Brisbane - mostly spent sleeping, catching up with friends, eating and visiting the amazing north coast beaches at Caloundra & Noosa, driving along the coast between them. we drove up, cat on lap at times - the rain this year has done wonders for the land as everything was a lush, vibrant green colour and the sky was so clear & blue - the light this year was incredible - things seemed to sparkle.

I haven't been paying much attention to the news though whilst away, and arriving home last night I caught the late news which was talking about the problems in Israel and Palestine / Gaza strip. I'm a little worried about my friends there - some who've spent time in their bomb shelters (which are in all buildings) as the rockets from Gaza have reached further than before. I wonder if these new range rockets came in when the wall came down earlier this year and people came across from Egypt. I hope everyone is safe.

I hope there is peace there one day but I can't see it happening. I wish there was peace for both sides. but I understand the Israeli point of view since my time spent living there. why do Hamas send rockets from houses with families living in them - they must know what will happen - why aren't they sending them from abandoned buildings instead. they're not going to stop, but then at least the casualties would be minimised to those involved in the war instead of the innocent people. I am sad for the loss of civillians on both sides.

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collating some links I've been reading & watching about the recent trouble (not in any order & from both sides)
(some extracts included - read the full articles using the links for more details)

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IDF - Israeli Defense Force now has a youtube channel. you can watch footage from some of their missions including video cameras on the missiles that destroy the Hamas rocket launching sites. reported by IsraelNN.com

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Israel Politik site

Jerusalem Post news site

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on sarai list, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky sends a message called Gaza Massacre with shocking pictures - at first scan, I don't agree with all he says but I need to read his email again properly to see what the references say. the site with the images seems to be very one sided and there's no mention of the continual flow of rockets sent from Hamas over past years into Israel.

also on sarai, Shuddhabrata Sengupta sent a message called Reports of Protests against Israeli Air Strikes in Gaza

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avaaz.org has a Time for Peace campaign for a petition to raise 250 000 signatures :
Petition to the UN Security Council, the European Union, the Arab League and the USA:
We urge you to act immediately to ensure a comprehensive ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, to protect civilians on all sides, and to address the growing humanitarian crisis. Only through robust international action and oversight can the bloodshed be stopped, the Gaza crossings safely re-opened and real progress made toward a wider peace in 2009.

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Israel National news website Arutz Sheva

Mitchell Bard's blog
his article on Mother's holding the key to peace in the Middle East

Sderot Media - the Israeli town that has been hit by rockets repeatedly & regularly - their Kassam (rocket) counter is up to 10046 as at today (31/12/2008)

updates from the IDF - Operation Cast Lead :

update #2 Operation Cast Lead

update #1 Operation Cast Lead

Israel Consulate - New York - twitter feed

Gaza - Operation Cast Lead twitter search

Gaza Battles on Twitter, Blogs by Alan Abbey

a mother from GAZA blog - the article rains of death in gaza

ei - electronic intifada - publishes news, commentary, analysis, and reference materials about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict from a Palestinian perspective

Israeli soldier's mother blog (thanks Shlomo) - her post on what I want and what I'll do

Global Voices - 2008 gaza strip bombings

Global Voices - Israel

Global Voices - Palestine

from gaza, with love blog

podcasting from gaza - ramzy's account of the attacks

The Warped Mirror: The cycle of stupidity on jpost.com blogs

gaza in the twittersphere by Jillian York

israel consulate (new york) tweet grid

adbusters - who is winning the PR war

honest reporting.com's Israel at War primer / background article : Background & key issues behind Israel's campaign against Hamas in Gaza - by HonestReporting

action palestineAction Palestine is a UK wide student body, dedicated to defending Palestinian rights on campus

haaretz.com Israeli news site
Gaza War Diary II - Who speaks for the Gazans?

Lenny Ben David's blog I*Consult : Analyses and thoughts on events in the Middle East and Washington from an experienced diplomat, analyst, lobbyist, editor and writer -- Lenny Ben-David

the suffering that hamas causes in the Boston Globe

backspin blog - related to honestreporting.com

gleeful hamas press release on 4 Israeli deaths

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Hamas' English website : "Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades" is the armed branch of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) - background information, press releases, statements & articles. mission statement from their site about us page :
Mission:
Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades (EQB) was established in the midst of the Palestinian Intifada (1987-1994) against the Zionist occupation. Established at the height of the occupation crackdown against popular and armed resistance, EQB considers its effort as part of the resistance movement against the Zionist occupation of Palestinian lands, which has been ongoing since the British occupation. In light of this understanding, EQB aims: "To contribute in the effort of liberating Palestine and restoring the rights of the Palestinian people under the sacred Islamic teachings of the Holy Quran, the Sunna (traditions) of Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the traditions of Muslims rulers and scholars noted for their piety and dedication."
For that to happen, the Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades works to:
· Evoke the spirit of Jihad (resistance) amongst Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims;
· Defend Palestinians and their land against the Zionist occupation and its aggression;
· Liberate Palestinians and the land usurped by the Zionist occupation forces and settlers;

- it's interesting to see the terminology used on the site in the statements and articles. they don't say 'Israel / Israelis' they say 'Zionists'

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an article about the free gaza aid relief boat ramming - also mentioning that the aid on the boat is only 0.1% of the aid already allowed in by Israeli border

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website

hamas pretending that they only target soldiers

ynetnews.com - Israel news site

freegaza.org

muqata blog & their live blogging on twitter

israeli bloggers react to gaza

Statement by Jeremy Ben-Ami, Executive Director, on Israeli Airstrikes in Gaza on jstreet - the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement

israelly cool - a blog by an Australian in Israel

We Will Not Put Our Heads Down In Shame! on tzipiyah.com

treppenwitz
filthy jewish blood tells how the people in gaza don't want the jewish / israeli blood donations

IDF: Hamas' military wing intact despite the attacks on gaza 29/12/2008

IDF : ready to go all the way> 30/12/2008

PRC spokesman urges IDF troops to 'fight like men' - PRC wants IDF to fight face to face in a ground battle in gaza
"If Israeli soldiers are such men, they should fight on the ground, the PRC's Abu Abir said. "The defeat they suffered on the ground in Lebanon would be even greater in Gaza ... yet I know that we are dealing with cowards who ever since the 1980s have feared a face-to-face confrontation with us."

Israel Assaults Hamas In Gaza from huffingtonpost.com

Hamas: Israeli-Gaza truce is over from English al jazeera site

Hamas 'bars injured leaving Gaza' from BBC UK news site
Egypt says the Hamas militant group, which controls Gaza, is preventing hundreds of wounded Palestinians from leaving for treatment in Egypt.

yourish.com
The media assault against Israel on yourish.com

Chayyei Sarah's blog

hamas' winning strategy on jewlicious.com

"War is Not Pretty; We’re Not in the Movie Business"

300 Dead? 300 Dead what???! on treppenwitz

ground war on yonitheblogger.com

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read 01/01/2009 :

Israel twitter conference with consulate via twitter & israelpolitik.org conference page

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news roundup by Elder of Ziyon via twitter

which has a link to this humanitarian aid to gaza article - dated 31/12/2008 - saying that Israel has allowed 6500 tonnes of aid to enter gaza since the recent operation began, and that the World Food Programme (WFP) has said it's warehouses are full and will last for 2 weeks so they won't send any more just yet. see below - 05/01/2009 - more food from WFP has gone into gaza.

Today (Wednesday, December 31 2008), 12 Palestinians entered Israel for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals. Two of those evacuated were children injured during the military activates, the remaining are chronically sick people, and their escorts, that entered Israel for treatment that is not available within the Gaza Strip.

Further more, despite ongoing rocket fire, Israel continues with the extensive humanitarian effort in coordination with the international organizations, Palestinian Authority and various donors. Ninety three trucks, with approximately 2500 tons of humanitarian aid, medical supplies and medication were conveyed through Kerem Shalom cargo terminal. The World Food Programme has informed Israel that they will not be resuming shipment of food commodities in to Gaza due to the fact that their warehouses are at full capacity and will last for approximately two weeks.

Since the beginning of operation "Cast Lead" some 6500 tons of aid have been transferred at the request of the international organizations, the Palestinian Authority and various governments. Preparations are underway to facilitate further shipments expected to arrive in the coming days.

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also, there's a link to the aid to gaza blog
their 'about' page :
This is a website, maintained at the Israeli Embassy in London, which aims to give as much information as possible on all the international aid being sent into Gaza. We'll post updates from Israel's COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories) office, OCHA, UNRWA, USAID, ICRC (International Red Cross Red Crescent) and WHO information, as well as individual and group actions from the grassroots, like the Free Gaza Movement.

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US media see Al-Jazeera as biased' from jpost.com - mentioning there's a growing coalition between independent media and the Arabic networks

"Al-Jazeera says its broadcasts are objective and contextualized, and that this is how the Arab world sees the war," said Samuel-Azran. "They say the difference between their broadcasting and the West's comes from a different cultural perspective.

"But the American networks feel that Al-Jazeera is more like Fox, pushing a specific perspective," he explains.

But what may be true for the mainstream networks is not so in the alternative media.

"There is a kind of connection or coalition developing between alternative media in the West and the large Arab networks," Samuel-Azran found. "It's born of necessity.

"Indymedia, for example, has the Western audience with a hunger for information, but can't reach the places where events are happening or broadcast them in a professional way," he explained. "Al-Jazeera, on the other hand, has the reach and the resources, but can't get a Western audience for its product through most of the mainstream media.

"Al Jazeera hasn't planned this influence," he said. Rather, "it's created by a hunger in some parts of the West for this information, particularly in countries such as Australia and Britain where Al-Jazeera is seen in a better light than in the US."

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In Beersheba, rockets bring Arab, Jewish neighbors together
in jpost.com - about the Arabs and Jewish people living together in the same neighbourhood in Israel with no trouble

"Look at this," Yitzhak said as she followed the crowd back down the stairs. "This is a mixed neighborhood - Jews and Arabs live here together, and we're all suffering from the rockets together. These women are scared just like we are, and they're our neighbors - we decided that we should all stay down here together."

Indeed, the Arab families, mostly Beduin, said they were happy to be with their Jewish neighbors in the shelter, and that they abhorred the rocket fire coming in from Gaza.

"What do I care about Hamas?" one of the Arab men asked, his anger visible. "This is my home right here, and they're firing rockets at it. Do you think they would stop if they knew there were Arabs living here?"

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Hard Truths About the Conflict from washingtonpost.com - uncovering some of the myths about the conflict

Egypt and Jordan have made peace with Israel, not because they embraced the ideas of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, but because they concluded that the effort to destroy the Jewish state had failed and that refusing to come to terms with it was harmful to their national interests. Ultimately, peace will be possible only if most Palestinians and their leaders become convinced that terrorism and violence are a dead end and that they cannot under any circumstances prevail over Israel through the use of force. If today's conflict leaves a seriously weakened and politically damaged Hamas, that result is more likely to enhance the prospects for peace than to weaken them.

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Palestinian Media Watch Monitors Gaza Coverage - including reports of cameramen telling people what to say to the camera, and an explanation from Hamas on why they use human shields

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'Hamas must halt attacks for truce' from jpost.com

Egypt's foreign minister said on Thursday that Hamas must ensure rocket fire stops in any truce deal to halt Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip, criticizing the Palestinian group for giving Israel an excuse to launch the bombardment.
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Aboul Gheit said any eventual truce agreement should include a mechanism to oversee "that everything proceeds without one side causing problems with the other." He told journalists that the mechanism could involve "international forces or Arab forces or just observers."

Israeli officials have said they want international monitors to ensure compliance with any truce. It was not clear whether the mission of monitors proposed by Aboul Gheit would be to ensure the truce or be limited to observing border crossings, one of the central issues in the dispute over Gaza because of Israeli fears of smuggling of weapons.

Aboul Gheit said Israel must immediately halt its offensive, but he insisted Hamas must commit to enforcing a halt to rockets. "We expect the Palestinian side to say that if a cease-fire is announced, we'll stop firing rockets," he said, warning that "some loose group can decide to continue firing rockets and make it difficult to have a cease-fire."

He criticized Hamas, saying Egypt had seen "the signals that Israel was determined to strike Hamas in Gaza for the past three months. They practically wrote it in the sky."

"Unfortunately, they (Hamas) served Israel the opportunity on a golden platter to hit Gaza," he said.

U.S. allied governments like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which have been critical of Hamas and are worried its control of the Gaza Strip gives their regional rival Iran a foothold. The Israeli onslaught, which has killed some 400 Palestinians since last Saturday, had hiked tempers between pro-U.S. countries on one side and Hamas' supporters, Syria and Iran, on the other.

Egypt in particular has come under harsh criticism for not opening up the Rafah crossing, the only access to Gaza that does not go through Israel. Its opponents accuse Egypt of joining Israel in blockading the territory in an attempt to remove Hamas, which took control in the tiny coastal strip in 2007 in fierce battles with loyalists of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Aboul Gheit repeated Egypt's argument that it cannot open Rafah unless Abbas' Palestinian Authority - which runs the West Bank - controls the crossing and international monitors are present.

He said Hamas wants Rafah opened because it would represent implicit Egyptian recognition of the militant group's control of Gaza. "Of course this is something we cannot do," Aboul Gheit said, because it would undermine the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority and consecrate the split between Gaza and the West Bank.

Aboul Gheit said Egypt had proposed that Arab foreign ministers who gathered in Cairo a day earlier request Hamas allow Palestinian Authority control of Rafah. But Syria rejected the proposal, he said.

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Arabs continue diplomatic bid to slam Israel, halt IAF from jpost.com

Meanwhile, the war of words between Hamas and Egypt escalated again on Thursday, when a senior Egyptian parliamentarian charged Hamas leaders with abandoning Gazans.

"Where are the Hamas leaders now, when the residents of Gaza are getting killed? All of Hamas's leadership is in bunkers," Muhammad Bassiouny, the head of the parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, charged in an interview with an Egyptian television station.

Bassiouny is a former ambassador to Israel.

Hamas leaders have largely gone underground since the IAF began its bombing campaign on Saturday, and on Wednesday, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Yuval Diskin said that many members of the organization's leadership echelon were hiding in mosques and hospitals, some of them disguised as doctors and male nurses.

In a televised address to the Palestinian public on Wednesday evening - the first such appearance since violence flared six days ago - Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said he derived confidence from his conviction that "the Arab people have proven the Palestinian issue is in their hearts."

Bassiouny scoffed at Haniyeh's faith in the Arab world's support, saying, "No one cares if all of the Palestinians are destroyed, what kind of talk is this?"

Bassiouny was also high critical of Hamas for killing an Egyptian border guard on Sunday.

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Meanwhile, the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reported Thursday that Egyptian security forces were in pursuit of a Hamas terrorist cell that had recently infiltrated Egypt, for fear of an attack on Egyptian soil. According to the report, Egyptian authorities were also concerned that the cell would target security forces along the border.

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Gaza attack strengthens Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood from jpost.com

On Monday, thousands of Egyptians marched in downtown Cairo, chanting phrases such as, "Off to Gaza we go, martyrs by the million," and "We all belong to Hamas."

The government and the military were as much to blame as Israel, activists said. "Where is the Egyptian army?" was another slogan chanted by the throngs of demonstrators.

"It is disappointing that while our Palestinian brothers and sisters are being killed, [President Hosni] Mubarak and his cronies sit by and do nothing. Only the Brotherhood is leading this country on the right path," says Ahmed Said, a university student who is supporting the efforts of the Brotherhood.

...

Being overlooked due to the fighting in Gaza is the power of the Brotherhood and its massive grassroots support. The ability to bring thousands of people to the street under one unified banner is extremely difficult in Egypt and the success this week seen by the Brotherhood is causing many to question the true strength of the group.

"It is great to see so many people out and supporting the cause of Palestine. It is unacceptable that our Arab governments sit by and do nothing while the people want action," one protestor said at Monday's demonstration, which turned into a silent march from downtown Cairo to the Doctor's Syndicate as part of an agreement with security forces.

With a government largely seen by the opposition as being complicit in the bombing of Gaza, Egyptians are fed up and heading to support the Brotherhood in droves. Pictures of Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni meeting with her Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Aboul Gheit late last week have fueled resentment and anger among average citizens.

Although chants of "Down with Mubarak" were largely silenced at Sunday's and Monday's demonstrations, the feelings remain. Protestors believe the government is as much to blame as Israel and the United States. And in a region where conservatism is taking hold, the outlet is the Brotherhood - the country's most organized and vocal opposition force.

"I don't normally support the Brotherhood and don't actually like it that much," says Heba, a self-proclaimed secular activist. "But in this situation, without any other actions that can be taken, I will support the Brotherhood and its continuous action against the government and Israel. It is so horrible what is happening in Gaza and our governments are doing nothing."

Her sentiments echo the mainstream these days, which accuses the government of doing nothing and saying nothing save a few veiled criticisms of Israeli action.

The Brotherhood has become the only force of leadership in Egypt, making it scarily powerful in the face of Mubarak's rule. However, violence is not an option, says Brotherhood deputy Mohamed Habib.

"We do not want violence. That is not the purpose of our demonstrations and mass movement by the people," he told The Media Line.

"Our goal is to spur the government to take action in what has become the most recent in a string of wrongs brought on Arabs by Israel."

The government is in a precarious situation. First, the peace treaty with Israel limits its ability to apply pressure; second is the alleged prior knowledge of Israeli plans by Cairo before the bombing of Gaza began on Saturday.

This, along with the widespread support the Brotherhood is achieving this week means the government is not in a position to do much.

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Al-Jazeera's graphic Gaza images inspire anger, hostility from jpost.com

Earlier this week, Al-Jazeera repeatedly streamed the image of two dead children at a morgue, wrapped in white sheets with all but their faces exposed.

The pictures were repeated often and for significant periods of time, even as broadcasters gave the news of the hour or interviewed various guests.

The network's Arabic-language coverage of Israel's military operation, which has killed nearly 400 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, has been almost constant, with frequent updates of the number of "martyrs" killed.
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Analysts say that these and similar images broadcast around the world have played an important role in mobilizing the Arab street to protest by the tens of thousands, burn effigies and Israeli flags and demand action from their governments.

Egyptian officials have privately accused the Qatari-based network of downplaying Egypt's mediation efforts and attempts to alleviate the crisis.

Israeli officials, along with the Palestinian Authority, have long accused the station of being pro-Hamas. They say its treatment of Israel's current military operation is no different.

"It gives a lot of air time for their officials to speak … and they don't differentiate between citizens and militants," said Ofir Gendelman, director of the Arab press and public affairs division of at the Foreign Ministry. "They disregard the fact that Hamas has been bombarding Israel with thousands of rockets in the last few years."

He acknowledged that the station does give some time for Israeli officials to offer their side of the story, "but I wouldn't say it's sufficient or equal," he said.

But the most popular station in the Arab world has long defended its objectivity, and a large number of viewers over the years have turned to the station to get information they wouldn't otherwise get - including dissenting opinions - from their state-controlled stations.

The network in August apologized to Israel after its Lebanese bureau threw an on-air birthday party for Samir Kuntar, who Israel released in July as part of an Israel-Hizbullah prisoner swap.

As could be expected, the rhetoric in the Arab media has gotten increasingly more critical and hostile towards Israel since the Jewish state launched its operation in the Gaza Strip. Some note that it has also gotten more anti-Semitic.

For example, an Egyptian cleric recently told Al Nas TV on December 29 that he takes his son and makes him "look at the torn body parts of his Muslim brothers, in order to sow in his heart hatred and loathing for the Zionists, so he will know that these are his enemies," according to Palestine Media Watch.

Egyptian newspapers have also taken an increasingly harsh and unbalanced tone towards Israel in recent days, observers note. Analysts say that these and similar images broadcast around the world have played an important role in mobilizing the Arab street to protest by the tens of thousands, burn effigies and Israeli flags and demand action from their governments.

Egyptian officials have privately accused the Qatari-based network of downplaying Egypt's mediation efforts and attempts to alleviate the crisis.

Israeli officials, along with the Palestinian Authority, have long accused the station of being pro-Hamas. They say its treatment of Israel's current military operation is no different.

"It gives a lot of air time for their officials to speak … and they don't differentiate between citizens and militants," said Ofir Gendelman, director of the Arab press and public affairs division of at the Foreign Ministry. "They disregard the fact that Hamas has been bombarding Israel with thousands of rockets in the last few years."

He acknowledged that the station does give some time for Israeli officials to offer their side of the story, "but I wouldn't say it's sufficient or equal," he said.

But the most popular station in the Arab world has long defended its objectivity, and a large number of viewers over the years have turned to the station to get information they wouldn't otherwise get - including dissenting opinions - from their state-controlled stations.

The network in August apologized to Israel after its Lebanese bureau threw an on-air birthday party for Samir Kuntar, who Israel released in July as part of an Israel-Hizbullah prisoner swap.

As could be expected, the rhetoric in the Arab media has gotten increasingly more critical and hostile towards Israel since the Jewish state launched its operation in the Gaza Strip. Some note that it has also gotten more anti-Semitic.

For example, an Egyptian cleric recently told Al Nas TV on December 29 that he takes his son and makes him "look at the torn body parts of his Muslim brothers, in order to sow in his heart hatred and loathing for the Zionists, so he will know that these are his enemies," according to Palestine Media Watch.

Egyptian newspapers have also taken an increasingly harsh and unbalanced tone towards Israel in recent days, observers note.

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From Be'er Sheva, under Grad attack, with anger from americanthinker.com

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The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas from memri.org (middle east media research institute)

Palestinian page on MEMRI.org - see other pages / regions too

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Rocket Hits Be'er Sheva, IDF Strafes Gaza, Ground Troops Ready from INN.com

they also have a map showing the reach of the rockets from gaza into Israel

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04/01/2009

list of links to Middle East & Arab online news services in English via jpost.com

footage of 'food shortages' in gaza early december from Elder of Zion site - footage from Israel embassy in France

06/01/2009

gaza war stories from jewishvirtuallibrary.org

why would Israel want civilians to die

gazatalk.com

tales to tell - stories from inside gaza by a foreign aid worker (I think?)

About peace, not destruction of Hamas from The Australian online

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an article from World Food Programme who are transporting food into gaza for the people there : WFP Builds Up Food Stocks in Gaza 05/01/2009 :

Jerusalem, 5 January 2009 - WFP moved 11 truckloads of food into Gaza on Monday as part of efforts to respond to the growing humanitarian needs.

Since the recent upsurge in conflict, WFP has delivered some 1,600 tons of food into Gaza, where the agency's warehouses are stocked with some 3,700 metric tons -- about half their normal capacity.

That is enough to feed 265,000 people for two months. However, WFP needs to keep up the flow of food into Gaza, to avoid breaks in the supply line in the coming months that will leave people hungry and without the nutrition they need.

Distributions of food assistance have been badly hampered by security constraints. Truckers contracted to transport food from the southern town of Kerem Shalom, where the 11 trucks arrived on Monday, were unwilling to do the job because of concerns about their safety.

Safety concerns

The same concerns are limiting the ability of both beneficiaries and WFP's co-operating partners to reach distribution points.

Civilians are finding it increasingly difficult to find food in Gaza, with few commodities available on the market. Bakeries have been running out of wheat flour and on Monday only 12 out of 47 bakeries were functioning.

WFP has been delivering flour to bakeries to provide baked bread to the civilian population. WFP-contracted bakeries can now produce 5,000 3-kg bread parcels per day. However, it is still difficult to get the bread from the bakeries to the people who need it most.

Canned meat and biscuits

Since 29 December, WFP has succeeded in reaching some 50,000 beneficiaries in Gaza, plus a further 15,000 people who have received bread. In addition, WFP canned meat and High Energy Biscuits have been delivered to 13 Gaza hospitals, sufficient for some 6,000 patients and staff for up to one month.

WFP is calling for all parties to allow a “breathing space” to carry out an assessment of the needs of the most vulnerable people in Gaza before resuming full-scale distributions.

Because of new displacements caused by the hostilities, WFP estimates that a further 50,000 people in Gaza will require our assistance over the coming weeks, requiring an additional US$9 million in funding.

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06/01/2008 : the australian has a poll to see : Is the invasion justified?.
results for 'your (my) postcode' has 80% support for Israel, 20% against - it's a predominantly Indian & Lebanese suburb.
results for 'the nation' shows 48% for Israel, 52% against.

this video was really graphic - awful images in gaza of people being gathered up. the audio was very distorted and in arabic so I'm not sure what it was saying. there were lots of hamas guys though in their camo gear and black face coverings and bright green bandanas. there were civilians badly hurt or killed - it was hard to see clearly. at the end there was a ute with something that looked like a handmade rocket launcher in the tray - it was hard to see and they cut off the video at the end. the ute had been shot and was burnt out. the video has been removed from youtube today (07/01/2009) - it was on the fromgaza.com website

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07/01/2009

take hamas at it's word - from jpost.com : mentions

The worldview of Hamas extends far beyond Israel and the Jews. By its own words, it seeks global Islamic domination, the restoration of the transnational Caliphate, rejection of Western values, and the repudiation of basic human rights. It aspires to the "utter destruction" of America. It is a saboteur of any possible move toward Arab-Israeli peace. Its closest allies are Iran, Syria and Hizbullah.

Ask journalists about Hamas' commitment to press freedom since it seized power. Ask the tiny Christian community in Gaza what life is like under radical Islamic rule. Ask women how much freedom they have, other than to produce children for the "cause," as the Hamas Covenant stipulates. Ask gays what rights they have. Ask supporters of Fatah, who were pummeled and tortured in the violent Hamas seizure of power in 2007 - and, in the past week, according to news accounts, have been killed by Hamas as possible "collaborators" with Israel - how much latitude they have.

Ignorance and indifference may be tempting escape valves, but they don't begin to solve the problem.

Israel today faces an entirely unique situation.

It is bordered by a rogue entity led by a group openly calling for its destruction, acquiring ever more advanced weaponry, cavalierly using civilians, including children, as human shields, and celebrating death and destruction in Israel.

Israel is a democratic nation that has repeatedly declared its commitment to a two-state settlement with the Palestinians, has a vested interest in a stable and prosperous Gaza, and goes to unprecedented lengths to avoid civilian deaths.

When has another nation at war regularly contacted civilians on the other side to warn them of impending strikes? When has another nation at war sent humanitarian supplies across its border to assist those on the other side? When has another nation at war continued to admit those on the other side in need of medical care to its hospitals? Israel is doing all three.

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Analysis: Why has the West Bank been quiet? - on jpost.com

he West Bank and the Gaza Strip have been separated for nearly two decades now. Most Palestinians living in the West Bank have never been to the Gaza Strip. Similarly, only a few Palestinians from the Gaza Strip have ever set foot in the West Bank.

Even when there were no Israeli-imposed travel restrictions, there was almost no interaction between the two communities. Although they may be united politically, the Palestinians in each area have always had different traditions and attitudes.

At times, relations between the two communities were strained following allegations that the West Bankers were "looking down" on their brothers in the Gaza Strip.

...

Another reason behind the relative calm is attributed to the fact that some Palestinians blame Hamas for the latest cycle of violence. They are convinced that Hamas was responsible for the misery of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip because of its refusal to extend the cease-fire and its continued rocket attacks on Israel.

It's also possible that the West Bankers today feel that they have more to lose by resorting to violence. Over the past two years, their economic situation has improved remarkably as the international community resumed financial aid to the PA. In contrast, the situation in the Gaza Strip ever since Hamas took full control over the area has only been deteriorating, on almost all levels.

Moreover, there's the deterrence element, which seems to have kept many Palestinians in the West Bank at home. The massive air strikes and the high casualty toll in Gaza (more than 600 killed and nearly 3,000 wounded, according to Palestinian sources) have sent the message to the public that "the Jews have finally gone mad" and that this is not the proper time to mess with them.

Finally, the West Bankers, like their brothers in the Strip, have once again been reminded of the sad fact that the Arab and Islamic governments don't really care that much about their plight. In the absence of strong backing from the Arabs and Muslim regimes, there is less motivation among the West Bankers to engage in another round of violence.

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Israeli shelling kills 42 at UN school in Gaza from allvoices.com

Hamas executes 6 suspected collaborators with Israel from allvoices.com

They were suspected of delivering information to IDF, guiding IAF warplanes, and were put to death by Hamas in the past two days by Hamas security officers in the fighting zone in Jabalya.
Among the alleged collaborators were three brothers, one of whom attempted before his arrest to swallow a cell phone's SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card, which is believed to have documented his conversations with Israeli security officials.

An eyewitness said that among the dead were three brothers executed on the street. Palestinians organization members and security sources in the Strip confirmed the report.

A source in Hamas said that all these guys had confessed to the act in the presence of their sister. She announced in public that she condemned her brothers and would cut all ties with them due to their betrayal.

A fourth sibling from the same family was executed last week after attempting to escape a bombed Gaza jail. He was imprisoned for collaborating with Israel and for aiding the assassination of Amar Karmut, the former leader of the Salah al-Din Brigades, the Popular Resistance Committees' military wing in the northern Strip.

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what really happend at UNRWA school : from Elder of Zion

White phosphorus added to Israeli fire from presstv.com

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a map from sabbah.biz of the changing borders in Israel & Palestine :

-- I wonder what the Palestinians would do with the land if they did get it back - which I don't think will ever happen. from what I saw, Israel is a modern country no different in development to Western countries. Israel left Gaza in 2005 and the Gazan's haven't done anything to improve their lives there - especially since hamas took control (via a coup and then elected by majority of people). same for the West Bank. they don't seem to have support from the other Arabic nations. definitely not from Egypt either who refused to admit Palestinians & erected a wall between the two regions to separate them.

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flattening the conflict - blog entry from the 2006 war - building the wall, water supplies lost. from a jordanian's palestinian point of view

How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe

al jazeera english - gaza on twitter

Robert Fisk: Why do they hate the West so much, we will ask - opinion section of the guardian.co.uk

How Israel breached the ceasefire, to set up an invasion

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Report: US officers deployed along Egypt-Rafah border on y net news

US Engineering Corps officers have arrived in southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah to monitor the Egypt-Gaza border and unearth underground tunnels in the area, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi reported Wednesday.

According to the report, the US Military deployed troops to the area several weeks ago, at Israel's request, in light of its statements that Egypt is doing nothing to curb weapons smuggling into Gaza through the Rafah border.

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Israel Puts Media Clamp on Gaza - from new york times

Like all wars, this one is partly about public relations. But unlike any war in Israel’s history, in this one the government is seeking to entirely control the message and narrative for reasons both of politics and military strategy.

“This is the result of what happened in the 2006 Lebanon war against Hezbollah,” said Nachman Shai, a former army spokesman who is writing a doctoral dissertation on Israel’s public diplomacy. “Then, the media were everywhere. Their cameras and tapes picked up discussions between commanders. People talked on live television. It helped the enemy and confused and destabilized the home front. Today, Israel is trying to control the information much more closely.”

The government-commissioned investigation into the war with Hezbollah reported that the army had found that when reporters were allowed on the battlefield in Lebanon, they got in the way of military operations by posing risks and asking questions.

Maj. Avital Leibovich, an army spokeswoman, said, “If a journalist gets injured or killed, then it is Central Command’s responsibility.” She said the government was trying to protect Israel from rocket fire and “not deal with the media.”

Beyond such tactical considerations, there is a political one. Daniel Seaman, director of Israel’s Government Press Office, said, “Any journalist who enters Gaza becomes a fig leaf and front for the Hamas terror organization, and I see no reason why we should help that.”

Foreign reporters deny that their work in Gaza has been subject to Hamas censorship or control. Unable to send foreign reporters into Gaza, the international news media have relied on Palestinian journalists based there for coverage.

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Israel Breaches Gaza Ceasefire: Invades, Kills 7, Seizes Many - november 5-6th blog entry on From Occupied Palestine, With Love blog

Six Hamas activists killed during Israeli raids in Gaza Strip - from 5th november 2008 via ma'an news agency

from muqata on twitter

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no wonder it's hard for this situation to be resolved. I think there's some propaganda on both sides in the media and blogs (plenty of examples above) as everyone has their own idea of what is and has happened and why

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08/01/2009

Washington Watch: 'Booyay': Israel's reluctant allies

Two days after the IAF destroyed Saddam Hussein's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981, the CIA held a classified briefing for members of Congress. Lawmakers wanted to know about the Arab reaction.

"Booyay," the CIA briefer said.

"Is that an Arabic word?What does it mean?" he was asked. It means publicly they were booing, the CIA official said, but privately they were cheering what came to be known as the great Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1981.

...

A pro-Hizbullah newspaper said, "Israel would be satisfied with a compromise, but the Arab regimes want to finish Hamas completely." It's probably right. Israeli leaders define victory as a weakened and humbled Hamas that will halt all the attacks, honor a cease-fire and accept international supervision. Hamas, on the other hand, will declare a great victory simply if its leadership is still breathing.

Arab leaders know this is a proxy war with Iran, and Israel is on their side. Some day they may even find the courage to say so publicly.
Until then, we'll have to settle for more "booyays."

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Why Support Israel - via aish.com & http://www.nationalreview.com

Dr Wafa Sultan confronts Muslim Cleric on Islam @ http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=DbzofeVovUA

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