by Stephen Lendman
Daily violence against innocent civilians persists largely below the radar. So does occupation harshness. Media scoundrels turn a blind eye.
In the week ending November 7 alone, Israel killed a Gaza civilian epileptic victim sufferer. Airstrikes killed two other Gazans.
In the West Bank Hares village, 12 civilians were attacked and wounded, including a child. Three attacks targeted Palestinian fishermen at sea.
Peaceful West Bank protesters were assaulted. Dozens were beaten and/or suffered from tear gas inhalation. Israeli security forces conducted 92 incursions into West Bank communities - an average of 13 a day.
They usually occur belligerently pre-dawn. Families are terrorized. Homes are ransacked. Property is damaged or destroyed. Adults and children are arrested, beaten, and detained.
Two incursions targeted Gazan communities. Five dozen arrests were made throughout Palestine, including five children and two women. One was the wife of Palestinian prisoner, Bassam al-Sa'di.
Several homes were demolished in 'Anata and al-Tour neighborhoods. Tenders were issued for 1,200 new Pisgat Ze'ev and Ramot settlement housing units. They'll be build on stolen Palestinian land.
EU Foreign Affairs/Security Policy head Catherine Ashton issued a pathetic statement. Doing so reflected Western contempt for Palestinian suffering.
Effectively she endorsed Israeli land theft. She called new construction "regrettable." It's lawless. She knows it but wouldn't say.
Most important, she and EU leaders do nothing to stop it. Nor does Washington. They support it directly and by inaction.
Ashton added that new construction complicates peace efforts. In fact, none exist and never did. Israel and Washington won't tolerate it. Officials like Ashton know but won't explain.
She said nothing about Israel bombing and shelling Gaza. Reports that eight Israeli tanks and four armored bulldozers invaded the town of Abasan, east of Khan Younis, went unnoticed.
Smoke bombs and live ammunition were fired. Overhead Israeli drones were ready to attack. Civilians are targeted, killed or wounded. Incursions like this happen regularly. Western officials are silent. These are war crimes. Responsible officials commit them with impunity.
Gaza's siege and blockade continues. Dozens of new West Bank checkpoints were established. About a dozen Palestinians were arrested at West Bank checkpoints, including four children and one woman.
Extremist settlers continue attacking Palestinians. They commit violence and vandalism with impunity. Other West Bank and East Jerusalem crimes against humanity were committed.
On Fridays, Bil'in village residents protest peacefully against Israel's apartheid wall construction. It's being built on stolen village land. An activist's sign reads, "The occupation will not remove us from our land."
On November 9, Israeli security forces attacked demonstrators. Tear gas and rubber bullets were used. Injuries were reported. An Italian activist was wounded.
Many residents suffered from tear gas inhalation. The Popular Committee Against the Wall and settlements issued a statement, saying its struggle against occupation harshness will continue.
On November 8, Haaretz contributor Roman Bronfman said:
"The forces of democracy in Israel must now to unite to fight the enemy within. That enemy is our own government, as a whole and in its components."
"Anti-democratic legislation, inflammatory rhetoric, concentrated and anti-social economics and teaching racist and xenophobic - all are dangers to peace within Israel."
Israeli Arabs and Jews for democracy must unite against dark internal forces threatening Israel, Palestine and regional security.
Bronfman urges support for candidates supporting real democracy. Netanyahu/Lieberman and likeminded extremists threaten it and humanity.
What kind of country bombs and shells innocent civilians? Israel does it often and much more. What kind of nations endorse Israeli crimes of war and against humanity? They do it overtly, through silence, and by not acting to stop it as international law demands.
On November 9, an explosion on Gaza's Israeli border wounded four Israeli soldiers. Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility. It followed earlier Israeli attacks.
On November 8, Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian child. Multiple Israeli attacks occur before Palestinians respond. It's their legitimate self-defense right.
Israel calls it terrorism. IDF attacks followed. Israeli tanks shelled Gaza. Four Palestinians were killed. At least another 30 were wounded. Ten are in serious condition.
Residents said a crowded mourning tent in the al-Shujaiyeh neighborhood near Gaza City was targeted. People there were paying respects to the family of a Palestinian killed by shell fire.
Israelis also targeted Khan Younis. Four injuries were reported. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said:
"The occupation's targeting of civilians was a grave escalation that must not pass in silence. Resistance must be reinforced in order to block the aggression."
The Popular Resistance Committees said it fired four rockets at communities close Gaza's border with Israel. It referred to what it called "the revenge invoice" for Palestinian deaths.
Days earlier, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man. He threatened no one.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, "The IDF responded harshly to the incident and further action will be considered in the coming days. We will not tolerate any escalation along the border."
He ignored Israel's responsibility for initiating violence. He and other Israeli officials call it self-defense. It's willful aggression. It's cold-blooded murder.
As usual, The New York Times blamed Palestinian victims. On November 10, it headlined "Violence Surges on Israeli-Gaza Border," saying:
"Palestinian militants fired an antitank missile on Saturday at an Israeli military jeep patrolling Israelís border with Gaza."
Israel returned fire. "Gaza militants then fired a barrage of rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel; one of the militants was killed by a return airstrike."
A confrontational atmosphere "simmer(ed) for months," said The Times. Hamas and other "militant" groups were blamed.
Ignored was over five years of lawless siege, the protracted humanitarian crisis, ordinary Palestinians defending their land, and Israeli belligerence responsibility for virtually all violent incidents.
Throughout decades of occupation harshness, Times reports are consistently pro-Israeli. Palestinian rights get short shrift. Other media scoundrels report the same way.
On November 11, Israeli bombing and shelling continued. Five more Palestinian deaths were reported. Others were wounded. Greater Israeli escalation is feared.
Weeks before Israel's 2009 elections, Cast Lead was launched. Over 1,400 Gazans were killed. Around 5,000 were injured. Enormous damage was caused. Parts of Gaza remain barren. Broken lives aren't the same.
Netanyahu may have Cast Lead 2.0 in mind. Stoking fear, talking tough, and attacking civilians called militants may be his reelection strategy.
It wouldn't be the first time Israel waged aggressive war called self-defense. Targeting Gaza again is very possible and perhaps likely.
On November 11, Reuters headlined "Israel says ready to escalate as Hamas joins Gaza clashes," saying:
Israeli broadcasters quoted Netanyahu saying:
"The world needs to understand that Israel will not sit with arms crossed when faced by attempts to hurt us. And we are prepared to harshen the response.''
Netanyahu is a belligerent warmonger. He's a world class thug. He menaces Israelis, Palestinians, and others regionally. He represents the worst of rogue governance. Anything ahead is possible with him in charge.
Palestinian activist Derek Graham told Press TV that Israel's strategy is "slow genocide." They intend to "wipe out the Palestinians."
They're doing it multiple ways. Illegal weapons and munitions are "used in civilian areas but Israelis use them with impunity. It is unjust and they are allowed to do this and get away with it because they have the Americans backing what they do."
He also mentioned a recent UN report. It said Gaza will be unlivable by 2020. It's practically that way now. Crippling siege and blockade causes enormous hardships. Enforcing it has nothing to do with security.
It's about committing slow motion genocide. It's been ongoing throughout Palestine for years. Nations able to stop it turn a blind eye. Gazans suffer most.
December 27 marks Cast Lead's fourth anniversary. Missiles, bombs, shells, and illegal weapons caused mass slaughter and destruction. Parts of Gaza remain devastated.
Israel uses illegal weapons regularly. Densely populated areas are targeted. Toxic white phosphorous residue and depleted uranium contaminated large parts of Gaza. A spring 2012 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health report said:
"Children with BD (birth defects) were born with higher frequency in families where one or both parents were under 'white phosphorus' attack, than in the general population."
"Bombing of the family home and removal of the rubble were also frequently reported by couples with BD occurrence."
In January 2010, the Baheth Center for Strategic & Palestinian Studies confirmed Israeli depleted uranium (DU) use, saying:
"The ruined buildings and debris left after the Israeli attack on Gaza are contaminated with depleted uranium and similar types of weapons." London-based Palestinian Return Center activist Sameh Habeeb reported it.
Nuclear experts confirmed it. Contamination is permanent. Current and future generations will suffer enormously. Nothing is safe to eat or drink. Cancer and other diseases may become epidemic.
In May 2011, Press TV headlined "Cancer cases on the rise in Gaza," saying:
Shifa Hospital is Gaza's main healthcare provider. Doctors reported many more cancer patients. Norwegian physician volunteers said some victims have DU traces in their bodies.
Environmental damage and pollution are byproducts of war and continued conflict.
Post-Cast Lead readings show some Gazan areas are "1,000 times more radioactive than natural levels, and now cancer cases emerge †on a daily basis."
Affected patients live in mainly bombed areas. Others in Gaza are affected. DU munitions aerosolize on impact. Wind spreads toxic residue. Contaminated air, water and soil results.
Post-war cancer rates increased 30%. Expect continued escalation for many more years. Israel has no concern for human suffering.
Civilians are willfully targeted to inflict as much as possible. It's official strategy in all violent attacks. Accountability is long overdue.
A Final Comment
Beware of false flags. For months throughout the Syrian conflict, possible full-scale Western intervention loomed. It still does. Post-US elections, it's more likely though not certain.
Easy to manufacture pretexts launch wars. America did it repeatedly for over a century. Most-recently, 9/11 initiated a belligerent holocaust. It continues unabated.
Syrian and Iranian regime change is longstanding US policy. All means are considered. War is the bottom line option when others fail.
On November 11, a stray mortar shell from Syria struck occupied Golan. No injuries were reported. A statement said Israel fired cross-border warning shots in response. It added:
"The IDF has filed a complaint through the UN forces operating in the area, stating that fire emanating from Syria into Israel will not be tolerated and shall be responded to with severity."
Defense Secretary Ehud Barak said he expects Assad to fall, and "a new stage in the life of Syria will begin." He left unsaid whether Israel will try to force him out. He warned Damascus that Israel would respond if shells hit Golan.
IDF head General Benny Gantz warned Israel's Golan forces, saying: "This is a Syrian issue that could become our issue."
Netanyahu said Israel is "closely monitoring what is happening on our border with Syria, and there too we are ready for any development."
Earlier stray mortars also struck Golan. Israel knows they're not intentional. Damascus is still held responsible. In January, Netanyahu faces reelection.
Anything he believes enhances his prospects is possible. He may decide it includes acting tough on Syria. The situation bears watching.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]