Gaza: From the massacre and rubble of Shejalya, statues of memory and witness…

Palestinian artist captures Gaza pain in clay

October 28, 2014
GAZA CITY : Palestinian artist Iyyad Sabbah (R),40, stands in front of his statues standing amidst the rubble of buildings destroyed during the 50 days of conflict between Israel and Hamas last summer, in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City on October 21, 2014. The statues are made of fiberglass and covered with clay and are depictions of the Palestinians who fled their houses from Israeli shelling during the most recent conflict. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS

GAZA CITY – Among the mountains of rubble littering Gaza after a deadly summer war, clay outlines emerge of men, women, and children with a story to tell about fear, flight and destruction.

Though his sculptures, which are made of fibreglass and covered with clay, Iyyad Sabbah relates the pain of those who lived through this latest conflict with Israel during which nearly 2,200 Palestinians were killed, mostly civilians.
Some are splashed with blood-red paint, those closest to the ruins of homes flattened by bombs in Gaza City’s eastern Shejaiya district.
The neighborhood, on the border with Israel, lay on the frontline when ground troops went in and was largely reduced to a wasteland in the war launched to halt cross-border militant rocket fire.
It is in Shejaiya that Sabbah, a professor of art at Gaza’s Al-Aqsa University, has chosen to locate his installation, attracting many passers-by.
“These statues recall the war, when we fled – men, women and children – some in just their underwear,” reflected Mohammed al-Latif, 20, who escaped his home shortly before it was flattened in an Israeli drone strike.
Personification of suffering
“These statues are a new form of art by giving form to the suffering of Gazans,” said the artist, who was delighted at the warm reception local people have given to his figures of clay.

How Israel is turning Gaza into a super-max prison

How Israel is turning Gaza into a super-max prison


Palestinians walk under the minaret of a destroyed mosque in Gaza. Israel not only are profiting from the reconstruction but also turning the territory into a super-maximum prison. Photo: Mohammed Saber / EPA

According to the United Nations, 100,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged, leaving 600,000 Palestinians – nearly one in three of Gaza’s population – homeless or in urgent need of humanitarian help.

Roads, schools and the electricity plant to power water and sewerage systems are in ruins. The cold and wet of winter are approaching. Aid agency Oxfam warns that at the current rate of progress it may take 50 years to rebuild Gaza.

Where else in the world apart from the Palestinian territories would the international community stand by idly as so many people suffer – and not from a random act of God but willed by fellow humans?

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Under cover of reconstruction, UN and PA become enforcers of Israel’s Gaza siege

[Among the more cynical acts of "humanitarian imperialism" is the invention of this "relief" program for the further humiliation and victimization of the Gazan victims of imperialism and Zionism. -- Frontlines ed.]
10/17/2014

http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/under-cover-reconstruction-un-and-pa-become-enforcers-israels-gaza-siege

Details given in a confidential briefing this week confirm that the UN has agreed to become the chief enforcer of Israel’s ongoing siege of Gaza.

Under the guise of reconstruction, the UN will be monitoring and gathering private information about Palestinian households to be passed onto Israel, which will have a veto over which families get aid to rebuild their homes.

This was presented as part of an effort to try to entrench and legitimize the Israeli-backed Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza.
Under the arrangements, Israel will be given even more intrusive control over the lives of Palestinians in Gaza, who will be subjected to onerous ongoing monitoring as they try to rebuild their houses, communities and lives following Israel’s summer massacre.

UN agencies estimate that almost 90,000 homes must be rebuilt, in addition to hundreds of schools and other major infrastructure systematically destroyed in Israel’s attack, or degraded by years of blockade.

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California: Pro-Palestinian Protesters Block Israeli Ship from Unloading

Protesters block unloading of Israeli ship in Oakland

By Hamed Aleaziz

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Protesters angered by Israel’s military actions in Gaza gathered at the Port of Oakland on Saturday morning in an effort to prevent a cargo ship managed by an Israeli company from unloading.

Longshore workers did not unload the ship, the Zim Shanghai, because of safety concerns posed by the presence of several hundred protesters and about 50 police officers, said Craig Merrilees, spokesman for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The ship is docked at the port’s Berth 59, he said.

The workers planned to reassess the situation later during the Saturday evening shift, he said. The union has not taken a position on the protest or any of the issues involved. Continue reading

43 Israeli Reserve Soldiers Stand Against IDF and SIGINT

[“A significant part of what the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] does is not the “title” [ie defence]. The “title” of what the IDF does in the occupied territories is ruling another people. One of the things you need to do is defend yourself from them, but you also need to oppress the population. You need to weaken the politics, you need to strengthen and deepen your control of Palestinian society so that the [Israeli] state can remain [there] in the long term … We realised that that’s the job of the intelligence.”: — from the interview with 3 of the “refuseniks”, in the 2nd article posted below. The unity of these “refuseniks” is a rejection of the colonial mission to control all aspects of Palestinian life.  They do not, as a group, object to other aspects of Israel and Israeli military policy and practice.  Nonetheless, their stance is noteworthy, though limited. — Frontlines ed.]

.2014/09/18

Jean Shaoul

Forty-three reserve soldiers and officers in Israel’s prestigious military intelligence gathering unit, Unit 8200, have refused to take any further part in the gathering of information on Palestinian society in the West Bank.
Their stand is the latest expression of the growing opposition within the armed forces to the ongoing repression of the Palestinian people.
Refusal to enlist was once considered unthinkable among Jewish Israeli youth other than among the ultra-orthodox, but now, as one young refusenik, Shaked Harari, explained, they “are not embarrassed that we are refusing. We believe that this declaration can make an ideological change, and it will not happen if we don’t stand behind it and we are not honest with it.”

Unit 8200 is under the control of the Israel Defence Force’s (IDF) Military Intelligence Directorate, whose role is similar to that of the National Security Agency in the United States. It collects signal intelligence (SIGINT), including eavesdropping on telephone calls, text messages, and emails. As the largest part of the IDF, the views expressed must therefore reflect a much wider layer than the number who actually signed the letter.
The unit has acquired an iconic status, in part because as a result of its technical expertise a number of 8200’s alumni have gone on to found or manage some of Israel’s high-tech start-up companies. Its operations are secret and subject to censorship, while the identities of its leading personnel are never revealed.
It is therefore all the more significant that it is the ethical and political character of the Unit’s work and above all its methods that have come to public attention. While a number of pilots, soldiers and officers from combat units faced with the daily task of humiliating and arresting Palestinians—and worse—have refused service, this is the first time that anyone in electronic surveillance has spoken up and refused to enlist.
Jewish Israeli men are required to carry out three years of military service from the age of 18 and then at least a month a year of reserve duty until the age of 40. They typically spend a few weeks each year in active duty. While women are also obliged to do military service, they are not required to serve in combat units, while their service and reservist duties are shorter.
The 43 signatories, collected over a year, to an open letter to Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, chiefs of the IDF and its SIGINT branch stressed that they believed that the information they collected was often used to exert control over innocent Palestinian civilians and to set West Bank residents against each other. At the same time it was an invasion of the privacy of the Palestinian, said the signatories. Continue reading

When the smoke clears in Gaza

by Robin D. G. Kelley, August 8, 2014

http://blackeducator.blogspot.com/2014/08/gaza-massacre-continues-us-academia-and.html

“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians” –Nelson Mandela

Israel’s illegal, genocidal war on the people of Gaza has the characteristics of a massive tsunami.
Waged with even greater ferocity than Operation Cast Lead or any other assault since the Nakba of 1948 or the 1967 War, its destructive impact may even be worse. Masked as a war of “self-defense,” the euphemistically-named “Operation Protective Edge” is state violence at warp speed; it is completely indiscriminate yet calculated in its targeting of children and adult civilians, hospitals, schools, shelters, markets, and neighborhoods. So massive the onslaught, so swift the reports on social media, that my twitter feed resembles a ticker-tape machine. No one can write or speak fast enough to keep up with the body count.

As I write now, the Palestinian dead is inching toward the 2,000 mark, the injured close to 10,000; a quarter of Gaza’s population is displaced; about 10,000 homes were destroyed—including 141 schools; entire neighborhoods have been razed to the ground; morgues are filled to capacity as dead bodies lay strewn in streets, under rubble or placed in vegetable refrigerators or commercial ice cream freezers. The lack of electricity, clean water, food, sanitation, medical supplies, among other things, means a variety of infectious, nutritional and water-borne diseases are imminent.

If you are reading this, you’re probably familiar with these terrifying facts. Continue reading

Cowardly, Hypocritical, Subservient Congressional Black Caucus Endorses Israeli Apartheid and Current War Crimes in Gaza

http://blackagendareport.com/content/cowardly-hypocritical-subservient-congressional-black-caucus-endorses-israeli-apartheid-and-

Israeli president Shmon Peres meets with Marcia Fudge, chair of the US Congressional Black Caucus, and a delegation of the Congressional Caucus at the president's residence in Jerusalem. (photo credit: Mark Neyman/GPO/FLASH90)

                                         Israeli President Shimon Peres hosts Marcia Fudge, chair of the US Congressional Black Caucus, and a delegation of the caucus at the president’s residence in Jerusalem.  (February, 2014)

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon, July 30, 2014

Back in the 1970s, when the Congressional Black Caucus began calling itself “the conscience of the Congress,” that was almost literally true. CBC members could be relied upon not just to reliably vote for raising wages and expenditures on housing, health care and education, but to keep the issues of full employment and opposition to unjust war near thefront of their public agendas.

By the late 1980s, a gaggle of former CBC staffers had moved through the revolving doors of elite affirmative action to become corporate lobbyists, with the same ethics and table manners as their white colleagues, but with black faces. Thanks in large part to their efforts, by 2000 a tsunami of corporate cash began filling up the coffers of incumbent CBC members, their black replacements, or in the cases of Alabama’s Earl Hilliard and Georgia’s Cynthia McKinney, their black opponents.

Only a single member of the CBC, Rep. Barabra Lee opposed President Bush’s blank check for invading anywhere he pleased in Septermber of 2001, and by the 2003 invasion of Iraq, four CBC members, some of them swimming in donations from military contractors, raced down to the White House to have their pictures taken with Bush as the bombs were about to explode over Baghdad.

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