Reports of Israeli attacks on schools and hospitals

Richard Engel of NBC News says that the school that was hit by Israeli artillery was a designated UN refugee shelter which people went to seeking shelter from the aerial barrage. He shows one man who said his six children were blown to bits like scraps of paper. The UN official was adamant that there were no militants in the building. Four such schools have been attacked so far.
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War is not hell, it is worse

Some apologists for war try to casually dismiss the unwelcome fact that it results in the deaths of mostly innocent civilians with clichés like ‘war is hell’, acting as if they are themselves veterans of wars who have seen the grimness up close and are thus can be excused for taking a hardened view. In actual reality, I have noticed that many of the people nowadays who say such things are those who have never seen war and death up close and their macho posturing is just that, posturing. This series of stills from the old TV show M*A*S*H better captures the reality of war.
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What life (and death) is like in Gaza


It is only 140 square miles and contains 1.8 million people, making it one of the most densely populated places on Earth. It is very small, similar in size and population density to Philadelphia, one of the biggest cities in the US. It is a narrow rectangular strip. The northern, eastern, and western borders are blockaded by Israel and the southern edge by Egypt. It is essentially a large, densely populated open-air ‘prison camp’ (as British prime minister David Cameron described it in 2010), which is why it is cynical when Israel, in its widely-publicized attempts at showing its ‘humanity’ while bombing Palestinians, urges people in northern Gaza to evacuate because they are going to bomb the region. That region alone has 200,000 people. Where are they supposed to go? Unlike the victims of violence in other countries, they cannot flee to a neighboring country. They are trapped and so must stay where they are and hope that they will not be blasted to bits. [Update: The original map has been replaced with new a one that is more accurate. Thanks to the commenters for pointing out the errors.] [Read more…]

The carnage in Gaza intensifies

Mohammed Suliman sends out a stream of tweets from Gaza that provide an insight into the kinds of surreal thoughts that flood your mind when you await what might well be your own death from a missile strike. It is poignant and tragic. It should be read in conjunction with this report (via Pharyngula) about the most recent massacre committed by Israel in which nearly ninety people died in one neighborhood.
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Support for Israel hemorrhaging

The latest assault by Israel on Gaza has furthered the process in which Israel is losing support worldwide and also among Jews in the US, especially among the young, who do not buy in to the idea that Israel faces some existential threat that requires massive and disproportionate attacks on Palestinians. Instead what they see is a reactionary government backed by the US that is using its massive military power to oppress people that they have displaced from their homes.
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The Israel lobby swings into action

The influence of the Israel lobby in the US is most clearly visible when that country engages in massive onslaughts on Palestinians that threaten to arouse widespread anger and disgust. Then it whips into action to blunt criticism in the US media and prevent any action against it. As Palestinian casualties in Gaza mount to over 300, one fifth of whom are children, and the destruction of a hospital, the Israel lobby has its work cut out for it.
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Horror again in Gaza and Israel

Uri Avnery decribes in detail the harrowing sequence of events that have happened in Israel recently, starting with the murder of three Israeli youth, an atrocity that ignited a fire that was fanned by Israeli politicians to create massive anti-Arab anger that then led to the horrific burning alive of a Palestinian teenager and the vicious beating of his American cousin by Israeli security forces (video), the launching of missiles at Israel by Hamas, and then the massive assault by Israel on Gaza, the latest in a long series, resulting in over one hundred deaths of Palestinians and the numbers still increasing, with even a hospital and a home for the disabled being bombed.
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Pope Francis visits Israel’s apartheid wall in the Occupied Territories

News media were agog with the news of how during his visit to Israel and the Occupied Territories, pope Francis stopped his motorcade and went up to the apartheid wall that Israel has constructed, touched it with his head and prayed. Kelly Lynn describes, along with many photographs, how Palestinian activists managed to evade Israeli security guards and spray paint messages on the wall and a massive gate that the government had just painted over earlier to hide previous messages.
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