iPouya Updates on Twitter

I will be updating this blog in an comprehensive manner soon. In the meanwhile, I have been consistently posting on Twitter in case you’re interested in following me there (I would love to hear your thoughts and will cordially reciprocate). I have 3,600 followers and counting just on Twitter (2,000 on Facebook). Social media has become an outstanding venue to spread your ideas and reach a mass audience. My posts were shared 800+ times last summer when I was posting against Israel’s onslaught in Gaza. If you’re not on Twitter and Facebook, I strongly suggest you join and partake in the conversation.

Here’s a snippet:


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iPouya Updates

My apologizes for the lack of updates. I have been busy with a few projects. Most important of all, I’ve been wrapping up my PhD dissertation. I cannot wait to share it with you. In the meantime, I will be posting more regularly on this site. For starters, please see the important article below this post. Cheers.

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8 Reasons Why the US and its Allies Are Responsible for Islamic Extremism

1) The US backs Saudi Arabia against pan-Arab socialism (1950s-1970s).

In many ways, Saudi Arabia is one of the most formative forces in shaping the contemporary Middle East. As part of America’s Cold War strategy, the Middle East’s reactionary forces were cultivated to serve as a bulwark against socialism. As professor Deepa Kumar explains, “the turn by the United States toward promoting Islam on the political stage began in the 1950s.”

At the time, the pan-Arab socialism promoted by leaders like Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser was an ideology on the rise. For his defiance of Washington, Nasser was one of the first politicians to earn the now-ubiquitous comparisons to Hitler. The US and UK collaborated on plans to overthrow or kill Nasser in the melodramatically titled Omega Memos, and ultimately decided to back Saudi Arabia as a strategic counterweight to Egypt.

Beginning in the 1970s, Nasserism was outpaced by the right-wing influence of US-backed Saudi money. Bolstered by the OPEC oil embargo and empowered by supra-national proxies like the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Saudi Arabia saw its influence grow. With this influence, it supported reactionary religious groups throughout the region like the Muslim Brotherhood.

“At the end of the day,” Kumar writes, “through its various political, religious, and economic institutions, Saudi Arabia played a key behind-the-scenes role in furthering the cause of Islamism. This role was accentuated even more after 1979 when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and the Iranian Revolution deposed the Shah.”

2) The CIA funds Iran’s clergy against Mossadegh (1951-1953).

Under Mohammad Mossadegh—Time’s 1951 Man of the Year—Iran had the sort of progressive democracy that the US claims it wants more of in the Muslim world. According to journalist Stephen Kinzer, “When I would say to [Iranians], Why is it that Iran’s never been able to develop a democracy, they’d say, We had a democracy until America came over and crushed it.”

Mossadegh was a populist and staunchly anti-Communist but, to the West’s alarm, he was also a nationalist. When he became Iran’s Prime Minister in 1951, he nationalized British oil claims as part of a burgeoning social welfare system. When Mossadegh’s government got wind of a British plan to overthrow him, he closed the British embassy, successfully foiling the abortive coup. However, the UK asked America to take over, and the sympathetic Eisenhower administration set in motion Operation Ajax—the CIA coup plot against Mossadegh.

The CIA’s scheme was dependent on fomenting local opposition to the popular Mossadegh government, and they found Iran’s Islamist clergy to be receptive partners. Kumar says, “Ayatollah Khomeini’s mentor Ayatollah Abolqassem Kashani…received substantial sums of money from the CIA and had very close to ties to them.”

Clergymen like Kashani successfully mobilized thousands of Iranians against the Mossadegh administration, contributing to his overthrow in August 1953. The subsequent 26-year rule by the Shah was marked by brutal repression, which ultimately led to the Islamic revolution. “It is this initial ground work laid by the CIA and Kashani,” Kumar says, “that helped position Khomeini for the role he played in the 1979 revolution.”

3) Israel backs Hamas against nationalist Palestinian resistance (1970s-1980s).

Between the Nakba and the First Intifada, Palestinian armed resistance was largely secular, leftist, and nationalist in nature. The largest group, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), modeled itself on the guerilla organizations that successfully expelled colonial forces throughout the Third World. The largest group after the PLO was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), founded on Marxist principles by a Palestinian Christian, Dr. George Habash. Prior to the 1980s, the constellation of groups claiming the mantle of Palestinian resistance rarely linked their struggle to political Islam.

Israel and the US saw competing Islamist factions as an opportunity to weaken these groups. When Israel conquered the Gaza Strip in 1967, it inherited the Saudi-backed Muslim Brotherhood. “When Israel first encountered Islamists in Gaza in the 1970s and ’80s, they seemed focused on studying the Quran, not on confrontation with Israel,” Andrew Higgins explains in a Wall Street Journalpiece titled “How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas.”

When these groups started coming into conflict with secular leftist groups, Israel either turned a blind eye or allowed the Islamists to have free rein. Israel’s support included affording charity status to Mujama al-Islamiya (the group that would become Hamas), releasing Islamist leaders from prison, or allowing groups like Hamas to attack leftist groups openly in the streets. That Hamas is now widely popular for its resistance to Israel is an outcome of Israel’s own making.

4) America, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan back the Afghan mujahideen (1979-1989).

The story of how the US backed the anti-Soviet mujahideen during the USSR’s war in Afghanistan is relatively well known. At the time, it was romanticized in popular culture, with Rambo and James Bond fighting alongside the gallant guerillas, although it’s been given more serious takes after 9/11 in films like “Charlie Wilson’s War.”

In order to create a military quagmire that would drain the Soviet Union of blood and treasure, the US, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan orchestrated a support, funding, and recruitment network for fighters in Afghanistan waging war against the USSR.

The CIA’s Operation Cyclone began in 1979 with a covert program to fund and arm anti-Soviet forces. The US spent billions to fund the mujahideen, with Saudi Arabia ultimately matching American funding dollar for dollar. Next door to Afghanistan, the US supported Pakistani dictator Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq embarked on a project to make Pakistan’s institutions more religious and more reactionary. Zia’s Pakistan provided a training ground and forward operating base for the mujahideen as the leader purged the country of socialist economic policies and pluralism.

The decision to create “Russia’s Vietnam” led directly to more than 4 decades of war, poverty, and misery for Central Asia. It contributed to the rise of the Taliban and the September 11 attacks. Americans hear even less about Pakistan than about Afghanistan, but much of what they do hear, from the attempted murder of Malala Yusafzai to the 28/11 Mumbai attacks, stems from the US-supported “Islamization” of Pakistan.

In an ironic inversion of the idea that political extremism is proof of Islam’s backwardness, President Ronald Reagan dedicated a launch of the space shuttle Columbia to the mujahideen, comparing them to America’s founders. The episode is a useful illustration that actions can represent either the ultimate savagery or the greatest in human idealism depending on how it serves the government’s interests.

5) US foments sectarianism to destroy united Iraqi opposition (2003-2008).

One of the most powerful and enduring American propaganda myths is that of a 1,000-year-old Sunni-Shi’a split that is responsible for today’s violence in the Middle East. In Iraq, this split has been invoked as the cause of the catastrophic human suffering unleashed in the wake of the US’s 2003 invasion. In reality, sectarianism is a tool of American counterinsurgency strategy.

At the outset of the US occupation, “there were serious rumblings across Iraq of a national uprising of Shiites and Sunnis,” wrote Jeremy Scahill in his book “Blackwater.” The burgeoning opposition to the Americans spoke in a language that was nationalistic in nature, which bode ill for the American invaders. According to Nir Rosen, “Iraqis were not primarily Sunnis or Shiites; they were Iraqis first, and their sectarian identities did not become politicized until the Americans occupied their country, treating Sunnis as the bad guys and Shiites as the good guys.” Faced with the prospect of a united Iraqi opposition, the US turned to the classic tactic of divide-and-conquer.

A large part of America’s strategy in Iraq was imposing a dualistic Sunni vs. Shi’a political structure to weaken Iraqi unity. Rosen says that the ruling Coalition Provisional Authority saw Iraq’s society in Manichaean terms, treating Iraq’s Shiites like Jews in post-WWII Germany, and the Sunnis like the defeated Nazis.

US forces targeted the Sunni resistance with the utmost repression, raiding homes, seizing ordinary people, tortured detainees in Abu Ghraib and wreaking havoc over whole cities like Falluja,” wrote Ashley Smith in an article for the Socialist Worker.

The most destructive aspect of the US’s counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq was “the Salvador option”: empowering sectarian death squads that committed torture, murder, and waged a bloody civil war. Implemented by General David Petraeus and his underling, Colonel James Steele, the “Salvadorization” of Iraq led to tens of thousands of deaths and the country’s continuing misery. The invasion would also lead directly to the rise of ISIS, which was initially “al Qaeda in Iraq.”

6) US boosts Libya’s al Qaeda-affiliate against Gaddafi (2004-2011).

In 2004, Muammar Gaddafi began a much-publicized rapprochement with the NATO countries. In public this meant photo-ops between Gaddafi and Tony Blair in a desert tent, or trips by John McCain to the Libyan leader’s ranch. Behind the scenes, according to Dan Glazebrook at Middle East Eye, “this image was largely a myth.” As soon as they established a foothold in Libya, the US, UK, and France began surreptitiously setting the stage for NATO’s eventual regime change.

The US and Britain arranged back-channel meetings with figures who would help overthrow the Libyan government in 2011. Most crucially, the US’s covert allies in Libya helped “speed up the prisoner release program that led to the release of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group insurgents who ultimately acted as NATO’s shock troops during the 2011 war,” according to Glazebrook. “The head of the LIFG —al-Qaeda’s franchise in Libya—eventually became head of Tripoli’s military council.”

Today, LIFG is one of the most powerful fighting groups that have brought Libya “very close to the point of no return,” in the words of a UN envoy.

7) US’s regional allies back ISIS (2011-2014).

It’s a truism that a gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth, and Joe Biden finally made a gaffe worth commenting on beyond the usual Onion-fodder. In October 2014, Biden identified US allies Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and NATO member Turkey as the “biggest problem” in fostering ISIS. Biden was naturally forced to issue a public apology for commenting on what’s been an open secret.

Turkey had been an especially reliable patron. The level of manpower and materièl crossing over the border into Syria earns the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep frequent comparisons to Peshawar, Pakistan in the 1980s, the central support and recruiting hub for the Afghan mujahideen.

Under Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey had termed its philosophy for regional relations “zero problems with neighbors.” Ultimately, the “zero problems” strategy gave way to Erdoğan’s “obsession” with overthrowing the Assad government, with ISIS as the favored proxy. Turkey has maintained a notoriously porous border with Syria, which many allege has allowed weapons and fighters to cross over easily. Newsweek quotes one former ISIS militant as saying that “there was full cooperation with the Turks.” Turkish-language media widely shared a video purporting to depict a meeting between ISIS fighters and the Turkish military, which seemingly confirmed this co-operation. For ISIS’s part, where American and British hostages have suffered grisly executions, Turkish hostages have been repeatedly released en masse or swapped for ISIS fighters.

For its part, the US isn’t connected to ISIS as directly as Turkey or Saudi Arabia. However, as has been observed, “we know the West is training rebels in Jordan and that they’re sending guns to them. We also know defections from ‘moderates’ to takfiri groups happen constantly. Finally, we know the US has probably been able to hear everything going on electronically in Syria for years. Isn’t this kind of enough to say maybe they’re just fine with ISIS in Syria?” If this is the case, the motive is clear enough: Samantha Power says that Assad is the ultimate target in the US’s campaign against ISIS.

8) US’s eternal ally Saudi Arabia exports proxy terror and repression (1970s-2014).

In fall 2014, the Western media reported extensively on the beheading of American and British hostages in Syria by ISIS. The horrific nature of the killings contributed to Americans supporting a NATO war against ISIS, a war that the public hadn’t supported the previous year when the nominal target was the Assad regime. However, the chief perpetrator of public beheadings in the region isn’t ISIS, but the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the hypocrisy of the US’s stance was too great for the media to ignore. Even Newsweek pointed out the cynicism inherent in Washington’s unstinting support for one of the most reactionary states in the world.

Saudi Arabia has long funded the most extreme forms of violence as a means of enacting national policy. Not only were 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers Saudi, but former Senators Bob Kerrey and Bob Graham, having seen the uncensored 9/11 Commission report, allege that there is “a direct line” between the Saudi government and at least some of the September 11 hijackers.

In 2013, Vladimir Putin met behind closed doors with Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi prince who headed the Saudi intelligence services and has been dubbed “Bandar Bush” due to his close ties to the former American first family. In exchange for Russia dropping its patronage of Bashar al-Assad, Bandar promised to rein in Chechen terror groups in the lead-up to the Sochi games. The threat was an admission that the Kingdom has had a hand in fomenting violence in the Caucasus that has led to two wars in Chechnya, and horrors like the Nord-Ost theater siege and the school massacre in Beslan. It was a candid admission that terror is usually a proxy for statecraft.

Beyond being the prime culprit in exporting takfiri ideology worldwide, Saudi Arabia has been one of the chief counterrevolutionary forces in rolling back the popular gains of the Arab Spring. When protests came to Bahrain, this took the form of direct military intervention. In Egypt, though, Saudi influence fomented the coup that ousted Morsi and led to last week’s acquittal of Mubarak.

Saudi Arabia is now in charge of arranging and re-arranging the Arab regional order according to its wishes,” according to As’ad AbuKhalil. “The Arab counter-revolution is now in Saudi-Israeli-US hands.”

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McCain on Obama’s anti-ISIS Airstrikes

McCain has already penned an open letter urging President Obama to widen his bombing campaign of ISIS to include the Syrian Air Force. Is anyone surprised? It’s also funny to hear US media refer to the Arab “coalition” in the US-led anti-ISIS campaign to include 5 “Sunni countries” including Bahrain? When did Bahrain become a Sunni country?

All in all, I can’t remember a US president that didn’t bomb another country. Carter, perhaps?

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Syrian Wars of Proxy

al-Akhbar English: The Syrian war is not only a proxy war. There is a strong internal dimension to the war in Syria but it has been obscured by various layers and dimensions of outside intervention and agendas. The Syrian regime wants to stay in power at any cost while there was certainly a civil popular opposition in Syria when the uprising first began. There are thousands of reasons for the Syrian people to protest against a family dictatorship that has controlled much of their lives since 1970 but the civil protest movement did not erupt by itself, the Western media narrative notwithstanding. Concurrent with the protest movement that erupted in 2011, Turkey and Gulf regimes had already set up armed rebel groups to help bring down a regime. The internal dimension of the war in Syria, however, is now probably marginal to the global and regional war raging in the country today. There are several proxy wars in Syria today and they can be summarized as follows:

1. The internal Wahhabi war: there is no war within Islam in Syria as Thomas Friedman and his ilk keep asserting. There has been a moderate and progressive strand of Islam in Syria and many of its elements have aligned themselves with the regime. And contrary to early claims made by the hired external opposition and its advocates in the West, there was never a moderate and progressive version of Islam among the rebel groups. How could that be the case when the sponsors of Syrian rebel Islam are Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia? Mufti Hassun (although he is an ally and perhaps a tool of the regime, and even the slain Sheikh al-Buti) is far more progressive than any of his adversaries on the other side, including Mu`adh al-Khatib who has railed in the past about the ills of social media, masturbation and Jews, and who praised al-Nusrah Front early on his tenure as leader of the Syrian National Council. The internal Wahhabi war is pitting the various Wahhabi parties in the region against each other. The Saudi regime, Qatari regime, al-Qa`idah (Nusrah Front) and ISIS: all four are Wahhabi and each is trying to dominate the field of the Wahhabi movement.

2. The Iranian-Saudi war: the two sides are engaged in struggles in different parts of the region, from Yemen to Lebanon and Syria. The conflict over political dominance and hegemony.

3. The Sunni-Shia war: this is a rather contrived war that was instigated by the Saudi regime – at the behest of US and Israel – to undermine the basis of Arab support for Hizbullah and Iran in the region.

4. The Russian-American war: this war is reminiscent of the Cold War. The conflict between the Russian government and the American government has never reached this level since the demise of the Soviet Union. The conflict over Ukraine and Syria, among other places, has pushed both sides to resort to the tricks and methods of the Cold War, including proxy wars.

5. Qatari and Saudi conflict: the two Wahhabi regimes are fighting over many issues but they both wish to speak on behalf of political Islam. Qatar banks on the Muslim Brotherhood and some elements of Jihadi Islam, while the Saudi regime banks on the Salafis and some elements of Jihadi Islam. This conflict may explain the conflict between the Nusrah Front and ISIS.

6. The Hezbollah versus the Future Movement: both of those Lebanese movements have been fighting in Syria. The Future Movement is a broad and loose movement which comprises various stands, including Salafis.

7. Clash of Islamic identities: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran are all hoping to leave their national imprint on the political Islamist movement in the region.

8. The regional conflict between the global organization of the Muslim Brotherhood on one hand and the regional Salafis on the other.

These proxy conflicts now determine the course of events in Syria and the Syrian people themselves, on either sides of the conflict, have very little control over them. The slogans that are being raised by both sides of the conflict merely serve to rationalize the policies and decisions of external patrons.

Dr. As’ad AbuKhalil is a Professor of Political Science at the University of California, a lecturer and the author of The Angry Arab News Service. He tweets @asadabukhalil.

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Israeli intelligence veterans’ letter to Netanyahu and military chiefs

The Guardian: Full Letter

Prime Minister, Mr Benjamin Netanyahu

Chief of General Staff, Benny Gantz

Military Intelligence Director, Major General Aviv Kochavi

Commander of Unit 8200

We, veterans of Unit 8200, reserve soldiers both past and present, declare that we refuse to take part in actions against Palestinians and refuse to continue serving as tools in deepening the military control over the Occupied Territories.

It is commonly thought that the service in military intelligence is free of moral dilemmas and solely contributes to the reduction of violence and harm to innocent people. However, our military service has taught us that intelligence is an integral part of Israel‘s military occupation over the territories. The Palestinian population under military rule is completely exposed to espionage and surveillance by Israeli intelligence. While there are severe limitations on the surveillance of Israeli citizens, the Palestinians are not afforded this protection. There’s no distinction between Palestinians who are, and are not, involved in violence. Information that is collected and stored harms innocent people. It is used for political persecution and to create divisions within Palestinian society by recruiting collaborators and driving parts of Palestinian society against itself. In many cases, intelligence prevents defendants from receiving a fair trial in military courts, as the evidence against them is not revealed. Intelligence allows for the continued control over millions of people through thorough and intrusive supervision and invasion of most areas of life. This does not allow for people to lead normal lives, and fuels more violence further distancing us from the end of the conflict.

Millions of Palestinians have been living under Israeli military rule for over 47 years. This regime denies the basic rights and expropriates extensive tracts of land for Jewish settlements subject to separate and different legal systems, jurisdiction and law enforcement. This reality is not an inevitable result of the state’s efforts to protect itself but rather the result of choice. Settlement expansion has nothing to do with national security. The same goes for restrictions on construction and development, economic exploitation of the West Bank, collective punishment of inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, and the actual route of the separation barrier.

In light of all this, we have concluded that as individuals who served in Unit 8200, we must take responsibility for our part in this situation and it is our moral duty to act. We cannot continue to serve this system in good conscience, denying the rights of millions of people. Therefore, those among us who are reservists, refuse to take part in the state’s actions against Palestinians. We call for all soldiers serving in the Intelligence Corps, present and future, along with all the citizens of Israel, to speak out against these injustices and to take action to bring them to an end. We believe that Israel’s future depends on it.

Senior Academic Officer Or

First Sergeant Ori

Sergeant Ella

Sergeant ***

Sergeant First Class Amitai

Captain Assaf

Lieutenant Assaf

First Sergeant Ariel

First Sergeant Guy

Sergeant First Class Galia

Lieutenant Gilad

First Sergeant Doron

Captain D

Professional Academic Officer H

First Sergeant T

First Sergeant Tal

Sergeant First Class Yair

First Sergeant Yoav

First Sergeant Yuval

Lieutenant Yonatan

Sergeant First Class Lior

Sergeant Liron

Sergeant Maya

Sergeant Michal

First Sergeant Menahem

First Sergeant Nadav

Sergeant Noa

First Sergeant Sa’ar

First Sergeant Eden

Sergeant Idan

Professional Academic Officer Amir

First Sergeant Amit

Sergeant K

Sergeant Keren

Sergeant First Class Regev

First Sergeant Roi

Sergeant R

First Sergeant Rotem

First Sergeant Shira

Major Shmulik

First Sergeant Schraga

Sergeant Sheri

Senior Academic Officer Tomer

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The West Bank: where Israel’s Gaza propaganda falls apart

Middle East Monitor: Writing in Israeli newspaper Haaretz this week, regular columnist Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie bemoaned the difficult task facing Israel’s supporters internationally, in the aftermath of the devastating, murderous assault on the Gaza Strip.

With the war in Gaza just concluded, Israel’s friends in the West are now immersed in the task of making Israel’s case to a skeptical public…ours is a media age, and the pictures of destruction in Gaza are hard to overcome.

This already tricky PR challenge has now been compounded, Yoffie wrote, by the Netanyahu’s government’s decision to declare a chunk of the West Bank as ‘state land’, a step taken prior to the construction of new settlement housing.

The point of the op-ed was that the land grab is badly-timed and will do Israel’s image no favours after the death and destruction in Gaza. But there is a further point to be made here. Developments in the West Bank do not just hinder Israel’s post-Gaza PR efforts – they actually directly undermine the ‘Operation Protective Edge’ hasbara talking points themselves.

Israel insists that the accusation of war crimes in Gaza is a gross misrepresentation of the military’s operations. Putting aside the copious evidence of atrocities – families bombed at home, youth killed while watching football in a café, indiscriminate shelling in Rafah, and so on – Israeli policies in the West Bank give the lie to the claim that its government and military have even the minimal respect for international law.

And indeed, the mass appropriation of land outside of Bethlehem in the Occupied West Bank is just such an example. Responding to the news, Amnesty International said that “confiscating land for settlements” is not only “illegal under international law” but also leads “to a wide range of violations of Palestinians’ human rights on a mass scale”. Human Rights Watch pointedly noted:

The ICC statute prohibits, as war crimes, the voluntary transfer by an occupying power of its civilians into occupied territory, the seizure of property unless imperative as a matter of military necessity, and the forcible transfer of the local population of the territory – like Israel’s practices in the West Bank. Abbas has repeatedly delayed acceding to the ICC statute.

With condemnation from numerous countries – including strong allies of Israel – it is important to note here that for Israel, its own colonisation priorities, domestic political reasons or, in the words of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, simply the “consensus in Israeli society”, all trump international law. Yet in Gaza, we are meant to believe that the Israeli military scrupulously abides by the same standards it is trampling on a few dozen miles away.

Then there is the killing of Palestinian civilians. The Israeli military has produced no end of infographics and conducted numerous ‘off the record’ briefings – as well as of course, the regular robotic performances by media spokespersons – all in an attempt to ‘explain’ the mass slaughter of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, including hundreds of children.

Yet while homes were being pulverised in Gaza, Israeli forces unleashed lethal violence against occupied, unarmed Palestinian civilians in the West Bank: according to the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department, 32 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem between June 13 and August 26, and another 1,397 injured by the army and settlers.

Implausibly, and disgustingly, Israel tries to justify the killing of children in their homes in Gaza by reference to ‘rockets’, ‘terror tunnels’, and the ‘terrorist infrastructure’ of al-Qassam Brigades. But what about Khalil Anati, the 10-year-old boy shot dead by Israeli forces in al-Fawwar refugee camp near Hebron? Or 19-year-old footballer Mohammed Al-Qatari, and 45-year-old father of three Hashem Abu Maria – both shot dead by Israeli forces in the West Bank while Gaza burned.

But this is standard for ‘The Most Moral Army In the World’. 14-year-old Yousef al-Shawamrah was out picking plants when he was killed by the brave and precise “IDF” – not assembling rockets. Nadim Siyam Nawarah and Muhammad Mahmoud Salameh were not firing mortars or digging tunnels when Israeli forces killed them both in May. Yet in Gaza, we are meant to believe that the Israeli military would never deliberately kill civilians – the same way it does a few dozen miles away.

Finally, Israel tells us that it has a responsibility to protect its citizens – that its attacks on Gaza were about ‘security’ and a right to self-defence. Again, this is easily deconstructed on its own terms – but, instructively, Israel conducts illegal and discriminatory policies in the West Bank on precisely the same basis. There, the absurd disingenuousness of the security excuse is even clearer.

Checkpoints and roadblocks fragment the West Bank as part of a regime of segregation that exists purely for the benefit of the Jewish settlers living in colonies surrounded by citizenship-less Palestinians. Olive groves are demolished, farmers and herders expelled from their land. The Wall, of course, de facto annexes chunks of the West Bank – in the name of ‘security’.

Yet in Gaza, we are meant to believe that the Israeli military would never use a ‘security’ excuse as cover for collective punishment and colonial disciplining – the same way it does a few dozen miles away.

The standard Israeli version of events in Gaza is itself refutable. But the propaganda is even flimsier when you consider that, not far away from the fenced-in, battered enclave, the Israeli government and army have been doing exactly what they swear blind they were not doing in Gaza: violating international law, deliberately killing civilians, and carrying out punitive, unchecked colonialism in the name of ‘security’.

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Going Back to School in Gaza


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Aerial Footage of Israeli Destruction of Gaza

The footage is only a glimpse of Israel’s murderous bombing campaign in Gaza.

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Holocaust survivors and their descendants accuse Israel of ‘genocide’

The Independent: Dozens of Holocaust survivors, together with hundreds of descendants of Holocaust survivors and victims, have accused Israel of “genocide” for the deaths of more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza since the conflict erupted in July.

In an open letter released by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and published as an advert in The New York Times, the group calls for a full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel over its “wholesale effort to destroy Gaza”.

“Genocide begins with the silence of the world,” the statement reads, “We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people.”

The statement also condemns the United States for its financial and diplomatic support of Israel.

The signatories express alarm at “the extreme, racist dehumanization of Palestinians in Israeli society, which has reached a fever pitch.”

This condemnation was designed as a response to a widely-published advertisement from Nobel prize-winning author Elie Wiesel that condemned Hamas for its “use of children as human shields”.

The statement reads: “We are disgusted and outraged by Elie Wiesel’s abuse of our history […] to justify the unjustifiable.”

Of the 327 signatories, 40 survived the Holocaust and the other 287 are descendants of Holocaust survivors or victims.

Recent today reports refer to the destruction of an high rise office building in the southern town of Rafah, and the bombing of an apartment building in Gaza City amid attempts from the Egyptian government to establish a durable ceasefire.

More than 2,100 Palestinians, including 500 children have been killed in the conflict, according to Palestinian health officials and UN figures. Israel has lost 64 soldiers and four civilians.

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