(FEDERALJACK) The death toll in Gaza has risen to 64 after 14 people – including seven women and children – were killed in Israeli airstrikes as Operation Protective Edge entered its third day. At least 18 children have been killed since Tuesday.
Emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said the first strike targeted a coffee shop in the city of Khan Younis, killing six men and wounding at least 15 others, AFP reported. The second strike hit the home of Raed Shalat at Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, killing him and injuring several others, Qidra added. Seven people – three women and four children – were killed in further strikes on two houses in Khan Younis. The Palestinian Health Ministry said five of those killed were children. Another 16 people were also wounded in the attack, the ministry added.
The newest casualties bring the death toll to 64. Airstrikes on Tuesday and Wednesday killed 21 and 29 Palestinians respectively. At least 10 women and 18 children were among the dead, according to a count based on medical reports, AFP says. Meanwhile, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says over 360 rockets have been fired at Israel since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge. Over 590 targets in the Gaza Strip were hit. The offensive is the worst escalation of violence between Israel and the Palestinians since 2012. Palestinian rockets have targeted central and southern Israel,
reaching as far as Jerusalem but causing no serious casualties.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will give a briefing at an emergency meeting of the Security Council on Thursday around the escalating Israeli-Palestinian violence. “Gaza is on a knife edge,” Ban told reporters on Wednesday. “I firmly condemn the multiple rocket attacks launched from Gaza on Israel. Such attacks are unacceptable and must stop.” “I also urged [Israeli] Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu to exercise maximum restraint and to respect international obligations to protect civilians. I condemn the rising number of civilian lives lost in Gaza,” he added.
(FEDERALJACK) TRNN Middle East Correspondent Lia Tarachansky says Palestinian anger towards the Palestinian Authority has reached unprecedented levels, and that the Israeli government is now trying to instigate a third intifada in order to legitimate military actions in the West Bank and Gaza.
(FEDERALJACK) Israel has had nuclear weapons since the mid-1960s. They were developed with the assistance of France, the UK, the US and others, despite those countries publicly opposing nuclear proliferation. Israel’s possession of nukes was a closely guarded secret until 1986 when engineer, Mordechai Vanunu, leaked documents to the British press confirming their existence. Even so, the Knesset still refuses to acknowledge the program exists and its allies choose not to speak on the matter. This is a story all about how Israel developed “secret” nuclear weapons.
(ANTIWAR) Though most of the Israeli military’s killing these days is focused on the Gaza Strip, the military is also reacting more violently than usual toward West Bank protests, particularly antiwar rallies condemning the Gaza attacks.
Two protesters in the West Bank have been killed over the weekend, including 31-year-old Rushdi Tamimi, who was shot in the back with live ammunition and later died of his injuries. The other slain protester, 22-year-old Hamdi Mohammad Jawwad al-Falah from Hebron, was shot four times by Israeli troops, who claimed he attacked them, and that despite apparently being unarmed he put the troops in “immediate and present danger for their lives.”
54 other protesters were wounded in rallies, mostly shot by rubber bullets or suffering from tear gas inhalation. Though Israel is regularly quick to move against West Bank protests, the intensity of the attacks has surprised many.
Though Israeli forces have arrested many West Bank protest organizers, they will likely be detained without charges, and the bulk of the demonstrators don’t appear to have been accused of any crime, despite being attacked by troops to disperse them.
(GLOBAL RESEARCH) Thanks to the Mossad, Israel’s “Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks”, the Hamas was allowed to reinforce its presence in the occupied territories. Meanwhile, Arafat’s Fatah Movement for National Liberation as well as the Palestinian Left were subjected to the most brutal form of repression and intimidation.
Let us not forget that it was Israel, which in fact created Hamas. According to Zeev Sternell, historian at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “Israel thought that it was a smart ploy to push the Islamists against the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)”.
Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of the Islamist movement in Palestine, returning from Cairo in the seventies, established an Islamic charity association. Prime Minister Golda Meir, saw this as a an opportunity to counterbalance the rise of Arafat’s Fatah movement. .According to the Israeli weekly Koteret Rashit (October 1987), “The Islamic associations as well as the university had been supported and encouraged by the Israeli military authority” in charge of the (civilian) administration of the West Bank and Gaza. “They [the Islamic associations and the university] were authorized to receive money payments from abroad.”
The Islamists set up orphanages and health clinics, as well as a network of schools, workshops which created employment for women as well as system of financial aid to the poor. And in 1978, they created an “Islamic University” in Gaza. “The military authority was convinced that these activities would weaken both the PLO and the leftist organizations in Gaza.” At the end of 1992, there were six hundred mosques in Gaza. Thanks to Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad (Israel’s Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks) , the Islamists were allowed to reinforce their presence in the occupied territories. Meanwhile, the members of Fatah (Movement for the National Liberation of Palestine) and the Palestinian Left were subjected to the most brutal form of repression.
In 1984, Ahmed Yassin was arrested and condemned to twelve years in prison, after the discovery of a hidden arms cache. But one year later, he was set free and resumed his activities. And when the Intifada (‘uprising’) began, in October 1987, which took the Islamists by surprise, Sheik Yassin responded by creating the Hamas (The Islamic Resistance Movement): “God is our beginning, the prophet our model, the Koran our constitution”, proclaims article 7 of the charter of the organization.
Ahmed Yassin was in prison when, the Oslo accords (Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government) were signed in September 1993. The Hamas had rejected Oslo outright. But at that time, 70% of Palestinians had condemned the attacks on Israeli civilians. Yassin did everything in his power to undermine the Oslo accords. Even prior to Prime Minister Rabin’s death, he had the support of the Israeli government. The latter was very reluctant to implement the peace agreement.
The Hamas then launched a carefully timed campaign of attacks against civilians, one day before the meeting between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators, regarding the formal recognition of Israel by the National Palestinian Council. These events were largely instrumental in the formation of a Right wing Israeli government following the May 1996 elections.
Quite unexpectedly, Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered Sheik Ahmed Yassin to be released from prison (“on humanitarian grounds”) where he was serving a life sentence. Meanwhile, Netanyahu, together with President Bill Clinton, was putting pressure on Arafat to control the Hamas. In fact, Netanyahu knew that he could rely, once more, on the Islamists to sabotage the Oslo accords. Worse still: after having expelled Yassin to Jordan, Prime Minister Netanyahu allowed him to return to Gaza, where he was welcomed triumphantly as a hero in October 1997.
Arafat was helpless in the face of these events. Moreover, because he had supported Saddam Hussein during the1991 Gulf war, (while the Hamas had cautiously abstained from taking sides), the Gulf states decided to cut off their financing of the Palestinian Authority. Meanwhile, between February and April 1998, Sheik Ahmad Yassin was able to raise several hundred million dollars, from those same countries. The the budget of The Hamas was said to be greater than that of the Palestinian Authority. These new sources of funding enabled the Islamists to effectively pursue their various charitable activities. It is estimated that one Palestinian out of three is the recipient of financial aid from the Hamas. And in this regard, Israel has done nothing to curb the inflow of money into the occupied territories.
The Hamas had built its strength through its various acts of sabotage of the peace process, in a way which was compatible with the interests of the Israeli government. In turn, the latter sought in a number of ways, to prevent the application of the Oslo accords. In other words, Hamas was fulfilling the functions for which it was originally created: to prevent the creation of a Palestinian State. And in this regard, Hamas and Ariel Sharon, see eye to eye; they are exactly on the same wave length.
(FORBES) I have a friend who can look her husband straight in the eyes, even when confronted with irrefutable evidence, and convincingly swear that her ‘this season’ Louboutins was purchased for an obscene discount from a hawker in Canal Street [not true – I’ve watched her in action on Fifth Avenue]. Another has the passwords of her boyfriend’s e-mail and social networking accounts while he, of course, is blissfully unaware that his every virtual move is being monitored by his seemingly un-tech savvy girlfriend.
When I share the chilling tittle-tattle with my friend Jimmy, he kindly describes them as “undercover angels.” “Women,” he offers, “are born with an extra strand in their DNA. Men can fidget around with gadgets, but women have an antenna inside them. They’re born spies.”
As flippant as it may sound, there may be something to Jimmy’s observations.
Last week, in a stunning departure from protocol, the head of Mossad – Israel’s national intelligence agency – singled out his female field agents for praise. “Women have a distinct advantage in secret warfare because of their ability to multitask,” Tamir Pardo said to Israel’s Lady Globes. He also added that women are “better at playing a role” and superior to men when it comes to “suppressing their ego in order to attain the goal.”
“Women are gifted at deciphering situations. Contrary to stereotypes, you see that women’s abilities are superior to men in terms of understanding the territory, reading situations, spatial awareness. When they’re good, they’re very good.”
(THE INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE) August 15, 2012 “Business Insider” — For months senior Israeli officials have said the “window of opportunity” for attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities is “before the U.S. presidential election in November” because Iran’s nuclear facilities will soon be in fortified underground bunkers out of the reach of Israeli bombs.
But former CIA analyst Ray McGovern believes that delaying Iran’s nuclear capabilities is not the primary concern of a military strike, but simply the pretext.
“The Israelis want to pretend the Iranians are building up their nuclear capabilities, want to zap them between now and November 6, and the chances are at least even that they will try to do that thinking the U.S. will come in with both feet,” McGovern told us.
McGovern thinks that “Israel does not fear a nuclear weapon in Iran’s hands” because Israel already has a nuclear arsenal and the threat of Iran having a couple of nukes “would not be all that credible except in a limited, deterrent way.”
That deterrent would be important, however, because “since 1967 the Israelis have been able to pretty much do whatever they want in that area” and a nuclear Iran would bring a “different strategic situation because, for the first time, Israel would have to look over their shoulder.”
So even though Israel’s leaders don’t truly fear imminent nuclear annihilation, McGovern says they “would like to end any possibility, however remote, that anytime soon Iran could have that kind of very minimal deterrent capability.”
McGovern believes that Israel’s primary goal is to “have Iran bloodied the same way we did to Iraq” so that Iran “would no longer be able to support Hamas and Hezbollah in Gaza, Lebanon, and elsewhere.”
And the reason Nov. 6 is an important date, McGovern wrote in a recent article, is that “a second-term Obama would feel much freer not to commit U.S. forces on Israel’s side” and “might use U.S. leverage to force Israeli concessions on thorny issues relating to Palestine.”
There is serious doubt that Israel could handle a full-fledged war with Iran, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has admitted that he would prefer the U.S. and its superior firepower lead any attack.
A potential loss of leverage after Nov. 6 would explain the current drumbeat of war being played by Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
BI contributor ForexCrunch points out that Netanyahu was recently granted greater powers within the government, a text message system is being tested in case of retaliation to an attack, the Bank of Israel is preparing the financial system for an Israeli strike in Iran, France is preparing to evacuate its citizens from Israel, and the Israeli media have published a flurry of articles suggesting a military strike is imminent.
“Netanyahu feels, with good reason, that he’s got Obama in a corner for these next three months,” McGovern said. “If he’s right about Obama jumping in with both feet—and I think Obama would do that—even though Israeli generals are advising that it could be a disaster, [then] Netanyahu is willing to try it.”
For its part the Obama administration has been doing everything it can—short of saying that it would not back an Israeli strike—to delay an attack. Beyond offering firepower in exchange for waiting until after the election, U.S. officials informed Israel that staunch American ally Saudi Arabia vowed to take down any Israeli jet flying in its airspace.
And five senior officials—including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta—have visited Israel this month to insist there is still time for diplomacy, in the form of talks and heavy sanctions, to prevent a physical attack.
But, as McGovern notes, it may not be up to the U.S. at this point.
“We are at war with Iran right now—not only the cyber attacks, but the special forces inside Iran and the assassination of the Iranian scientists,” McGovern said. “The only question is whether that will extend to an attempt to destroy their nuclear-development facilities, and that’s up to Israel.”