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Médecins Sans Frontières: the human toll of the latest events in Gaza is appalling

Words in the latest bulletin from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Doctors Without Borders.

Their medical teams are working around the clock, providing surgical and postoperative care to men, women and children. In one of the hospitals where they are working, the chaotic situation is comparable to what they observed after the bombings of the 2014 war, with a colossal influx of injured people in a few hours, completely overwhelming medical staff.

Their facilities providing post-operative care in Gaza have received more than 800 patients with gunshot wounds between 1 April and 15 May. The events come nearly four years after Operation Protective Edge was launched in the Gaza Strip in 2014, leaving 2,286 Palestinians dead (25 percent were children), over 11,000 injured and 3,000 with permanent disabilities.

Jason Cone, executive director notes that, since 2016, their patients have been exposed to various critical events, including:

  • Witnessing violence.
  • Raids on their homes.
  • Arrests (of themselves or family members).
  • Deaths (of family members).

In consequence, many have developed mental health issues such as anxiety, stress and sleeping problems. MSF runs mental health programmes in Hebron, Nablus, Qalqilva, Bethlehem and Ramallah governorates – offering psychological and social support to victims of political violence. In 2016, 4,141 new patients benefited from individual and group mental health sessions (over 70% of which were in Hebron).

MSF has three burns and trauma centres in the Gaza Strip: Gaza City, Khan Younis and Bet Lahyia (which opened in July 2016). The majority of their patients had burns, usually the result of domestic accidents in conflict-damaged homes. Across their centres, MSF:

  • Treated over 4,231 patients (mostly children).
  • Dressed over 52,000 wounds.
  • Conducted more than 36,000 physiotherapy sessions.
  • Conducted over 1,000 occupational therapy sessions.
  • Carried out a burns awareness campaign – reaching over 35,500 children in schools, kindergartens and nurseries.

In conjunction with the Ministry of Health, they run surgical programmes in Al Shifa and Nasser hospitals. They completed 275 surgical interventions (71% on children under 16). Read more in MSF’s International Activity Report.





In Ireland’s Parliament: Senator David Norris, incandescent on Israeli government action

Admirable and truthful – a searing denunciation of Anglo-Saxon cruelty

israel2 david norris

August 2014: – perhaps technically better – sight and sound.

Then he asks: “What to do?” and answers:


  • Remove the embargo
  • Step up EU differentiation policies
  • Expel Britain’s Israeli ambassador
  • Explore possibility of UN peacekeeping force in Gaza
  • Send civilian organisations to restore Gaza’s electricity and meet all basic needs

Also on:

Corbyn, anti-Semitic?

synagogue plaqueRabbi Mendy Korer helped to organise unveiling of this commemorative plaque. He told the audience about inviting the local MP, Jeremy Corbyn, to Shabbat dinner after the MP suggested applying for a plaque to be fixed to the original site of North London Synagogue. See more on the United Synagogue’s website.

The four candidates standing for the Labour leadership participated in the public meeting co-hosted by the Jewish Chronicle, Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement at the JW3 community centre in north London.

Links to two accounts of this event, written from different perspectives are given at the foot of the post. The first, from Middle East Eye, sent by a reader, carries more conviction in the writer’s opinion, because of its use of directly quoted speech. It also offers a video of the whole debate so that readers can hear the discussion for themselves.

Three of the four MPs standing – Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall expressed their strong support for Israel during opening statements at the event moderated by journalist Jonathan Freedland, who writes a weekly column for The Guardian and a monthly piece for The Jewish Chronicle.

corbyn video

In his opening remarks Corbyn said that he had supported the establishment of the state of Israel – that was not reported in this account.

Corbyn is widely known for his peace activism and has been on nine visits to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza during his 32 years in parliament. He called for the UK to have “relationships with all sections of society in Israel” and stressed the need to have a nuanced view of the country: “We shouldn’t judge everything to do with Israel through the prism of whatever Benjamin Netanyahu is saying from one day to the next – Israel’s politics is much wider than that.” At that – and other points – there was applause from the audience – not reported.

He saw real grounds for hope in thenuclear deal’ reached in Iran, but this was not reported by Haaretz or Middle East Eye.

Corbyn called for “robust discussion” on Israel’s siege of Gaza, the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and alleged mistreatment of Palestinian child detainees in Israeli prisons.

He said that following the Israeli assault on Gaza last summer both sides are now being investigated to see if they have committed war crimes, leading him to question whether it is wise for the UK to be continuing to sell arms to Israel. “Is it right that we are supplying arms [to Israel] in this situation? Is it right that we are importing goods from illegal settlements across the West Bank?”

An audience member asked the candidates whether it is appropriate for parliamentarians to host members of groups including the Palestinian group Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah

The question was a reference to Corbyn hosting members of the two groups in parliament several years ago. In a clip that recently  surfaced Corbyn referred to Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends” – a comment that has brought the leftwinger criticism due to the groups being viewed as terrorists by many Western nations. Corbyn defended his outreach to Hamas and Hezbollah: “You don’t achieve progress by only talking to those who you agree with,” he said. “You have to address the rights of everybody if peace is to be achieved across the whole region. Conflicts are settled politically, not necessarily militarily.”

Corbyn argued that criticism of Israel must not lead to anti-Semitism and that unity is key in the battle against prejudice of all forms. “Does questioning the behaviour of the Israeli state towards Palestinians lead to anti-Semitism? No, it mustn’t and shouldn’t,” he said. “Whether it’s a synagogue or a mosque under attack we must all come together to be as one in confronting it.”

Sources giving two different perspectives:


A beneficial wind of change in Greece, Spain, Israel – and Britain?

the joint list logo

After reading a cutting from a neighbour’s Observer the writer learnt that, in Israel, four largely Arab-Israeli parties have merged and – with the name of the Joint List (above) – are gathering increased support. This party is predicted to win 3 seats in the election and would then become the third largest part after Likud and the Labour Zionist Union. Today, a Surrey reader sent an article from the New York Times: ”Arab Alliance Rises as Force in Israeli Elections” by Diaa Hadid in Ibillin, Israel.

ayman odehAyman Odeh [right], the leader of the Joint List, made a good impression in late February on Israel’s popular Channel 2, during the only debate of the election season. It was described as a breakthrough moment for Mr. Odeh, a lawyer from Haifa who has never served in Parliament but is now likely to be a power broker in forming Israel’s next government.

We read that in Israel this year, Avigdor Lieberman, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, campaigned to raise the percentage of votes required to enter Parliament, threatening the survival of four small Arab parties, so they decided to unite.

The move has energized many of Israel’s 1.7 million Arab citizens, whose participation rate in elections had been decreasing.

Mr. Odeh has indicated he will support Mr. Herzog of the centre-left Zionist Union if he manages to oust Mr. Netanyahu and is changing the tone of Arab politics with a vow to work with Jewish allies to achieve equality for his community. He quotes Martin Luther King Jr. and Palestinian poetry as he preaches coexistence with the Jewish majority. He told high school students on March 7 in Ibillin, an Arab town in the hills of the Galilee:

“We want to throw our weight as a people into politics. We want to build institutions for our people . . . We need to extend bridges to the Jewish community. Martin Luther King fought for blacks, and democratic whites were with him.”

Amal Jamal, a professor of political science at Tel Aviv University said that though the war in Gaza was very painful and bloody, “There’s a feeling that the Israeli reality is changing, and that the united Arab list can change the political map in Israel and so from that, there’s optimism.”

Media 38: limited coverage of activists’ closure of Glasgow drone factory

In response to years of drone action and Israel’s recent military assault on the besieged Gaza strip, killing over 2,000, at least 75% of whomwere civilians (UN estimates):

glasgow scotland thales occupation

Tightlipped BBC and Scottish television gave only a few lines to Tuesday’s blockade and shutting down of Thales UK, Govan Glasgow-based weapons manufacturer, to protest at the company’s role in producing drones used by Israel against Palestinian people.

The Common Dreams website adds more detail. The protestors from Glasgow Palestine Action, were able to halt the work of the factory from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Scottish TV News reported that there had been four arrests, two men and two women. The first three arrests were over alleged aggravation charges, with the final man being arrested over allegedly obstructing the police in the execution of their duty.

Fiona McDermot, one of the people who occupied the roof of the factory, said:

“Drones are a key part of Israel’s military arsenal. By allowing this factory to export drone components and other arms to Israel, the UK government is providing direct support and approval to Israel’s massacres.”

From a statement released on Tuesday by the protesters:

watchkeeper drone thales“Thales UK works with Elbit Systems on the next generation of ‘Watchkeeper’ drones based on the Hermes 450, documented killing Palestinian civilians in Gaza in 2008-2009. The drones are marketed as ‘field tested’ – which means they have proven effective at killing Palestinians.”

To Glasgow Council – as SNP membership swells by more than 32,000

“This is a message to Glasgow City Council who fly the Palestinian flag on our City Chambers while simultaneously arming Israel with the weapons they need to bomb Gaza. The UK government, by allowing Thales to operate with Elbit systems, have blood on their hands. Last year alone the UK government had 381 extant arms licences to Israel, worth almost £8 billion.

“We demand that the Scottish government puts pressure on the UK government to end arms sales to Israel. And also takes active steps towards ending the production of weapons systems in Scotland that are connected to apartheid, colonialism and genocide.

“Another Scotland is possible!”

At last, the BBC website covers news about Gaza in full

Read and watch a video here:

Chris Hedges’ speech about Gaza

chris hedges 1

81,000 plus have seen this video:

chris hedges 2

chris hedges 3

BBC Radio 4 news ignores world-wide protests against Israel’s actions in Gaza

demo london israel

15,000 protesters gathered in London on Saturday to call for an end to Israeli military action in Gaza and ‘justice and freedom’ for Palestine, marching through the capital from Downing Street to the Israeli embassy in Kensington.

Geneva: a demonstration against Israel’s assault on Gaza that drew some 300 protesters to the front of the U.N. European headquarters.

Paris: pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with police in on Saturday as they defied a ban on a planned rally against violence in the Gaza strip. President Francois Hollande earlier said he had asked his interior minister to ban protests that could turn violent after demonstrators marched on two synagogues in Paris last weekend and clashed with riot police.

Peaceful rallies were also held in more than a dozen other cities, from Lille in the north to Marseilles in the south.

Istanbul: thousands of Turkish people took to the streets on Thursday to call for international action to stop the Israeli attacks.

Pakistan: protesters also staged a demonstration to condemn the Israeli onslaught on the besieged enclave.

South Korea: protesters marched on Israel’s embassy in Seoul, holding placards denouncing the Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

Malaysia: protestors gathered around the Palestinian embassy in Kuala Lumpur, expressing solidarity with the Gazans.

In the Philippines’ capital, Manila, protestors rallied outside the Israeli embassy to condemn atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip’.

Thailand: people marched towards Israel’s embassy in the capital Bangkok and burned its flag.

New York: protesters gathered outside City Hall and waved Palestinian flags and chanted slogans in support of Gazans.

Madrid: Spaniards assembled in front of the Israeli embassy and urged the international community to do more to stop the slaughter of innocent civilians in Gaza.

Egypt: anti-Israel activists held a demonstration in the second largest city of Alexandria, calling for an end to the attacks on Palestinians in Gaza.

Kashmir: A large number of people in expressed solidarity with the families of the victims in Gaza. The protesters burned a flag of the Israeli regime and chanted slogans against Tel Aviv.

Berlin: pro-Palestine demonstrators demanded an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip. They carried banners that read, “Since 1948 there has been ethnic cleansing, displacement, oppression. Enough is enough.”

Demonstrations in support of Gaza were also held in the Italian capital Rome, Japan’s capital Tokyo, the Indonesian capital Jakarta, and in other countries during the past week, including El Salvador and Venezuela to denounce the Tel Aviv regime’s offensive against Gaza.

Media 23: BBC News – ‘handmaiden to power’?


Media Lens reports that though the BBC’s ‘journalistic failures’ on child abuse rightly led to pressure on senior staff to ‘step aside’, no such action was taken over the BBC’s failure to challenge the truth of US-UK propaganda on Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction which paved the way to war in Iraq and the subsequent occupation at a cost of hundreds of thousands of lives. As Jeremy Paxman admitted in 2009, he and his media colleagues were ‘hoodwinked’ by propaganda about Iraq.

As many are killed in Gaza, the main BBC headline read: ‘Egypt PM arrives for Gaza mission’

Media Lens:

“The role of BBC News as handmaiden to power is exemplified by its reporting on the latest series of brutal Israeli assaults on Gaza. On the first day of Operation Pillar of Cloud, thirteen people, including three children, were reportedly killed, and about 100 wounded. Israeli forces succeeded in their objective of ‘assassinating’ Hamas military chief Ahmed al-Jabari in a clear act of extrajudicial state execution.

“On November 16, Israel was reported to have hit 150 sites in Gaza the previous night, with 450 strikes in total. And yet the main BBC headline that morning read: ‘Egypt PM arrives for Gaza mission.’

“What would the BBC headline have been if 450 targets in Tel Aviv had been hit by F-16 bombs, drone missiles and artillery?

“A BBC correspondent in Gaza said ‘there are now fears now (sic) of a major escalation of violence’. But the Israeli execution of Ahmed al-Jabari was a major escalation of violence. BBC News reported three Israeli deaths by rockets fired from Gaza with the briefest mention of the earlier deaths of ‘eleven Palestinians – mainly militants but also children’. As ever, there was no explanation of how a Gaza civilian is distinguished from a ‘militant’ ”.

Israeli claim of self-defence rejected

Ali Abunimah is a Palestinian American journalist and co-founder of Electronic Intifada. He referred to the largely unreported timeline of events which emphasises once again how absurd it is for the corporate media to echo the Israeli claim that its violent acts can properly be described as ‘defending itself’:

“How can Israel be defending itself if it is crossing into Gaza, killing children, that when Israeli occupation forces are attacked – and Palestinians have a right to self-defence, they have a right to resist occupation – Israel responds by shelling civilians. I mean who in their right mind would call that “self-defence”?

“Who would call a siege – a six-year long siege where they count the calories of children in Gaza and only allow a drip-feed of food in to meet the minimum calories to avoid starvation – who would call that self-defence? Who would call it self-defence, the fact that Israel shells fishermen on a daily basis?”

To read the article and follow the links go to the website: