Dec 15, 2014

Veritasphobia

Veritasphobia (fear of truth)
By Mazin Qumsiyeh

Fear is an emotional state produced in human beings and other animals to watch for real or anticipated dangers. An animal that reacts to danger or even potential danger and escapes lives and reproduces. Selection favored such mechanisms to be hightened in situations of danger of predation, of starvation of accidental death and so on. But an animal that is exceptionally fearful is also disadvantaged because it can avoid going out to find food or a better shelter or a mate. Fear is a double edged sword; useful in moderation especially when accompanied by logical thinking based on real phenomena and harmful in certain situations. Psychologists call the latter phenomenon of excessive fear as phobia. Phobia can lead to extreme behaviors or to hiding in ourselves and not taking any risks (risk taking is needed for progress). There are actually hundreds of named phobias ranging from Ablutophobia (irrational fear of washing or bathing) to Zoophobia (fear of animals). All humans are afraid of something or another but perhaps a significant proportion of humans are suffering from pathological phobias that impair or result in self damage or damage to others.I wrote in my 2004 book "Sharing the Land of Canaan" about role of fear in political discourse:

Begin quote
Fear is the most powerful tool ever used by governments.  Fear caused good Germans to support the Nazis in 1934 and surrender their liberties for supposed protection from "terrorism" and domination by the communists who some capitalists believed at the time to be dominated by "Jewish elements."   It causes many good Jews to support Israeli atrocities and it caused good Americans, Canadians and British today to support limiting civil liberties, engaging in profiling and other acts that are of undemocratic nature.  Fear is the most potent political propaganda because it destroys all rational capacity for logical thought.

While invading other countries, the Nazi government always argued they were defending Germany from others and not fighting a war of aggression.  They often claimed that they were "invited" by allies or fighting "defensive" wars.  The Blitzkrieg by Israel on Arab countries in 1967 was also thought of as a "defensive war" and "preemptive" in nature.  Many Americans also were duped to think that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was not an aggression but rather an action taken in self-defense.  Even though American troops have bombed over 30 countries since 1946 and American troops and "advisers" are now stationed in over 140 countries, many still believe that we are defending "our freedom." Yet, not one Iraqi, Korean, Nicaraguan, Vietnamese, Dominican, Grenadan, Panamanian, or Lebanese troops has ever set foot on United States soil.  In each case, fear spread by those in power led the population of the aggressor nations to accept the absurd propaganda of their governments and to acquiesce in the victimization of other people.

The esteemed psychologist Dr. William Sargant argued that governments use fear to create temporary impaired judgment and heightened individual and mass suggestibility creating a "herd instinct" most noticeable during times of conflict (William Sargant, Battle of the Mind: a Physiology of Conversion and Brainwashing, Cambridge: Malor Books, 1957, 255 pp.).  A good example of this psychological effect is the public sentiments in the crisis atmosphere following the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.  It is now well documented how the administration in Washington used this atmosphere of fear to promote its own agenda of hegemony and control ranging from the so-called PATRIOT act to the invasion of Iraq.
End quote

But upon further reflections in the past 11 years since I wrote TAT, I now think fear is not only a tool of the politicians but that politicians are the worst victims of a particular kind of phobia. Most of them know the truth but are deathly afraid of it and so choose the path of lies. I believe the main reason is that they worry that acknowledging truth can be a first step to working to correct things and this could jeopardize the status quo which includes their position, their wealth, their popularity or some other thing that they cherish (other than their conscience which is suppressed). Zionist politicians are paranoid when it comes to the truth of Zionist history of racism of ethnic cleansing and of massive violation of Palestinian human rights. They are afraid of the truth that Zionism based on lies is unsustainable and that coexist ace and equality are possible.  Many Palestinian politicians are paranoid when it comes to the truth of their own corruption, nepotism, collusion with Zionism (see Oslo accords) and hidden racist thoughts about the other. Hamas politicians are deathly afraid of Fatah politicians and vice versa.  

But this is also true of us common lay people. Phobias suppress our strong desire to shout out the truth, to challenge injustice, to speak our minds fully, to be rebellious, to not worry about being ridiculed. Ironically in our heart of hearts, mind of minds we know that all excellence emerges from defeating this phobia of the truth. The list of >530 phobias compiled and listed at phobialist.com misses that one so shall we call it veritasphobia or VP for short (Veritas is latin for truth)! Acknowledging the truth that it is possible to let go of our egos, try new things, and love others seems a Utopian dream. But those who suffer from VP also ignore history. After all, it was those who conquered their VP who shaped all positive events in human history from ending slavery to women rights, to civil rights, to human rights. History of progressive humanity is a history of conquering VP by few dedicated individuals. 

20th century "heroes" like Helen Keller, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, Nelson Mandela, Ghassan Kanafani, Rosa Parks, and thousands of others others follow those who in earlier centuries were called "prophets". They are common people who shed their VP and thus achieved remarkable things. I actually think those who do not do that, are also afraid of proving themselves wrong: i.e. that if they shed their VP, they could accomplish more in their lives than they ever dreamed possible.  They are afraid that embarking on a risky road more afraid of potential success than of potential failure! But that is why most people (including most politicians) live mediocre lives risking little and achieving little. [note: I do not consider getting wealth as achieving much unless it is totally dedicated to serving people].

Where are the 21st century heroes and prophets who overcame their Veritasphobia? I did cite some of those from Palestine in my 2012 book "Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment". But looking for those is only inspiring and they are a minority and we need more of them. Each of us (our politicians included) can and should look in the mirror and say "what about me?" 

Nov 25, 2014

Days of science


We are in the midst of the “Days of Science Festival” in Palestine (in 18 cities). In Bethlehem District, it is inspiring to watch hundreds of school children learn basics of questioning and basics of knowledge acquisition. Students just need opportunities to learn not to be lectured to. Unfortunately education is taking a back seat among Israelis and Palestinians to the ongoing daily distorted realities of the governments. For example 43% of the Palestinian authority budget goes to security (for Israel as subcontractors of occupation). Israel spent $8 billion just on the expansion and annexation apartheid wall to steal more Palestinian land. The Oslo and Paris accords ensured expansion of corruption to unprecedented levels (both in NGOs and government level).  Glittery buildings and fancy SUVs and hotels ensure the rich in Ramallah and Tel Aviv know little and care less about the marginalized in our society. Thus 25% of Israeli children and >50% of Palestinian children live below the poverty line. Otherwise good people (Palestinian and Israeli) now spend their days begging for aid from Europeans and Americans and writing progress reports and filling in text and pictures on imaginary “development activities”. The Palestinian authority figures and Israeli leaders play games and meet with “dignitaries” in 5-star hotels hoping they could delay the inevitable collapse of the corrupt system they created. Perhaps they think that one more year of the status quo means one more year to accumulate wealth of the hapless people. Meanwhile, the Zionist Knesset passes a racist “basic” law that consecrates Israel as the state of “the Jewish people” (Jewish national anthem, laws based on Jewish mythology etc). I do not know why people complain about the “Islamic State” when Israel has similar racist laws that set it up as a “Jewish state”.  

Insightful letter from US President Thomas Jefferson to Mordecai Noah,  May 28, 1818: “I thank you for the Discourse on the consecration of the Synagogue in your city, with which you have been pleased to favor me. I have read it with pleasure and instruction, having learnt from it some valuable facts in Jewish history which I did not know before. Your sect by its sufferings has furnished a remarkable proof of the universal spirit of religious intolerance inherent in every sect, disclaimed by all while feeble, and practiced by all when in power. Our laws have applied the only antidote to this vice, protecting our religious, as they do our civil rights, by putting all on an equal footing. But more remains to be done, for although we are free by the law, we are not so in practice."

Colonization activities here in Palestine go unchecked: Jerusalem is being mutated to a Jewish city and its natives removed, and the common people suffer horridly (house demolitions, killing, jailing, ethnic cleansing etc). The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. International law and human rights are not relevant to the racist Zionist “might makes right.” Yet, we do not have the luxury of despair and we must redouble our efforts even in the spheres we can work. That is why we teach students at our universities. That is why over 30 volunteers are working hard every day on the science festival in the Palestine Museum of Natural History (at Bethlehem University). Changing behavior is critical to build the human resources needed to reshape the future. We believe we can make our own future and write our own history. The challenges we face are both external and internal and the internal challenges are far more pressing. We must end the mental colonization before we end the physical one.

I end with a message from a South African who participated in work with the World Council of Churches in Palestine: “Dr Mazin: your article today reads like a discourse from our apartheid South African history. It takes me back to my own childhood & growing up, the displacement of communities, creation of what they called homelands, alienation of family & friends. Tensions flaring, arrests, loved ones leaving the country of their birth, some to never be seen again. Violent killings or imprisonment of those who resisted. All this in the name of religion & the entitlement of one over another. It was legitimized by many countries around the world. That was why I couldn't just walk away in 2004 when I volunteered to heed the call of the Palestinian religious leaders via EAPPI & stayed for 2 years. I later realised why. It was something I knew, grew up with could relate to & also knew it would not, could not last forever. Unfortunately the world is so slow to react to this gross injustice, the same as with apartheid or the holocaust, or ebola, or South Sudan & so I can go on. Evil can only prevail when good man do nothing. My comrade never get tired with what you are doing, this too shall end. Aluta continua!!! In SA we also have another slogan : Amandla - Awethu!!! (Power to the people). Stay strong, I was born under Apartheid & lived & worked to see its end.”

I may add that like with South Africa, help of the international community must be directed at ending apartheid not at making conditions of imprisonment (colonization) a bit more tolerable to the native people. Hence I say encourage BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) and encourage real resistance to the apartheid state of Israel. Try to avoid those who claim they are resisting in order to get a few more donor dollars! Try to put your effort (and money) in a direction that produces measurable impact in that direction.

To see pictures of our activities in the science festival and more, look for our facebook page under Palestine Museum of Natural History. Also come visit us anytime.

The battle for Jerusalem 

Mazin Qumsiyeh
Professor (Bethlehem University) and director PMNH
Bethlehem, Occupied Palestine

Sep 5, 2014

Gaza Ground Zero

[First a correction/apology: Last week I broadcast information I received erroneously from Twitter: It was not David but his brother Richard Attenborough who died. Many of you wrote to correct me (over 200 messages), so in a way this error showed that people read and check and that is good].

According to the United Nations, the Palestinian Ministry of Health and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, in its latest assault on the people of Gaza, the occupation forces killed 2170 and injured 10900 human beings (about 80% of them civilians, >519 children killed, 2114 children injured).

Israel was using the media distraction it created with slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza (while shouting “hamas, hamas”) to hide the intensification of its ethnic cleansing policies in the occupied West Bank. For example, Israel announced one of the largest expropriation ordesr of Palestinian lands to expand its illegal Gush Etzion complex of colonies. 3799 dunums of land (1000 acres) are to be taken from the villagers of Husan, Nahhalin, and Wadi Fukin.

The latest “ceasefire” arrangement between the resistance factions and Israel are closer to resistance demands than Israeli demands. A majority of Israeli citizens supported the genocide in Gaza and they wanted even more mayhem. Polls also reveal that many do not buy their government propaganda that the Israeli military won. But in wars there are no winners but only losers and worse losers. Gaza was devastated because the Israeli military was unable to find or attack resistance forces and vented its frustration on civilians. But politicians have a ways of twisting things to their advantage. Even Mahmoud Abbas joined the fray to adopt the Israeli myth that the ceasefire agreed to in the end was the same as the ceasefire offered in the beginning. But Israel has just violated the cease fire by attacking fisherman off the coast of Gaza. Alas, we are in for a long struggle and I urge people to intensify the BDS movement against the apartheid regime of Israel. I get interviewed a lot and speak to visiting internationals regularly. The Palestinian cause is one of the most just causes in history. What we need o do is change ourselves first and move towards more actions (especially by us Palestinians but also by global activists).

Drones have been flying over Bethlehem i n the past few dauys. A prelude to Gazafication of our ghetto? Drones are a core part of Israel's military occupation and ethnic cleansing strategy. Londoners have been doing great actions including taking over the roof of a British drone supplier. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/06/uav-factory-protest-drones-palestinian-gaza
Australian copycat action, also targeting Elbit: Palestine protesters occupy roof of Port Melbourne factory http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/palestine-protesters-occupy-roof-of-port-melbourne-factory-20140815-104dl4.html
For more actions from the London group http://londonpalestineaction.tumblr.com/

Powerful virtual tour of Gaza ground zero. (click to go through panoramic views from different locations) http://www.kolor.com/virtual-tours/20140818-kolor-lewis-whyld/#s=pano116

"Civil resistance and conflict transformation: Transitions from armed to nonviolent struggle“ has just been released! I have a chapter in it on Palestine struggle (colonial anti-colonial and tactics of the resistance) http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9781138019423/

ARIJ reports and maps (in Arabic and Hebrew) of the recent orders affecting villagers (Nahhalin, Husan, Wadi Fukin, AlKhader): http://www.poica.org/details.php?Article=6868

A Common Dreams investigation has discovered thousands of anti-Semitic comments over the past two years were posted by proxies who support Israel. One included posting comments by a screen name, "JewishProgressive," whose purpose was to draw attention to and denounce the anti-Semitic comments that HE had written under many other screen names. One proxy commentator posted inflammatory comments under sixty names and a host of identities/ Black, White and Jewish!!! http://www.commondreams.org/hambaconeggs

Schlars at Risk Network: Occupation attack on Palestinian Universities (another reason to boycott) http://monitoring.academicfreedom.info/reports/2014-06-22-birzeit-university-arab-american-university-al-quds-university-palestine

Aug 25, 2014

A meaningful life?

We lost three good and famous people this week: Holocaust survivor and humanist Hajo Meyer, Environmentalist broadcaster David Attenborough, and Palestinian Poet Samih AlQasim. I first met Hajo (born 1924 and died 23 August 2014) over 10 years ago and communicated with him frequently via email. And he wrote me 7 years ago when I wrote about the transfer agreement signed between Nazi Germany and the Zionist leaders "Are you aware that besides the Ha'avarah agreement the terrorist and murderer Avraham Stern had written to the Nazis on January 11th 1941 to fight with his Irgun forces together with the Nazis against the British! That is, I think, still stronger stuff." Here is Hajo as I remember him speaking his mind
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSlFR541Uoo

David Attenborough deep and resonating voice narrating spectacular nature videos impacted many of us. These videos will have a special place in our nascent Palestine Museum of Natural History. I especially liked his series "Wonderful World" on BBC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8WHKRzkCOY

We also lost a great Palestinian poet Samih Al-Qasem this week. He was born from a Druze family in 1939 but considered his own date of birth as 1948 because that is when he said he awoke to what was happening to our people. He had a great career contributing words to many now famous Palestinian national songs like this one in Arabic followed by the English translation

منتصب القامة أمشي
مرفوع الهامة أمشي
في كفي غصن زيتون
وعلى كتفي نعشي
وأنا أمشي

Standing upright i walk
Elevated forehead I walk
In my palm a bunch of olives
and on my shoulder my own coffin
and I walk

Here is another poignant poem
تذاكر سفر
وعندما أٌقتَل في يومٍ من الأيام
سيَعثُر القاتل في جيبي
على تذاكِرِ السفر:
واحدة الى السلام
واحدة الى الحقول والمطر
واحدة
الى ضمائر البشر
ارجوك الّا تُهمِل التذاكر
يا قاتلي العزيز
ارجوك ان تسافر

The day I'm killed,
my killer, rifling through my pockets,
will find travel tickets:
One to peace,
one to the fields and the rain,
and one
to the conscience of humankind.
Dear killer of mine, I beg you:
Do not waste the tickets.
Take them, use them.
I beg you to travel.

We also lost many other good people including a mother (Tasnim Isam Judeh) and her four Children in the ongoing Israeli genocidal campaign against Palestinians in Gaza. These simple people trying to live in
the world's largest open air prison are equally important to remember, to mourn, and to celebrate their lives. I most grieve for children lost who could have had so much future potential. Yet, while we lost good people this week we also gained much and are enriched by life. As David Attenborough reminds us life goes on in all its glory and beauty and death and regrowth. For example Gaza displaced residents in temporary shelters delivered dozens of babies and even held weddings. And some friends here and in Gaza are bringing art, music, culture, beauty to this otherwise mad world. Friends whose homes are demolished promise to rebuild and those injured are heeling. Life goes on in all its pluses and minuses. We have so far studied over 40 species of butterflies in Bethlehem University! We adopted a stray dog at the museum and planted seeds (literal and metaphysical). We note that all life is exquisitely beautiful as it blossoms. Without change and growth and interacting with our environment, we have stagnation. We must all be part of this in a positive way adding to building and wonder and growth. Hence activism and growth are the epitome of living a meaningful life exemplified by those who left us. When it is our time to go, will we have lived this meaningful life?

Please support advertisements against apartheid www.adsagainstapartheid.com

Over 200 Israelis living in the US wrote this letter to Jewish community leaders. Worth reading
http://israelisforasustainablefuture.com/

Holocaust survivors speak out: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.612072

Miko Peled tells it like it is on Gaza https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HHQIzaZoCfI

Visit us in occupied Bethlehem, Palestine

Aug 21, 2014

to live now

Some of the volunteers for the Palestine Museum of Natural History, Bethlehem, Occupied Palestine

I have not written much lately and this email maybe personal and hard. Our days start early and end very late. Our nights are also occasionally interrupted by calls from friends in Gaza or others who need some support. In the past 48 hours, over 100 Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli occupation forces. Many of those are in Rafah. Sometimes I feel guilty that I am affected more by those I know than those who die that I did not know. For example, I cried after I hung-up the phone with Islam, a friend in Rafah who has four children and they can't sleep and their house shook and windows shattered as missiles rained on homes nearby. I cried because I know him and his handicapped son and his dilemma at whether to try to carry his son and run to the street or not. But then I cried some more thinking of the many innocents who got killed and injured and who I dd not personally know and did not cry for them earlier. Islam and his family will be traumatized for life. Hundreds of thousands will be even more traumatized. I can't even imagine a life of a girl who lost all her family members and carries emotional and physical scars for life.

Sometimes I think I carry scars too. Perhaps I cope because I am so lucky to have positive things to do daily to keep me from thinking too much. I am lucky because I can help others. I am lucky that I am surrounded by dozens of young volunteers that show us what life could be like in the future. Volunteers passing out fliers about boycotts, volunteers reclaiming agricultural lands, volunteers helping us build a natural history museum in Palestine, volunteers helping other volunteers cope with a difficult life, volunteers giving time and money to needy children, and volunteers doing media work (that should have been done by paid professionals). Aida refugee camp where some of those volunteers live is really unlivable because of daily dumping of toxic gas and toxic stink water by the Israeli occupation forces. Its health impact is dramatic and far worse than respiratory illnesses.

People ask me about politics and claim it is too complex. I say it is simple and predictable. For thousands of years we had a struggle between wealthy greedy people who employ others to shoot and injure poor people so that they wealthy people get richer. It was like that at the time of Jesus and it is like that today. Some (minority) who get offered a chance will join forces of repression and go with the flow of power. Others (also a minority) lead an active life that helps change things for the better for a lot of people. The majority in the middle remain apathetic. More people need to see the truth and act on it. It is not too difficult even for those who were on the side of repression to change. Yonatan Shapira former Israeli Air Force captain became a refusnik and BDS activist and once wrote: "Most of my family came from Poland and many of my relatives were killed in the death camps during the Holocaust. When I walk in what was left from the Warsaw Ghetto I can’t stop thinking about the people of Gaza who are not only locked in an open air prison but are also being bombarded by fighter jets, attack helicopters and drones, flown by people whom I used to serve with. I am also thinking about the delegations of young Israelis that are coming to see the history of our people but also are subjected to militaristic and nationalistic brainwashing on a daily basis. Maybe if they see what we wrote here today they will remember that oppression is oppression, occupation is occupation, and crimes against humanity are crimes against humanity, whether they have been committed here in Warsaw or in Gaza". I only add resistance is resistance' Warsaw ghetto residents also dug tunnels and were also called terrorists by their tormentors.

In my 2004 book “Sharing the land of Canaan” I wrote:
“Palestinians were subjected to cruel and unreasonable treatment over so many years that many begin to doubt that justice is possible and many certainly believe coexistence impossible. Similarly, since many Israelis have been feeling embattled and attacked that many also feel that coexistence is impossible. A defeatist attitude develops and envelops not only Palestinians and Israelis but also may of their supporters. But either the societies coexist as peaceful human beings or they will perish as rival primate societies.…..A sense of hopelessness and desperation leaves many looking for “crumbs” of both material and psychological “food”. This is especially stressful when combined with the deep commitment by many to historical myths of grandeur or glory. I am not going to spend much time on the history of the Jewish, Arabic and Islamic civilizations (volumes have been written on these). Suffice it to say that our psychological profile is one that contrasts our existing condition with the perceived greatness of our ancestors and our prophets. We thus assume ourselves as a privileged group but this immediately contrasts with what we observe to be the destitute present situation as described throughout this book. This is especially true for the Palestinian people who are dispossessed. We can address the bigger issues of why 1.3 billion Muslims or 300 million Arabs (Muslims and Christians) have so little to say in the direction of world economies and social and cultural developments so dominated now by the US as a sole remaining power. But perhaps this too can be resolved slowly once the knot of friction in Israel/Palestine is resolved. Imagine the example set if this one place in the world, previously an example of violence, endemic hatred and tribalism, can transcend all this to build a truly shining example of coexistence and non-violence. Imagine the billions of dollars spent on armaments going to desalinate seawater, to build high tech industries, and truly harness the great minds of the inhabitants (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) for positive developments.…....Perhaps we need to teach children to value themselves, value teamwork, respect others and defend the rights of minorities. This is not as simple as it seems. Adults perhaps need to learn to accept, in a very positive fashion, views that are foreign to them. In other words, someone who speaks his views regarding issues should be listened to and respected regardless of how sacred the holy “cows” may be.”

I end with a quote from Howard Zinn (You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A personal history of our times, p. 208): "To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places - and there are so many - where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."

New Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Palestine-Museum-of-Natural-History/1454309858180882

Sincerely

Mazin Qumsiyeh
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor, Bethlehem University
Director, Palestine Museum of Natural History

Aug 10, 2014

Act For Gaza

Child lost his eyesight after Israeli shelling. The father was killed a week later!

A rocket fell near us Tuesday in Beit Sahour. From the way it broke-up, we think it was one of the "iron dome" missiles that missed its mark (this happens to some 70-80% of missiles that are supposed to intercept Palestinian  home-made rockets from Gaza).  The owner of the house said of the significant damage: "we are with Gaza and continue to be".  Wars bring out the worse in people and the best in people. Israeli devastation of Gaza is facing against heroism of resilience and resistance of Palestinians and an awakening of conscience of millions. Every hour we hear stories and listen to dignified resilient voices from Gaza in the face of incredible devastation. Medics who continue to operate even as their colleagues and relatives are killed. Remaining family members who lost everything but promise to rebuild and fight back until freedom. Municipal workers trying to avert a catastrophe and keep bombed sewage and water lines open and separate. Neighbors helping each other. Resistance fighters coming back from the front lines to help dig for civilian corpses buried under the rubble. A child consoling her little brother after all their family has been wiped out. People taking care of each other and giving all of us lessons in how we can keep our humanity. Messages from Gaza say to us "we survive, we are fine, how about you? How are you?" Gaza has become like the pH meter in my lab, a good barometer of change in the medium. How are we, the medium of humanity doing and where are we heading? 

Palestinian Civil society organizations and public figures are calling on the world to demand the opening of the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/urgent-call-action-tell-egypt-end-gaza-siege-refuse-complicity-israeli-genocide

Israel has developed a doctrine of slowly increasing attacks on civilians to give them a chance to supposedly stop the resistance (an impossible task). The three stages used in the past four weeks included: first stage) used in the first week of the shelling of Gaza included  Israeli forces giving warning to some of the people to leave their houses before they flattened them with shells (a form of ethnic cleansing never-the-less).  Second stage) clearing neighborhoods with a blanket statement in media to evacuate whole neighborhoods, then flattening them (also ethnic cleansing), third stage) no warning just blanket and random shelling increasing civilian deaths.  Overlapping stage two and three was also the shelling of hospitals and schools and the power station (targeting infrastructure, mostly without notice given). Having exhausted these three stages which obviously were well planned, Israeli leaders announced victory and moved on. The only gain was to bank account of those who profit from wars (companies like Elbit Systems). This helps sales of weapons (depleting stocks which have to be bought back and the US taxpayers pay for these). People die but some people get to be even more rich.

On the bright side (if there is any), this adventure accelerated the inevitable decline of the racist genocidal state of Israel. The resistance is strengthened because people saw that Israel could not advance one or two kilometers into Gaza without casualties of its soldiers who are paranoid about being captured or killed (even killed by Israeli forces to prevent them from being captured. Many committed suicide or injured themselves to leave the battle field. In 1967, Israeli armies advanced and conquered hundreds of kilometers without any opposition from supposed "Arab armies". The land conquered per hour was literally the time it took infantry to walk across the landscape (no opposition). Israel, Jordan and Egypt did not fight or even plan to fight. And they had supplies and open borders. Here a concentration camp (the enclave of Gaza) giving Israel a real fight and Israeli mighty army is bloodied and confused and wining about tunnels (well yes, the Vietcong also used tunnels because everything above ground was instantly scorched by imperial US forces). So many lies were uncovered that many observers have started to believe Hamas and other resistance groups more than they believe anything that the Western Mainstream Media and Netanyahu and his puppets have to say. Mr. Netanyahu came in front of the Israeli public and lied yet again. Israel acknowledged some 50 soldiers killed but most Israelis know the number is at least three times as high. Many Israeli families acknowledge money is being given to them to refrain from mentioning the killing of their children at the borders of Gaza. One Israeli leak suggested some 130-150 Israeli soldiers killed (closer to a number released by Hamas resistance). But the ceasefire declared by the UN (the only one declared by the UN and agreed to by the two parties) was broken by Israeli forces after they encountered some resistance fighters in their advance to Rafa and two Israeli soldiers were killed and the area was bombed burying a third soldier with the resistance fighters on spot. The Israeli government version of this was a fabrication (soldiers were attacked, one was kidnapped etc). Hamas's version of what might have happened was more believable (they lost contact with soldiers defending the field East of Rafah and they presume them dead). Belatedly the Israeli version changed and they were forced t accept a version closer to what the Palestinians said. But this is of little consolation to Palestinians including children massacred with the excuse that Hamas broke the cease fire. Now there is talk in Cairo to give Israel what it could not achieve by military means: impunity from crimes, pacification of the natives while maintaining colonization and injustice.

But people are moving. The above call and other like it are followed by actions. There si widening boycotts of everything Israeli and people are mobilizing aid convoys to Gaza (three trucks from my own town of Beit Sahour will leave in the next two days and this is just one of hundreds of such efforts).  Yet this is still not enough. 400,000 Palestinians are now dislocated and for nearly half of them, their homes have been destroyed. Billions of dollars are needed to rebuild. Every bit helps though and actions speak louder than words. As we help Gaza Palestinians on a humanitarian level, we must also ensure accountability and to prevent more Israeli crimes. To do that we need BDS, we need ICC, we need coordination and joint action.

Names of Palestinians murdered by the colonial fascist Israeli forces (they are not numbers or even names, they are people with their stories and their rights violated and robbed of their lives by a war machine empowered by human silence) http://www.imemc.org/article/68429

I have many friends/colleagues in Gaza and all where affected by the ongoing horrors, more than half of them had family members killed (see for example story of family members of our colleague Dr Mona El Farra below), and one was killed herself with two of her children.

Being calmly rational about dead children feels like a very particular form of madness. Whatever else journalistic objectivity is, it surely cannot be the elimination of human emotion http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2014/aug/01/journalists-objective-writing-dead-children

Israeli Vets Speak Out: What Really Goes On In Gaza
Starvation, shooting at kids, casual violence—former IDF soldiers reveal the abuses by the Israeli military in Gaza http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/11/israel-soldiers-testimony-idf-gaza

Photographer is killed as he videotapes attacks on ambulances
here is the same incident from another photographer who survived this war crime https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-d5crde4vg

A very excellent example of an article putting the context out that is ignored by Zionist dominated western media. We should all learn to write like that and to focus our energy on media.

Who profits from the war on Gaza

Over 100 Middle East Studies Scholars and Librarians Call for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

Boycott Israel: here is research on 60 companies to boycott/picket etc.

Dr. Mads Gilbert makes a moving speech upon his return to Norway from Gaza

Norman Finkelstein" The word is out, Israel is a lunatic state

Aug 1, 2014

Free Gaza

Call from Palestine: Free Gaza, Hold Israel Accountable

To those who understand the interconnectedness of our many human struggles for justice and dignity, we in the Palestinian Civil Society implore you to act in solidarity as Gaza burns and bleeds, gathers and buries the lifeless bodies of her children, and contends with carnage and loss for which there is no language. The Gaza Strip is 139 square mile packed with 1.8 million people (1.2 million of whom are refugees ethnically cleansed by Israel between 1947-1950). This open-air prison has been suffocating under a deadly siege imposed by Israel for years and accommodated by the Egyptian government under pressure from the USA. A UN report before the latest assault said the Strip will be unlivable by 2020 but this attacks may bring that date sooner. Further, Gaza has been subjected to repeated massacres as Israel uses the small strip as testing grounds for its latest weaponry (funded by US taxpayers).  According to the ministry of health, in its latest assault on the people of Gaza, Israeli occupation forces murdered 1283 and injured 7170 human beings (80% of them civilians, >200 children). Entire families are wiped out almost every day by Israel’s relentless bombing of civilian areas. Even before this latest assault, Israel has declared 20% of Gaza off-limits to human habitation and has demolished homes and agricultural fields in those areas. Now Israel has doubled this scorched earth area to be 40% of Gaza (182,000 displaced). We watch in horror as Israeli occupation forces destroyed mosques, schools, hospitals, agricultural areas, industries, and even the only power station in Gaza. We ask people of conscience to contact media and politicians to ensure that Israel is not immune from compliance with International Humanitarian Law. We also ask for expansion of campaigns of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS). Hundreds of thousands around the world demonstrated for Gaza and we are grateful. But more actions at this stage are needed to prevent large-scale genocide and human catastrophe in Gaza. As Gaza is forced into darkness and devastation, we must speak on her behalf. Our friends and family members in Gaza call on you to demand the lifting of the siege on Gaza, the immediate provision of medical and humanitarian aid, and holding Israel accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Key websites for information on current events in Gaza
Gaza: gaza.scoop.ps; pictures/stories of martyrs humanizepalestine.com; UN Office of  Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairsochaopt.org; UNRWA unrwa.org/gaza-emergency; Palestinain Center for Human Rights pchrgaza.org
International Middle East Media Center imemc.org

UN releases Satellite images showing Gaza destruction about livelihood http://www.channel4.com/news/gaza-satellite-image-destruction-rubble-houses-israel-bomb
 "The third segment of the show, Gorilla Radio interview with Prof. Qumsiyeh http://www.gorilla-radio.com/index.php?id=729

A child is thought dead, his family receives the bad news, touching and crying over him then he comes back to life and is rushed back to the operating room http://www.alwatanvoice.com/arabic/news/2014/07/29/573010.html

Targeting ambulances (now how is this video but evidence of crimes against humanity not war crimes since there is no war on Gaza, there is genocide)

IDF Confirms Nahal Oz Video, Deif Shocks Israel http://www.roitov.com/articles/nahaloz.htm

Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Pedro Almodovar denounce Israel's 'genocide' in Gaza
http://www.haaretz.com/life/arts-leisure/1.607866

64 public figures, 7 Nobel laureates, call for arms embargo on Israel
Tutu, Chomsky, Waters, Pappe, others accuse country of 'war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.' http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.606228

The UN spokesperson Christopher Gunness cried as he tried to describe recent bombing of a United Nations school in Gaza.
http://heavy.com/news/2014/07/watch-united-nations-unrwa-christopher-gunness-cries-on-tv-gaza/?ref=emailshare

People all over the world are stepping up - many for the first time - to send a clear, urgent message: We Choose Freedom for All. http://freedom4palestine.org/
Palestinians will not 'raise a white flag (including statement from Prof. Qumsiyeh) http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/palestinians-will-not-raise-white-flag-201472675313881986.html

Henry Siegman, Leading Voice of U.S. Jewry, on Gaza: "A Slaughter of Innocents"