Ireland’s biggest food retailer drops Israeli produce

30 Aug

121102-bds-oranges_0 Activists in Belgium protest the sale of Israeli fruit and vegetables with stickers.

Ireland’s biggest food retailer drops Israeli produce as European boycotts surge

By Michael Deas, Electronic Intifada, 28 August 2014

Major Israeli food exporters are facing an unprecedented wave of cancellations in orders from Europe as a result of Israel’s most recent massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.

SuperValu, the biggest food distributor in Ireland, told the Irish media last week that it has withdrawn Israeli products from its shops.

And Israeli media reports suggest that other major European retailers have taken similar decisions without announcing them publicly.

Israeli fruit and vegetable exporters have faced cancellations from Scandinavia, the UK, France, Belgium and Ireland.

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The hazards Hebron kids face walking to school

29 Aug

 

ISM report, Al-Khalil (Hebron) on August 25th, 2014:

Each morning and afternoon the children of al-Khalil, some as young as four-years-old, are forced to cross through a checkpoint manned by Israeli border police.

This morning, the second day of school after summer break, four young teenagers threw stones at the checkpoint and Israeli forces present threw two stun grenades.

An ISM [International Solidarity Movement]volunteer who was present stated, “I was standing with my fellow ISM’er next to two young boys who were both under six-years-old. We were all very close to the stun grenades. We tried to comfort them when they [the stun grenades] exploded close by, but what could we say? They were both terrified. We walked with them down closer to their school and they began to run. At that moment, a tear gas grenade was fired and there were no children throwing stones. The smoke was thick and I began choking, it felt like I couldn’t breathe. I can’t imagine what this sensation would have been like for a child, and there were so many present. From there the situation just seemed to get worse, with so much tear gas in the air, children were unable to reach their schools.”

Palestinians left to rebuild Gaza

28 Aug

 

Jane Ferguson, Gaza, Al Jazeera, 27 August 2014.

Gaza and Israel are enjoying the first day of a long-term ceasefire. Both sides are claiming victory, but the cost of the damage to Gaza has been estimated to be at least $6bn. Al Jazeera‘s Jane Ferguson reports from Gaza.

Laila Harre: Divest SuperFund from Israeli war machine

27 Aug

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2014 ELECTION: Candidate’s pledge from Internet Party leader Laila Harre:

I Laila Harre pledge to require the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to divest our taxpayer dollars (i.e. withdraw its investment) from companies which profit from the occupation, siege and attacks on the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank.

In particular, I note the following companies, and I pledge to support moves to require the Superfund to divest from them:

1. G4S: a British-Danish private security company that provides services and equipment to Israeli prisons, checkpoints, the Apartheid Wall (which has been ruled illegal) and the Israeli police. ($542,755)

2. United Technologies: produces Blackhawk helicopters used to attack cities, refugee camps and villages. ($7,290,126)

3. Boeing: sells Israel F-15A fighter jets and Apache AH 64 helicopters used in attacks on Gaza. ($6,579,342)

4. General Dynamics: manufactures diesel engines used in Israel’s Merkava battle tanks and produces bombs for Israel. ($1,967,381)

5. Raytheon: produces bombs used in attacking Gaza. ($1,797,902)

6. Caterpillar: produces militarised bulldozers used to destroy Palestinian homes and carry out extrajudicial killings.($4,710,251)

7. Israel Chemicals: produces white phosphorus, a chemical which the Israeli military employs to “smoke out” combatants, but which chemically burns away the flesh of victims who have included Palestinian children caught in the “collateral damage”. ($327,668)

8. Hewlett-Packard: produces technologies for the Israeli military and profits from business in illegal settlements ($4,434,988)

Signed Laila Harre, 27 August 2014

Palestinians celebrate long-term ceasefire deal

27 Aug
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Hamas and Israel agree long-term deal which will ease Israeli blockade of enclave after talks brokered by Egypt.

Aljazeera report, 27 August 2014

Thousands of Palestinians are celebrating in Gaza after Israel and Palestinian groups agreed an open-ended ceasefire to end seven weeks of fighting in Gaza.The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, said on Tuesday from the occupied West Bank that a formula had been accepted by all parties and that a ceasefire had gone into effect at 16.00 GMT.He hailed the agreement as a chance to “build a new nation and end the occupation”, before thanking Egypt, Qatar and the US for their roles in brokering the agreement made during indirect talks in Cairo.The Reuters and AP news agencies quoted Israeli officials as saying that the Israeli government had accepted the deal. Israeli media reported the same.Hamas’s exiled deputy leader, Moussa Abu Marzouk, said the agreement was a “victory for the resistance”.Crowds took to the bombed-out streets of Gaza to celebrate the end of hostilities. Many used the v-sign to signify Palestinian victory over Israel.Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons, reporting Gaza, said that the deal agreed an immediate easing of Israel’s blockage of crossings into Gaza, and a gradual lifting of restrictions on fishing off the coast of the strip.

“The embargo will be lifted and the five border posts will see considerable changes, with the Rafah border crossing opening,” he said in reference to the crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

Discussions on the creation of a seaport and airport will take place in a month, when indirect talks betwen Israel and Palestinians will resume.

Ofir Gendelman, the Israeli prime minister’s spokesman for the Arab world, said operations in Gaza were a victory for Israel. “Hamas gave in and accepted the same Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire it rejected until now. The reason for the change … airstrikes,” he said.

The deal
* A multilateral ceasefire.* Israel to open more of its Gaza crossings, Egypt to open Rafah.* The Palestinian Authority to take over Gaza’s borders.* The PA to lead rebuilding efforts.* Israel to reduce security buffer inside Gaza, from 300m to 100m.* Israel to extend fishing limit off Gaza’s coast from three to six miles, with the possibility of extending it further.

Raids end

Israeli air raids continued in the run up to the ceasefire on Tuesday, as jets attacked two Gaza City high-rise buildings, collapsing one and severely damaging the other.

One attack levelled the 15-storey Basha tower and severely damaged a 13-storey building known as the Italian complex, which was home to 70 families and dozens of shops and offices.

Palestinian health officials said 20 people were wounded in the Italian complex attack.

In Israel, one civilian was killed and two others seriously wounded by a mortar round fired from Gaza hit a kibbutz in the Eshkol regional council area.

A total of 2,142 people, most of them civilians including more than 490 children, have been killed in Gaza since war broke out on July 8. A totoal of 69 people have been killed on the Israeli side, nearly all of them soldiers.

 

The difference between children

26 Aug

2620002970Palestinian mourners cry at Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital after an explosion killed at least seven children in a public playground recently. Photo by AFP

 

By Gideon Levy, Opinion, Haaretz (a major daily newspaper in Israel), 24 August 2014.

It is human that the killing of an Israeli boy, a child of ours, would arouse greater identification than the death of some other child. What is incomprehensible is the Israeli response to the killing of their children.

After the first child, nobody batted an eye; after the 50th not even a slight tremor was felt in a plane’s wing; after the 100th, they stopped counting; after the 200th, they blamed Hamas. After the 300th child they blamed the parents. After the 400th child, they invented excuses; after (the first) 478 children nobody cares.

Then came our first child and Israel went into shock. And indeed, the heart weeps at the picture of 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman, killed Friday evening in his home in Sha’ar Hanegev. A beautiful child, who once had his picture taken in an Argentinean soccer team shirt, blue and white, number 10. And whose heart would not be broken at the sight of this photo, and who would not weep at how he was criminally killed. “Hey Leo Messi, look at that boy,” a Facebook post read, “you were his hero.”

Suddenly death has a face and dreamy blue eyes and light hair. A tiny body that will never grow. Suddenly the death of a little boy has meaning, suddenly it is shocking. It is human, understandable and moving. It is also human that the killing of an Israeli boy, a child of ours, would arouse greater identification than the death of some other child. What is incomprehensible is the Israeli response to the killing of their children.

In a world where there is some good, children would be left out of the cruel game called war. In a world where there is some good, it would be impossible to understand the total, almost monstrous unfeelingness in the face of the killing of hundreds of children – not ours, but by us. Imagine them standing in a row: 478 children, in a graduating class of death. Imagine them wearing Messi shirts – some of those children wore them once too, before they died; they also admired him, just like our Daniel from a kibbutz. But nobody looks at them; their faces are not seen, no one is shocked at their deaths. No one writes about them: “Hey Messi, look at that boy.” Hey, Israel, look at their children.

An iron wall of denial and inhumanness protects the Israelis from the shameful work of their hands in Gaza. And indeed, these numbers are hard to digest. Of the hundreds of men killed one could say that they were “involved”; of the hundreds of women that they were “human shields.” As for a small number of children, one could claim that the most moral army in the world did not intend it. But what shall we say about almost 500 children killed? That the Israel Defense Forces did not intend it, 478 times? That Hamas hid behind all of them? That this legitimized killing them?

Hamas might have hidden behind some of those children but now Israel is hiding behind Daniel Tragerman. His fate is already being used to cover all of the sins of the IDF in Gaza.

The radio yesterday already talked about “murder.” The prime minister already called the killing “terror,” while hundreds of Gaza’s children in their new graves are not victims of murder or terror. Israel had to kill them. And after all, who are Fadi and Ali and Islaam and Razek, Mahmoud, Ahmed and Hamoudi – in the face of our one and only Daniel.

We must admit the truth: Palestinian children in Israel are considered like insects. This is a horrific statement, but there is no other way to describe the mood in Israel in the summer of 2014. When for six weeks hundreds of children are destroyed; their bodies buried in rubble, piling up on morgues, sometimes even in vegetable refrigeration rooms for lack of other space; when their horrified parents carry the bodies of their toddlers as a matter of course; their funerals coming and going, 478 times – even the most unfeeling of Israelis would not allow themselves to be so uncaring.

Something here has to rise up and scream: Enough. All the excuses and all the explanations will not help – there is no such thing as a child that is allowed to be killed and a child that is not. There are only children killed for nothing, hundreds of children whose fate touches no one in Israel, and one child, just one, around whose death the people unite in mourning.

 

Israel has dropped ‘equivalent of 6 nuclears bombs’ on Gaza

25 Aug
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Ma’an New Agency, Gaza, 24 August 2014

Bomb disposal experts in Gaza on Friday said that Israel had dropped the equivalent of six nuclear bombs on the tiny coastal enclave over the course of it’s six-week assault, including many that the police say are internationally banned.

The explosives’ engineering police of the Gaza Ministry of Interior said in a statement that Israel had dropped 20,000 tons of explosives on the 139 square mile (360 sq km) territory.

“Flechette shells, fuel-air bombs (which explode twice, including after impact), dime shells, and flechette shells saturated with uranium were fired at Gaza Strip,” the statement added, stressing that the weapons “affect the environment, soil, and water and will affect the next generations by spreading diseases especially cancer.”

The statement said that areas near the border like Khuzaa, eastern Rafah, Shujaiyya, eastern al-Mughazi, al-Bureij and Juhr al-Dik were hit with “the lion’s share of Israeli shells and missiles.”

The statement said that of the total number of explosive, 8,000 were dropped from warplanes, “killing entire families and crossing them out of the Palestinian civil register.”

Drones, Apache, F15, F16 and “vertical” warplanes were used during the offensive, firing MK82, MK83 and MK84 shells.

The statement added that the Israeli artillery deployed in eastern Gaza City had fired high-explosive shells at homes and civilian property causing massive damage, especially in Rafah, Khan Younis, Shujaiyya and Beit Hanoun.

More than 60,000 artillery shells of different sizes were fired at Gaza.

During the assault, Gaza police bomb disposal experts said that engaged in 1731 different missions including treating explosive devices, suspicious devices. and vehicles, among other tasks.

Major Hazem Abu Murad, deputy head of the explosives engineering department, and Major Taysir al-Hum were killed while dismantling suspicious objects in northern Gaza Strip, the statement added.

According to the statement, Major Abu Murad was one of the most important experts and trainers in explosives engineering in Gaza.

Other engineering police members were killed or detained during the Israeli offensive on Gaza Strip, the statement added, without identifying them.

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