Beyond Liveability – a poem by Samah Sabawi

15 Aug

(Photo: Yousef Aljamal, Palestine Chronicle)


Beyond Liveability – A Poem by Samah Sabawi


life beyond livability is inevitable
like the rainfall
and the winter storms
life inside the walls
is ferocious…stubborn
It grows like dandelions through parched rocks
it transcends obstacles
and powers through
like inexorable love
like an irresistible kiss
like the birthing of new life
beyond the statistics
and the rhetoric of hate
like the darkness that drapes the homes in the besieged city
listen carefully
two million hearts are beating off rhythm
there is no harmony beyond livability
only the inevitable
beware the inevitable.

– Samah Sabawi is a Palestinian writer and poet. She contributed this poem to (Published 15 August 2017).

Debunking Israel’s UN-bias claims

15 Aug

US envoy Nikki Haley has accused the UN of ‘bullying’ Israel [File: EPA]

By Ben White, Al Jazeera, 14 August 2017

Ben White is a freelance journalist, writer and activist, specialising in Palestine/Israel.

Debunking Israel’s UN-bias claims

The UN’s repeated buckling to US and Israeli pressure stands contrary to claims of an anti-Israel bias, analysts note.

Nikki Haley, the US envoy to the United Nations, made headlines in June when she denounced what she claimed was a pattern of “anti-Israel” behaviour at the UN.

“I have never taken kindly to bullies, and the UN has bullied Israel for a very long time,” she said. “We are not going to let that happen any more. It is a new day for Israel in the United Nations.”

While Haley’s words were music to Israeli leaders’ ears and echoed long-standing talking points of pro-Israel advocacy groups, analysts say there is little substance to her allegations that, in the words of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Israel has been “the UN’s punching bag”.

According to human rights lawyer Noura Erakat, the attention given to Israel/Palestine at the UN harkens back to a particular historical moment in the 1960s and 1970s, when “national liberation movements and newly decolonised countries used the UN as a site of protest” against “imperialistic” Western politics.

While issues concerning Namibia, South Africa, Cape Verde, Vietnam, Laos and others have in one way or another been resolved, Erakat told Al Jazeera, “the only one that hasn’t is Palestine”.

In 2016, the UN Security Council’s activity focused on the likes of North Korea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Somalia and Libya. Sudan and South Sudan produced the most Security Council resolutions last year, with 11, while just one resolution dealt with Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. It was the first in almost eight years.

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Israeli police raid hospital, patient dies 

15 Aug

Video published by B’tselem, 13 August 2017

Police seek critically injured Palestinian at al-Makassed hospital, try to seize his bed

On 21 July ‘17, dozens of Israeli police raided al-Makassed hospital in East Jerusalem seeking to arrest a critically injured Palestinian. B’Tselem found that armed officers entered various wards. Officers tried to seize the man’s bed on the way to surgery and pushed medical staff and persons protecting him. The man died meanwhile. Such violent, life-endangering conduct cannot be justified. The police can use other means, without harming staff or patients or violating the convention that medical staff and clinics are a safe haven.

Israeli tanks, bulldozers, invade & uproot Gaza farms

14 Aug

IMEMC News, Gaza, 14 August 2017

At least three Israeli army tanks, and three armored military bulldozers, invaded on Monday morning, Palestinian agricultural lands, fired live rounds and bulldozed large sections close to the border fence, east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza.

The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported that the bulldozers uprooted farmlands and created sand hills near the border fence.
It added that the army also fired several live rounds during the invasion, to keep the Palestinians out of their lands.
The invasion is part of ongoing Israeli violations targeting the Palestinians, their lands and property, in addition to attacking fishing boats in Palestinian waters, in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Can you imagine life like this?

14 Aug


VIDEO: Institute for Middle East Understanding, 19 July 2017

Israeli bombs. Israeli drones. Israeli-imposed power cuts. And no way to leave. Everyday life in Gaza is shaped by Israeli policy, which has turned the coastal enclave into a maximum security prison where the inmates are fathers, mothers and children whose only crime is being born in Gaza. Can you imagine life like this?


The Wall of Insanity

14 Aug

Cranes work on the Israeli side of the border with Gaza, July 23, 2017.  [Eliyahu Hershkovitz]

By Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 13 August 2017

Opinion: The Wall of Insanity 

Israel has opted for another wall, this time around Gaza. Israel will pay for it

The next time a cap gun is fired or a toy balloon is launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip, the army will start building a steel dome over the Strip to prevent it. The ceiling will also cut off the territory from the sky. After all, we’re talking about national security. When the first crack forms, and another balloon is launched or cap gun fired, the defense establishment will proceed to the next phase: flooding the Gaza Strip with water until it is completely submerged. After all, we’re talking about Israeli security.

Until that happens — the plans have already been drawn up — the modest, hard-up Israeli army is making do with smaller measures: It’s building a new “barrier” around the Strip, the father of all the fences and the mother of all the walls with which Israel is surrounding itself, six meters high and reaching tens of meters underground. Israel is becoming a state with a wall at its heart: There’s nothing it likes more than to surround itself.

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The Cluster-Bomb Nation

12 Aug

A cluster bomb used by Israel in Lebanon is marked by red painting on the Lebanon-Israeli border road near the southern Lebanese village of Naqura, Thursday, August 31, 2006. AP

By Gideon Levy, Opinion, Haaretz (Israeli Daily newspaper), 10 August 2017

The Cluster-Bomb Nation

The cluster bombs are aimed mainly at densely populated areas. There they can kill most effectively. That’s why the Israeli army wants them.

Israel wants to kill as many innocent people as possible. Under no circumstances does it want to belong to the community of enlightened nations. There is no other way to understand Gili Cohen’s chilling report (Monday’s Haaretz) that the defense establishment decided to prefer an Israeli-made cannon that has yet to be completed to a German one, merely to sidestep the international ban on cluster bombs.

More than 100 states signed the international treaty banning the use of cluster bombs; Israel, as usual, isn’t one of them. What has Israel to do with international treaties, international law, international organizations – it’s all one big unnecessary nuisance. Israel’s fellow rejectionists are, as usual, Russia, Pakistan, China, India and of course the United States, the world’s greatest spiller of blood since World War II. This is the company Israel wants to keep, the club it belongs to.

Cluster bombs are an especially barbarous weapon, a bomb that turns into countless bomblets, spreading over a wide area, killing and wounding indiscriminately. They sometimes explode years after were fired. The world was appalled and disgusted by such a weapon of mass destruction, and for good reason. The world – but not Israel. We’re a special case, as is commonly known. We’re allowed to do anything. Why? Because we can.

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Israeli navy detains two Palestinian fishermen 

11 Aug

Ma’an News Agency, Bethlehem, 11August 2017. 

Israeli navy detains two Palestinian fishermen of the northern coast of Gaza

Israeli naval forces on Friday morning detained two Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, according to local sources.

The Palestinian Fishermen Union said in a statement that the Israeli navy detained brothers Saddam and Udayy Abd al-Bari al-Sultan.

An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports.

The Israeli army regularly detains and opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen, shepherds, and farmers along the border areas if they approach the so-called “buffer zone” — on the Gaza side of the Israeli-Gaza border — as the authorities have not made clear the precise area of the designated zone.

The practice has in effect destroyed much of the agricultural and fishing sector of the blockaded coastal enclave.

Roger Waters calls on fellow musicians to boycott Israel

10 Aug


VIDEO: RT America, 8 August, 2017

Musical legend Roger Waters is calling out fellow performers for refusing to participate in the boycott movement for Palestinian rights (BDS). He explains his views in an exclusive interview, coming up Thursday on RT America.


Remembering Mahmoud Darwish (VIDEO)

10 Aug


Today marks the death anniversary of renowned Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish (1941 – 2008). In this video, Darwish performs his iconic piece “There is on this land that which makes life worth living”.


Pregnant women, newborns contaminated with heavy metals linked to Israeli attacks

8 Aug

Remnants of war….

By Julie Webb-Pullman, Gaza, 7 August 2017

Newborn babies and their mothers exposed to Israeli attacks in 2014 have a high level of heavy metal contamination in their hair, reports a study published in the latest British Medical Journal (BMJ Open). The research was carried out in Gaza on 502 women who were pregnant at the time of the 2014 Israeli offensive.

Italian, Finnish and Gazan researchers analyzed the quantities of 23 kinds of metal in the hair of the women and the children they subsequently gave birth to, and compared them with the metal content in women’s hair outside of war zones. They also studied in utero transmission of heavy metals, as well as the hypothesis of contamination unrelated to war.

“Heavy metals used during wars are toxic, teratogenic and carcinogenic, and this study has shown they pose a health risk to pregnant women and their children, now and in the long-term” said lead researcher, Paola Manduca.

Teratogens disrupt the development of the embryo and can cause birth defects, while carcinogens can cause cancer.

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Israeli navy fires on homes and fishermen in Gaza

7 Aug

File photo.

IMEMC News & Agencies, Gaza Strip, 6 August 2017

The Israeli navy, Sunday morning, fired at Palestinian fishermen in their boats, as they were sailing off al-Sudaniya shore, north of the Gaza Strip, local sources said.

According to WAFA correspondence, the attack caused damage to the boats, but no casualties were reported among the fishermen, who fled the sea in fear of arrest or harm.=

Despite the signed agreements with Israel, which allow fishermen to sail as far as 12 nautical miles, Israeli navy targets Gaza’s fishermen on daily basis, and doesn’t allow them to go further than three nautical miles, which is not enough as fish is not dense.

PNN further reports that, according to local sources in Gaza, Israeli naval boats fired both shells and heavy machine-gun fire at the boats.

At least one fishing boat was damaged.

Israeli forces, on Sunday, also detained a young man near the border fence to the north of Beit Lahia town, in the northern Gaza Strip. He was taken to an unknown destination.

IOF also opened heavy machinegun fire towards farmers’ lands and residential homes in the area. No injuries were reported.

The deal: Israel’s endgame

7 Aug

Israeli forces stand guard as Muslim worshippers pray at the Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem on 30 May 2015 [Saeed Qaq/Apaimages]

By Jeff Halper, Opinion, Middle East Monitor, 4 August 2017

De facto what we have in Palestine today is precisely what the Zionist movement, the pre-state Yishuv and successive Israeli governments have been working towards since the start of the twentieth century: the complete “judaisation” of Palestine – transforming an Arab country into the Land of Israel.

Having reached the de facto stage of complete judaisation, Netanyahu’s government is now “mopping up” – constructing infrastructure and settlements, eliminating along with the Palestinian Authority (PA) effective sources of resistance, normalising the occupation itself and transforming it into a non-issue, both domestically and on the international scene. He has been tremendously enabled by the combined ability of his own government and military to quiet the situation in Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), helped, of course, by the PA and one could today argue, by Hamas.

Indeed, taking advantage of the Sunni-Shia split and the many conflicts it has engendered, Israel has placed itself – with its weaponry, systems of repression and population control and gatekeeper status to US political, military and financial aid – squarely on the side of the Sunnis, led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt. As a result, it has managed to marginalise the Palestinian issue to the level of lip service; if the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative conditioned normalisation with Israel on resolving the Palestinian issue that no longer seems the case.

The Netanyahu government is now poised to transform de facto judaisation into de jure apartheid. In my reading, this is how Israel’s end-game dovetails with Trump’s “ultimate deal” which the US president and Israeli prime minister have said will end the 70-year occupation and analysts have said will see Egypt governing the besieged Gaza Strip:

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Israeli govt moves to impose ban on al-Jazeera news network

7 Aug

Ayoob Kara, Israel’s communications minister. [Photograph: AP]

By Martin Chulov, Middle East correspondent, The Guardian, 6 August 2017

Israeli government moves to impose ban on al-Jazeera news network. Reporters have press cards revoked and cable and satellite broadcasters asked to block transmission of Qatar-based network

Israel has moved to ban al-Jazeera from operating in the country and in the occupied territories, joining a boycott by Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia which have all accused the network of sponsoring terrorism.

The communications minister, Ayoob Kara, said press cards for al-Jazeera reporters would be revoked. His announcement follows a vow the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, made in July to close the Jerusalem office of the Qatari state-funded news network.

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Palestinian youth beaten & tortured in Israeli prison

6 Aug

IMEMC News, 6 August 2017 

The lawyer of the prisoners and ex-prisoners’ commission, Loay Akeh, revealed the testimony of the Mohammed Shamasneh, aged 18, from the town of Qutneh in Jerusalem, where he recounts the harsh interrogation, assaults and beatings he was subjected to by the Israeli Prison Service.

Shamasneh explained to the lawyers, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, that he was arrested on 4/4/2017, after Israeli occupation forces raided his house and took him to a nearby military checkpoint.

He said that soldiers did not stop beating him and hitting him with their rifle butts on various parts of his body.

Shamasneh stated that he was taken to Afula hospital for treatment, after he suffered fractures and injuries in his body, and was later taken to the Maskoubiya detention center for interrogation.

He reported that during his 32-day stay at the Muskubiya interrogation center, his health condition worsened as a result of injuries sustained, as well as being held in narrow, dark cells, causing respiratory failure.

(PNN archive image)


Report: This was Jerusalem under occupation in July…

5 Aug

‘The Israelis have unprecedentedly escalated their violations of Al-Aqsa Mosque’

EuroPal Forum report, 4 August 2017

Eight Palestinians were killed in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas at the hands of Israeli forces during July, according to the Wadi Hilweh Information Centre.

Some 425 Palestinians from Jerusalem have been arrested and 12 buildings were demolished in the same period.

In its monthly report, the information centre stated that the Israelis have unprecedentedly escalated their violations of Al-Aqsa Mosque by closing the mosque and banning the call to prayer for two days. They also prohibited Friday prayers from taking place and tried to impose new measures to search worshippers entering the mosque. This led to a wave of anger that manifested in the form of protests for 13 days.

Of the 425 Palestinians arrested in Jerusalem, 65 were minors, nine were children under the age of 12, one elderly woman and two elderly men were arrested as were two female minors and five women. The occupation also arrested all 58-members of staff at the Islamic Awqaf Department in Al-Aqsa.

The geographic distribution of the arrests are as follows: 222 were arrested from inside Al-Aqsa Mosque and its gates, 54 from Silwan, 35 from the Old City, 31 from At-Tur, 20 from Al-Isawiya, 16 from Wadi Joz, 14 from Al-Sawaneh, 13 from Shuafat and Anata Refugee Camp, 6 from Shuafat, 2 from Beit Hanina, five from Sur Baher, five from Jabal Al-Mukaber, and one from Kafr Aqab.

In addition to this, the Israeli occupation issued orders banning 81 Palestinians from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem, or the Old City (60 banned from entering Al-Aqsa, 13 from the Old City, and eight from Jerusalem).

According to the centre, over 600 Palestinians were wounded by live ammunition, rubber coated bullets, sound bombs, tear gas and beatings during protests near Al-Aqsa.

The centre also reported that 12 buildings in Jerusalem were demolished last month, three of which were demolished by their owners to avoid paying fines. The remaining buildings consisted of seven residential homes, a residential building, two mobile homes and two businesses.

As a result of the demolitions, 17 individuals were displaced, including 7 children.

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EU removes video featuring Israeli genocide advocate

5 Aug

Avishai Ivri, in a screenshot from a now deleted EU promotional video, has incited genocidal violence against Palestinians.

By Ali Abunimah, The  Electronic Intifada, 4 August 2017

EU removes video featuring Israeli genocide advocate

The European Union embassy in Tel Aviv has removed from its Facebook page an official EU promotional video featuring Avishai Ivri, an Israeli “comedian” who incites genocidal levels of violence against Palestinians.

This came a day after The Electronic Intifada published an exposé of Ivri’s long record of extreme anti-Palestinian racism. [See this earlier EI article re-posted on the Kia Ora Gaza website 4 August 2017. Ed]

In posts on Twitter, Ivri has called on Israel to kill “1,000 Arabs” for every Israeli who dies in conflict-related violence and has urged that Israel “wipe out Gaza.”

He denies the existence of Palestinians as a people and has urged Israel to expel them so it can become the “sovereign” in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“We decided to stop promoting a video on EU-Israel cooperation,” the EU embassy stated on Twitter on Friday. “We want no doubts that anything we do promotes the values the EU stands for.”

The video “was meant to showcase cooperation between EU and Israel, we do not want anything to distract from this important message,” the embassy added.

An email to The Electronic Intifada from a spokesperson at the EU embassy in Tel Aviv contained a similar message. The spokesperson added: “The personal and political views held by Mr. Ivri, some of which [are] clearly at odds with the positions and the values of the European Union, are of course his own and do not engage the EU in any way.”

Despite removing the video, the EU has failed to condemn Ivri’s genocidal incitement against Palestinians and has remained silent about how and why it hired him in the first place.

It has offered no apology and accepted no responsibility for partnering with him.

The EU’s gentle distancing of itself from Ivri stands in marked contrast to its high-profile cooperation with Israel that is supposedly aimed at cracking down on “online incitement” and criticism of Israel, which it conflates with anti-Semitism.

Since The Electronic Intifada published the exposé of Ivri, many social media users in Europe have expressed outrage that the EU hired a genocidal racist to star in an official video.

The removal of the video is a clear sign EU bureaucrats can hear their indignation. [This article from The Electronic Intifada featured a number of messages condemning the EU video. Ed]


“Wipe out Gaza,” says spokesman for EU campaign

4 Aug

Avishai Ivri, who stars in a promotional video produced by the EU embassy in Tel Aviv, advocates genocide of the Palestinians.

By Ali Abunimah and Dena Shunra, The Electronic Intifada, 3 August 2017

“F*ck it, wipe out Gaza,” says spokesman for new EU campaign

The European Union has hired an Israeli who advocates genocidal violence against Palestinians as the face of a new promotional campaign.

Avishai Ivri appears in a video the EU embassy in Tel Aviv posted on its Facebook page last month.

“The European Union. You think it’s anti-Israel, right?” Ivri begins. “Let me surprise you.”

Ivri then rattles off trade and tourism statistics meant to convince Israeli viewers of just how much the European Union benefits Israel. He also boasts that the EU is a customer for Israel’s weapons industry, particularly drones.

The EU “are the best neighbors we have,” Ivri concludes.

Supporting genocide

Ivri was a writer for Latma, a defunct Israeli sketch show that reflected extreme right-wing and racist views, such as depicting migrants and refugees from African states as apes.

But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

During Israel’s November 2012 attack on Gaza that killed 174 Palestinians, Ivri advocated even more extreme violence.

“Here’s a strategy that hasn’t been tried out yet: 1,000 Arabs killed for each one of our people killed,” he tweeted. “I think they owe us 5,000 from last week.”

“F*ck it, wipe out Gaza,” Ivri urged during the same attack.

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Popular mass movement taking lead in Palestinian resistance

4 Aug

A Palestinian Muslim woman heading to pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s old city walks past Israeli security forces on July 28, 2017. Palestinians held mass prayers outside of a sensitive Jerusalem holy site after Israeli police barred men under 50 from entering following two weeks of tensions and deadly unrest. Despite fears of violent clashes around the Haram al-Sharif compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, the area was largely calm following Friday’s midday prayers. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

By Jesse Rosenfeld, Opinion, The Intercept, 4 August 2017

With Al Aqsa Protests, a Popular Mass Movement Is Again Taking the Lead in Palestinian Resistance

It was supposed to be a moment of celebration and reflection for one of those too-rare occurrences in the Mideast — popular protests by Palestinians had stymied the imposition of a new facet of Israel’s 50-year-long occupation. Instead, even after Israel backed down on the changes it had imposed at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, the situation in Jerusalem continued to spiral into familiar scenes of security forces chasing scrambling demonstrators.

Throngs of Palestinian worshippers flooded through the gates to Al Aqsa Mosque in Occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City last Thursday. They reveled in victory after almost two weeks of boycotting Islam’s third holiest site to oppose new Israeli security measures on the compound.

After a brazen assault on July 14, using weapons smuggled into the holy site by three Palestinian citizens of Israel and leaving two Israeli border police dead, Israel had installed CCTV cameras, turnstiles, and metal detectors. The mosque compound is under Jordanian control and administered by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a Jordanian-Palestinian Islamic trust. The Waqf had called for the boycott and protests sprang up opposing Israel’s changes to the delicate — and perpetually tense — status quo.

It was only after Israel had removed all the new equipment installed at the site that the Waqf had called for people to return to Al Aqsa, which doubles as a Jewish holy site called the Temple Mount, where the two ancient biblical temples are said to have stood. As the returning worshipers planted a Palestinian flag over Al Aqsa Mosque – a symbol as nationally significant to Palestinians as it is religiously significant to Muslims around the world – Israeli border police crashed into the compound, firing rubber bullets and stun grenades. It was a new iteration, indeed, of the status quo.

Since Israel defeated the Second Intifada in 2005 – a Palestinian uprising sparked by a visit to the Al Aqsa compound by former prime minister and then-opposition leader Ariel Sharon — Israel has sought to send a message to Palestinians that opposing the occupation in any way will worsen their condition. It is the message punctuated by every home demolition, land confiscation, arrest, beating, killing, siege, and military assault. Yet in the mass action that forced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government to blink last week, Palestinians halted their occupier’s plans with a determined collective voice, one that the recent spate of violent Palestinian attacks had failed to find.

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The slow extermination of Gaza

4 Aug

Semahir, member of the Palestinian Sahin family feeds her 8 months baby Selma as they break their fast, during the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan in eastern part of wrecked Abasan Al-Kabira town of Khan Younis, in Gaza City, Gaza on May 28, 2017. They live in a plastic room-shed near their house which were damaged after the attacks of Israeli forces in 2014. Since then Sahin family is still waiting their house’s remains to be removed and reconstructed. ( Ali Jadallah – Anadolu Agency )

By Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor, 1 August 2017

Gaza continues to make headlines, to no avail. It has become a putrid metaphor of unsustainability and the political actors responsible for the deprivation are content to allow the enclave to fester. Three years since “Operation Protective Edge”, 4,000 homes are still awaiting reconstruction and 1,500 other dwellings are in need of construction work.

Ma’an news agency has given an overview of the current situation, which indicates that there has barely been any progress since 2016, when half the dwellings were awaiting reconstruction. The report referred to Jamal Al-Khudari, head of the Popular Committee Against the Siege, insisting that funders should “fulfil their ethical and legal commitment to the Palestinians still homeless three years on”. Al-Khudari also called for a lifting of the siege on Gaza if the humanitarian situation is to be alleviated.

The words used by Al-Khudari should constitute an alarming alert. If lifting the siege can merely alleviate the humanitarian conditions of Gaza, it should speak volumes about the peril faced by Palestinians in Gaza. Three years ago, Israel exacerbated an already precarious situation. The Palestinian Authority, in its miscalculated authoritarian move, imposed further hardship by isolating Gaza financially. Within this timeline, the UN issued several warnings about Gaza becoming uninhabitable by 2020, yet no action was taken to reverse this prediction. All the UN achieved was the creation of a phrase steeped in alarm and providing material for dramatic quoting. Beneath the surface, there is a divide between what Palestinians need and what the international community is aiming for. For the latter, the survival of Palestinians is definitely not a priority.

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