The toll of Israeli strikes on Gaza: Mapping the destruction left behind

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A building in Gaza City housing the offices of the Associated Press and other media organizations was hit by an Israeli airstrike on May 15. (photo: Khalil Hamra / AP)
Data released by the U.N. this week shows that it could take years for Gaza to rebuild after the Israeli bombings in May.

By Dylan Moriarty and Ruby Mellen  |The Washington Post | June 11, 2021

“It completely blocked the transportation of the patients to the clinics…It really hindered the access to care. They had to walk.”
— Ely Sok, Doctors Without Borders

The destruction to Gaza during the 11-day conflict between Hamas and Israel in May was heavy and widespread, with damage afflicting hundreds of buildings and dozens of roads, an initial United Nations analysis shows.

The data, based on preliminary analysis of satellite imagery taken on May 28, and released by the U.N. Institute for Training and Research this week, underscores warnings from human rights groups and nongovernment organizations that Israeli bombings that the military said targeted Hamas militants severely impaired the territory’s infrastructure, and that it could take years to rebuild.

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‘We have failed’: Journalists unite and demand truthful coverage of Israeli occupation

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More than 250 journalists sign on to a letter accusing mainstream media of “failing” its audience during coverage of Israel and Palestine. (photo: AFP/  File photo)
Journalists and reporters sign letter calling on media to stop obscuring oppression of Palestinians.

By Sheren Khalel | Middle East Eye | June 9, 2021

“As journalists, with varying contracts, editorial protections, environments & job securities, the work to push against the media complicity in apartheid is constant,”
— Sana Saeed, a host at AJ+

An open letter “written by and for journalists” is calling on the news industry to stop “obscuring Israeli occupation and the systemic oppression of Palestinians” in the media.

Signed by 250 journalists working for some of the world’s top media outlets, the letter, published on Wednesday, accuses the mainstream media of “failing” its audience with a “decades-long journalistic malpractice” that has misinformed the public on the reality of Israel’s occupation.

“Finding truth and holding the powerful to account are core principles of journalism,” the letter reads.

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A house divided: A Palestinian, a settler and the struggle for East Jerusalem

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Nasser Rajabi and his mother, in the doorway below, share a house in East Jerusalem with Jewish settlers. (photo: Dan Balilty for The New York Times)
Efforts to force Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah set the stage for the recent Gaza war. A similar dynamic looms in a nearby district.

By Patrick Kingsley | The New York Times | June 7, 2021

About 3,000 Palestinians in 200 East Jerusalem properties are living under threat of eviction…

JERUSALEM — Few places in East Jerusalem show the struggle over the city more intimately than a four-story house on a narrow alley in the Silwan district.

Nasser Rajabi, a Palestinian, and his family live in the basement, third floor and part of the second.Boaz Tanami, an Israeli settler, and his family live on the first floor and the rest of the second.

Each claims the right to live there. Each wants the other out. An Israeli court has ruled that a Jewish trust owns the building and ordered the eviction of Mr. Rajabi, but the ruling is under appeal.
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Why Human Rights Watch designating Israel’s crimes as apartheid is a very big deal

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A Palestinian boy sits on a chair with a national flag as Israeli authorities demolish a school site in the village of Yatta, south of the West Bank city of Hebron on July 11, 2018. (photo: Hazem Bader / AFP via Getty Images)
The report reflects the power of decades of work in defense of Palestinian rights.

By Phyllis Bennis | Common Dreams | May 5, 2021

Human Rights Watch now acknowledges that Israel’s policies are designed to maintain Jewish domination over Palestinians across all the territory it controls, from the river to the sea.

Human Rights Watch is the best-known and arguably the most influential among Washington elites of any of the many human rights organizations in the United States. So when HRW issues an unsparing, 200-plus page legal and factual report concluding that Israeli government authorities are guilty of the crime of apartheid, it is a very big deal.

The key findings are that it is Israel’s “intent to maintain the domination of Jewish Israelis over Palestinians across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In the OPT, including East Jerusalem, that intent has been coupled with systematic oppression of Palestinians and inhumane acts committed against them. When these three elements occur together, they amount to the crime of apartheid.”

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A new mental health crisis Is raging in Gaza

Civil defense workers pore through rubble on May 16, 2021, in the aftermath of an Israeli bombing. (photo: Fatima Shbair / Getty Images)
Recent bombings by Israel have caused more than just physical trauma

By Yasser Abu Jamei |  Scientific American | June 4, 2021

We have just escaped the hell of airstrikes to find the hell of COVID-19 at our doors. We are moving from living under occupation and offensive to life under occupation and blockade, with COVID.

“Have you ever seen a six-month old baby with exaggerated startle response?” One of my colleagues who works on our telephone counseling service was calling me for advice on how to respond to several distraught mothers asking her how to help their babies who had started showing such distressing symptoms of trauma during the recent bombing. Our telephone service was back and responding to callers on the third day of the attacks on Gaza, though of course with certain difficulties.

The question took me back 20 years to when I was a young resident in the pediatric department at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, Gaza’s second biggest city, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Then, my plan was to become a pediatrician. The hospital, on the western side of the city was not far from the Israeli settlements. Often in the middle of the night I used to receive mothers arriving in the pediatric emergency department with tiny children who had started screaming with no clear reason. Physical examination mostly revealed nothing abnormal. Perhaps this was the trigger that made me train to become a psychiatrist.

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From boarding schools to child detention: The lives of children matter

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Israeli forces detain five Palestinian children, while they were picking wild vegetables. (photo: via Twitter)
Children everywhere pay the price of our nation state aggression and violence.

By Benay Blend  | The Palestine Chronicle | June 6, 2021

Like settler colonial projects everywhere, including the Americas and Palestine, its “objectives…were always a combination of land appropriation, resource extraction and demographic engineering.”
— Adel Eskander, Assistant Professor of Global Communication at Simon Fraser University

Yes, I am thinking of Palestinian children and undocumented children as well,” mused Diné activist Melissa Tso. “They are literally being killed daily by these settler governments.” As “an essential part of [her] culture,” running helps to “process things,” and so she did the 2.15 run in memory of the 215 Indigenous children who were found in a mass grave at Kamloop residential school in Canada.

On May 29, 2021, Aljazeera reported that the remains of more than 200 Indigenous children, some as young as three, had been found at the site of a former residential school in the western province of British Columbia.

“To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths,” Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation chief Rosanne Casimir explained. They are among the many victims of mental and sexual abuse, neglect and other forms of violence over a period of 100 years during which church-supported boarding schools operated across Canada.

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Tech giants help Israel muzzle Palestinians

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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has tried to shut down social media posts critical of Israel.  (photo: Amir Cohen / Reuters)
There are concerns that Israel’s politicized approach to crushing online dissent could become normalized worldwide.

By Jonathan Cook | The Electronic Intifada | June 5, 2021

The revelations follow widespread reports last month that social media corporations regularly removed posts that referred to the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah…

Israel’s caretaker prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, sought to shut down all use of the popular video-sharing app TikTok in Israel last month.

The attempt to censor TikTok, details of which emerged last weekend, is one of a number of reported attempts by Israel to control social media content during last month’s military assault on the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu tried to impose the blackout as Israel faced an international social media outcry over its 11-day attack on Gaza, which killed more than 250 Palestinians, and the violent repression by Israeli police of Palestinian protests in occupied East Jerusalem and inside Israel.

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Recognize Palestine … then the negotiations can begin

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah. (photo: File/AFP)
A call for recognition of Palestine by the global community must happen before other issues can be negotiated.

By Daoud Kuttab | Arab News | May 30, 2031

Issues such as settlements, Jerusalem, refugees and settlers need to be agreed, not whether the state of Palestine should even exist.

At a time when support for the two-state solution is almost at its lowest level, we are now repeatedly hearing this term. What makes such statements by Western leaders so hypocritical is that it is little more than lip service.

The term “two-state solution” applies to the final status of peace talks that must lead to the state of Palestine being recognized alongside the state of Israel. The world community has long recognized the state of Israel but has balked when it comes to Palestine. In 2012, the UN General Assembly officially voted to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state. Since that vote, 140 countries have recognized the state of Palestine within the borders that obtained on June 4, 1967. However, among the leading Western countries, only Sweden has recognized Palestine, even though the parliaments of several European countries have passed resolutions calling on their own governments to do so. Many countries have said they will make such a move en masse and use recognition as part of a political deal.

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America, human rights, and Israel’s war on Palestine

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A Palestinian child stands amidst the rubble of buildings, destroyed by Israeli strikes, in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip on May 21, 2021. (photo: Emmanuel Dunand / AFP / Getty Images) 
Human rights are human rights, and they are part of international law under the UN Charter. Whether the case is Xinjiang and the Uighurs, Myanmar and the Rohingya, or Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, the correct way to defend international law is through the United Nations, starting with an independent investigation under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council.

By Jeffrey D. Sachs | Project Syndicate | May 25, 2021

The truth is that the US government’s uncritical support for Israel has come to depend more on evangelical Christians, such as former US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, than on American Jews, who are deeply divided by Netanyahu’s actions.

NEW YORK – Israel’s attempt to justify its latest brutal assault on Gaza rings hollow to anybody familiar with events in Israel, where the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, backed by anti-Arab racists, has systematically, cruelly, and persistently violated the basic human rights of the Arab population. Human Rights Watch, a global NGO with many Jewish leaders, has recently condemned Israel for crimes against humanity.

Israel’s behavior puts US President Joe Biden’s administration, which professes a foreign policy based on human rights, under the spotlight. If that commitment is genuine, the administration should support an independent UN investigation of Israeli human rights violations against the Arab population and suspend military aid to Israel until the inquiry is completed and the human rights of the Palestinians are secured.

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On the ethics of non-Palestinians promoting nonviolence

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Dabke represents a form of solidarity and cultural resistance. (photo: via ActiveStills.org)
Palestinians have employed non-violence for decades.

By Benay Blend | Palestine Chronicle | May 24, 2021

“The problem with the non-violence bandwagon…is that it is grossly misrepresentative of the reality on the ground.”
— Ramzy Baroud, author

In “The Violence Debate: Teaching the Oppressed how to Fight Oppression” (2010), Ramzy Baroud explains that for “progressive and Leftist media and audiences, stories praising non-violence” are preferred, for they invoke a strategy acceptable to liberals in the West. At no other time, perhaps, than the present has there been so much condemnation of the victims for their resistance.

“Whether in subtle or overt ways,” Baroud continues, “armed resistance in Palestine is always condemned.” It is analogous to informing Africans (Blacks) that if they would just do what the police are asking in a polite manner, then they won’t get shot.

“The problem with the non-violence bandwagon,” Baroud concludes, “is that it is grossly misrepresentative of the reality on the ground.” As he points out, Palestinians have employed non-violence for decades going back to the prolonged strike of 1936.

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