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It has been one year since Israel launched its 22-day long attack codenamed Operation Cast Lead (OCL) on the Gaza Strip. Last week a British court issued an arrest warrant for Israeli Kadima opposition leader Tzipi Livni for her role in orchestrating the assault. Livni, who was Israel’s foreign minister at the time, was scheduled to visit the UK but ended up calling off her trip; the arrest warrant was cancelled as a result. However the issuing of the warrant in and of itself is an incredible feat. It is also a direct result of recommendations made in the Goldstone Report concerning how to bring justice to the Palestinian victims of OCL. more >>
As the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is pressuring its 28 member states and dozens of partnership affiliates on five continents to contribute more troops for the war in Afghanistan, the Jerusalem Post reported on January 13 that “Israel is launching a diplomatic initiative in an effort to influence the outcome of NATO’s new Strategic Concept which is currently under review by a team of experts led by former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.”  more >>
The launch of a new book by Joe Sacco is a major event, and with considerable expectation a crowd recently gathered in London to hear the great Maltese-American cartoonist and author discuss his latest book:Footnotes in Gaza.  Sacco spent seven years researching and drawing about two sordid events that took place in November 1956 when Israeli forces invaded Gaza as part of the joint British-French attack against Egypt. The Israeli army conducted two massacres where hundreds of Palestinians were murdered, and Sacco set out to collate the oral histories of the Palestinians who witnessed or were the victims of the events. Sacco engaged in a detailed investigative work finding the witnesses who could credibly recollect what happened, sifted through the accounts to eliminate the factual inconsistencies due to the deteriorated memories, and then spent four years bringing these histories to life in his inimitable style. The book doesn’t only focus on the past, but the present is also very much part of his account; in present day Gaza giant armoured bulldozers flatten houses in Rafah and where the ongoing siege affects everybody's lives. Sacco says: "… the past and the present cannot be so easily disentangled; they are part of a remorseless continuum…" more >>
In your recent column in the New York Times, "Ten for the Next Ten," you wrote: "I’ll place my hopes on the possibility — however remote at the moment — that...people in places filled with rage and despair, places like the Palestinian territories, will in the days ahead find among them their Gandhi, their King, their Aung San Suu Kyi."
Your hope has already been fulfilled in the Palestinian territories.
Unfortunately, these Palestinian Gandhis and Kings are being killed and imprisoned.
On the day that your op-ed appeared hoping for such leaders, three were languishing in Israeli prisons. No one knows how long they will be held, nor under what conditions; torture is common in Israeli prisons. more >>
During a visit to Ramallah a year ago while the Israeli bombardment of Gaza was underway, I shared my fears with a close Palestinian friend. "It may sound insane, but I think the Israelis' real objective is to see them all dead."
My friend told me not to be silly, the assault was horrific, but it was not mass killing. I said that wasn't the issue: This was a population already very vulnerable to disease, ill-health, and malnutrition after years of siege, with its infrastructure rotted, its water and food contaminated. Israel's war would surely push the people over the brink, especially if the siege was maintained -- as it has been. more >>