Tag Archive: ISIS



#WeWillBurnUSAgain: Islamic State Threatens to Unleash 9/11-Like Terror
Islamic State radicals and their supporters started a Twitter campaign against Americans under the "WeWillBurnUSAgain" hashtag

ISIS_ISIL New 911 Type Threat 7

by Sputnik | April 11, 2015

Islamic State radicals and their supporters have launched a Twitter campaign against Americans under the “WeWillBurnUSAgain” hashtag, referring to the 9/11 attacks, the SITE service, which monitors the online activity of extremist groups, warns.

“In a time of lone wolf attacks, and Americans and other Westerners pledging to the Islamic State, this kind of campaign should not be taken lightly,” SITE Director Rita Katz stressed on Friday.

ISIS_ISIL New 911 Type Threat 6a

According to SITE, about 10 Americans were indicted for attempts to act on behalf of the ISIL in recent weeks and many more are propagating the extremists’ values on Twitter.

ISIS_ISIL New 911 Type Threat 6

“This Twitter campaign, along with other ones like it in the past, shows the Islamic State’s skill in forcing itself into Western conversations,” Katz said, adding that the “WeWillBurnUSAgain” hashtag and the content tweeted by IS “shows a unified and structured method of online mobilization by the Islamic State and its followers.”

ISIS_ISIL New 911 Type Threat 5

ISIL, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),is a jihadist militant group that operates mainly in Iraq and Syria where it has captured large territories and declared a caliphate on the areas under its control.

ISIS_ISIL New 911 Type Threat 4

ISIL affiliates also operate in North Africa, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

ISIS_ISIL New 911 Type Threat 3

The group is known for its online videos depicting the executions of foreign hostages. ISIL recruits new members from different parts of the world, including from Europe and the United States. The extremists use social networks as a tool to recruit young teenage fighters.

ISIS_ISIL New 911 Type Threat 2

According to recent estimates by US intelligence officials, some 20,000 foreign fighters including 4,000 people from Western Europe have joined ISIL in the last three years.

ISIS_ISIL New 911 Type Threat 1

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U.S. Alliance with FSA and ISIL in Six Photographs
By funding “moderate rebels," the US is in effective alliance with ISIL

by Rick Sterling | Washington’s Blog | October 3, 2014The following six photographs confirm that a favorite “moderate rebel” leader, Abdel Jabbar al-Okaidi, is allied with ISIL.

The first photograph is from Spring 2013 and shows Okaidi with the American who has been the principal coordinator of US policy on Syria. The last two photographs are from a meeting days ago when Congressmen Adam Kinzinger (Rep Illinois) and George Holding (Rep. North Carolina) met with Okaidi and other “moderate rebels” in Turkey.

Other photos show Okaidi with ISIL fighters and being interviewed about his relationship with ISIL. The photographs are from videos identified at bottom.

1

Photo 1 / May 2013/ Okaidi with Robert S. Ford, US Ambassador and Coordinator of the “Friends of Syria”

2

Photo 2 / August 2013 / Okaidi with ISIL fighters at Menagh Air Base, Syria.  ISIL leader is Abu Jandal to Okaidi’s left.

3

Photo 3. / August 2013 / ISIL Leader Abu Jandal at Menagh Air Base, Syria.

4

Photo 4 / November 2013 / Interview with Okaidi “My relationship with the brothers of ISIL is good.”

5

Photo 5 / Sept 24, 2014/ Okaidi at meeting with US Congress members

6

Photo 6 / Sept 24 2014 / Congressman Kinzinger after meeting Okaidi and other “moderate rebels” who the US is arming, supplying and paying salaries.

By funding “moderate rebels” like FSA Colonel Okaidi, the US is in effective alliance with ISIL.

Under international law it is illegal to encourage, support and aid military and paramilitary activities against another State.

See the full videos here:

1) FSA leader Okaidi with US Ambassador Ford and ISIL leader plus interview with Okaidi:

2) Okaidi and Representative Kinzinger in Turkey:

Scott Bronstein and Drew Griffin, CNN, “Syrian Rebel Groups Unite to Fight ISIS“, September 29, 2014

Rick Sterling is active with the Syria Solidarity Movement and Mt Diablo Peace and Justice Center. He can be emailed at: rsterling1@gmail.com.

Syrian rebel groups unite to fight ISIS

By Scott Bronstein and Drew Griffin, CNN

September 26, 2014 — Updated 0955 GMT (1755 HKT)

Source: CNN

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2014/09/26/pkg-griffin-syrian-rebels-unite-against-isis.cnn.html

  • Two U.S. congressmen met with members of Syria’s rebel groups
  • The groups agreed to unite in their fight against ISIS and President Bashar al-Assad
  • CNN was the only news agency present at the meeting
  • It’s unclear when the rebels might receive arms and training

Antakya, Turkey (CNN) — More than 20 Syrian rebel commanders, including members of Christian opposition groups, have signed off on what they called a historic agreement to unite in the fight against ISIS and President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

The deal came out of a meeting Thursday in Turkey facilitated by staff from the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Washington-based Syrian Emergency Task Force. Two U.S. congressmen sat in on the final negotiations between the groups, just days after Congress signed off on President Barack Obama’s call to arm and train moderate rebels to fight ISIS.

Under the agreement, moderate Muslim rebel groups fighting under the Supreme Military Council of Syria agreed to form an alliance with the predominantly Christian Syriac Military Council. It marks the first meeting between Syrian rebels and members of Congress since Obama announced the new policy.

Can moderate Syrian rebels be trusted?

War veteran votes ‘no’ on arming rebels

Can ISIS be beat without combat troops?

W.H. defends plan to arm Syrian rebels

Envisioning a free Syria

The agreement calls for the groups to work together to assure any free Syria will be inclusive of all ethnic, religious and political parties. While the group called it historic, it may at this stage be only a symbolic gesture given that these groups are already fighting alongside each other against al-Assad’s forces and ISIS.

Among the groups that met with Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Rep. George Holding, R-North Carolina, was the Supreme Military Council of Syria and the Syriac Military Council, made up of Christians. CNN was the only news agency present at the meeting.

It is unclear when the groups might receive the arms and training they’ve been promised. It’s also unclear if all of the groups present will benefit.

This is not the first time that groups opposed to ISIS have agreed to fight together. Previous efforts faltered, sometimes over ethnic and religious divides.

U.S.-led airstrikes on ISIS in Syria: Who’s in, who’s not

While the Supreme Military Council of Syria includes the Free Syrian Army, which is considered one of the leading moderate forces, there are questions about other members of the alliance.

The Syrian Revolutionary Front reportedly signed a deal with ISIS in one suburb in Damascus, and another — the Hazzam group — put out a statement this week condemning U.S. airstrikes.

"Well, I think the question has been answered," said Khalid Saleh, the spokesman for the National Coalition for Syria.

How Obama came to launch strikes in Syria

He said the Free Syrian Army brigades, which have been receiving aid for months, have been vetted, and he called for an increase in the flow of aid and support to them.

Airstrikes are not enough

The rebel groups told CNN that coalition airstrikes against ISIS targets were not enough. The strikes must also hit al-Assad’s forces, they said.

"This is a partial strategy. It’s a containment policy that did not work and will not work," Saleh said.

"We need to deal with this problem at its root cause: Assad, the gangs that support him and ISIS. Those are the three problems every Syrian deals with."

The groups were also critical of the way the strikes were being carried out.

"We also delivered a message how Syrians are upset about the killing of civilians from these strikes," said Abdul al-Bashir, head of the Supreme Military Council.

How far does ISIS’ global reach extend?

Notably absent at the meetings, but very present on the Syrian battlefield, were jihadist groups who have also been fighting ISIS and al-Assad’s government, including the Islamic Front and the al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front.

The groups have been blacklisted and sidelined by the United States, but critics have said cutting them out will weaken the effectiveness of the coalition on the ground.

"We do want to make sure that we don’t put weapons in the hands of the wrong people," Kinzinger told CNN.

Pentagon spokesman on fighting ISIS: ‘I think we are in this for a matter of years’

MERS “Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome”


A NEW VIRUS IS A "THREAT TO THE WORLD"

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Published June 24, 2013 | by Sentinel

Virus from the Middle East began to claim lives

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By Callum Wood – June 4, 2013 –

A potentially deadly from the Middle East virus made his way to Europe, highlighting the increased potential pandemics facing us. The virus, respiratory syndrome coronavirus in the Middle East (MERS-CoV), formerly known as the new coronavirus was confirmed in 44 people worldwide since its initial detection. The majority of cases came from the Middle East. Scientists are puzzled as to how the virus could reach into humans, and where it has spread. The strain of the larger family of coronaviruses, which covers many illnesses from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which does not help to identify the origin of the virus.

There is still a lot that scientists do not know about MERS-CoV. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization, gave a speech at the 66th World Health Assembly in Geneva on May 27, the deadly new strain of coronavirus. She said, "We will understand only too little about this virus when compared to the magnitude of the potential threat. Any new disease that is growing faster than our understanding is never under control. "

When a high-ranking member of one of the most prestigious health organizations in the world bluntly states that experts do not yet understand this deadly virus, people have to sit and listen.

Chan’s speech was full of warnings. She described the virus as "a threat to the entire world." Keep in mind that this statement was made ​​by someone who deals with health issues around the world on a daily basis. She sees this new strain as a major cause for concern, even more than the recent outbreak of H7N9 influenza in Asia.

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His warning comes at a time when the MERS-CoV has traveled the Middle East to Europe. A man traveled from Saudi Arabia to France while carrying the virus without knowing it. When he fell ill and was taken to hospital, he then infected at least one other person before succumbing to the disease. The second infected man left the hospital before doctors realize what had happened. The incubation period of the virus is more than 12 days, which makes it difficult to detect. The man was then taken back to the hospital in critical condition.

Of the 44 cases reported worldwide, 23 people died, fixing the mortality rate at about 50 percent. With so many outstanding questions about the disease, Chan said: "We need more information, and we need it quickly, urgently."

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But what kind of information do they need? Science can come up with something to try and eliminate this new disease, but how many deaths will it take to get there? There are several strains of influenza and other emerging diseases, but there is rarely another virus similar to penicillin from laboratories. As mentioned above, the H7N9 is resistant to drugs that have been used in the past.

The information that humanity needs is why these plagues fall on us in the first place. While the pharmaceutical industry has been effective in the fight against many diseases, new diseases continue to grow.

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As we explained in our article titled, "The coming pandemic diseases," the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are biblical figures that many can identify, but few can really understand the meaning. One of those riders, the pale horse, means the spread of disease and pestilence in this period of the End Times. MERS-CoV may not be the beginning of a major pandemic, but it is connected to the most tragic time that have yet to befall mankind.

Do you understand the weather where you live? Are you ready for unprecedented devastation by diseases such as the world has ever known? For those who faithfully obey God, He promises;

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"You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at your right, you will not be achieved. "(Psalm 91: 5-7)

This is a great hope that we can have, knowing the difficult times ahead.

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"And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and it will seem terrible things and great signs from heaven. "(Luke 21: 11)

http://www.thetrumpet.com/article/10669.18.0.0/society/health/new-virus-a-threat-to-the-entire-world

Happy 1st birthday Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

A coronavirus schematic. The spiky bits give the virus
its name(corona=crown) and represent the
receptor binding, antigenic Spike protein.

…I can remember when you were just a novel little thing.
How you have grown young prince and how clever of you to emerge in a Kingdom of all places (corona=crown, named for it’s spikey appearance). You’ve certainly garnered attention worthy of a King given the relatively few cases of disease you gave been associated with in the first year we’ve known of you.
It was September 20th when Dr Zaki 1st alerted the world to the death of a Saudi man due to what looked to be a new coronavirus (CoV). Today we have over 135 cases 58 deaths (43%).
I’ve previously covered Zaki’s disocvery and the problems posed for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) by the way in which he announced that discovery, apparently without the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) foreknowledge. The way in which the sample was exported from the KSA without their prior consent was also problematic for them.

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Soon after we heard of it, we had virus-detection assays with which we could seek out new cases. Were they used as they might have been in the days of the SARS-CoV? Nope. And there still seems to be only a single laboratory in KSA testing for MERS-CoV (despite reports of 3), with Dr Abdullah Al-Aeeri (a director of hospital infection control) claiming a 72-hour reporting turnaround time.
Is there an antibody detection assay that has been validated using a panel of known positive sera? Nope. There are some innovative antibody-detection methods around but why do they only include a single positive control? Is there no collaboration at all? Why is the KSA not leading the charge to develop these diagnostics and to hunt for an animal host? Why wait on advice from external organizations to screen samples?

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Why has the necessary testing capacity not been built well before now? Is it to do with that pesky material transfer agreement? I hope not because there is little evidence for that being a real block to anything from a public health standpoint.
At least we have some new MERS-CoV sequences to celebrate the birthday with. Although they and the 9 preceding them represent less than half of the relatively small number of cases described to date. Why can’t the typing region sequences be released? That should really be part of the diagnostic process. Okay, those may not inform us about the evolution of key regions of the virus but they do confirm it is the strain we know. Why not focus on full or subgenomic Spike gene sequences? They might be a better sentinel for keeping tabs on MERS-CoV change over time.

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Most of the detail about MERS-CoV and cases of MERS has come through the peer-reviewed scientific literature. That is pretty normal for respiratory viruses that are not notifiable. But it’s generally a slow medium. Is MERS infection a notifiable disease? It is in some countries (e.g. the US and New Zealand), but is it at the epicenter of the outbreak, the KSA? I’m not sure. It’s not obviously stated as such anywhere I looked on the KSA MOH website.
The World Health Organization politely notes:

WHO encourages all Member States to enhance their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual patterns of SARI or pneumonia cases. WHO urges Member States to notify or verify to WHO any probable or confirmed case of infection with MERS-CoV.

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How’s that been working out? In a nice summary of the lack of communication, Helen Branswell and Declan Butler highlight that, as usual, everyone who was asked agreed that it’s not working out well at all. In fact it’s pretty woeful. And to add to matters, the latest WHO Disease Outbreak News (DON) takes the form of a summary of 18 "new" cases; no extra or confirmatory detail to be had from it. SO the KSA MOH is now the source for detail.

If we were talking about wanting more data on the monthly proportion of rhinovirus infections, the KSA would be justified in saying that the world doesn’t need to know (I’d like to but that’s my thing).

If we were talking about influenza, then there are plenty of international public health sites publishing these notifiable data on the internet; here’s Queensland, Australia’s for example.

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But we’re talking about an emerging disease which kills half of the people it infects, is caused by a novel virus for which no host is known, which transmits between people in a way we don’t yet understand, which is shed from ill (or well) people for an undefined period of time (if at all), which remains infectious in the environment for who knows how long, which jumps to other countries, which may only cause severe disease in those who are already ill with another disease, which may be endemically spreading within the community as mild or asymptomatic infections, for which there is no vaccine or proven antiviral therapy available..I’d say it’s a no-brainer that at the very least the WHO deserves regular and detailed updates of what’s going on. Reading between the lines, that does not seem to be happening even behind closed doors.
The mass gathering of pilgrims known as the Hajj is fast approaching. This may trigger a large increase in MERS cases or, in the worst case, a pandemic. I personally believe it won’t go that far. We shouldn’t forget is the 2nd Hajj for MERS. But perhaps the virus is much more widespread than it was in October 2012. But without testing data, we can only guess.
So, it’s your 1st birthday MERS-CoV. But instead of wishing you a happy birthday you opportunistic, spiky little killer, I’m wishing Dr Zaki well and congratulating him on co-parenting the birth of this novel coronavirus. Going by what we’ve seen to date, his actions may have been the only way we would have ever heard of this virus otherwise.
And, as noted previously, but not given much air to in the above rant (thanks to @MicorbeLover for straightening me out)…

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It’s very sad that there are real people in these numbers who have died from MERS. You may have noticed that I try and stick with the cold number-crunching aspect of these outbreaks. It’s not because I’m a heartless b&^$# but because that is not what this blog is about. That and my editorialisation and expositionary writing consume what little time I have spare. But I don’t feel that I have enough information to make any other comments about these or any other lives lost to infectious disease. I personally feel that any unexpected and acute loss of life (if I had to scale loss of life) is the worst kind of loss; it’s a waste of potential, a source of great sorrow for all involved and it’s something we should all strive to prevent, if we can. I know that’s not much to convey, but it’s all I can offer from my kinda comfy chair in Brisbane.

The Saudi MOH says it better in anyway; May Allah have mercy upon the deceased.

virusmers


Israel: International Anger Mounts

By Felicity Arbuthnot

Global Research, July 23, 2014

 

Irish politician pulls down Israeli flag at children's sailing event

Councilor Hugh Lewis takes down the Israeli flag in Dublin, Ireland. (Independent.ie)

You take my water

Burn my olive trees

Destroy my house

  • Take my job                      

Steal my land

Imprison my father

Kill my mother

Bomb my country

Starve us all

Humiliate us all

But … I am to blame: I shot a rocket back.” (Placard first seen in Gaza, 2012.)

The “most moral army in the world” from “the only democracy in the Middle East” has attacked hospitals, a home for the disabled, a geriatric hospice, demolished five mosques, razed entire neighborhoods, erased entire families – the youngest – so far – just three days old if you do not count the unborn, as in the case of twenty nine year old Samar Al Hallaq (1) killed with her two sons, aged four and five, other members of her family and carrying her third child. Her husband was critically injured.

Yet again a war is declared against children and the young. Forty three percent of Gaza’s population is aged 0-14 and just under twenty one percent, 15-24. (Index Mundi, 2013.) Thus sixty four percent, 0-24.

As Israel trades on eternal victim status whilst murdering neighbouring, fellow Semites with seeming legal impunity, stealing land, obliterating homes, nullifying history preceding even the coming of Christ in the land of his birth, the UN bleats weakly, as ever, of “concern” and “regret” some countries have had enough.

Ecuador has recalled their Ambassador from Israel, Chile has suspended their free trade agreement negotiations. Bolivia’s President Evo Morales and Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro have called the assault on Gaza genocide and “extermination”, with Maduro demanding that the UN address the: “systematic violation of the Human Rights of the Palestinian population in Gaza by the State of Israel and adopt the necessary measures to halt those violations.” (2.) Venezuela severed all relations with Israel after its last massacre, “Cast Lead” over Christmas and New Year 2008-2009.

As Prime Minister David Cameron calls the onslaught on the 1.7 million people of Gaza in their forty mile long ghetto “not disproportionate”, President Maduro stated: “It is clear you cannot morally compare occupied and massacred Palestine with the occupying state, Israel, which also possesses military superiority and acts on the margins of international law.”

Meanwhile, amid massive protests in South Africa, the African National Congress in Parliament (who suffered their own long years of apartheid) is calling for the Israeli Ambassador to leave with “immediate effect” and for the South African Ambassador to Tel Aviv to be immediately recalled.

The ANC Chief Whip, Steone Sizane, MP., in a blistering address said: “The office of the UN Secretary General issues statements which have no effect. The UN Security Council must stand up and act to support vulnerable Palestinian people at the time when they need their protection.

“The situation involving Palestine and Israel is an undeclared war, in which the aggressor, Israel, has destroyed the Palestinian economy, robbed people of their land, unilaterally changed borders, and unilaterally built a wall of exclusion to keep Palestinians out of their land. When it feels provoked, it unleashes the most sophisticated military hardware on a defenceless people. Palestinians have been reduced to cheap labor for the Israel economy.

“This relentless destruction of the Palestinian territory and its people by Israel must be stopped. The international community needs to act in unison on this matter.”

Mr Sizane’s call is backed by a host of political and civil bodies including faith groups, the Young Communist League, the National Association of Democratic Lawyers, seventy two leading South African Jews and many others. (3)

In Europe, the Norwegian government is resisting pressure to expel the Israeli Ambassador from pro-Palestinian and human rights organizations with the leader of the Joint Committee for Palestine (Fellesutvalget for Palestina, FuP), Anna Lund Bjørnsen telling Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK): “Norway can not uncritically maintain close diplomatic relations with a state that does not show respect for human life, international treaties or UN conventions.”

Even the resisting Foreign Minister Børge Brende acknowledges: “the suffering you see in Gaza and the West Bank”, and cites Israel’s particular responsibility in driving the peace process because its illegal settlements were the key to the conflict.

Labor Party MP and Chairwoman of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee in the Norwegian parliament, Anniken Huitfeldt is widely backed by seven left leaning parties in her call for boycotting products manufactured by Israel in the occupied territories “without wasting time.”

Two parties supporting the boycott, the Labor Party and the Center Party, are demanding a review Norway’s policy of selling arms to third-world countries, which resell those arms to Israel.(5)

In neighbouring Sweden calls are mounting by those involved in academic and cultural boycotts for all collaboration between Swedish and Israeli institutions to cease, with abstention: “from participation in EU funded projects in which Israel is involved. A letter was also addressed to the Board of the Royal Institute of Technology, which has a comprehensive cooperation program with the Technion University in Haifa.”(6)

In Ireland, Dublin City Council unanimously called on the Irish government to enforce an arms and trade embargo on Israel (7) and seventeen EU governments have now: “published online guidance warning their citizens and businesses about risks involved in trade and other economic links with illegal Israeli settlements.” The latest twelve to issue warnings did so last week, after the start of the assault on Gaza. They are: Portugal, Austria, Malta, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Greece, Slovakia, Belgium and Croatia, “in a move coordinated at EU level.” France, Italy and Spain issued similar guidelines the previous week.(8)

Across the world in the Maldives the government has scrapped three agreements with Israel and discussions are gathering pace to prohibit the import of Israeli goods. The tropical nation of 1,200 islands, at some potential cost to the economy has said they will also reject investors from Israel, noting international condemnation of Israel’s current actions. (9)

On 19th July, the Guardian published a letter signed by six Nobel Laureates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire, Rigoberta Menchú and Betty Williams and numerous academic, intellectual, artistic and signaturies from many countries, including João Antonio Felicio, the president of the International Trade Union Confederation, and Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions calling for the UN and governments to impose a military embargo on Israel.(10)

The letter underlines starkly the culpability of the international community in Israel’s ongoing genocidal actions: “Over the period 2009-2019, the US is set to provide military aid to Israel worth $30bn, while Israeli annual military exports to the world have reached billions of dollars. In recent years, European countries have exported billions of euros worth of weapons to Israel, and the European Union has furnished Israeli military companies and universities with military-related research grants worth hundreds of millions.”

It concludes: “Governments that express solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza, facing the brunt of Israel’s militarism, atrocities and impunity, must start with cutting all military relations with Israel. Palestinians today need effective solidarity, not charity.”

One Nobel Laureate’s signature was not on the letter, President “Change we can believe in” Obama.

As the death toll exceeded five hundred and serious injuries three thousand two hundred Norwegian Dr Mads Gilbert stated on Democracy Now: “This was truly a massacre, and the injuries were just horrible … Children came in without heads and totally dismantled by the shelling of the residential areas.”

On the same day (Monday 21st July) Obama merely said weakly that he had: “serious concerns.” Pathetic.

Israel too now has “serious concerns” of another kind. Hours after US airlines Delta, United and US Airways cancelled all flights to Israel on Tuesday 22nd July, the US Federal Aviation Authority issued an advisory banning all US carriers from flying to Tel Aviv. Air Canada has also cancelled their flights. The European Aviation Safety Agency has followed suit issuing a “strong recommendation” that airlines avoid travel to Israel until further notice. Air France, EasyJet, Germany’s flag carrier Lufthansa, and the Netherland’s KLM were among European airlines that had already cancelled services.

The financial implications for Israel can only be imagined. Having spent two weeks telling the world of the mortal danger the country faced (in spite of crowds of residents picnicking in the open, standing on car roofs to watch the destruction of Gaza) the Transportation Minister and Prime Minister Netanyahu declared that flying to the country is “safe” and that: “There is no reason whatsoever that American companies would stop their flights and hand terror a prize.” Somewhat contradictory all round.

Further, last year 3.5 million tourists visited Israel, boosting the economy by over twelve Billion $s. This year Yahoo Travel cites Leon Avigad, the developer of Browns Hotels, a chain of boutique hotels in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem who says the conflict was already: “devastating us economically … We are losing tons of money by the minute. The entire profit from the summer (to date) is wiped out.” In the south of the country: “Hotels are completely empty … almost everything is closed.”

Surprisingly, even Israel’s loyal friends, the US State Department have been advising against all but most essential travel to Israel since February.

Especially courageous are the stands across the world by Jews themselves. Ten thousand orthodox Jews demonstrated in support of Gaza in New York, and across the world they, with other Jewish denominations have taken a visible and courageous stand.

Jewish Voices for Peace statement by their Rabbinical Council perhaps encapsulates what many believe. Headed “Stop the Bombing. Hold Israel Accountable” it reads in part:

“We are currently amidst ‘the three weeks’ – the annual Jewish period of quasi-mourning that leads to the fast day of Tisha B’Av. This is the season that bids us to look deeply into the soul of our community and examine the ways that our sinat chinam – baseless hatred – has led to our communal downfall.

“Driven by the spirit of this season, we cannot help but speak out in response to the horrific loss of life currently taking place in Gaza, at the hands of the Israeli military. We deplore the Israeli government’s military crackdown in the West Bank that led to its lethal, military onslaught on the people of Gaza.  We mourn the deaths of hundreds of innocent people, including children.

“We condemn Hamas’ rockets attacks on Israel and the anxiety, injury and death they have caused. But we cannot view this as a war between two equal sides. Israel has unlimited hi-tech weaponry; it dominates Gazan airspace, its borders, its utilities and economy…

“We can not stand idly by as the Jewish State acts with such wanton disregard, with such sinat chinam, for the humanity of the mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, children and elders of Gaza.

“As Jews, we abhor the abuse of human rights that are standard practice of our fellow Jews in the Israeli government and Israeli military. This is not the path of justice.” (11)

Also grieving is NATO Member Turkey, declaring three days of mourning for Gaza this week.

Yesterday activists from Jewish Voices for Peace were arrested for a peaceful demonstration at the Friends of the Israeli Defence Forces on New York’s Broadway.

In Israel, Peace Now and Hand in Hand participants are being “shouted down or physically attacked” for their principled stance. Last week, in Tel Aviv: “about 250 Jewish protesters were set upon, punched and pushed by a well-organized group of right wingers in an attack that left several people with bruises, black eyes, or other injuries. Another (of) about 1,000 people, was also attacked” with eggs and plastic bottles.(12)

Perhaps it is time for President Obama to earn his Nobel Peace status.

This week Dr Mads Gilbert addressed a passionate appeal to him, writing:

“Mr Obama, do you have a heart? I invite you, spend one night – just one night – with us in Al Shifa’a Hospital. I am convinced, one hundred per cent, it would change history. Nobody with a heart and power could ever walk away from a night in Shifa’a without being determined to end the slaughter of the Palestinian people.” If only.

The last word goes to increasingly intellectually challenged Prime Minister David Cameron, who declared on July 21st: “We can’t stand by when a strong nation bullies a weak one.” Indeed. Sadly, he was talking about Russia, who, for those fully bolted down, seems to have bullied no one.

Notes

1.http://pht2012.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/a-devastating-loss-to-the-tapestry/

2.http://rt.com/news/174144-south-america-gaza-genocide/

3.http://www.bdssouthafrica.com (subscribe, contact, site temporarily under construction.)

4.http://www.newsinenglish.no/2014/07/16/calls-to-expel-israeli-ambassador/

5.http://en.shafaqna.com/international-news/item/30340-middleeastmonitorcom/-norwegian-mp-calls-for-boycott-of-israel-over-its-gaza-offensive.html

6.http://psabi.se/?p=621

7. http://www.bdsmovement.net/2014/palestine-campaigners-welcome-dublin-city-council-motion-calling-for-end-to-attacks-on-gaza-and-for-arms-embargo-trade-sanctions-on-israel-12332#sthash.98WcoSgL.dpuf

8.http://www.bdsmovement.net/2014/17-eu-members-take-action-against-corporate-complicity-12200#sthash.xN7vcoes.dpuf

9.http://www.sun.mv/english/23670

10http://www.bdsmovement.net/2014/nobel-celebrities-call-for-military-embargo-12316#sthash.BlqKTzg0.dpuf

11.http://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/campaigns/end-the-bombing-hold-israel-accountable

12.http://www.globalresearch.ca/israeli-peace-movement-members-shouted-down-and-physically-attacked/5392698

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