29 November 2012
In a reception at his home today, Palestinian Prime Minister ismail Haniyeh welcomed to Gaza an Indonesian delegation headed by Member of Parliament Mafudz Shedeq. The delegation included members of the Indonesian parliament, NGO’s, and the media.
Mr Shedeq told the Prime Minister that Indonesians will always stand with Palestine in its struggle against the Zionists.
“We will never let them hurt you, because if they hurt you, they hurt us,” he said.
Mr Shedeq announced that his delegation had brought more than one million dollars to assist with alleviating the humanitarian needs created by the recent Israeli aggression against Gaza.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh stressed that the recent victory against Zionist aggression was not only a victory for Palestine, but also for every Muslim in the world.
“We are not alone, we are one flesh,” he said.
PM Haniyeh added that the Palestinian cause, and the Palestinian conflict, are not just those of Palestine but also of the entire Muslim world.
Haniyeh then presented Mr Shedeq with a commemorative certificate.
As the delegation began to leave, one of the members of the media contingent told me that they were all very disturbed by the Israeli attacks on journalists and media offices during the recent Israeli military offensive against Gaza.
“They are not appropriate, and we were very sorry to hear about them,” they said, adding that they hope the Palestinian bid for United Nations observer status is successful.
24 November 2012
In two separate press conferences in Gaza City today members of the media, the Journalists Union, and the Ministry of Information paid tribute to the three Gazan journalists killed, and the seventeen wounded during the 8-day Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip.
They noted that media offices were targeted because they were revealing the crimes of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) and the lies of the Israeli media. The three dead were Mahmoud Al-Komi and Hossam Salama, photographers for Al Aqsa Channel, and Mohammad Abu Aisha, Manager of Education Al Quds Radio Station.
The offices of three media agencies were damaged – Al Quds TV, Al Aqsa Visual, and Al Jil Al-Kadim, while 24 media offices were partially damaged when the buildings in which they are housed were targeted. The buildings were Shawa Al-Hosari, Al-Shrouk, and Neama Building and some of the agencies affected were Al Jazeera, Sky News Arabia, German TV station ARD, Arab TV stations MBC and Abu Dhabi TV, Al-Arabiya, Reuters, Russia Today and the Ma’an news agency.
Radio stations and channels like Al Quds, Al Aqsa, and Palestine Today were hacked, and electronic attacks were also carried out on Safa, Sama, Palestine Today and The Independent newspaper.
At a wake at the home of Hassam Salama Director of the Government Media Office Ihab al-Ghussein praised the work of the media during the recent offensive, condemned the crimes against them and expressed his hope that those killed will rest in peace, and that their work will be continued by those left behind.
Yasser Abu Heen, Head of Gaza Journalists Union called on the International Journalists Federation and Reporters Without Borders to intervene immediately to fulfill their obligations towards Palestinian journalists and to take legal action against the head of the IOF to hold them accountable.
They also called upon the Federation of Journalists to send a delegation to see with their own eyes what has occurred in Gaza, and on Arabic and Islamic journalists’ associations to fund-raise for specialised training courses such as working safely in a time of war.
They concluded with a call for the Palestinain Government, particularly the Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, to provide help and support for local Palestinian media agencies who performed so well during the time of war.
At an event outside the Karmel Building, co-workers paid tribute to Mohammad Abu Aisha, who died when his house was bombed. “Killing the journalists of Gaza will not stop the media covering the crimes of the IOF,” they said, adding that they promise to honour Mohammad by completing his duty and doing his job as if he is still among them.
Translation: Fatma Al Hasham
Akram Al-Satarri, a Palestinian from Gaza who has been working for Press TV, was injured in a strike on the hotel in which he was staying in Gaza City.
He has been taken to Shifa hospital.
I worked with Akram for several months over the past year, and am appalled at this attack on him as a member of the working media.
Updates on his condition will follow.
Ramez Najeeb Harb, 39 years old, Journalist and Salem Swelam, a Palestinian christian cameraman were killed and another cameraman injured in an Israeli strike on the Al-Shrouq Building in Gaza City at 14:05 Gaza time, 19-Nov-2012
As the death threats I wrote about yesterday were obviously not working, in the early hours of this morning Israel launched three missiles at the Gaza offices of the Al Quds Satellite channel in Al Shawa Hosari Tower, injuring five workers, one of whom lost a leg.
This attack on the media was followed several hours later by another on Al Aqsa television station, which completely destroyed its studios, as well as damaged the premises of Palestine Media Production on the floor below. In this attack, three journalists were injured.
The remnants of the guided surface missile that hit the Al Quds offices bear not only evidence of its origin (The United States) but also of its toxicity, adding to the growing evidence that Israel is using prohibited weapons in its latest Gaza atrocity.
Meanwhile, western media and governments continue to hypocritically espouse the right of Israel to defend itself, while ignoring the right of Gazans to do the same.
The nonsense that this latest ‘exchange of fire’ is the fault of Hamas and justified by Israel’s right to security has been noted by many, including Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, who wrote today, referring to Gaza, that “no country would tolerate the periodic assassination of its leaders by missiles fired by a neighboring country, especially during a lull achieved by a mutually agreed truce.”
The source of the weaponry perhaps goes some way towards explaining why Barack Obama is such an apologist for Israel’s latest rampage of mass murder.
It does not, however, explain his blatant hypocrisy given the concluding remarks of his press statement delivered on World Press Freedom Day in May this year.
“No matter the cause, when journalists are intimidated, attacked, imprisoned, or disappeared, individuals begin to self-censor, fear replaces truth, and all of our societies suffer. A culture of impunity for such actions must not be allowed to persist in any country.
This year, across the Middle East, North Africa and beyond, the world witnessed not only these perils, but also the promise that a free press holds for fostering innovative, successful, and stable democracies. On this World Press Freedom Day, we call upon all governments to seize that promise by recognizing the vital role of a free press and taking the necessary steps to create societies in which independent journalists can operate freely and without fear.”
Perhaps he could begin in his own backyard, and stop supplying the weapons being used to silence the press – and follow up with ensuring his ‘client state’ does not enjoy impunity for this crass violation of press freedom.
And perhaps United States citizens could act to ensure their taxes are not used to stifle the First Amendment of the Constitution they so cherish – when it suits them.
Nothing is off-limits to the Zionist war machine – babies, families, homes of anyone from Cabinet Ministers to farmers – not even journalists.
Roaming the skies like a pack of rabid dogs, US-funded drones, F-16s and Apaches strike fear into the hearts of Gazans, whether or not they are firing rockets – their mere presence signifies that possibility.
Percussion bombs, whose sole purpose is to terrify, are a constant companion.
Israel’s psy-war now extends to telephoning and texting individuals with death threats, particularly journalists.
Palestinian journalist Sameh Habeeb on Thursday received a phone call from an Israeli soldier threatening to bomb his family home, and kill him and his family.
I also received such a call. At around 09:15 am on Thursday while drones swarmed the skies and rockets pounded the city around me, I answered the phone to a person with an American accent, who asked if it was Julie. When I answered “yes” they proceeded to call me an “Islamic-Jihad-supporting piece of shit” and told me that an Israeli drone was on its way to kill me. They asked repeatedly if I could hear it (given the situation, there was little else to hear, apart from their psychotic rantings…), and continued their vitriolic abuse and threats. I hung up, and the phone immediately rang again, this time with no number displayed. Two more calls followed that day.
Such tactics show that despite their nuclear arsenal and US-funded military might, Israel’s hardware is no match for the power of the word, or the power of truth.
That it must stoop to intimidation of the media, especially with death threats under such conditions as currently prevail in Gaza, indicates both the paucity of its justifications for its criminal offensive, and also the depths of moral depravity to which it has sunk – and correspondingly, that even Israel itself realises that despite its big guns, it cannot win the war of hearts and minds.
Like its merciless attacks on and terrorising of the citizenry of Gaza, these attacks on the media will not succeed – they only make us stronger, and even more determined to ensure that truth and justice prevail.
And like every Palestinian with a true heart and an independent mind, I will not be deterred by Zionist threats, and will continue to resist.
As the United States and the United Kingdom sing from Israel’s songbook, the Arab world is again rising up in protest – this time at the Israeli crimes against humanity again being perpetrated against Palestinians – and anyone else who has remained – in Gaza.
Mainstream media tries to bury the truth of the sequence of events and who is to blame, most shamelessly the BBC, who did not even report the civilian deaths of the son and sister-in-law of one of their own staffers, leaving it to the Washington Post to cover – far enough away, they probably hoped, that few UK readers would see it. But that didn’t stop the Washington Post squealing in the chorus.
Despite their best attempts to entomb the truth, the people of the world have also risen up in support of Gaza, and Palestine.
Israel – and its silly songsters – may find that this time they are way off key.
As Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said in his first address to the nation since the assassination of Ahmad al-Jaabari, Palestinians “will remain faithful to our martyrs’ noble blood.”
“It is only the beginning of our journey,” he warned.
“Armed with our faith, we are confident in our resistance fighters standing in defiance. Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem, the Territories of 1948 – it is your battle, your own people, blood, and dignity,” he said in a clear call for unity.
“Yes, we rise in revolt. I hail the unity and united action taken by all factions, we are one people, one front.”
Haniyeh said the Government embraces the Palestinian people, and thanked them for their steadfastness. He also praised the resistance, “our victorious defiant brigades” who remain defending the nation on all fronts.
“We appreciate their fortitude in the face of death and of this ferocious assault. I kiss your hands, our noble fighters.”
The Prime Minister extended appreciation to “all free men and women in the Arab world revolting in our support until this belligerent aggression comes to an end.”
Netanyahu may well have tripped over his own red line, wrapped it around his neck and that of his tone-deaf twins – and strangled his own finale.
Expert in Israeli affairs Dr Adnan Abu Amer said at a press conference in Gaza City today that 100 days out from their elections, Israel is again beating the drums of war. With the prospect of US support for a strike against Iran fading fast, Netanyahu is turning his attention to Gaza in a bid to whip up an excuse for a display of strength, and the resulting votes, particularly from the southern settlements.
At the event held at the Government Media Office, Dr Abu Amer noted the increased presence and duration of the activity of Israeli forces on the Gaza borders, in military exercises that normally last four days to a week but which now persist.
Observing that the Israeli government needs something to increase its popularity with voters, he predicted they will resort to their traditional strategy of spilling Palestinian blood in the name of security.
While Syria, Lebanon and Iran have taken up much of Israel’s attention in recent months, muddying the waters in anticipating a possible Gaza strike, the latest attacks on Al Jihad and Al Qassam could well impact on the Israeli/Palestinian equation, he said.
He mentioned Israeli involvement in the Syrian situation, whereby Israel played a secret role when the internal civilian struggle first began, thus guaranteeing that what it wants from Syria is already happening without costing it anything. This has been followed by the second issue on the Israeli agenda, Lebanon, with the assassination of the Lebanese police intelligence chief two days ago – which many have attributed to Israel because of the meticulousness with which the operation was carried out, suggesting the involvement of highly professional state security services.
Abu Amer suggested that Israel may target one of the Al Qassam leaders to provide the justification it needs to start its war against Gaza.
“ Israeli F16 warplanes have not left the Gaza skies for days, and what they are up to we do not know,” he said.
A surprise attack on Gaza would be the “least expensive option” for Israel both economically and politically, but a land-based military operation is unlikely given the proximity of the southern settlements to Gaza, he considers.
A lightning-strike air offensive would be cheaper, more effective, and avoid dragging the country into a prolonged war during the electoral process. It would also serve the double purpose of creating heroes out of the air force, and of Netanyahu, who would be perceived by voters, especially in the southern settlements, as the emperor of security.
Dr Adnan Abu Amer noted the need for the Palestinian resistance factions to form a united operations team to be ready for any escalation of the situation, and to counter the inevitable asymmetrical warfare whereby Israel mobilises excuses and reasons to market in the external media, thus win over world public opinion against the Palestinians.
“Palestinians have several options to take a united stance to ensure Gaza is not left up for grabs by the hands of the occupation by a busy world which considers other regional issues more important,” he concluded.
Translation: Fatma Al Hasham