The Acts of the Democracies

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Victim Country : Palestine

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Generated : 8th December 2023



After the First World War, the Turkish Ottoman Empire was broken up by France and UK.

The Arabs had been encouraged to fight against the Turks with the promise of independence after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire.

In 1917, Arthur James Balfour, the UK Prime Minister, made what is now known as the Balfour Declaration:

"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."

At the end of the First World War, France and the UK divided the Arab territories among themselves. By the early 1920s, Arab land was split into a number of smaller states. Among the Arab states under UK control were Palestine and Trans Jordan.



The Jewish Agency (run by future Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion) uses a Jewish terrorist group, Irgun (run by Monachem Begin, a future Prime Minister of Israel and future recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize) to organise and carry out The King David Hotel Massacre in UK controlled Palestine.

The King David Hotel in Jerusalem is blown up killing 92 Britons, Arabs and Jews.

The Jewish Agency and Irgun want to set up a Jewish state in Palestine. Numerous acts of terrorism are planned to force the UK out of the region and to terrify the indigenous Arab Palestinians into leaving. Irgun had been attacking Palestinians since the late 1930s.

Israel Zangwill (a Jewish UK journalist) had declared as early as 1905:

"[We] must be prepared either to DRIVE OUT BY THE SWORD the tribes in possession [of our land] as our forefathers did or to grabble with the problem of a large ALIEN population. Many are semi-nomad, they have given nothing to Palestine and are not entitled to the rules of democracy."

In 1939, Vladimir Jabotinsky (founder of the Israeli Likud Party) had admitted:

"Zionist colonization must either be terminated or carried out against the wishes of the native population.. It is important to speak Hebrew, but it is even more important to be able to shoot - or else I am through at playing with colonizing"

Moshe Sharett (soon to be Israel's first Foreign Minister) had recently written:

"[W]hen the Jewish state is established--it is very possible that the result will be [population] transfer of [the Palestinian] Arabs."


Palestine (The UN Partition Plan)

The UK announces it will leave Palestine in 1948 and hands over resolution of the problems in the region to the United Nations.

The United Nations proposes that Palestine be partitioned into two states: Israel (which is allocated 56.5% of the territory, including most of the arable coast) and Palestine (43% - mainly the hilly interior). The city of Jerusalem (0.5% of the territory) is to remain under international control. The USA (and USSR) threaten countries with reduction of aid or other sanctions if they vote against the partition plan. Many countries change their voting intentions after this pressure. The resolution was passed by a single vote.

The Jewish population in Palestine had increased during the previous 70 years after migrations from Europe. The first wave of immigrants came from Russia after pogroms had killed large numbers of Jews. The immigrants purchased land from absentee landlords; many locals who tended the land were evicted with the help of police from the Ottoman Empire, the pre-UK rulers of Palestine. Money for land purchases was managed by the Jewish National Fund which, in 1901 forbade purchased land to be resold to non-Jews and encouraged the boycotting of Arab labour.

1917 (Balfour Declaration)
1947 (UN Partition Plan)

Thus, at the time of United Nations partition plan, 33% of the inhabitants of Palestine are Jewish.

The population percentage ratio in the section alloted to Palestine is 10% Jewish to 90% Arab. In the section alloted to Israel the population percentage ratio is 55% Jewish to 45% Arab.

The Jewish Agency accepts the proposals. The Arabs reject them because most of the Jewish population had been in Palestine for less than 30 years and owned less than 10% of the land.

Talking about Israel and the Palestinians, David Ben Gurion (the first prime Minister of Israel) states:

"[I am] satisfied with part of the country, but on the basis of the assumption that after we build up a strong force following the establishment of the state--we will abolish the partition of the country and we will expand to the whole Land of Israel."

"No Zionist can forgo the smallest portion of the Land Of Israel. [A] Jewish state in part [of Palestine] is not an end, but a beginning ..... Our possession is important not only for itself ... through this we increase our power, and every increase in power facilitates getting hold of the country in its entirety. Establishing a [small] state .... will serve as a very potent lever in our historical effort to redeem the whole country."

"We must do everything to insure they never return. The old will die and the young will forget. We shall reduce the Arab population to a community of woodcutters and waiters."

"We must expel Arabs and take their places .... and, if we have to use force-not to disposes the Arabs of the Negev and Transjordan, but to guarantee our own right to settle in those places-then we have force at our disposal."

"In the area allocated to the Jewish State there are not more than 520,000 Jews and about 350,000 non-Jews, mostly Arabs. Together with the Jews of Jerusalem, the total population of the Jewish State at the time of its establishment, will be about one million, including almost 40% non-Jews. such a [population] composition does not provide a stable basis for a Jewish State. This [demographic] fact must be viewed in all its clarity and acuteness. With such a [population] composition, there cannot even be absolute certainty that control will remain in the hands of the Jewish majority .... There can be no stable and strong Jewish state so long as it has a Jewish majority of only 60%."

"With compulsory transfer we [would] have a vast area [for settlement] .... I support compulsory transfer. I don't see anything immoral in it."

"We adopt the system of aggressive defense ; with every Arab attack we must respond with a decisive blow: the destruction of the place or the expulsion of the residents along with the seizure of the place."

"The transfer of Arabs is easier than the transfer of any other [people]. There are Arabs states around . . . And it is clear that if the [Palestinian] Arabs are transferred this would improve their situation and not the opposite."

Other quotes showing what was being planned for the Arab population of Palestine:

"There is no other way than to transfer the Arabs from here to neighbouring countries; not one village, not one tribe should be left" (Joseph Weitz, 1940).

"There is no choice: the Arabs must make room for the Jews in Eretz Yisrael. If it was possible to transfer the Baltic peoples, it is also possible to move the Palestinian Arabs" (Vladimir Jabotinsky, 1939 - Eretz Yisrael means Greater Israel).

"We Shall spread in the whole country in the course of time ..... this is only an arrangement for the next 25 to 30 years." (Chaim Weizmann writing about the partition of Palestine in 1937).

"The Partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognized .... Jerusalem was and will for ever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And for Ever." (Menachem Begin, 1948).

"Transfer could be the crowning achievements, the final stage in the development of [our] policy, but certainly not the point of departure. By [speaking publicly and prematurely] we could mobilizing vast forces against the matter and cause it to fail, in advance." (Moshe Sharett, 1947).

"We must continually raise the demand that our land be returned to our possession .... If there are other inhabitants there, they must be transferred to some other place. We must take over the land. We have a great and NOBLER ideal than preserving several hundred thousands of [Palestinian] Arabs fellahin [peasants]." (Menachem Ussishkin in a 1930 speech in Jerusalem).

"Isn't now the time to be rid of them? Why continue to keep in our midst these thorn at a time when they pose a danger to us? Our people are weighing up a solution." (Yosef Weitz on the inhabitants of Daliyat al-Rawha', south of Haifa).

Haganah and Irgun (Jewish paramilitaries) kill 60 civilians in Balad al-Shaykh, 7 in Yehida, 10 in Khisas, 5 children in Qazaza. Beduin settlements near Tel Aviv are attacked.

The 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine
The 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine. The Plan split the territory into three parts: a Jewish state, an Arab state and a UN controlled Jerusalem. At this time, the population percentage ratio in the section alloted to the Arab State was 10% Jewish to 90% Arab. In the section alloted to the Jewish State the population percentage ratio was 55% Jewish to 45% Arab.


The State of Israel and the Palestinians

The state of Israel is born.

David Ben-Gurion (the first Prime Minister of Israel) had written in his dairy after the United Nations vote to partition Palestine into two states:

"In my heart, there was joy mixed with sadness: joy that the nations at last acknowledged that we are a nation with a state, and SADNESS that we LOST half of the country, Judea and Samaria, and, in addition, that we [would] have [in our state] 400,000 Arabs."

As the UK leaves the region, Israel declares independence and ethnically cleanses large areas of its allocated territory forcing over 1,000,000 Palestinians into refugee camps in Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. 500 Palestinian villages are depopulated and destroyed. The Israelis attack parts of the territory allocated to Palestine and clear West Jerusalem of its Arab residents.

In the end, 68% of the indigenous people of Palestine have been expelled and Israel ends up with 78% of the territory after having been allocated less than 57%.

Palestinian Refugees
Palestinian refugees leaving their land after the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. The USA has lobbied to disallow the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland. It is also the biggest supporter of Israel.

A few days before a peace proposal is to be debated by the United Nations (UN), the UN mediator, Count Folke Bernadotte, is assassinated by Jewish terrorists (the Stern Gang). The group that gave the order included Yitzhak Shamir (a later Israeli minister).

One of the most notorious incidents occurs in the small Arab village of Deir Yassin, near Jerusalem, on 9-10 April 1948. The massacre is carried out by the Irgun and is designed to spread terror and panic among the Arab population of Palestine to frighten the people into fleeing their homes. The vacated land could then be confiscated for the use of Jewish colonialist settlers.

254 people are killed. The dead include 25 pregnant women, 52 children (who are decapitated) and babies. Many bodies are mutilated, some before death.

150 women and girls who survive are stripped and placed in open cars. They are driven naked through the streets of the Jewish section of Jerusalem, where onlookers cheer. In the following days, Israeli forces use loudspeakers to warn Arabs to leave their villages or suffer the fate of Deir Yassin.

Menachem Begin (leader of Irgun and later Prime Minister of Israel) describes what happened:

"the Arabs fought tenaciously in defense of their homes, their women and their children."

and justifies the action:

"The massacre was not only justified, but there would not have been a state without the victory of Deir Yassin."

Arnold Toynbee (UK historian) describes it as "comparable to crimes committed against the Jews by the Nazis."

Deir Yassin
Deir Yassin, scene of a massacre of Palestinians by Israeli militia. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians left their homes after news of the atrocity spread.

Many similar operations are carried out around Palestine by heavily armed Jewish groups (mainly Haganah and Irgun):

Israel has since stated that the Palestinians who left did so because of the war between Israel and Jordan, Syria and Egypt. This war did not begin until after the initial ethnic cleansing was well under way. The Haganah states that:

"[Palestinian Arab] villages inside the Jewish state that resist should be destroyed .... and their inhabitants expelled beyond the borders of the Jewish state. Meanwhile, Palestinian residents of the urban quarters which dominate access to or egress from towns should be EXPELLED beyond the borders of the Jewish state in the event of their resistance."

Since the creation of the State of Israel, the West's often uncritical support lays the foundations that would reverberate for decades. The USA immediately recognises the new state. The USSR also recognises Israel. The USA would arm and finance Israel and protect the state from United Nations criticism.

Between 1948 and 1960, over 1,000,000 more Jews would migrate from Europe, North America and North Africa to Israel.

"The main thing is the absorption of the immigrants. . . for many years, until. . . . a regime takes hold in the [Arab] world that does not threaten our existence. . . . The state's fate is dependent upon 'Aliyah [Jewish Immigration to Palestine]" (David Ben-Gurion)

Israel finds justification in the Old Testiment of the Bible:

"Destroy all of the land; beat down their pillars and break their statues and waste all of their high places, cleansing the land and dwelling in it, for I have given it to you for a possession" (Numbers 33:52,53)

"And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city both men and women, young and old and ox and sheep and ass with the edge of the sword." (Joshua 6:21)

Israel at Independence
After independence Israel is in control of 78% of the territory after being allocated less than 57%. Over a million Palestinians are expelled to became refugees.



In Israel 75 Palestinians are killed in Kibya, an Arab village near the Jordanian border. The attack involves 700 Israeli soldiers using mortars, machine guns, rifles and explosives against civilians. 42 houses are blown up as well as the school and mosque. A United Nations report states that "the inhabitants had been forced by heavy fire to stay inside, until their homes were blown up over them".

The attack was authorised by Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion and planned by Ariel Sharon (who would later be Prime Minister), leader of Unit 101.

Father Ralph Gorman, editor of the Sign, National Catholic Magazine of the USA writes:

"Terror was a political weapon of the Nazis. But the Nazis never used terror in a more cold-blooded and wanton manner than the Israelis in the massacre of Kibya. Women and children as well as men were murdered deliberately, systematically, and in cold blood."

Israel attacks the Gaza Strip, in Egypt.


Palestine Liberation Organisation

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) is founded to gain independence for the parts of Palestine under Israeli rule. It is labelled as a terrorist group by the West.


Israel and the Palestinians

Israel attacks a village in Jordan to fight Palestinian resistance.


War Between Israel, Syria and Egypt (The 6 Day War)

After a build up of tension in the region, Israel attacks its Arab neighbours. It occupies the Gaza Strip and the Sinai from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria.

Israel between 1948 and 1967
Israel (in yellow) between 1948 and 1967. Gaza is under Egyptian control while the West Bank is under Jordanian control.

More Palestinians become refugees, some for the second time in less than 20 years. The Sinai is eventually returned to Egypt but the other regions remain under Israeli occupation. 2,000,000 Palestinians live under occupation with no voting rights while another 2,000,000 are refugees in neighbouring countries.

In East Jeruselem, dozens of Palestinian houses are demolished in front of the Western Wall of the ancient Jewish Temple creating an open space. More than 5,500 Arab inhabitance are forced out of the city. Little or no compensation is paid.

Several West Bank villages are destroyed by the military and their populations expelled. These include Imwas, Yalu, Bayt Nuba, Bayt Marsam, Bayt Awa, Habla, al-Burj, Jiftlik. Over 430,000 Palestinians are forced to leave their homes. Any that attempt to return are shot, regardless of age or gender.

In the Golan Heights, the Israelis destroy 244 villages out of 249 and expel 147,000 people.

According to figures published by the United Nations, between 1967 and the end of 1969, over 7,500 Palestinian homes would be destroyed by Israeli forces. By 1971 this figure would rise to more than 16,000.

The occupied territories are put under Israeli military administration. This includes restrictions on movement and rights of residence, arrest without trial, torture, collective punishments, discrimination, theft of natural resources, house demolitions and destruction of agricultural plants (like olive or citrus trees), deportations and curfews. Israel has cited security needs for these measures. The USA writer, Noam Chomsky, suggest a more sinister motive, quoting official Israeli government records. In these, the Israeli Defence Minister, Moyshe Dayan, instructs his ministers to inform residents of the occupied territories "we have no solution, that you shall continue to live like dogs, whoever wants to can leave". He concludes that "In five years we may have 200,000 less people - and that is a matter of enormous importance".

Within a month of the war, the Israelis begin building settlements (colonies) on the occupied land in violation of the Geneva Convention and several United Nations resolutions, which have consistently declared the settlements illegal. Any resistance is crushed ruthlessly and labelled as terrorism. In the Golan Heights alone, 42 Jewish settlements are built housing 18,000 Israelis. In the West Bank, the settlements break up Arab communities as agricultural land is stolen for their construction.

During the war, the USS Liberty, an unarmed USA spy ship is attacked by Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats off the coast of Egypt. 34 USA sailors are killed. Other USA naval ships based in the Mediteranean assume that Egypt was the attacker and send out nuclear capable warplanes to attack Cairo. These are called back by the USA leadership at the last moment. The story is then buried - for example it appears on page 29 of the USA newspaper, the New York Times. The Israelis apologise, saying the attack was an accident.

The surviving crew members are told not to discuss the incident on pain of court-martial. Their medals are awarded without publicity; the citations failing to mention Israel. The crew are separated by being given different postings.

30 years later, a USA-Israeli plot is exposed. The idea was to attack a USA ship, blame the Egyptians and use the incident as an excuse to invade Egypt and depose the Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat. The plan, Operation Cyanide, had been discussed two months before the war by a secret organisation called the 303 Committee.

Israel since 1967
In 1967 Israel occupies Gaza (from Egypt), the West Bank and East Jerusalem (from Jordan) and the Golan Heights (from Syria). The Golan was never part of the original United Nations Partition Plan.

Israel has since maintained that the country went to war because of the threat of an imminent attack from Egypt after Egyptian president Abdul Nasser moved troops into the Sinai Peninsula. Yitzak Rabin (a later Prime Minister of Israel) is quoted in the French newspaper, La Monde (29 February 1968): "I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions that he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it." In 1982, Menachem Begin (another prime Minister of Israel) made a speech in which he stated that "The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him."

Israel has also maintained that the war was necessary because the combined power of the Arab states was a threat to Israel's existence. A month before the war, the USA CIA produced a report that supported a conclusion reached by the UK MI6: Israel would win a war with one or all of the Arab states, whoever attacked first, within a week. In 1972, General Mattityahu Peled (a military planner for the 1967 war) wrote in the Israeli newspaper, Ma'ariv that: "There is no reason to hide the fact that since 1949 no one dared, or more precisely, no one was able to threaten the existence of Israel". He concluded "To claim that the Egyptian forces concentrated on our borders were capable of threatening Israel's existence not only insults the intelligence of anyone capable of analysing this kind of situation, but is an insult to [the Israeli army]."


Israel, Egypt and the Palestinians

Israel attacks Suez in Egypt. There is conflict in Israeli controlled Sinai as Egypt attempts to regain lost territory. Between 1967 and 1970, Israel bombs targets in Egypt including the city of Ismailia, creating up to 1,500,000 refugees. More than 10,000 Egyptians are killed.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir maintains that "there is no such thing as Palestinians; they never existed".

Moshe Dayan (the Israeli Defence Minister) addressing the Israel Institute of Technology admits:

"Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushu'a in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population."

Settlement building the in the occupied territories continues. Several new political parties affirm that the land should be retained as it was given to the Jews by God.


Israel, Egypt and the Palestinians

Jordan attacks and destroys Palestinian bases. Israel and the USA prepare to intervene on side of Jordan if Syria backs the Palestinians.

Israel bombs Cairo (Egypt) causing many civilian casualties, including 30 school children.

Israel and Jordan are both supported and armed by the West.


Israel in Gaza

Under the name "Pacification of Gaza", Israel, under Ariel Sharon, imposes a brutal policy of repression on the Gaza Strip, blowing up houses, bulldozing large tracts of refugee camps, imposing severe collective punishments and imprisoning hundreds of young Palestinians. Numerous civilians are killed or unjustly imprisoned, their houses demolished. The whole area is effectively transformed into a prison or ghetto.


Israel and the Beduin

Israel expels 6,000 Beduin from Rafah in the North East Sinai. Their houses are demolished, their wells poisoned and a barbed wire fence is built to keep them out. The site is developed and the Beduin are then employed as labourers or night watchmen.


Israel and the Palestinians

Israel attacks Palestinian refugee camps.


Israeli Settlements

The United Nations confirms that the policy of building settlements (colonies) on occupied Palestinian territory by Israel is illegal.

In Israel the Peace Now movement is founded after 350 Israeli reservists write to the Israeli Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, accusing him of prefering to build settlements rather than make peace. The letter was a response to announcements of new settlements deep in the West Bank.



3 Palestinian mayors are assassinated. The United Nations calls on states not to assist Israel with its settlements programme. It criticises the arming of Israeli settlers (colonists) who are allowed to terrorise the civilian Arab population.

On 30 July Israel annexes all of Jerusalem. The United Nations confirms that it considers Jerusalem as part of the occupied territories.

The USA vetoes six United Nations resolutions concerning Israel and the Palestinians: The first requests Israel to return displaced persons (the vote is 96 to 3 with Canada being the third country). The second condemns Israeli policy regarding the living conditions of the Palestinian people (118 to 2). Three resolutions condemn Israeli human rights practices in occupied territories (votes: 118 to 2; 119 to 2; 117 to 2). The sixth endorses self determination for the Palestinians (120 to 3 with the third country being Australia).



An Israeli soldier shoots 11 Muslims worshipping on the Haram-Al-Sharif in East Jerusalem. The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution condemning the shooting. Another resolution calling for Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights (occupied in 1967) is also vetoed by the USA.


Israel and Palestine

The Palestinians begin the intifada (an Arabic word meaning "resistance") to the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which had gone on for 20 years from 1967.

Israel responds by firing live ammunition at stone throwing demonstrators (killing many, often children), demolishing Palestinian houses, destroying crops, closing schools and universities, collective punishments, deportations, and the arbitrary arrest and torture of suspects. The Israeli Prime Minister, Yitsak Shamir (quoted in Israeli magazine, Hadashot) warns the Palestinians that they would be crushed "like grasshoppers".

During the five year uprising, over 1000 Palestinians would be killed resisting the occupation of their country. Thousands more would be injured.

The USA vetoes two separate United Nations resolutions both urging Israel to abide by the Geneva Conventions in its treatment of the Palestinians and to stop the deportations: "The United Nations calls on Israel to abandon plans to remove and resettle Palestinian refugees of the West Bank away from their homes and property". Voted by 145 to 2 (USA, Israel).

Little reportage of conditions for the Palestinians had appeared in the Western media. Under military administration, Palestinians were beaten and humilliated at checkpoints and had to show passes on demand. Armed settlers committed numerous, unpunished acts on violence on the Palestinian population.


Israel, USA and Palestine

In a meeting in Algeria, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) recognises and accepts the existence of the State of Israel. It accepts all United Nations resolutions going back to 1947 and declares its abandonment its claim to all of historical Palestine.

The PLO declares the independence of the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The declarations are rejected by Israel and Palestine continues under Israeli occupation.

The USA vetoes two separate United Nations resolutions condemning Israeli practices against Palestinians in the occupied territories. In 1989 three more similar resolutions are vetoed by the USA. The PLO wishes to appeal to the General Assembly of the United Nations but the leader, Yasser Arafat is refused a visa by the USA despite being recognised by over 60 countries. The Assembly meeting is moved to Geneva (Switzerland)

Israel assassinates Abu Jihad, the second in command of the PLO in Tunis (Tunisia). The action was commanded by future Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak from a naval vessel in the Meditteranean.

Hamas is founded, dedicated to reclaiming all of historical Palestine for a Muslim nation. The organisation is funded by Israel in an attempt to weaken the secular PLO.


Israel and Palestine

In Israel, troops open fire on Palestinian demonstrators in Jerusalem killing 21 and injuring 150.

An Israeli soldier shoots and kills 7 labourers at Oyon Qara; 13 Palestinians are killed while demonstrating against the killings.

The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution to send three UN Security Council observers into the area.

The Israeli Ministry of Agriculture publishes a full page advertisement in newspapers saying:

"It is difficult to conceive of any political solution consistent with Israel's survival that does not involve complete, continued Israeli control of the water and sewerage systems [of the occupied territories], and of the associated infrastructure, including the power supply and road network, essential to their operation, maintenance and accessibility."

Israeli warplanes bomb a house in Siddiqine (Lebanon) killing 3 people.

A Save The Children report criticises Israel for its treatment of children in the occupied territories. The report documents the "indiscriminate beating, tear gassing, and shooting of children". The average age of the victims was 10 years old. In 80% of cases where children are shot, the Israeli forces prevent the victim from receiving medical attention. It concludes that 50,000 children required medical treatment for gun-shot wounds, tear gas inhalation and broken bones (often multiple fractures). Many children die after being shot by snipers in the head or heart.



Israel expels over 400 Palestinians to Lebanon.



Gaza and the West Bank gain limited self rule but Israel regularly closes borders leading to economic hardship for the Palestinians. Several thousand armed settlers (colonists) remain on the occupied territories, protected by thousands of Israeli troops.

One USA-born settler, Dr Baruch Goldstein, kills 29 Palestinians at prayer in a mosque in Hebron with an army assault rifle. Israeli occupation forces stand by during the massacre and delay the arrival of ambulances. Goldstein is killed. At his memorial service, Rabbi Yaacov Perin states that "one million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail."

After the killings, the Israelis impose a five week curfew on the 1 million inhabitants of the West Bank during which 76 more Palestinians are killed, mostly stone throwing children.

At this point, Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank began attacking Israeli military and civilian targets using suicide bombers, 27 years after the occupation of their land began.

Israeli Settlements (West Bank)

Since the occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem by Israel in 1967, hundreds of illegal settlements (the blue triangles) have been built in violation of the Geneva Conventions and United Nations resolutions. The USA has vetoed many United Nations resolutions condemning these settlements and has financed their building.

This is a 2002 map. The number of settlements (actually they are better described as "colonies") has continued to increase even after the Oslo Accords of the early 1990s.

© Foundation for Middle East Peace.


Israel and Palestine

Israel and the PLO sign a peace agreement. Palestinians are given limited self rule in selected areas but Israel retains the right to control 145 settlements (colonies), 128 of them armed, with thousands of troops.

Under the Agreement, the West Bank (the occupied territories minus Gaza) would be divided into three areas:

The city of Hebron was to be split into two. 20% of the city (including the best commercial areas) would be reserved for the 450 heavily armed Jewish settlers. The remaining 80% would be for the 130,000 Palestinians, who are often subject to curfews and restrictions of movement.

Between 1992 (when Yitzak Rabin was elected Prime Minister of Israel) and 1995, the settler (colonist) population in the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights (but not including East Jerusalem) increased from 78,400 to 136,000. Land for the building of settlements is confiscated from the Palestinians.

Israeli policy in the West Bank was splitting the Arab areas into cantons criss-crossed by Jewish-only settlements and their Jewish-only access roads. This, and the need for Palestinians to hold and show passes leads Tanya Reinhart, a professor from Tel Aviv University, to compare the situation in the occupied territories to apartheid in South Africa.

The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution confirming that the expropriation of land by Israel in East Jerusalem is invalid and in violation of United Nations resolutions and the Geneva Convention.


Israel and Palestine

Over 80 Palestinians are killed in the West Bank by Israeli troops. In one incident, an Israeli helicopter fires at an ambulance killing two women and four girls.

The parliament of Israel approves the building of more settlements (colonies) on Palestinian land against the wishes of the local people and in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations.


Israel and Palestine

The Israel parliament approves building settlements (colonies) in East Jerusalem. This area had been annexed by Israel in 1980 after it had been occupied in 1967. This annexation and the building of settlements are both considered illegal by the United Nations and violate Geneva Conventions on occupied territory.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu outlines a plan in the Israeli newspaper, Jerusalem Post, for annexing 60% of the West Bank including Greater Jerusalem, hills east of the city, the Jordan Valley, the 145 settlements and all roads connecting them as well as the West Bank water supply.

Hamas writes a letter to Netanyahu, via King Hussein of Jordan, offering dialogue, with the king as mediator. The Israeli response is an attempted assassination of a Hamas leader in Jordan.

The USA vetoes two United Nations resolutions that call on Israel to cease construction of settlements in East Jerusalem and the other occupied territories. One of the votes was by 130 to 2 (USA and Israel).


Israel and Palestine

Israel blockades the West Bank and Gaza, assassinates Palestinian leaders and kills hundreds of demonstrators, many of them children.

In the Old City of Hebron 40,000 Palestinians are subjected to local curfew for more than a month while 500 armed Israeli settlers can move about freely. 34 schools attended by thousands of Palestinian children are closed for more than a month while settler children are free to walk in the street among and with the Israeli soldiers stationed there.

The country, which is the largest recipient of USA aid, expels Palestinians from their land and builds illegal, heavily armed settlements (colonies) for Israelis. Between 1993 and 2000 the number of settlers has doubled to 200,000. In addition, 170,000 settlers reside in East Jerusalem, illegally annexed by Israel in 1980.

Water supplies are diverted from Palestinian areas to Israeli towns and settlements. Israelis are allocated 6 times as much water as Palestinians. Over 450km (300miles) of roads (built on confiscated 35,000 acres of Palestinian land) divide the West Bank into islands that prevent the free movement of Palestinians. Israeli closures (sieges) of Palestinian towns lead to unemployment and hunger.

1,400,000 Palestinians live under Israeli occupation in the West Bank plus another 800,000 are crammed into the Gaza Strip. Millions of Palestinians are refugees: 460,000 live in Lebanon; over 2,500,000 reside in Jordan; over 400,000 in Syria; 600,000 in other Arab countries and another 550,000 are scattered around the world.

The Oslo Peace Agreement (supported by Europe and the USA) does not allow for these refugees to return to their homeland, in violation of United Nations and Geneva Convention declarations. The Oslo Agreement also allows Israel to annex large swathes of land in the West Bank, control most of Arab East Jerusalem and its environs, and maintain most of the illegal settlements in a pattern that would divide the West Bank into non-contiguous cantons. This agreement is opposed by most Palestinians.

The USA plays the dual role of the chief mediator of the conflict as well as the chief diplomatic, financial and military backer of Israeli occupation forces. Over the past 30 years, the USA has used its United Nations veto power to protect Israel from censure more than all other members of the United Nations Security Council (UK, France, China, Russia) have used their veto power on all other issues combined. It has blocked enforcement of United Nations resolutions calling for Israel to withdraw its settlements from Palestinian land. These settlements were established in violation of international law, which forbids the colonization of territories seized by military force.

Mohamed el-Dura, a ten year old Palestinian boy, is shot by Israeli soldiers in Gaza while crouching in terror behind a wall next to his father. A cameraman risks his life to film the gunfight and the film is shown around the world. The boy becomes an iconic symbol of the Palestinian intifada (resistance).

The Death of Mohamed el-Dura
The Death of Mohamed el-Dura
The Death of Mohamed el-Dura
Mohamed el-Dura, a ten year old Palestinian boy, is shot dead by Israeli soldiers in Gaza while crouching in terror behind a wall next to his father.

A cameraman risks his life to film the gunfight and the film is shown around the world. Israel has been occupying Palestinian territory since 1967 with financial and political support from the USA.

A United Nations Special Report published on 13 November 2000 states: "In the past seven years... Israel's confiscation of Palestinian land and construction of settlements and bypass roads for Jewish settlers has accelerated dramatically in breach of Security Council Resolution 242 and of provisions of the Oslo agreements requiring both parties to respect 'the territorial integrity and unity of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.' Since 1993 the settler population in the West Bank and Gaza has doubled to 200,000 and increased to 170,000 in East Jerusalem."

The report also describes and condemns the demolitions of Palestinian houses, the diversion of water to Israeli cities and settlements, the policy of closures that has damaged Palestinian social and economic life, and the "widespread violation of their [Palestinian] economic, social and cultural rights" both within Israel and in the occupied territories. It also assails Israel's use of excessive force against Palestinians and hundreds of Intifada killings, "most of them unarmed demonstrators."

This report is given little publicity in Western media.

The Israeli author, Israel Shamir writing in the Israel magazine, RI, in December 2000 admits:

"[Israelis] are taught they belong to the Chosen People... They have been indoctrinated in belief that the Gentiles are not fully human, and therefore can be killed and expropriated at will. The Jewish state is the only place in the world possessing legitimate killer squads, embracing a policy of assassinations, and practicing torture on a medieval scale. But do not worry dear Jewish readers, we torture and assassinate Gentiles only."

Gentile is a Jewish term for a non-Jew.

According to writer, Edward S. Herman:

"Jews living in distant countries can come to Israel and immediately obtain rights denied Arab citizens, and of course the Palestinians expelled from their homes in Israel have no rights to return or compensation. In the Negev, where the indigenous Bedouin have been blocked from grazing their flocks, the state has allowed Jewish farmers to occupy the land, build on it, and then have their seizures recognized retrospectively in a process of 'Judaization' of the land (Orit Shohat, Ha'aretz, March 27, 1998). This is structured racism, and a set of policies which if applied against Jews in Italy or France would justifiably cause a furious outcry."


Israel and Palestine

The Israeli military kills hundreds of mostly unarmed Palestinians demonstrating against Israel's occupation. Political assassination is used as a weapon of terror. Helicopter gunships and tanks are used in residential areas.

One human rights group states:

"There is a pattern of excessive, and often indiscriminate, use of lethal force by Israeli security forces in situations where demonstrators are unarmed and pose no threat of death or serious injury to the security forces or to others."

In one such attack, the Israeli Air Force kills 8 people, including two children and two journalists, wounding 15 others, including a human rights defender, as they shoot two missiles from a USA made Apache helicopter against the Palestinian Centre for Information in Nablus. This is a city that is officially being run by the Palestinian Authority. The 2 children are Ashraf Khader, aged 6, and Bilal Khader, aged 11, who are killed as they played outside, while their mother visits a clinic in the same building.

In Ramalah, Israeli jets fire a missile into a busy street to assassinate an activist, killing several people including two children. In Salfit, two policemen, Dia Nabil Mahmoud (19) and Abdul Ashour (22) are disarmed by Israeli soldiers, told to lie on the ground, and fatally shot at close range. Israeli bulldozers demolish 35 houses in Khan Younis making 345 people homeless.

The USA continues to finance Israel to the tune of $1,800 million per year. Since 1967 Israel has received $92,000 million in aid from the USA. In June the Israeli air force announces the purchase of 50 F-16 jets at a cost of $2,000 million, financed largely through American military aid. Shortly after, these F-16s are used to bomb Palestinian civilian targets.

The USA has repeatedly blamed the Palestinians for the violence of the past year, even though Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other reputable human rights groups have noted that the bulk of the violence has come from Israeli occupation forces and settlers.

The USA has also blamed the Palestinians for not compromising further in peace talks, even though they have already ceded 78% of historic Palestine to the Israelis in the Oslo Agreement of 1993. The Palestinians now simply demand that the Israelis withdraw their troops and colonists only from lands seized in the 1967, which Israel is already required to do under international law.

Since 1967 some 8,500 Palestinian homes have been demolished, 1,200 of these since the Oslo Agreement (with 5,000 people made homeless, including 2,000 children). Israel demolishes Palestinian homes on the slightest provocation, often allowing a family only 15 minutes to take what they can carry before bulldozing their property. Palestinian stone throwing against heavily armed Israeli soldiers can lead to demolition.

Israel's confinement of 800,000 people in the Gaza Strip, jammed into an area surrounded by a barbed-wire fence, and of over 1 million in the West Bank, all of whose entrances and exits are controlled by Israel, has few parallels in the annals of colonialism.

Israel forcibly controls all the water resources of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel utilises more than 85% of the water resources, thus leaving the Palestinian population with a mere 15% for survival. In Hebron, where a Jewish settler population was planted in and around the city, it is estimated that 70% of the water in Hebron goes to 8,500 settlers and 30% goes to the city's 250,000 Palestinian inhabitants. In the Gaza Strip, 3,000 to 4,000 settlers use 75% of the available ground water while around one million Palestinians use less than 25%.

Western reporting of the conflict has a tendency to depict Palestinian victims as nameless numbers killed. Israeli victims are named, pictured and their families interviewed. A new crop of words begins to appear in the Western media:

The largest circulation (Hebrew) newspaper in Israel, Yedioth Ahronoth (4 June 2001), publishes a statement from a spokesman from the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF): "We set up a list of Palestinian names of individuals whom the Israeli government has approved for physical elimination, among the names are included members of Hamas, Fatah, Popular Front and Islamic Jihad activists."

Terror in Palestine

During the "war on terrorism", Israel continues to illegally occupy Palestine, using its USA made arms to crush resistance to the occupation. Over 100 Palestinians are killed, houses are demolished and the airport in Gaza is destroyed. The Israelis call on the Palestinian police to "arrest terrorists" while at the same time destroying police stations and using terror tactics on Palestinian areas. Televison pictures of the Israeli action along with the "war on terrorism" is seen around the Arab world as gross hypocrisy.

In December Israel police briefly detain Sari Nusseibeh, a senior political representative of the Palestinian Authority, along with several of his colleagues, after he had invited guests, including foreign diplomats, to a hotel in Jerusalem for a party to celebrate the end of Ramadan. Uzi Landau, the Internal Security Minister for Israel, calls the reception a "terror-related" activity.

Yasser Arafat (the elected Chairman of the Palestinian Authority) is banned by Israel from his annual visit to Bethlehem over Christmas. Earlier Israeli forces had destroyed Arafat's helicopters and the runway at Gaza airport and had banned him from leaving the country.


Israel in Palestine

A report in the UK newspaper, The Guardian states that 200 children were killed and over 400 maimed by Israeli forces in Palestine between September 2000 and December 2001.

Israel demolishes 60 Palestinian houses in the Gaza Strip after four Israeli soldiers are killed. 93 families of about 600 people are left homeless. This collective punishment of a population violates the Genevea Conventions. The demolitions go ahead in spite of appeals from relatives of the dead soldiers. The Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz describes the action as a war crime and: "destruction on a systematic collective and indiscriminate level against Palestinians, whoever they may be. As far as is known, the only sin of most of them - perhaps even all of them - was the place where they lived."

Few reports of this action or its aftermath appear in Western media.

Israeli forces attack The Voice of Palestine radio station. Also destroyed are a number of properties funded by the European Union: irrigation schemes, a school building program, the airport in Gaza, the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, and a sea port. Chris Patten, the European Union Foreign Affairs Commissioner asks: "[Does] it really contribute to security if everything we try to support with EU assistance is destroyed." Many institutions of Palestinian statehood are destroyed including the ministries of health and education.

The Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, is put effectively under house arrest by the presence of Israeli military forces near his residence. His compound is then attacked forcing Arafat into one windowless room. Israel refuses permission for Arafat to go to an Arab Summit in Beirut. The Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, declares Arafat "an enemy of the world" and states that he regrets that "we did not liquidate" Arafat during the invasion of Lebanon in 1982. The USA ignores the comments which are condemned by European leaders. Saeb Ereket, a Palestinian cabinet minister responds: "I think these remarks reflect what has been always said - that Sharon is trying to finish what he began in 1982. And for prime ministers to announce openly their gangster intentions is a reflection of what kind of government we're dealing with."

Hundreds of reservist soldiers from Israel sign a petition refusing to serve in the occupied territories. The petition says that the occupation of Palestinian land is "corrupting the entire Israeli society". Soldiers had been issued with orders in the occupied territories that "had nothing to do with the security of our country [and had] the sole purpose of perpetuating our control [over the Palestinians]. We shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people". Lieutenant Ishai Sagi adds: "Everything that we do in there [the occupied territories]... all the horrors, all the tearing down of houses and trees, all the roadblocks, everything - is just for one purpose, the settlers, who I believe are illegally there. So I believe that the orders I got were illegal, and I won't do that again."

In late February, a 22 year old Palestinian woman, Maysoun Hayek, begins experiencing the labour pains for her first child. Her husband, Mohammed, decides to drive his wife the 19km from their village Zeita (in the West Bank) to the nearest large town, Nablus. On the previous night a pregnant woman had been shot and injured by Israeli soldiers on the same road. Travelling at night on that road is dangerous but the woman's labour pains are too strong to wait until morning. Mohammed's father, Abdullah, decides to travel with them in the hope that a car containing an old man would be spared any trouble. The party leaves at 1:30 am and arrives at Nablus where the car is stopped at an Israeli checkpoint. The solders search the car and pat the woman's stomach. Five minutes later, the car comes under fire from Israeli troops stationed on a hillside. Mohammad is killed after 25 bullets penetrate his body. The old man, Abdullah, is hit in the chest and back; doctors say he may be permanently paralysed. At the hospital, Maysoun gives birth to a daughter, Fida. These people are Palestinians travelling from a Palestinian village to a Palestinian town. Many Palestinians have been killed travelling past Israeli checkpoints, some dying on their way to hospital.

In the same week an Israeli woman gives birth after being shot by terrorists. The Western media concentrate on her story and ignore the story of the two Palestinian women.

In March, Israeli forces kill an Italian photographer, Raffaele Ciriello, reporting for Corriere della Sera from the West Bank city of Ramallah. He is killed when soldiers in a tank open fire on him with a heavy machine gun. On the same day, a clearly marked television car is also attacked. Egyptian journalist, Tareq Abdel Jaber, is saved by his flak jacket after Israeli soldiers fire five shots at his vehicle.

Foreign journalists say that they are routinely fired at by Israeli forces. In another incident the Israeli army fires for 15 minutes into a hotel used by journalists in Ramallah. Seven shots are fired at a camera belonging to the USA ABC Network. A taxi carrying USA and UK journalists is fired at. According to Reporters Without Borders, 40 journalists have been injured in the previous two years of reporting in the occupied territories, mostly by Israeli forces.

By the end of March, Amnesty International reports that more than 1000 Palestinians had been killed. "Israeli security services have killed Palestinians, including more than 200 children, unlawfully, by shelling and bombing residential areas, random or targeted shooting, especially near checkpoints and borders, by extrajudicial executions and during demonstrations."

Palestinians begin to attack Israeli civilians with suicide bombers. Even so, Amnesty International comments: "These actions are shocking. Yet they can never justify the human rights violations and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions which, over the past 18 months, have been committed daily, hourly, even every minute, by the Israeli authorities against Palestinians. Israeli forces have consistently carried out killings when no lives were in danger."

In early April, Israeli tanks fire at a group of unarmed peace demonstrators (including many foreigners) in Bethlehem. A Jewish woman from the UK, Jo Bird, is among the people shot at: "I feared for my life, for sure. The soldiers carried on firing at us for 10 minutes... It opened my eyes to the brutality of the Israeli occupation".

The UK BBC reporter Orla Guerin is fired at and forced to abandon her vehicle. Another UK television station, Channel 4, reports that USA CIA operatives (who did not want to be filmed) were allowed to pass into the area under Israeli military control.

In the West Bank city of Bethlehem, USA-made F-16 warplanes drop large bombs on residential areas; one lands 200m from a United Nations school where 3000 children are studying. Helicopters fire heavy calibre machine guns at Palestinian police and civilians. 38 people are killed in a 12 hour period. On the ground, Israeli tanks shunt Palestinian ambulances off the street in violation of the protection afforded to rescue workers by the Geneva Convention.

Dr Ahmed Soubeih becomes the fourth doctor to be killed in one week of Israeli action. He had informed Israeli military authorities of his trip to a neighbouring hospital to get supplies for his patients. After being shot at, he again spoke to the Israelis who assured him of his safety. He was killed by a volley of bullets from an Israeli tank a few minutes later.

Red Cross workers describe ambulances and hospitals being attacked by Israeli forces, medical attention being denied to casualties, and bodies lying unburied. Israeli Arabs and Jews attempting to take food to Palestinian families under siege are tear-gassed by Israeli soldiers.

16 Palestinians (including 5 children) are killed in the Gaza village of Kouza.

Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia proposes a plan whereby the Arab world would recognise Israel diplomatically in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories and the Syrian Golan Heights occupied in 1967. Palestinian refugees would have the right to return (or compensation) and the settlements (colonies) would have to be evacuated. Both Israel and the USA ignore the plan.

An article in the USA magazine, USA Today talks of the "transfer" or "resettlement" of Arabs to Jordan to solve the "Palestinian problem". This is ethnic cleansing which would be a war crime. The question of whether Jewish settlers (colonists) should be transferred off illegally occupied Arab land is not mentioned.

In mid April, Israeli forces invade Palestinian territory. The USA takes time to condemn the invasion while European and Arab populations demonstrate against it. Arab leaders query why the USA Secretary of State, Colin Powell, takes over a week to reach the region (travelling slowly via Europe and other Middle East countries) while the invasion rages. In 15 days over 400 Palestinians are killed and 1,500 injured; many are children. The USA criticises the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, even though he is besieged in his offices with a few aids and no electricity. Two weeks previously, the USA had sold 24 Black Hawk helicopters to Israel worth $211 million and paid for by the USA. This fact is hardly mentioned in the Western media.

In the West Bank city of Jenin the director of the hospital, Dr Ziad Ayaseh, describes a warning by Israeli forces that ambulances would be fired on if they attempt to enter the combat zone. This is confirmed by the International Red Cross. The director of the hospital in Bethlehem, Peter Qumri, is issued with similar threats. Basil Bshaarat is shot in the thigh and cannot get medical treatment for two days. He lies in his university dormitory with a towel to stop the bleeding. Palestinian ambulances are eventually allowed into the area with orders to bring out only dead bodies. Bshaarat and another man is smuggled out under three bodies: "the smell was terrible". Stopping rescue services from treating the injured is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Both the Red Cross and the World Health Organisation state that people have died because Israeli forces had stopped rescuers getting through. The International Red Crescent has two of its ambulances destroyed while they are parked in Tulkarem.

Journalists are threatened and shot at to keep them out of the invasion zone. Stun grenades are used. A French television journalist is shot in front of BBC cameras. Michael Holmes of CNN has rubber bullets fired at him. Barbara Plett of the BBC is attacked with stun grenades when part of a five car convoy: "I was not shocked at the heavy-handed approach of the Israeli army. They have a sniper outside our hotel, for Heaven's sake." The BBC reporter Jeremy Vine, is denied access to the invasion zone but enters on foot. In Rumana, he films people whose hands had been bound for two days. Others had been wounded with dumdum bullets. These break up into many fragments when entering flesh. Hundreds of wounded civilians are being treated in houses.

In Bethlehem, hundreds of people take refuge in the Church of the Nativity which is surrounded by Israeli tanks. Among those trapped is the governor of the city, Mohammed al-Madani. The Christian bell ringer at the church for 30 years, Samir Ibrahim Salman, is killed while crossing to the building. A Muslim is shot while attempting to put out a fire at the Church. Brother Mark Boyle, a 60 year old monk from the UK, is confined to the Vatican funded university where he teaches, after Israeli missiles attack the building, destroying classrooms. From his vantage point he watches Israeli soldiers surrounding the Church of the Nativity and firing from all sites, starting several fires, as well as playing sounds of screaming women and barking dogs through loud-speakers.

USA-made Apache helicopters fire missiles and rockets on residential areas. Bulldozers demolish houses in the narrow streets. Hundreds of people are killed in Jenin over a three day period. Israeli troops open fire on the house of Sami Abda, even though neighbours had warned them there were only civilians inside. His mother and brother are killed after 18 bullets are fired through the open front door. Ambulances are refused permission to enter the street so the family has to live with the bodies for 30 hours. The United Nations Commission for Refugees report that Israeli soldiers smashed medical equipment even though there was no fighting.

The refugee camp in Jenin is closed to all outsiders for two weeks. Dozens of people are killed, half of them civilians. Many houses are bulldozed without warning with people inside, including several storey buildings. An area 0.5km wide, and home to 800 people, is flattened. Survivors talk of indiscriminate killings, mass graves (one trench with over 30 bodies), bodies taken away by the military, people shot as they surrendered, grenades being thrown into houses full of people, people used as human shields (including 72 year old Rajeh Tawafshi), ambulances shot at to keep them from treating the wounded.

Many civilians are killed. Mohammed Abu Sba'a, an elderly unarmed man, is shot in the chest after attempting to persuade a bulldozer driver not to crush his house. Fadwa Jamma, a nurse in uniform, is shot dead while attempting to help a wounded man outside her house. Atiya Rumeleh calls for an ambulance after her husband is shot in the face. The Israelis stop the vehicle and send it away and he dies. Afaf Desuqi, a 52 year old woman, is killed when Israeli soldiers blow her door open. Jamal Feyed, a mentally and physically disabled man, is killed when an Israeli bulldozer crushes his house, even though relatives had told the driver of his presence. Ahmad Hamduni, a man in his 80s, is shot by soldiers at close range in his house. Faris Zeben, a 14 year old boy, is shot from a tank while out buying groceries Mohammed Hawashin (15) is shot in the face while walking home. Kemal Zughayer, a 58 year old disabled man, is shot dead in his wheelchair while wheeling himself on the road with a white flag; a tank then runs over and mangles his body.

United Nations officials are shocked at the scale of the destruction; Terje Roed-Larsen states: "Given the deplorable and unprecedented refusal to allow international relief organisations into the camps while people were slowly dying in the rubble of their wounds and thirst, the onus is on Israel to account for the missing thousands of refugees who lived in the camp until a few weeks ago. [Israel] were hiding a war crime, in fact, two war crimes: the mass killing and the denial of humanitarian relief." The Israeli vilify him for his observations.

Amnesty International calls for a full enquiry by the United Nations Security Council. Many countries support this but the USA initially resists. The International Red Cross states that the camp "looks like it has been hit by an earthquake". After being denied entry for a week, workers from the Red Cross find injured survivors in the rubble. The Jenin refugee camp was home to 14,000 people and was established in 1953. Its inhabitants were originally ethnically cleansed from what is now Israel, a fact not widely reported in the Western media.

Israel blocks a United Nations enquiry into the events in Jenin. A few months later, the general in charge of the Jenin operation, Shaul Mofaz, is appointed Israel's Defence Minister.

Dima Sinafta, a 14 year old girl is killed after being hit by tank fire while standing on her balcony in Tubas. 8 year old Ahmed Srayer is one of 11 people injured when the car he is travelling is attacked by two helicopters in Hebron.

In Ramallah a group of Palestinian policemen, including two in their mid-50s are executed in a small room. Over 1000 prisoners are taken away to unknown destinations. Some are seen blindfolded and gagged in Jewish settlements (colonies). Hakam Kanafani, manager of Jawwal, a mobile phone company, describes his offices being wrecked and looted by Israeli soldiers: "All doors were broken even though the keys were available for them to use."

The Israel newspaper Ha'aretz describes vandalism and looting perpetrated by the Israeli army in the Ministry of Culture building in Ramallah occupied by troops for a month: "In every room of the various departments - literature, film, culture for children and youth - books, disks, pamphlets and documents were piled up, soiled with urine and excrement. There are two toilets on every floor but the soldiers urinated and defecated everywhere else in the building. They did their business on the floors, in emptied flower pots, even in drawers they had pulled out of the desk... someone even managed to defecate into the photocopier."

70 Palestinians are killed in Nablus. The Al-Shu'bis family loses 8 members when Israeli soldiers buldoze their house while they are inside. The dead include three children, their pregnant mother and their 85 year old grandmother. Soldiers continue to demolish the house even after neighbours inform them of the presence of people inside.

A woman and two children (aged 4 and 6) are shot and killed by a tank in Jenin while gathering firewood.

The Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, is called "a man of peace" by the USA. The USA president, George W Bush tells the Palestinians that they can have their own state only if they elect a leader acceptable to the USA and Israel.

140 people are wounded and 14 killed (including 9 children, some babies) when an Israeli F-16 warplane fires a missile into a residential area in Gaza City. The Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon describes the attack as "one of our greatest successes". The target had been a Palestinian leader accused by Israel of planning suicide bombings. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees informs Israel that "the reckless killing of civilians is absolutely prohibited, regardless of the military significance of the target being attacked." Only a week earlier, the UK government had agreed sales of electronic parts to the USA that would be used in the manufacture of F-16 warplanes for sale to Israel. European diplomats had agreed a deal to stop the suicide attacks when this incident occurred.

After demolishing the houses of several suspected militants, Israel attempts to deport their relatives as a deterrent. Amnesty International describes this as "collective punishment" and declares that "if these people have committed no crime then deporting them would be a breach of the Geneva Conventions".

Amnesty International publishes a report stating that in the first nine months of 2002, 322 children died in the conflict. Of these, 72 were Israeli children killed by Palestinian gunmen and suicide bombers.

During the same period, 250 Palestinian children were killed by Israeli military forces, nearly half of them under 12 years old. Israel is attacked in the report for "excessive and disproportionate use of lethal force [and] reckless shooting [in residential areas]". The report concludes that "No judicial investigation is known to have been carried out by members of the Israeli Defence Forces in the occupied territories, even in cases where Israeli government officials have stated publicly that investigations would be carried out."

In one highlighted incident, 9 children are killed with 8 adults when a 1000kg bomb is dropped on their house from a USA made F-16 jet. The dead include Dina Matar (2 months old), Ayman Matar (18 months), Mohamad Matar (3 years), Sobhi Hweiti (4), Diana Matar (5), Mohamad Hweiti (6), Ala Matar (10), Iman Shehada (15), Maryam Matar (17). The Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, describes this strike as a "great success". None of the victims is named or pictured in the Western media.

Another report, by The United Nations Children's Fund blames the Israeli army's curfews for preventing 170,000 Palestinian children from going to school in breach of the Geneva Conventions and the Convention of the Rights of the Child. Israeli troops frequently open fire on people breaking the curfew, even children.

In Gaza, several people are killed by Israeli tank fire including 12 year old Saher al-Hout. A hospital is fired on killing a hospital worker.

In the Gaza city of Khan Younis, eight Palestinians are killed while standing outside a mosque by a missile fired by an Israeli helicopter. Over 80 people are injured including children. Although reported in Reuters, this story is unreported in the Western media.

In November, two Israeli children are killed by Palestinians in a Kibutz. This is extensively reported in the Western media with photographs of the victims, videos of them playing and interviews with grieving relatives. During the same month a number of Palestinian children are killed by Israeli forces in the occupied territories. These include a 2 year old boy, Nafez Mishal, and an 8 year old girl, Shaima abu Shamaaleh. Only a few newspapers in the UK report these deaths and none in the USA. No television images are broadcast. Shaima's father states "The [Israeli] army fires at our houses and calls it self defence, but they call our attacks terrorism. I am against the killing of children". Between September 2000 and October 2002, 602 Israelis and 1591 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict.

Palestinians from the West Bank village of Yanun are attacked daily by armed Israelis from the nearby illegal settlement (colony) of Itamar while harvesting their olive groves. Hani Bani Minyeh is shot dead. Two international peace activists are beaten up by the same settlers: Mary Hughes-Thompson, 68 (from UK) and James Delaplain, 74 (from USA).

Palestine under occupation
The reality of occupation of the Palestinians. Most aspects of Palestinian life (including resources like water) are controlled by Israel.
Bethlehem under Israeli attack
The West Bank city of Bethlehem under attack by Israeli forces close to the Church of the Nativity.
Jenin after the Israeli military operation
Many Palestinian civilians are killed after Israel attacked the refugee camp in Jenin in 2002. Many of the inhabitants of Jenin had been expelled from Israel in 1948.

Iain Hook, a 54 year old United Nations relief worker is shot by an Israeli soldier in a clearly marked United Nations compound in Jenin. Israeli soldiers stop the ambulance sent to attend to the injured worker. The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution condemning the killing and the destruction of a warehouse belonging to the World Food Programme.


Palestine and Israel

In Palestine, 300 Israeli soldiers demolish 62 shops in a market in the village of Nazlat Issa, destroying the livelihood of hundreds of Palestinians. The village is close to a fence being built by Israel on occupied West Bank land. This fence will cut off many Palestinian towns from the rest of the West Bank.

A vegetable market is demolished in Hebron where the Israeli army also close three police stations and two television channels. These actions are against international law but are ignored by the West.

In Gaza, Israel uses helicopter gunships, tanks and armoured vehicles in a 7 hour night attack on Gaza City. 12 Palestinians are killed and 67 injured. In mid February, Israel sends 40 tanks into the city killing 11 people including Mundur Safadi, a medic tending to a man with chest injuries. In March, Nuha al-Magadmeh, a woman who is nine months pregnant, is crushed to death when Israeli forces blow up the house next door.

In Nablus a 65 year old UK woman, Anne Gwynne, is shot at by Israeli soldiers while working as a volunteer medical worker in a Palestinian ambulance. The driver is killed by a shot in the head. Shooting at medical services violates the Geneva Convention. 61 year old Ahmad abu Zahra and his 17 year old grandson are shot dead while walking during an Israeli imposed curfew.

In Rafah a 7 year old boy is killed by Israeli army fire. A 65 year old partially deaf woman, Kamla Said, is killed in Maghazi refugee camp in Gaza when Israeli forces demolish her home while she is inside. Her stepson states: "Israeli troops were acting in a brutal way. They got us all out of the house so fast and in an aggressive manner, they gave no chance for us to see who was out and who was in".

In Bethlehem Israeli forces construct a high concrete wall across the occupied city cutting off 500 people from their work, schools and community. One resident, Amjad Awwad, is told that if a doctor is required in the night, the hospital will have to telephone the Israeli government for permission. A series of fences and walls is being built around Jerusalem to protect illegally built settlements (colonies) in the West Bank.

After elections in Israel, a coalition forms including parties calling for the expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank by force.

In March, TV film shows a Palestinian fireman, Naji Abu Jalili, being killed while putting out a fire in Jabalya by an Israeli tank shell. The shell is full of flachettes, arrow shaped pieces of metal designed to inflict mass casualties. Several people in a crowd opposite the building are also injured.

Israeli forces fire on people attempting to rescue the wounded. The wounded include Hamad Jadallah and Shams Odeh, journalists working for Reuters. The Israelis state that the man died from a booby trap in the building, a claim not supported by the film footage.

Rachel Corrie, a 23 year old citizen of the USA, is killed by an Israeli bulldozer while trying to protect a Palestinian house from being demolished in a refugee camp in Gaza. Another human shield, Nicholas Durie (Scotland, UK) explained "we were trying to frustrate their efforts by getting in front of the bulldozers. One of the drivers saw Rachel and drove towards her. She didn't get out of the way and he didn't stop. She was carried up with a heap of earth in the shovel of the buldozer. The driver continued working. She slipped and fell and was run over by the bulldozer. The driver saw that she had fallen, but carried her along for another 16 feet [5m]. Only then did he back off".

A senior Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erakat, stated: "Rachel died doing what world governments have failed to do - protecting defenceless civilians". A few months later, her parents visit the house she was protecting with the permission of the Israeli army. A UK television documentary shows them being shot at by Israeli snipers and bulldozers 30m from the house where they are visiting.

The bulldozers used to destroy Palestinian homes are manufactured the USA company, Caterpillar. It is estimated that 50,000 Palestinians have been made homeless by the company's D9 armoured bulldozer.

Tom Hurndall, a 21 year old human shield from London (UK), is shot in the head by an Israeli soldier while trying to lead a group of Palestinian children away from a gun fight in Rafah. His injuries leave him in a coma. His parents, Anthony and Jocelyn Hurndall, later visit the area from the UK to find out the circumstances. They are also shot at by Israeli soldiers at the Abu Khouli checkpoint while driving in a convoy organised by the UK Embassy and bearing diplomatic number plates. They had given notice of the journey on three occasions including a few minutes before the convoy arrived.

The Israeli army demolishes an apartment block in Hebron after an attack by non-residents on Israeli soldiers. Several families are left homeless. This form of collective punishment is common in the West Bank and Gaza and violates the Geneva Convention.

Two days before the USA invades Iraq, the President, George W Bush, and the UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, both state that the USA is committed to a Palestinian state and publish a "road map" towards that goal. This story is publicised in all Western media. Within a day of this announcement, the Israel leader, Ariel Sharon states that he will not allow a viable, independent Palestinian state. This story is hardly reported in the West.

During the first week of the USA and UK invasion of Iraq, Israeli forces kill three children in the occupied territories: a girl aged 10 shot in a car she was travelling in; soldiers shot a 14 year old boy who had climbed onto an armoured car; a 15 year old boy who was throwing stones.

Five people are killed and 50 injured when Israeli forces fire a missile at a car in Gaza City. The bulk of the injuries occur when the jet fires at a crowd that had gathered around the damaged car.

More than 1000 men and boys are taken away at gunpoint in trucks from Tulkarem refugee camp.

In Rafah (a refugee camp in the Gaza strip), Israeli forces kill 5 Palestinians and injure over 40 when a large force is sent into the area.

In a 24 hour period, two journalists are shot dead by Israeli soldiers: In Nablus, Nazeh Darwazeh, 41, a cameraman who worked for Associated Press; in Rafah, Corporal Lior Ziv, 19, an Israeli army cameraman.

In late April, a "road map" for peace is published. The plan has been agreed by the USA, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.

The plan calls for Palestinians to stop their violence but does not call on Israel to comply with UN resolutions concerning the occupation and settlements. The Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, calls on Palestinians to renounce the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees before he will negotiate on the plan.

The right of refugees to return to their homeland is a human right under the United Nations. The new Prime Minister of the Palestinians, Mahmoud Abbas, (himself appointed after pressure from Israel and the USA) is a refugee from 1948. He asks "Why should I drop the Right of Return of refugees. It is not my right to drop it".

22 Arab states reiterate their call for complete withdrawal from the occupied territories, in return for complete recognition of Israel. This is under-reported in the West.

James Miller, a well known UK cameraman filming a documentary, is shot dead by Israeli forces in southern Gaza. The victim was wearing a helmet marked with TV, walking slowly towards an Israeli post with a white flag, and shouting in English and Arabic that he was a journalist, according to witnesses. An ambulance is called but is not allowed through. The Israeli government states that he was shot by Palestinians. A post-mortem disproves this and several weeks later the Israelis admit culpability and promise an enquiry. In practice, the site of the shooting is bulldozed and the weapons used are not impounded for 11 weeks. Two years later all discipliary action against the accused are dropped.

The Israeli army demands that any foreign national entering the Gaza strip sign a waiver releasing the army of all responsibility for their safety.

The Israeli army occupy the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun (population 35,000) for five days. Seven Palestinians are killed including 14 year old Muhammad al-Zaneen who was helping his father paint their house. 15 houses are demolished.

As the army departs from the town, they bulldoze 6000 orange trees over 300 hectares. Since 2000, the Israelis have destroyed 70% of the town's citrus groves. One of the owners, Maher al-Shawwa (42), describes one of his trees: "I took care of it for 15 years. It produces at 15. When it is 40, I can make a profit". He estimates his loss at hundreds of thousands of dollars. One of his workers, Ibrahim Hussein (59) was asleep outside his house when the bulldozers arrived: "They fired three shots at me and told me to stay inside. I saw five bulldozers. They destroyed the farm. I have lost my salary, and so have 29 other farmers".

After pressure from the USA, the Israel Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, convinces his skeptical parliament to accept the USA-sponsored "road map" to peace: "The idea that it is possible to continue keeping 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation is bad for Israel, bad for the Palestinians and bad for the Israeli economy".

In June, Israel continues its policy of targeted killings (assassinations) of Palestinian leaders. In one incident in Gaza City, an Israeli helicopter fires into a civilian area killing 7 and injuring 33. A day later, 23 people, including children, are injured. The attacks have become so common that Palestinians now leave their cars when they hear helicopters flying overhead. Gush Shalom, an Israeli peace group, accuses the Israeli Prime Minister of deliberately using assassination to destroy the "road map".

In a 32 month period up to the end of May 2003, 762 Israelis and 2,274 Palestinians have been killed. Almost 7,500 Palestinians are held in 22 Israeli prisons, detention centres or military encampments. 1,134 homes have been demolished in the Gaza strip.

In the first half of 2003, 5000 Jewish "settlers" moved into the occupied territories bringing the total of "settlers" to 231,443. All are regarded as illegal under the Geneva Convention. During the year, Israel announces its intention to build over 600 houses in 3 West Bank "settlements".

Israel's largest human rights group, Civil Rights in Israel, accuses the government of Ariel Sharon of gross human rights violations in the occupied territories including the use of human shields.

Israel continues its construction of a "security" fence despite international criticism. The fence is being constructed entirely on occupied Palestinian land, cutting the West Bank into a series of cantons (or reservations). The United Nations estimates that the completed fence will cut off 240,000 Palestinians from their communities and leave 160,000 Palestinians in enclaves surrounded by the barrier.

The fence will cut off 16.6% of the West Bank. The Israeli army issues an order that Palestinians living between the fence and the 1967 borders must obtain special permits to travel. Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, tells the UK newspaper, The Observer, "Israel is the promised land - promised to Jews and to no-one else".

In August, Israel passes a law that forbids Palestinians who marry Israelis from living in Israel. Citizens of all other countries who marry Israelis will not be affected by the new law. Children will also be affected after the age of 12. Several international and Israeli human rights organisations declare the law to be discriminatory and anti-democratic.

In Nablus, Israeli undercover troops (disguised as vegetable merchants) break into a hospital and seize two Palestinians with whom they had a gun fight. The men were being treated in intensive care. This act is a violation of the Geneva Convention. In Gaza, Israeli helicopter gunships fire into a residential area.

In September, the Israeli parliament agrees to expel the Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat, from the occupied West Bank.

The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution urging Israel to refrain from deporting Arafat. The UK, Germany and Bulgaria abstain from the vote. During the debate 40 governments condemned Israel for its decision to "remove" Arafat.

Sana Al-Daour, a ten year old Palestinian girl, is killed when the car she is travelling in is hit by an Israeli missile fired from a helicopter. Amira Hass, a journalist for the Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz, quotes figures that suggest that 80% of the Palestinians killed by Israeli forces have no connection to armed resistance to the occupation.

In October, Israeli forces destroy 114 houses in Gaza, killing several people including children. United Nations officials estimated that 1,240 people had been left homeless including 10 year old Yasser Abu Swelen who said "I don't have a house, a bed or schoolbooks anymore". Eye-witnesses report residents running as bulldozers advanced: "Suddenly, a bulldozer was hitting the back of my house. We were ten people. We ran away. I saw barefooted women carrying children, with hardly any clothes on. I and my family went to Kholafa al-Rashedeen mosque. The army dug holes around my house. I am in the mosque with 200 people. Our partly demolished". Many people tell of the demolitions being done at night and of being given little time to take anything. Hundreds of people are forced to live in the changing rooms of the football stadium. 45 people end up in the first aid room measuring 5m square. Others end up living in ruined buildings. The Israeli army demolish three apartment blocks in Netzarim Junction (in Gaza) after clearing more than 2,000 Palestinians from their homes.

Little of these events is shown or reported in the Western media.

Many people were badly wounded after a helicopter fired a missile into a building; some had to have limbs amputated, including 11 year old Louai Barhoum. Over 50 people were injured.

A few days later, the USA vetoes a United Nations resolution condemning the continued building of a fence by Israel on Palestinian land.

27 reservists are grounded by the Israeli air force for refusing to take part in assassinations of Palestinians.

In October, Israeli forces bomb targets in Syria. The USA refuses to condemn the action by stating that "Israel must not feel constrained in terms of defending the homeland". So, Palestinians are not allowed to fight for their homeland by attacking regions outside their (occupied) borders but Israelis are. This message does not go down well with the Arab peoples of the Middle East.

Peace Now, an Israeli peace group, declares that of the 104 settlements in Palestine, that Israel has pledged to remove, it has removed only 7, all staged for the media. Five new ones were set up.

In November, the USA complains to Israel after their soldiers destroyed a number of water wells build by a USA aid agency, the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) for civilian use in Gaza. At the same time the USA agreed $2,000 million of military aid to Israel for 2005, an increase of $60 million over 2004.

The table below lists the casualties in this conflict for the three years up to September 2003.

Israeli civilians killed by Palestinian attacks 552
Israeli civilians under 18 years old killed by Palestinian attacks 100
Israeli occupation soldiers killed by Palestinian attacks 246
Palestinians killed by Israeli attacks 2197
Palestinians under 18 years old killed by Israeli attacks 399
Palestinian children under 15 killed by Israeli attacks 200
Palestinians assassinated by Israeli forces 123
Palestinian bystanders killed by Israeli forces 84

Palestinian Mission in Iraq

In violation of diplomatic norms, USA troops in Iraq, ransack the Palestinian mission and arrest several diplomats, imprisoning them at unknown sites. The troops smash photographs of the Palestinian president, Yassar Arafat, and tear up the diplomatic accreditation certificates. Human rights groups condemn the action; the Western media fail to cover the story.

In 1989, USA troops had detained staff from the Cuban Embassy and ransacked the residence of the Ambassador of Nicaragua during their invasion of Panama.

The "War on Terror"

The human rights organisation, Amnesty International, publishes a report saying the the "war on terror" is leaving the world more insecure and its people more afraid.

The report accuses the USA and UK of using the "war on terror" to abuse human rights. Draconian laws had been introduced by the two countries after the terrorist attacks on the USA on 11 September 2001. New laws allow torture, detention without trial and truncated justice.

The USA and UK are accused of double standards: attacking Iraq for "possessing weapons of mass destruction" while at the same time selling deadly weapons to regimes that abuse human rights.

The USA is accused of selecting "which bits of its international obligations under international law it will use, and when it will use them". Its detention of more than 600 prisoners of war in its military base in Guantanamo Bay (Cuba) "support[s] a world where arbitrary unchallengeable detentions become acceptable". It calls for the prisoners to either be charged and tried or to be released. The USA refuses even to name most of the prisoners in detention. 13 foreign nationals are being held without charge by the UK.

The report warns that post-war Iraq could end up like Afghanistan where human rights abuses are officially sanctioned: "Afghanistan does not present a record of which the international community can be proud". The report highlights two prisoners at Bagram air base who died under USA interrogation. Amnesty International has been denied access to Guantanamo Bay and Bagram. According to Amnesty "Bagram stands as an indictment of the USA and all other countries which refuse to condemn its existence".

The report also accuses Israel of committing war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories and the Palestinians of crimes against humanity by targeting civilians in suicide bombings.

In late June a report appears in the UK newspaper, The Independent, in which the USA and UK are accused of using torture on suspected terrorists and holding them without the due processes of law.

Detainees are kept standing for hours in black hoods or spray painted goggles, bound in awkward or painful positions, deprived of sleep with 24 hour bombardment of lights, and beaten. The USA interrogators call these "stress and duress" techniques. Ten USA National Security officials spoke to the the USA newspaper, The Washington Post. One of them was quoted as saying "if you don't violate someone's human rights some of the time, you probably aren't doing your job".

The human rights organisation, Amnesty International, highlights the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The USA CIA hold his two sons (aged 7 and 9) as a "bargaining tool".

The USA is thought to be holding 15,000 people around the world including those it classifies as Prisoners of War. 680 people are held in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. In June, two 70 year old farmers are released without charge after USA authorities admitted they were "caught in the wrong place at the wrong time". During the first few months of their captivity they were kept in small wire mesh cells (less than 2m by 3m) covered by a wooden roof but open at the sides. They were allowed a one minute shower once a week. After going on hunger strike in the fifth month, they were allowed to shower for five minutes and allowed exercise for 10 minutes a week walking around a 10m long cage.

The UK is also treating detainees illegally. The UK has opted out of the section of the European Convention of Human Rights that guarantees everyone a fair trial. This contrasts with European countries (Netherlands, France, Italy) where terrorism suspects are processed through the courts. Amnesty International states that detainees held in the UK are subjected "to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment", even though they have not been charged or even interviewed by police.

The USA announces that two UK citizens detained at Guantanamo Bay are to be tried by a military tribunal without proper legal representation and could face the death penalty. One of the detainees, Moazzam Begg, was arrested by USA forces in Pakistan in 2002 and taken to Bagram air base in Afghanistan without access to consular staff and without any extradition procedures being completed. After several months he was transferred to Cuba, again without any legal extradition processes. The UK fails to make any representation for its citizens. The UK Forign Office minister, Baroness Symonds, states "The fact is I can't alter the legal processes in the USA" even though they are not being held under USA law. Human rights groups state that the detainees should either be charged and tried as criminals or held with Prisoner of War status.

The following table lists the geography and numbers of illegal detentions involving the democratic countries (as at July 2003). Sources include USA Justice Department, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Red Cross.

Numbers Held
Egypt Thousands Many transferred from Afhganistan to Egypt by the USA where the secret police use "full-blown" torture.
Jordan Thousands Many transferred from Afhganistan to Jordan by the USA where the security services use torture, including sleep deprivation, beating the soles of the feet, and suspension with ropes.
Uzbekistan Thousands Mainly dissidents and "Islamists". USA has stopped its criticism of the country's human rights record after being allowed to set up military bases there.
Iraq 3,087 Prisoners of War and interned civilians held in 19 sites. USA threats to send detainees to Cuba.
Afghanistan 3,000 + In Bagram airbase and Jowzjan prison. Bagram is a USA CIA interrogation centre. Prisoners are tortured by being blindfolded and thrown into walls, kept standing or kneeling for hours, bound, sleep deprivation. No access to the Red Cross or legal representation. 2 detainees have died.
Chechnya 1,300 Russia routinely beats and tortures prisoners. Blind eye turned by USA and UK for economic reasons.
Israel 900 Palestinians held without charge or trial. Most have no access to lawyers.
Cuba 680 Suspects from 40 countries held as "battlefield detainees" even though some not arrested during battles. The USA insists that the Geneva Convention does not apply. Being outside USA legal juristiction, USA law does not apply either. All denied access to legal council. Nationalities include Afghans, Pakistanis, Saudis, Yemenis, Britons, Australians and Algerians.
USA 484 The USA government refuses to release the identity of most of the detainees. Human rights groups accuse the USA of violations.
China 400 Mainly ethnic Uighurs resisting Chinese control of their Turkic speaking homeland. The USA has labelled them "terrorists".
India 300 + Mostly Muslim and Kashmiri dissidents.
Morocco 135 100 "referred" by the USA to a country infamous for the use of torture.
Spain 50 Mainly Basques. No access to outsiders; secret trials, up to 4 years pre-trial detention allowed by law.
Indonesia 30 Muslims and dissidents. Public interrogations.
UK 15 402 arrests. Restricted access to legal representation.
Syria 1 Syrian - German transferred to Syria by USA operatives.
Diego Garcia Unknown USA CIA interrogations of prisoners on UK island.
Saudi Arabia Unknown USA CIA watch interrogations through one-way mirrors.
Georgia Several After operation involving USA and UK special forces.

Amnesty International publishes another report dealing with human rights violations in countries that are Western holiday destinations.

Country Notes
Jamaica Police brutality causes the deaths of 133 people in 2002.
Morocco Secret detentions and torture. More than 30 political prisoners.
Tunisia Arbitrary arrests, detentions and forced confessions.
Turkey Islamic and Kurdish activists imprisoned. Torture in police custody. Extra-judicial killings.
Egypt Crackdowns on homosexual men, minority religious groups, political opponents and journalists.
Burma Highly repressive military government holds 1300 political prisoners. Use of slave labour for building tourist infra-structure. Trafficking of women and children.
Thailand Violent crackdown on alleged criminals lead to 2000 deaths in 2003.
Maldives Oposition parties banned and harassed. Arrest without charge. Torture.


Israel - Palestine

A group of Israeli and Palestinian politicians, former ministers and intellectuals produce the Geneva Accord, a proposed plan for peace between Israel and Palestine. The plan requires both sides to make concessions but attempts to treat both sides as equals. The main points of the accord are listed below:

The Accord is given support by former presidents and winners of the Nobel Peace prize including: Jimmy Carter (former USA president), Nelson Mandela (former South Africa president), Lech Walesa (former Poland president), Michael Gorbachev (former president of the USSR) and F W de Klerk (former South African president).

The Accord is rejected by the government of Israel and thousands of Palestinians who want to maintain the "right of return".

In March, Israel assassinates the spiritual leader of Hammas, Sheik Ahmad Yassin. The wheelchair-bound partially-sighted paraplegic was blown up outside a mosque by missiles fired from an Apache helicopter. Seven other people are also killed. The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution condemning the assassination.

In April, the USA president, George W Bush, makes a speech that approves a unilateral plan by Israel concerning the Palestinians and their occupied territories. The following points are approved:

Western media report this as a wonderful breakthrough and a chance for peace, even though it rewards Israel's ethnic cleansing and denies the establishment of a viable Palestinian state and will effectively turn Gaza into a prison for a million people. The story is told in the form "Israel to withdraw from Gaza".

The plan is discussed with the Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, the President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak and the King of Jordan, Abdullah. No Palestinian representative is consulted. The UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who had boasted that invading Iraq with the USA would lead to a just peace in the Middle East, praises the plan.

The leader of the Palestinians, Yasser Arafat, declares that the resistance to Israeli occupation will continue and encourages Arab states to meet and discuss the new USA policy. A legal advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organisation told the USA newspaper, New York Times, "imagine if Palestinians said, 'O.K., we give California to Canada.' Americans should stop wondering why they have so little credibility in the Middle East."

Phyllis Bennis, of the Institute For Policy Studies, writes: "The U.S. position returns Middle East diplomacy to its pre-1991 position, when Palestinians were excluded from all negotiations. Israeli-U.S. negotiations become the substitute for Israeli-Palestinian talks, with the U.S. free to concede Palestinian land and rights. The official U.S. acceptance of the Israeli occupation of huge swathes of Palestinian territory, and the Bush administration's willingness to cede internationally-recognized Palestinian rights represents a new version of the 1917 Balfour Declaration in which Britain, the colonial power, guaranteed settlers of the early Zionist movement a 'national Jewish homeland' in Palestine disregarding the rights of the indigenous population."

The United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, criticizes the USA endorsement of Israel's unilateral plan when he affirmed that "final status issues should be determined in negotiations between the parties based on relevant Security Council resolutions".

Shortly after, Abdul Aziz Rantisi, the leader of Hammas for only a month, is assassinated by an Israeli missile attack. The killing causes mass anger throughout the Arab world and is condemned by many countries (but not the USA).

20 armed Israeli settlers move into Silwan, an Arab neighbourhood in Jerusalem, to occupy a seven storey apartment building. Police help as Palestinians are evicted. The area is recognised as part of the occupied territories by the United Nations.

During May, Israeli forces attack occupied Gaza killing people and demolishing homes, shops, power and telephone lines and destroying agricultural land. Among the dead were Asmaa Mughayer (15) and her brother Ahmed (13) killed on their roof as they fed pigeons. The Israeli army says that they were killed by a Palestinian bomb. Dr Ahmed Abu Nkaira, at Rafah Hospital, shows the single bullet wounds to the heads with their larger exit wounds, to UK journalist, Donald Macintyre.

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Israel destroyed 100 homes in 10 days, leaving 1110 Palestinians homeless. 131 residential buildings were damaged.

UNRWA declares that the demolitions violate the Geneva Conventions. The human rights group, Amnesty International, calls the actions "a war crime" as the demolitions are part of a policy of collective punishments and to help the establishment of illegal settlements (actually "colonies") in violation of international law.

The USA says it is "concerned" and "troubled" but condones the actions as "self defence" even though they are the actions of an occupying army on occupied territories. In the UK, only one newspaper (The Independent) and one television news broadcast (Channel 4 News) covers the story with pictures. These show distressed families in and around the wreckage of their homes trying to salvage possessions, buldozers tearing down walls of buildings and houses being blown up. Israeli Justice Minister Yosef Lapid criticised his own government with this moving statement:

"I saw on television an old woman picking through the rubble of her house in Rafah, looking for her medicine. She reminded me of my grandmother who was expelled from her home during the Holocaust."

In Rafah, an Israeli tank and helicopter fire shells and missiles on civilians demonstrating against the house demolitions. Dozens are killed and injured, mainly children and teenagers. The injuries include severed limbs and intestines hanging out. The pictures seen around the world are so graphic that in the United Nations Security Council, even the rabidly pro-Israel USA abstains and a resolution is passed (by 14 - 0) condemning the attack and calling for Israel to respect international law and to stop demolishing houses.

The death toll between September 2000 and May 2004 stands at 921 Israelis and 2,806 Palestinians. In Gaza, over 2,300 homes have been demolished by Israel, making 17,594 people homeless. Rafah is the worst affected area where 11,215 people have already been made homeless over a three year period. Many people in Rafah are refugees from 1948, 1967 and 1973. Many have been refugees on more than one occasion. The dispair of a people under a 37 year occupation while the powerful West looks the other way can only be imagined.

Israeli Buldozer
An Israeli buldozer in Rafah.
Demolished House
Family among the ruins of their demolished house.

Demolished House
Family looking for belongings in their demolished house.

House Demolition
House being blown up by Israeli forces.
Demolished House
Family outside their demolished house.
Homeless Family
A homeless family.

Crying Children
Children crying after their home has been demolished.
Desolation and Despair
Desolation and despair in Rafah.

© 2004: Rafah Today

In June, a group of MPs (Members of Parliament) from the UK visit the area as part of a United Nations fact finding mission. They are shot at by Israeli snipers. The UK media bury the story.

In July, the World Court rules that the wall being built by Israel in the West Bank is illegal. The court found that:

"Israel is under obligation to terminate its breaches of international law; it is under an obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, to dismantle forthwith the structure therein stated".

Israel ignores the ruling, saying the the wall (which it calls a "security fence") is temporary. The court disagrees: "the construction of the wall and its associate regime creates a 'fait accompli' on the ground that could well become permanent, in which case, and not withstanding the formal characterisation by Israel, it would be tantamount to annexation".

Further, the court states that Israel is under an obligation to make reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. It specifically excludes portions of the wall built on Israeli territory. This indicates that there is no problem with the wall itself but with the route of the wall.

The court confirmed that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights applies to all people over which a state has jurisdiction, meaning that they apply to the Palestinian Territories under Israeli occupation.The court also noted that the wall's route has been drawn to include over 80% of the settlements - and it rules that the settlements are illegal, a violation of the Geneva Conventions.

The USA calls the ruling "inappropriate".

Map of the Wall
The wall snakes over occupied Palestinian territory.

The wall snakes across the occupied territory of the West Bank. It cuts off villages from their fields; sometimes it cuts villages in two. It cuts off tens of thousands of people from their families, schools and places of work. Over 200km of a planned 700km has been built. Its maximum height is 8m (30 feet). By comparison, the Berlin Wall was 3.6m.

The court quotes United Nations reports which state that 16% of the West Bank will end up between the wall and the internationally recognised armistice line (the Green Line). This belt includes 237,000 illegal Jewish settlers (a more accurate word is "colonists") and 160,000 Palestinians who will live "in almost completely encircled communities" (a more accurate word is "ghettos").

The United Nations warns that "with the fence/wall cutting communities off from their land and water without other means of subsistence" it fears that people will leave. In the town of Qalqilya over 6,000 people have already left and 600 business or shops have closed. The town will be completely surrounded by a 11km wall. The UN warning continues that the wall is depriving a significant number of Palestinians of the "freedom to choose [their] place of residence" and "is tending to alter the demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory". A better phrase for this is "ethnic cleansing".

The Israeli Foreign Ministry defends the building of the wall: "if there was no terror; there would be no fence". This is reported in the the Western media who fail to mention the counter claim that if there was no occupation, there might not be a resistance to it.

The Wall
The wall.
Over 200km of a planned 700km has been built. Its maximum (30 feet).
The Berlin Wall was 3.6m.
School Children
Primary school children walking home from school by the wall.

Mahmoud Jaffal tells journalist Sa'id Ghazali that his route to the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem from his village involves going through a tiny opening in the wall: "I am angry at the world. Israel does not respect the international law. Israel is a rebellious country. Why can Jews who are from Africa and all over the world move freely here and I, who live in Abu Dis, can not enter Jerusalem? It is disgraceful that the world can not do anything. We are human beings and not animals.."

Meanwhile, Israeli companies have moved factories and complexes close to the wall where they employ Palestinians who earn less than the legal minimum wage in Israel and are not protected by Israeli labour laws. The industries moving from Israel to the West Bank are many of the most polluting - Israel's strict environmental laws will not apply.

The Wall at Qalqilya (Map)
An 11km section of the wall will completely surround the town of Qalqilya. According to the United Nations, over 6,000 people have left the town and 600 business or shops have closed (as of mid 2004).
Qalqilya Before the Wall  Qalqilya After the Wall
Satelite views of Qalqilya in 2002 (left) before the construction of the wall and in 2003 (right) during the construction of the wall.

School Children
School children waiting for the checkpoint to open to return home.
House Demolition
Ana'ta district in East Jerusalem. One of thousands of homes demolished to make way for the wall.

According to figures from the Israel Defence Force and the Palestinian Monitor, 587 Palestinian and 111 Israeli children have been killed in the region between 2000 and 2004. The following table shows the causes of death for all non-military deaths for the same period.

Cause of Death Israelis Palestinians
Live Ammunition 3661,816
Rubber / Plastic Coated Bullets 03
Shelling / Bombing 108650
Suicide Bombing 4500
Tear Gas 020
Prevention of Medical Treatment 087
Assassination 1308+
Bystanders During Assassinations 0152+
Miscellaneous 45446

For virtually every cause of death, many more Palestinians die than Israelis. The only cause of death that affects Israelis more than Palestinians is suicide bombings. The vast majority of the media coverage in the West covers these suicide bombings. They are endlessly discussed while the other sources of death are virtually ignored. Each event is given major coverage including views of victims and their families. In contrast, Palestinian deaths by, say, missile attacks are only briefly shown, if at all.

In television interviews, Palestinian leaders are constantly asked when the suicide bombings will stop. In contrast, Israeli leaders are rarely asked why so many Palestinians are killed by live ammunition (the biggest cause of death in the table above). Indeed, Israeli leaders are never asked the fundamental question of when the 37 year long occupation will end; or why people die because of being denied medical treatment (a violation of the Geneva Conventions).

This one sided coverage gives a misleading image of the conflict. The fact that Western governments condone it is a betrayal of an occupied people as well as a source of deep anger in the Arab world.

The United Nations General Assembly passes a resolution condemning Israel's building of a wall on Palestinian territory. The resolution is passed with 150 votes (including the European Union) with 6 votes against (including the USA) and 10 abstentions. The UK asks Israel to comply saying that it has a right to build the wall but not on occupied territory.

The USA sends 100 F16-I jets to Israel. These are advanced jet bombers that "can reach Iran and return" and are equipped with "special weapons". None of this is mentioned in the Western press.

In September, Israeli raids in Nablus and Jenin kill 10 people including an 11 year old girl, Mariam al-Nakhlah. The girl's grandmother, Muyasar al-Nakhlah, said that "She was watching the ambulances taking away the bodies when soldiers posted on the roof of a house shot at her, hitting her in the face". 30 people are injured including a 14 year old boy shot in the head.

As usual, none of this is covered by the Western media while Arab stations like al-Jazeera are barred from entering the area.

According to United Nations aid officials, Israeli army bulldozers demolish the homes of more than 200 Palestinians in the Gaza refugee camp of Khan Yunis. The attack came after midnight and resulted in 60 families (about 230 people) losing their homes.

The story appears on the BBC website but is omitted from television broadcasts. Their journalists are barred from entering the area. Fathi Zaroub (who has four children) told the Associated Press: "We were forced to leave the house under intensive shooting from the sky and from tanks, we took nothing from our belongings. We ran away in our pyjamas and we have no other refuge."

In October over 150 people, nearly half of them children, are killed when Israeli forces attack Gaza. The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution condemning the action. Israel arrests 13 United Nations workers. Israel destroys over 100 homes. According to the UK based newspaper, al-Sharq al-Awsat, the lack of international criticism to Israeli policies has emboldened Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, assuring him that he can carry out "disproportionately aggressive reprisals against Palestinians". The report continues: "With the Arab world in a state of complete paralysis, the US in the fray of a contentious election where Bush and Kerry are vying to appease Israel irrespective of its crimes, and with the EU content with issuing polite calls for restraint, Sharon feels he is above the world and above international law and that he can do anything he wants with the Palestinians."

In Jenin, 12 year old Ibrahim Muhammad Ismail is shot dead by Israeli troops during demonstrations against the occupation. In Gaza, 7 year old Ahmad al-Smari and his cousin, 8 year old Muhammad al-Smari are killed when an Israeli tank shell slams into their house near Khan Yunis, shredding their bodies. Three other people are killed on the same day.

In Gaza, Israeli soldiers shoot and kill a 13 year old girl, Iman al-Hams, as she walks to school. An audio tape of the killing was broadcast on Israeli television station, Channel Two. A soldier is heard to clearly identify the target as a child: "It's a little girl. She's running defensively eastwards, a girl of about 10. She's behind the embankment, scared to death". The Israeli commander is heard to say "Anyone who's mobile, moving in the zone, even if it's a three year old, needs to be killed". Ten bullets were fired into the child as she lay motionless on the ground. This story is not covered in the USA or UK. A year later, an Israeli court clears the soldier and commander involved.

After being confined to his compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah by the Israelis for three years, 75 year old Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat falls ill. He is allowed to leave for Paris where he dies. The Western media's coverage of his life is mixed, many following the Israeli and USA line that he was the cause of the problems in the region.

1400 Palestinian civilians, including 570 minors, were killed in the occupied territories in 2004. Many Israeli soldiers have begun to admit publicly that they are often given explicit orders to shoot Palestinian civilians, including children, when seen entering or approaching a certain "danger zone". Amos Harel of the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, describes the Israeli army's practice of shooting Palestinian children and then covering up the killing as "despicable and criminal".

A field study published in the British Medical Journal reports that, in the previous four years, "Two-thirds of the 621 children killed [by the Israelis] at checkpoints on the way to school, in their homes, died from small arms fire, directed in over half the cases to the head, neck, and chest the sniper's wound." A quarter of Palestinian infants under the age of five are acutely or chronically malnourished. The Israeli wall "will isolate 97 primary health clinics and 11 hospitals from the populations they serve."

The report described "a man in a now fenced-in village near Qalqilya [who] approached the gate with his seriously ill daughter in his arms and begged the soldiers on duty to let him pass so that he could take her to hospital. The soldiers refused."

A Friends of the Earth report finds that 94% of Israeli settlements (colonies) pump untreated sewage onto Palestinian land.

Tim Llewellyn, the UK BBC Middle East Correspondent between 1970 and 1990, describes how bias in inbuilt in the BBC's coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict:

"In the news reporting of the domestic BBC TV bulletins, 'balance', the BBC's crudely applied device for avoiding trouble, means that Israel's lethal modern army is one force, the Palestinians, with their rifles and home-made bombs, the other 'force': two sides equally strong and culpable in a difficult dispute, it is implied, that could easily be sorted out if extremists on both sides would see reason and the leaders do as instructed by Washington...

"When suicide bombers attack inside Israel the shock is palpable. The BBC rarely reports the context, however. Many of these acts of killing and martyrdom are reprisals for assassinations by Israel's death squads, soldiers and agents who risk nothing as they shoot from helicopters or send death down a telephone line. I rarely see or hear any analysis of how many times the Israelis have deliberately shattered a period of Palestinian calm with an egregious attack or murder. 'Quiet' periods mean no Israelis died... it is rarely shown that during these 'quiet' times Palestinians continued to be killed by the score."


Israel - Palestine

The Israeli human rights group B'tselem, publishes a report on the occupied territories of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

According to the report, of 803 Palestinians killed by the Israeli army from 1 January to 27 December 2004, at least 450, including children, had not been participating in hostilities when killed. In the final days of 2004, at least seven more Palestinians, including a 10 year old girl from Gaza, were killed, bringing the year-long Palestinian death toll to 810.

The report added that 107 Israelis, including 40 soldiers and 67 civilians, were killed by Palestinian resistance fighters.

Between September 2000 and 2005, 3174 Palestinians (including 617 minors) have been killed. Of those, 1702 (nearly 54%) were not involved in the resistance.

During Palestinian elections, Israeli forces allow favoured candidate, Mahmoud Abbas, to travel freely during campaigning. His rivals are restricted and some arrested.

In 2004, construction began on 1,500 housing units in settlements (colonies) on the occupied territories of the West Bank A total of 3,700 were under construction. All settlements in occupied territories are illegal under international law.

One million Palestinian olive trees cannot be accessed by their owners because of the wall being built on Palestinian land by Israel.

In March, the Israeli government orders the confiscation of large areas of Palestinian land in the West Bank. The area is 10 square kilometres close to the city of Hebron.

The confiscation orders allow the Israeli army to expropriate land extending from the village of al-Burj to southern Yatta.

Hundreds of acres of farmland, including numerous olive groves, is included. This will diminish the size of any prospective Palestinian state in the West Bank.

All this happens while Israel accuses Palestinians of terrorism.

The Palestinians declare a truce with Israel in February. Settlement building continues. In April three Palestinian boys playing football are killed in Gaza by Israeli troops. Two of the boys were 15 years old; the third 14.

According to an aerial photographic survey, Israel has continued expanding its illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. According to Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian negotiator: "It's either settlements or peace. As far as the Israeli government is concerned, the line seems to be settlements and their kind of peace".

An Amnesty International report looks at the plight of women under Israeli occupation.

Israel is criticrised for failing to allow sick and pregant women to cross checkpoints for access to medical care. Many babies have died after women have been forced to give birth in the street. Some women who leave the country for medical treatment or to visit relatives may not be allowed back. Israeli's demolishing of 4000 homes between September 2000 and March 2005 has affected thousands of women who are made homeless, often with young children. A law passed by Israel in 2003 prevents Arab couples living together if one is a Palestinian from the West Bank and the other is an Arab Israeli citizen.

The Palestinians are also criticised in the report for "honour killings".

The report is completely ignored by the Western media.

Another report ignored by the West, from the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, is published in September. This report states that between 2000 and 2005, sixty one Palestinian women have given birth at Israeli checkpoints in the occupied territories. This has resulted in the deaths of 36 babies. The report states that Palestinian access to medical facilities had been "significantly impaired" by Israeli measures.

Israel pulls out of Gaza after an occupation of 38 years. Israel continues to control all Gaza's borders, its air space, its sea beyond 5km, and its water supplies. In addition, Israel continues to build its wall on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and continues building more illegal settlements (colonies) The Gaza pull out is decribed in the Western media as a historic step to peace. Western television stations show the anguish of Jewish families being evicted from their homes - the anguish of the many more Palestinians who have had their homes demolished has, in the past, been ignored by these same stations.

Israel continues to overfly the territory of Gaza in jets that cause sonic booms on a regular bases. Many of the flights are timed to coincide with children going to or returning from school. A medical report by Dr Eyad el-Sarraj submitted to an Israeli court tells of psychological problems being triggered in children by the flights. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency stated that 350 of its doors and windows were damaged by these flights and their sonic booms. A spokeswoman for the Israeli Defence Force stated that the sonic booms were a "message to the terrorists".


Israel - Palestine

Elections are held in the Palestinian territories. Israel bans people from voting in East Jerusalem until international pressure forces them to relent. East Jerusalem is considered as part of the occupied Palestinian territories by the United Nations.

The Palestinian party Hamas (involved in resisting the occupation as well as social and religious programs) is banned by Israel (the occupying power) from participating in the elections.

Both the USA and the European Union threaten Palestinians with a cut in financial aid if they vote Hamas into power. In addition, the USA threatens that they will not allow a Palestinian state to develop unless voting goes as required. No Western journalists question the right of the USA (rather than the United Nations or international law) to decide on Palestinian statehood.

Israel assassinates Mahmoud el-Arquan in Rafah, a town in southern Gaza. Ten people were injured in the blast.

Hamas wins elections that are considered free and fair by observers. The media in the European Union and the USA begin a campaign to discredit Hamas while the governments continue to use economic blackmail to force them to change the policies they were elected on. Israel states it will withdraw funds it is collecting for the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas, accused in the Western media of being anti-Jewish responds with "We don't hate Israel becaue they are Jews; we hate them because they are occupiers".

In the UK, the BBC states that "Hamas is fighting against what IT SEES as an illegal occupation by Israel". No mention is made of United Nations resolutions that also call the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem illegal.

While discussing the violence of Hamas against Israelis no mention is made of the larger number of Palestinians killed by Israeli military attacks. While discussing funding received by the Palestinian Authority, no mention is made of Israel being the largest recipient of USA aid even though it has been occupying Palestinian territory since 1967.

In late February, Hamas select Ismail Haniya as Prime Minister of the Palestinian territories. In an interview with the USA newspaper, Washington Post, Hamas offers to recognise Israel if a number of conditions are met.

"If Israel declares that it will give the Palestinian people a state and give them back all their rights, then we are ready to recognise them. Let Israel say it will recognise a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, release the prisoners and recognise the rights of the refugees to return to Israel. Hamas will have a position if this occurs. If Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, then we will establish a peace in stages. We will establish a situation of stability and calm, which will bring safety for our people.

We do not have any feelings of animosity towards Jews. We do not wish to throw them into the sea. All we seek is to be given our land back, not to harm anybody."

This story is not reported on the television or radio news programs in the UK or USA even though it appears on the BBC and Washington Post websites.

The USA and Europe stop all aid to the Palestinians after the election of Hamas. The USA threatens countries who provide aid to the Palestinians and banks who transfer monies with economic sanctions. USA companies are banned from any trade with the Palestinians. Israel stops payment of taxes it "collects for the Palestinians".

The Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya declares that "the Palestinian people will not give up their government no matter how many sacrifices we have to make".

The USA finances the creation of a militia of 3,500 men around the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to destabilise the elected government of the Palestinians.

KryssTal opinion: It seems that the USA approves of democracy only if the voters produce the correct result.

In 2002, a group of Palestinian prisoners were imprisoned in Jericho. The prisoners were to be in a Palestinian prison with UK and USA monitors in place. On the morning of 15 March, the monitors suddenly left. A short while later, Israeli forces stormed the prison and, after a siege, took the prisoners away in violation of the 2002 agreement.

According to Palestinian human rights organisations, Israel has introduced new restrictions barring Palestinians carrying foreign passports, including those married to a Palestinian spouse, from re-entering the occupied West Bank after leaving for their adopted country of citizenship, even for a brief visit.

The measures also affect long term residents in the West Bank like college professors, NGO employees, religious figures and naturalised spouses of Palestinians living in the West Bank.

Adel Samara, a Palestinian economist from Ramallah has a wife who is a USA citizen. Because she is married to a Palestinian, the Israeli authorities could stop her from returning to her family in the West Bank: "I really dont know why they are doing this to us. I am sure there is a special think-tank in Israel specialised in devising and inventing creative ways to make us suffer."

At least two professors and an administration official at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank have been barred from returning there without any explanation. Ghassan Andouni, public relations officer at the university, said the Israeli military authorities refused to allow the Palestinian professor to return "because he didn't have residency rights. You see, they wouldn't even give him a tourist visa to enter his own country, his own homeland. They view Palestine, including the West Bank, as Israeli territory and us as foreigners."

Bahjat Tayyem, who holds USA citizenship and teaches at the university's political science department, was turned back at the Jordan border while trying to enter the West Bank: "I think Israel wants to effect a total siege on us, a total isolation. They are not content with physical isolation which this evil concrete wall embodies. They want to reduce our towns and villages to inaccessible detention camps and large open-air prisons until we succumb to their bullying or implode from within."

Several peace activists have also been black-listed by Israel.

In June, Israeli missiles kill seven Palestinian civilians in Gaza City. Among the dead were two children. The strike follows an Israeli assault on a Gaza beach the previous week which killed seven family members including five children. Television images of a ten year old girl howling over the dead body of her father are shown around the world. Israel denies the attack but a USA forensic team report that a missile from an Israeli ship caused the deaths.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights document the killing of 14 Palestinians in a 24 hour period due to Israeli attacks. In a period of seven weeks ending on 21 June with the killing of a pregnant woman, her unborn child and her brother and injuring 14 of the same family - Israel had killed 90 Palestinians, most of them civilians.

Children continue to suffer in Gaza, even after the Iraeli "withdrawal". The territories are being starved of funds (with the support or collusion of Europe and the USA). Israel has sealed the area like an open prison. Israeli warplanes fly overhead creating loud sonic booms. Half of the territoy's population is under 15. According to Dr. Khalid Dahlan, a psychiatrist who heads a children's community health project: "The statistic I personally find unbearable is that 99.4 percent of the children we studied suffer trauma � 99.2 percent had their homes bombarded; 97.5 percent were exposed to tear gas; 96.6 percent witnessed shooting; a third saw family members or neighbors injured or killed."

Conditions for Palestinians continue to be under-reported in the West.

Australians journalist John Pilger writes: "The struggle in Palestine is an American war, waged from America's most heavily armed foreign military base, Israel. In the West, we are conditioned not to think of the Israeli-Palestinian 'conflict' in those terms, just as we are conditioned to think of the Israelis as victims, not illegal and brutal occupiers. This is not to underestimate the ruthless initiatives of the Israeli state, but without F-16s and Apaches and billions of American taxpayers' dollars, Israel would have made peace with the Palestinians long ago. Since the Second World War, the USA has given Israel some $ 140,000 million, much of it as armaments. According to the Congressional Research Service, the same 'aid' budget was to include $ 28 million 'to help [Palestinian] children deal with the current conflict situation' and to provide 'basic first aid.' That has now been vetoed."

In September, doctors working for the World Health Organisation report the use of phosphorus based weapons being used by Israel in civilian areas in the Palestinian teritories. Bodies have been examined that were burned "down to the bones". Since Israel "withdrew" from Gaza, an average of 10 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, although generally unreported in the West.

Israel - Palestine - Lebanon

In late June, Israel bombs power stations and bridges in Gaza. Israeli jets fly over Damascus, the capital of Syria. The power station had been built with money from the European Union. Over 70% of the region loses its electricity while water supply fails since it is pumped by electricity. Sewage disposal is also affected. International aid agencies report that repairs would take months putting people at risk.

The reason given for the attacks is because an Israeli soldier was kidnapped, even though Israel holds over 8,000 Paslestinians in prison (over 700 without charge), including 100 women and 800 teenagers. The soldier was part of a military force that has been besieging Palestinian territory since the election of the Hamas government. Under the Geneva Convention, the soldier has the status of prisoner of war.

Israel arrests Mohammed Barghouthi, the elected Palestinian labour minister. Nasser Shaer, the Palestinian deputy prime minister and education minister, is arrested by Israeli forces in the West Bank. Other detainees include cabinet ministers like Finance Minister Omar Abdal Razeq, Social Affairs Minister Fakhri Torokma and Prisoners' Affairs Minister Wasfi Kabha. Ramallah and Jenin. In Jerusalem several lawmakers are arrested. The Mayor of Qalqiliya and his deputy are detained. The detainees include eight members of the elected government and 20 members of parliament.

European ministers at an economic (G8) meeting declare that "The detention of elected members of the Palestinian government and legislature raises particular concerns." Lama Hourani, an NGO worker in Gaza City says: "It makes me so angry that Israel has arrested Hamas politicians. Hamas was the Palestinians' democratic choice, whether people like it or not. Why isn't the world saying anything about this? We are the ones being occupied yet all we hear from the West is that Israel has the right to defend itself."

Israeli tanks and bulldozers move into parts of Gaza. Jets fly low over cities and towns causing sonic booms. In one house, the boom brough down the roof onto a family. Missiles are fired onto the Palestinian city of Khan Younis. The Interior Ministry is attacked by Apache helicopters. Israel blocks supplies of water, fuel and other supplies to Gaza. International agencies can do nothing.

The USA and Europe predictably call for "restraint on both sides". The Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accuses Israel of "waging an open-ended all-out war against the Palestinian people that aims to topple the Palestinian presidency and the Palestinian government".

The USA and UK media report these events from an Israeli point of view failing to mention that collective punishment is a war crime. The main story appeared to be the kidnapped Israeli soldier which was mentioned by every Israeli spokesperson. What was not mentioned was the fact that a few days earlier, Israeli commandos had entered Gaza and kidnapped two Palestinians whom they accused of being "militants". The BBC correspondent in Gaza, Alan Johnstone, referred to the Palestinian kidnap as "a major escalation in cross-border tensions". According to the media watchers, MediaLens: "Johnstone did not explain why the Palestinian attack on an Israeli army post was an escalation, while the Israeli raid into Gaza the previous day was not. Both were similar actions: violations of a neighbour's territory."

22 Palestinians are killed and many injured in Beit Lahiya (northern Gaza) after a night of Israeli air strikes, artillery and tank fire. The dead included a civilian killed by machine-gun fire from an Israeli tank. More Palestinian elected leaders are detained by Israeli police.

In Geneva (Swizerland), the United Nations human rights watchdog passed an emergency resolution criticising Israel's campaign in Gaza as a breach of international law and demanding a halt to military activity. John Dugard, a United Nations special rapporteur on human rights stated that Israel's "military operation violated prohibitions on collective punishment, intimidation, while last week's arrest of officials from the governing Hamas movement appeared to constitute hostage-taking that was prohibited by the Geneva Conventions".

The Council urged "Israel, the occupying power, to immediately release the arrested Palestinian ministers... and all other arrested Palestinian civilians". The UK, France and Germany, who all concern themselves with human rights violations by countries being threatened by the USA, abstained.

Discussing the shelling and overflying jets on Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert tells his cabinet that he wanted "no one to be able to sleep tonight in Gaza".

The collective punishment of 1.4 million Palestinians is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention but this was unmentioned in most Western media reports. The Israeli human rights organization B�Tselem specifically criticises the statement, saying that, "The use of sonic booms flagrantly breaches a number of provisions of international humanitarian law. The most significant provision is the prohibition on collective punishment. Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention".

Eight Palestinians are killed by air strikes including an 11 year old boy near Beit Hanun. A missile strikes the Hajaj family home killing three people including a six year old girl.

Kofi Annan, the Secretary of the United Nations calls on Israel to stop attacking Palestinians and to repair the damage it has caused to Gaza's power stations and to allow uninpeded access to the territories for humanitarian aid.

A couple and their seven children die in an Israeli air strike on Gaza bringing the number of Palestinians killed to 60 in two weeks. The family's house was hit by a 250kg (550-pound) bomb dropped by an F-16 jet. These jets are supplied by the USA and contain spare parts provided by the UK.

Two more Israeli soldiers are kidnapped, this time from border with Lebanon. The Israeli response is to bomb the south of the country, killing 35 people in a little over a day. The victims include two whole families - one of 10 people and one of seven - killed in the homes near the town of Nabatiyeh. The airport in Beirut is bombed along with as bridges, roads and a television station (Al-Manar). The country's ports are blockaded.

In late 2001 (after the USA attack on Afghanstan) a retired USA General, Wesley Clark, wrote in his book, Winning Modern Wars, that the USA was planning to attack Lebanon as part of a five year campaign targeting seven countries beginning with Iraq, then going on to Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.

The USA blames Syria and Iran - two countries whose governments are not financed or supported by the USA. France and Russia condemn Israel's "disproportionate use of force", although Russia has used the same tactics in Chechnya. The European Union declares that "the imposition of an air and sea blockade on Lebanon cannot be justified".

The Egyptian Foreign Minister states that "targeting civilians under the pretext of fighting terrorism is unacceptable and unjustified. Israeli practices violate international law. We condemn any military action that targets civilians. We consider it a terrorist act, regardless of who the civilians are or its source".

After an exchange of fire along the border, Israel orders people in Beirut's southern suburbs to evacuate.

The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution demanding Israel end its military offensive in the Gaza Strip. The USA was the only country to vote against the resolution put forward by Qatar on behalf of Arab nations. The resolution accused Israel of a "disproportionate use of force" that endangered Palestinian civilians, and demanded Israel withdraw its troops from Gaza. Eight of the previous nine vetoes have been used by the USA. Seven of those concerned the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Ten of the 15 Security Council nations voted in favour and four, UK, Denmark, Slovakia and Peru, abstained. In the first three months of 2006 the UK had sold $ 50 million worth of arms to Israel including electronic parts used in the F-16 planes that are attacking civilians.

Journalist Sandy Tolan wrote this about the Israeli actions against the Palestinians:

"Under the pretext of forcing the release of a single soldier 'kidnapped by terrorists' (or, if you prefer, 'captured by the resistance'), Israel has done the following: seized members of a democratically elected government; bombed its interior ministry, the prime minister's offices, and a school; threatened another sovereign state (Syria) with a menacing overflight; dropped leaflets from the air, warning of harm to the civilian population if it does not 'follow all orders of the IDF' (Israel Defense Forces); loosed nocturnal 'sound bombs' under orders from the Israeli prime minister to 'make sure no one sleeps at night in Gaza'; fired missiles into residential areas, killing children; and demolished a power station that was the sole generator of electricity and running water for hundreds of thousands of Gazans.

Besieged Palestinian families, trapped in a locked-up Gaza, are in many cases down to one meal a day, eaten in candlelight. Yet their desperate conditions go largely ignored by a world accustomed to extreme Israeli measures in the name of security: nearly 10,000 Palestinians locked in Israeli jails, many without charge; 4,000 Gaza and West Bank homes demolished since 2000 and hundreds of acres of olive groves plowed under; three times as many civilians killed as in Israel, many due to 'collateral damage' in operations involving the assassination of suspected militants.

Jacques Chirac, the President of France asks: "Israel's military offensive against Lebanon is totally disproportionate. Is destroying Lebanon the ultimate goal? One could ask if today there is not a sort of will to destroy Lebanon, its equipment, its roads, and its communication."

Israel fires rockets along the Lebanon-Syrian border and also hits the centre of Beirut (the port, a grain store, a radar station and a lighthouse) as well as its suburbs. By the fourth day of the attack, over 100 Lebanese had died (including over 20 children), compared to four Israelis killed by rockets fired my militia based in southern Lebanon. Warplanes strike the port city of Tripoli, the coastal city of Batroun, the mainly Christian city of Jounieh and the historical town of Baalbek.

Women and children were among at least 18 killed when their vehicles were struck by missiles on the coastal road to the southern city of Tyre. "Bodies litter the road", an eyewitness said. Local residents told al-Jazeera television that the victims had been hit after being told to leave the village of Marwahin by the Israelis and then refused shelter by the United Nations forces. Many of the victims were burnt to death.

Dead Lebanese Children
Dead Lebanese Children
Dead Lebanese Children
Dead Lebanese Children

Women and children were among at least 18 killed when their vehicles were struck by missiles on the coastal road to the southern city of Tyre. "Bodies litter the road", an eyewitness said. Local residents told al-Jazeera television that the victims had been hit after being told to leave the village of Marwahin by the Israelis and then refused shelter by the United Nations forces. Many of the victims were burnt to death.

Dead Lebanese Children
Dead Lebanese Children
More dead children.

A number of bridges (one built by European Union money), petrol stations and key roads are also hit, including the main road linking northern Lebanon to Syria.

On the same day Israeli forces enter northern Gaza in the area of the town of Beit Hanoun. Israeli air strikes hit a house in Gaza City, killing one person and injuring eight, mostly women and children, the youngest an eight month-old baby. Twenty homes are damaged or destroyed. the death toll in Gaza reaches 80 Palestinians.

The Arab League issues a statement that "condemns the Israeli aggression in Lebanon which contradicts all international law and regulations". Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Prime Minister of Turkey, criticises the Israeli offensive and the lack of reaction from the international community. "Bombs are exploding, innocent people are being killed, infrastructures are being destroyed... The powerful continue to crush the weak, but unfortunately those who hold the power in the world are keeping mum."

A letter is published in the UK newspaper, the Indpependent which brings together a number of issues:

"In 2003, much to the embarassment of the European Union, a poll found that many Europeans consider Israel the biggest threat to Middle East peace. The totally disproportionate response by Israel to the capture of its soldiers shows the truth of that poll. A country which destroys the civil infrastructure of life for more than a million Gazeans while proceeding to attampt to 'bomb back Lebanon by 20 years' shows itself to have all the features of a dangerous, erratic rogue state. Instead of constructing fantasies around an Iranian threat, the international community must face up to the fact that it has an aggressive, nuclear-armed state which is rampaging throughout the region without sanction."

Thousands of protesters in Jakarta (Indonesia) to condemn the Israeli attacks on the Palestinian territories and Lebanon.

Lebanon accuses the USA of blocking a United Nations Security Council statement calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah, and said the impotence of the United Nation's most powerful body sent wrong signals to small countries. According to Nouhad Mahmoud, the Lebanese special envoy, "It's unacceptable because people are still under shelling, bombardment and destruction is going on ... and people are dying. It sends very wrong signals not only to the Lebanese people but to all Arab people, to all small nations that we are left to the might of Israel and nobody is doing anything".

Qatar wanted a press statement calling for an immediate ceasefire, restraint in the use of force, and the protection of civilians caught in the conflict. Cesar Mayoral, the United Nations ambassador from Argentina, said the USA objected to any statement and the UK opposed calling for a ceasefire. During the same period, the United Nations did pass a resolution: condemning Iran's nuclear program.

On the 6th day 46 Lebanese are killed bringing the total to over 200. Twenty Israelis are killed in the same period, including 12 soldiers. Ten die in an air attack on their vehicles in the south of the country.

400,000 people are displaced from their homes. Residential areas are targeted as well as ports and the Lebanese army. Nine people including six children are killed in Tyre. In Rmeileh a minibus is hit killing 12 civilians.

Nine bodies are found in rubble in Saida. Two hospitals are bombed in Beirut, a fact not reported in the Western media. Israel rebuffs a United Nations call for an international monitoring force to be deployed in Lebanon.

Abdul Rahman, a teacher from the USA who was on a vacation to Beirut, states: "Everything is being bombed, it's terror. We've literally been terrorised. We have not slept for three days because we were living in terror and never knew when the Israelis would bomb us since they were hitting everything. If they want to hit Hezbollah, let them hit Hezbollah, but not the civilians. But civilians are all that they are hitting."

In Gaza tanks and bulldozers enter the town of Beit Hanun killing several people including a 75 year old woman. The death toll reaches 82 Palestinians (and one Israeli).

Israel continues attacking Gaza killing two people and destroying the Foreign Ministry. Walid al-Umari, a journalist for Al-Jazeera based in Jerusalem is arrested and questioned by police.

The Uinted Nations warns of a humanitarian disaster as Lebanese flee their homes, with air strikes on roads and bridges hampering efforts to help them. By the 7th day over 230 Lebanese have died, compared to 25 Israelis. The Lebanese army was ordered not to respond to the Israeli attacks but 30 Lebanese soldiers died in several strikes. Hizbolla, a Lebanese militia army, fires hundreds of rockets into Israel. The Western media blames Iran and Syria for the deaths caused by these rockets as they were made in these countries (as well as in Russia which is not blamed). The F-16 jets, Apache helicopters and missiles used on Arab civilians in Gaza and Lebanon are made in the USA and contain electrical components from the UK, a fact not mentioned in any Western newscasts.

According to the UK BBC, the Lebannese people feel "great disappointment here that the world's leading industrial nations at the G8 summit failed to call for a ceasefire. Many see it as a capitulation to the agenda of Israel and the United States." The UK and USA begin evacuating their citizens.

Nine civilians, all from one family and including children, are killed and four wounded in an air strike that destroyed a house in the south Lebanese village of Aitarun. Israeli forces attack targets around Zahle, a mainly Christian town in central Lebanon, and attack ambulances on nearby roads. A lorry carrying medical supplies donated by the United Arab Emirates is hit on a main highway killing its driver. 64 bridges have been destroyed.

The UK newspaper, The Independent reporting an Israeli attack that "came first to the little village of Dweir near Nabatiya in southern Lebanon where an Israeli plane dropped a bomb on to the home of a Shia Muslim cleric. He was killed. So was his wife. So were eight of his children. One was decapitated. All they could find of a baby was its head and torso which a young villager brandished in fury in front of the cameras. Then the planes visited another home in Dweir and disposed of a family of seven."

Day 7 and the Lebanese death toll exceeds 300 (to 29 Israelis).

Jonathan Cook, a journalist based in northern Israel writes how the Arabic television coverage shows the material and human devastation in Lebanon in a way that is not covered by the BBC (UK), CNN or Fox (USA). He says that Arabic television channels ".. showed an urban wasteland of rubble and dust in the suburbs of Beirut and Tyre that was shockingly reminiscent of New York in the immediate aftermath of the 9-11 attacks. They cut intermittently to local hospitals filled with Lebanese children, their faces a rash of bloody pockmarks from the spray of Israeli shrapnel. More terrible images of children burnt and lying in pools of blood arrrived in my email inbox from Lebanese bloggers."

He continues that "this is not journalism; it�s reporting as a propaganda arm of a foreign power." He does not necessarily blame the reporters but concludes, "These reporters are working in a framework of news priorities laid down by faceless news executives far away from the frontline who understand only too well the institutional pressures on the BBC -- and the institutional biases that are the result. They know that the Israel lobby is too powerful and well resourced to take on without suffering flak; that the charge of anti-semitism might be terminally damaging to the BBC�s reputation; that the BBC is expected broadly to reflect the positions of the British governmment if it wants an easy ride with its regulators; that to remain credible it should not stray too far from the line of its mainly American rivals, who have their own more intense domestic pressures to side with Israel. This distortion of news priorities has real costs that can be measured in lives -- in the days and weeks to come, hundreds, possibly thousands, of lives in both Israel and Lebanon. As long as Israel is portrayed by our major broadcasters as the one under attack, its deaths alone as significant, then the slide to a regional war -- a war of choice being waged by the Israeli government and army -- is likely to become inevitable."

War crimes may have been committed in Lebanon and Gaza according to the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour: "I do believe that on the basis of evidence that is available in the public domain there are very serious concerns that the level of civilian casualties, the indiscriminate shelling of cities and so on, on their face raise sufficient questions that I think one must issue a sobering signal to those who are behind these initiatives to examine very closely their personal exposure."

Israel says that the reason for the attacks on Lebanon is the rockets being fired into Israel by Hezbollah even though these began after the Israeli bombings. Another unreported fact: Israel has refused to submit a map of the 400,000 land mines that it deliberately left in South Lebanon during its occupation. These mines regularly kill Lebanese people, mainly children.

In the USA, Martin Fletcher, Israel correspondent from NBC Television, reveals that the Israeli war plan is not simply a response to current risks or attacks, but it has been five years in the making. It was a plan just looking for a pretext. "I think they will never say that publicly," he added, explaining that this war plan that was not made by this current Israeli government but earlier by the Kadima Party founder, Ariel Sharon and his generals.

Fletcher says the Israeli government calls it a "work plan." He says it is being implemented "step by step." He added, "It will go on until someone steps in and stops them."

After 10 days the death tolls are 330 Lebanese (a third of them children), 100 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.

One observer notes that foreigners were being evacuated from Lebanon but not from Israel which told of how one sided the conflict was. The BBC spend more time on Britons being evacuated than on the war in Lebanon.

One fact observed by journalist, Ramzy Baroud: "Palestinians rockets, as ominous as they may appear on television, are yet to claim one Israeli casualty for over a year, while the Israeli military has killed over 150 Palestinians in the last two months alone."

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign and other anti-war movemenst criticised the lies of the USA and UK: "The promise by Bush and Blair, in the lead up to the Iraq war, that their wars would bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East and peace to Palestine have yet again been shown to be lies, just as the anti-war movement has consistently said they were."

The Beirut suburb of Haret Hreik was completely wrecked. A resident, Ihsan Mroweh, a civil engineer, described his feelings at finding his home destroyed: "I counted the flattened buildings one by one, and the third was mine. It was also reduced to rubble. My wife and I have so many memories in this house. Losing my property is terrible, but what hurts even more is losing all the pictures of my children and their belongings since they were little." As Israeli Brigadier General Halutz put it: "Nowhere is safe [in Lebanon] ... as simple as that."

Rockets fired into Israel hit the mainly Arab town of Nazareth. The BBC inadvertantly reveal the discrimination against the non-Jewish population of Israel: the inhabitants had no bomb shelters. As journalist Jonathan Cook puts it: "The fifth of the Israeli population who are not Jewish but Arab are rarely to be found hiding in public shelters because the authorities neglected to build any in their towns and villages. The Israeli army has sited several important weapons factories and military intelligence posts close to Arab communities in the north, the Israeli government has not offered the Arab residents any protection should there be fall-out -- quite literally in the case of the Katyusha rockets -- as a result. This is another tiny facet of the discrimination endured for decades by the country�s Arab population that so rarely surfaces in media coverage of Israel."

Over 60 elected Palestinian parliamentarians languish in Israeli jails.

On day 11 the USA ships "precision guided bombs" to Israel without debate or fanfare (The New York Times).

The munitions that are part of a multimillion-dollar arms sale package approved the previous year that Israel is able to draw on as needed. The arms shipment to Israel was not announced publicly, and the officials who described the government�s decision would discuss it only after being promised anonymity. The USA flight (an Airbus A310) carrying the weapons used an airport in Scotland (UK) while in transit. The UK criticises Israel's tactics (but not the attack itself) but does not call for a cease fire. Israeli officials admitted dropping 23 tons of explosives on Beirut in one night.

People demonstrate against the war in several countries. The USA Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, describes the plight of Lebanon as a part of the "birth pangs of a new Middle East" and said that Israel should ignore calls for a ceasefire.

According to political scientist, Gilbert Achcar, the USA's support of Israel is leading to people in the Middle Eastern becoming skeptical of Western promises of democracy: "what we are seeing right now is that the hatred toward not only Israel but the United States, and all the other Western countries backing Israel and allying with the United States, is reaching heights which are far beyond what existed before September 11, 2001."

Israeli forces cross into Lebanon and take the village of Maroun al-Ras. Television and mobile phone transmitters are hit in Beirut. Aljazeera and Al Arabiya television stations are targetted.

In 2000, Israel withdrew from Southern Lebanon after an 18 year occupation. They had used a proxy militia (The South Lebanese Army) to control the area. This milita had tortured Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners in Khiam Prison. Hezbollah had converted the prison into a museum after Israel's departure. This building is bombed by Israel erasing the evidence.

By day 12 the death toll had reached 372 Lebanese and 34 Israelis. More Israeli bombs fell on the cities of Sidon and Tyre.

Devastated Beirut
Devastated Beirut

Devastated Beirut
Devastated Beirut

The city of Beirut is devastated by Israeli air raids while the USA sends more bombs to Israel and vetos UN criticism and the UK supports the attacks and abstains in the UN vote.

Victims in Beirut
Dead bodies litter the streets of Beirut.
Woman Victim
The remains of a woman killed in Tyre.
72 Coffins
72 coffins of victims in Tyre from one single air raid.

On day 13, an Israeli artillery shell kills a 5 year old Palestinian in Beit Lahiya in the Gaza Strip. In another attack a 60 year old woman and her grandson were killed when a shell hit their donkey cart. Three other Palestinians were killed in another attack on Beit Lahiya.

In the first 13 days, Israel attacked key civilian installations, including water and sanitation systems, destroyed Lebanon's largest dairy farm and pharmeceutical plant, shelled United Nations posts sheltering civilians, flattened whole villages, and turned mosques, churches and houses into rubble.

They cut off roads and bridges, blocking urgently needed humanitarian assistance. 365 people were killed, a third of them children. Jan Egeland, the United Nations humanitarian co-ordinator, accuses Israel of violating humanitarian law as he toured the destroyed suburbs of south Beirut: "This is destruction of block after block of mainly residential areas. I would say it seems to be an excessive use of force in an area with so many citizens."

In the village of Srifa, near Tyre, 60 to 80 bodies remain trapped in the rubble of a building, according to the Red Cross.

The USA organisation, Human Rights Watch, reported that it had taken photographs of M483A1 cluster grenades stored by Israeli artillery teams on the border between Israel and Lebanon. These grenades deliver 88 cluster submunitions per shell and have a failure rate of 14 per cent, often leaving behind dangerous unexploded shells. It said it believed the use of cluster grenades in populated areas could violate a ban on indiscriminate attacks contained in international humanitarian law. A cluster grenade attack a few days earlier had killed one person and wounded at least 12 civilians in the village of Blida. Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch, said: "Cluster munitions are unacceptably inaccurate and unreliable weapons when used around civilians. They should never be used in populated areas."

On the 14th day, 800,000 Lebanese had been displaced. Medicine Sans Frontier, an aid organisation, have not been able to obtain Israel permission to bring aid to south Lebanon.

Injured Child
An injured child from an Israeli attack.

Israeli Children..
..Writing on Bombs
The bombs are delivered by jets provided by the USA containing electrical components supplied by the UK and sent with a message written by Israeli children.

An Israeli shell destroys a United Nations observation post in Khiam (southern Lebanon) killing four observers. The peacekeepers had contacted Israeli troops ten times before an Israeli "precision" missile was fired from a jet and destroyed the post after six hours of artillery shelling. The United Nations expresses "shock" in a statement watered down by the USA. Phrases criticising Israel or calling for the United Nations to be involved in any enquiry were removed after pressure from the USA.

USA Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice visits the region. The BBC World Affairs Editor, John Simpson, in Jerusalem, stated that it was understood that Condoleezza Rice told Israel that the USA would allow it more time to continue its military operations. Ismail Haniya, the elected Prime Minster of the Palestinians makes a plea to the USA: "All that we ask the American administration is to take a moral stance towards the Palestinian people, and the Palestinian suffering and to bear its responsibility as a superpower in this world."

The USA refuses to talk to him.

In Gaza, Israeli artillery pound the northern town of Beit Lahiya, killing six Palestinians, all civilians. Three of those killed are children. Israeli aircraft fired missiles at a four storey building in the Shajaiya neighbourhood of Gaza City. A strike is organised against the visit of Condoleezza Rice: "Rice is responsible for the killing of children in Lebanon and Gaza. She, her administration, and her policies are not welcome here."

Southeast Asian nations call for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East and condemn Israel's "excessive" military operations in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank.

On 21 July 2006, the USA newspaper, San Francisco Chronicle, publishes a report by Matthew Kalman called Israel Set War Plan More Than a Year Ago. This report describes Israel's intent to carry a three-week bombardment of Lebanon as early as 2000.

On day 15, the death toll had reached 422 in Lebanon (375 civilians) while in Israel it was 42 (18 civilians). 121 people had died in Gaza. 600,000 people become refugees in Lebanon.

After two weeks, the Islamic terrorist group, Al-Quaida, make a statement threatening Israel and all countries who support Israel in its attack on Muslims:

"As they attack us everywhere, we will attack them everywhere. As they have joined forces to fight us, our nation will unite to fight them. The shells and rockets which are tearing the bodies of Muslims in Gaza and Lebanon are not purely Israeli. They are produced and financed by all the countries of the Crusader alliance. Therefore, all those who have taken part in the crime must pay the price. We cannot just watch these shells as they pour wrath on our brothers in Gaza and Lebanon and sit back in submission."

According to journalist, Robert Fisk, Israel attacked several ambulances in southern Lebanon, their missiles entering the vehicles in the centre of the large red cross on the roof. Several injured people were killed.

Israel bombs the border crossing between Lebanon and Syria, used by refugees to escape the fighting. Israeli missiles injure two more United Nations observers. The United Nations reports that up to 600 Lebanese people had died by the 18th day, a third of them children. The number of people injured reaches 3220 while nearly 800,000 are displaced. A mother and her five children are killed in Israeli air raids in southern Lebanon. The death toll in Israel reaches 51. In Gaza, 145 Palestinians were dead, and one Israeli soldier.

Eight bodies were found on the roads of southern Lebanon. The eight dead included a couple and their three children found in their car which had been destroyed by an Israeli missile near the southern Lebanese city of Tyre.

30,000 tonnes of oil flooded into the sea affecting 100km of coastline after an earlier air strike on a power plant by Israeli jets. Stavros Dimas, the European Union Environment Commissioner, said: "Wars do cause enormous human suffering as we are witnessing now in Lebanon. But another aspect is also the significant environmental destruction caused by it. [The spill] could affect the livelihood and health of the Lebanese and people in neighbouring countries as well as the status of the marine environment in the region." The type of oil spilled contains benzene which is categorized as a Class 1 carcinogen.

The Prime Minister of Lebanon, Fouad Siniora, says that if Israel wants secure borders it must withdraw from the Shebaa Farms area that it has occupied since 1967. This has been a long standing Lebanese grievance unreported in the Western media. According the United Nations the Shebaa Farms are Syrian territory captured by Israeli in the 1967 war. Lebanon also wants maps of land mines planted by Israel in southern Lebanon during its occupation and the freeing of Lebanese detainees held in Israeli prisons.

Between 2001 and 2005, Israel received $ 10,500 million military aid from the USA and $ 6,300 million in arms deliveries. Israel is the largest recipient of USA military assistance. Many of these weapons are being used to attack civilian vehicles containing families fleeing the fighting in Lebanon - often at Israel's command. Bilal Masri, assistant director of the Beirut Government University Hospital, told journalist Dahr Jamail: "The Israelis are using new kinds of bombs, and these bombs can penetrate bomb shelters. They are bombing the refugees in the bomb shelters!" He also reported that the Lebanese Ministry of Interior has confirmed the Israelis have used white phosphorous gas which is an incendary weapon. This is a chemical weapon, much like napalm (used by the USA in Vietnam), that can burn right down to the bone. The USA military also used white phosphorous in Fallujah (Iraq).

Article 35 of Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions prohibits the use of weapons "of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering." Cluster bombs and white phosphorous fall into this category. Masri also reported that 55% of the casualties in Lebanon are children under 15 years of age.

Dr. Bachir el-Sham, of the Complex Hospital in Sidon estimates that an average of 40 civilians are being killed by Israeli air strikes each day. The figure was calculated by coordinating casualty figures with other hospitals and clinics in the south. This figure is higher than official counts because "so many people are buried in the rubble". Large numbers of civilian apartment buildings were bombed to the ground, many with entire families in them. Ghadeer Shayto, a 15 year old girl injured by an Israeli rocket attack while leaving the village of Kafra said she had seen many dead on her way to Beirut: "On our way out, we passed so many civilian cars which had burnt bodies in them. They were burnt, and left there because nobody could come to take the bodies away." The bus in which she was travelling was displaying white flags when it was hit by a rocket. "My brother and cousin were killed, and the rest of us are wounded."

Israel states that it will not stop its attacks on Lebanon until United Nations resolution 1559 is implemented. This calls for the disarming of the Lebanese militia, Hezbollah. Israel has avoided complying with United Nations resolution 242 since 1967. This calls for its withdrawal from the West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights. Instead of withdrawing, Israel has continued to occupy or annexe these territories and build illegal settlements (colonies) on them.

In Gaza, the Israeli military takes up a new tactic of telephoning people before dropping bombs on their homes. Omar Al Mamluk, an officer from the Palestinian security forces, became a victim when he picked up his telephone: "Is that Omar Al Mamluk? This is the Israeli army. You have only a few minutes to leave your house." The story continues: "It was Monday night, about 10.30 in the evening. I received a call with the number of the caller hidden. I thought it was a prank by one of my mates. I asked: 'Are you joking?' and got the reply: 'The Israeli army doesn't make jokes.' Then the caller hung up."

Mamluk evacuated his house. "They hit 25 minutes later. I'd expected an Apache (attack helicopter) but not an F-16 fighter jet." All that is left of Mamluk's house in Gaza City is a pile of rubble. 22 people were made homeless by a tactic that would be called ethnic cleansing if it occurred anywhere else.

On day 19, 54 civilians, at least 34 of them children, are killed while sheltering in the basement of a house in Qana which was crushed after a direct hit. In 1996 an Israeli attack on Qana killed 106 people, mostly women and children. Hundreds of Lebanese protesters stage a violent demonstration, ransacking the United Nations headquarters in Beirut, chanting slogans against the USA and Israel and in support of the Hezbollah militants. Jim Muir, the correspondant for the BBC reported that many of the rescuers, experienced as they were, the emotional impact of finding so many dead children in the ruins was too much. "As I arrived, they were carrying out on a stretcher the limp body of a young boy of about 10. Many other children were pulled out of the rubble lifeless. That's a Red Cross rescue worker sitting here in the sunshine just sobbing - he's so overcome with emotion here."

Bashal al-Assad, the President of Syria, condemned the attacks: "The massacre committed by Israel in Qana this morning shows the barbarity of this aggressive entity. It constitutes state terrorism committed in front of the eyes and ears of the world," King Abdullah of Jordan also condemned the attack and called for an immediate ceasefire: "This criminal aggression is an ugly crime that has been committed by the Israeli forces in the city of Qana that is a gross violation of all international statutes." Hamid Reza Asefi, a foreign ministry spokesman in Iran opined "I think Israeli officials and some American ones should be tried for these sorts of crimes." Hosni Mubarak, the President of Egypt: "The Arab Republic of Egypt is highly disturbed and condemns the irresponsible Israeli attack on the Lebanese village of Qana, which led to the loss of innocent victims, most of which were women and children."

The Prime Minister of Lebanon, Fouad Siniora denounces Israel's "heinous crimes against civilians" and calls for an "immediate, unconditional ceasefire", praising Hezbollah militants who were "sacrificing their lives for Lebanon's independence".

Qana II
Qana II

Qana II

Qana II

Dozens of children are among civilians killed while sheltering in the basement of a building in Qana which was crushed after a direct hit.
In 1996 an Israeli attack on Qana killed 106 people, mostly women and children.

The UK allows six USA planes to use UK airports.

The planes were carrying munitions and guidance systems for Israel. The cargo included 100 GBU 28 "bunker buster" bombs containing depleted uranium warheads. If used these will produce radioactive dust which will endanger the population. These types of weapons are being used in Iraq by the USA. Dr Doug Rokke, former Director of the USA Army's Depleted Uranium Project writes:

"The use of uranium weapons is absolutely unacceptable, and a crime against humanity. Consequently the citizens of the world and all governments must force cessation of uranium weapons use."

On day 22, the death toll stands at 508 Lebanese civilians (45% children), 46 Hizbollah fighters, 26 lebanese soldiers, 36 Israeli soldiers, 19 Israeli civilians. Between 800,000 and 900,000 Lebanese civilians have been displaced, over a third of them children.

In late July Associated Press (AP) reports that Lebanese doctors in Tyre were treating patients who were suffering from burns caused by phosphorous incendiary weapons used by Israel. The AP report indicated that the Geneva Conventions prohibit the use of "white phosphorus as an incendiary weapon against civilian populations and in air attacks against military forces in civilian areas." Researchers from Human Rights Watch reports that Israel used cluster munitions in the village of Blida. The munitions are M483A1 Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions which are made and supplied to Israel by the USA.

Both Lebanese and Palestinians have received messages from Israel warning them to leave as their homes will be destroyed. In Lebanon, fleeing families are often targetted.

According to the USA newspaper, the New York Times (26 July 2006), Israeli sources have conceded that preparations for this war began in 2000, after Israel's forced withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

It was finalized in 2004 after which Israel's plans were shown to USA officials. "More than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to USA and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail."

In a revealing interview on the television station, al Jazeera, (24 July 2006), the Israeli director of the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies, Efraim Inbar, describes Israeli objectives as designed "to remove the missile threat to Israel, to push Hezbollah out of South Lebanon and to try to damage its military capacity as much as possible."

Inbar also indicated, "I advocate attacking Syria", adding that he was uncertain as to whether the Israeli government shared his views. He then added, "we're more likely to leave the Iranians to the Americans - for now".

His response to the question concerning Israel's conditions for a ceasefire serve to underline Israel's relationship with the USA. "Basically, the minimum conditions are the same as Israel's goals. But the US will decide when enough is enough and Israel will do what is acceptable to them." The UK newspaper, The Guardian confirmed that the USA "had given Israel a green light to continue bombing Lebanon until it believes Hezbullah's infrastructure has been destroyed."

The USA and UK media emphasise that Iran and Syria are supplying Hizbollah with weapons and political support while ignoring the far larger supplies of USA arms to Israel. The F-16 jets that have killed hundreds of Lebaneese children and are used to terrorise the population of Gaza are produced by two USA companies Lockheed Martin Corporation and Boeing Corporation.

28 farm workers are killed by an Israeli air strike in the Bekaa Valley.

Adel Safty, an international law spokesman for the United Nations writes:

"Whoever dares to challenge the imposition of imperial will is labelled terrorist or supporter of terrorism and war against them is rationalised with little or no regard to international law or the United Nations. Needless to say, this privilege of using massive violence pre-emptively is reserved only to the Empire, and its closest allies. Others must be held to the usual standards of accountability within the framework of international law and the United Nations. This double standard and disregard for law and conventions, arrogantly illustrated by the Anglo-American support for the Israeli use of force, encouraged Israel�s blatant disregard for the international community�s condemnations of its bloody conduct of the war."

According to the Israeli newspaper, Jerusalem Post (17 July), Assaf Shariv, media adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Israelis have been interviewed by the foreign press four times as much as spokespeople for the Palestinians and Lebanese. An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, Gideon Meir, added: "We have never had it so good. The hasbara [propaganda] effort is a well-oiled machine."

In August anti-Israel and anti-USA demonstrations occur around the world: India, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Mexico, Jordan, Pakistan, occupied Iraq, Iran (anti UK), Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia (where dissent is nornally banned), Syria, Egypt, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, USA, Canada, Israel (attended by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's daughter) and the UK.

The media continues to blame Hizbollah's cross border raid for the Israeli bombing even though according to United Nations monitors: "Since its withdrawal of occupation forces from southern Lebanon in May 2000, Israel has violated the United Nations-monitored 'blue line' on an almost daily basis. Israeli warplanes routinely violate Lebanese airspace, often intentionally flying low over cities so as to create sonic booms that terrify the population. Overflights by jets, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles or drones were numerous and particularly intrusive and provocative." The incursions by Israel were sometimes resisted by Hizbollah and continued despite United Nations protests.

The Palestinian cabinet (which is short of cash after having its funds cut by Israel, the USA and Europe) makes a donation to Lebanese refugees.

Israeli forces detain Aziz Dweik, the Speaker of the Palestinian parliament, at his home in the West Bank. Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya condemns the action: "We urge all Arab and international parliamentarians to condemn and denounce this crime and to secure the release of Aziz Dweik and all jailed ministers and lawmakers." Israel detained eight members of the democratically elected government and 30 members of parliament. Palestinians have called the detentions an act of war.

In a 24 hour period, Israeli attacks against villages in southern and eastern Lebanon kill 60 people. The village of Haret Hreik, the region of Baalbek and suburbs of Beirut continue to be pounded. Seven members of one family are killed in an Israeli air strike on a house in the village of Ghazzaniyeh. 14 civilians die when an Israeli bombardment struck buildings in Ghaziyeh.

After four weeks more than 1,000 Lebanese - mostly civilians - have died; 99 Israelis were killed including 63 soldiers. 6,900 Lebanese homes have been destroyed by early August compared to 300 in Israel.

Israel justifies its attacks on civilians by blaming Hizbollah saying it uses civilians as cover. According to the USA organisation, Human Rights Watch: "The Israeli government claims that it targets only Hezbollah, and that fighters from the group are using civilians as human shields, thereby placing them at risk. Human Rights Watch found no cases in which Hezbollah deliberately used civilians as shields to protect them from retaliatory IDF attack. Hezbollah occasionally did store weapons in or near civilian homes and fighters placed rocket launchers within populated areas or near U.N. observers, which are serious violations of the laws of war because they violate the duty to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties. However, those cases do not justify the IDF's extensive use of indiscriminate force which has cost so many civilian lives. In none of the cases of civilian deaths documented in this report is there evidence to suggest that Hezbollah forces or weapons were in or near the area that the IDF targeted during or just prior to the attack."

The United Nations draft a resolution that calls on Hizbollah to disarm while Israel can continue "operations" in Lebanon. The resolution is designed by Israel, the USA (which arms Israel) and France (the former coloniser of Lebanon which has allies among the Christian population). Even though Israel has violated the Lebanese border more often than Hizbollah, a buffer force is to be placed totally on Lebanese territory. All of Israel's requirements but none of Lebanons's are included. The idea is to impose conditions that Lebanon cannot accept and then blame it for the continuing conflict. Israel�s ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, informed the BBC that if Hizbullah fired at Tel Aviv this would be tantamount to an "act of war" that could only have been ordered by Iran. By this statement Israel may be joining the USA in preparing the ground for an attack on Iran. The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, told the Hebrew language newspapers in Israel: �Our enemy is not Hezbollah, but Iran, which employs Hezbollah as its agent.�

According to journalist, Jonathan Cook: "Those real causes of hostilities will be ignored as more, mostly Lebanese, civilians die, and Israel and the US expand the theatre of war. Instead we will hear much of the rockets that are still landing in northern Israel and how they have been supplied by Iran. The fact that Hizbullah attacks followed rather precipitated Israel�s massive bombardment of Lebanon will be forgotten. Rockets fired by Hizbullah to stop Israeli aggression against Lebanon will be retold as an Iranian-inspired war to destroy the Jewish state. The nuclear-armed Goliath of Israel will, once again, be transformed into a plucky little David. Or at least such is the Israeli and US scenario.

Israel warns Lebanon that anything moving in the south of the country would be destroyed. This declaration of a "free fire zone" is illegal under international law and was been made by several Israeli officials. Relief agenies are refused permission by Israel to provide aid.

In the Beirut suburb of Chyah, Israeli missiles hit an apartment block killing 15 people. 26 people are killed in an Israeli air strike on the village of Qaa. Israel refuses permission to an aid boat coming into the port of Tyre.

Israel closes the border between Gaza and Egypt (even though Israel has officially withdrawn from Gaza). Helicopters fire missiles into Gaza City killing several people including a 3 year old girl. Missiles were fired into a house killing two people.

According to the news agency Reuters, Israel attacked a Palestinian refugee camp, Ain el Hilwe, in south Lebanon killed at least one person. Another Palestinian refugee camp, al-Hilwah at Sidon, is also attacked.

The Gaza offensive kills over 172 Palestinians, more than half of them civilians. According to the Israeli human rights group, B'Tselem, at least 6 of those killed were executed extra-judicially.

Israeli forces wound nearly 800 Palestinian civilians (many seriously), including 218 children and 24 women in just over one month. Israel fires hundreds of artillery shells and many dozens of air-to-surface missiles into Gaza every day, mainly against civilian targets that are usually just ordinary buildings. Israel continues to conduct mock air raids, its aircraft (US made and supplied advanced F-16 fighter jets) routinely breaking the sound barrier (often late at night) at low altitudes deliberately inflicting loud sonic booms against the inhabitants. A seige has been in place since the previous election - this has caused a humnitarian crisis. Israel has also destroyed the main pipe providing water for the Nusairat and al-Boreij refugee camps. This conflict and its effects on Palestinians is under-reported as the West's media concentrate on Lebanon.

Israel continues to build its illegal wall and has expropriated Palestinian land in al-Sawhra as-Gharbiya village, east of Jerusalem, to complete a section in that area.

Israel asks the USA government to speed delivery of short-range anti-personnel rockets armed with cluster munitions, which it could use to strike targets in Lebanon. During the first month, Israel launched 8,000 raids on Lebanon, and dropped over 100,000 bombs and missiles.

Israeli attacks kill more than 26 people in Lebanon, including 7 killed when a drone (unpiloted plane) fires rockets at a convoy of hundreds of cars fleeing the south. The unmanned Israeli aircraft fired on a convoy of more than 500 vehicles fleeing the war near the town of Chtaura in the Bekka Valley of Lebanon. One of the dead was Mikhael Jbayleh, a Red Cross worker who went to help people injured in the initial strikes. Several medical personnel are killed as their ambulances are attacked by Israel, often with missiles passing through the centre of the red cross painted on their vehicles' roof. Attacks on medical services violate of the Geneva Conventions.

On day 33, 8 apartment blocks are destroyed by Israeli bombing in west Beirut.

After 34 days a cease fire is agreed.

Lebanese returning to their homes are killed by unexploded cluster bombs. In Ansar one person was killed and 6 were wounded. In Nabatiyeh 6 people were wounded including a rescue worker. Mine removal experts from the United Nations identify thirty places where cluster bombs were used. Two children are killed in Naqoura. Over 200 cluster bombs were found in the town of Tibnin close to the hospital. The Mines Advisory Group (MAG) (from the UK) say that Israel used more cluster bombs in southern Lebanese villages than were used in the USA-led invasion of Iraq. Most were dropped in the final days of the conflict. According to Sean Sutton of MAG: "We have visited about 30 or 40 villages in the Nabatieh region, and I would say that about 50 per cent of them have been carpeted by cluster bombs, often with one lying every few metres. We have found them on peoples' doorsteps, in school playgrounds, and even in the front room of an old lady's house." He added that both USA-made cluster bombs and Israeli-manufactured copies had been found.

Israeli civilians killed43
Israeli soldiers killed116
Lebanese civilians killed1,109
Lebanese soldiers (not in combat with Israel) killed28
Lebanese resistance fighters killed55
Israelis injured688
Lebanese injured3,697
Israelis displaced500,000
Lebanese injured915,762
Damage in Israel300 buildings (including factories)
Damage in Lebanon6,900 houses / apartments
900 commercial buildings
29 ports, sewage plants, electrical plants
23 fuel stations
145 bridges
600km roads
oil slick in sea
Lebanese rockets3,699
Israeli air strikes7,000

Israeli forces seize Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Nasser al-Shaer in a raid on his house in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

Israel violates the cease fire by attacking the village of Bodai in the Bekka Valley in central Lebanon. Commandos were dropped by helicopter and there was a gun fight for two hours. The UK BBC reports this as "Lebanon accuses Israel of violating the cease fire".

The human rights organisation, Amnesty Interantional, accuses Israel of committing war crimes by deliberately targetting civilians and their infrastructure.

Israel continues operations inside Gaza, killing three people and firing on cameramen. The death toll reaches 202 Palestinians over a two month period, including 44 children. Abd al-Aziz Dweik, the democratically elected speaker of the Palestinian parliament is led into an Israeli court in shackles and charged with being a member of an illegal organisation (i.e one that opposes Israel's occupation). His response was "It is a political trial, and I don't recognise it. I am an elected official."

Hizbollah is consistantly described in the Western media as a terrorist organisation. According to journalist, Dahr Jamail, "they're only referred to as a terrorist organization by the US, Israel, and the UK. Whereas in all of the Middle East, including in Lebanon, a country where they have their base, they are seen as a legitimate political party, a grassroots organization that employs over a quarter of a million people fully engaged in infrastructure projects like hospitals, schools and social welfare programs. We have over 1,300 Lebanese killed by the Israeli war of aggression, over 90% of those civilians. And then we look at the other side where roughly 150 Israelis died over 50% of those were soldiers. So just looking at that statistic alone, whose is the terrorist organization, or more specifically who is the terrorist state? And now, throughout the Middle East, Israel is being seen as the terrorist state rather than Hizbollah being in any way as a terrorist organization. And now, even in Lebanon, Hizbollah is being seen as the rightful defenders of Lebanon against Israeli aggression."

In the USA, Javed Iqbal runs HDTV Corporation, a complany providing satellite television channels. In late August he was arrested because one of the stations provided by his company was al-Manar (run by Hizbollah). It seems that the USA does not want its citizens to have access to the same information that the rest of the world has.

According to the United Nations, 12 Lebanese (including 2 children) are killed by Israeli cluster bombs in a three week period - 28 people are injured during the same post-invasion period. Over 100,000 cluster bombs were found in 359 locations in southern Lebabnon. Tekimiti Gilbert, operations chief of the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre in Lebanon reports:

"It's a huge problem. There are obvious dangers with children, people, cars. People are tripping over these things. These cluster bombs were dropped in the middle of villages". Using cluster bombs in civilian areas is a violation of international law. 90% were dropped in the final 72 hours of the conflict.

Israel continues the sea and air blockade of Lebanon even after the cease fire.

In Gaza, a Reuters car is attacked by an Israeli air strike injuring two journalists, Fadel Shana and Sabbah Hmaida, and two bystanders. According to Associated Press, the white vehicle was emblazoned with the Reuters logo and had "TV" and "Press" written on it in English, Arabic and Hebrew. Another air strike in Jabalya killed nine people. A 16 year old boy was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank town of Nablus. Israeli bulldozers demolished a four storey building that was home to 100 people and the residents were forced out by soldiers.

Israel arrests (or kidnaps) another member of the Palestinian parliament, Mahmoud Mesleh bringing the number of government hostages it holds to 64 Hamas officials, including eight ministers and 29 MPs. Four more people are killed by an Israeli missile strike. During the two month siege and attacks on Palestinian territory, very little has been reported in the Western media. Over a month after the end of the conflict Israel releases 21 of the prisoners.

The Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, publishes a story from the head of a unit of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) in Lebanon that confirms the use of cluster and phosphorus bombs - both illegal against civilians: "What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs."

The report continues: "Quoting his battalion commander, the rocket unit head stated that the IDF fired around 1,800 cluster bombs, containing over 1.2 million cluster bomblets. In addition, soldiers in IDF artillery units testified that the army used phosphorous shells during the war, widely forbidden by international law. According to their claims, the vast majority of said explosive ordinance was fired in the final 10 days of the war."

The report concludes: "It has come to light that IDF soldiers fired phosphorous rounds in order to cause fires in Lebanon. An artillery commander has admitted to seeing trucks loaded with phosphorous rounds on their way to artillery crews in the north of Israel. A direct hit from a phosphorous shell typically causes severe burns and a slow, painful death."

In the first month after the cease fire, 83 Lebanese die from cluster bombs. The majority of the bombs were manufactured in the USA by a company called Lanson Industries.

The Siege of Palestine

Early in 2006, the Palestinians had an election that was seen as free and fair by external independent observers.

The USA and Israel saw the result as against their interests. Israel, supported by the USA, closed off Gaza, laying siege to the territory and stopping all funding, goods and movement. Taxes owed on goods entering Gaza are witheld by Israel. The USA (which controls most of the world's financial system) threatened Arab and Middle Eastern banks if they supplied aid or money to the Palestinians. The European Union collude with USA'a policy against the Palestinians by withdrawing subsidies. Western media fail to report on the plight of the people of Palestine.

In September, the UK newspaper, The Independent, begins publishing a series of stories about the Palestinian territoty of Gaza. According to this newspaper:

"The Israeli siege of the Palestinian enclave is so tight that its people are on the edge of starvation. Here on the shores of the Mediterranean a great tragedy is taking place that is being ignored because the world's attention has been diverted by wars in Lebanon and Iraq."

The report continues: "A whole society is being destroyed. There are 1.5 million Palestinians imprisoned in the most heavily populated area in the world. Israel has stopped all trade. It has even forbidden fishermen to go far from the shore so they wade into the surf to try vainly to catch fish with hand-thrown nets.

Many people are being killed by Israeli incursions that occur every day by land and air. A total of 262 people have been killed and 1,200 wounded, of whom 60 had arms or legs amputated, since 25 June, says Dr Juma al-Saqa, the director of the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City which is fast running out of medicine. Of these, 64 were children and 26 women. This bloody conflict in Gaza has so far received only a fraction of the attention given by the international media to the war in Lebanon."

Gideon Levy, a journalist for the Israel newspaper, Haaretz writes that for the previous three months the Israeli army "has been rampaging through Gaza - there's no other word to describe it - killing and demolishing, bombing and shelling, indiscriminately".

The Independent continues: "Gaza has essentially been reoccupied since Israeli troops and tanks come and go at will. In the northern district of Shajhayeh they took over several houses last week and stayed five days. By the time they withdrew, 22 Palestinians had been killed, three houses were destroyed and groves of olive, citrus and almond trees had been bulldozed. Fuad al-Tuba, the 61-year-old farmer who owned a farm here, said: 'They even destroyed 22 of my bee-hives and killed four sheep.' He pointed sadly to a field, its brown sandy earth churned up by tracks of bulldozers, where the stumps of trees and broken branches with wilting leaves lay in heaps. Near by a yellow car was standing on its nose in the middle of a heap of concrete blocks that had once been a small house. His son Baher al-Tuba described how for five days Israeli soldiers confined him and his relatives to one room in his house where they survived by drinking water from a fish pond. 'Snipers took up positions in the windows and shot at anybody who came near', he said. 'They killed one of my neighbours called Fathi Abu Gumbuz who was 56 years old and just went out to get water'."

According to a report published by the World Bank in August, the West Bank and Gaza face "a year of unprecedented economic recession. Real incomes may contract by at least a third in 2006 and poverty to affect close to two thirds of the population." The income per person in beseaged Palestine falls to less than $2 per day.

Crime and looting increases as people become desperate to feed their families.

Dr Maged Abu-Ramadan, the mayor of Gaza City declares: "It is the worst year for us since 1948. Gaza is a jail. Neither people nor goods are allowed to leave it. People are already starving. They try to live on bread and falafel and a few tomatoes and cucumbers they grow themselves."

He continues that the Israelis "have destroyed 70 per cent of our orange groves in order to create security zones". Exports are left to rot. After Israeli air strikes electric power is at 55%. Nearly 70% of Palestinians are unemployed and the remainder who work for the state are not being paid due to the economic siege. The siege leaves Gaza as the poorest region on the Mediterranean. Of its population 1.3 million, 33% live in refugee camps.

The Independent writes that "The Israeli siege and the European boycott are a collective punishment of everybody in Gaza". According to one Palestinian "Arab and Western countries want to destroy this government because it is the government of the resistance".

Between 25 June and 8 September:

The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem reports that 76 Palestinians, including 19 children, were killed by Israeli forces in August alone. Evidence shows at least 53 per cent were not participating in hostilities.

International aid agencies report that the Israeli military and economic siege of Gaza has led to many people looking for scraps of food in rubbish dumps. Karen Abuzayd, the head of the UN Relief and Works Agency: "The pressure and tactics have not resulted in a desire for compromise. But rather they have created mass despair, anger and a sense of hopelessness and abandonment."

Kirstie Campbell of the United Nations's World Food Programme: "Women in Gaza tell me they are eating only one meal a day, bread with tomatoes or cheap vegetables." What little food is available is eaten cold due to the frequent power cuts and lack of money to pay for fuel. In addition, in one month 4% of Gaza's agricultural land was destroyed by Israeli bulldozers. The 35,000 fishermen cannot fish because Israeli gunboats will fire on them if they go more than a few hundred yards from the shore. The USA and European led boycott of the Palestinian government means that there is no foreign aid to pay Palestinian government employees. The government had a monthly budget of around $200 million, half of which went to pay 165,000 public sector workers. By mid-September the budget was $25 million a month.

Aid agencies struggle to persuade the world and the Western-controlled media that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is much worse than it is in the more reported Lebanon: "In contrast to Lebanon, where humanitarian food aid needs have been essentially met, the growing number of poor in Gaza are living on the bare minimum."

23 peace activists cycling from London to Jerusalem are denied entry to the Jenin refugee camp by Israeli officials. The mainly UK group reached the outskirts of Jenin after travelling from Damascus, and were detained for 8 hours. One of the founders of the group, Peace Cycle 2006, Laura Abraham:

"No valid reason was given. Spurious explanations were provided by officials, and despite phone calls to the Israeli authorities from the British consulate, the group was told it would not be permitted to cross indefinitely." Requests for water or the use of toilet facilities were also denied: "We were treated so well in every country we passed through in Europe and the Middle East, but now we are being treated like animals."

In November, Israeli artilery kills 20 civilians (including women and children) in Bait Hanoun. The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution condemning the attack and calling for Israel to withdraw from Gaza. The UK abstains. This is the second similar resolution vetoed by the USA in 2006. 350 Palestinians died under Israeli attack between June and November 2006. Israel says that the attacks are to stop rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. These killed nine Israelis between 2000 and 2006.

The Israeli human rights organisation, B'Tselem, publish a report saying that in 2006, 660 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli forces in the occupied territories. This included 141 children and over 320 civilians. These figures had increased three fold from the previous year. Some 292 homes were demolished making 1,769 people homeless. 42 Arab homes were demolished in East Jerusalem. In the same period, Palestinians killed 17 Israelis, including a child and six soldiers. This was a drop from the previous year. The disparity of these figures and the fact that Israeli has been occupying Palestinian territory for nearly 40 years is under-reported in the West.


Palestine Under Siege

The United Nations confirms that between 2002 and the end of 2005, 36 Palestinian babies have died because their mothers were detained during their labour at Israeli checkpoints located on Palstinian land. One woman, Jamilla Alahad Naim, has to pass through two Israeli checkpoints between her home and the hospital and is considering having her baby at home.

After the Palestinians elected a new government, Israel stopped giving the new government money it was collecting in taxes, Europe stopped sending aid money and the USA threatened countries who provided aid with economic sanctions. This has led to poverty and hardship in the Palestinian territories.

Israel has been building a 8m high wall around Jerusalem that is designed to control Palestinian entry from the West Bank. The wall cuts through historic highways from Jerusalem (part of which is considered as occupied under international law) to Amman (Jordan) and from Jenin to Hebron. For West Bank Palestinians, the wall is broken only at four checkpoints. These can only be reached after many detours which require travellers to leave their vehicles and cross on foot. Palestinian vehicles are banned from Jerusalem.

The 180km wall will cost over $ 1,000,000 per kilometre. Only 5km of wall runs along the recognised border between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Most of it is being built on Palestinian territory. Around Jerusalem, the majority of the wall does not separate Israelis and Palestinians (as required by Israel stating that the wall is for security) but cuts off Palestinians from their schools, fields, olive groves, hospitals and cemeteries.

The West Bank city of Qalqiliya (population 40,000) is now surrounded by the wall. Residents can only enter and exit through a single military checkpoint which is open daily between 7am and 7pm.

When the wall is completed, there will be over 400,000 Palestinians completely or partially surrounded by it.

East Jerusalem was originally an Arab city. Israel has annexed the entire city and has passed apartheid laws allowing the building of Jewish only "settlements" on the land. Since 1967, 250,000 Jewish settlers have been housed in this area.

In contrast to the difficulty encountered by West Bank Palestinians entering Jerusalem, Israel has built new roads to enable Jewish settlers to reach the city as quickly as possible. A tramline is also planned. The roads form a network of four lane highways, lit up at night, along which the trees have been cut down, Palestinian houses demolished, and protective walls erected. These highways linking the settlements and Jerusalem are prohibited to Palestinian vehicles. They have to use poor quality secondary roads that are badly maintained and controlled by checkpoints. Palestinian chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat describes the dual road system as the "apartheid that dare not speak its name".

In Jerusalem all Jews but only 2.3% of Palestinians are citizens. West Bank Palestinians have green identity cards which give them no no rights in the city, not even the right to enter without permission. Permanent residents with blue identity cards enjoy voting and welfare benefits, but those rights are not transmitted automatically to their spouses or children.

The European Union published a report in 2005 (that was censored) that highlighted more discrimination: "Between 1996-1999 Israel implemented a centre of life policy, meaning that those with blue ID found living or working outside East Jerusalem, for example in Ramallah, would lose their ID. A wave of blue ID cardholders quickly moved back to East Jerusalem".

These policies have succeeded in making life difficult for the city's Arab population in a number of ways:

Meron Benvenisti, a leading expert on Jerusalem, described the situation as follows:

"The wall? A monument to despair! Look at Bethlehem: on one side, the Church of the Nativity, on the other, the bunker around Rachel's Tomb. It's the arrogance of an occupier who feels free to define and redefine communities as he sees fit. As if the fence separated 'good' Arabs, accepted in Jerusalem, from 'bad' Arabs excluded from it. Those who dreamed-up this horror follow the same logic of 19th century colonialism as did the French when they hung on to Indochina and North Africa. It won't work this time either. The Jerusalem wall will go the same way as the Berlin wall."

This "ethnic management" of Jerusalem is under-reported in the Western media.

Facts about the wall (2006):

Total length of planned wall700km
Amount of the West Bank left on the Israeli side of the wall50%
Maximum distance into the West Bank taken by the route of the wall16km
Width of buffer zone around the wall70m to 100m

Facts about the occupation (2006):

Percentage of Arabs living in Palestine in 1918 when the UK issued the Balfour Declaration90%
Percentage of historical Palestine allocated to the Jewish state by the United Nations in 194757%
Percentage of historical Palestine that became Israel in 194878%
Number of Palestinian villages destroyed in the 78% of historical Palestine that now forms Israel531
Percentage of historical Palestine currently recognised as occupied by Israel22%
Percentage of occupied territories on the Israeli side of the wall or taken by illegal settlements50%
Percentage of Palestine's natural water used by Israel every year82%
Maximum depth of Palestinian wells allowed by Israel140m
Maximum depth of Israeli wells800m
Amount of aid received by Israel from the USA$ 5,000 million
Number of Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces and settlers (Sep 2000 to Dec 2005)652
Percentage of Palestine's population that is under 18 years old52%
Percentage of Palestinian children suffering from chronic or acute malnutrition22.5%
Number of journalists killed / injured by Israeli forces between 2000 and 200512 / 300
Number of Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons7,500
Number of Palestinians homes demolished under Israeli occupation12,000
Number of Palestinians homes demolished (2000 to 2006)5,000
Percentage of Palestinian attacks in the occupied territories as opposed to Israel (2000 to 2003)96%

In June 2006, Israel banned all fishing from Gaza. According to the United Nations 35,000 people directly rely on the fishing industry for subsistence. A blockade of Gaza is maintained by Israeli naval vessels. The Western media (which loudly reported the "withdrawal" of Israel from Gaza) fails to report this illegal blockade of Gaza's coast.

Between 2000 and 2006 the monthly catch of fish by Palestinians has dropped from 823 to 50 tonnes. The World Bank cites Israel's blockade as responsible for the economic and humanitarian crisis facing Gaza.

These actions by Israel violate article 52 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), which Israeli has signed. The article states: "No contract, agreement or regulation shall impair the right of any worker, whether voluntary or not. All measures aiming at creating unemployment or at restricting the opportunities offered to workers in an occupied territory, in order to induce them to work for the Occupying Power, are prohibited."

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza has been monitoring the blockade: "Fishermen have been subjected to intensive monitoring by the Israeli occupation forces, which use helicopters gunships and gunboats". During 2006 four fishermen were killed after being attacked by Israeli forces and many have been arrested.

Israel begins excavations close to the Al Aqsa Mosque. The work violates the Israel-Jordan peace treaty which awarded custody of the Islamic and Christian holy places in eastern Jerusalem to Jordan. The site is protected by UNESCO World Heritage. Israel ignores protests from groups as diverse as the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference, the Nonaligned Movement and Churches for Middle East Peace.

In Umm Naser in northern Gaza a river of raw sewage and debris overflowed from a collapsed earth embankment into a refugee camp driving 3,000 Palestinians from their homes. Five people died by drowning, 25 were injured and many houses were destroyed. In the USA, the media blamed the Palestinians for building shoddy infrustructure.

There are two causes of this ecological disaster. Firstly it is the economic blockade imposed by Israel (and enforced internationally by the USA) on the Palestinian territories. Secondly, massive bombing by Israel on Gaza during 2006, demolished roads, bridges, sewage treatment facilities, water purification and electrical power plants.

In May, less than a month before the 40th anniversary of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, Israel bombs Gaza killing dozens of people in an attempt to assassinate members of the Palestinian government. The Western media fail to mention the anniversary of the occupation and concentrate on the fewer numbers of Israelis attacked by rockets.

Israel arrests more of the elected officials of Palestine - the number reaches one third. Western governments, which attempt to impose "democracy" on the Arabs, says nothing.

Between September 2000 and July 2007, 5,776 people have been killed in the conflict, most of them Palestinians.

The charity Save The Children reports that serious malnutrician is becoming a problem in Gaza as Israel continues the siege and blockade. Apart from the UK newspaper, The Independent, this story is unreported in the Western media. Israel begins cutting power to Gaza. This causes problems in industry and begins to close hospitals. 85% of people in Gaza have no work and banks have run out of money. The siege stops movement of people and goods between Palestine and Israel as well as limit movement within the West Bank. There are 546 checkpoints. 40% of the West Bank is inaccessible to Palestinians.

Human rights groups condemn the Israeli siege as a violation of the Geneva Conventions against collective punishment. The siege continues to be supported and enforced by the USA (which controls financial institutions in the region), the UK and Europe.

Nofer Ishai-Karen, an ex-soldier in the Israeli army, publishes a report after interviewing a number of soldiers involved in the occupation of the Palestinian territories. Two platoons were studied, ESHBAL and ESHKHAR. The interviews show what life under occupation is like for the Palestinians. The soldiers spoke freely about events which occurred nearly 20 years previously admitting to murder, breaking bones of Palestinian children, actions of humiliation, destruction of property, robbery and theft.

Since 1967 Israel has imprisoned more than 650,000 Palestinians, equivalent to nearly 20 per cent of the population. In 2007, there are 10,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

The USA, Israel and three small islands in the Pacific Ocean voted against a resolution by the United Nations calling for self determination for the Palestinian people.


Palestine Under Siege

The Israeli blockade of Palestine (backed by the USA and, under pressure from the USA, by the UK and Europe) results in the only power station in Gaza to be shut down. This causes problems with hospitals not being able to run their medical equipmnent.

In March, Israel bombs Gaza killing over 120 people in a week, 25 of them children. Israel states that the attack is in response to the firing of rockets at Israel. These home made rockets have killed 14 people in seven years.

The attack left at least 370 children injured. Hospitals in Gaza had to treat hundreds of seriously injured people without reliable electricity and with shortages of drugs, spare parts for medical equipment, and surgical supplies. Ambulances came under Israeli fire, three medical workers were injured and one killed. The crowded refugee camps in Gaza City were hit by two bombs from a USA-provided F-16 jet which destroyed the headquarters of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, seriously damaging several nearby apartments.

The United Nations attempts to condemn the Israeli attack but the resolution is watered down by the USA. In addition, during 2008 the USA government provides Israel with $ 2,550 million in arms shipments, a 9% increase over actual spending in 2007. This is part of a $30,000 million total over ten years. Israel will spend 25% of this money on its own arms manufacturers. The remaining 75% will go mainly to USA companies including Motorola, Caterpillar (who provide bulldozers used to demolish Palestinian houses), Lockheed Martin, Boeing and General Dynamics. The USA Congress voted 404-1 to support Israel and condemn Palestinian rocket attacks on civilians.

KryssTal Opinion: The 120 or so dead Palestinian civilians apparently do not count for USA rulers.

A report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur John Dugard (Israeli Occupation Causes Terror) states that Palestinian terrorism is the "inevitable consequence of Israeli occupation. While Palestinian terrorist acts are deplorable, they must be understood as being a painful but inevitable consequence of colonialism, apartheid or occupation."

Although Israel insists that it has withdrawn from Gaza, the report states that "it is clear that Israel remains the occupying Power as technological developments have made it possible for Israel to assert control over the people of Gaza without a permanent military presence." The report and its implications are unmentioned by mainstream media outlets in the USA and UK.

The human rights group the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) publishes evidence of Israel security forces using psychological torture by bringing in detainees' families during questioning of suspects.

Gheith Nasr, an 18 year old student, was arrested and kept in the police station for several days. His mother was brought in handcuffed and paraded in front of him:

"When I saw my mother being brought into the cell with handcuffs, I tell you, I would have told them anything just to save her, anything."

The website of the UK based BBC marks the 60th anniversary of the state of Israel with a story detrimental to the Palestinian people by its subtle use of quotation marks:

Abbas marks Israel "catastrophe". Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas recalls his people's "suffering", as they mark Israel's creation 60 years ago.

KryssTal Opinion: We would rightly condemn a story that ran: 'Israel commemorates Jewish "suffering" under the Nazis.' The use of quotation marks questions whether the word in question is true and is a form of propaganda.

An Israeli missile fired into a house in the Gaza village of Beit Hanoun kills an entire family including four children. The report appeared on the BBC web site which completed its article: "The militant group Hamas has run the Gaza Strip since June 2007, when its fighters drove out the forces of Mr Abbas's Fatah movement.". The BBC failed to mention that Hamas had won democratic elections, the results of which Israel, the USA and Europe had opposed.

More than 400 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip in the first five months of 2008, many of them civilians.

The siege of Gaza by Israel (and supported by the USA and Europe) which has restricted access to food, water and medicine begins to affect unborn children and newborn babies. According to Dr Salah al-Rantisi, head of the Women's Health Department of the Palestinian Ministry of Health:

"Many babies are born suffering from anaemia that they have inherited from their mothers. Premature babies born dangerously underweight is a daily and increasing phenomenon in Gaza's hospitals. There are many cases of pregnant women who need medicines that are not available in Gaza."

Between 2007 and 2008, 146 people in Gaza died directly as a result of the Israeli siege and border closures. This is apart from the 564 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the same period (92 were children).

One such victim was teacher, Wafer Shaker, killed by an Israeli explosive that blasted her door as she was about to open it to Israeli soldiers. Her children (aged 2 to 13) were then confined to the premises for five hours while the headless body lay nearby.

In May, former USA President, Jimmy Carter, visits Gaza stating that the Israel blockade is "one of the greatest human rights crimes on Earth". He describes the siege as the "imprisonment of 1.6 million people, 1 million of whom are refugees". He continued: "Most families in Gaza are eating only one meal per day. To see Europeans going along with this is embarrassing".

The South African anti-Apartheid campaigner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, also visits Gaza as part of a United Nations fact finding mission and calls the siege and "abomination" criticising the international community for its "silence and complicity".

Both men are accused of being anti-Semitic by the Western media who fail to ask the question why the European Union special envoy, former UK Prime Minsister, Tony Blair, failed to visit Gaza in his first year in Israel.

Most media describe the siege as being imposed after the ruling party, Hamas, "siezed power" in Gaza failing to mention that they won democratic elections requested by the USA and then ignored as the "wrong" party had won.

In Israel the Association of Civil Rights (ACRI) accuses the Iraeli government of using checkpoints in the occupied West Bank to prevent Palestinians from reaching Dead Sea resorts being run by Israeli settlers. Vehicles turned back include school buses. The ban on Palestinians was revealed when two Israeli reserve soldiers working at the Beit Ha'arava checkpoint were informed that the checkpoint was to "prevent Palestinians coming from the Jordan Valley to the Dead Sea beaches".

The Israeli siege prevents sewage works from being maintained. After heavy rains, one stagnant pool overflowed killing a 9 month old baby and a grandmother.

Leaked documents and memos from the USA indicate that the USA attempted to engineer a coup against Hamas, who won elections in Palestine in 2006. Measures included sending $80 million of arms to Fatah, the party that lost the elections. Memos encouraged the Palestinian Presedent, Mahmoud Abbas to drive out Hamas.

A report by the Red Cross is leaked to the UK newspaper, The Independent. The report states that the blockade of Gaza is causing a humanitarian catastrophe including chronic malnutrition to over a million people.

"The Israeli blockade of Gaza has led to a steady rise in chronic malnutrition among the 1.5 million people living in the strip."

The report notes that the dramatic fall in living standards has triggered a shift in diet that will damage the long-term health of those living in Gaza and has led to alarming deficiencies in iron, vitamin A and vitamin D. 70% of the population is being affected.

Figures of Palestinian deaths between September 2000 and February 2008.

Extra-Judicial Killings by Israel705
Targetted Victims 478
Innocent Civilians 227
Total Palestinian Deaths4419
Children Killed794
Women Killed152
Medical Personnel Killed25
Journalists Killed10
Total Palestinian Injuries in Gaza11,700
Total Palestinian Injuries in the West Bank13,550

The USA votes against all United Nations General Assembly resolutions concerning the Palestinians, their refugee status, the status of the occupied territories, property and Israeli practices.


Palestine Under Attack and Siege

In late December 2008 Israel bombs Gaza with USA made F-16 aircraft and Apache helicopters killing nearly 300 people and injuring over 700 in the first four days. More than 30 missiles and 100 bombs were used on heavilly populated areas including Gaza City, Khan Younis and Rafah.

Images from the areas attacked showed dead and injured Palestinians, burning and destroyed buildings, and scenes of panic and chaos on the crowded streets. The attacks occurred while children were on their way to school and at least seven children from a United Nations run school were killed. Many police stations in residential areas were attacked, one during a passing out ceremony. The victims included Tawfiq Jabber, the chief of police in Gaza. Several mosques, a factory and the headquarters of a television station (al-Aqsa) were also destroyed.

Israel justified its arracks by blaming the firing of home made Palestinian rockets into Israel. Only four Israelis had been killed by these rockets during 2008, and that after the bombing of Gaza began. The Hamas government had offered a continuation of the cease file if Israel ended its 18 month blockade of Gaza. Israel refused and sent missiles into Gaza. The Palestinian rocket attacks escalated after this. The media of the USA and UK fail to explain this, instead allowing Israeli politicians to justify the attack with the rocket excuse without questions.

A USA spokesman said the USA "urges Israel to avoid civilian casualties as it targets Hamas in Gaza". Hamas are the elected government in Gaza which is under an Israeli siege that is supported by the USA and European Union. Another USA spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, blamed the victims for "provoking" Israel. The UK government called for "maximum restraint to avoid further civilian casualties" while also blaming Hamas.

The South African Archbishop, Desmond Tutu, stated that the bombardment of Gaza by Israel bears all the hallmarks of war crimes. President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela rejected the Israeli attacks as defensive and said the USA was complicit in this "naked agression". Neither of these two views are broadcast by USA or UK television.

A contributer called Muntasir to an Al-Jazeera blog from Bangladesh summed up the majority view from around the world:

"Ok. So let me get this right. After months of ceasefire, during which Israel put up blockades to stop almost all essential goods from getting in, militants start firing rockets to vent their anger. The shelling does not kill a single Israeli. Now Israel is fed up so it decides to bomb any building in Gaza it deems as a 'Hamas institution' - be it Civilian or otherwise - and kill a hefty 250 people while injuring 600. Now the US says Hamas is responsible for the deaths. That makes perfect sense.

John Ging, of the United Nations Agency for Refugees noted that there had been a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel during which Palestinians of Gaza had been deprived of food and medicine by the Israeli blockade: "There was five months of a ceasefire in the last couple of months, where the people of Gaza did not benefit; they did not have any restoration of a dignified existence. We in fact at the UN, our supplies were also restricted during the period of the ceasefire, to the point where we were left in a very vulnerable and precarious position and with a few days of closure we ran out of food."

On the second day of the attacks, Israel bombs the University of Gaza. Thousands of people demonstrate against Israel and the USA in Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq although the mainly pro-West Arab governments stay silent.

Five sisters from the Ballousha family are killed when a mosque collapses on their house after being bombed. Their ages are between 4 and 18.

Israel fires two missiles into the refugee camp at Rafah. One hits the al-Absi family home, killing three brothers - Sedqi, 3, Ahmad, 12, and Muhammad, 13, and wounding two sisters and the children's mother.

Photos © 2008 BBC
Gaza Attacked by Israel 2008 Gaza Attacked by Israel 2008
Gaza Under Israeli Attack, 2008

The Ballousha Sisters
The Ballousha Sisters: Jawaher, 4; Dina, 8; Samar, 12; Ikram, 14; and Tahrir, 18.

Mohamad al-Sharif, a government worker in Gaza City, made a telling point on the BBC website: "Some people in the media have been depicting us as the aggressors but in three days we have had over 300 casualties; the Israelis have one or two.

Mahmoud Abbas, the USA backed President of the West Bank of Palestine, makes a statement blaming Hamas for the attacks.

KryssTal Opinion: Since Hamas was elected by all the Palestinian people, Mahmoud Abbas is blaming his own people for the Israeli attacks.

After a week of bombing with USA-made F-16 jets and Apache helicopters, over 400 Palestinians are killed in Gaza, a territory that has been under siege by Israel for 18 months even while a cease-fire has been in place. Israel justifies its attacks by blaming the firing of rockets into its cities - these killed four Israelis in 2008.

Over 1,700 people are injured in the first week. This overwhelms Gaza's depleted hospitals which lack basic medical items after being under siege. Many countries around the world call for a cease fire and accuse Israel of "disproportionate action" except the USA which continues to blame the elected government of the victims (Hamas) while arming and aiding Israel.

Israel fires a missile into the Ibrahim al-Maqadna Mosque in Beit Lahiya while 200 people are at prayer inside. More than 13 people are killed including children.

In early January, a naval vessel from Israel rams a ship carrying aid from Cyprus to Gaza - the attack happens in international waters. Shots are also fired at the crew. The 20m (66ft) ship (called Dignity) was carrying 15 civilian passengers, which included doctors, journalists, a former USA congresswoman and a member of the Cypriot parliament.

After docking in the Lebanese port of Tyre, the ship's captain, Denis Healey, stated that several Israeli military vessels had attacked "without any warning, any provocation, or anything". UK doctor, David Halpin, heard explosions and thought he was going to die.

The organisation, Free Gaza, that had chartered the ship, described the incident as "an act of terrorism", as well as a violation of international maritime law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The USA and UK, which are always quick to condemn "Palestinian violence", say nothing.

After 800 strikes, Israeli tanks, supported by helicopters, invade Gaza, a densely populated region of 1.5 million people. While the USA government continues to blame the Palestinians for the violence (even as their country was being invaded), demonstrations occurred in London, Paris, Brussels, The Hague, Amsterdam, Ankara and Cyprus. In London shoes were thrown at the UK Prime Ministers residence echoing an Arab custom where the thowing of shoes is a sign of anger.

Israel, backed by the USA, ignores all protests. All foreign journalists are banned from entering Gaza by Israel. The following figures are before the beginning of the land invasion.

Palestinians killed since the beginning of the Israeli attacks424
Palestinians wounded since the beginning of the Israeli attacksover 2000
Israelis killed by the rockets used by Israel as a pretext4
Tonnage of Israeli bombs dropped per day on residential areas100

Killed child
Child killed when the house of Hamas leader, Nizar Rayyan, is bombed

The house of Hamas leader, Nizar Rayyan, is bombed killing him and 16 members of his family:

After ten days the Palestinian death toll stands at over 550 against 4 Israeli civilians and one Israeli soldier. Over 2,500 Palestinians have been injured and 32 Israelis.

During the invasion, these are some of the targets attacked in Gaza:

A doctor from the clinic in Khan Yunis described conditions in a Gaza hospital to journalist, Ramzy Baroud:

"Scores of the wounded are clinically dead. Others are so badly disfigured; I felt that death is of greater mercy for them than living. We had no more room at the Qarara Clinic. Body parts cluttered the hallways. People screamed in endless agony and we had not enough medicine or pain killers. So we had to choose which ones to treat and which not to. In that moment I genuinely wished I was killed in the Israeli strikes myself, but I kept running trying to do something, anything."

Destruction in Rafah Refugee Camp

Dead policemen after a passing out parade is bombed

Fares Akram, journalist for UK newspaper, The Independent, writes how his father, Akrem al-Ghoul, is killed in Gaza when an F-16 jet dropped a bomb on his red-roofed farmhouse. The building was reduced to rubble and the victim's body was just a pile of flesh. Mahmoud, a teenage relative, was also killed after being thrown 300m by the blast.

In Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, Dr Mads Gilbert, a doctor from Norway, painted this picture of conditions during the invasion: "We are doing surgery around the clock. The hospital is completely overcrowded and we're seeing injuries that you don't want to see in this world. A child just came in and we had to amputate both arms and legs. It's like hell here now".

Fikr Shalltoot, coordinator for the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians reported, "There were 2,050 hospital beds in Gaza before the air strikes and the number of injured already exceeds that. The injured coming in have been hit by F-16 bombs or missiles, not bullets, so you can imagine the injuries they have... There are not enough stretchers. The hospitals are short of sheets, blankets, and surgical gowns. There is no gauze, so they are using cotton, which sticks to wounds. They can't sterilise clothes for the operating theatre".

Canadian writer, Justin Podur, compares the two sides in the conflict: "Israel's active military is estimated to be some 170,000. With universal conscription, it has some 2.4 million people between 17-49 years old fit for military service and everyone has had some training. Its military budget is 9% of its substantial GDP, totaling some $18.7 billion. It receives about $3 billion per year from the USA. It has about 1000 main battle tanks, 1500 lower quality tanks, over 1000 artillery pieces, over 500 warplanes, about 200 helicopters, 13 warships, and 3 submarines. It has the latest unmanned aerial vehicles and can gather very precise intelligence using aerial photography and satellites.

Hamas is mainly a political organization, but it has an armed wing that has the capacity to improvise rockets and explosives and to train fighters with small arms."

Note: HAMAS is an acronym of Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya (Islamic Resistance Movement)

Israeli tanks shell the al-Fakhoura school (run by a United Nations agency) in the town of Jabaliya where families are taking refuge. The organisation had given Israel the school's co-ordinates. 43 people are killed and over 100 injured. Israel accuses the school of hiding Palestinian fighters. The United Nations denies this and called for an independent enquiry.

Dr Bassam Abu Warda of the Kamal Adwan Hospital reported on the scene after the strike: "It was terrible, really terrible. We are living at a very difficult time but even as doctors it is always hard to see children being hurt and had a lot of them today and we are not really equipped to deal with this type of emergency here".

Majid Hamdan, a photographer, was at the scen shortly after the attack: "I saw women and men - parents - slapping their faces in grief, screaming, some of them collapsed to the floor. They knew their children were dead."

Images shown on Middle Eastern televeision but not on UK or USA screens showed medics unloading bodies from an ambulance - they had been stacked three high - many with limbs missing. there were no stretchers.

Randa Seniora, of the Independent Commission on Human Rights, reported that "What is happening in Gaza are crimes against humanity. "Israel cannot claim, as an occupying authority, that it is acting in self defence because simply it is considered a war crime to create harm and damage among civilian populations."

John Ging of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was scathing of Israel's attack the the Western world's lack of action to stop it: "Those in the school were all families seeking refuge. There's nowhere safe in Gaza. Everyone here is terrorised and traumatised. I am appealing to political leaders to get their act together and stop this".

Israeli army spokeswoman Avital Leibovich on Al-Jazeera: "Let me be clear - I am not apologizing."

UN School at Jabaliya
United Nations school in Jabaliya bombed by Israel

Bodies lie buried in the rubble of Gaza

After 12 days over 700 Palestinans had been killed (including 219 children) and over 3,085 injured. In the same period, 8 Israeli soldiers and 3 civilians had died.

As many as 30 members of the extended Samouni family were killed near their homes in the town of al-Zeitoun while nine more died in hospital. Dozens of bodies remained under the rubble of a large house hit repeatedly by Israeli shelling.

Israeli sodiers arrested three teenage members of the family and ordered about 100 memmbers of the family into the house which was shelled the following morning. Survivors' stories:

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were denied permission by Israel to visit the site. Ambulances couldn't reach the scene due to the Israeli habit of shelling them - more than seven paramedics were killed in the first 11 days of the attack. When they finally arrived they found several wounded Palestinians and four weakened children among 12 dead bodies. The children had not eaten since the attack and had difficulty in standing up. "The ICRC believes that in this instance the Israeli military failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded."

Katarina Ritz, the ICRC's head of mission in Jerusalem, said experienced Palestinian emergency workers wept at the scenes they were confronted with. She added Israeli troops were within about 100m of the houses in question, and that the ICRC believes the soldiers "must have been aware" of the presence of the wounded people, because of repeated requests from aid agencies for access. Under international law, she said, even if there are security concerns meaning the injured cannot be evacuated, "the minimum is to treat these people, to feed these people, give them water, and keep them in a safe place".

B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights group reported the story of Meysa Fawzi al Samouni, 19. Soldiers had forced her and many others into the warehouse-like building before the attack. "As far as I know, the dead and wounded who were under the ruins are still there". Another survivor, Ibrahim Samouni (13), who was wounded in the leg and chest, told Reuters that he kept his three younger brothers alive and tried to help the injured adults lying among the dead after his mother was killed in the attack: "There was no water, no bread, nothing to eat".

A United Nations relief convoy agreed with Israel is attacked near the Erez crossing by Israeli forces killing one worker at the scene and another who dies later.

John Ging, the head of the United Nations relief agency in Gaza, said that the casualties "... were co-ordinating their movements with the Israelis, as they always do, only to find themselves being fired at from the ground troops."

Azmi Bishara, a former member of the Israeli parliament, criticised the Israeli attacks on Gaza as well as its media campaign that "criminalises the victims and victimises the coloniser". He continued "Usually people are pushed to collective punishment because they want to punish resistance movements or national liberation movements. That's usually what colonial powers did, and that's what Israel is doing. Everybody knows that 75 per cent of the people of Gaza are refugees. Everybody knows that Israel disengaged from Gaza militarily, but occupies it economically and politically and also it besieges Gaza militarily. Israel would say, 'what would any normal country do if they were threatened by rocket fire? They would act'. But Israel is not a normal country, it is an occupying country, a colonial country and the people of Gaza are under siege."

Qunfus, a blogger from Syria writes about the innaction of the West: "In other circumstances it might seem strange that a population on the Mediterranean coast is being besieged and starved without a murmur from the rest of the world. But this is Gaza, Palestine, and the victims suffer alone. Reports say Mubarak had given his assent to a 'limited blow' before today's blood; he's been keeping the Egyptian border with Gaza sealed, keeping the ugly oppressed in their cage very effectively since they briefly broke out last January. Tony Blair - who should be in prison but is instead poncing about in Ramallah and Jerusalem - has been winking to Israeli journalists about necessary change in Gaza. No response to today's crime is likely in Lebanon, or Jordan, or Egypt. The peoples of Europe and America are, by and large, silent.

Man greaving over two dead sons and a nephiew
killed by an Israeli shell

By the 15th day over 854 Palestinian had been killed (including 10 paramedics), compared to 14 Israelis. Over 3,500 Palestinians were injured.

In the USA, media coverage reflects the USA government's relationship with Israel. Israel's version of events is given greater prominance and more time while the Palestinian viewpoint is underplayed. The Palestinian death toll is usually not mentioned implying that the conflict is between two equallly armed and equally suffering sides. The siege of Gaza and the 42 year military occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel is never mentioned.

Journalist Habib Battah gives two examples from USA television stations. The first from NBC (30 December 2008). The newsreader, Martin Fletcher, began the report "In Gaza two little girls were taking out the rubbish and killed by an Israeli rocket - while in Israel, a woman had been driving home and was killed by a Hamas rocket. No let up today on either side on the fourth day of this battle". No mention was made that 100 times as many Palestinians had been killed as Israelis.

The second (ABC News, 31 December 2008) was broadcast by Simon McGergor-Wood when 400 Palestinians had already died. The journalist began a video piece by describing damage to an Israeli school (with no injuries) by Hamas rockets. According to Habib Battah "For the ABC correspondent, it seemed the Palestinian deaths contained less news value than damage to Israeli buildings. His narration of events, meanwhile, amounted to no less than a parroting of the official Israeli line. In fact, the Israeli government view typically went unchallenged on major US networks".

Talk show and news debate in the USA never discussed if Israel's attack was justified but blamed the Palestinains and agonised over what Israel should do next. The Palestinian human tragedy received little or no attention. USA broadcasters in the region filed their stories from Israeli cities. The video news coverage of the invasion and attacks on Gaza was shown as brief shots of explosions from a distance, Israeli tanks moving on paved roads and perhaps a quick view of a victim. Palestinian victims were rarely interviewed.

Middle Eastern and Arab broadcasters filed their reports from inside Gaza. Their reports capture the air assault in frightening detail from the viewpoint of the victims. The images they capture are often broadcast unedited.

Habib Battah describes a news cycle that "... begins with rooftop-mounted cameras, capturing the air raids live. After moments of quiet, thunderous bombing commences and plumes of smoke rise over the skyline. Then, anguish on the streets. Panicked civilians run for cover as ambulances careen through narrow alleys. Rescue workers hurriedly pick through the rubble, often pulling out mangled bodies. Fathers with tears of rage hold dead children up to the cameras, vowing revenge. The wounded are carried out in stretchers, gushing with blood. Later, local journalists visit the hospitals and more gruesome images, more dead children are broadcast. Doctors wrap up the tiny bodies and carry them into overflowing morgues. The survivors speak to reporters. Their distraught voices are heard around the region; the outflow of misery and destruction is constant."

The difference in coverage is astounding and goes a long way to explaining the differing attitudes to the conflict.

Eight members of a single family are killed by an Israeli tank shell in Jabalya.

Marc Garlasco, a senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch tells the Arabic television station Al-Jazeera that the Israeli military is using white phosphorous in civilian areas: "We went by Israeli artillery units that had white phosphorus rounds with the fuses in them. Clearly it is [white phosphorus], we can tell by the explosions and the tendrils that go down [and] the fires that were burning. Today there were massive attacks in Jabalya when we were there. We saw that there were numerous fires once the white phosphorus had gone in".

Neil Gibson, a missiles expert, told the UK newpaper The Times that the shells were an "improved model" made by the USA that burned for up to 10 minutes.

Doctors in Gaza City report that people have been admitted suffering burns consistent with the use of the controversial chemical white phosphorus. This can burn away human flesh to the bone. The doctors reported that it has been used by Israeli forces over Gaza City and Jabaliya. Residents reported a white substance being used that produces suffocating fumes and starts many fires.

White phosphorus can be used under international law but only to cover military movements. "The problem is it covers such a wide area that when the white phosphorus wafers come down, over 100 in each artillery shell, they burn everything they touch and they don't stop burning until they are done. You are talking about skin damage, potentially homes going on fire, damage to infrastructure."

According to Al-Jazeera "Israel used white phophorus during its 34-day war against Lebanon's Hezbollah movement in 2006, while the [USA] used it during the controversial siege of the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2004."

Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor working at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, reported: "We have been to many war zones, but the special thing is that the 1.5 million Gaza population are completely locked in. The civilian population has no way to hide. The population density is so high you can not do attacks like this without knowing that you are attacking the civilians. Also, the injuries must come from extremely explosive devices. We suspect that Israel is using a new type of high explosive called Dime [dense inert metal explosive]. We urge the world, stop the bombing of Gaza. Please stop it."

Demonstrations against the invasion of Gaza occur around the world:

In Malaysia and Italy, calls were made for boycotts of USA and Israeli goods.

After 15 days 21 Palestinian medics had been killed by Israeli fire and many more wounded. The Al Durra Hospital in Gaza City was hit. Three mobile clinics run by a Danish charity, DanChurchAid, were destroyed.

Israeli commanders were reported in the Israeli media to be unsurprised by the heavy toll on civilians of their latest actions, saying their priority was to protect soldiers. "For us, being cautious means being aggressive," one told the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz. "From the minute we entered, we've acted like we're at war. That creates enormous damage on the ground."

The newspaper said the government had taken into account the likely high number of Palestinian civilian casualties when it approved the ground operation. Another soldier, identified as Lt Col Amir, told Israeli television: "We are very violent. We are not shying away from any method of preventing casualties among our troops."

Human rights organisation, Amnesty International accused Israeli soldiers of using Palestinian civilians as human shields - something that Israel frequently accuses Hamas of doing. Their spokesman, Malcolm Smart said: "Israeli soldiers have entered and taken up positions in a number of Palestinian homes, forcing families to stay in a ground-floor room while they use the rest of their house as a military base and sniper position."

Dr. Nicolas Doussis-Rassias is a member of a group of volunteer doctors based in Athens (Greece) called Doctors of Peace. These doctors pay their own way to help people who have been injured in war or natural disasters. They have helped victims in Latin America (Hurricane Mitch), Sri Lanka (tsunami) and in wars in Lebanon, Serbia, Turkey, and Pakistan. The group of doctors were stuck at the Egypt-Gaza border, prevented from entering Gaza to treat the wounded. Egypt, under pressure from Israel and the USA kept its border with Gaza closed during the Israeli invasion, even to humanitarian aid.

The United Nations Special Reporter on Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Richard Falk, has pointed out the human rights violations of the closed border: "Israeli actions, specifically the complete sealing off of entry and exit to and from the Gaza Strip, have led to severe shortages of medicine and fuel (as well as food), resulting in the inability of ambulances to respond to the injured, the inability of hospitals to adequately provide medicine or necessary equipment for the injured, and the inability of Gaza's besieged doctors and other medical workers to sufficiently treat the victims." For more information, read Richard Falk's UN Report

A report by journalist, Ayman Mohyeldin, of Al Jazeera described tens of thousands of Palestinians fleeing their homes after being warned by leaflets dropped by Israel to leave. "A large part of Rafah has been completely reduced to rubble... it has been described as hell on earth by some of the witnesses we have met". Much of Rafah is a refugee camp, consisting of people and their descendents who fled was in now Israel in 1948 - a fact never mentioned by most media.

By the 18th day, 984 Palestinians had been killed over 4,530 wounded, half of them women and children. More 80,000 people are displaced from their homes but cannot leave the territory as all borders and crossing points remain closed. United Nations schools take in 35,000 people. Ten soldiers and three civilians died on the Israeli side since the land invasion.

According to Christer Zettergren, of the Swedish Red Cross, seven ambulances operated by the Red Crescent were damaged in one week in Gaza.

UK journalist and author, Robert Fisk, asked "Why are they dispossessed? Why are settlements - colonies for Jews, and Jews only - being built on Arab land, illegally? And still it continues. Unless we deal with this, there will not be an end to this war. There might be a ceasefire in Gaza, a ceasefire in the West Bank, but there will not be an end to the war. That is the problem". Fisk added that Israel would continue flouting the United Nations and international law as long as the USA continues to back it.

Although the powerful countries of North America and Europe and the puppet states of the Middle East remain quiet during Israel's invasion (often against the wishes of their populations), a few countries begin to take action:

These events remain unreported in the Western media.

Evidence begins to appear that Israel is using newly devloped and unregulated weapons on Gaza in order to test them. David Halpin, a retired UK surgeon and trauma specialist talks about a high blast weapon called DIME: "I fear the thinking in Israel is that it is in its interests to create as much mutilation as possible to terrorise the civilian population in the hope they will turn against Hamas". Mads Gilbert, a specialist in emergency medicine from Norway reported that many of the injuries seen at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City are consistent with the use of DIME.

Wounds from the weapon are said to be distinctive. Those exposed to the blast have severed or melted limbs, or internal ruptures, especially to soft tissue such as the abdomen, that often lead to death. Minute metal particles produced by the blast - and visible on damaged organs during autopsies - lead to survivors of a DIME blast having an increased risk of developing cancer, according to research carried out in the USA.

A media centre in Gaza City housing journalists is bombed by Israeli forces. On the same day, a United Nations compound is bombed with white phosphorous - all its stock of food and medicine is burnt. Hundreds of civilians were sheltering there at the time. A Red Crescent office in Gaza and the main mosque in Rafah were shelled. Three hospitals are also shelled, again with white phosphorous. John Ging, of the United Nations, complained "They are phosphorus fires so they are extremely difficult to put out because, if you put water on, it will just generate toxic fumes and do nothing to stop the burning".

A number of Israeli human rights groups in Israel accuse the country of "blatant violations of the laws of warfare". Fifteen medical facities were attacked and 12 medical personnel are killed. Half a million people in Gaza are without fresh water, 250,000 are without electricity.

Mads Gilbert, who works at the al-Shifa Hospital, told the USA based CBS News: "I've seen one military person among the hundreds that we have seen and treated. So anyone who tries to portray this as sort of a clean war against another army are lying. This is an all-out war against the civilian Palestinian population in Gaza and we can prove that with the numbers".

The USA abstains from a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a cease fire. The resolution had been drafted by the USA Secretary of State, Codoliza Rice. After a phone call to the USA president, Geroge W Bush, from the Israeli Prime Minister, just before the vote was taken, Rice was ordered to abstain. The resolution was passed 14 to 0. Israel ignored it.

After 22 days:

Palestinians killed1,155
Palestinian civilians killed670
Palestinian children killed225
Palestinians woundedover 5,200
Israelis killed by the rockets used by Israeli as a pretext3
Israelis killed by "friendly fire"4
Israeli soldiers killed10
Number of Israeli air strikes2,360
Palestinians killed between 2005 and 2007 by Israeli forces1290
Israelis killed by rockets fired from Gaza (2005 - 2008)11

Two boys aged 5 and 7 are killed when Israel shells a United Nations compound sheltering 1,600 people. Christopher Guiness, a worker at the school: "The Israeli army knew exactly our GPS co-ordinates and they would have known that hundreds of people had taken shelter there. When you have a direct hit into the third floor of a UN school, there has to be an investigation to see if a war crime has been committed."

This was the third United Nations school attacked by Israel.

In Jabaliya (one of Gaza's refugee camps, Dr Ezzedine Abu al-Aish, a doctor working at al-Shifa Hospital, lost his three daughters and one niece during an Israeli air attack as he was being interviewed on an Israeli television channel.

The USA vetos a United Nations General Assembly Resolution which is passed 142 to 4 (with 8 abstentions).

"The Biblical injunction of an eye for an eye is savage enough. But Israel's insane offensive against Gaza seems to follow the logic of an eye for an eyelash." Israeli historian, Avi Shlaim, professor of international relations at the University of Oxford, UK

"I believed and to this day still believe, in our people's eternal and historic right to this entire land." Ehud Olmert, Israeli Prime Minister, 2006.

"Half the population has no water. On January 11, Gaza's Water Authority said it's near totally disabled and no longer can provide any. Israel attacked a major water pipe in central Gaza. Salty water from wells is all that's available. Raw sewage is running through streets. Officials warn of a "massive sewage flood throughout the Strip. One million Gazans have no electricity. Hospitals can't function. Their supplies are near-exhausted. Hundreds more will die as a result." Stephen Lendman, Centre for Research on Globalization

In June a report is released by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The report describes Palestinians living in Gaza as "trapped in despair". Thousands of Gazans remain without shelter despite pledges of billions of dollars in aid, because Israel continues to refuse to allow building materials into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel's disruption of medical supplies.

Israeli forces attacked and boarded a human rights vessel (The Spirit of Humanity) in international waters. 21 human rights workers from 11 countries were arrested. These included a former USA Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney who stated:

"This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip. [USA] President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that's exactly what we tried to do. We're asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey."

Another of the arrested passengers was Mairead Maguire, winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in Northern Ireland. She stated:

"The aid we were carrying is a symbol of hope for the people of Gaza, hope that the sea route would open for them, and they would be able to transport their own materials to begin to reconstruct the schools, hospitals and thousands of homes destroyed during the onslaught of 'Cast Lead'. Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we stand by them and that they are not alone".

In September the United Nations publishes a report which states that Israel "punished and terrorised" civilians in Gaza. According to a summary in Al-Jazeera: "Judge Richard Goldstone, who led the inquiry, said he found evidence Israel targeted civilians and used excessive force in the assault."

The author of the report, Judge Richard Goldstone, reported:

"The mission concluded that actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly in some respects crimes against humanity, were committed by the Israel Defence Force. The shooting of civilians holding white flags ... the deliberate and unjustifiable targeting of UN shelters ... and the killing of over 300 children whilst the Israeli Army had at their disposal the most precise weaponry in the world".

Al-Jazeera: "The report said there were 'numerous instances of deliberate attacks on civilians' and civilian objects in Gaza by Israel. Its firing of white phosphorous shells and the use of high explosive artillery shells were listed as 'violations of humanitarian law'."

The report remains unreported in the Western media.

Gaza Question and Answer from ZNet Magazine.

Analysis of the Gaza attack of 2009 by Noam Chomsky

Occupied Palestine

A report by charity, Save the Children UK, describes the plight of children in the occupied West Bank of Palestine. Many cannot have regular schooling because of attacks by settlers (colonists) as they travel to school.

Israeli military escorts for the children frequently fail to turn up leaving the children to either face attacks or take detours of many kilometres.


Palestine Under Occupation and Siege

State Robbery, a report published by Israeli economists states that, since 1970, Israel has defrauded Palestinians working inside Israel of more than $ 2,000 million by deducting from their salaries contributions for social security / welfare benefits to which they were never entitled.

The deductions continued even after the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994 and part of the money was supposed to be transferred to a special fund on behalf of the workers. According to information supplied by Israeli officials, most of the deductions from the workers' pay were invested in infrastructure projects in the Palestinian territories (in other words to large state subsidies for the illegal settlements).

About 50,000 Palestinians from the West Bank work in Israel and have there contributions deducted from their pay.

The report adds that Histadrut, the Israeli labour federation is complicit in the deception as it levies a monthly fee on Palestinian workers, even though they are not entitled to union membership and are not represented in labour disputes.

Most workers lose 20% of their salary in deductions that are supposed to cover old age payments, unemployment allowance, disability insurance, child benefits, trade union fees, pension fund, holiday and sick pay, and health insurance. In practice the workers are entitled only to disability payments in case of work accidents.

In March Israel orders its army to seal off the occupied West Bank for 48 hours. Israeli aircraft hit two targets in southern Gaza Strip. Witnesses reported seeing several injured people.

The United Nations humanitarian official, John Holmes, criticised Israel for continuing its blockade of Gaza. He states that Israeli actions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, including expanding settlements, was counter to the peace process.

Egypt reinforces its Gaza border barrier with underground metal plates (with USA encourangement and help) in an attempt to block tunnels built by the Palestinians to break the siege.

Close to 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements (colonies) built by Israel since its 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. These "settlements" are illegal under international law.

24,145 houses have been demolished in the occupied territories since 1967, including the 4,247 that the United Nations estimated were destroyed during Israel's military assault on Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009.

During the Easter holiday when much of the West is quiet, Israel attacks the Gaza strip with 13 air strikes.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) passes a resolution calling for the end of the Israeli siege of Gaza against objections from the USA, one of eight countries opposed. Sixty three countries voted for the resolution. The USA said the resolution would "stir up tensions".

189 countries agree to set up a conference aimed at achieving a nuclear-arms free Middle East. The proposal came at a United Nations meeting. Israel rejects the call and states that it will not attend beacuse it is being called on to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, the chief rabbi of Elon Moreh, a West Bank settlement ("colony") has prohibited women from standing in a local community election. He said women lacked the authority to stand for the post of local secretary and wrote in a community newspaper that women must only be heard through their husbands.

A flotilla of boats carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza is threatened by the Israeli military which controls the sea and air space of Gaza. The United Nations has reported that the amount of aid being allowed into Gaza (15,000 tonnes according to Israeli sources) is only 25% of what is required and has referred to the Israeli blockade as a "Medieval siege".

In late May, Irsaeli military attack the ships in international waters killing several people and injuring 50.

Turkish television pictures taken on board the Turkish ship leading the flotilla appeared to show Israeli soldiers fighting to control passengers. The footage showed a number of people, apparently injured, lying on the ground. A woman was seen holding a blood-stained stretcher. Al-Jazeera television reported from the same ship that Israeli navy forces had opened fire and boarded the vessel, wounding the captain. The Al-Jazeera broadcast ended with a voice shouting in Hebrew, saying: "Everybody shut up!".

The complete footage from the Turkish TV film.

Most of the people on board the boats were Turkish. According to the AFP news agency, Turkey states that it "strongly condemn[ed] these inhumane practices of Israel". The passengers also included a Nobel laureate, several European legislators, a Swedish author and people from the USA, UK, Australia, Greece, Canada, Malaysia, Algeria, Serbia, Belgium, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Egypt (including two MPs) and Kuwait (including, Waleed Al Tabtabai, an MP). Women and children and elderly people were on board along with many doctors, teachers and journalists.

Releatives of UK citizens on the ships have told the UK newspaper, The Guardian, that the UK Foriegn Office has refused to help its citizens. Israel denies access to the survivors.

In Turkey, dozens of protesters tried to storm the Israeli consulate in the Istanbul, while Israeli ambassadors have been summoned to the Turkish, Greek, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Jordanian and Spanish foreign ministries to explain what happened. Greece, which also has ships in the flotilla, withdraws from joint military exercises with Israel in protest at the attack on the Gaza flotilla. Demonstrators in Jordan call for the closure of the Israeli embassy. The European Union calls for an independent enquiry and an end to the siege of Gaza. The Arab League condemnned the attack: "We condemn this crime, taken against a humanitarian mission and people. They were trying to help people. They were not on a military mission. Everyone should condemn this." The banned opposition in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, call for an and to the siege and Egypt's part in it. The newly elected UK deplores the deaths and also calls for and to the siege. Russia condemned the attack and called for an end to the siege: "Use of weapons against civilians and detaining ships in the open sea without any legal reason constitute obvious and gross violations of generally accepted legal standards."

The USA (which in recent weeks had been condemning North Korea for attacking a South Korean ship) remains silent for most of the day and then opposes an independent enquiry preferring it to be run by the Israelis themselves.

According to the BBC web site "Israel and Egypt tightened a blockade of Gaza after the Islamist movement Hamas took power there in 2007."

KryssTal Opinion: In fact Hamas won elections declared as free and fair by international observers. The unelected Egyptian government coludes with Israel under USA pressure and against the wishes of its own population. Israel has also attacked the ships of two NATO countries in international waters. Imagine the reaction from the USA if Iran has done that!

According to Israel, their soldiers were attacked first. The Al-Jazeera correspondent, Ayman Mohyeldin, on one of the ships reported that a white surrender flag was raised from the ship and there was no live fire coming from the passengers. The correspondent continued:

"All the images being shown from the activists on board those ships show clearly that they were civilians and peaceful in nature, with medical supplies on board. So it will surprise many in the international community to learn what could have possibly led to this type of confrontation."

The BBC television coverage briefly shows the attack and then shows two Israeli spokesmen putting their side of the story, blaming the victims and calling the passengers terrorists. No Gazans or Turks are interviewed. The victims are referred to as "pro-Palestinian activists".

A USA protestor, Emily Henochowicz (21) loses an eye after having a tear gas cannister fired into her face by an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank.

Israel refuses to end the siege of Gaza regardless of what the rest of the world thinks and blames Iran. An Irish ship, the Rachel Corrie, was heading for Gaza on 2 June. The ship is named after a USA student crushed by an Israeli bulldozer and is referred by the BBC as "this ship".

When survivors of the flotilla raid are released telling of being beaten and having all their possessions taken away, the BBC does not cover any of the stories. The autopsy results of the Turkish victims shows that five were shot in the back of the head or the back of the body from close range. This story is also not covered by the BBC. An audio tape of exchanges between the flotilla and the Israeli military is aired as fact in many USA media outlets and is later found to have been edited to add insults to Jews.

Israeli government spokesmen had to apologise for distributing a video that mocked the flotilla members, some of whom died in the Israeli raid. The video, a satire, shows a group of singers declaring, "There's no people dying. So the best that we can do, Is create the greatest bluff of all. We must go on pretending day by day that in Gaza. There's crisis hunger and plague."

The United Nations had declared Gaza to be in the midst of a humanitarian crisis.

Iran protests at reports that Israel is planning to send three nuclear submarines with nuclear cruise missiles to the Persian Gulf, a story ignored by most Western media.

Children International (DCI), an international children's rights charity publishes evidence that Palestinian children held in Israeli custody have been subjected to sexual abuse in an effort to extract confessions from them.

Israel announces the demolition of 22 Palestinian homes in the Silwan neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem to build a tourist park.

In September, another boat attempting to break the blockade of Gaza is captured by Israel in international waters. The crew were Jewish activists from the USA, UK and Israel.

A report by the Supreme National Committee for the Support of Prisoners states that the Israeli Occupation forces arrested more than 345 Palestinian in October from various parts of the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip including 130 children and two women. This is in addition to the detention of more than 500 Palestinian workers for not having obtained Israeli work permits.

According to the report, the largest number of arrests occurred in the city of Hebron where 90 people were detained including 15 children.

The USA offers Israel finaicial incentives to suspend settlement building in the occupied territories.

KryssTal Opinion: These sttlements are illegal so in effect the USA is bribing Israel not to break international law.


Palestine Under Occupation and Siege

The USA vetoes a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a halt to the illegal Israeli West Bank settlements. All other 14 countries voted for the resolution.

According to the BBC web site: "The Obama administration's decision risks angering Arab peoples at a time of mass street protests in the Middle East, the BBC's Barbara Plett reports from the UN."

The resolution was sponsored by more than 130 countries. It declared Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories were illegal and a "major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace".

Jawaher Abu Rahma was killed by inhaling tear gas while watching a demonstration against the Israeli wall in Bil?in. The demonstration included 350 Israeli and international activists along with Palestinians.

A day later, Ahmed Maslamany, was shot and killed at a West Bank checkpoint because he failed to follow an instruction given in Hebrew, a language he did not understand.

A leaked cable from Israel to the USA discussed the real reasons for the siege of Gaza (published in a Norwegian newspaper:

As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to [U.S, Embassy economic officers] on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gaza economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.

Nakba is the name that Palestinians give to the 1948 founding of Israel when more than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from what is now Israel. On the 15 May anniversary, Israel attacks Palestinians commemorating this event.

Twelve people are killed and 80 wounded in northern Gaza as Israeli troops open fire on a march, including children, of at least a thousand people heading towards the Erez crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

In the West Bank refugee camp of Qalandiya injuries were reported from tear gas canisters fired at protesters.

Israeli forces killed 12 Syrian citizens who had been taking part in an anti-Israeli rally on the Syrian side of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights border.

Israeli gunfire kills ten people and injures scores more in the Lebanese town of Ras Maroun, on the southern border with Israel. A journalist, Matthew Cassel, saw at least two dead Palestinian refugees in the town and reported: "Tens of thousands of refugees marched to the border fence to demand their right to return where they were met by Israeli soldiers."

One of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon was Abbas Jomaa who explained his reasons for marching to the border: "Israel may be 63 years old today but its days are numbered. Sooner or later, we will return."

Israeli Apache helicopters and F-16 fighter planes (both USA made) flew over demonstrators.

The USA threatens to cut the funding of the United Nations if it votes to recognise a declaration of independence by the state of Palestine.

KryssTal Opinion: That says it all.

Dozens of people are killed in Gaza by Israeli airstrikes in August. The United Nations, USA and Europe which had only just condemned state violence in Syria stay silent as do the media.

While the world looks towards events in Libya, Israel uses air strikes against Gaza. In six days 26 people are killed and 101 injured. The BBC ignores this story.

In a prisoner swap, Israel releases hundreds of prisoners, many held without trial. Although the majority of the Palestinians live in Jerusalem or the West Bank, Israel "deports" them to Gaza.

Over 100 countries in the United Nations vote to admit Palestine to UNESCO. The USA is one of two countries to vote against (the other is Israel). The USA threatens to cut funding to UNESCO.

Israel theatens to build 2000 homes on occupied land.

A Canadian boat (Tahrir) and an Irish boat (Saoirse) taking $30,000 medical aid to Gaza are stopped by Israel in international waters. One of the people on the convoy, Ahmed Sholi, stated:

"We will come back. We will keep going. To free Gaza and break the siege. We have a spirit that they're not going to break. People of Gaza have a right to live. Kids in Gaza have a right to live like any other kids in the world. We will keep going back until we break the siege. We will free Palestine and Gaza."

Israel has illegally blockaded Gaza since 2007 when they opposed election results in the territory.

A bid by Palestine to be recognised by the United Nations fails. Eight countries (Russia, China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Niger, Gabon and Lebanon) voted for a Palestinian state. Seven countries voted against: USA, UK, France, Germany, Columbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Portugal abstained.

The United Nations passes a resolution calling for an accelerated return of displaced persons who became refugees in 1967 and calling on donor countries to assist the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in meeting the needs of the Palestinian refugees. This resolution was passed by 160 to 1 (Israel).

The USA vetoes five United Nations resolutions by the General Assembly concerning Palestine. Two described below.

A resolution urging Israel to reimburse UNRWA for all transit charges incurred and other financial losses sustained as a result of delays and restrictions on movement and access, and to cease obstructing the movement and access of the staff, vehicles and supplies of the Agency. Passed with a vote of 163 to 7 (Israel, Canada, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, USA).

A resoltion calling for the immediate and complete cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan. Passed with a vote of 162 to 7 (Canada, Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, USA).

© 2023, KryssTal