Archive for 2012

Democracy, Dollars & Drugs …………………..

http://www.veteranstoday.com

Critical Cargo

US 3D DIPLOMACY OF DOMINATION DOCTRINE:

DEMOCRACY, DOLLARS & DRUGS

By Colonel Eugene Khrushchev, Editor

Here’s a full transcript of my Q&A session where I fielded questions from a rambunctious Iranian journalist, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kourosh_Ziabari Kourosh Ziabari on US adventure in Afghanistan.

Q. There are reports indicating that since the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2003, the cultivation of opium has increased dramatically and the United States hasn’t taken any major steps to fight the drug trade in the war-torn country. You’ve written on this extensively. Would you please explain more about that? Is it a large-scale U.S. policy to condone the rise of drug production?

A Purportedly, the White House, whatever its political coloration, has been on the record against narcotics, at homeland and abroad. The grim reality is, much touted US War on Drugs is agitprop cover for US Drug War on us, worldwide.

Historically, Washington’s political, intelligence & military interference – into South East Asia, Sothern America, Balkans and Africa – has been followed by explosion of narco-production.

The United States doesn’t condone narcotics– it promotes drug production & consumption as a quintessential part of its undeclared 3D Diplomacy – democracy, dollars & drugs – to penetrate, corrupt & manipulate the countries from within.

Afghanistan is just the latest and the most glaring case study of grisly symbiosis & synergy between US boot print & local druglords, which has transformed the country into American narco reservation with more than 90% of opium & cannabis market share, quietly killing 100 000 annually, without any outrage in the mainstream media.

Q. Where is the war in Afghanistan heading to? Every day, we hear of more American and NATO troops being killed in bomb blasts along with more drone attacks on the unarmed civilians which bring destruction to the war-hit country that needs tens of years to be able to reconstruct its infrastructure. What’s your perspective on that?

What you postulated in the question – the war in Afghanistan – deserves a closer examination because all too often it’s misperceived as a vanguard of American GWAT, global war on terror.

Since 9/11, neither the White House nor the US Congress has declared any hostilities against any adversary anywhere, so in legal terms, America is not at war with anybody, including a smorgasbord of anti-government elements in Afghanistan.

However, it’s blatantly obvious, that America is neither at peace with Afghanistan, its neighbors or Muslim world at large.

In military terms, US occupation of Afghanistan, OED, Operation Enduring Freedom, is a type of unconventional mission, however impossible, which is a subdivision of asymmetrical warfare.

The most ‘unconventional’ thing about this Operation Enduring Opium, is to preserve & protect narco-democracy in Afghanistan under disguise of counterterrorism and counterinsurgency dog & pony show, while  sponsoring & schmoozing  with the frenemy and sometimes even shooting at them along both sides of the Duran Line.

On the other side, American mission in Afghanistan constitutes undeclared war against global security & stability where opium has been utilized as a hidden WMD, weapon of mass destruction & distraction to advance ‘chaos management’ strategy.

As for US KIA & MIA in Afghanistan, it’s just a drop in the bucket, compared to domestic homicide rate and Pentagon’s rape & suicide body count. In a sense it’s a bargain with American blood & treasure for the 3D Diplomacy of Domination Doctrine.

Until Afghans sober up from American ‘greed is good’ values, and switch from war & drug profiteering to soul-searching, they will remain low-maintenance narco slaves & mules in US reservation, deprived from faith and national  self-identity; fighting for democracy, dollars, & drugs.

Q. Do you agree with this American assumption that the Afghan National Army is incapable of providing security for the country without the U.S. presence? Is it a good justification for the continuation of the military presence of the United States in Afghanistan?

If would be unfair to present US stance  on Afghanistan  as undisputed consensus, because there has been no unanimity of views between US military, intel & diplomatic communities on Afghan affairs, including operational readiness of the  ANSF, Afghan National Security Force .

Whatever the White House assumptions on the issue, it cuts both ways.

On the one side, under US/NATO guidance, ANSF is unwilling & unable to take full responsibility and provide security & stability for the country.

On the other side, the US has stubbornly refused to get a reality touch that having spent billions of dollars, the Pentagon is in fact, training & financing the enemy: the current ANSAF is the future auxiliary force for the Taliban and the spiraling trend of the green-on-blue attacks is a harbinger of things to come.

Yes, for the US it’s a self-defeating approach to continue to train the Afghan Army and police, but paradoxically, this pseudo strategy offers a cynical excuse for permanent US residual force and occupation of Afghanistan.

Q. Would you please tell us more about the Red Team Study which investigated the mutual perceptions of the Afghanistan army soldiers and the NATO coalition forces in Afghanistan? It seems that they are not much friendly toward each other and vent different grievances toward each other. What’s your take on that?

Since September, I have posted a sequel on Afghan/American military & security ‘partnership’, based on the first Pentagon Red Team Study on the subject, which was foolishly re-classified after the embarrassing findings had already been spilled into the public domain.

Obviously, there’s no love lost between Afghan green and American blue forces, but the situation  is much worse than  just a lack of friendship and camaraderie between alien & indigenous ‘partners’.

The title of the report defines the problem as ‘A crisis of trust and cultural incompatibility’; I call it ‘bloody credibility gap’ http://rt.com/news/blogs/friendly-fire/unfriendly-fire-green-on-blue/  and ‘Afghan hatred vs. American disgust’ http://rt.com/news/blogs/friendly-fire/afghan-hatred-american-partnership/.

The initial idea behind the Red Team studies at the Pentagon was to play ‘devil advocate’ for the established policies and procedures, this time for US training mission in Afghanistan.

To the dismay & horror of top brass, this Red Team finding has accidentally revealed the main legacy of US occupation – top-down across the board institutionalized corruption, fueled by drug production in a host country.

However, the author came perilously close to the inevitable self-incriminating conclusion: it is nay to impossible to advocate devil’s design & deleterious deeds behind American pernicious policy in Afghanistan.

Q.What do you think about the U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement? Will this agreement pave the way for the continuation of U.S. presence in Afghanistan after the troops’ withdrawal of 2014? Won’t such an agreement be detrimental to the interests and security of Afghanistan?

Well, if the American mentors themselves consider Afghan army & police force ‘a joke’ and are pretty outspoken about opium poppy puppet regime they hate but have to bolster, what kind of ‘partnership’ are you talking about?

The Afghan/American security misalliance is a livid example of smoldering antagonism, punctuated by point-blank green on blue stings; therefore by default any agreement between master and servant would be unilaterally enforced or violated at the whim of the overlord, notwithstanding the lofty legal verbiage committed to paper.

It is not this or the follow-up SOFA, Status of Forces Agreement between Washington & Kabul, which per se is detrimental to the future of Afghanistan.

It is open-ended US occupation – overt before 2014 and covert later – that constitutes clear & present danger to Afghan, regional and global security.

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Dr. Mahathir Mohamad opens the 9/11 Revisited Conference in Kuala Lumpur …………..

http://dprogram.net

Corbett) – Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, president of the Perdana Global Peace Foundation and former Prime Minister of Malaysia, opens the “9/11 Revisted: Seeking the Truth” conference in Kuala Lumpur on November 19, 2012.

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Pic of the Day : another child of Palestine (filed under : could be your child)…………….

http://electronicintifada.net

A Palestinian medic carries the body of Abdel Rahman Majdi Naim, 2, who was killed in an Israeli strike on a building housing media offices in Gaza City on 21 November 2012.

(Ismael Mohamad / United Press International)

“Most” killed in Gaza “deserved it” even though they were

children and civilians, says Israel’s Danny Ayalon

Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Wed, 11/21/2012 – 20:38
In a clear indication of Israel’s shocking callousness and disregard for civilian lives, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon today told PRI’s The Takeaway that most of those killed and injured in Israel’s eight day long bombardment of the Gaza Strip“deserved it.”“If you compare the situation in Gaza to the situation in Syria today,” Ayalon said, “where the Assad regime just mercilessly butchers people and children there is a big difference and I would say that most of the people that were hit in Gaza deserved it as they were just armed terrorists.”

Vast majority killed and injured are civilians and children

But in fact, the vast majority of those killed and injured were unarmed civilians. Up to 20 November, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, 91 of the 136 Palestinians killed were civilians, including 28 children and 13 women, and 922 of the 941 wounded were civilians, including 258 children.

So 66 percent of those killed, and 97 percent of those injured were civilians. Almost one third of the dead are children.

PRI, notably, did not challenge Ayalon on his false assertions.

News reports say that at least 22 more Palestinians were killed on 21 November, including at least two more children.

Earlier today, BBC correspondent Wyre Davies told World Service radio, “It’s quite alarming how many young children have been killed in this conflict.”

A video by Egyptian citizen journalists taken at Gaza City’s main hospital vividly shows the extent of the deaths and injuries to civilians.

In addition to the dead and injured, large numbers of civilians have been displaced. UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, today said that:

Many families are gathering in overcrowded apartments located in areas that they hope are less likely to be targeted. However, as shelling of residential building persists, the population grows weary and evermore fearful.

The remaining 34 percent of the dead presumably include members of Palestinian resistance factions, some of whom will have been killed by Israel in what amount to extrajudicial executions while they were in their homes or other places.

Israel compares itself with Syria

It is only by comparison with the dire situation in Syria that Ayalon hopes he can prettify Israel’s horrifying crimes. But it is clear that Israel’s crimes, and the responsibility of leaders like Ayalon for directly ordering them or complicity in them, stands on its own.

Since Israel began its attack on Gaza on 14 November, breaking a tenuous ceasefire, four Israeli civilians and one soldier have been killed in fire from Gaza and 21 Israelis were injured this morning in a bomb explosion on a bus near Israel’s “defense ministry” in the heart of Tel Aviv.

New ceasefire announced

Ayalon’s comments came as Israel and Palestinian resistance factions agreed to a ceasefire, to take effect this evening. Under the terms of the deal brokered by Egypt, Israel will cease all attacks, incursions and extrajudicial executions in Gaza and ease the blockade, while Palestinian factions will refrain from firing toward Israel.

What remains to be seen is if the ceasefire will take hold and if Israel will implement its terms, given its history of violating such truces

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Most Humans are Dead Inside ………….

Lisa Guliani
http://www.Sott.net
Wed, 21 Nov 2012 10:18 CST

The more I see of Israeli atrocities against Palestinians, the more I want to go to Gaza.

What right do we in the West have to be safe and secure?

What right do we have to walk the streets in peaceful neighborhoods, to live comfortably, to go about business as usual, to have our self-satisfied little lives intact, to sleep in warm beds under houses without blown-out windows and caved-in roofs, with plenty of drinking water and 24/7 electricity, and the freedom of movement Palestinians can only dream about?

What makes us so special? It’s our government here in the U.S. that is funding and enabling these Israeli psychos to perpetrate mass murder.

At night, we can tuck our children snugly into bed and know they’re safe and warm, but we sit by in silence while the two most god-awful ‘governments’ in this world deny innocent children in Palestine and around the world these same basic securities.

Why do so many people think we in the West deserve so much – and why doesn’t it bother us that others have little or next to nothing?

What right do we have to live in a peaceful setting, never worrying that our skies will fill with missiles, never worrying that white phosphorous will rain down upon our heads?

What right do we have to anticipate and plan for our tomorrows when so many others can’t even plan for tonight?

When was the dropping-off point – when did it happen? Ya know, that point when people stopped caring about one another, stopped giving a damn about what happens to the other human beings out there?

Do you listen to people talk amongst themselves at work?

What are they talking about? Current events in Gaza? No. Drone strikes over Pakistan? No. Economic pillage by Wall Street banksters? Hardly. They’re talking about ’50 shades of Grey’. They’re talking about ‘Jersey Shore’. “Kim Kardashian’. The latest video game. Their Christmas wish lists. Black Friday shopping deals.

Nobody where I work ever touches current events unless I bring it up.

And then they manage the briefest of eye contact for a couple of seconds, and in those eyes, there is nothing, they’re dead. Nothing there. Zero empathy or concern or even a pathetic attempt at feigning mild interest. Just indifference. The subject changes so quickly, it’s almost as if people are using some kind of internal remote control device to ‘switch the channel’ or just ‘switch off’.

When exactly did it happen, this collective speedslide away from basic human decency?

What makes us so goddamned special?

Just what has become of you, America?

Who the hell do we think we are in this country, anyway?

The more I see of my ‘fellow Americans’ and the psychopaths representing my ‘government’ and the more I observe the conduct of the mainstream media in this country, the more I…..want to go to Gaza and be a human shield.

There is nothing so special about me that I deserve to live while others are having their lives ripped away.

There is nothing so special about me – or any of us here in the West.

I’m a working American, complicit in the mass murder of innocent people, just like the rest of you out there.

I owe the besieged people of other nations something more than words in the wind. So do you, America.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” ~ Nelson Mandela

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Avatar

Lisa Guliani

Lisa Guliani is a former internet-based political talk show host, political writer, researcher, activist, conscientious objector, “known protester’, and self-described thought provocateur. When she’s not engaged in some odd combination of the above, she’s handing out smiles to the elderly, and also enjoys reading, music, cracking jokes, and hanging out with her buddy, Goose, who has yet to realize he’s a dog. Her favorite sections of SOTT?
It’s a three-way tie: Secret History, Puppet Masters and Society’s Child.

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Pics of the Day: The wrath of war (filed under: we choose our targets carefully) …………….

from : http://periodismohumano.com

some pics from the recent Israeli assault on Gaza .

The bodies of four sibling children who were killed in Gaza today in an Israeli air strike. (REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)

see and read more here .

and more pics here from Mondoweiss.com .

Images of Palestinian children under attack

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UK Jewish MP: Israel acting like Nazis in Gaza …………..

“Israel was born out of Jewish Terrorism” Tzipi Livnis Father was a Terrorist” Astonishing claims in the House of Parliament. SIR Gerald Kaufman, the veteran Labour MP, yesterday compared the actions of Israeli troops in Gaza to the Nazis who forced his family to flee Poland.

During a Commons debate on the fighting in Gaza, he urged the government to impose an arms embargo on Israel.

Sir Gerald, who was brought up as an orthodox Jew and Zionist, said: “My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town a German soldier shot her dead in her bed.

“My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. The present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploits the continuing guilt from gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians.”

He said the claim that many of the Palestinian victims were militants “was the reply of the Nazi” and added: “I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.”

He accused the Israeli government of seeking “conquest” and added: “

They are not simply war criminals, they are fools.”

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Apocalypse Now: Israel bombards Gaza for fifth straight day with nearly 1,000 airstrikes paving the way for imminent invasion ……..

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

  • Thousands of soldiers and hundreds of tanks and armoured vehicles are at muster points along the border
  • Hamas prime minister’s headquarters, police compound and huge network of smuggling tunnels were targeted
  • Follows Hamas rocket strike aimed at Jerusalem
  • Israeli military have targeted more than 800 sites since the operation began
  • Egypt’s president will today hold four-way talks with the Qatari emir, the prime minister of Turkey and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Cairo to discuss to Gaza crisis
  • Palestinian militants in Gaza fired four rockets at the Israeli port city of Ashdod while Israel used an Iron Dome missile interceptor battery in Tel Aviv after it again came under rocket fire from Gaza
  • Israel says its Iron Dome system has intercepted nearly 250 rockets since Wednesday
  • Yesterday, the White House defended Israel’s right to defend itself and decide how to respond to the rocket fire
  • David Cameron urged Israel to ‘do everything possible’ to end the crisis
  • Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander appealed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to go to the region for last ditch talks to avert full-scale conflict

By Leon Watson

PUBLISHED: 10:44 GMT, 17 November 2012 | UPDATED: 02:04 GMT, 18 November 2012

Israeli warplanes have struck Gaza militants for a fifth straight day as its military prepared for a possible ground invasion, though Egypt saw ‘some indications’ of a truce ahead.

Forty-seven Palestinians, about half of them civilians, including 12 children, have been killed in Israel’s raids, Palestinian officials said. More than 500 rockets fired from Gaza have hit Israel, killing three people and injuring dozens.

Israel unleashed its massive air campaign on Wednesday, killing a leading militant of the Hamas Islamist group that controls Gaza and rejects Israel’s existence, with the declared goal of deterring gunmen in the coastal enclave from launching rockets that have plagued its southern communities for years.

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Fierce clashes between Israeli forces and Gaza militants are continuing for the fourth day
Fierce clashes between Israeli forces and Gaza militants are continuing for the fourth day

A government compound was also hit while devout Muslims streamed to the area for early morning prayers, although it did not report any casualties from that attack
A government compound was also hit while devout Muslims streamed to the area for early morning prayers, although it did not report any casualties from that attack
Smoke rises during an explosion from an Israeli forces strike in Gaza City today
Smoke rises during an explosion from an Israeli forces strike in Gaza City todayThe Jewish state has since launched more than 950 air strikes on the coastal Palestinian territory, targeting weaponry and flattening militant homes and headquarters.The raids continued past midnight on Sunday. One targeted a building in Gaza City housing the offices of local Arab media, wounding three journalists from al Quds television, a station Israel sees as pro-Hamas, witnesses said.Two other predawn attacks on houses in the Jebalya refugee camp killed one child and wounded 12 other people, medical officials said.

These attacks followed a defiant statement by Hamas military spokesman Abu Ubaida, who told a televised news conference.

‘This round of confrontation will not be the last against the Zionist enemy and it is only the beginning.’

The masked gunman dressed in military fatigues insisted that despite Israel’s blows Hamas ‘is still strong enough to destroy the enemy.’

An Israeli attack on Saturday destroyed the house of a Hamas commander near the Egyptian border.

Missiles knocked out five electricity transformers, plunging more than 400,000 people in southern Gaza into darkness, according to the Gaza electricity distribution companyMissiles knocked out five electricity transformers, plunging more than 400,000 people in southern Gaza into darkness, according to the Gaza electricity distribution company
Palestinians inspect the damage at the office building of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh after being destroyed during an Israeli airstrike in Gaza Palestinians inspect the damage at the office building of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh after being destroyed during an Israeli airstrike in Gaza
A rocket is launched from Gaza as seen from near Sderot. Today it was reported militants deployed an Iron Dome rocket defence battery in central Israel.
A rocket is launched from Gaza as seen from near Sderot. Today it was reported militants deployed an Iron Dome rocket defence battery in central IsraelCasualties there were averted however, because Israel had fired non-exploding missiles at the building beforehand from a drone, which the militant’s family understood as a warning to flee, and thus their lives were spared, witnesses said.Israeli aircraft also bombed Hamas government buildings in Gaza on Saturday, including the offices of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and a police headquarters.Among those killed in air strikes on Gaza on Saturday were at least four suspected militants riding motorcycles, and several civilians including a 30-year-old woman.It came as thousands of soldiers and hundreds of tanks and armoured vehicles were at muster points along the border, as speculation mounted that Israel was to launch a ground offensive.Tonight, David Cameron urged Israel to ‘do everything possible’ to end the crisis. In a phone call with Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, he expressed sympathy for the continued ‘unacceptable’ rocket attacks.A Downing Street spokeswoman said: ‘The Prime Minister expressed his sympathy for the unacceptable rocket attacks that Israel continued to suffer. He also expressed concern over the risk of the conflict escalating further and the danger of further civilian casualties on both sides.

Iron Dome: Israeli soldiers watch as an Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket near the southern city of Beersheba todayIron Dome: Israeli soldiers watch as an Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket near the southern city of Beersheba today
A Palestinian youth takes cover behind a makeshift barrier (right) during clashes with Israeli soldiers at the Qalandia checkpoint, in the occupied West BankA Palestinian youth takes cover behind a makeshift barrier (right) during clashes with Israeli soldiers at the Qalandia checkpoint, in the occupied West Bank
Israeli soldiers fire tear gas towards strone throwers demonstrating against the Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip in the village of Beit Omar, north of the West Bank town of HebronIsraeli soldiers fire tear gas towards strone throwers demonstrating against the Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip in the village of Beit Omar, north of the West Bank town of Hebron’The Prime Minister said that the UK was putting pressure on both sides to de-escalate and urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to do everything possible to bring the conflict to an end.’It came after protesters gathered near the Israeli embassy in London to condemned the British Government’s stance on the conflict.Speakers took to a podium to condemn the Government after Foreign Secretary William Hague said the Hamas regime in Gaza bore ‘principal responsibility’ for the escalation of violence.Israel had been slowly expanding its operation beyond military targets but before dawn it ramped that up dramatically, hitting Hamas symbols of power. A three-storey apartment building belonging to a Hamas military commander was hit, and ambulances ferried more than 30 inhabitants wounded by the powerful explosion.Missiles smashed into two small security facilities as well as the massive Hamas police headquarters in Gaza City, setting off a huge blaze that engulfed nearby houses and civilian cars parked outside, the Interior Ministry reported. No one was inside the buildings.The Interior Ministry said a government compound was also hit while devout Muslims streamed to the area for early morning prayers, although it did not report any casualties from that attack.Also hit was a cabinet building where the Hamas prime minister has his offices. Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was not inside.

Missiles knocked out five electricity transformers, plunging more than 400,000 people in southern Gaza into darkness, according to the Gaza electricity distribution company.

Israeli firemen douse a burning car after a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip landed in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod todayIsraeli firemen douse a burning car after a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip landed in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod today

A student from the University of Birzeit is carried away injured during clashes with Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank town of BetuniaA student from the University of Birzeit is carried away injured during clashes with Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank town of Betunia

Unexploded bomb: A Palestinian Hamas policeman looks at an Israeli rocket in the street in Gaza City on SaturdayUnexploded bomb: A Palestinian Hamas policeman looks at an Israeli rocket in the street in Gaza City on Saturday

In southern Gaza, Israeli aircraft went after the hundreds of underground tunnels militants used to smuggle in weapons and other contraband from Egypt, residents reported. A huge explosion in the area sent buildings shuddering in the Egyptian city of El-Arish, 30 miles away.

The tunnels have also been a lifeline for residents of the area during the recent fighting, providing a conduit for food, fuel and other goods after supplies stopped coming in from Israel before the military operation began.

Israeli aircraft kept pounding their original targets, the militants’ weapons storage facilities and underground rocket launching sites. They also went after rocket squads more aggressively.

Israel has put 75,000 reservists on standby amid speculation of an impending ground invasionIsrael has put 75,000 reservists on standby amid speculation of an impending ground invasion
Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem, center, visits Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's demolished headquarters in Gaza todayTunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem, center, visits Gaza’s Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s demolished headquarters in Gaza today
Palestinians carry the body of Ali Al-Mana'ama, a Hamas militant in Maghazi Refugee Camp in the central Gaza Strip. A group of Hamas militants were killed in an Israeli air strike east of Maghazi Refugee Camp earlier todayPalestinians carry the body of Ali Al-Mana’ama, a Hamas militant in Maghazi Refugee Camp in the central Gaza Strip. A group of Hamas militants were killed in an Israeli air strike east of Maghazi Refugee Camp earlier today
Palestinians carry the body of Hamas militant Ali Al-Mana'ama during his funeral in Maghazi Refugee CampPalestinians carry the body of Hamas militant Ali Al-Mana’ama during his funeral in Maghazi Refugee Camp
A Palestinian youth gestures at Israeli soldiers during clashes in the Jalama checkpoint in the West Bank near Jenin cityA Palestinian youth gestures at Israeli soldiers during clashes in the Jalama checkpoint in the West Bank near Jenin city
Relatives look at the bodies of Ali Al Mana'ama, top, Ali Darwesh, centre, and Ahmad Abdujawad, Hamas militants, at the morgue of Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir Al Balah, central Gaza StripRelatives look at the bodies of Ali Al Mana’ama, top, Ali Darwesh, centre, and Ahmad Abdujawad, Hamas militants, at the morgue of Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir Al Balah, central Gaza Strip

The military has called up thousands of reservists and massed troops, tanks and other armoured vehicles along the border with Gaza, signalling a ground invasion could be imminent.

Palestinian militants, undaunted by the heavy damage the Israeli attacks have inflicted, have unleashed some 500 rockets against the Jewish state, including new, longer-range weapons turned for the first time this week against Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv heartland.

Following those attacks, the military deployed an Iron Dome rocket defence battery in central Israel today. The system, devised precisely to deflect the Gaza rocket threat, was deployed two months earlier than planned, the Defence Ministry said.

According to Israel its Iron Dome system has intercepted nearly 250 rockets since a round of fighting broke out on Wednesday, including an incoming projectile bound for Tel Aviv.

An Israeli Merkava tank is seen in a staging area on the border with the Gaza StripAn Israeli Merkava tank is seen in a staging area on the border with the Gaza Strip
Israeli children wave their national flag as they greet an army convoy passing on a road leading to the Israel-Gaza border near the southern Israeli town of OfakimIsraeli children wave their national flag as they greet an army convoy passing on a road leading to the Israel-Gaza border near the southern Israeli town of Ofakim

Palestinian militants in Gaza has kept up their cross-border rocket salvoes. Four rockets hit an apartment building in the Israeli Mediterranean port city of Ashdod, ripping into several balconies, and police said five people were injured.

Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip, said Israeli missiles wrecked the office building of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh – where he had met on Friday with the Egyptian prime minister – and struck a police headquarters.

With Israeli tanks and artillery positioned along the Gaza border and no end in sight to hostilities now in their fourth day, Tunisia’s foreign minister travelled to the enclave in a show of Arab solidarity.

Officials in Gaza said 42 Palestinians, nearly half of them civilians including eight children and a pregnant woman, had been killed since Israel began its air strikes. Three Israeli civilians were killed by a rocket on Thursday.

Israeli soldiers manning an Iron Dome battery outside a southern Israeli town take cover as one of several Iron Dome interceptor missiles are fired from the Gaza stripIsraeli soldiers manning an Iron Dome battery outside a southern Israeli town take cover as one of several Iron Dome interceptor missiles are fired from the Gaza stripChildren’s charity Unicef appealed for the ‘utmost restraint’ from both sides to prevent youngsters being killed and injured.Six Palestinian children aged between 10 months and 15 years had been reported killed and 60 injured in airstrikes on Gaza, it said, with another fatally wounded by a rocket that fell short.Israeli schools within a 25-mile radius were closed because of the ‘indiscriminate’ rocket attacks.Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander appealed to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to go in person to the region for last-ditch talks to avert full-scale conflict.’There is no military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Over the decades violence has only led to more violence,’ he said.’What is needed now is an immediate end to the violence. We urge the UN Secretary General to visit the region this week to begin talks with all parties, and with partners in the region
Palestinian mourners bury the body of Hamas militant Shadi al-Sheir during his funeral in Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza StripPalestinian mourners bury the body of Hamas militant Shadi al-Sheir during his funeral in Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza Strip’There must now be a full-scale diplomatic initiative, led by the UN Secretary General himself, to try and bring this conflict to an end.’The only hope for peace and security for the citizens of the region will be through re-starting the stalled negotiations towards agreeing a two state solution.’Egypt’s president will today hold four-way talks with the Qatari emir, the prime minister of Turkey and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Cairo on Saturday to discuss the Gaza crisis, a presidential source said.Egypt has been working to reinstate a truce between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza, after an informal truce brokered by Cairo broke down.Israel launched a massive air campaign on Wednesday with the declared aim of deterring Hamas from launching cross-border rocket salvoes that have plagued southern Israel for years.The operation has drawn Western support for what U.S. and European leaders have called Israel’s right to self-defence, along with appeals to both sides to avoid civilian casualties.
Two Palestinian women view the rubble of their destroyed home after Israeli rockets hit the Hamas official house in Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip Two Palestinian women view the rubble of their destroyed home after Israeli rockets hit the Hamas official house in Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip
Ultra-Orthodox Israeli men help an elderly Israeli woman run to a shelter as a 'Red Alert' sounds in the southern Israeli coastal town of Ashdod, shortly after Palestinian militants fired a missileUltra-Orthodox Israeli men help an elderly Israeli woman run to a shelter as a ‘Red Alert’ sounds in the southern Israeli coastal town of Ashdod, shortly after Palestinian militants fired a missile
Palestinians search for victims beneath the rubble of the destroyed house of a Hamas official, following an Israeli air strike in Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip todayPalestinians search for victims beneath the rubble of the destroyed house of a Hamas official, following an Israeli air strike in Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip today

Hamas, shunned by the West over its refusal to recognise Israel, says its cross-border attacks have come in response to Israeli strikes against Palestinian fighters in Gaza.

Hamas says it is committed to continued confrontation with Israel and is eager not to seem any less resolute than smaller, more radical groups that have emerged in Gaza in recent years.

‘We have not limited ourselves in means or in time,’ Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Israel’s Channel One television. ‘We hope that it will end as soon as possible, but that will be only after all the objectives have been achieved.’

The Islamist movement has ruled Gaza since 2007. Israel pulled settlers out of Gaza in 2005 but has maintained a blockade of the tiny, densely populated coastal territory.

The widened scope of targets brings the scale of fighting closer to that of the war the two groups waged four years ago.

Hamas, a group that remains pledged to Israel’s destruction, was badly bruised during that confrontation, but has since restocked its arsenal with more and better weapons, and has been under pressure from smaller, more militant groups to prove its commitment to fighting Israel.

Destruction: A picture taken from the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip shows smoke billowing following Israeli air strikes inside the Palestinian territory on Saturday Destruction: A picture taken from the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip shows smoke billowing following Israeli air strikes inside the Palestinian territory on Saturday
Under attack: Israeli air strikes hit the cabinet headquarters of Gaza's Hamas government after militants fired rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Under attack: Israeli air strikes hit the cabinet headquarters of Gaza’s Hamas government after militants fired rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv
Airstrikes: Explosion and smoke in Gaza city as Israel extends their attack to Hamas government buildings including the building housing the prime minister's officeAirstrikes: Explosion and smoke in Gaza city as Israel extends their attack to Hamas government buildings including the building housing the prime minister’s office
Chaos: Palestinians observe rubble being removed from the site of an Israeli air raid in Gaza todayChaos: Palestinians observe rubble being removed from the site of an Israeli air raid in Gaza today
The damage caused by a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod on SaturdayThe damage caused by a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod on Saturday

‘We are sending a short and simple message: There is no security for any Zionist on any single inch of Palestine and we plan more surprises,’ said Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Hamas’ armed wing.

Israeli leaders have threatened to widen the operation if the rocket fire doesn’t halt. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said options included the possible assassination of Haniyeh, the prime minister.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in an emergency session with cabinet ministers yesterday. Israeli media reported they approved drafting 75,000 reservists. Earlier this week, the government approved a separate call-up of 30,000.

Lieutenant Colonel Avital Leibovich, a military spokeswoman, said 16,000 reservists were called to duty yesterday and others could soon follow.
She said no decision had been made on a ground offensive but all options are on the table.

President Barack Obama spoke separately to Israeli and Egyptian leaders yesterday as the violence in Gaza intensified. In a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he reiterated US support for Israel’s right to self-defence.

Today the White House defended Israel’s right to defend itself against attack and decide how to respond to the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, blaming  Hamas for starting the conflict.

Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said: ‘These rockets have been fired into Israeli civilian areas and territory for some time now. So Israelis have endured far too much of a threat from these rockets for far too long, and that is what led the Israelis to take the action that they did in Gaza.’

He told reporters the U.S. ‘wants the same thing as the Israelis want,’ which is an end to rocket attacks on Israel by Palestinian militants in Gaza.
The U.S is emphasising diplomacy and ‘de-escalation’ as keys to solving the conflict, Rhodes said.

To Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, he praised Egypt’s efforts to ease regional tensions.

Casualty: A wounded Palestinian child is carried into a hospital after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza StripCasualty: A wounded Palestinian child is carried into a hospital after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip
A Palestinian man carries the wounded child into a hospital ward for treatment following an Israeli air raid in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip, on SaturdayA Palestinian man carries the wounded child into a hospital ward for treatment following an Israeli air raid in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip, on Saturday
A wounded Palestinian child receives hospital treatment following an Israeli air raid in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza StripA wounded Palestinian child receives hospital treatment following an Israeli air raid in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip

Egyptian leaders had promised to support Gaza against the Israeli attack on Thursday amid increasing signs that a massive ground invasion could be launched by Israel this weekend.

President Mohammed Mursi said he would not leave Gaza on its own and condemned Israel’s ‘blatant aggression against humanity’.

The declaration, hours after a visit to Gaza by Egypt’s prime minister, increased tensions in the region where Hamas militants continued to fire rockets into southern Israel – with three landing near Jerusalem – and Israeli warplanes pounded Palestinian targets.

Mr Mursi, whose Muslim Brotherhood is linked to Hamas, did not elaborate on what form the support would take. Egypt is trying to broker a ceasefire or peace agreement but with Hamas firing rockets across the border, and Israel calling up 75,000 reservists, there are fears it may already be too late.

ISRAEL’S HOME-GROWN ‘IRON DOME’ DEFENCE SYSTEM

In four days of fighting against Gaza-based militants, Israel has used a missile-defense system called ‘Iron Dome’ to intercept rockets fired at populated civilian areas.

It says the new home-grown system has been a tremendous success. As of Saturday evening, the military said it had shot down some 240 incoming rockets, more than half the number of projectiles launched into Israel since Wednesday.

Here’s a quick look at the system:

  • Produced by Israeli-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Iron Dome is meant to shoot down rockets and artillery shells with ranges of up to 70 kilometers, or 45 miles. It has been operational since 2011.
  • How it works: The system detects launches of rockets and quickly determines their flight path. If it is headed toward populated areas or sensitive targets, it fires an interceptor with a special warhead that strikes the incoming rocket within seconds. Rockets headed toward open areas area allowed to land.
  • Currently, five Iron Dome batteries are deployed in Israel. Most are located in the south near Gaza. A fifth battery was deployed outside Tel Aviv on Saturday, two months ahead of schedule. Hours later, it shot down a rocket headed toward Tel Aviv.
  • Missiles cost around $40,000 a piece. In 2010, the U.S. provided $200 million to expand development. Additional funding is currently being considered, with $70 million already allocated for the 2012 fiscal year. (US defense statement just FYI: http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=15285)
  • The system is part of what Israel calls its ‘multilayer missile defense’. It is meant to protect against the tens of thousands of short-range rockets possessed by militants in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. Israel has also deployed its ‘Arrow’ missile defense systems for long-range threats from Iran. The military says its new ‘David’s Sling’ system, being developed by Rafael to stop medium-range missiles, will be activated by 2014.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a four-hour strategy session with a clutch of senior ministers in Tel Aviv on widening the military campaign, while other cabinet members were polled by telephone on raising the mobilisation level.

Meanwhile Jordan’s King Abdullah cancelled a trip to Britain next week amid fears that his country could be the next to experience the Arab Spring’s demands for change.

King Abdullah had been due to visit Britain to speak to the Jewish community in London. The cancellation followed protests in Amman which spread to other parts of the country. At least one person was killed and 75 injured, including 58 policemen.

Among those taking part was the Muslim Brotherhood, which Jordan has accused of inciting the unrest to score political points ahead of parliamentary elections  in January.

In Gaza, Egyptian prime minister Hisham Kandil held the bloodied body of a child during his visit to a hospital, promising: ‘Egypt will spare no effort to stop the aggression and to achieve a truce’.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she was appalled that civilians were being killed, including three Israelis in their apartment and several Palestinian children, including a baby, and a pregnant woman.

Her spokesman, Rupert Colville, told reporters on Friday that Pillay condemns the indiscriminate firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel and is extremely concerned by the sharp increase in aerial attacks by Israeli forces on the heavily populated Gaza Strip.

With rockets from the Gaza Strip targeting Tel Aviv, Colville said Pillay ‘urges both sides to pull back from an increasingly dangerous confrontation.’

Israel targeted more than 130 locations in Gaza overnight on Thursday aimed at knocking out rocket-firing facilities which they say have been positioned close to schools and hospitals.

The conflict poses a test of Mr Mursi’s commitment to Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel, which the West views as the bedrock of Middle East peace.

On Thursday Foreign Secretary William Hague urged both Israel and the Palestinians to make efforts to halt the violence in Gaza, but made clear he believes Hamas bears the greatest responsibility for the current crisis, as well as the ability to bring it most swiftly to an end.

Mr Hague said he had spoken to the Egyptian foreign minister to urge him to use his country’s influence to try to negotiate a ‘meaningful’ ceasefire.

Protesters gathered near the Israeli embassy in London today condemned the British Government’s stance on the conflict in Gaza.

With placards, flags and chants, the activists branded Israel a ‘terror state’ and showed their solidarity with the people of the Palestinian enclave.

Speakers took to a podium to condemn the Government after Foreign Secretary William Hague said the Hamas regime in Gaza bore ‘principal responsibility’ for the escalation of violence.

Organisers claimed that ‘thousands’ of protesters had joined the rally.There was a major police presence in London’s Kensington area, with barriers and a gate blocking the road leading to the embassy.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2234343/Apocalypse-Now-Israel-bombards-Gaza-fifth-straight-day-nearly-1-000-airstrikes-paving-way-imminent-invasion.html#ixzz2CYvdvl8Q
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