European Parliament requests that Palestine be named Observer member of the U.N.

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 22, 2012

The full European Parliament (EP) today approved a joint resolution of the major political groups in the House that calls on the twenty-seven members and the international community to support the Palestinian Authority’s request to be member observer at the United Nations (UN).

This new dialogue between the Palestinian Authority and the UN “would be an important step for the visibility, strength and effectiveness of Palestinian claims,” ​​says the text adopted by the EP.

The EP urges, as on previous occasions, the EU governments and the EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton, to “play a more active political role in efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

In this regard, the EP supports diplomatic efforts to “create a credible prospect for the resumption of the peace process.” The Parliament, agreeing with Ashton, was in favor of the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders and Jerusalem as the capital of both.

This would be achieved, according to the text, “a State of Israel and an independent Palestinian state, democratic and viable Palestinian state coexisting in peace and security.”

Furthermore, the EP reiterated their call for the end of the blockade on the Gaza Strip through an “effective control mechanism to prevent arms smuggling
into Gaza, in recognition of the legitimate security needs of Israel.”

The document also asked “to take measures for the reconstruction and economic recovery of Gaza.”

After eight days of bombing, in which the Israeli military offensive in Gaza caused 163 dead and 1,225 wounded, while on the Israeli side five people
died and fifty were injured by the impact of projectiles fired from Gaza, the Egyptian Minister Foreign Mohamed Kamel Amr, announced a ceasefire on Wednesday. EP members welcomed the ceasefire and called for its full implementation.

Egypt will be the guarantor of compliance with the ceasefire agreement and will assess any comments submitted by the parties in this regard.

The EP expressly supported the resolution “the mediation efforts of Egypt and other agents for a quick ceasefire and lasting.”

The resolution was supported by European Conservatives, Social Democrats, Liberals and Greens. Only progressive and progressive left groups abstained from voting.

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Will Israel be held accountable for War crimes?

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 20, 2012

The question above is one that always comes to mind whenever a more powerful military force uses its might to destroy livelihoods anywhere in the planet. In the case of the Israeli regime, its despise for live, especially that of Arab people is simply horrendous, and that is why it is just fair to ask. During the latest attacks carried out by the Israeli army, almost 50 percent of innocent victims are children and women.

The sum of civilian deaths in Operation Defensive Pillar continues to rise inexorably. On Monday morning there was a score, and throughout the day another dozen were killed in different parts of the Gaza Strip. The total number of deaths already exceeds one hundred.

“What is happening here is a war crime,” said Salah Abed Alaty, a representative of the Independent Commission for Human Rights in the north of the Gaza Strip. “The international community can not remain indifferent to a massacre like this, especially women and children,” he adds, when suddenly leaps up to feel the rumble and flare caused by a Qassam rocket launched from a hundred yards of the Omar el Moktar Avenue.

Statistics are never the best way to provide an account of the damage and destruction caused by war, but according to the numbers compiled by the Ministry of Health in Gaza, most of the fatalities in the territory are children, women and the elderly. The same three groups are also an important minority among the wounded, which already hit 700. The indiscriminate killing of civilians in Gaza caused the official condemnation by the UNICEF and international NGOs present in the area. Such condemnation has never been heard so publicly in the past, which is why is relevant to ask whether this time, the murder carried out by the Israeli army will be punished.

On  Monday, four members of a family, including two children under four years of age, were killed in an Israeli air strike on a house in the town of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza. “Although a senior officer of the Qassam Brigades Ezadín had been in the building, there was no justification to destroy it,” said Abed Alaty, a lawyer who witnessed the attack. In his opinion, the alleged “extrajudicial execution” of a militia leader of Hamas is not enough to launch several missiles at the  building in which he was assumed to be.

Israel’s Air Force bombed a second time the building in Shuruq, Gaza City, which until Monday harbored Al Aqsa TV, which was linked to Hamas. In the same venue also operated crews from foreign channels such as Sky News and Al Arabiya.

Palestinian sources reported that at least two people died, one Ramiz Harb, leader of Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad. The Israeli military said in a statement that Harb was “responsible for the propaganda” of the militia. At least three other people were injured, including two journalists.

The tower was converted into a column of black smoke, and in dozens of soil and debris from broken glass objects. On Sunday, the tower next to the Al Shawa, which also hosted television producers serving international channels, was hit by an air to land missile. The director of the press office of the Hamas government, Ihab Al Ghusain says that the antennas were used exclusively for television. “The Israelis say masts served as the communications signal of our security forces,” he says. “But that’s silly, because these antennas are in the barracks and police stations, which are also being systematically bombed,” the spokesman stressed.

“We have come to the Beach Hotel,” said Mahmoud Jaber, the CEO of Palestinian Media Productions, the production company that was attacked on Monday for the second time. The new headquarters is a constant bustle of journalists, some are quick to come out with cameras, others stay glued to computer screens and connected to the radio, the most reliable source of information on the Strip.

“We believe that hotels are the safest, as host to foreign journalists and aid workers, so we have temporarily changed to Hotel Beach” concluded Jaber. The crisis is generating great benefits for the many direct connections prompted for foreign television. From the hotel, journalists follow the last-minute attempts in Cairo to reach a ceasefire through Egyptian mediation. The leader of the political wing of Hamas abroad, Khaled Meshal, and other members of the intelligence apparatus of the military require guarantees that Israel’s bombings will be halted.

Palestinians also called for an end to targeted killings against members of their militias and other armed groups in Gaza. The Israelis want to maintain control over the security zone near the border with Israel, which covers between 300 meters and a kilometer, but Hamas leaders have refused to accept such a request.

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United States plays along with Israel, sends warships to Mediterranean

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 20, 2012

Even though it is obvious that Israel’s goal is to use the military intervention in Gaza as a ploy to delay or postpone elections, the United States has decided to play the same game that the Israeli leadership started last week. The U.S. has now sent warships to the Middle East region in case it is necessary to evacuate people before and during an eventual attack from Gaza.

The Pentagon has ordered three of its warships in the Mediterranean to head for Israel in case people need to be evacuated. Those people include U.S. citizens, of course, who would be in danger should an escalation of violence occurred in the next few days. Although such escalation is unlikely to begin from the Palestinian side, Israel is acting as if the rocket launchers posted in Gaza pose a tantamount threat to the security of the country, when it is quite the opposite. Since the exchange of fire began last week, more a 100 Palestinians have died as a result of Israeli bombing on Gaza, and some 600 people were injured. Meanwhile, on the Israeli side, the number of dead did not reach a dozen.

Official U.S. sources said that the need to evacuate U.S. nationals is still “remote” and that the decision to send warships to the region was a “precautionary measure”. “It is better to be prepared if there is a need,” said the source, who insisted that the ships would be used only to help Americans and would have no combat role.

Currently, citizens who want to leave the region still can using commercial airlines, although this action demonstrates the increasing concern about the length that the conflict between Israel and Gaza may have. Egypt has volunteered to work as mediator and called both sides to be careful in the use of force, however, Egypt has already thrown its support behind the Palestinian people and Hamas, the terrorist organization fighting from within Gaza.

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on how to curb the escalating conflict in the Palestinian Gaza Strip, which has caused over a hundred deaths.

Repositioned vessels – the USS Iwo Jima, USS New York and USS Gunston Hall, were located west of the Straits of Gibraltar last week before being ordered by the Pentagon to change the course in the direction to the eastern Mediterranean, where they will remain for now.

Besides Egypt, Turkey and Iran have also spoken openly about their support for the Palestinian people. Both regimes have called Israel the “usual aggressor” and have said they will not stand calm if Israel launches full attacks or invades Gaza. The current conflict between Jews and Arabs began early last week, after Israel murdered one of Hamas’ leaders and threatened to take out all the other heads of the terrorist organization. The Israeli strike came in anticipation of the United Nations vote to allow Palestine to become an observer state in the organization, which the Israeli leadership opposes vehemently.

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Israel attacks Gaza and mercilessly murders innocent Arabs

The Israeli army uses white phosphorus bombs on the Arab population.

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 19, 2012

While Israeli warships bombarded Gaza from the sea, other Israeli forces pounded the headquarters of several media outlets in Gaza. In the meantime, from the West, usual supporters of the murderous Israeli leadership, have been warning that more attacks against defenseless Arabs on the Gaza Strip will result in more deterioration of the Jewish cause in the world. Both London and Washington asked the government led by Benjamin Netanyahu to show restraint.

However, the United States has also said that Israel has the right to defend itself from attacks carried out by Islamic terrorists, such as Hamas. This support from Washington has emboldened the Israeli leadership to take its military offensive to another level. The destruction of the Gaza Strip advances at a fast pace, as numerous and more frequent attacks pound the civilian population.

A supposed ceasefire brokered by the Egyptians gave some hope that the attacks against Gaza would stop, but Israel not only did not stop its large-scale attacks, but also enhanced the scope of its military operation called Defensive Pillar. Late last week, Egypt itself said it would stand with the Arabs in this conflict, but has not issued any direct warning about what will the country do if Israel does not stop the murder of Arabs in Gaza.

After Israel lit the match that made the latest round of attacks turn into a blood bath on the Arab side — with children bearing the brunt — by striking and killing a leader of Hamas last week, the terrorist organization initiated attacks that sought to avenge the death of its leader. In the last few hours seven Arab children have been killed by bombs, four of which were members of the same family. They are part of at least 26 Palestinians, many of them civilians, who have died this Sunday during the latest terrorist campaign by the Israeli regime on the population of Gaza.

Meanwhile, Palestinian rockets have again flown over the border separating Israel from the Palestinian territory, in the direction of Tel Aviv. The attacks have gone from being scarce and localized to turning into a shower of rockets that arrive from almost anywhere in the Gaza Strip. The number of people dead or injured in Israel is not even close to the result of the attacks led by the Israeli army, and neither is the destruction.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the Cabinet ministers that he is may unilaterally “expand the operation.” He did not offer many details, but the possibility of a ground invasion is gaining strength as the hours go by. In the afternoon, you could see clouds of soldiers hanging around southern Israel. The military has called some 75,000 army reservists to take part of the operation.

Operation Defensive Pillar also includes the mobilization of  tanks which are being loaded on trucks to be transported to the border. The  sound of sirens when a Palestinian rocket is shot from across the border warned Jewish people it was time to seek shelter, which at times turns the cities located near Gaza into ghost towns. The Palestinian people do not have the luxury to run underground and so more innocent civilians are so exposed to Israeli attacks. Both territories are now war zones.

The  British foreign secretary, William Hague, has warned Israel of the danger of launching a ground invasion in Gaza. Hague said that such action would put Israel in a very uncomfortable position in the eyes of the International community. A ground attack of Gaza would certainly increase the number of civilian casualties. Even U.S. President Barack Obama, who reiterated his support for Israel also considered it “better” if Israel kept its heavy artillery inside its own territory.

News of a possible ground incursion caused the neighbors to the north of the Gaza Strip to flee in terror. The streets of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia, northern territory, offered on Sunday a ghostly image. There was not a soul. It was as if a bomb had fallen. A little further south, on the outskirts of Gaza City, was where the
Israeli air force had destroyed the house of Mohamed Dalu, a suspected member of the Islamist movement Hamas, which rules Gaza and whose leaders are seldom heard of these days. Nine members of Dalu’s family died with him, including four children.

The Israeli armed forces amounted to fifty the number of targets hit on Sunday. These “underground stations and tunnels are used for terrorist purposes”. In
total, at least 72 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed since Wednesday, which shows the disproportionate levels of the Israeli attacks. There are also more than 500 people wounded in Gaza, according to Palestinian hospital sources.

The Israeli chief of staff, Benny Gantz, had ordered the bombing to be intensified on Sunday over the Gaza Strip, amid rumors of a possible imminent ceasefire mediated by Egypt. The facts on the ground contradict — at least temporarily — what has been allegedly said from Cairo. What happened in Gaza on Saturday night and into Sunday was definitely nothing like a truce. The Israeli army attacked by sea and air. The bombings of the F-16 he accompanied the bombing of the Israeli navy, whose ships were just off the Gaza coast. Attacks on Gaza arrived in rounds of three or four shots, which after a few moments were followed by the impact of the bombs over Arab territory.

Israeli  Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said at a news conference that after talks with his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, he made it clear that the first
condition for any ceasefire agreement is the complete cessation of rocket attacks against Israel.

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Israeli Offensive a distraction to postpone Election?

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 19, 2012

Several Likud ministers and leaders of the opposition Labour Party have raised the possibility of postponing the parliamentary elections of January 22 because the military offensive in Gaza. Note that they are turning the latest Israeli offensive into an excuse to not hold the scheduled elections. From outside Israel however, it is easy to see how this offensive was launched to postpone the election and keep as much of Likud’s influence in place for a later military offensive in the region.

“We have to consider the possibility of postponing the primaries to avoid jeopardizing the voters,” said Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, the Likud leader, according to a report published today by the newspaper “Yediot Aharonot”. How many times in history have governments created threats to further their agendas? How many times have they caused conflict to stay in power so that those agendas can be furthered without delay?

Although most media outlets which bother to do some analysis on the Israeli-Palestinian situation think this military offensive is all about the possibility that the United Nations recognizes Palestine as an observer member within that entity, Israel’s military offensive is just a tool to provoke Islamic radicalism to attack Israel so the so-called leaders of the Jewish people have an excuse to perpetuate their power for a longer period. That will enable them to solidify their footing so that they are able launch larger attacks on Israel’s neighbors.

Erdan had joined this weekend other members of government and members of Likud, the party headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a proposal that could also be supported by the Labour Party, led by Sheli Yajimovich.

A considerable part of officials and activists involved in the preparation of the Labor primaries have been enrolled within the quota of 75,000 reservists called Friday by the Israeli government in preparation to invade Gaza.

“There is no doubt that this is an extraordinary mobilization of key people in our ranks,” said Yajimovich, who asked to wait until they return from the border with Gaza. The problem say party leaders, the only ones that still need to have their primaries, is not only one of organization, but also of security, they say. How could we ask voters to go to the streets to vote amid rocket attacks from Gaza?” said Erdan. The Minister forgot that it was Israel who started the latest round of attacks by murdering one of the most influential leaders of Hamas. Israel also made inflamatory comments about how the country planned to bomb Gaza and murder Arab people and their leaders.

The inability to hold primaries would prevent the parties to submit lists of candidates to Parliament before December 6, as required by the electoral law, which would require delaying the elections on January 22. Isn’t this coincidentally convenient? What a better way to make sure the current murdering policy of the Israeli government is maintained than to postpone elections so that the same murderers who now occupy positions of power get to stay in office to prolong the Arab-Israeli conflict?

By the way, given recent criticism about our coverage of the Israeli-Arab conflict, we’d like to clarify that when criticising Israel’s murderous campaigns against innocent Arab populations, we describe the actions of the Israeli leaders, not the Israeli people. As mentioned in several written in the last three years, the leaders of Israel do not represent the Jewish people, but their own interests to destabilize the Middle East region to balkanize the population even further as a way to justify the mass murder of both Jews and Arabs. So, there is not anti-Semitism here.

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