6 August 2014

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Ynet

In op-ed written for Foreign Policy, former US president accuses Israel of ‘deliberate attacks on civilians’ saying there was ‘no humane or legal justification for the way the IDF are conducting this war.’

Former US president Jimmy Carter has called on the United States and EU to recognize Hamas as “not just a military but also a political force” in an op-ed written for Foreign Policy on Monday.

“Hamas cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise. Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor – one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people – can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons,” Carter writes.

In his op-ed, the former president accuses Israel of “deliberate attacks on civilians,” saying these are war crimes.

“There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war. Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery have pulverized large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools, and hospitals. More than 250,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinian noncombatants have been killed. Much of Gaza has lost access to water and electricity completely. This is a humanitarian catastrophe,” he writes.

While he does lay the blame on Hamas for doing the same – indiscriminately targeting Israeli civilians – he draws a comparison between the number of casualties on both sides.

“However, three Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinian rockets, while an overwhelming majority of the 1,600 Palestinians killed have been civilians, including more than 330 children. The need for international judicial proceedings to investigate and end these violations of international law should be taken very seriously,” he asserts.

Carter pledges his support to the Palestinian unity government, calling it “one of the most encouraging developments in recent years.”

Carter also urges the UN Security Council to vote on a resolution “recognizing the inhumane conditions in Gaza and mandate an end to the siege.”

He stipulates the need for international monitors to control Gaza’s border crossings, as well as report on ceasefire violations, calling for the reinstatement of the EU Border Assistance Mission that was launched in 2005 and suspended in 2007, when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip after a Palestinian civil war.

6 August 2014

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In These Time

By: Noam Chomsky

‘We have no dignity, no pride; we are just soft targets, and we are very cheap. Either this situation really improves or it is better to just die.’

Amid all the horrors unfolding in the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza, Israel’s goal is simple: quiet-for-quiet, a return to the norm.

For the West Bank, the norm is that Israel continues its illegal construction of settlements and infrastructure so that it can integrate into Israel whatever might be of value, meanwhile consigning Palestinians to unviable cantons and subjecting them to repression and violence.

For Gaza, the norm is a miserable existence under a cruel and destructive siege that Israel administers to permit bare survival but nothing more.

The latest Israeli rampage was set off by the brutal murder of three Israeli boys from a settler community in the occupied West Bank. A month before, two Palestinian boys were shot dead in the West Bank city of Ramallah. That elicited little attention, which is understandable, since it is routine.

“The institutionalized disregard for Palestinian life in the West helps explain not only why Palestinians resort to violence,” Middle East analyst Mouin Rabbani reports, “but also Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip.”

In an interview, human rights lawyer Raji Sourani, who has remained in Gaza through years of Israeli brutality and terror, said, “The most common sentence I heard when people began to talk about cease-fire: Everybody says it’s better for all of us to die and not go back to the situation we used to have before this war. We don’t want that again. We have no dignity, no pride; we are just soft targets, and we are very cheap. Either this situation really improves or it is better to just die. I am talking about intellectuals, academics, ordinary people: Everybody is saying that.”

In January 2006, Palestinians committed a major crime: They voted the wrong way in a carefully monitored free election, handing control of Parliament to Hamas.

The media constantly intone that Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. In reality, Hamas leaders have repeatedly made it clear that Hamas would accept a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus that has been blocked by the U.S. and Israel for 40 years.

In contrast, Israel is dedicated to the destruction of Palestine, apart from some occasional meaningless words, and is implementing that commitment.

The crime of the Palestinians in January 2006 was punished at once. The U.S. and Israel, with Europe shamefully trailing behind, imposed harsh sanctions on the errant population and Israel stepped up its violence.

The U.S. and Israel quickly initiated plans for a military coup to overthrow the elected government. When Hamas had the effrontery to foil the plans, the Israeli assaults and the siege became far more severe.

There should be no need to review again the dismal record since. The relentless siege and savage attacks are punctuated by episodes of “mowing the lawn,” to borrow Israel’s cheery expression for its periodic exercises in shooting fish in a pond as part of what it calls a “war of defense.”

Once the lawn is mowed and the desperate population seeks to rebuild somehow from the devastation and the murders, there is a cease-fire agreement. The most recent cease-fire was established after Israel’s October 2012 assault, called Operation Pillar of Defense.

Though Israel maintained its siege, Hamas observed the cease-fire, as Israel concedes. Matters changed in April of this year when Fatah and Hamas forged a unity agreement that established a new government of technocrats unaffiliated with either party.

Israel was naturally furious, all the more so when even the Obama administration joined the West in signaling approval. The unity agreement not only undercuts Israel’s claim that it cannot negotiate with a divided Palestine but also threatens the long-term goal of dividing Gaza from the West Bank and pursuing its destructive policies in both regions.

Something had to be done, and an occasion arose on June 12, when the three Israeli boys were murdered in the West Bank. Early on, the Netanyahu government knew that they were dead, but pretended otherwise, which provided the opportunity to launch a rampage in the West Bank, targeting Hamas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed to have certain knowledge that Hamas was responsible. That too was a lie.

One of Israel’s leading authorities on Hamas, Shlomi Eldar, reported almost at once that the killers very likely came from a dissident clan in Hebron that has long been a thorn in the side of Hamas. Eldar added that “I’m sure they didn’t get any green light from the leadership of Hamas, they just thought it was the right time to act.”

The 18-day rampage after the kidnapping, however, succeeded in undermining the feared unity government, and sharply increasing Israeli repression. Israel also conducted dozens of attacks in Gaza, killing five Hamas members on July 7.

Hamas finally reacted with its first rockets in 19 months, providing Israel with the pretext for Operation Protective Edge on July 8.

By July 31, around 1,400 Palestinians had been killed, mostly civilians, including hundreds of women and children. And three Israeli civilians. Large areas of Gaza had been turned into rubble. Four hospitals had been attacked, each another war crime.

Israeli officials laud the humanity of what it calls “the most moral army in the world,” which informs residents that their homes will be bombed. The practice is “sadism, sanctimoniously disguising itself as mercy,” in the words of Israeli journalist Amira Hass: “A recorded message demanding hundreds of thousands of people leave their already targeted homes, for another place, equally dangerous, 10 kilometers away.”

In fact, there is no place in the prison of Gaza safe from Israeli sadism, which may even exceed the terrible crimes of Operation Cast Lead in 2008 to 2009.

The hideous revelations elicited the usual reaction from the most moral president in the world, Barack Obama: great sympathy for Israelis, bitter condemnation of Hamas and calls for moderation on both sides.

When the current attacks are called off, Israel hopes to be free to pursue its criminal policies in the occupied territories without interference, and with the U.S. support it has enjoyed in the past.

Gazans will be free to return to the norm in their Israeli-run prison, while in the West Bank, Palestinians can watch in peace as Israel dismantles what remains of their possessions.

That is the likely outcome if the U.S. maintains its decisive and virtually unilateral support for Israeli crimes and its rejection of the long-standing international consensus on diplomatic settlement. But the future will be quite different if the U.S. withdraws that support.

In that case it would be possible to move toward the “enduring solution” in Gaza that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for, eliciting hysterical condemnation in Israel because the phrase could be interpreted as calling for an end to Israel’s siege and regular attacks. And—horror of horrors—the phrase might even be interpreted as calling for implementation of international law in the rest of the occupied territories.

Forty years ago Israel made the fateful decision to choose expansion over security, rejecting a full peace treaty offered by Egypt in return for evacuation from the occupied Egyptian Sinai, where Israel was initiating extensive settlement and development projects. Israel has adhered to that policy ever since.

If the U.S. decided to join the world, the impact would be great. Over and over, Israel has abandoned cherished plans when Washington has so demanded. Such are the relations of power between them.

Furthermore, Israel by now has little recourse, after having adopted policies that turned it from a country that was greatly admired to one that is feared and despised, policies it is pursuing with blind determination today in its march toward moral deterioration and possible ultimate destruction.

Could U.S. policy change? It’s not impossible. Public opinion has shifted considerably in recent years, particularly among the young, and it cannot be completely ignored.

For some years there has been a good basis for public demands that Washington observe its own laws and cut off military aid to Israel. U.S. law requires that “no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”

Israel most certainly is guilty of this consistent pattern, and has been for many years.

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, author of this provision of the law, has brought up its potential applicability to Israel in specific cases, and with a well-conducted educational, organizational and activist effort such initiatives could be pursued successively.

That could have a very significant impact in itself, while also providing a springboard for further actions to compel Washington to become part of “the international community” and to observe international law and norms.

Nothing could be more significant for the tragic Palestinian victims of many years of violence and repression.

6 August 2014

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The Hill

Israel’s military offensive in Gaza and the mounting toll of civilian casualties has become a divisive issue in Hollywood as well as in Washington.

Film, music and sports celebrities have stepped up their criticism of Israeli military strikes, which have led to the deaths of more than 1,800 Palestinians.

Actor John Cusack over the weekend re-tweeted an article comparing conditions in Gaza to those in Soweto, a black township in South Africa, during apartheid.

Cusack, who starred in “High Fidelity” and “Bullets Over Broadway,” also declared on Twitter, “Mass bombing of civilians is wrong no matter who does it – ok?”

Actors Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz signed a letter published in a Spanish newspaper that denounced the Israeli offensive as “genocide.”

Mark Ruffalo, who played the Hulk in “The Avengers,” has used Twitter to highlight the destruction of the el-Wafa hospital in Gaza and called “blowing up” hospitals something he thought “all human beings could agree was off limits.”

Actress Mia Farrow questioned why Israeli forces are bombing homes in Gaza while claiming a primary objective of their campaign is to shut down tunnels used by Hamas fighters. She has suggested the offensive will spawn more violence.

“What is Israel’s long-term plan for Gaza? They can’t kill everyone. Those who survive can never forget. They will want to be martyrs,” she wrote on Twitter.

Jonathan Demme, who won an Oscar for directing “Silence of the Lambs,” has spoken up for Palestinians caught in Israeli air strikes.

“I don’t see this as being politics or statehood for Palestine or Hamas,” Demme told The Associated Press. “I think it’s about taking innocent lives and the destruction of a culture. … I’ve never been ashamed of my pacifist point of view of things at any time since I became a card-carrying hippie back in the ’60s.”

Singer-songwriter John Legend said he was “so sick of watching our secretary of State have to grovel so hard to tell Israel how much he loves them while Israeli cabinet sh—ts on him.”

Rob Schneider, a veteran of “Saturday Night Live” who went on to play Deuce Bigalow, tweeted, “To not be outraged at the killing of children is to risk your very soul. #Gaza.”

Members of Congress have generally been quick to back Israel’s war as justified, and the Obama administration has repeatedly underlined Israel’s right to defend itself.

Still, there has been some sharp criticism in recent days from the Obama administration over Israeli strikes that have killed civilians.

On Sunday, the State Department issued a statement criticizing as “disgraceful” an Israeli strike outside a United Nations-operated school and shelter that killed 10 Palestinians.

President Obama, who has received campaign contributions from many of the stars criticizing Israel’s actions, said Friday that “innocent civilians in Gaza caught in the crossfire have to weigh on our conscience.”

Many of the celebrities who have criticized the military offensive in Gaza have given campaign contributions to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks fundraising.

Other celebrities have defended Israel’s actions and slammed fellow stars who have suggested Israel has shown little regard for civilian casualties.

Jon Voight slammed Bardem and Cruz in a guest column for the Hollywood Reporter.

“I am heartsick that people like Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused,” he wrote.

“You should hang hour heads in shame,” he added. “You should all come forth with deep regrets for what you did and ask forgiveness from the suffering people in Israel.”

Bardem and Cruz, who are married, have backed off their public criticism since it was published.

Bardem said his decision to sign the letter was “solely meant as a plea for peace.”

“Destruction and hatred only generate more hatred and destruction,” he added.

Cruz conceded, “I’m not an expert on the situation” and said her only wish in signing it was “the hope that there will be peace in both Israel and Gaza.”

Charlie Barrett, the founder of The Barrett Company, a publicity firm based in Los Angeles that represents television and motion picture industry clients, said celebrities who weigh in on Gaza won’t likely see any negative impact on their careers.

“If a film producer wants to cast someone in a film, I don’t think they think so much about their politics, they think about the kind of artist they are,” he said.

Barrett said the publicity from speaking out on Gaza or another highly charged political issue does not have any benefit but it likely doesn’t cause damage either.

“I don’t think it’s good probably, from what I’ve read and heard but I frankly don’t know of any case where someone’s career was destroyed by their politics or something they may believe in,” he said.

Schneider, however, tweeted on Monday that he suspects some powerful Hollywood players might want to retaliate against actors and directors who have spoken out against the military campaign.

“Jon Voight is proof that Hollywood is always ready to start a new Blacklist!” he wrote.

6 August 2014

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TMI

The refusal of Khalid Ibrahim to tender his resignation as Menteri Besar of Selangor is disobedience to the express direction of his political party, PKR, and is without precedent.  Malaysia’s system of parliamentary democracy from Merdeka has been based on political parties, or, more accurately, coalitions.  The Alliance coalition comprising Umno, MCA and MIC representing the 3 principal races negotiated independence, and became the governing coalition in 1957.  In 1974, the Alliance transformed into the Barisan Nasional (“BN”), which is now a 14 party coalition.

In the early decades of independence, the opposition parties were fragmented, disunited and never presented an alternative coalition to BN for the Malaysian electorate to choose.  Whether it was PMIP (as PAS used to be known).  DAP, the Labour Front or the PPP, multiple candidates stood for general elections to the benefit of BN.  The establishment of the Pakatan coalition and the decision to field a single candidate in every constituency on the Pakatan platform nationwide meant that both in GE12 and GE13 Malaysian voters had, in effect, a choice of 2 coalitions.  It is now accepted that Pakatan can become the federal government of the day.

In GE13, 1,744,620 votes were cast for the 56 seats in the Selangor State Legislative Assembly.  Out of that total, 1,050,664 (60.22%) votes went to Pakatan, while 693,956 (39.78%) were cast for BN.  Pakatan won 44 seats, and Umno secured 12 seats.  No other BN component party won a seat in Selangor in May 2013.  The 60% support for Pakatan in Selangor was well over the 52% it received nationally.  But more significantly, very few of the 1 million odd votes who voted for Pakatan in Selangor voted for any individual candidate.  Neither did many vote because Khalid was going to be returned as menteri besar.  Instead, the vast majority voted for the Pakatan coalition.  That is the political reality surrounding the Khalid problem.

Just like voters of Selangor did not vote for Khalid to become menteri besar in 2008 or 2013, the political reality is that voters have no say in his dismissal from office.  Thus, the 6 Prime Ministers and all the Menteri Besar in all the states of Malaysia have been nominated by their party, and some likewise removed.  The Westminster system that we follow is not presidential in nature, and personalities are not critical.  Can one imagine any Umno Menteri Besar refusing to obey his political masters if they directed him to resign.  It would be unthinkable.

Even the once mighty Harun Idris was removed by Umno as Selangor menteri besar in the mid-1970s.  Umno changed its menteri besar in Terengganu as recently as May 2014, with Razif Rahman replacing Ahmad Said.  Removal from political office by one’s own political party across the democratic world is never rational, but is an occupational hazard:  remember Margaret Thatcher, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.

However, the sad fact is that party discipline does not seem to exist in PKR.  The 3 line whip system, which is essential for a proper running of a parliamentary democracy system, obviously does not operate with them.  Anwar Ibrahim and other senior PKR leaders realized very quickly after GE13 that they had erred in re-appointing Khalid for a second term.  Rather than just removing Khalid, as Umno and any other self-respecting political party would have done, the very complex “Kajang move” was set in motion.  When Anwar was announced as the Kajang candidate with the objective of replacing Khalid as Menteri Besar, Umno was spooked.  The prison sentence imposed by the Court of Appeal disqualified Anwar.  That explains the candidacy of Wan Azizah.

If Khalid expects to stave off a motion of no confidence in the Selangor State Assembly, he would have to rely on the 12 Umno votes and all the 15 PAS votes.  With his vote, a tie would ensue.  But that would signal the end of Khalid’s political career because he would be expelled from PKR, and would become either an independent member or a member of Umno or PAS.  PAS has intimated that it will finally decide on its position on Khalid on Sunday, 10th August.  PAS has a straight-forward choice:  Khalid or Pakatan, that is, an individual or a political coalition.  PAS should remember that the voters of Selangor elected the Pakatan coalition, and pushing the state to snap polls just 15 months after GE13 is not in the interests of Selangor and its electorate.

In any event, Umno as a wily, experienced political party may not be happy to go to bed with PAS and Khalid.  Any pact between PAS and Umno cannot be limited to Selangor; instead, it will have national repercussions.  Umno is aware of such baggage.  The 1974-78 partnership between Umno and PAS had left scars on both sides of the divide.  Finally, one must not assume that all the 15 PAS Assemblymen will take a united position on Khalid, and public factions in PAS may emerge.

The golden rule in politics is that a leader who has lost the confidence of his political party must resign.  Khalid can thus avoid all these eventualities if he behaved honorably and resigned.  It is still not too late to save his reputation.

5 August 2014

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KENYATAAN MEDIA
5 OGOS 2014

Pakatan tidak akan berkompromi pada prinsip-prinsip dasar

Banyak telah diperkatakan semenjak beberapa minggu lalu akan kemungkinan pecahnya Pakatan Rakyat akibat pergeseran di antara PKR dan PAS berkenaan dengan pilihan calon Menteri Besar Selangor.

Ingin saya menegaskan bahawa Pakatan Rakyat tidak akan berpecah semata-mata kerana pilihan calon Menteri Besar. Sebaliknya, PR boleh dan akan hanya berpecah sekiranya ada parti komponennya yang sanggup berkompromi dalam prinsip-prinsip dasar seperti kewibawaan, ketelusan dan kebertanggungjawaban di dalam pengurusan kerajaan.

Atas prinsip-prinsip inilah Pakatan Rakyat dizahirkan sebagai sebuah kerajaan alternatif untuk rakyat. Prinsip-prinsip ini juga telah dicabuli oleh kerajaan BN ketika ianya berkuasa pada lima dekad yang lalu.

Keputusan PRU ke-12 pada 8 Mac 2008 telah menunjukkan dengan jelas bahawa perjuangan PR yang berpaksikan di atas prinsip-prinsip ini telah diterima baik oleh rakyat yang rata-ratanya mengharapkan sebuah kerajaan yang bersih, berprinsip dan bersungguh-sungguh dalam membela kepentingan rakyat.

Dalam usaha murni ini, gabungan Pakatan bersama dengan semua yang menyokong usaha ini telah bersama-sama menggembleng tenaga pada PRU ke-13 dalam menghadapi cabaran amat hebat untuk terus memberikan harapan kepada rakyat Malaysia. Usaha kita tidak sia-sia, kerana kita telah memenangi jiwa dan minda majoriti pengundi Malaysia walaupun kita dihalang daripada membentuk sebuah kerajaan.

Perkara penting yang perlu difahami adalah sebuah pakatan pembangkang yang kuat telah berjaya menekan kerajaan untuk menjadi lebih bertanggungjawab dan mengekang sebahagian daripada keborosan mereka. Bagaimanapun, perjuangan untuk sebuah kerajaan yang benar-benar bersih dan telus masih perlu diteruskan.

Kekuatan ini tidak boleh dibina atas dasar keinginan dan impian semata, lebih bahaya lagi sekiraya kekuatan ini dilandaskan dengan perasaan curiga, dendam dan irihati. Ianya perlu dibina atas iltizam dan kenyakinan, dan inilah kekuatan yang telah mendorong rakan kongsi PR untuk berjuang bersama-sama pada PRU 13 yang lalu.

Justeru, kita perlu menyatukan kekuatan ini untuk terus kekal bersama dan terus menolak sebarang percubaan untuk memecahbelahkan kita. Setiap parti di dalam gabungan ini wajib menghormati sebarang keputusan yang dicapai selepas rundingan bersama. Kegagalan untuk menghormati dan menunaikan kewajipan ini bakal memaksa kita membuat beberapa keputusan yang sukar.
Persefahaman akan hak lantikan MB Selangor telahpun wujud di kalangan pimpinan PR, sepertimana PKR juga telah bersetuju akan hak parti-parti lain dalam membuat keputusan yang sama di negeri-negeri lain. Persefahaman ini wajib dipatuhi.

Kita yakin bahawa isu MB Selangor ini akan diselesaikan dengan baik sesuai dengan semangat Pakatan Rakyat, samada diselesaikan melalui proses peralihan yang lancar, undi tidak percaya mahupun pilihanraya. Namun begitu, tidak ada sebarang keperluan untuk mengadakan pilihanraya kerana Barisan hanya ada 12 kerusi di kalangan 56 kerusi DUN dan PRU-13 hanya diadakan kira-kira 15 bulan yang lalu.

Walaubagaimanapun, sekiranya pilihanraya terpaksa dilakukan, Pakatan telah bersedia untuk menghadapi para pengundi dan berkeyakinan penuh bahawa rakyat Selangor akan sekali lagi menyokong kita.

Kita juga bimbang akan nada perkauman dan perpecahan yang disuarakan oleh segelintir pimpinan kecil Pakatan yang jelasnya mencabuli nilai-nilai asas PR. Kami berpendapat bahawa tindakan disiplin yang sewajarnya perlu diambil ke atas golongan ini.
Rakyat perlu diyakinkan bahawa sekiranya beberapa keputusan sukar perlu dibuat, ianya akan dibuat hanya setelah mengambilkira kepentingan rakyat dan dibuat untuk maslahah atau kepentingan rakyat. Samada kita hilang sokongan akibat pendirian yang kita ambil, kita akan terus beristiqamah dan komited dengan matlamat untuk membentuk Malaysia yang lebih adil, bebas korupsi dan benar-benar demokratik.

Jaminan kita adalah bahawa kita tidak akan sesekali menyimpang daripada nilai-nilai asas dan kita akan terus memastikan kepentingan rakyat tetap didahulukan.

Kita yakin dan percaya bahawa peristiwa ini akan terus mematangkan dan memperkasakan kita. Rakyat telah menaruh kepercayaan kepada kita dan kita wajib memastikan kita wajar dipercayai dan kepercayaan rakyat jangan kita khianati.
Walau apapun yang bakal berlaku, Pakatan, bersandarkan tekad rakyat, akan terus bertahan! Insya Allah!

ANWAR IBRAHIM

5 August 2014

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PRESS STATEMENT
5 AUGUST 2014

Pakatan will never compromise on core principles

Much has been said over the past weeks on the possible break-up of Pakatan Rakyat particularly on account of the friction between PKR and PAS over the choice of Menteri Besar for Selangor.

Let me reiterate my position: Pakatan Rakyat will not break up because of the choice of MB but it can and it will break up if any of its component parties compromises on its core principles, of integrity, transparency and accountability in government.

It was on these principles that Pakatan Rakyat was formed to provide an alternative choice of government for the people, the very principles that the BN government have violated for the past five decades of power.

Indeed the results of the 12th GE on March 8, 2008 showed beyond the shadow of a doubt that Pakatan’s struggle anchored on those principles resonated with the people and their yearning for a government that is clean, principled and dedicated to the interests of all citizens.

In this great effort, all in the Pakatan coalition as well as those supportive of our efforts worked tirelessly together in the 13th GE, against tremendous odds, to give hope to the people of Malaysia. All our efforts have not been in vain; we won the hearts and minds of the majority of the Malaysian voters although we were prevented from forming Government.

But what is of the greatest importance is that a strong opposition has forced the government to be more accountable and restrained some of their excesses, although the fight for a truly clean, transparent government is far from over.
This strength cannot be built on whims and fancies, let alone mistrust, grudge or envy. It was built on commitment and conviction and it was this strength that propelled the coalition partners to fight side by side in GE13.

The coalition must therefore consolidate this strength to remain together and resist all attempts to break it apart. Each member party of the coalition must therefore respect collective decisions made after consultation. Failure to respect and honour this principle of adherence may warrant some difficult decisions to be made.

The Pakatan Rakyat leadership had an understanding as to whose call it was to appoint the MB for Selangor, just as we have respected the right of other parties to make that decision in other states. That understanding must be adhered to.
We are confident that the Selangor MB issue will be resolved amicably in the true Pakatan spirit; either through a smooth transition, a vote of no-confidence or even if snap elections is called. There are no objective reasons for such an election, given that Barisan has only 12 seats in the 56 member House, and the GE13 was held just 15 months ago.
Nonetheless, if snap elections are called despite these critical facts, Pakatan is ready to face the electorate, and are confident that the rakyat of Selangor will again support us.

We are equally concerned at the divisive and racist tone by some minor Pakatan leaders that completely violate the core values of our coalition. We believe the appropriate disciplinary action should be directed against such members.
The rakyat must be left in no doubt that if tough decisions have to be made, they will be made in the best interests of the rakyat and for the sake of the rakyat. Whether or not we lose support for the stand we take, we will be forever committed to the goal of a just, corruption-free and truly democratic Malaysia.
What we can assure is that we will NEVER deviate from our core values and we will always put the interests of the rakyat first.

We are certain that we will emerge stronger from these events. The rakyat have put their trust in us, and we will ensure that we are worthy of that trust.

Whatever happens, Pakatan, whose bedrock is the will of the people, will endure! Insya Allah!

ANWAR IBRAHIM

4 August 2014

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PRESS RELEASE

4 AUGUST 2014

Gag Order On Banknote Bribery Case Shocking

The recent gag order prohibiting mention of Asian government officials who may have been offered bribes is both unprecedented and shocking.

Apart from violating a fundamental principle of press freedom, the suppression order also runs counter to the practice of good governance which, among other things, prescribes transparency in dealings among public officials and accountability for their actions.

We fail to see how such a prohibition would advance the cause of good governance aside from serving to protect certain vested interests. In this regard, the continued pursuance by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the gag order must be seen as condoning corruption in high places.

Not only has the Australian public a right to know but considering that it may involve ‘no less than 3 generations of Malaysian Prime Ministers’, the people of Malaysia too have legitimate expectations that all relevant facts and details be made known in the most transparent manner possible.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

Read more: Australia bans reporting of multi-nation corruption case involving Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam https://wikileaks.org/aus-suppression-order/

4 August 2014

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Independent

Israel’s ‘dream of Israeli and Palestinian children playing together’ is somewhat hypocritcal when you look at the 230 children killed in Gaza

To many readers the New York Times coverage of the war in Gaza comes across as neutered or as having a pro-Israeli bias. But not to Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador in Washington, who lambasts the paperfor failing “to mention that a million Israelis were in bomb shelters yesterday as 100 rockets were fired at our civilian population.”

Mr Dermer is considered so close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he has been called “Bibi’s brain”. He is also a former student and employee of Frank Luntz, the Republican strategist who produced a confidential booklet in 2009, promptly leaked, advising Israeli spokesmen how best to manipulate American and European public opinion. “Don’t confuse messages with facts,” Dr Luntz advises the spokesmen as he explains how facts should be selected and best presented to make Israel’s case.

It is a sophisticated document based on wide-ranging opinion polls, suggesting, for instance, that the removal of Israeli settlements from the West Bank should be denounced as “a kind of ethnic cleansing”. Dr Luntz stresses that spokesmen must demonise Hamas, but above all emphasise that they feel for the sufferings of Palestinians as well as Israelis. As a sample of what they should say, he gives: “The day will come when Israeli children and Palestinian children will grow up together, play together, and work together side-by-side not just because they have to but because they want to.”

The problem about this approach is that it sounds particularly hypocritical when, according to Unicef, 230 children have been killed in Gaza, an average of ten a day, and 2,000 have been wounded by Israeli bombs, shells and bullets. Israeli spokesmen are now denying their responsibility for the most notorious and televised atrocities such as the strike on the UN hospital last week. This is an old PR tactic, though not one recommended by Dr Luntz, which is sometime referred to as “first you say no story, then you say old story”. In other words, deny everything in the teeth of the evidence on day one and, by the time definitive proof of the massacre comes through, nobody notices when you have to admit responsibility.

A problem here is that propaganda that works in a short war comes back to haunt you in a longer one. This is now happening in Gaza. Israeli air and artillery strikes and Hamas mortars and rockets are often presented as if they balanced each other out in terms of lethality. But the most important statistic here is that some 1,100 Palestinians have been killed as opposed to three civilians in Israel.

Despite his tutoring by Dr Luntz, Mr Dermer only speaks these days to the converted. Attending a Christians United for Israel Summit in Washington he replied to protesters who called him a “war criminal” by saying that “the truth is that the Israeli Defence Forces should be given a Nobel Peace Prize”. Stuff like this may explain why a Gallup poll shows that among Americans aged between 18 and 29 some 51 per cent said Israel’s actions were unjustified while only 23 per cent said they were.

For all the good advice of Dr Luntz there are signs of Israeli leaders getting rattled. Mr Netanyahu complained on CNN that Hamas wants “to pile up as many civilian dead as they can” and “to use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause.” Even the best propaganda machine cannot explain away massacres of civilians as happened in Lebanon at Sabra and Shatila in 1982 and at Qana in 1996 and 2006.

 

4 August 2014

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Independent

Actual context should have a bigger say in the BBC’s coverage

The war raging in Gaza is the third in six years. War is probably the wrong word to describe the confrontation between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement that rules the Gaza Strip, given the huge asymmetry of power between them. Nor does “asymmetric warfare” adequately convey the full measure of inequality between the two sides.

The biblical image of David and Goliath comes to mind, except that the roles have been reversed: a tiny and vulnerable Palestinian David faces a massively armed and overbearing Israeli Goliath. It is this asymmetry that makes the notion of “balance” problematic.

Invariably, the allegations of bias in the BBC’s coverage come from both the supporters of Israel and of the Palestinians. Listeners and viewers have complained in equal numbers that the corporation’s coverage was biased either towards Israel or towards the Palestinians.

BBC bosses say that if complaints are coming from both directions, they must be striking the right balance. But lack of balance is only one of several charges levelled at the broadcaster. Failure to put current events in their proper historical context is another.

Twelve days ago, some 5,000 people protested outside the BBC’s headquarters, demanding an end to pro-Israeli bias in its reporting. The demonstration was staged by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War, CND and others. A further 45,000 people signed an online petition, claiming that the corporation’s reporting of Israel’s aerial bombardment of Gaza was “entirely devoid of context or background”.

The importance of context was also noted in a 2006 report commissioned by the BBC governors from an independent panel, chaired by Sir Quentin Thomas, to assess its coverage. While exonerating the BBC of the charge of systematic bias, the Thomas report found “identifiable shortcomings, particularly in respect of gaps in coverage, analysis, context and perspective”.

The report noted the “failure to convey adequately the disparity in the Israeli and Palestinian experience, reflecting the fact that one side is in control and the other lives under occupation”. It also stated that “given this asymmetry, the BBC’s concern with balance gave an impression of equality between the two sides which was fundamentally, if unintentionally, misleading”.

To counter this tendency, the report recommended that the BBC “should make purposive, and not merely reactive, efforts to explain the complexities of the conflict in the round, including the marked disparity between the position of the two sides”.

The BBC’s coverage of the current crisis reflects a serious attempt to rectify some of these shortcomings. Reporters regularly highlight the unequal nature of the struggle in Gaza and the devastating impact of the Israeli offensive on the enclave. Israeli spokesmen still receive more than their fair share of airtime but, as civilian casualties mount, they are challenged more robustly.

Nevertheless, presenters too often stick to the “justified but disproportionate response” paradigm, espoused by the UK government. Pressure on the BBC governors by Israel’s vocal supporters in Britain continues to play its part in inducing self-censorship and inhibiting criticism.

This last issue is one faced by the media in general. Israel is infinitely stronger than Hamas not only in military terms but also in its capacity to wage the propaganda war. It is sometimes said that history is the propaganda of the victors. Because it is the stronger party, Israel is better placed to impose its narrative not only on the past but also on the present. And to me, as a revisionist Israeli historian, this narrative appears fundamentally flawed.

The origins of the current war in Gaza is a case in point. As always, Israel claims to be acting in self-defence, blaming the victims of its military aggression for their own misfortunes. Yet the basic cause for this war is the 47-year-old Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

True, in 2005 Israel carried out a unilateral disengagement of Gaza. But, under international law, it remains the occupying power because it continues to control access to the strip by land, sea and air. An occupying power has a legal obligation to protect civilians in the areas it controls, yet Israel has been shelling and killing them.

Israel claims its most recent incursion into Gaza was a response to Hamas rocket attacks. Here are some facts that do not fit comfortably into the narrative of a peace-loving nation that is up against a fanatical, murderous terrorist organisation. In 2006, Hamas won a fair and free Palestinian election and formed a government, seeking a long-term ceasefire with Israel. Israel refused to negotiate.

In 2007, Hamas and Fatah formed a national unity government with the same agenda. Israel resorted to economic warfare to undermine this government and encouraged Fatah to stage a coup to drive Hamas from power. Hamas pre-empted the coup with a violent seizure of power in Gaza.

In flagrant violation of international law, Israel then imposed a blockade (still in force today) on the 1.8 million inhabitants of Gaza. Four months ago, Hamas reached an accord with Fatah, and another national unity government was formed, this time without a single Hamas-affiliated member but with the old agenda of negotiating an end to the conflict with Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hysterically attacked it as a vote for terror, not for peace. He used the abduction of three Jewish teenagers on the West Bank as an excuse for a violent crackdown on Hamas supporters there, although Hamas had nothing to do with it. The Hamas rocket attacks were a response to this provocation.

The last thing Netanyahu and his right-wing colleagues want is a united and moderate Palestinian national leadership. Undermining the unity government is one of the undeclared objectives of the current assault. Israel’s spin doctors trumpeted its acceptance and Hamas’s rejection of an Egyptian ceasefire proposal. Hamas, however, could not accept this proposal because it left the savage siege in place.

It is difficult to resist the conclusion that Israel’s real objective in unleashing this offensive is to bomb Hamas into a humiliating surrender. Israel’s ultimate aim seems to be not a just peace but the reimposition of the status quo with a fragmented Palestine and with itself as an imperial overlord. The BBC may be forgiven for having difficulty in explaining this staggeringly unequal conflict in all its complexity. It is an extremely tough conflict to cover well.

27 July 2014

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Bismillahirrahmanirrahim.

Allahu akbar. Allahu akbar. Allahu akbar.
Wallillailhamd.

Segala puji kita panjatkan ke hadrat Ilahi, setelah sebulan Ramadhan diharungi, kini bulan mulia Eidulfitri bakal dirai.

Mewakili keluarga besar KEADILAN, saya merakamkan ucapan Salam Eidulfitri buat seluruh muslimin muslimat di Malaysia. Semoga Allah SWT menerima segala amat ibadah yang telah kita imarahkan sepanjang Ramadhan yang berlalu.

Ramadhan yang bakal meninggalkan kita seharusnya dimaknai sepenuhnya dengan ibadah yang telah dikerjakan untuk mencapai redhaNya, di samping kita terus disaran memupuk ukhuwah sesama manusia khususnya kalangan mereka yang tidak berkemampuan dan dihambat penderitaan. Inilah falsafah agung di sebalik Ramadhan: kita memperkukuh iktikad dan rohani ke derajat taqwa.

Ramadhan kali ini kita turut dikejutkan dengan penderitaan saudara seagama di Gaza, akibat kezaliman regim Zionis Israel yang semakin angkuh dan biadap. Demikian juga kekejaman gerombolan di Ukraine yang mengorbankan anak kapal serta penumpang pesawat Malaysia Airlines MH17. Dunia Islam terus dilanda malapetaka – di Syria, Iraq dan Afghanistan. Kita meneruskan ikhtiar melalui doa dan munajat, agar pertolongan Allah SWT dapat mempermudahkan keadilan tertegak, insyaAllah.

Pastinya Syawal yang menjelang harus kita lapisi dengan penuh rasa syukur dan penuh keinsafan. Madrasah Ramadhan yang telah diimarah harus mensiap siagakan kita dengan penghayatan Rabbani agar ukhuwah insani terus diperkukuh, ketaqwaan padaNya kekal ampuh. Roh Islami terus kita sematkan demi mencapai kemenangan, sebagaimana firman Allah SWT di dalam ayat 48 Surah Al-Fath Ayat 1-2:

Sesungguhnya Kami telah membuka bagi perjuanganmu (wahai Muhammad) satu jalan kemenangan yang jelas nyata; Kemenangan yang dengan sebabnya Allah mengampunkan salah dan silapmu yang telah lalu dan yang terkemudian, dan menyempurnakan nikmatNya kepadamu, serta menambahkanmu hidayah ke jalan yang lurus (dalam mengembangkan Islam dan melaksanakan hukum-hukumnya).

Semoga Syawal ini terus kita raikan sebagai hari kemenangan, tidak terhad kemenangan melawan hawa nafsu, tetapi juga dimaknai dengan iktiqad memperbanyakkan amalan, menegakkan keadilan dan meruntuh kezaliman.

Salam Eidulfitri 1435 Hijrah.
Minal ‘aidil wal faiziin.
Maaf zahir dan batin.

ANWAR IBRAHIM
Ketua Pembangkang Parlimen Malaysia
Ketua Umum KEADILAN

23 July 2014

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Speech by Anwar Ibrahim on the occasion of Sarawak’s 51st Year of Independence on July 22, 2014

A brief history of Sarawak reconstructed

In a leading text on Sarawak history, Steven Runciman, the English expert on Byzantine studies and a contemporary of George Orwell, tells us that in return for successfully waging war on piracy and insurgency among the indigenous peoples, the Sultan of Brunei, the late Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II, ceded amassive tract of land in the southwest area of Brunei to James Brook.

This generous grant was not only a surrender of land as such but a secession of sovereignty and heralded the birth of a dynastic monarchy that we have come to know as The White Rajahs who ruled the “Kingdom of Sarawak” from 1841 to 1946.

Between enemies and heroes

While that aspect of history is familiar to most of us, I am more concerned about the history books clichéd reference to “fighting pirates and insurgentsamong the indigenous peoples”. I believe the time is overdue for a reconstruction of this part of Sarawak history so as to get a balanced discourse.

The question is: what do you mean exactly by ‘pirates’ and ‘insurgents’? The answer depends on whose point of view we are taking. Indeed, if we view itfrom the perspective of the colonial overlord, or even from the ruler’s, they were pirates and rebels to be destroyed. But how about from the point of view of the indigenous peoples?

To my mind, those who might be seen as enemies by the colonial masters and domestic oppressors may well be celebrated as heroes for the native peoples. For example, Iban chief Libau ‘Rentap’ of Kanowit might have been James Brooke’s arch-enemy but to us as Malaysians, and definitely to the people of Sarawak, he remains “the Hero of Bukit Sadok”, no doubt a great Dayak Iban Warrior.

Similarly, Sayyid Mashhur bin Muhammad Al-Shahab, or more popularly known as “Sharif Masahor”, was also public enemy number one for the White Rajah but there is no doubt that he was one of the greatest Melanau warriors inour history. After forging an alliance with Rentap, their history of struggles can no longer be seen as rebellion but one of the earliest heroic struggles for freedom against British colonialism and oppression.

So, today we are here not only to celebrate an occasion or a day but also to commemorate the heroism, sacrifice and invaluable contributions of the people of Sarawak.

The concept of Federalism and Malaysia

Malaysia is a Federation, which is why we have what is called the Federal Constitution. However, when we go through the Federal List, it would soonbegin to dawn on us that our Federation, for all intents and purposes, is more a unitary state.

The concept of federalism entails a division of power between the federalgovernment and the state governments while in a unitary state, power is centralised.

In a true federation, the distribution of power allows all the component states to work as separate units while the overall structure remains intact to allow theNational Government to move the nation forward as a sovereign state recognised in the international community. To maintain cohesiveness as a multi-cultural multi-religious nation, all national policies must be inclusive and sensitive to the fundamental rights of the diverse communities.

Bahasa Malaysia as the national identity

Language identity as a nation cannot be separated from the sovereignty and distinct character that makes one nation distinct from another. In this regard, any proposal to enhance federalism without giving pride of place to Bahasa Malaysia as the national unifying language for all Malaysians is doomed to fail.

Thus, the position of Bahasa Malaysia must not be questioned at all. This is a struggle not just for the champions of the language but a conviction for all of us regardless of our mother tongue. Indeed, Malay is the only language that will bind us linguistically as a nation.

We should be guided by such an overriding principle so as to maintain unity in diversity while preserving national sovereignty as a nation and this can done without an overconcentration of centralised power.

Rather than being fixated on amassing power at the centre, the Federal government must seriously consider a general decentralisation agenda that will add invaluable economic synergies and cultural empowerment to the states regardless whether they are controlled by Pakatan or Barisan Nasional.

To ensure the preservation of the national statehood, essential matters covered in the Federal List such as national defence, internal order and security and raising revenue should never be compromised.

The establishment of the Federation of Malaya – as a consequence to the opposition to the aborted Malayan Union – was, at least in theory precisely to allow for that unity without sacrificing the individual sovereignty of the states.

If we stop to ponder then that there would have been no Malaysia withoutbringing in Sarawak and Sabah, then our appreciation of these two states should grow by leaps and bounds.

Indeed, the wealth of resources they bring are immense but this is not the point Iam making. More important than anything else I am talking about the rich diversity in people, culture and religion that cannot be measured in economic terms that Sarawak and Sabah bring to the very concept of Malaysia as a nation.

Pakatan’s 7-Point Proposal for Sarawak and Sabah

They say that celebrating the Independence Day of Sarawak is a very brave step. Indeed, it is. But I believe the people of Sarawak deserve more and in conjunction with this 51st anniversary, and in line with the true concept of federalism, the following 7-point plan is proposed:

Point 1

1. In recognition of the spirit of the federal compact signed in 1963 known as the Malaysia Agreement, to:

a.

Recognise – in the Federal Constitution, text books and official discourses – Sabah and Sarawak as special states that are equal partners to the Peninsula of Malaysia within the Federation of Malaysia; and

b.

Recognise three National Days: August 31 as the Merdeka Day for Malaya and Sabah, July 22 as the Independence Day for Sarawak and September 16 as Malaysia Day – with national celebrations for August 31 and September 16.

 

Point 2

2. In the spirit of true federalism that values unity in diversity while preserving a cohesive nation, to:

a.

Uphold Bahasa Malaysia as the national language unifying all Malaysians regardless of faiths, ethnicity or mother-tongue;

 

b.

Protect the freedom of expression and information in all languages, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution, including the use of Allah in the Malay and Iban-language Bibles and other publications; and

c.

Establish a television channel for Borneo

Point 3

3. In full recognition of the injustice in the marginalization and poverty suffered by Sarawak and Sabah despite their rich resources, as a result of corruption, nepotism and cronyism by both the Federal and State Governments, bring about the following economic reforms and developments when Pakatan Rakyat forms the new federal and state governments:

a. Federal-state sharing of petroleum wealth and power in Petronas, with

i.

a director each from Sarawak, Sabah and all other petroleum-producing states on Petronas’ Board;

ii.

the establishment of state-owned second-tiered Oil and Gas company as Petronas’ partners; and

iii.

20% royalty for those states;

b. The abolition of cabotage policy to eliminate the artificial price disparity that burdens the people of Sarawak and Sabah;

c. The construction of a Pan-Borneo highway of comparable quality to those highways in Peninsular Malaysia

d. The supply of electricity and tap water to 90% of households in Sarawak and Sabah

Point 4

4. To correct and prevent the illegal naturalization and enfranchisement of foreigners and the failure in safeguarding the border of Sabah, establish permanent joint Federal-State Commissions in Sarawak and Sabah answerable to both the Federal Parliament and the respective State Assemblies in order to oversee:

a.

The naturalization of foreigners in Sarawak and Sabah;

b.

The trans-migration of other Malaysians into Sabah and Sarawak; and

c.

Border and coastline security in both states

 

Point 5

To ensure protection of the native communities and environment:

a.

Establish State Land Commissions in Sarawak and Sabah, with institutionalized representation from the native communities and answerable to the respective State Assemblies, to administer land especially Native Customary Rights (NCR) lands, undertake surveys, investigate and resolve land disputes; and

b.

Establish elected third-tiered governments at city and division level, with the boundaries of rural divisions taking into account socio-culturalboundaries of native communities where possible, to facilitate participatory decision-making and indigenous autonomy.

 

Point 6

Guided by the spirit of the 1963 Malaysia Agreement, support human resource development in Sarawak and Sabah, with no discrimination on the ground of religion, through:

a.

Borneonisation of the state public service in Sarawak and Sabah with transparent and meritocratic recruitment and promotion;

b.

Recruitment of more Borneans into the Administrative and Diplomatic Services and appointment of more Borneans as Ambassadors and High Commissioners; and

c.

More scholarships for both Bornean students in general and Bornean native students in particular.

 

Point 7

7. Establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry to commence a study on the health of federalism in Malaysia within the first year of the new Federal Government and complete it within 3 years, to reform and rejuvenate our federal system before GE15 to better serve the nation and all the states and territories.

Conclusion

A federation of states is only as strong as the sum of its parts. The call for real federalism and greater devolution of powers is intended to strengthen these parts and that in turn will strengthen the entire federation. This will augur well for the future of Malaysia.

 

Thank you.

21 July 2014

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Sydney Morning Herald

A boy with cuts all over his body is using every ounce of his strength to cling on to a rubber-gloved medic trying to lay him on a hospital bed.

What the haunting photograph does not capture are the Palestinian boy’s screams at the paramedic: “I want my father, bring me my father!”

Belalmd12_pict

It also fails to show the gaping wound on the left side of his head, the large piece of shrapnel in his neck, and smaller pieces lodged in his chest and abdomen, sustained after being caught in artillery fire from Israel.

The story behind the photograph taken at Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital last Thursday – and disseminated across the world – was revealed by a junior doctor Belal Dabour in a piece for the pro-Palestinian masthead The Electronic Intifada.

“At around 3am, about eight or nine casualties arrived at the emergency room all at once. The last to come in were four siblings – two of them little children, both about three years old, with relatively superficial wounds,” he wrote.

“Then came the older of the four siblings, a boy in his early teens. His head and face were covered in blood and he was pressing a rag to his head to staunch the flow. But his focus was on something else: ‘Save my little brother!’ he kept screaming.”

The unnamed boy pictured in the photograph was thrashing about and screaming for his father as the paramedic carried him straight from the emergency unit to intensive care.

“Upon carefully examining the wounds, it appeared that the explosion from the artillery round sent flying small pieces of stone from the walls of his house, and that some of his wounds were caused by these high-velocity projectiles,” Dr Dabour wrote.

The shrapnel in the boy’s neck just missed a major artery, the piece in his chest nearly punctured a lung, and the one in his stomach nearly hit his bowel. But the child was a “lucky” one, Dr Dabour said, because he had seen too many killed.

Just a day earlier, four boys aged between nine and 11 were playing on the beach in Gaza City when Israeli military strikes slaughtered them. They were cousins.

As the Islamic militant group Hamas and Israeli troops prepare to enter day 14 of their latest conflict, the death toll sits at 417 Palestinians and 18 Israelis.

A third of Palestine’s dead were children, the United Nations children’s agency declared on Saturday. About 50 boys and 20 girls between three months and18 years of age had been slain.

“From July 8, until 4am on July 19, at least 73 Palestinian children have been reported killed as a result of air strikes and shelling by Israel aerial, naval and ground forces,” UNICEF’s Catherine Weibel said.

Israel accused Hamas of using the Gaza population as a human shield, firing rockets from civilian areas and infrastructure.

Dr Dabour ended his account by saying he did not find out the youngster’s name as too many people – “some arrived torn to pieces, some beheaded, some disfigured beyond recognition” – arrived to be saved.

“I do not know whether he was reunited with his father, or even what became of the rest of his family,” he wrote. “But there’s one thing that I know for sure, which is that hundreds of children just like him suffered similar or worse injuries, and up to the moment of this writing, nearly 80 children just like him have been killed as Israel’s merciless attack goes on.”

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