What are You Trying to Hide about flight MH17, Mr Obama?

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/07/22/what-are-you-trying-to-hide-mr-obama.html

Western leaders and their media would have us believe that Russian-backed terrorists and bandits not only shot down a civilian airliner killing all 298 onboard – but that they have added to their depravity by defiling the dead, kicking around body parts and robbing corpses.

On top of all that, so the official Western narrative goes, the separatist militias have been callously blocking an international rescue and investigation team, by denying access to the crash site, near the town of Grabovo, in rural fields some 40 kilometres from the Russian border with eastern Ukraine.

US Secretary of State John Kerry told American television networks on Sunday of alleged abhorrent behaviour by the local self-defence militia who took charge of the crash site in the territory under their control. «Drunken separatists have been piling bodies into trucks and removing them from the site. What’s happening is really grotesque, and it is contrary to everything President Putin and Russia said they would do».

The ghoulish theme was picked up the next day by US President Obama who told media that the conduct of the militia was «an insult to those who have lost loved ones and has no place in the international community of nations».

Obama accused the separatists of attempting to cover up the evidence of the crash. «What exactly are they trying to hide?» he asked.

British premier David Cameron and his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott echoed the same line, accusing the Ukrainian separatists of shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 last Thursday and spending the last few days hampering recovery of bodies and forensic material. Cameron blamed Russia for aiding and abetting the rebels in eastern Ukraine. «The world also wants to see a real change in the stance Russia has taken over the crisis in Ukraine,» said Cameron without any substantiation.

While the Australian premier piled on the pejorative rhetoric, referring to the crash site: «It’s more like a garden clean-up than a forensic investigation. This is completely unacceptable».

Abbott added for good measure that the rebels at the crash site was like putting «criminals in charge of a crime scene» – again without any substantiation.

The problem with this lurid narrative, which is being pushed like a tidal wave in the Western media, is that it is actually running reality in reverse.

The «good guys», so to speak, are in fact the various self-defence militia in eastern Ukraine, the communities they are trying to protect, and the Russian government, which has been trying to bring some civilised diplomatic order to the bloody chaos in the region.

That chaos is not just the latest disaster of the downing of the Amsterdam to Malaysia Boeing 777. For the past four months, the eastern region of Ukraine has been living in a nightmare imposed by the Western-installed junta in the central capital, Kiev. All ethnic Russian communities in the east are, in the publicly declared words of the Kiev regime, «sub-humans» to be hunted down in «anti-terror operations».

Since the weekend, the two main cities in the east, Donetsk and Lugansk, have been shelled constantly by Ukrainian regular army forces and neo-Nazi paramilitary groups under the direction of the Western-sponsored coup leaders in Kiev, headed up by self-styled Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

Days following the airliner crash – which is believed to have been shot down with a surface-to-air missile, although it could have been hit by a fighter jet – over 20 people have been killed in Donetsk and Lugansk from artillery fire and air strikes carried out by the pro-Kiev forces. Over the past two months more than 250 people have been killed in Lugansk alone, according to monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Most the dead are civilians killed by indiscriminate shelling from pro-Kiev military.

Only a couple of days before the airliner came down, a Kiev warplane hit a residential block in the town of Snezhnoye, some 20 kilometres from the crash site. That attack resulted in 11 dead, all them civilians.

Mortars have been fired in residential areas and pedestrian centres. In the deadliest attack in Lugansk over the weekend, eight civilians were killed when mortars hit the city centre on Friday. Their bodies were torn apart, strewn on the street, as graphic video footage testifies.

The self-defence militia set up in the eastern region are opposed to the Western-installed regime in Kiev. They have every right to resist the illegal self-imposed authority, which they see as willing to sign the country up to NATO, the IMF and Western economic pillaging.

The militia have the support of the vast majority of the people, who voted for autonomy from Kiev in referenda organised in early May, giving rise to the self-declared Peoples’ Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Now these people are fighting for their lives, as the Kiev regime steps up the its so-called anti-terror operations. At the start of this week, the Kiev forces were bombarding central areas of Donetsk and Lugansk cities. Residents – those that have not already fled in their tens of thousands for refuge across the border in Russia – have been forced into air raid shelters out of fear from the constant shelling by Kiev troops and warplanes. Some of these shelters have not been used since the Second World War when people used them back then to evade Nazi bombing carried out along with the ancestors of the Kiev regime who collaborated with the Third Reich.

It is obscene that these people are being vilified now by Western governments and their media. The reality is that these people are not only fighting for their lives, they also have spared their time and meagre resources to help secure the crash site of the downed airliner and to retrieve the bodies of the victims – all in the middle of a war zone that has been imposed on them by a ruthless Western-backed Kiev regime.

Despite Obama’s baseless disparagement of the self-defence militia as being «an insult to the international community», on the same day that he made that announcement the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was praising the local authorities for having made arrangements to retrieve the bodies and to hand over the vitally important black box recorders from the doomed airliner. The latter data could reveal what caused the passenger plane to explode in mid-air and crash.

Significantly, the Malaysian premier did not make the arrangements through the Kiev regime. He dealt directly with the Donetsk People’s Republic leader Alexander Borodai. The Malaysians disclosed publicly that 282 of the bodies recovered so far were to be transported in refrigerated train carriages to Donetsk and thence to the city of Kharkiv before being flown on to Amsterdam. The flight recorder black boxes were also to be handed over in Donetsk by militia members to an official Malaysian investigative team…

In the latest onslaught by Kiev forces in Donetsk it seems more than a coincidence that they have attacked the central train station in that city – from where the airline crash corpses were to be transported. Some rail tracks were reportedly damaged by shelling, thus putting transport of the human remains in jeopardy.

The Washington Post reported early Monday: «Michael Bociurkiw, an OSCE spokesman, said it remained unclear when the rail cars containing the bodies would move and where they would go. He said renewed fighting in Donetsk on Monday had possibly damaged the tracks, adding a complication.

«We were told by rebels it has caused some damage to the railway system,» said the OSCE spokesman. «That is a crucial development in the sense that with the airport inoperable, and if the train station is inoperable, that will cut off Donetsk even further».

The OSCE team confirmed to media on Saturday – less than 48 hours after the airliner was downed – that they had gained full access to the crash site, facilitated by the local self-defence militia, even though Kiev forces were conducting intimidating flyovers with warplanes.

Meanwhile, Dutch investigators who oversaw the eventual placement of the 282 corpses into a train at the town of Torez, near the crash site, for transport on to Donetsk, spoke admirably of the local rescue teams that the self-defence militia and community had organised.

Reuters reported: «Peter van Vliet, whose team went through the wagons dressed in surgical masks and rubber gloves, said he was impressed by the work the recovery crews had done, given the heat and the scale of the crash site». Vliet told Reuters: «I think they did a hell of a job in a hell of a place».

And so the Dutch investigators should be in admiration. The people of Donetsk are trying to rescue victims in conditions of extreme duress imposed by Kiev’s terrorist operations.

All the while, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been calling for a ceasefire from the Kiev forces so that a full and safe international investigation can take place into what happened Flight MH17. On Monday, Putin called for the disaster not to be politicised by narrow self interests.

So far, Putin’s appeal for safe passage for investigators has been wilfully ignored by the Kiev regime, which has if anything stepped up its violence in the region since the air crash.

And Western leaders are giving full cover to the Kiev regime by perversely laying the blame on Russia and the self-defence militias in Donetsk, accusing both of obstructing recovery and a crash probe.

To paraphrase Obama: «What is the Kiev regime and its Western sponsors trying to hide?»

As for Australia’s premier Abbott, what seems to be getting up his nose is the fact that the Western-backed criminals in Kiev are not in charge of the crime scene.

USA says “Russia created ‘conditions’ that led to plane downing”. Nothing to do with replacing a democratically elected government with fascists?

USA says “Russia created ‘conditions’ that led to plane downing” nothing to do with replacing a democratically elected government with fascists, even though there was an election due in just a few weeks?

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/07/22/no-evidence-direct-russian-link-to-plane-us-officials-say/

Senior intelligence officials said Tuesday Russia created the “conditions” that led to the downing  of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over eastern Ukraine but stopped short of directly linking Moscow to the fatal missile strike.

The officials said-that anti Ukraine government forces, which are backed by Russia, likely fired the missile that took down Flight MH-17 last Thursday, killing all 298 aboard.

 

Gaza Crisis—and U.S. Policy Toward Russia, Ukraine, and the Iran Nuclear Talks

Leveretts on International Law and the Gaza Crisis—and U.S. Policy Toward Russia, Ukraine, and the Iran Nuclear Talks

http://goingtotehran.com/leveretts-on-international-law-and-the-gaza-crisis-and-u-s-policy-toward-russia-ukraine-and-the-iran-nuclear-talks

Photo by Ezz al-Zanoun, APA Images

As the human toll of Israeli military action in Gaza mounts, the Obama Administration continues its cynical endorsement of Israel’s “absolute right” of “self-defense.”

Earlier this week, Flynt appeared on RT’s CrossTalk to discuss the Gaza crisis; see here or here (YouTube).  Over the weekend, Hillary went on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Parry (on both Saturday and Sunday) to discuss the Gaza crisis (see here, here, and here), as well as the West’s mounting tensions with Russia over Ukraine (see here, here, here, here, here, and here) and the extension of the P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran (see here).  We highlight below some themes discussed.

The Gaza Crisis, International Law, and the Road to a One-State Solution

Among various substantive points in the CrossTalk episode on which Flynt appeared, the discussion was distinguished by one of the other guests—Martin van Creveld, a well-known Israeli military historian at Hebrew University—yelling at Flynt to “shut up” and then storming off the set, all within the first nine minutes of the program.  Flynt’s apparent offense was to challenge Prof. van Creveld’s assertion that Israel is no longer occupying Gaza.

Flynt noted that, while Israel withdrew soldiers and settlers  from inside Gaza in 2005, it continues to control—strictly and severely—Gaza’s air, land, and sea access to the world; thus, “under international law, Israel is still occupying Gaza.”  (For analyses on this important point, see—for starters—here, here, and here.)  For Prof. van Creveld or anyone else to claim otherwise is, literally, to “reinvent international law”—and not in a positive or legitimate way.

As Hillary explains on Melissa Harris-Parry, international law has much broader relevance to the Gaza crisis:

There is a legal solution, which [the United States] has repeatedly blocked at the United Nations, and that is to allow the state of Palestine to sign up to, to adhere to the International Criminal Court.  Samantha Power, our ambassador there, has said publicly, she has made it her number one priority, every month, to meet with international institutions to block the entry of the state of Palestine to get legal protection.  Legal protection would constrain American power, would constrain Israeli power, and that’s why we oppose it…

There is this body of international law that came out of World War II, came out of the persecution of the Jewish people.  There is a body of international law that was instituted, that was created with the U.S. hand, with Europeans, so that this would never happen to another people again.  Th[e Palestinians] are a protected civilian population under occupation; that’s the law.  The United States should get out of the way.

Politically, too, there is a way forward, as Hillary lays out:

“We don’t talk about it because we demonize [HAMAS] as a terrorist organization that can’t possibly have a sane idea, but what they have put on the table is a ten-year ceasefire with Israel, in exchange for Israel lifting the siege of the civilian population in Gaza, with an internationally supervised airport and seaport…That is a critically important contribution to conflict resolution.”

However, as Hillary underlines, this runs up against both Israeli and American strategic preferences:

“The Israelis want to manage occupation, they want to manage a siege.  The Palestinians don’t want that.  It’s as simple as that.  I’ve been to Gaza several times, as a student, as a U.S. official, as a U.S. diplomat.  It is, under the best of circumstances, a horrific place to live.  No one wants to live there.  The vast majority of the population are refugees, without clean water, without health care, without basic necessities.  They don’t want a siege.  What HAMAS is offering is to change that situation, to change that dynamic.

The problem is that, for the United States and Israel, we would prefer to have the management of conflict, to have the management of an occupation.  We don’t really want to see a resolution of this.  That’s why the Middle East peace process has always failed—because we don’t really want a two-state solution, we don’t want the constraint of Israeli and American power in the Middle East.”

And that, Flynt argues, puts the parties and the rest of the world on the road toward a one-state solution to the Palestinian conflict:

“Israel essentially has no strategy for dealing with the Palestinian problem.  It is committed to open-ended occupation.  We are already at a point where the number of Arabs living under Israeli control exceeds the population of Israeli Jews, which means that what we call the state of Israel is already a minority regime in the areas that it controls.  And as long as Israel continues this open-ended occupation of Arab populations, it is going to face resistance, it is going to face violence.  HAMAS is not some foreign force imposed on Israel; it is a home-grown resistance movement.  Until Israel—and I think this would require, basically, an utter recasting of the Israeli state—until Israel is prepared to stop being an occupying power, this is what it is going to suffer, and it is increasingly going to delegitimate itself in the process

That is what Israel has brought on itself.  The two-state solution is, at this point, in my view, effectively dead, and we are on what is going to turn out, I think, to be a very, very slow, very, very bloody, very painful but ultimately inevitable trajectory toward a one-state solution.”

In this context, it may be worth noting that, this year, July 25 will be Qods Day.

Ukraine and American Policy Toward Russia

Hillary linked the current debate over how to deal with Russia to the American political class’s eager embrace of the George W. Bush administration’s “fraudulent case” for invading Iraq just over a decade ago:

“This is the bipartisan failure of our political class, that we buy into over and over again, based on assumptions of who we deem to be the bad guy…The foreign policy elite in the United States have acted, from day one after the collapse of the Soviet Union, like we defeated Russia, and we’ve acted that way ever since.  What Putin represents is a rise to that attitude, that we defeated them.  We have basically no response—there is no endgame in trying to bring Putin down, to bring Russia down.  We’ve tried that in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria, and it has failed.  And now we’re taking it to the doorsteps of one of the world’s historic superpowers, a power with nuclear weapons, a cyber army, dollars, and oil.  This is not going to turn out well for us…

This is about Russia’s reemergence to power and its challenge to the United States.  It really does need to be dealt with on a Russian-American level, where there is an assurance that we will not encourage, support, or in any way facilitate—for Ukraine or any of these other countries close to Russia—their entrance into NATO.  That is the red line for Putin, and if we could do that, that opens the door to conflict resolution.  Everything else is noise.”

 

The warped mind of Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States

Says ‘Israeli Soldiers Are Dying So That innocent Palestinians Can Live’

http://news.antiwar.com/2014/07/22/israeli-envoy-our-military-deserves-nobel-peace-prize-for-not-killing-more-gazans/

While the rest of the world stands aghast at the soaring civilian toll of Israel’s ongoing invasion of the Gaza Strip, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer thinks the hundreds of dead civilians, many children, were proof of Israel’s remarkable mercy.

“The truth is that the Israeli Defense Forces should be given the Nobel Peace Prize,” Dermer insisted, “a Nobel Peace Prize for fighting with unimaginable restraint.” This speech was delivered less than 24 hours after Israel bombed a Gaza hospital.

“Israeli soldiers are dying so that innocent Palestinians can live,” Dermer claimed, going on to contrast Israel’s attacks on densely populated residential neighborhoods in Gaza to deadliest British carpet bombings of German cities during World War 2, which is apparently the standard by which he believes all wars are to be waged.

Lest you think this was an unusual outburst for Dermer, his speech also included a whole section calling Iran “the Great Evil” and another accusing human rights groups of “aiding Hamas” for complaining about all those dead children.

Dermer was appointed Israeli Ambassador to the US last year, replacing outgoing Michael Oren. His appointment was controversial because he had openly campaigned for Mitt Romney in 2012 and urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to distance himself from Obama in the lead-up to that election.

He was also controversial because of his history as an outspoken opponent of the two-state solution, which he dubbed “childish,” at a time when Israel was desperately trying to convince the US they were serious about peace. In the midst of an endlessly escalating war, his bellicosity is less out of place, though still remarkably undiplomatic.

 

US Story on MH17 Unravels Over Lack of Real Evidence

THE REALITY IS THAT THIS CRIME WAS COMMITTED BY THE PUPPET FASCIST GOVERNMENT IN KIEV,PROBABLY IN COORDINATION WITH THE USA.   THE MOTIVE?   TO TRY AND DESTROY EU/ RUSSIAN TRADE AND PERHAPS TO BRING WW111 ONE STEP CLOSER

Case Built Almost Entirely on YouTube Videos, Tweeted Photos

http://news.antiwar.com/2014/07/22/us-story-on-mh17-unravels-over-lack-of-real-evidence/

The Obama Administration’s narrative of Russian guilt in the Malaysia Airlines MH17 downing is unraveling like a cheap sweater tonight, under the increasing realization that dubious social media-sourced evidence is essentially all there is, and the admission by US intelligence officials that there is no real evidence pointing to Russia at all.

What is now being euphemistically called “major evidentiary and legal obstacles,” but would more correctly be called “completely full of holes,” it is quickly becoming a case study in why random videos you found on YouTube are not a great way to build a case in a major international incident.

Take the photograph released over the weekend on social media, showing the putative 9k37 Buk that shot down the plane just hanging out in the middle of a quiet square in a rebel town. It would be pretty damning, if true, but it also would raise a lot of questions, chiefly why the rebels left the vehicle in such a conspicuous place during an alleged coverup.

The photo, like YouTube videos claiming to be the rebels confessing to the shoot-down but built on content created a day before the plane crashed in the first place, was quickly labeled “unable to be verified,” and with deeper digging seem probable forgeries.

People who have been on social media for more than a few minutes know how much nonsense is presented as absolute truth there, and the Obama Administration’s decision to base its entire case on stuff they read there, going to the extent of arguing with a dubious press, has clearly not served them well.

 

U.S. “Intelligence Community” finally admits ” no evidence linking Russia with MH17″

US: No Evidence of Direct Russia Link to Plane Downing

http://news.antiwar.com/2014/07/22/us-no-evidence-of-direct-russia-link-to-plane-downing/

After Days of Officials Throwing Blame, Intel Officials Concede Facts Not There

After days of hysterical accusations against Russia over the downing of flight MH17, and days of promising super secret evidence existed to vindicate those claims, the administration made the decision to allow intelligence officials to release a public assessment to reporters today.

They’re probably rethinking tonight, after the intelligence community conceded, in front of a room of reporter, that there is “no evidence” whatsoever linking Russia to the downing of MH17.

While officials say that the MH17 was still probably downed by a 9k37 Buk missile, they say there is no direct evidence Russia sent the missile to the rebels, let alone fired it for them, two things that have been pushing in the rush to blame Russia for the incident.

Rather, the sum total of Russia’s involvement that the intelligence community thinks they can push is that Russia “created the conditions” for the war in Ukraine, which is where the plane was shot down. Hardly a smoking gun.

Despite that, President Obama continues to insist that “no one denies” the MH17 was shot down with a Russian missile, and training them to use it, two things the intelligence community had nothing to back up.

 

Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields

Bearing in mind Israel is bombing and killing indiscriminately , it would be kind of pointless anyway

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israelgaza-conflict-the-myth-of-hamass-human-shield-9619810.html

 

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A boy collects a mattress from the rubble of a three-storey house belonging to the Abu Jamaa family that was destroyed following heavy Israeli bombardment in Khan Younis, Gaza
Getty

Israel blames Gaza death toll on Palestinians for deliberately putting people in line of fire. But can strikes ever be targeted to minimise civilian casualties in such a densely populated area?

What used to be a three-storey house had been turned into debris sunk into a deep crater with twisted steel rods jutting out. Twenty-six people were killed in the mostly deadly air-strike so far in this bloody conflict. Twenty-four of them were from one family, the Abu Jamaa.

Around the same time that attack was taking place on Sunday evening, Benjamin Netanyahu was charging Hamas on TV with using “human shields” to gather “telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause”. It has long been the Israeli case that the militants cynically and deliberately carry out attacks and store weapons in residential areas and have also stopped people living there from evacuating homes when fighting breaks out.

There have been instances in the 13 days of the current war when the Israelis have sought to provide evidence proving their case. After warplanes targeted the al-Farouq mosque, near the Nuseirat refugee camp, for instance, the military issued aerial photographs which, it stated, showed that the building was being used to store rockets. We have also had the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, announcing that it had discovered 20 rockets hidden in one of its disuse schools in a “flagrant violation” of international law. And rockets are seen to be regularly fired from stretches of open ground close to homes.

Are militants also deliberately placing themselves in residences which are then attacked? On the day that Al-Farouq was attacked, the Israeli military also carried out a missile strike on a home for the handicapped in Beit Lahiya, killing two disabled residents and injuring four others. A neighbour claimed that a member of the Islamic Jihad group and his wife had also lived in the building; but he could provide no names or dates for this.

 

 

Jamilla Alaiwa, a 59 year old social worker who founded the home 24 years ago told me that this was categorically untrue. “If the Israelis have proof of this let them make it public. There was no one from Islamic Jihad or Hamas living there. We are not involved in politics.” The Israeli military stated they were investigating what happened; their conclusions have not reached Gaza. Were they, perhaps, fed false information?

Some Gazans have admitted that they were afraid of criticizing Hamas, but none have said they had been forced by the organisation to stay in places of danger and become unwilling human-shields. The Bani Sobeila area, near Khan Younis, where the Abu Jamaa deaths took place received leaflets dropped from the air last week warning them to leave.

But almost all stayed. One reason for that was many of the houses belonged to the Abu Jamaa clan who felt there was safety in staying together. Another reason was given by a neighbour, Abdullah al-Daweish: “Where do we go to? Some people moved from the outer edge of Khan Younis to Khan Younis centre after Israelis told them to, then the centre got bombed. People have moved from this area to Gaza City, and Gaza City has been bombed. It’s not Hamas who is ordering us in this, it’s the Israelis.”

Video: The conflict in Gaza
READ MORE: Israeli tanks ‘shell Gaza hospital’ killing at least four
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Why did they think the house targeted? “We don’t know,” said Saied Abu Jamaa, a cousin who was in his home next door when the blast took place. “Tawfiq, who is the head of the family, is a policeman, but why should he and his family and his neighbours die for that?” Tawfiq Abu Jamaa, 40, distraught figure in a brown jellabiya at the funeral was also at a loss to understand why he had lost his wife and eight children. The sole survivor has Nour, a son of four.

There were 10 recently destroyed buildings on the half-hour drive from Khan Younis to Shujaiya, a town where 90 people had been killed in a 24 hours, an onslaught condemned by the Palestinian government of Mahmoud Abbas as a “heinous massacre”: and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as “ an atrocious action”.

Members of families who owned six of the buildings had moved in with relations and neighbours in the area. Their reason for staying behind was primarily because there was, they said, nowhere else to go. There were also declarations about not giving up one’s land, not giving in to invaders.

There was denial of coercion by Hamas. “I am not going to go because I can do something Hamas cannot do”, maintained Nabil al-Masri. “I know from times before that if Israeli soldiers get into an empty house they will ruin it on purpose. Hamas cannot stop them going into my house if we leave, but, by staying here we can try to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Hamas can, however, be accused of making people complacent, repeatedly stating in the media that the Israeli warnings were psychological games and asking the population to ignore them. Some mentioned this as a reason for staying behind; returning home having initially left.

The counter-argument to that was the need to prevent panic spreading. Almost 85,000 people have been on the move, overwhelming the shelters set up by the UN by sheer numbers. Classrooms meant for 30 now hold up to 70, one typical example was the Girls Preparatory Secondary School, at a suburb of Beit Lahiya in the north, with a capacity of 800 which has taken in 1600. Homes of relatives, a traditional source of refuge, are also feeling the strain.

READ MORE: Kerry flies to Middle East to urge ceasefire
Comment: How we respond to Gaza on Twitter
Comment: Suffering continues for lack of a peace broker

Yasir Hamidi had six additional mouths to feed, along with his family of four, once the bombing began; five more relatives had joined since the ground invasion. His salary from the Ministry of Health stopped even before the conflict started because Gaza’s Hamas administration is bankrupt. “The family members brought some money, but they had to leave almost everything else behind: we are living on my savings, but it will not last for long. After that, who knows?” Mr Hamidi spread his hands in resignation.

Gazans point out that the outside world remains largely unaware just how small and confined the place is – just 25 miles long and just a few miles wide. It is blocked in by closed borders to Israel in the north and east and Egypt in the south. There is no route out by the sea to the west with an Israeli naval blockade. Getting to travel abroad is an excruciatingly long process.

This may be due to Hamas and Islamic Jihad exporting violence, as Israel and Egypt claim, but it is the increasingly large percentage of the 1.7 million population being pushed by the violence into the already heavily congested centre, who are suffering as the relentless bombings and shootings continue.

At the funeral of the Abu Jamaa family, as another body in a shroud was lowered into the grave, Saied, the cousin said: “ That is the only escape many of us will have from here.”

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