Yemeni Villagers Dying of Starvation

[ Ed. note – It would appear that all the horrible war crimes US officials and the mainstream media have been alleging against Russia and the Syrian government are in reality being perpetrated by the Saudis–and, from the looks of it, maybe even far worse. Where’s Obama? Where’s John Kerry? Where are all the neocons who have been theatrically voicing their anguish over the people of Aleppo? How come we’re not hearing from them on the horrible situation in this Yemeni town? How come the Saudis are allowed to fire upon Yemeni fishermen when they try to take their boats to sea to catch fish, and Samantha Power has nothing to say about it at the UN? I guess, come to think of it, for the same reason she doesn’t say anything when Israelis fire upon Gaza fishermen. ]

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No Food, No Medicine, No money: Yemeni Town Faces Mass Death by Starvation

RT
Nearly 19 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian aid, according to the UN, but the worst of the civilian impact of the two-year civil war in the country has fallen on the coastal fishing area around the Red Sea coastal district of Tuhayat.

As RT’s Arabic-language crew visited the area, they witnessed scenes of chaos – as locals scrambled to gain food – and quiet desperation, with many residents swollen with hunger, waiting for outside help, or resigned to their fate.

Continued here

Aleppo’s Victory: Defeated Militants’ Evacuated, UN Warns: Militants Using Civilians as Shields

Local Editor

A new agreement has been reached for the evacuation of militants from the last pocket of territory they control in Aleppo, a senior Syrian military source told AFP Thursday.

Aleppo's Victory: Defeated Militants' Evacuated, UN Warns: Militants Using Civilians as Shields

“A deal has been reached for militants to leave, and the preparations are happening now,” the source said.

He made no mention of any arrangements for the evacuation of civilians. The militants had said that their departures would begin from dawn after a deadly setback on Wednesday.

This comes as the UN’s Commission of Inquiry for Syria [COI] said Wednesday it had received reports that opposition militants were blocking civilians from fleeing Aleppo and using them as human shields.

In a statement, the COI said it had “allegations of opposition groups… preventing civilians from leaving as well as opposition fighters embedding themselves within the civilian population, thus heightening the risk to civilians of being killed or injured.”

It specifically implicated al-Qaeda’s former affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front and the powerful Ahrar al-Sham militant group.

Meanwhile, Syrian troops have made fresh advances in an eastern neighborhood of Aleppo as part of their offensive to drive out the last remnants of foreign-backed militants from the city.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government forces had won back half of the Sukkari district, which was among the last areas in Aleppo remaining under the control of terrorists.

Syria’s state-run television network said government forces are now in control of 99 percent of Aleppo, with militants cornered into a small slither of land.

Hundreds of foreign-backed militants have laid down arms in Aleppo since Tuesday, and almost 6,000 civilians have left militant-held districts.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

15-12-2016 | 10:52

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Israel’s Blockade of Gaza, Every day Palestinians live in fear of another U.S.-funded attack by the Israeli government

Israel’s Blockade of Gaza

Every day Palestinians live in fear of another U.S.-funded attack by the Israeli government

by , October 29, 2016

This fall, the U.S. agreed to provide $38 billion in military aid to Israel over the next ten years, ensuring America’s continued role in funding the occupation of Palestine. Meanwhile, my friends and colleagues here in Gaza live in fear of another significant Israeli attack in the near future.

They have every reason to fear another major escalation – violence is a daily reality in Gaza. In two recent incidents, a rocket was fired from Gaza into Israel without causing damage or injuries, and in both instances Israel responded by bombing targets throughout Gaza.

In August alone, Israel bombed more than 50 locations in the small territory.

The simple story told about these events focuses on action and reaction: Palestinians attacked Israel with a rocket and Israel responded. We hear this logic after nearly every event of this sort, but it’s woefully incomplete.

In both instances, the rockets fired weren’t fired by Hamas, but rather by small radical armed groups at odds with Hamas, which governs Gaza. These groups seek to incite Israeli attacks on Hamas with the goal of destabilizing its control over Gaza, because they see Hamas as too comfortable with the status quo.

Since seizing power in 2007, Hamas has worked to control and limit violence from the territory. Outside of periods of defined military escalation – which tend to be precipitated by Israeli attacks – they have effectively stopped attacks against Israel from Gaza.

This explains why, as noted by the Israeli press, there were only 14 rockets fired from Gaza towards Israel between January and August this year. None were fired by Hamas, so Israel’s decision to target Hamas as a response makes no sense.

Of course, 14 rockets fired from Gaza is 14 too many for those of us committed to ending all violence, and none of this should be taken as an apology for other violence perpetrated by Hamas.

But, as the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories reports, there were also 45 Israeli military incursions into Gaza this year, resulting in 7 Palestinian deaths and, on average, injuring five Palestinians in Gaza every week.

This is the part of the story that isn’t told.

Gaza also remains under an Israeli-imposed blockade that severely limits travel, trade, and life for Gazans. Despite assurances that restrictions would be lifted in the 2014 Hamas-Israel ceasefire agreement, the blockade remains in effect.

Israel, with support from the US government, claims this decades-long blockade is in place to pressure the people of Gaza to rise up against Hamas and provide security for Israelis.

If those are Israel’s raisons d’etre, then it’s a complete failure. It hasn’t stopped violence, it hasn’t weakened Hamas, and it hasn’t brought Israelis or Palestinians security.

While the blockade hasn’t succeeded in achieving the changes Israel claims to be seeking, its impact on the civilian population of Gaza has been immense.

Over two years after the end of the last large military operation there, much of Gaza remains in ruins.

Of the 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza who were displaced during the 2014 Israeli bombardment, over 65,000 remain homeless, as 70 percent of the homes seriously damaged or destroyed haven’t been rebuilt. This is largely because reconstruction materials remain blocked from entering Gaza.

This important context is too often missing as US pundits and politicians consider the situation in Gaza.

Given the blockade and regular military incursions imposed by Israel, the firing of less than 2 rockets per month by Palestinians cannot be seen as the core reason for violence.

If the US is serious about promoting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, preventing future violence in Gaza, and guaranteeing security, then it must recognize the violence inherent in the Israeli occupation and end the blockade.

The next attack on Gaza, feared by my friends who live there, is an inevitable reality if nothing changes.

Mike Merryman-Lotze has worked with the American Friends Service Committee as the Palestine-Israel Program Director since 2010. Distributed by OtherWords.org.

“Intl community financing and protecting terrorists…’White Helmets’ are terrorist supporters” [Mother Agnes-Mariam de la Croix and Vanessa Beeley]

Western Sanctions Killing Kids with Cancer–a video that can’t help but make you furious

All in the name of regime change–and because the US thinks it has the right to tell other countries who they’re allowed, and not allowed, to have as their leaders. Arrogance, particularly of the US variety, is lethal.

Trapped “From Fence to Fence” in Gaza. The World’s Largest Open Air Prison

Global Research, October 24, 2016
972mag.com 16 October 2016
palestine

Not only are these borders artificially drawn, they highlight the utter insanity of fencing an entire population in the world’s largest open-air prison simply because of Israel’s need to maintain a Jewish demographic majority.

Summer days are long, but in Gaza, they are longer than one might think. They get even longer when the electricity and the internet are shut off, which is most of the time. This had been my daytime nightmare ever since Israel imposed its siege on the Gaza Strip in 2007. To escape it, you could read or visit a friend to talk to, but when the weather gets hot and humid, the energy to do any of these activities evaporates.

On one such hot and humid day, I went to the roof of my house out of boredom. Although this was not the first time I had looked at the landscape from my family’s rooftop in Deir Al-Balah, some thoughts and reflections made this day unforgettable. I looked east and there were the borders between the Gaza Strip and Israel, and I looked west and there was the sea. From that same spot, both borders were visible, and between them, the familiar scene of innumerable drab houses stretching towards both horizons.

Palestinian workers salvage building materials near Erez Crossing at Gaza’s northern border, Beit Hanoun, May 11, 2014. Human rights organizations have documented dozens of cases of Israeli army gunfire at persons who posed no threat and were well outside the 300-meter so-called “no-go zone” imposed by the Israeli military inside Gaza’s borders. In many cases, no warning was given before soldiers opened fire. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

At that moment, I recalled one of the famous common sayings used by Palestinians in Gaza to refer to the Strip: we’re trapped ‘min al-silik ila al-silik’ (from the fence to the fence). This simple phrase sums up Gaza’s current reality: a fenced place, surrounded by dead-ends and, within it, a caged human sea with almost no hope or future. Such thoughts never abandoned me. They chased me most of the time I spent in Gaza, where I observed how the Strip grew ever more overcrowded.

‘From fence to fence’ is a simple enough expression, and yet it reflects the geographic space Palestinians inhabit. For them, ‘the fence’ is the most pernicious manifestation of the Zionist conquest in 1948, and its continuity into the present. The fence is a physical barrier that was imposed by an external force, which divides what the Palestinians in Gaza consider as their historic land, and which prevents them from returning to their original towns and villages. The fence is a constant reminder of the rupture caused by the 1948 War, which pushed many Palestinians out of their towns and villages in what is today the State of Israel.

Even when some Gazans refer to the armistice line of 1949, few people refer to it as a border. It is mostly referred to in Arabic as ‘al-silik’ — literally, ‘the wire,’ or ‘the fence.’ For the Palestinians in Gaza, the fence evokes the Nakba, the refugee struggle, and the occupation. The fence, as a physical barrier to refugee return, was the beginning of the tragedy. The fence today is its continuation. And since the fence caused the problem, the solution must include its removal. The fence is the history that Palestinians in Gaza never want to forget, and no amount of aid can induce them to do so.

Barbed wire, and behind that the border wall can be seen through the fence at Erez Crossing terminal, the northern checkpoint leading from the Gaza Strip to Israel. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

The central element of the historical context behind Gaza’s present reality is the Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948. The Nakba is not history relegated to the past, but history lived in the present: in the narrow alleys of the crowded refugee camps, in the women who leave their humble houses in the camps every morning to receive their food packages, in the barefoot children who play soccer on Gaza’s beach, and in the lands of depopulated villages just beyond the fence still visible from the rooftops of Gaza’s refugee camps. The Nakba is still present in Gaza, not only by the continuation of the state of refuge, but also by the continuity of the rupture that it caused.

By the time the 1949 armistice agreement was signed, around 200,000 refugees had already arrived in the Strip and gathered in eight refugee camps. Unlike many of the refugees that fled to neighboring Arab countries, Gaza’s new arrivals were never far from their original homes. Across the armistice lines, many could see their old villages.

In 1950, the Israeli Knesset passed the ‘Law of Return,’ which allows only Jews to ‘return’ to Israel proper, whereas its policy towards the Palestinian refugees who were spirited across the borders and the demarcation line was clear: they will never come back.

After the Six-Day War in 1967 and the beginning of Israel’s occupation and military administration, these refugees were allowed to travel into Israel with special permits where they were able to finally see their towns and villages, but of course, they were never allowed to return permanently.

The post-Nakba history shows that Palestinian refugees in Gaza resisted the demarcation line. For them, the land beyond the line was perceived as a lost paradise to which generations of refugees yearned to return. As for the early refugees, it took them time to understand that the line had become practically impassable. Attempts by refugees to cross to their towns and villages, including farmers who tried to cultivate their land, were brutally confronted by kibbutz residents and Israeli military outposts located near the demarcation line, and led to the deaths of many of those who attempted to cross.

During this period, the armistice line began to develop into a frontier of confrontation and resistance, despite its artificial nature. Later on, the line would take the physical shape of a fence, to be engraved in the Palestinian collective memory and awareness as both a material and a symbolic monument of rupture and territorial and emotional disconnection.

Metaphors such as ‘from fence to fence’ remind Palestinians in Gaza — both as refugees and natives — of their loss, their tragedy, and the abnormality of the fence that divides their land and prevents their return. Not only are these borders artificially drawn and reinforced with the use of brutal force, but they highlight the utter insanity of fencing an entire population in the world’s largest open-air prison simply because of Israel’s need to maintain a Jewish demographic majority.

The fact that Gaza’s crisis could be solved tomorrow if the majority-refugee population were granted its right of return is completely ignored by the humanitarian discourse. The tragedy of Gaza needs to be understood through the intensity of loss, especially since in Gaza’s situation, what was lost is only a stone’s throw away for many refugees, who can still see their former towns and villages beyond the fence.

The author, a Palestinian from Deir al-Balah city in the Gaza Strip, is a PhD candidate at New York University for a joint program in Hebrew and Judaic Studies and History.

A version of this article was originally published on The Nakba Files, part of The Nakba & the Law, a joint project of the Columbia University Center for Palestine Studies and Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. The piece is an edited excerpt of an essay that appears in Gaza as Metaphor, a new volume edited by Helga Tawil-Souri and Dina Matar.

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Western Aleppo Strikes: Casebook for Human Rights Organizations ~ [Graphic]

A compilation of evidence of airstrikes in western Aleppo that are killing and injuring civilians in government-controlled parts of the city on an almost daily basis. These are the facts that receive less attention from human rights organizations than strikes on the eastern part of the city.

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