By Debbie Menon
Pro-Palestinian protest at Federal Building
San Francisco Chronicle - More than 200 pro-Palestinian demonstrators protested Monday outside Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office and the Federal Building in San Francisco, venting anger over Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Greta Berlin of France chants with other demonstrators protesting Israel's ground invasion of the Gaza Strip in front of the Federal Building.
(Photo by Lea Suzuki / The SF Chronicle)
I see that CBS, at the headquarters level, has preceded coverage of this public protest demonstration against Israel with the propagandized report that "Hamas rocketry" into Israel are killing people and Israel has reluctantly been forced to take action and sent some troops into Gaza which will bring peace to the region.
They then follow up with (locally directed and edited) video coverage of an event which is hard to spin into anything other than what it was... a strong and direct protest against Israel and what they are doing there, with direct criticism and protest for, the part America, and American politicians, are playing in supporting Israel using American taxpayers money.
I also note that the interviewees selected to speak on camera were well-informed and excellent speakers, obviously not your every-day randomly selected interviewees. Someone has done their jobs well, and CBS should be given credit for putting them on the air to voice intelligent and understandable talking points instead of the usual grunts, shouts and incoherent hysteria which is usually herd at such rallies.
MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI, PALESTINIAN LEGISLATOR stressed in the CNN interview: "The world press community or media community is overwhelmed with the Israeli narrative, which is incorrect. The Israeli spokesperson has been spreading lies all over. The reality and the truth is that the side that broke this truce and this ceasefire was Israel. Two months before it ended, Israel started attacking Rafah, started attacking Hanunis (ph), and never lifted the blockade on Gaza. Gaza remains without fuel, without electricity, without bread, without medications, without any medical equipment for people who are dying in Gaza -- 262 people died, So Israel broke the ceasefire."
Perhaps we are seeing the turn of a tide.
It is becoming a contest between the people and the dinosaurs. "People Power" is coming back in, in a real sense this time, not just as a sixties slogan which was overwhelmed and trampled underfoot by the gargantuan dinosaurs who ruled communications and roamed the world at will.
Gaza: ICRC demands urgent access to wounded as Israeli army fails to assist wounded Palestinians
Geneva/Jerusalem/Tel Aviv (International Committee of the Red Cross) - On the afternoon of 7 January, four Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulances and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) managed to obtain access for the first time to several houses in the Zaytun neighbourhood of Gaza City that had been affected by Israeli shelling.
The ICRC had requested safe passage for ambulances to access this neighbourhood since 3 January but it only received permission to do so from the Israel Defense Forces during the afternoon of 7 January.
The ICRC/PRCS team found four small children next to their dead mothers in one of the houses. They were too weak to stand up on their own. One man was also found alive, too weak to stand up. In all there were at least 12 corpses lying on mattresses.
In another house, the ICRC/PRCS rescue team found 15 other survivors of this attack including several wounded. In yet another house, they found an additional three corpses. Israeli soldiers posted at a military position some 80 meters away from this house ordered the rescue team to leave the area which they refused to do. There were several other positions of the Israel Defense Forces nearby as well as two tanks.
"This is a shocking incident," said Pierre Wettach, the ICRC's head of delegation for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. "The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded. Neither did they make it possible for us or the Palestine Red Crescent to assist the wounded."
Large earth walls erected by the Israeli army had made it impossible to bring ambulances into the neighbourhood. Therefore, the children and the wounded had to be taken to the ambulances on a donkey cart. In total, the ICRC/PRCS rescue team evacuated 18 wounded and 12 others who were extremely exhausted. Two corpses were also evacuated. The ICRC/PRCS will recover the remaining corpses on Thursday.
The ICRC was informed that there are more wounded sheltering in other destroyed houses in this neighbourhood. It demands that the Israeli military grant it and PRCS ambulances safe passage and access immediately to search for any other wounded. Until now, the ICRC has still not received confirmation from the Israeli authorities that this will be allowed.
The ICRC believes that in this instance the Israeli military failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded. It considers the delay in allowing rescue services access unacceptable.
Huge crowds of million-people demonstrations have been held, from Melbourne to Jakarta, from Calcutta to Istanbul, and from Vienna to London, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Amman, in Palestinian communities inside Israel. Across the US people have been protesting, holding vigils, writing letters to the editors of the newspapers demanding more balance to the warped coverage of the events that they see in Mainstream Media coverage.
This morning, on CBC radio news, a UN spokesman categorically denied the Israeli claim that they attacked the UN school buildings in Gaza because Hamas was using them. The UN said that they controlled those schools and that there were no combatants in schools or yards. Israel had warned people to flee their homes, but Gaza is a cage that cannot be fled. So women and children went to the UN schools expecting them to be safe.
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon is speaking out, maybe not as forcefully as possible, but he is not quiet. The UN inspector (Falk) is forcefully speaking out. A UN speaker for UNRA opposed the Israeli claim that they bombed UN schools full of Hamas people seeking refuge. He said that the UN controls the schools and that there were definitely no Hamas combatants firing from the UN school compounds. Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, told AFP "Following an initial investigation, we are 99.9 percent sure that there were no militants or militant activities in the school and the school compound," The speaker of the UN General Assembly has said that Israel is committing war crimes.
I recall during the 2006 War on Lebanon, a UN Observatory Post was bombed by Israel. Four unarmed United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) peacekeepers were killed in an Israeli air strike on the UN observation post in southern Lebanon. The victims were Austrian, Canadian, Chinese and Finnish UN-observers.
Kofi Annan at the time said: "This coordinated artillery and aerial attack on a long established and clearly marked U.N. post at Khiyam occurred despite personal assurances given to me by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that U.N. positions would be spared Israeli fire."
In 1996 over 100 civilians were killed by the Israeli bombing of a UN compound in Lebanon in an incident known as the Qana shelling.
Nobel Peace Laureate, Mairead Maguire has yesterday, written to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon and Father Miguel D'Escoto President of United Nations General Assembly adding her voice to the many calls from International Jurists, Human rights Organizations, and individuals, for the UN General Assembly to seriously consider establishing an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel (ICTI) in view of the ongoing Israeli atrocities against the people of Gaza and Palestine.
The internet has been a major source of information for all those millions demonstrators protesting this past week, who have figured out that they will never learn what they need to learn from Mainstream Media alone.
As long as we can keep free, unfettered and unrestricted public communications open with which to move and disseminate information the people have a chance....
If public demonstrations, and coverage like CBS has provided in those interviews, are allowed to continue, we may have a chance....Otherwise.... Gaza Gulag! Club Fed!
Journalism, which used to be regarded as "The Fifth Estate," was once considered the "Guardian of the People's Liberties. The 'legitimate media' has been corporatized and brought to heel by the dinosaurs. It no longer guards the public interests, but protects the vested interests of its masters.
The 'alternative' sources such as Information Clearing House (ICH), Democracy Now!, Global Research, Truthout, Counterpunch, Common Dreams, Anti-War.com and scores of similar websites provided by the Internet are the only remaining free and open means of communications.
They must remain that way! Or else! Or else we all become Gazans!
About the author: Debbie Menon is an independent writer based in Dubai. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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