January 19, 2009
BBC News

Scale of Gaza Destruction Emerges

The full scale of devastation in Gaza following Israel's three-week offensive is becoming clear, after both Israel and Hamas declared ceasefires.

UN official John Ging said half a million people had been without water since the conflict began, and huge numbers of people were without power.

Four thousand homes are ruined and tens of thousands of people are homeless.

Israeli spokesman Mark Regev said he expected border crossings to open for aid later on Monday. . . .

Israel called a ceasefire on Saturday, saying it had met its war aims.

Hamas later declared its own truce with one of its leaders claiming a "great victory" over Israel and saying its ability to fire rockets had not been affected by the Israeli strikes. . . .


Rory McCarthy, "Palestinians Lose Faith in Two-State Solution," Guardian, September 4, 2008

"Israel Besieges, Attacks Gaza, Breaks Ceasefire," The Wisdom Fund, January 1, 2009

VIDEO: "Embedded With Gaza Medics," Independent, January 16, 2009

[When the current war on Gaza started in late December, Syria and Qatar were first to call for a ceasefire and demand an urgent meeting of the Arab League. They wanted to save Hamas from the Israeli onslaught, but Cairo and Riyadh reasoned that if Hamas was not annihilated, Iran would have gained full control of the Gaza Strip.--Sami Moubayed, "Old battles, new contenders in the Gulf," Asia Times, January 17, 2009]

[The measure I am referring to is the one employed by Israel.--Jonathan Cook, "Israeli Assault Injures 1.5 Million Gazans,", January 17, 2009]

"'Tungsten bombs' leave Israel's victims with mystery wounds," Independent, January 18, 2009

"Rafah, a landscape scarred by Israel's war," Independent, January 19, 2009

[The Parliament building here has been reduced to rubble. The five-story engineering department of the Islamic University is a pile of folded concrete. Police stations, mosques and hundreds of homes have been blown away. . . . What is clear is that, despite vague Israeli hopes that Hamas could be completely removed, that has not happened.--Ethan Bronner, "Parsing Gains of Gaza War," New York Times, January 19, 2009]

Robert Fisk, "So, I asked the UN secretary general, isn't it time for a war crimes tribunal?," Independent, January 19, 2009

[Until Gaza has continual access to the outside world, any real reconstruction will be impossible. A senior EU official said no aid would be spent rebuilding buildings and infrastructure while Hamas remained in control. . . .

Rebuilding will take place in a 139-square-mile enclave that is packed with 1.5 million Palestinians, of whom 70 per cent are from refugee families expelled from Israel during the creation of the state. More than a million are already receiving UN food supplies.

The initial assessment is that 20,000 homes lived in by 120,000 people have been somewhat damaged and can be patched up so they are habitable again. The 4,000 homes that have been destroyed cannot be rebuilt because Israel is refusing to let construction materials cross the border into Gaza.--Patrick Cockburn, "Gaza was demolished in three weeks. Rebuilding it will take years," Independent, January 20, 2009]

VIDEO: "The bloody Israeli sojurn in Gaza," Russia Today, January 21, 2009

[About 1,300 Palestinians were killed and the operation caused an estimated $2 billion in property damage to the already impoverished territory.--Jonathan Finer and Craig Whitlock, "As Constraints on Gaza Ease, New Reports of Misery," Washington Post, January 22, 2009]

[President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad of Iran wrote a letter to King Abdullah, explicitly recognising Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Arab and Muslim worlds and calling on him to take a more confrontational role over "this obvious atrocity and killing of your own children" in Gaza. The communique is significant because the de facto recognition of the kingdom's primacy from one of its most ardent foes reveals the extent that the war has united an entire region, both Shia and Sunni.--Turki al-Faisal, "Saudi patience is running out," Financial Times, January 22, 2009]

[Some of the Mosques were shelled while they were full of worshipers at prayer.--" Israel destroyed 41 mosques in Gaza, says ministry,", January 23, 2009]

[The PR war being waged by Israel over coverage of its invasion of Gaza is a critical part of maintaining the US public, if not the US government, in a state of maximal ignorance and above all, indifference, to the meaning of what is taking place in Gaza.--Irene Gendzier, "What the US knew and chose to forget in 1948 and why it matters in 2009,", January 23, 2009]

James Hider and Sheera Frenkel, "Israel admits using white phosphorous in attacks on Gaza,", January 24, 2009

VIDEO: "Gaza 2009: We Will Never Forget," xxx, January 24, 2009

VIDEO: "Voices For Palestine: Gaza & the Humanitarian Crisis," VoicesForPalestine, January 25, 2009

[Israel's leaders remain determined to control all of what used to be known as Mandate Palestine, which includes Gaza and the West Bank.

The key to achieving this is to inflict massive pain on the Palestinians so that they come to accept the fact that they are a defeated people and that Israel will be largely responsible for controlling their future. This strategy, which was first articulated by Ze'ev Jabotinsky in the 1920s and has heavily influenced Israeli policy since 1948, is commonly referred to as the "Iron Wall."--John J. Mearsheimer, "Another War, Another Defeat,", January 26, 2009]

[In Gaza, Palestinians have once again been blamed for their own deaths. The British made a similar argument 151 years ago when they killed thousands of Indian civilians . . .

Most people believe India won its independence from the British exclusively through Gandhi's famous strategy of nonviolence. They're wrong; armed resistance has deep roots in India.--Radhika Sainath, "The Indian example,", January 26, 2009]

VIDEO: "Worse than an Earthquake: Peace Activist Kathy Kelly on the Destruction in Gaza,", January 27, 2009

[Israel, not Hamas, violated the truce: Hamas undertook to stop firing rockets into Israel; in return, Israel was to ease its throttlehold on Gaza. In fact, during the truce, it tightened it further. This was confirmed not only by every neutral international observer and NGO on the scene but by Brigadier General (Res.) Shmuel Zakai, a former commander of the IDF's Gaza Division. . . .

Everyone seems to have forgotten that Hamas declared an end to suicide bombings and rocket fire when it decided to join the Palestinian political process, and largely stuck to it for more than a year. Bush publicly welcomed that decision, citing it as an example of the success of his campaign for democracy in the Middle East. (He had no other success to point to.) When Hamas unexpectedly won the election, Israel and the US immediately sought to delegitimise the result and embraced Mahmoud Abbas, the head of Fatah, who until then had been dismissed by Israel's leaders as a 'plucked chicken'. They armed and trained his security forces to overthrow Hamas; and when Hamas - brutally, to be sure - pre-empted this violent attempt to reverse the result of the first honest democratic election in the modern Middle East, Israel and the Bush administration imposed the blockade.--Henry Siegman, "Israel's Lies," London Review of Books, January 29, 2009]

Raphael Ahren, "For first time, U.S. professors call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel," Haaretz, January 29, 2009

"Israel officials face war crimes probe in Spain," Haaretz, January 29, 2009

Fareena Alam, "MP: Arrest British Jews fighting for IDF," Press TV, February 3, 2009

Joshua Mitnick, "War crimes accusations rattle Israel," Christian Science Monitor, February 4, 2009

[In my view, what made the Gaza attacks launched on 27 December different from the main wars fought by Israel over the years was that the weapons and tactics used devastated an essentially defenceless civilian population.--Richard Falk, "Israel's War Crimes," Le Monde Diplomatique, March 12, 2009]

Donald Macintyre, "Israel accused of 'reckless' use of white phosphorus," Independent, March 26, 2009

Rory McCarthy, "Israel created 'terror without mercy' in Gaza," Guardian, April 7, 2009

Nadia Hijab, "The Israel Boycott is Biting,", May 1, 2009

[More than 1,000 Palestinians were killed but the sides differ over how many were combatants. Israel lost 10 soldiers and three civilians.--Patrick Worsnip, "UN report accuses Israel of recklessness in Gaza," Reuters, May 5, 2009

VIDEO: "Poverty soars for Gaza residents," BBC News, June 29, 2009

[ . . . delegates from the approximately 300 member groups that make up the US Campaign voted in favor of an academic and cultural boycott of Israel.--Nadia Elia, "A turning point for the US solidarity movement,", September 16, 2009]

Donald Macintyre, "UN says Israel should face war-crimes trial over Gaza," Independent, September 16, 2009

Ian Black and Ian Cobain, "British court issued Gaza arrest warrant for former Israeli minister Tzipi Livni," Guardian, December 14, 2009

Ali Abunimah, "'Israel resembles a failed state',", December 28, 2009

Ilan Pappe, "'Goldstone's shameful U-turn,", April 4, 2011


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