January 16, 2009

news bulletin for Friday - Gaza update

Bolivia and Venezuela break off diplomatic relations with Israel

LA PAZ/CARACAS, January 14.— Bolivia and Venezuela today broke off diplomatic relations with Israel over the aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza, which has left more than 1,000 dead and close to 4,600 wounded.

According to PL, Bolivian President Evo Morales made the announcement on Wednesday, January 15 during an audience with the accredited diplomatic corps in La Paz and explained, “Bolivia had diplomatic relations with Israel, but in the face of these grave events, attacks on life and humanity, Bolivia is breaking off its diplomatic relations with Israel.”

In a Telesur report, the president also noted that the country’s authorities are to bring a formal complaint against the Israeli state to the International Criminal Court regarding the attacks on the Gaza Strip, and called for an urgent extraordinary meeting of the UN General Assembly to cast a vote of condemnation for the Zionist aggression against the Palestinian people.

Meanwhile, news of the rupture between Caracas and Tel Aviv was reported in a communiqué from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which described the brutal attacks of the Zionist army as “genocide.”

The Venezuelan government decided to expel Israeli ambassador Shlomo Cohen and part of the diplomatic corps in Caracas on Tuesday, January 6.

Translated by Granma International

Cuban students demand a halt to Zionist aggression on the Palestinian people

Katia Siberia García and Lianet Arias Sosa

FOR 20 days now, Israeli bombs have been dropped on the densely populated Gaza Strip, killing some 1,000 people and injuring around 5,000, mostly civilians. This genocide was strongly condemned yesterday by thousands of young Cubans, who protested both the military attack and the complicit silence of powerful countries protecting the attackers.

Akram Samhan, Palestinian ambassador in Cuba, stood on the steps of the main entrance to the University of Havana and expressed thanks for Cuba’s friendship with the cause and affirming that the Palestinian people would remain steadfast because they are backed by international law, solidarity and justice.

Samhan referred to the 60-plus years of Zionist aggression against Palestine, and condemned the blockade that is preventing food, medicine and other basic necessities from reaching the 1.5 million people who live in those 360 square kilometers.

“Sometimes with guns, other times with stones, we will always fight firmly,” declared the president of the Union of Palestinian Students in Cuba.

Camilo Rojo Alvarez, coordinator of the Committee of the Families of the Barbados Crime Victims, criticized the unjust Israeli onslaught and said “We too have been victims of injustice and massacres. Because we know about bombs and other aggression, we defend the Palestinian people even more strongly.”


“We want to reiterate that our country will not waver in defending the Palestinian cause, and the people’s legitimate right to constitute a sovereign state,” Rodrigo Alvarez Cambras, president of the Cuban-Arab Friendship Association (AACA), stated on Wednesday.

During an event organized by the AACA and the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) at the Frank País Hospital in Havana, Alvarez Cambras also spoke about the reasons for the conflict and the passivity of powerful nations in face of the massacre of Palestinians, including the United States.

Translated by Granma International

Israeli Soldiers refuse to fight

There are increasing number of refuseniks as shown in this video.

Ammo ship to head to Israel

According to a Reuters news report dated Jan 10th, a ship with 3000 tons of ammunition is slated to head to Israel. "Shipping 3,000-odd tons of ammunition in one go is a lot," one broker said, on condition of anonymity.

"This (kind of request) is pretty rare and we haven't seen much of it quoted in the market over the years," he added.

ship from Cyprus turned away

The ship Spirit of Humanity was forced to turn back on its third attempt to bring aid to Gaza. The ship, which flies the Greek flag, was surrounded by Israeli naval vessels and threatened to shoot unarmed civilians aboard. The ship, which was to deliver doctors and medicine to the Gaza strip, had been rammed on its first attempt, had a generator failure the second, and now was forced back with threat of force on its latest trip.

IDF attacks UN HQ, Hospital, and news press offices in single day.
compiled from news services

United Nations' relief agency, UNRWA headquarters was hit a half dozen times by white phosphorus shells. 700 refugees were inside taking shelter. A UN warehouse housing relief supplies was part of the compound and was hit, setting off raging fires. The building was marked with UN flags and signs. GPS co-ordinates were given to the Israeli forces, so the building would not be attacked. All in vain.

According to a BBC report, UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness was...

"Asked whether he was sure the attack had been carried out by
Israel, he said he was not aware of Hamas having access to white
A BBC correspondent in Egypt who saw children with gunshot wounds said
he had been given detailed accounts by Palestinian civilians of how
they and their children had been fired at by Israeli soldiers."

UN relief operations director John Ging said: "They are phosphorus fires so they are extremely difficult to put out because if you put water on it, it will just generate toxic fumes and do nothing to stop the burning.
...This is going to burn down the entire warehouse. Thousands and thousands of tons of food, medical supplies and other emergency assistance are there," he warned. The fire was reported to have done just that by Friday.

Johann Eriksson of the UNRWA said the attack was "unforgivable".
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon was outraged at the attacks and demanded an explanation.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the UN compound was being used by Hamas fighters and IDF attacked the UN building in self defense. The defense minister stated that IDF soldiers would continue to return fire, in self-defense. It seems that the minister is acting tough for the domestic audience by telling off the UN.
International press reports that Israeli officials called the shelling "A grave mistake".

A building that houses the offices of the wire service Reuters was also attacked. Bullets entered the offices of the Associated Press as well.

The hospital in Tal al-Hawa had about 500 people inside when it came under attack. Many had taken shelter in the hospital, hoping to escape the fighting."The last hit was on the Red Crescent's operations building and destroyed the pharmacy. There's a hole in the roof and a fire is still burning," said Sharon Locke, a hospital volunteer.

The shelling of the hospital was called "completely and utterly unacceptable based on every known standard of international humanitarian law," the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said in a statement.

New DIME munitions tested in Gaza
compiled from sources, including Palestine News Network and a
Dec 5, 2006 report by James Brooks

A new munition, that sprays heavy metal and tungsten into its victims has been tested repeatedly in Gaza.
Called DIME for Dense Inert Metal Explosive, is designed as a low collateral damage weapon. It does have a small blast radius, due to air resistance but is very lethal in its small area because of its micro-shrapnel. Despite its designed purpose, it has inflicted much collateral damage and is as horrid as any weapon banned by treaty.

Scientific studies have found that the fine spray is chemically toxic, damages the immune system, rapidly causes cancer, and attacks DNA. Dr Joma Al-Saqqa of Al-Shifa hospital (in a 2006 report) observed that, "despite the damage in internal soft tissue in the bodies of injured people, the fragments were not detected by X-ray. In other words, they had disappeared or dissolved inside the body." This hot metal cooks flesh from the inside and causes tissue death and a high infection rate.

EU presidency may not upgrade EU-Israel Agreement

Tuesday 30 December-Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg told the BBC Radio 4 'PM programme' that due to the assault on the Gaza strip, he had "grave doubts" about the plans to upgrade the EU-Israel agreement. The Czech Republic later took over the EU presidency on New Year's day. Mr. Schwarzenberg, is now the President of the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council.

WFDY CENA Solidarity Statement regarding the situation in Gaza, Palestine

The World Federation of Democratic Youth’s (WFDY) regional commission for Europe and
North America (CENA) condemns the Israeli massacre of Palestinian people and expresses its full solidarity to all the Palestinian young progressive and democratic people involved in the resistance against the Israeli attack.

This imperialist war is not the so called “hostilities ”, “tension” or a “crisis” caused by Hamas’s rockets. Imperialists use such terms to hide the fact that the Israel is the attacker and Palestinians the victim.

CENA denounces the Israeli slaughter that has already killed hundreds of Palestinians and brought about thousands of wounded Palestinians.
The pretexts of imperialists are once more fake and challenging. After the mass destruction weapons in Iraq that were never found they use now the so called Israel’s right to “self-defense”.

To control the wealthy natural resources and the geostrategic role of the Middle East the imperialists, like USA, NATO and EU have to take control of the region and Palestine is the top priority. Something similar happened in our region, in the Balkans area, where imperialism promoted conflicts and bombed until Yugoslavia was destroyed and the area was fully controlled by the pro NATO forces.

CENA denounces that in our region, USA administration has supported, organized and funded the killing all these years, as well as promoted an anti Palestinian atmosphere inside and outside its borders.
Furthermore, still in our region, the European Union is calling for cease-fire but does not put the blame on Israel as a killer and invader and keeps an equivocal position. The statements of EU Czech presidency is absolutely challenging but is just another ring of the same chain of a series of threatening ultimatums that EU have voted all these years , considering Palestinians as terrorists.

Besides since December 8, EU has upgraded its relations with Israel as a further reward for the killing of thousands of Palestinians for 6 decades .
We have been struggling in all our countries to denounce the USA, EU and its member states, and several other European imperialist governments’ commitment with the ongoing massacre, and we will reinforce the deepest solidarity towards the Palestinian people and we will strengthen our activities in order youth to learn the truth about what happening in Palestine.

The struggle developed by the Palestinian people is an inspiration to us all in our daily struggles and is in our minds at all times. For a Palestine free of invasion and war, with open roads for the international aid, with no more occupied territories and no more Palestinian strugglers imprisoned in Israel, we are by your side in the struggle for a free, independent and sovereign Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

WFDY Europe and North America Regional Commission (CENA)

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