Saturday, August 2, 2014

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I have friends in Israel. I have worked there, and I have been to Gaza. Here are a few words about sharing and attribution and truth on Gaza - written by a close friend whom I've known since the Seventies - S.L.

I have lived in Israel since 1989, loathe our settlement expansion policy, support a two-state solution, and have despaired over the situation in Gaza.

Articles, op/eds, and now videos that I share here are eyewitness accounts by respected journalists who have been or an in Gaza now. They have been my friends and colleagues for more than 20 years - men and women that I know and trust.

Hamas Threatening Journalists in Gaza who Expose Abuse of Civilians

Reporters are bullied, have equipment confiscated, barred from sensitive sites… but they don’t report it. ‘They’re too scared,’ says Israeli official, lamenting capitulation to harassment

Regarding Hamas and their own Shifa hospital: "Shifa has indeed “become a de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders, who can be seen in the hallways and offices,” the Washington Post reported on July 15. The Wall Street Journal‘s Middle East correspondent, Nick Casey, wrote on Twitter that Hamas uses Shifa “as a safe place to see media” but removed the post afterwards.

Yesterday my daughter went to a funeral for a friend from her class, a boy she's known since 7th grade. He and two other kids were killed when they entered a booby-trapped UNWRA clinic to destroy a tunnel leading from the clinic to a massive network underground. I am including just two videos that show tunnels, one from a mosque, and another in the bathroom of a private home. There are dozens of videos like these showing tunnels that lead from schools and living rooms, mosques and clinics--just as there are still dozens more tunnels. All of them were constructed at a staggering cost with aid from abroad--not to mention building materials provided by Israel, earmarked for the construction of homes, schools, clinics, etc. This has been documented time and again.

While operating in Gaza against Hamas, IDF soldiers found a mosque that contained many weapons. Furthermore, two tunnel openings were found in the bottom floor, which was also the prayer area.

The Gaza Strip is a beautiful stretch along the Mediterranean coast, with enormous potential for growth and self-sufficiency. This has NEVER, EVER been a goal of Hamas, despite the billions of dollars in aid that it collects each year from Israel and many countries around the world. Ordinary Gazans see none of this aid - most live in abject poverty, while Hamas commanders live in and operate from the comparative luxury of their private compounds. That is when, of course they are not hiding out underground, or in Qatar.

Most Israelis are SICKENED by the death of innocent civilians in Gaza. Our conflict, and the struggle to do what is right is played out every day in Israeli media and on the street.

The decimation of Gaza is not and never has been Israel's goal. We do believe that education and prosperity offer the ONLY hope for the people of Gaza.

Rockets Found in a UNRWA School for a Third Time

Palestinians at an UNRWA school after fleeing their homes following an Israeli ground offensive in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 18, 2014. (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Today another ceasefire has been announced, and I just want to quote--or paraphrase, really, Khaled Mashaal's speech from two weeks ago, in which he said "any ceasefire is temporary . . . it will last until we have completed more tunnels, amassed more missiles, and can attack again to kill and drive out the occupiers . . ."

The first paragraph of Hamas' charter - which you can find just about anywhere if you look for it - calls for the destruction of Israel. Hamas has refused to renounce this objective. It must remain in the charter, says Mashaal, "for internal reasons".

Israel DOES not occupy the Gaza Strip, or the West Bank. Mashaal and Hamas - want Israelis, Jews, OUT OF ISRAEL.

Ceasefire or not - I, we, are not going anywhere.

- From K.K. in Tel Aviv


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