Why The Violence

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September 18, 2014

Gaza hasn’t forgotten. There’s a whole list of people who can never forget: the 1,500 orphaned children; the 3,000 wounded children; the 1,000 crippled children; the 110,000 residents still crowded in UNRWA shelters in inhumane conditions; the tenants of the 18,000 buildings destroyed or badly damaged, leaving 2.5 million tons of debris nobody knows what to do with; the 450,000 people without water and the 360,000 who, according to the World Health Organization, are suffering from PTSD after our bombardments. None of these people can be expected to forgive, and this isn’t the first time this has happened.

Gideon Levy is a columnist for the Israeli daily Haaretz, which appears both in Hebrew and in English. He has covered the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza for the last 25 years.

Visit the link: War? What war? Gaza gets forgotten in a hurry



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September 17, 2014

The children of Gaza have bleak horizons. About 60,000 houses were damaged of which 20,000 are uninhabitable. Even before the current violence 71,000 homes needed repair or rebuilding. The public infrastructure on which they depend has been eroded by years of blockade with water, sewage and electricity systems decimated further by the latest violence. The neighborhoods where the children of Gaza once played lie in ruins, their recreational spaces littered with unexploded Israeli ordnance, which must be cleared before recovery can begin in earnest. The majority of Gaza’s 110,000 homeless people are children.

Let us move ahead with rebuilding Gaza on the clear understanding that steps will be taken by all sides to avoid another round of violence. It is time to escape the familiar pattern of blockade, rockets and destruction. The children of Gaza and southern Israel deserve better.

Chris Gunness is Spokesman and Director of Advocacy and Strategic Communications at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

Visit the link: Put the children first: Lift the blockade on Gaza



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September 8, 2014

According to UNICEF Chief of Child Protection Bruce Grant, these cases represent only a fraction of the needs.

“There are at least 373,000 children in desperate need of psychosocial support, and we have to move fast to help them,” says Grant. “Time is not on our side.”

While the current ceasefire holds, UNICEF and its partners are accelerating work on identifying the families most in need. Over the next four months, PCDCR, with help from UNICEF, will provide psychosocial support to 35,000 children and 10,000 caregivers through structured activities and one-on-one counselling. Symptoms of distress commonly exhibited by children include bedwetting, clinging to parents and nightmares.

At least 494 Palestinian children were reported killed during the hostilities in Gaza, and 2,101 others injured. UNICEF is seeking to raise US$4.5 million for psychosocial support programmes, as part of a larger appeal of $12.5 million for the whole child protection response plan.

Visit the link: Treating the hidden wounds of Gaza’s children


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September 11, 2014

Has anyone who supports the two-state solution looked at this map recently? Israeli settlements – the splashes of blue – have turned the idea of a contiguous Palestinian state into a bad joke. The prospect of an Israeli government being willing to pull its citizens out of Ariel, for example, Israel’s fourth–largest settlement which sits slap bang in the middle of the West Bank, is inconceivable.

Clearly, this is a living nightmare for the Palestinians: unless there is a serious sea-change in Israeli politics, any hope of a real future state will soon be dead.

Venetia Rainey is a Middle East correspondent for TheWeek.co.uk based in Lebanon where she works for the national English-language paper,

Visit the link: After Gaza, Israel plays another card: land grabs


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September 10, 2014

We need to examine difficult decisions that were made that run counter to halakhic morality – starting with: Can you wage war when the population has no place to escape to, in violation of Maimonides’ clear dictum that refuge must always be available even to our worst enemies – and certainly to a civilian population?

What is the Jewish justification – I see none – in dropping a bomb when it is known that it will certainly kill the wife and eight month-old baby of a terrorist leader?

Rabbi Landes is Director of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, where he teaches the Senior Kollel Talmud class and Theology. The views expressed here are his own.

Visit the link: Why as Jews, as Israelis, we must repent for Gaza’s dead


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September 8, 2014

Over the past five years, a pattern of targeted attacks against schools has been reported in 30 countries and five – Afghanistan, Colombia, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Syria – have each experienced 1,000 or more attacks on schools and universities and their staff and students. In Syria alone, by early 2013, 2,445 were reported as damaged or destroyed but, in addition, nearly 1,000 schools have allegedly been used as detention centres and in some cases torture centres. And an all too high number of children are taken from the school playground to be enlisted and brutalised as child soldiers.

Gordon Brown, a former British prime minister and chancellor, is member of parliament for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. He is UN special envoy for global education, and a patron of the Burma Campaign UK.

Visit the link: These attacks on children are crimes against humanity


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September 4, 2014

The Israelis who shout for the two-state solution say in the same breath that the settlement blocs belong to us. And they do – they are our disease, our terminal disease, which somehow remains to be diagnosed.

Gideon Levy is a columnist for the Israeli daily Haaretz, which appears both in Hebrew and in English. He has covered the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza for the last 25 years.

Visit the link: It’s time for a diagnosis: Israel’s settlement disease is terminal