By Ma’an News Agency
21 August, 2014
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli forces killed four Palestinians in Gaza City on Thursday after targeting a cemetery in the Sheikh al-Radwan district, Gaza health official Ashraf al-Qidra said.
The bodies of Muhammad Talal Abu Nahl, Rami Abu Nahl, Haitham Tafesh and Abed Talal Shuweikh were taken to al-Shifa medicial center.
The victims were burying relatives who had been killed overnight by Israeli airstrikes.
The latest airstrikes bring the total death toll since midnight to 24 Palestinians.
Earlier, two Palestinians were killed and three injured in an Israeli airstrike targeting a car in the al-Nasr neighborhood west of Gaza City.
Before that, Israel killed three of Hamas’ most prominent military commanders in airstrikes targeting a building in Rafah.
The al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement that Muhammad Abu Shammala, Raed al-Attar and Muhammad Barhoum were killed in the al-Sultan neighborhood of Rafah.
Five other civilians were killed in the attack and at least 40 injured.
In the al-Nuseirat refugee camp, Israel killed two men after targeting a motorcycle. They were identified as Jumaa Matar, 27, and Omar Abu Nada, 22.
In northern Gaza, Israeli shelling killed Surour Tambora and his son Hasan, 13, medical sources said.
An Israeli airstrike also killed five Palestinians, including three children, in Gaza City on Thursday, a medical official said.
Meanwhile, a body was recovered under rubble from the al-Dalou home, which was targeted by Israel on Tuesday.
For Israel, all of Gaza is one big weapons laboratory
Ebrahim Moosa – Cii News | 20 August 2014/24 Shawaal 1435
Just ‘why does Israel do it’ is a question so many have asked themselves in bewilderment. With every new aggression against the Palestinian people, it can be argued, the Zionist State sets itself up for even greater international isolation and chastisement; it heightens its own state of insecurity; places its citizens and interests worldwide at increased risk and gives birth to another more fearless crop of freedom fighters in Palestine. So just what strategic value can lie in all of this madness for the Zionist State?
Israeli proponents would claim the IDF is “mowing the lawn” – itself an obscene concept coined in Israeli military circles to describe how, every couple of years or so, Gaza is subjected to an awesome display of firepower to trim back Hamas’s military capabilities and ambitions. There’s the oft-regurgitated mantra of rockets, tunnels, a nation under siege from ‘terrorists’ and a beleaguered Israel striving to simply secure normalcy for its citizens. But then, there’s the more ominous side: a rationale not altogether absent from Israeli public discourse, but handled in altogether more hushed tones.
Last week, the supposedly progressive Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz dubbed it ‘The Silver Lining’. ” ‘Gaza-tested weapons are expected to sell like hot cakes’ read a brazen headline on its official Facebook page. Another piece on its website referred to the Gaza War as a ‘Cash Cow’ for Israeli arms manufacturers. “Factories worked around the clock turning out munitions as the army tested their newest systems against a real enemy. Now, they are expecting their battle-tested products will win them new customers,” read the article’s promotional blurb.
The range of sentiments from Israeli military analysts and arms manufacturers showcased in the article are highly illustrative and make for essential reading for any impartial observer seeking to ply at the fundamental depravity of Israeli military conduct.
“After every campaign of the kind that is now taking place in Gaza, we see an increase in the number of customers from abroad,” said arms manufacturer Meprolight’s CEO Eli Gold, adding, “Of course, we marketing abroad aggressively, but IDF operations definitely affect marketing activity.”
The feature by journalist Shuki Sadeh concedes that “Battle-tested” is a key selling point in the Israeli armaments industry marketing pitch.
“For the defense industries this campaign is like drinking a very strong energy drink — it simply gives them tremendous forward momentum,” Barbara Opall-Rome, Israel bureau chief for the U.S. magazine Defense News was quoted as saying. “Combat is like the highest seal of approval when it comes to the international markets. What has proven itself in battle is much easier to sell. Immediately after the operation, and perhaps even during, all kinds of delegations arrive here from countries that appreciate Israel’s technological capabilities and are interested in testing the new products.”
Veteran military correspondent Amir Rapaport, editor of Israel Defense, which covers the local defense industry also concurred. “From a business point of view, the operation was an outstanding thing for the defense industries,” he said. “There are two main reasons for that. First, the cloud of budget cuts and project cancellations has been lifted. I believe that after the operation, Israel’s defense budget will be increased and projects that were frozen will be revived. Second, during the weeks of the war, new products were introduced for the army’s use. The war is an opportunity to cut red tape. Weapons systems that have long been under development suddenly became operational during the course of the fighting.”
Adding to the chorus of consent on the subject was Maj. Gen. (res.) Danny Yatom, who now deals in defense equipment and other war business. “The operation has a potential to promote defense exports, mainly systems that have proven themselves,” he said. “The industry will also benefit as the [Israeli] defense establishment rebuilds inventories. Also, in this war we saw that the army has new needs, especially in regards to tunnels. In my opinion, there will now be an accelerated process of development for that. There’s a financial incentive both for the developers and the manufacturers.”
Considering the high cost Israel’s terror has exacted on Palestine’s civilian infrastructure and population, it may come as a rude shock to many that the only cost being considered by those in the Israeli establishment is that of doing business, and that too by presenting the ruins and corpses of Gaza as the macabre ‘showroom’.
But for insiders on the Israeli military-industrial complex, this has always been the real deal. Former Ha’aretz journalist Yotam Feldman does an exceptional job of piercing through this shadowy world of military wheeling and dealing in his 2013 documentary film, ‘The Lab’.
Feldman, who had written extensively on the relation between military operation and financial profit in Israel, saw the production of the film – featuring prominent Israeli politicians and arms dealers – as the natural postlude to his important research.
“While making the film, I witnessed the relationship between a network of military generals, politicians and private business; the use of current military operations as a promotional device for private business; the brutal employment of the Israeli experience, and the blurred lines between what is legitimate and forbidden in this line of business,” Feldman told Al Jazeera.
Perhaps hinting at why military operations like ‘Protective Edge’ rake in such high approval ratings from the Israeli public, he reveals in the film just how lucrative war is to the Israeli economy.
“Everyone speaks about the Israeli miracle – growth and prosperity despite military conflicts. But maybe, it is not despite them, it is because of them. Hundreds live of it, and many others enjoy prosperity in a country that has become the fourth biggest arms exporter in the world”.
In Israel, the Defence Ministry deals not only with wars and homeland security but also ensures that the Israeli defence industry is successful at exporting its wares. At the end of active duty, army officers and generals are simply deployed from the battlefield to the boardrooms of arms companies. Arms and machinery ‘tested’ in Bil’in, Jenin, Khuzaa or Shuja’ea are soon thereafter swaggered before military fairs in Tel Aviv or Paris. 150 000 Israeli households are directly dependent on the arms industry for their livelihoods, and the sector plays a principal role in Israeli economic policy.
Following the 9/11 attacks, and in the wake of the illegal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq war, Israel positioned itself not only as a provider of military hardware, but also as a source of military expertise and ‘security solutions’. Countries all over the world became increasingly interested in the way the Israeli army controls civilian populations, how it fights in urban areas, and how it deals with terror and guerrilla tactics. Henceforth, Israel became a leading exporter of theory for its brand of “asymmetric warfare”. Says Feldman, “Israel has created a science out of targeted killings and of close combat fighting. In fact, Israel’s produced some of the world’s leading advisors and lecturers specialising in armed combat”.
In ‘The Lab’, the filmmaker gains exclusive access to leading arms industry roleplayers, former defence ministers and generals in the IDF. The arms agents Feldman speaks to are honest about their dealings, their personal understandings of what is good and bad, and why they take pride in the business of global weapons proliferation.
Like the views contained in the Ha’aretz piece, there are also many candid insights on how favorably the Israeli elite view war.
Quizzed by Feldman on why there is such a global demand for Israeli war technology, former Israeli defence Minister Benjamin Benaliezer responds that people like to buy things that are tested: “If Israel sells weapons,” he says, “they have been tested, tried out. We can say: we used this for 10 years, 15 years..so the demand is tremendous. It brings Israel millions of dollars”.
Some chose to more philosophical, like the IDF ‘military philosopher’ Shimon Naveh.
“The other side is a challenge, an opportunity to learn,” he says with a buzz in his voice. “What is a laboratory? An opportunity to learn. What is learning? It does not mean doing what I know how to do well, it means doing what I don’t know. The modern approach to learning, is to study, then apply. The new approach is study, learn, study, research..”
Not everybody approached for comment takes too kindly to Feldman’s line of questioning. The filmmaker even gets evicted from a Paris military show, apparently on the request of the Israeli delegation for being obtrusive to their efforts to market military machinery.
Evidently, the obscenity is two-fold: How Israelis are making a killing out of the killing of Palestinians; and how such weaponry and tactics – first tested on the Palestinians – are then exported to fuel even more violent conflicts against the downtrodden across the world.
Evidence of the kind propounded in this article should provide an even greater impetus for justice loving global citizens to end the Israeli industry of war in the Palestinian territories. For failure to reign in this rampant military-industrial complex will simply forestall any prospect of a just and peaceful outcome coming to the conflict in the Middle East.
As Professor Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions argues, Israel’s success at selling its know-how to powerful states means it has grown ever more averse to returning the occupied territories to the Palestinians in a peace agreement.
“The occupied territories are crucial as a laboratory not just in terms of Israel’s internal security, but because they have allowed Israel to become pivotal to the global homeland security industry.
“Other states need Israel’s expertise, and that ensures its place at the table with the big players. It gives Israel international influence way out of keeping with its size. In turn, the hegemonic states exert no real pressure on Israel to give up the occupied territories because of their mutually reinforcing interests.”
War, Feldman stoically concludes, has ceased to be a burden and has instead become more of an asset that Israelis depend on so much, to the extent that life cannot be imagined without it.
“From the moment one operation in Gaza ended, it is only a matter of time until the next one comes”.
Sadly, if the world does not act now to bring this military aberration to its knees, a new war will again be a new experiment.
Shoks Mnisi Mzolo – Cii News | 21 August 2014/25 Shawaal 1435
With the shelling of Gaza resuming earlier this week, the Israeli Defence Force was launched its firepower on the blockaded region’s agricultural lands. Israel’s terror attacks, spurred by Palestinian groupings’ move to unite, have claimed no less than 2,000 lives since the July 8 onset. Not satisfied with bombing fields, and worsening precarious food supply, the Tel Aviv regime – on a genocide or “ethnic cleansing” mission – turned its rockets on civilian lives.
“Suddenly (the IDF) returned to attack Palestinian families, and civilians without any warning,” noted Hani Thraya, a Gaza resident who also serves as the co-ordinator at the Dar al-Quran wa Sunnah. Amid the terrorist attacks, that have been condemned by the entire world especially for murdering innocent civilians (including children on playing fields and families in shelter camps), Thraya’s organisation is helping the poor and orphans and aiding displaced families.
“Last night in Rafah, they attacked a new family, until now we have seven shaheeds and about 40 injured (people). This situation in Gaza is very difficult…. Now many families have become homeless after the end of the ceasefire,” Thraya told Cii Radio’s Sabahul Khair. His organisation, which ordinarily runs Madressahs and helps teach the holy Qur’an to 25,000 people at a time, is now offering humanitarian assistance to the scores of Palestinians afflicted by the Israeli terror. Because of the ongoing Zionist project, that continues to punish ordinary Palestinians, Dar al-Quran wa Sunnah has joined forces with other NGOs to help the affected at schools, houses and elsewhere around Gaza.
“We directly go to them and give them whatever we can: food, water, anything they want, to help them continue (with their lives until the Israeli assault ends). All of Gaza NGOs and institutes are united to help the people… all of us are determined to help them and to make the people of the world know what is happening in Gaza,” said Thraya, speaking from the assaulted region, also known as the world’s largest open-air prison, that is home to more than 1.5 million Palestinians.
“All of Gaza is under attack now and no place is safe,” he said when asked whether the IDF was bombing the entire blockaded region. Nevertheless, this Gaza activist and resident added, none of this has deterred or discouraged the Palestinians – under the leadership of Islamic Jihad and Ismail Haniyeh’s Hamas, among others – from resisting the colonial Zionist Israeli occupation.
With the Israeli bombs and rockets wrecking havoc and destroying facilities, including mosques and Masjids, it’s hard to imagine where people go for Salaah, for instance. But, said Thraya, it is business as usual for the faithful. Critically, asserted the Dar al-Quran wa Sunnah co-ordinator, the subjugated and occupied Palestinians draw their strength from the holy book. “Our strength comes from the Qur’an. We read the Qur’an, Alhamdulillah, everyday” he explained, and speaking of Imams in the political top brass.
“(People still) go to Jummuah whether the Masjid is in good condition or damaged. [Sometimes] they use the streets to pray. We have no problem in our Masjid and carry on with our religious matters as per norm,” he said, citing the likes of Salah. “Even if we know we’re being attacked but we have (to carry on living), Alhamdullilah… Allah encourages us to go to the mosque and hospitals, and carry on with our lives as normal.”