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07.21 Greta Thunberg: ‘They see us as a threat because we’re having an impact’ [We love a sane smarty-pants! Trump, you won't understand any of this, so just go off and tweet or chant, or whatever...]

07.20 Until Emissions Drop, Nothing Has Been Accomplished: The Climate Resistance Handbook Is Here. [Trump can't be bothered as the world turns into a large cinder. His laser focus is on personal greed.]

07.20 Cargo ships are emitting boatloads of carbon, and nobody wants to take the blame [1:19 video; Governments must commission to fight deadly shipping emissions, previously omitted in climate summit agreements....]

07.20 Babies Born Near Oil and Gas Wells Are Up to 70% More Likely to Have Congenital Heart Defects, New Study Shows

07.20 Giving 'Upper Hand to Corporate Polluters,' EPA Drops Surprise Inspections

07.20 With Petition to Congress, 100,000+ People Demand Green New Deal 'That Fixes Our Food System' [Realtime proactive response to reality—now and threatening—doesn't get attention in this greed focused administration]

07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]

07.19 'Unprecedented' Decline of Plants and Animals as Global 'Red List' Reveals Nearly One-Third of Assessed Species Under Threat

07.17 ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades

07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]

07.17 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]

07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

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07.19 Fox News’s star names excuse the inexcusable after Trump's latest racist attack

07.18 In Sinclair's New 'Must-Run' Segment, Former Trump Adviser Tries to Defend Racist Attacks on 'the Squad'

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07.21 Of course Donald Trump is a racist – and his Wall Street enablers know it

07.21 A court ruled it was legal for guards to strip search female inmates and force them to remove their tampons in front of male officers for a 'training exercise' [The frequency and degree of immorality and degradation being reported in the media is very disturbing, as if society has been reprogrammed overnight to be more like the worst behavior of Nazi Germany]

07.21 THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS GETTING CRUSHED IN FUNDRAISING: “THEY NEED TO GET THEIR SHIT TOGETHER” [Since so-called moderate Democrats will prostitute themselves in many conceivable ways (offering that special quid pro quo) they have effectively become competitively ANTI-PUBLIC, like Republicans. Whereas progressive Democrats must promise not to take corporate donations at all as an effective litmus-test. The DNC refuses to raise funds for moderate and progressives separately, and thus donations fall short. Which is it to be: 1) Will the DNC change? or 2) Must progressive Democrats become corporate whores too? or 3) Maybe you don't need corporate contributions at all if your policies are fantastic?]

07.21 State and Local Taxes Are Worsening Inequality

07.21 State and Local Taxes Are Worsening Inequality

07.21 We're no longer in Brave New World. We're back in 1984. [1:35 video; Our despicable President is at it again]

07.21 BALTIMORE'S FILTHIEST HOODS [7:38 video. Ask your governments, why are our cities so much worse than Europe's? Why is our healthcare worse and so much more expensive? And why are our Billionaires so much richer? Ask if those results of bad government are all related, and why? Are they all caused by a power-elite with greed-obsessed immorality?]

07.21 Nancy Pelosi's Dem Socialist Challenger Shahid Buttar: "We're Gonna Win" | Full Interview [5:43 video]

07.21 Jon Stewart goes viral excoriating Rand Paul after blocking vote [9:02 video]

07.21 Nicolle Wallace Refuses to Broadcast Trump Live [5:43 video]

07.21 Sassy Bernie Sanders Sh*ts on Jeff Bezos on His Home Turf... Numerous Times [17:22 video]

07.20 Puerto Rico: top US politicians join chorus calling for governor's resignation

07.20 Fact check: Trump says Puerto Rico got $92 billion. They've seen only a fraction [If he opens his mouth, Trump's lying.]

07.20 "Trump Says Go Home, Ilhan's Community Says Welcome Home": Rep. Omar Greeted With Cheers of Love and Support in Return to Minnesota

07.20 WATCH: Amid Extreme Anti-Refugee Push, Trump Displays Neither Interest Nor Knowledge of Asylum Seekers' Plight in Oval Office Meeting

07.20 Trump Denies Being at North Carolina Rally [Not sure if Trump supporters 'get' satire, but here goes....]

07.19 Are progressives working on a climate plan for 2021? You bet.

07.19 House Democrats demand Hope Hicks clarify testimony after Cohen document dump

07.19 The 51 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump's repugnant North Carolina rally

07.19 The Real Meaning of ‘Send Her Back!’

07.18 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Breaking up Homeland Security

Justice Matters

07.19 UN urged to act over 'purge' of Turkey's lawyers by Erdogan

07.19 DOJ Releases Strong Evidence of Trump’s Campaign Finance Violations But No Explanation of No Charges [The statement]

High Crimes vs. Human Rights

07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

International & Futurism

07.21 Millions face hardship as Zimbabwe comes close to ‘meltdown’

07.21 Spain set for socialist-led government after Iglesias deal [Some loaded drama going on here...]

07.20 US to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia in face of 'credible' regional threats [Working with Osama bin Laden's godfathers, Trump wants to profit like Erik Prince (for-profit education secretary Betsy DeVos' brother) of Blackwater infamy (hurriedly renamed ‘Academi’), the U.S. taxpayer to pay inflated costs while Trump siphons off long-term emolument largesse]

07.20 Iran on 'dangerous path' with seizure of Stena Impero, says UK [Which is this, a tit or a tat?]

07.20 'Dark satanic mills': Tony Abbott continues his crusade against wind turbines [Too much CO2 air pollution makes you stupid, and turns your country into an “Idiocracy” (1:36 video clip)]

07.20 Bolsonaro declares 'the Amazon is ours' and calls deforestation data 'lies' [Lazy and willfully stupid whenever it serves his purpose, just like Trump. “And the rest of you can all go to hell.” Again, just like Trump. Has your country turned into an “Idiocracy”? (1:36 video clip)]

07.19 U.N.'s Bachelet says Congresswomen opposing Trump are 'fantastic'

07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]

07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]

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  Israel's Exclusion and Restriction of Goods to Gaza

COMMENTARY:

Israel's Exclusion and Restriction of Goods to Gaza

by Stephen Lendman
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
Israel's 3-year siege of Gaza is slowly suffocating and strangling 1.5 million people, trapped by closed borders, regular incursions and attacks, and shortages of everything. A humanitarian crisis continues and grows. The West and most regional states are culpable, complicit or indifferent.

After Hamas was overwhelmingly elected in January 2006, Israel, Washington and the West ended all outside aid, imposed an economic embargo and sanctions, and politically isolated the new government.

Stepped up repression followed, including regular IDF incursions, bombings, killings, targeted assassinations, arrests, property destruction, and Israeli-instigated internal conflict that left Fatah usurping authority in the West Bank, leaving Gaza alone under Hamas.

In June 2007, conditions worsened after Israel imposed its siege, medieval-like, according to some, for its harshness. Now, nearing its third anniversary, it's still in place, slowly suffocating and strangling 1.5 million people, trapped by closed borders, regular incursions and attacks, and shortages of everything needed to function and survive. A humanitarian crisis resulted and continues. The West and most regional states are culpable, complicit or indifferent to a real time catastrophe.

Israel's Policy of Exclusion and Restrictions

The Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement (www.gisha.org) is a 2005-founded Israeli NGO, "whose goal is to protect the freedom of movement of Palestinians, especially Gaza residents" - rights international and Israeli law guarantee. Yet under 43 years of military occupation, Palestinian rights have been systematically compromised, abused, and violated, worst of all in Gaza under siege.

In January 2010, Gisha examined the situation in a report titled, "Restrictions on the transfer of goods to Gaza: Obstruction and Obfuscation," saying that:

"Beginning in September 2007, Israel openly stated that it would restrict the movement of goods into and out of Gaza (not for security), but (to) apply 'pressure' or 'sanctions' on the Hamas regime."

Earlier, claimed security concerns were cited - from open borders and goods through them, including "dual use" ones with military potential. Hereafter, a limited "humanitarian minimum" would be permitted excluding everything deemed not "essential for the survival of the civilian population."

What followed were exclusions halting exports, normal economic activity, production, agriculture, and availability of commonplace items like shoes, paper, school supplies, and tea called "luxuries." Gisha called it "economic warfare (and) collective punishment designed to weaken the (Gazan) economy as part of its warfare against the Hamas regime."

Because of Western complicity and regional indifference, Israel maintains tight control, squeezing the life out of Gaza, using Hamas as pretext, a government it doesn't control like Fatah under Abbas.

In a December 2008 paper titled, "Gaza Closure Defined: Collective Punishment," Gisha was blunt in calling Israel's action:

"Not a siege, not a blockade, not economic sanctions (but an imposed) closure for purposes of collective punishment (illegally in place to harm) the civilian population and civilian institutions by blocking the passage of goods necessary for health, well-being, and economic life." It's solely a political act for political gain, unrelated to security or military necessity.

Linking it to Hamas' use of rockets, its right to self defense under international law, is bogus on its face. Claiming foods, medicines, fuel for electricity and other essential to life goods relate to security is outlandish and illegal under international law.

A Gisha May 6 news release said that:

"After 12 months of unsuccessful (Freedom of Information Act) attempts (to) obtain (Israeli) documentation about (its) policy concerning the entry of food and other goods into (Gaza), and after claiming for many months that no such documents exist, Israel has finally admitted that it does indeed possess the information (including) a list of goods whose admission into (Gaza) is permitted." More on this below.

In 2009, one of several Haaretz reports alleged arbitrariness and corruption in Israel's Gaza policy as well as vagueness about what constitutes "humanitarian," let alone the low quantities let in that fall far below minimally sustainable levels for 1.5 million people. As a result, other humanitarian aid efforts and Gaza's tunnel economy supplement to compensate, but never enough to relieve dire conditions that worsen, not improve.

Gisha's Obtained Israeli Documents

They list policies that include:

  1. "The procedure for admitting goods into the Gaza Strip," that regulates how requests for goods transfers are processed and updates allowed products.
  2. "The procedure for monitoring and assessing supply in the Gaza Strip," that regulates the monitoring of the supply of goods permitted, ostensibly to prevent shortages.
  3. "A list of humanitarian products approved for admission into the Gaza Strip."
  4. A document called "Food Needs in Gaza - Red Lines," that reportedly establishes minimal nutritional requirements for subsistence, or as Ehud Olmert advisor Dov Weisglass said in early 2006:

    "The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger." In other words, make them suffer enough to reject Hamas or force its officials to accede to Israeli demands and function like Fatah as Tel Aviv's enforcer - and if fail at both, slowly suffocate and strangle the entire population.

    The "Red Lines" document reportedly establishes minimal nutritional requirements at below subsistence levels. Unreleased to the public, it's believed to contain detailed tables of the number of grams and calories of each permitted food item by age and gender. Israel refused to release it, saying the Freedom of Information Act doesn't require it because it's a "draft document" that doesn't serve as basis for policy. Gisha countered by saying:

    "This argument does not provide an answer to the question of how Israel manages to 'provide effective warning of expected shortages' of goods in Gaza while continuing to insist that there is no working document that defines (their) minimum required quantities. It is not clear why Israel....chooses to invest so many resources in the attempt to conceal information....How is the disclosure that Israel forbids the entry of sage and ginger, yet allows in cinnamon, related to security needs?"

Israel balks at releasing anything for reasons of national security and its foreign relations (its image), with no further explanation, except that the information in this case was so "confidential" that only a court in closed session should hear it, excluding Gisha attorneys.

Yet what logic excludes cans containing food, but allows Israeli produced tomato paste? Or why large tubs of margarine are embargoed but not individual sticks. Below is a list of allowed and banned items, subject to arbitrary changes and permissible quantities.

Wheat, animal feed, flour, cooking oil, cooking fat, sugar, salt, pasta, dates, garlic, chickpeas, rice, beans, lentils, kidney beans, margarine, some dairy products, powdered milk, frozen meat and fish, frozen vegetables, animal medicines, gas for medical use, empty bags for flour, certain medicines and medical equipment, diapers, toilet paper, detergent, washing liquid, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, cleaning products for tiles and glass, toilet cleaner, yeast, fertilized and unfertilized eggs, some fruit, semolina, polyethylene for greenhouses, some agricultural materials, tea, instant and regular coffee, canned tuna, salami, canned meat, bath and washing-up sponges, cloths to mop floors, baby wipes, some canned goods other than fruit, dried herb mix, black pepper, chicken stock powder, blankets, olives, matches, candles, sticks for brooms, rubbish bins, mops, hand cleansing gel, aniseed, cinnamon, camomile, water dispensers, potatoes, mineral water, tahini, combs, hair brushes, shoes, wood for doorposts and window frames, small amounts of aluminum, and some kitchenware.

Prohibited items include common ones like sage, cardamon, jam, vinegar, chocolate, fruit preserves and dried fruit, seeds and nuts, biscuits and sweets, fresh meat, fabric for clothing, fishing rods, musical instruments, writing implements, notebooks, newspapers, toys, razors, heaters, horses, donkeys, goats, cattle, and chicks.

Any and as many of the above items can be changed arbitrarily by military order without further explanation - Israel's customary practice to harass, abuse and cause harm enough for Amnesty International (AI) to title its one year after Operation Cast Lead report, "Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, no recovery, and no more excuses," concluding with a "call to action" for Quartet members, the EU, Russia, UN and US, to end the blockade by all available means under international law to assure that Palestinian rights are restored, enforced, and assured.

Nothing has been done so far, AI calling it "a sign of the wider failure to hold all parties to account for (ongoing) violations of international law." In January 2009, former Ireland President and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson said:

"Their whole civilisation has been destroyed, I'm not exaggerating....It's almost unbelievable that the world doesn't care while this is happening." Its silence makes it complicit.

In June 2009, Jews for Justice for Palestinians accused Israel of "deliberating keep(ing) Gaza on the edge of starvation," based on a Yotam Feldman-Uri Blau Haaretz investigatory report explaining that Israel's policy isn't fixed, but continually subject to change at the whim of the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the (Occupied) Territories (COGAT).

For example, after excluding them, carrots and pumpkins were allowed in. Yet items like cherries, kiwi, green almonds and pomegranates are prohibited and halvah most often. At the time, no official approved or banned items lists were available, COGAT officials saying only that "Any goods that we allow in, or prohibit - you'll know about....by phone. That's the way we work."

A former COGAT senior officer said:

"If you go back two years (ago when the blockade began), you see that it was utter foolishness. There was a vague, unclear policy, influenced by the interests of certain groups, by this or that lobby, without any policy that derived from the needs of the population....What happened was that Israeli interest took precedence over the needs of the populace."

They, in turn, use their tunnel economy to compensate for shortfalls, but it's never enough to meet needs. Since the blockade's imposition, the Karni terminal has been closed. Earlier, over 600 trucks crossed daily. Now Kerem Shalom crossing handles most goods by conveyor belt for wheat, seeds and animal feed.

Nissim Jan, a former Shin Bet agent, profits most as "head of the crossings department." He built a small empire profiteering from the siege that includes a logistical and shipping services company, as well as real estate deals. He's also erecting a building in the Barnea area of Ashkelon, apparently partnering with Didi Yamin, the contractor. In addition, he's closely connected to Nasser Saraj, in charge of Israel - Gaza crossings.

According to one Israeli:

"The services Jan supplies on both sides of the crossing have made him one of the most significant figures at Kerem Shalom."

He says that "Nothing that happens at the crossings escapes my notice."

Defense Ministry sources told Haaretz that they've been checking complaints about his activities, including charging a fee for every truck entering Gaza. Jan denies it, yet he profits both ways by charging Palestinians for services rendered. He was fined for one incident involving about 100 tons of cooking gas, reported at the time to be stolen. He claimed he paid the fine to say "Leave me alone."

His operation clarifies an added reason for maintaining the siege - the fact that Israeli businessmen profiteer from the misery of 1.5 million people, and do it on both sides of the border.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on May 19, 2010.
 

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