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Thursday, July 31, 2014

  • "Enough Blood Has Been Spilled": Israel Condemned for Striking U.N. Shelter as Death Toll Tops 1300

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    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned what he called the "outrageous" and "unjustifiable" Israeli shelling of a U.N. shelter in Gaza that killed 20 Palestinian civilians on Wednesday. Many of the dead were children who were sleeping. The United Nations has not directly condemned Israel, but says all available evidence points to its responsibility for the bombing. It was the sixth time a U.N. shelter had been bombed since the Israeli offensive in Gaza began 24 days ago. The United Nations said it had given the coordinates of the shelter to the Israeli military 17 times prior to the attack. According to the United Nations, more than 240,000 Palestinians are now staying in U.N. shelters in Gaza. Another 200,000 Palestinians have been displaced and are staying with other families. We are joined by Christopher Gunness, spokesperson for the the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. "UNRWA has reached a breaking point," Gunness says. "Eight of our staff have been killed. Our facilities are overwhelmed. Because of the continued displacement ... we may soon find ourselves where there are tens of thousands of people in the streets of Gaza — no food, no water, no shelter, no safety, frankly, after we’ve found that Israeli artillery is capable of hitting our shelters. And we’re saying: enough is enough."

  • U.S. Jewish Leader Henry Siegman to Israel: Stop Killing Palestinians and End the Occupation

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    In the second part of our interview, Henry Siegman, the former head of the American Jewish Congress and the Synagogue Council of America, discusses the assault on Gaza, Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israel, and how peace could be attainable if the Obama administration reverse decades-long support for the Israeli occupation. Born in 1930 in Germany, Siegman fled as the Nazis came to power, eventually arriving in the United States. His father was a leader of the European Zionist movement pushing for the creation of a Jewish state. In New York, Siegman studied and was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi by Yeshiva Torah Vodaas. He now serves as president of the U.S./Middle East Project. Commenting on the Hamas charter that calls for Israel’s destruction, Siegman says: "The difference between Hamas and Israel is that Israel is actually implementing [a destruction policy] — actually preventing a Palestinian state which doesn’t exist. Millions of Palestinians live in this subservient position without rights, without security, without hope, and without a future." Commenting on Israeli justifications for killing Palestinians in the name of self-defense from 1948 through today, Siegman responds: "If you don’t want to kill Palestinians, if that’s what pains you so much, you don’t have to kill them. You can give them their rights, and you can end the occupation. And to put the blame for the occupation and for the killing of innocents that we are seeing in Gaza now on the Palestinians — why? Because they want a state of their own? They want what Jews wanted and achieved? This is a great moral insult."

    Click here to watch part 1 of this interview.

  • Iron Dome or Iron Sieve? Evidence Questions Effectiveness of U.S.-Funded Israeli Missile Shield

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    Just hours after the White House condemned the shelling of a U.N. school in Gaza, the Pentagon confirmed it was providing Israel with fresh supplies of ammunition, including mortar rounds for tanks and ammunition for grenade launchers. Meanwhile, members of Congress are working to supply hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding for Israel’s "Iron Dome" missile shield. While U.S. news anchors, pundits and politicians have repeatedly extolled the efficacy of the Iron Dome in deflecting rocket attacks, the acclaimed physicist Theodore Postol says there is no evidence Iron Dome is actually working. He estimates the Iron Dome, which is partially built by Raytheon, intercepts just 5 percent of rockets fired at Israel. A professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Postol is an expert in missiles, missile defenses and other aspects of modern warfare.

    Click here to watch part 2 of this interview.