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Friday, August 1, 2014

  • As Gaza Ceasefire Collapses, Israel Kills Dozens Following Soldier’s Capture in Rafah


    The ceasefire in Gaza has collapsed just hours after it began, with more than 40 Palestinians killed and the capture of an Israeli soldier. Israeli tanks reportedly opened fire in the southern Rafah area just hours after the 72-hour ceasefire began. Israel is claiming Hamas first broke the ceasefire by firing rockets from southern Gaza. Meanwhile, the Israeli military has launched a major effort to locate a soldier they say was captured near Rafah. The Israeli military says the soldier was captured when Israeli forces attempting to destroy a tunnel were attacked by militants, including a suicide bomber. Talks had been scheduled for this weekend in Cairo but are now in limbo. We are joined from Gaza by two guests: Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and Mohammed Omer, an award-winning Palestinian journalist and Rafah resident.

  • Gazan Human Rights Lawyer Pleads to U.S.: We Deserve to be Protected, Not Bombed with Your Weapons


    As new violence breaks out in Gaza following the collapse of a 72-hour ceasefire, the Palestinian death toll has now reached at least 1,460, mostly civilians, surpassing the number of Palestinians killed during Operation Cast Lead nearly six years ago. Sixty-four Israeli soldiers have been killed, in addition to three civilians inside Israel. We are joined from Gaza City by Raji Sourani, one of the top advocates for Palestinian human rights in the Occupied Territories. The director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza, Sourani serves on the executive board of the International Federation for Human Rights. He is a past winner of the Right Livelihood Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.

  • Recipe for Lasting Ceasefire? Lifting Israeli Siege & Int’l Accountability Could Break Status Quo


    The Gaza Health Ministry now says at least 50 Palestinians have been killed today in Gaza following the collapse of a U.S.- and U.N.-backed ceasefire. Hamas and Israel are blaming each other for violating the truce. Israel has launched a major operation to rescue a soldier captured earlier today. The Israeli Defense Forces just identified the soldier as Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin. Hamas says the soldier was captured before the ceasefire began. The 72-hour ceasefire announced Thursday was supposed to bring Israeli and Palestinian representatives together in Cairo, but the outbreak of violence puts those talks in jeopardy. We speak with Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the Jerusalem Fund and its educational program, the Palestine Center. "We cannot go back to a status quo where a ceasefire ends rocket fire from the Gaza Strip but does not end the system of violence that is the siege … enforced through the regular use of Israeli fire," Munayyer says. "You cannot call it a ceasefire while that system of violence still exists."

  • Amnesty International: U.S. Should Stop Arming Israel Amid "Growing Evidence of War Crimes in Gaza"


    On the same day Israeli forces killed 20 Palestinians at a U.N. school this week, the U.S. confirmed it had provided Israel with fresh supplies of munitions, including mortar rounds for tanks and ammo for grenade launchers. Now, one of the nation’s leading human rights organizations has called on the United States to stop arms transfers to Israel amid "growing evidence of war crimes in Gaza." On Thursday, Amnesty International said the U.S. government must immediately end its ongoing deliveries of large quantities of arms to Israel, which are providing the tools to commit further serious violations of international law in Gaza. Amnesty’s call comes as the United Nations’ top human rights official has also criticized the United States. "They have not only provided the heavy weaponry which is now being used by Israel in Gaza, but they’ve also provided almost $1 billion in providing the Iron Domes to protect Israelis from the rockets attacks, but no such protection has been provided to Gazans against the shelling," said Navi Pillay, U.N. human rights high commissioner. "So I am reminding United States that it’s a party to international humanitarian law and human rights law." The United States is the largest exporter of military equipment to Israel, by far. According to data made public by the U.S. government, its arms transfers to Israel from January to May 2014 included nearly $27 million for "rocket launchers," $9.3 million worth in "parts of guided missiles" and nearly $762,000 for "bombs, grenades and munitions of war." We speak to Sunjeev Bery, director of Middle East/North Africa advocacy at Amnesty International USA.

  • John Brennan Faces Calls to Resign After CIA Admits to Spying on Senate Torture Probe


    Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan is facing calls to resign after admitting CIA officials spied on a Senate panel probing the agency’s torture and rendition program. The allegation surfaced in March when members of the Senate Intelligence Committee openly accused CIA officials of illegally monitoring their staffers’ computers. The Senate report has yet to be released but reportedly documents extensive abuses and a cover-up by CIA officials to Congress. At the time, Brennan denied the spying allegations and said those who make them will be proved wrong. But he reversed his stance this week after an internal CIA inquiry found the spying indeed took place with the involvement of 10 agency employees. Brennan apologized to lawmakers in a briefing earlier this week. The White House is standing by Brennan, citing President Obama’s "great confidence" in his leadership. But at least two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democrats Mark Udall of Colorado and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, are calling for his resignation. We speak with the reporter who first broke the news of the CIA’s admission to spying on Senate computers: Jonathan Landay, senior national security and intelligence correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers.