Adonis Diaries

Archive for August 3rd, 2014


The Case for Sanctions Against Israel

Ebook now available for download for free.

Leading international voices argue for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

In July 2011, Israel passed legislation outlawing the public support of boycott activities against the state, corporations, and settlements, adding a crackdown on free speech to its continuing blockade of Gaza and the expansion of illegal settlements.

Nonetheless, the campaign for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) continues to grow in strength within Israel and Palestine, as well as in Europe and the US.

This essential intervention considers all sides of the movement—including detailed comparisons with the South African experience—and contains contributions from both sides of the separation wall, along with a stellar list of international commentators.

With contributions by Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, Merav Amir, Hind Awwad, Mustafa Barghouthi, Omar Barghouti, Dalit Baum, Joel Beinin, John Berger, Angela Davis, Nada Elia, Marc H. Ellis, Noura Erakat, Neve Gordon, Ran Greenstein, Ronald Kasrils, Jamal Khader, Naomi Klein, Paul Laverty, Mark LeVine, David Lloyd, Ken Loach, Haneen Maikey, Rebecca O’Brien, Ilan Pappe, Jonathan Pollak, Laura Pulido, Lisa Taraki, Rebecca Vilkomerson, Michael Warschawski, and Slavoj Žižek


Butchery in Rafah. The dead are kept in vegetable refrigerators


As Gaza stranglehold tightens, full morgues have forced people to store dead bodies in refrigerators

Corpses of the dead stored in a vegetable refrigerator in Rafah (Twitter / @FoolowGaza)
Mohammed Omer's picture
Mohammed Omer posted this Saturday 2 August 2014

Abu Taha, a farmer in Rafah, opened the refrigerator he normally keeps his potatoes and carrots in.

In it were the corpses of children, young men and women lying on top of one another, soaked in blood. Many were impossible to identify and only a few have been placed in white burial shrouds.

Such was the savagery of Israel’s bombardment in Rafah, such was the quantity of dead bodies, that there was simply no other option but to use vegetable refrigerators as makeshift morgues.

The closure of hospitals which came under bombardment led to a cascade of corpses. It started when medical staff were forced to abandon Rafah’s main hospital Abu Yousef al-Najjar which came under constant bombardment by artillery shelling from the east of the city.

They evacuated the injured to Kuwaiti Hospital, a facility totally ill-equipped to deal with major trauma injuries from the extended battlefield that the Gaza Strip has become.

Even so, several bodies were left lying on the roads, bleeding for hours without any ambulance crew arriving to rescue them.

Meanwhile, three ambulance crew members have been killed, their bodies were unidentifiable after they were hit by an Israeli tank shell directed at their ambulance.

Several of the cases close to the hospital gate were not reachable by rescue teams, says Abu Ahmed, an ambulance driver. “Each time, I drive through tank shells are fired nearby,” he says while he is a couple of hundred meters from tens of victims bleeding on the road.

Most cases of those killed in Rafah are civilians slain by canon shells that wiped several homes in Hay al-Junina area.

Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes fired missiles on several homes in Rafah targeting homes of Abu Suliman, Zorb, Alshaer, and Abu Suliman. The death toll in Rafah in the past 24 hours is now 110 killed and hundreds injured.  Medics say there are more bodies they could not reach.

The corpses were taken into vegetables refrigerators in Rafah, which have their own electricity generators. Even burying the dead was full of hazard, as the cemetries in the east of the city have also been under Israeli artillery shelling over the past 24 days.

“We had no option but to put the bodies of tens killed in the refrigerators,” Subhi Radwan, mayor of Rafah told MEE.

Al-Nujjar hospital has only enough beds for a few dozen patients, but evacuation has meant nowhere else to go for victims of the attack.

Radwan says, the war on Rafah is not over, and his staff members are unable to offer any facilities to people on the ground, that includes water and electricity lines which were destroyed by strikes.

“We appeal to the international organizations to step in and help us evacuate injured people lying in the east of Rafah,” he says.

Meanwhile, international groups have tried to help evacuate victims, but to no avail.

Survivors of the 24-hour bombardment said they had seen nothing like it in their lives. They were bombed from the air, sea and ground simultaneously.

“It is terrifying, the Israeli military has gone out of control, they bombed a building of families fleeing and killed 23 innocents,” says Abdelraouf Ayyad, a 33-year old whose home he fled in Hay al-Junina when bombing started 24 hours ago.

“No one is safe; no home, no hospital, no shelter” he says as he runs into Tal al-Sultan to seek shelter at his cousin’s house.

Twenty three family members have been killed by Israeli F16 missile, mostly from families that fled bombing in east of the city to the West of Rafah.

Radwan says, there is no other hospital, and now even the Kuwaiti hospital is under canonfire—journalists and rescue teams were forced to leave the area under gunfire.

Ashraf Al Qudra of health ministry appeals to the international community to allow ambulances to evacuate injured people from roads of East of Rafah and Kuwaiti hospital.

“We need safe routes for ambulance to evacuate victims into other hospitals in Khan Younis.”

Israeli tanks could be seen in the east, overlooking Rafah, home of 180,000 inhabitants in the far south border with Egypt.

“There are tens of cases of people bleeding and the hospital is unable to deal with massive number of victims”

Rafah’s massacre occurred two hours into the 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire announced yesterday.

Hamas and Israel exchanged accusations of breaking the ceasefire. However, Israel insisted on carrying out a military ground operation on the eastern border, despite the truce.

Israel announced one missing soldier during its ground invasion, while Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigades say they lost communication with some of their members who were in combat with Israeli troops before the ceasefire started.

Qassam Brigades said in a statement that the Israeli soldier was probably killed during in ambush along with Qassam Brigades members.

The death toll across the Gaza strip is 1680 dead and 8500 injured since the war began 27 days ago – the majority are civilians according to the UN. Meanwhile in Israel 3 civilians and 50 soldiers have been killed during the ground attack in Gaza.

Palestinian factions and Israel were expected to travel to Cairo for talks with Egyptian on a long-lasting truce, but the presence of Israeli tanks around the Rafah Crossing point will make this unlikely to happen anytime soon.

– See more at:


 Flechette shells? Modern antiquity tortures weapons targeting children and used by Israel on Gaza people

Israel using flechette shells in Gaza

The Israeli military is using flechette shells, which spray out thousands of tiny and potentially lethal metal darts, in its military operation in Gaza.

Six flechette shells were fired towards the village of Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, on 17 July, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

Nahla Khalil Najjar, 37, suffered injuries to her chest, it said. PCHR provided a picture of flechettes taken by a fieldworker last week.

Palestinian human rights group accuses Israel military of using shells that spray out thousands of tiny and potentially lethal dart
Flechette shell darts

An image provided by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights of darts from a flechette shell it says the Israeli military fired in Gaza last week.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) did not deny using the shells in the conflict.

As a rule, the IDF only employs weapons that have been determined lawful under international law, and in a manner which fully conforms with the laws of armed conflict,” a spokesperson said in response to a request for specific comment on the deployment of flechettes.

B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organisation, describes a flechette shell as “an anti-personnel weapon that is generally fired from a tank. The shell explodes in the air and releases thousands of metal darts 37.5mm in length, which disperse in a conical arch 300 metres long and about 90 metres wide”.

The munitions are not prohibited under international humanitarian law, but according to B’Tselem, “other rules of humanitarian law render their use in the Gaza Strip illegal. One of the most fundamental principles is the obligation to distinguish between those who are involved and those who are not involved in the fighting, and to avoid to the extent possible injury to those who are not involved. Deriving from this principle is the prohibition of the use of an imprecise weapon which is likely to result in civilian injuries.”

Flechette shell darts embedded in a wall in Gaza 

A image taken in 2009 of darts from a flechette shell embedded in a wall in Gaza. Photograph: Ben Curtis/APThe legality of flechette munitions was upheld by the Israeli supreme court in 2002, and according to an Israeli military source, they are particularly effective against enemy fighters operating in areas covered by vegetation. (What kinds of vegetation can you find in Gaza? Meant to be used in Vietnam?)

The source said a number of armies around the world deploy flechette shells, and that they were intended solely for use against legitimate military targets in accordance with international law.

The IDF has deployed flechette shells in Gaza and Lebanon before.

B’Tselem has documented the deaths of nine Palestinians in Gaza from flechettes in 2001 and 2002. Flechettes have also killed and wounded dozens of civilians, including women and children, in conflicts between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Israeli military deployed artillery shells containing white phosphorous in densely populated areas of Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in 2008 and 2009, causing scores of deaths and extensive burns.

It initially issued a categorical denial of reports of the use of white phosphorous, but later admitted it, saying the weapon was only used to create smokescreens.

Human Rights Watch said its use of the munitions in Operation Cast Lead was indiscriminate and evidence of war crimes.

In response to a legal challenge, the IDF said last year it would “avoid the use in built-up areas of artillery shells containing white phosphorus, with two narrow exceptions.”

The exceptions were not disclosed.

What you can DO for Gaza, right now?

Joanna Choukeir Hojeily posted this August 2, 2014

15 things you can DO for Gaza right now (with minor additional guidelines).
1. Read about the conflict. Not just in the news, not just on one side. Be critical and distinguish between facts and propaganda. The information is out there if you look. Do not take things for granted. Scratch the surface just a bit. Keep an open mind. Google Scholar is great as it will only pull reliable, peer-reviewed articles, reports and evidence-based research: It will not be as current as the media but it can help you evidence whether some media claims are true.
2. Write to Obama, and particularly the US Congress Tell Obama how you feel about the conflict. I don’t believe in pre-drafted letters. People have different opinions and motives regarding this conflict. Take a stand, and write a concise and honest letter explaining your reasoning and why you think the violence and occupation should stop. Most importantly, make your letter open and share it on social media and blogs. These are the White House contact details:
3. Write to your MPs: If you’re in the UK, visit this If you’re in Lebanon, visit this link:
4. Write to the UN: The Honorable Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General, 760 United Nations Plaza, United Nations, New York, NY 10017
5. Campaign: The UK has sold £12 billion worth of arms to Israel to date. Join Amnesty’s campaign calling on the UK government to halt the supply of arms to Israel. This is how:
6. Petition: there are many petitions to end the Israel/Gaza violence, and lift the siege on Gaza. You can find them on and
7. Donate and fundraise: to those who are putting their all into helping the victims in Gaza
8. Divest and boycott: Boycott Israeli and Israeli Settlement products to create nonviolent international pressure on Israel to stop violating the human rights of Palestinians, and to implement the peace process. Boycotting helped end the apartheid in South Africa. Download the barcode scanner app Buycott and use it when shopping. It will tell you which products you should avoid and why.
9. Tweet: search ‪#‎GazaUnderAttack and find and follow Gazan citizens, and humanitarian workers and journalists tweeting live from Gaza about what they’re going through on a day to day basis. Retweet and share their stories. This will humanise the conflict, build empathy and motivate more people to take action.
10. Use your Design skills: if you’re a designer, join a growing community of designers on Use your skills to better communicate the data and story of this conflict through infographics, illustration, typography or moving image. Share your work on the Visualising Palestine website.
11. If you’re a journalist, write opinion pieces, submit them to your press contacts, and publish them on blogs.
12. Protest and speak out about how you feel. Find out from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign when the next demonstration is happening in your area:

13. Verify sources and be critical before sharing images, articles and videos.

14. Click on the Share button to disseminate the horrors in Gaza. Share with others and encourage them to DO something for Gaza too.
15. Refrain from spreading propaganda pieces:  Pieces and videos produced and disseminated from either side of the conflict. This will only exacerbate the situation.

Do Israelis support a costly ground invasion of Gaza? Or is it their government scare tactics?

Letter from Tel Aviv – Hilla Dayan and PW Zuidhof

Why do Israelis support a costly ground invasion of Gaza?

Letter from Tel Aviv – Hilla Dayan and PW Zuidhof

The summer in Israel was planned long in advance. Eager to go, our three small children were excited to start their Lego themed summer camp. We landed in Tel Aviv in steamy mid July, just when the current violence started.

As a Dutch-Israeli family from Amsterdam that travels frequently to Israel we are used to being teased in calmer times about why, for our own sanity, we do not choose a real holiday destination instead of a conflict zone.

Friends and relatives in the Netherlands are now worried. They inquire politely as to our safety and wellbeing.

On Facebook they see our shared images of dead and wounded children in Gaza, war horrors, anti-war demonstrations, international condemnations, outraged op-eds and petitions calling for immediate ceasefire.

Pictures from home of smiling blond kids in green parks and sunny beaches are flickering in glaring contrast to the barrage of depressing feeds from our “vacation.”

Our family here knows we are appalled by the war and condemn the atrocities in Gaza but there is no point talking about it with them.

As Israeli and Dutch citizens who want to see an end to the occupation our politics combined with the fact that we don’t live in Israel makes us outsiders, if not outright “traitors.” We are naïve if we don’t see that hitting Gaza hard is necessary in response to the existential threat of Hamas.

The weight of the overwhelming support for the war descends upon us daily, heavy and inescapable like the 90% humidity in the air. In Kindergartens, Pilates studios, hairdressers, office building signs are posted as people collect goodies for packages to send to our soldiers in the front.

Soldiers are on everyone’s mind since the first smiley profiles of dead young man appeared in the news. At night many Tel Aviv restaurants and bars are empty or closed. Summer events and music concerts are cancelled so our sister and sister-in-law doda (aunt) miki the producer has plenty of time to spoil our children. This is war.

One of the many ironies of this “war vacation” is that the war and the vacation do coincide. Unlike many Israelis we are privileged to be able to take off for several weeks each summer.

We got lucky with a house swap and stay at the very heart of Tel Aviv, complete with its Bauhaus glory and shady broad boulevards. So we take the kids on evening strolls on Rothschild Boulevard; hang out at Habima square, go to the beach and the pool, occasionally dine out. Our war amounts to spending a few minutes in a friendly meet and greet in the staircase of the apartment building if we happen to be home with the children when the siren is on.

At night we do not disturb the kids’ sleep and skip the neighborly meet and greet, like last night when the siren went off. It took us few rather disorienting days here to slowly come to the conclusion that the palpable collective fear is disproportionate to the actual threat.

Government propaganda, lies and deceptions to galvanize support for the war is relentless and the Iron Dome system, the system that intercepts Hamas rockets, is just part of it.

An expert opinion according to which the Israeli population is almost 100% safe even without it because of the inferiority of Hamas’ weapons and the abundance of shelter infrastructure seemed credible.

Deep inside, we believe, everyone knows that the chance something will happen to you here is statistically negligible. It can happen, like the chance of dying in a shocking aviation disaster as what happened this summer to hundreds of Dutch citizens, but it is very unlikely.

One commentator rightly said that Iron Dome functions as the Deus-ex-Machina of this war. Everyone but us is convinced it saves lives. We see it more as a psychological warfare device. Curiously, much of the explosion sound that gets people so worked up here is largely produced by the Iron Dome system itself.

What is striking if not outright suspicious is that there is hardly any information in the aftermath of interceptions; we know nothing about it and nobody cares. The threat of warheads in any case gradually subsides as we write giving way to fear from terrorist infiltration from the Gaza tunnels. This shift happened within days from the ground invasion, which marked a notable decrease in the number of Iron Dome alarms.

How come everyone, even in our leftie circles, is so psychologically affected by this war? Why are they so afraid?

Earlier rounds – the second Intifada with buses and markets exploding – were much more terrifying. Of course far too many are first and foremost afraid for the lives of their loved ones, soldiers and reservists in Gaza.

In my family a distant relative was wounded; the brother of a friend is “inside”; The ex of a friend, who I know way back from our military service during the first Intifada, was drafted. With more than forty soldiers dead, it appears that the imaginary threshold of a war too costly to wage has not been crossed.

As we write this, carnage in Gaza and the death of scores of soldiers is authorized to continue. Why?

The Israeli narcissism that concerns itself only with IDF casualties while hundreds of bodies pile up in Gaza is nothing new. The logic of war normality we experience here in Tel Aviv just confirms it.

The soldiers die so that we can live “normally.” Violence is inevitable because Israel is under attack. One has to be here to understand fully that the legitimacy of this war is not just manufactured top down by the Israeli government. It is a genuine and widespread social reality.

Everyone, even those few hundreds opposing the war, us included, take part daily in its production. Take for instance the dynamic of normal routine interrupted regularly by sirens. In no time, these interruptions themselves became a normal routine.

We all got used to the “pending emergency” situation. We are all on an emergency-normality switch mode. People stop cars in the middle of the road to seek shelter in nearby buildings only to go back behind the wheel and honk impatiently at the other drivers as if nothing happened. In cafes people nervously react to suspicious sounds, jump from their seats to the sound of sirens, and return seconds later to their relaxed posture sipping their espressos and so on.

Many Israelis, including very young children, incessantly consume updates on strikes and interceptions through the “red color” app. The app with the red icon on their smartphones is decorated with a sound radiation sign resembling the nuclear danger logo.

Authorities, institutions, employers, all heighten security procedures, producing signs, road signs and flyers with instructions on buildings “safe spaces”. Municipalities put on giant billboards with patriotic slogans, one more offensively patriotic than the other. We received a leaflet to parents from the kids’ summer camp advising us on how to maintain “emotional safe spaces” for our children.

On TV mainly men talk: brain-dead, repetitive, militaristic tactic-talk. The blogger Idan Landau once aptly called this tsunami of public appearances at times of war zman hagvarim – “the time of men.”  At the same time, the witch hunt of dissenters has reached epidemic proportions, targeting many, and women especially, who dare speak their minds against the war.

Orna Banai, Gila Almagor, Shira Gefen are famous celebrities who were vilified for speaking out; a Palestinian psychologist working for the Lod municipality and many like her got fired for what they posted on facebook.

The Open House LGBT organization in Jerusalem came under attack after Elinor Sidi, its director, took a stance against the war. In academia, university presidents published statements warning that they monitor staff and students expressions on social media and will resort to sanctions if they express “too extreme” opinions.

This blunt assault is what happens publicly.

In private, we know from our friends, many who are politically colored as unpatriotic or anti-Zionist pay a great personal price. Candidates for jobs are asked to write letters renouncing their political opinions. University presidents intervene personally to block “controversial” appointments. Ron Shoval, former leader of Im Tirtzu organizations called to put to use the boycott law, from its sinful inception no more than a dead letter law, to preemptively prosecute and jail human rights defenders.

The idea is to prevent human rights organizations from reporting to an international investigation like the Goldstone commission after operation Cast Lead. This witch hunt did not begin yesterday, but the war made things much worse.

We encounter both this white fascism running through the main echelons of Israeli society, and the street fascism, those small but well organized gangs of the extreme right who mobilize to beat and intimidate anti-war protestors when they take to the street.

In the cultural war raging here it is the Mizrahi face of the extreme right chanting “death to Arab” on the street that grabs all the attention. Haaretz is covering this Mizrahi extreme right extensively. Indeed, it is perceived by lefties especially as menacing, as the “sewage” flooding civilized Israel.

But, the white fascism of university presidents or Im Tirtzu is far worse, far more dangerous. One Ron Shoval is more effective in crushing dissent than a thousand street gangs. Those are the people who really hold the key to a complete breakdown of the façade of Israeli democracy.

We attempted to describe the regime of manufactured fear and psychological support for the war, penetrating all aspects of life in all directions. For the vast majority of the country this fear is disproportionate to the actual threat.

We described also a climate of threat of violence and violence directed against any form of dissent. In an atmosphere of pending emergency dissent is forbidden and any government action addressing the collective paranoia from the threat of Hamas is seen in a positive light.

Needless to say, the government does nothing to curb the climate of violence against dissenters. Instead it incites it with reckless disregard to its potentially disastrous consequences. We do not fear to go and demonstrate, we are still able to do that with reasonable safety, but staying safe on the street is a slightly more complicated task than calculating where the nearest building entrance is in case of a siren alarm.

This regime of collective fear and collective mobilization in support of the war is so intense, that our “war vacation” is starting to feel like we took the wrong flight and landed in North Korea.

They are all animals” a tattooed man in his 30s muttered in our direction as we just got up to pay for our coffee. “Are you sure ALL of them are?” one of us replied later contemplating the stupidity of a casual response that could have easily provoked violence.

Hamas is seen as a mortal, inhuman enemy, which must be crushed, decimated. In line with Prime Minister Netanyahu it is for many heir to Amalek in ancient times and Hitler.

This is no apology but Israelis have been traumatized by the savage campaigns of suicide bombings of Hamas beginning in the 1990s, and so it is psychologically impossible for many to acknowledge that however criminal the actions of military resistance to the occupation sometimes are, in fact as soon as Hamas took power over Gaza in 2006 it became an intimate strategic partner of the militant Israeli government. Mash’al and Bibi are caught like lovers on an airplane about to crash in a deadly embrace for their own survival.

Although the IDF now deals Hamas a military blow, the government is in fact desperate to keep the organization somehow alive. Military sources said from the outset of the operation that the purpose of the invasion this time is not to “break Hamas.” Hamas’ demands for a ceasefire in turn reflect just how addicted it became to the crumbs falling from the Israeli government table.

The script for a ceasefire was already written before the ground invasion began. It is a matter of ending the bloody spectacle with a mere semblance of two sides mutually bettering their positions. The tragedy of course is that so many stand-ins and movie extras must die so spectacularly in vain for the status quo of occupation-resistance to continue.

It may sound crazy, given all that we have said so far about Israel in the grip of fascism, but right to left people understand perfectly well the futility of the bloodshed. They already talk about the next round as inevitable.

Depressed and helpless to stop it many express confusion and are simply torn between their instinct of victimization and sense of horror at the high price in human life.

What is entirely lost or powerfully sublimated is the consequence of being implicated in and authorizing crimes against humanity. Israelis consider the war of position between Hamas and their government to be an existential war, and the conduct of their enemy, they feel, absolves them from any accountability.

In their battle of survival, real and imaginary, it only makes sense to let the enemy die and verify the killing (vidu hariga). In this savage place no laws of war apply.

Our children’s renewed Israeli passports arrived just before the ground invasion. Staring at their pictures, Israeli IDs and passport numbers, the thought crossed our minds – why can’t they be spared this terrible burden? Why should they carry an identity associated with cruelty, horrors, war, occupation, apartheid, crimes against humanity?

They are Dutch kids after all, fluent in Hebrew but with a thick Amsterdam accent. Why can’t they just sleep in their beds safely without their parents agonizing about children killed in their name?

We should go home to Amsterdam or join our relatives vacationing in la Palma, a Canary island.

This war vacation and the summer disaster in the Netherlands made us aware of our fragility, temporariness, and inability to control what is happening in our environment. It also sharpened our differences.

At times like these mom is better off here in this normal-savage place where she is from, and where she directly partakes in efforts to stop the war. For dad it is crazy to be here, where he is surrounded by supporters of war crimes, who seem superficially normal and go about their normal lives.

The kids, they just soak up the sun and enjoy themselves tremendously, their family and friends keep them happy. Their happiness and safety is comforting, but what would we say when they start asking us: mom, dad, what is war, who is doing it, and why can’t you stop it?

Hilla Dayan and PW Zuidhof




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