On Thursday, comedian Joan Rivers delivered perhaps her most shocking rant to date, telling paparazzi at LAX that Palestinian civilians in Gaza “deserved to die.”
When asked about the rising death toll in Gaza, the 81-year-old was incensed, telling one photographer: “The dead? You deserve to be dead. You started it. Don’t you dare make me feel sad about that.”
When told that almost 2,000 civilians had been killed, she replied, “Oh my God! Tell that to the people in Hiroshima.”
“Good. Good. When you declare war, you declare war. They started it,” she said, going on to describe Gaza’s Hamas government as “Terrorists. They were re-elected by a lot of very stupid people.”
“They were told to get out. They didn’t get out. You don’t get out, you are an idiot. At least the ones that were killed were the ones with low IQs.”
Rivers has already issued an apology — of sorts — for her remarks, placing the blame on the media for taking her comments “out of context.”
In recent months, Rivers’ trademark barbed insults have offended many: She referred to first lady Michelle Obama as a “tranny,” joked about Lindsay Lohan’s miscarriage and attacked half the women in Hollywood in her recently published book.
Amnesty International has accused the Israeli regime of conducting “deliberate attacks” on hospitals and health workers in the Gaza Strip, calling for an immediate investigation into Tel Aviv’s aggression.
The international human rights body on Thursday published testimonies from health workers and ambulance personnel who had worked in the besieged enclave while “bombs and bullets were killing or injuring their colleagues.”
Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director, said Israel army has also targeted health facilities and professionals, adding, “Such attacks are absolutely prohibited by international law and would amount to war crimes. They only add to the already compelling argument that the situation should be referred to the International Criminal Court.”
Luther also noted that medical staff and hospitals have increasingly come under fire since July 17, when the Tel Aviv regime began its ground operations in Gaza.
Some medical teams have also been prevented from reaching bombed areas and hundreds of injured civilians were left without access to medical help, Luther noted.
“Hospitals across the Gaza Strip are also suffering from fuel and power shortages, inadequate water supply, and shortages of essential drugs and medical equipment. Such shortages, already prevalent due to Israel’s seven-year blockade, have been made much worse during the current hostilities,” he added.
Some 1,900 Palestinians, including more than 400 children, have been killed and over 9,500 others wounded since the beginning of the Israel’s military attacks against the Gaza Strip on July 8.
A 72-hour humanitarian truce between the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas and Israel took effect at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) on Tuesday.
An important journalistic pattern is beginning right now that must be countered by people who care about human rights: The New York Times is trying to rewrite the history of the Gaza conflict to treat it as a cycle of violence set off by Hamas in June by allegedly orchestrating the teen kidnappings on the West Bank– rather than as a war begun by Israel against Hamas. The Times whites out Israel’s interest: to destroy the unity government between Hamas and Fatah that was announced in May, a government the U.S. was prepared to work with, thereby defying Israel.
And as for the seven-year siege of Gaza that has put 1.8 million people in an open-air prison, the Times has nothing to say.
The pattern is evident in Steven Erlanger’s piece in the New York Times two days ago: “Arrest by Israel in Abduction of 3 Youths Is Made Public.” Erlanger said that Hamas abducted and killed the three Israeli teens June 12, and that this abduction set off the Gaza onslaught.
The abduction set off the most recent conflict with Hamas in Gaza…
According to the court documents, [Hussam] Qawasmeh told the police during an interrogation that he had helped organize the kidnappings and had gotten money for the task from Hamas.
Not till the end of the piece are we given a muttered disclaimer of Hamas’s responsibility:
Critics argued that the local Qawasmeh clan might have acted on its own and that it was not clear that Hamas as an organization was behind the kidnapping.
A second piece in the Times that day, “Israel Exits Gaza as Truce Begins,” treats the Palestinian Authority as the only Palestinian party worth dealing with and rewrites the story of Hamas’s rise in Palestine:
[Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud] Abbas is 79 and has health problems, raising questions about who will succeed him. One possible candidate, Mohammed Dahlan, 52, who was born in Gaza, is favored by some Egyptian officials. But he is disliked by Mr. Abbas and hated by Hamas, which Mr. Dahlan tried to suppress when he effectively ran Gaza for the Palestinian Authority.
As Wikipedia reminds us, Dahlan was part of a U.S. plot to undo a democratically-elected government in Gaza.
In the April 2008 edition of Vanity Fair it was revealed that after the 2006 elections Dahlan had been central in a US plot to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power. The Americans provided money and arms to Dahlan, trained his men and ordered him to carry out a military coup against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. However, the elected Hamas government forestalled the move and itself carried out an armed counter-coup.
And then Israel imposed a siege on Gaza. Shouldn’t the Times be giving us some of that history now?
Nope. Tom Friedman’s column yesterday described Hamas as Islamic jihadists who are trying to plunge not just Israel but an entire region into fire. He visited a tunnel near an Israeli kibbutz and says that Hamas was using them to try and murder Israeli civilians (when it has used them to kill Israeli combatants):
This tunnel had one purpose, and it was not fruit exports. It was to shuttle fighters into the kibbutz. And there were many of these.
I must say I was awed by the sheer dedication it took to dig this tunnel, but sickened by what fueled that dedication: an apocalyptic jihadist agenda. The religious nationalist-forces have the real energy in this region today. More and more, this is becoming a religious conflict….
Jihadists are now sweeping across Iraq and Syria, wiping out Christians and other minorities.
Ilene Cohen says that Friedman has got it all wrong:
Friedman’s piece simply echoes the latest Israeli talking point, which is being reiterated across the Israeli press: Hamas made Israel do it; it laid a trap for Israel and Israel took the bait. It’s the old “dog ate my homework” —don’t blame me—excuse, but with the addition of slaughter and devastation. Israel, that is, has no agency but is controlled by the great, all-powerful puppeteer, Hamas…
In the world according to Thomas Friedman, the siege of Gaza doesn’t exist, and forty-seven years of colonial occupation that has placed more than half a million settlers on stolen land in occupied Palestine—the West Bank and East Jerusalem—is reduced to a “reckless Jewish settlement project in the West Bank” (NB: not even a mention of East Jerusalem). What—is the occupation a “boys will be boys” reckless teenage driver who cracks up the family car? Further, the issue for Friedman is how to weaken Hamas, not how to achieve long overdue justice for the Palestinian people and end the occupation.
Finally, today The New York Times editorial on the war blames Hamas for the 1000+ Palestinian civilians killed by Israel, saying Hamas undertook “a deliberate effort to draw Israeli fire on innocents.”
And the Times says that Hamas is simply beyond the pale in any political resolution of the conflict:
It may be necessary to have Hamas in Cairo, but the group offers Palestinians nothing except nihilism and endless suffering.
Donald Johnson says that the Times is writing a brave new history of the Gaza onslaught:
Gazans have lived in prison, 1.8 million of them, and you said nothing until the “nihilistic” Hamas made it a front page issue with their rocket fire. Hamas is a terrorist organization, but pseudo-liberals like you have taught them that Palestinian suffering is a mere trifle, hardly worth noticing, until there is a war in which Israelis are threatened.
Israel also shoots regularly at Gazan civilians during those ceasefires, in order to enforce the blockade, and your editorial page said nothing.
The US supplied the weapons that Israel used to bombard civilians, and you said nothing.
Why you think you are in any position to lecture a terrorist organization on morality escapes me, unless it is simply the privilege of being citizens of a superpower that can trample others underfoot without so much as a glancing look.
Imagine if somehow the Palestinians had been able to place Israelis in a comparable situation–unable to trade with the outside world without Palestinian permission, unable to enter or leave Israel without Palestinian permission, the blockade to be kept in place until the occupation ends. Somehow I suspect the NYT editors would not have waited for a war to speak out about that.
By Moshe Cohen, Israel National News
Economics Minister Naftali Bennett said that he was fully behind Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when he says that Israel would respond with full force if Hamas resumed its attacks on Israel.
“I support the Prime Minister for his stance on the attempts by Hamas to blackmail us with terror threats against Israelis to achieve its goals, and for his opposition to giving in to the demands of the terrorists, which would just encourage them further.”
In a press conference with foreign journalists on Wednesday, Netanyahu said that Israel was “closely monitoring the implementation of the ceasefire on the ground, and we are holding position in the event it is violated. The army is in the field, with reinforcements, to meet any scenario.”
Earlier Thursday, Hamas said that unless all its demands were met – including the opening of a seaport and airport in Gaza – the terror groups would resume firing rockets at Israel on Friday morning at 8 AM, the end of the 72 hour cease-fire period Egypt negotiated with Hamas and Israel. Egypt on Thursday called for a three-day extension of that truce.
In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Bennett said that Israel could not submit to Hamas threats. “We cannot be a hostage of Hamas,” he said. “Any concession to Hamas today is the foundation of a war tomorrow.”
In a press conference Thursday, Finance Minister Yair Lapid sounded a similar tone, warning that Hamas “should not test us.”
“The IDF is ready, the air force is ready, and any rockets will be responded to with heavy fire by us. The military and diplomatic ‘wings’ of Hamas are one and the same,” Lapid added. “Anyone who is at the top level of a terror group is taking his life into his hands.”
JERUSALEM — As a 72-hour truce in Gaza expired at 8 a.m. Friday, Palestinian militants fired barrages of rockets into Israel and the Israeli military responded with airstrikes, one of which killed a 10-year-old boy, according to relatives.
The renewed hostilities interrupted the indirect talks in Cairo, brokered by Egypt and backed by the United States, for a more durable cease-fire agreement. While the rocket fire signaled Hamas’s refusal to extend the temporary lull and its desire to apply pressure for its demands to be met at the talks, the Israeli government said in a statement that “Israel will not hold negotiations under fire.”
Israel had said it was willing to extend the truce unconditionally, but the Cairo talks, which began on Wednesday, appeared to have yielded few results.
After three days of quiet, the Israeli military said, at least 33 rockets and mortars were fired into southern Israel between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Some were intercepted by Israel’s missile defense system, while others fell in open ground and a few landed short in the Gaza Strip. An Israeli civilian and a soldier were injured in one of the attacks, according to the military, and a building was damaged. The Israeli military also reported two launchings of rockets or mortar shells from Gaza before dawn.
In Gaza, Ibrahim Dawawsa, 10, was killed in a strike from an Israeli drone as he played in the yard of a mosque in the Sheik Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City, according to his brother, Zuheir, 19.
Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, wrote in an Internet posting on Friday morning that it did not accept an extension of the lull, adding, “We will continue negotiations.” Islamic Jihad, a militant Palestinian faction that has taken part in the fighting alongside Hamas and is represented at the talks in Cairo, took responsibility for firing rockets.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said in a statement: “The renewed rocket attacks by terrorists at Israel are unacceptable, intolerable and shortsighted. Hamas’s bad decision to breach the cease-fire will be pursued by the I.D.F. We will continue to strike Hamas, its infrastructure, its operatives and restore security for the State of Israel.”
The Israeli government statement said that Israel had informed the Egyptians that it was ready to extend the cease-fire by another 72 hours before the rocket fire resumed. “Israel will continue to act by all means to defend its citizens, while making an effort not to harm civilians in Gaza,” it said. “Hamas, which violated the cease-fire, is responsible for the harm to Gaza’s citizens.”
Just at 8 a.m., as television correspondents stood on the beachside road in Gaza City to do their live reports, the first rocket marking the end of the cease-fire was launched. The signature white plume of the Israeli interception was visible in the air for miles. A few more booms were heard in the next 15 minutes, but they hardly disrupted the trickle of donkey carts on the street.
People were out in the streets of Gaza City, and some stores were open, much as during the previous three days of cease-fire. Children roamed outside, men sat on sidewalks, and a line of a few dozen waited to buy bread at the Khouli bakery.
Farther north, in Jabaliya, where thousands of people have been sheltering in United Nations schools, the streets were teeming with people. An elderly man was walking with seven camels. Children balanced cartons of supplies on their heads, taking them from the market to the shelters.
In areas closer to the border with Israel, like Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun, the streets were almost deserted. In Beit Lahiya, half of the two dozen tall apartment buildings of the huge Al Nada complex had been destroyed by nearly a month of Israeli airstrikes, artillery and tank fire.
In Beit Hanoun, now a ghost town of toppled homes and rubble-strewn streets, Anas Kaferna, 25, and his brother and sister were tying mattresses to the top of a silver sedan and heading south. “I don’t want to be the last one in town,” Mr. Kaferna said.
Since their home was destroyed at the start of the ground invasion, the siblings had been sleeping at a maternity hospital where Mr. Kaferna worked as a security guard. But with the news that the cease-fire was over, they headed to Gaza City, although they did not know where.
“Now it seems the situation will get harder,” he said. “Maybe yes and maybe no. I don’t understand politics.”
Hamas radio reported an Israeli airstrike in agricultural land north of Gaza City, which caused no injuries, as well as an airstrike in Jabaliya. It said artillery shells had hit the Nada complex in Beit Hanoun, as well as the cities of Rafah and Khan Younis.
The 72-hour truce came after 29 days of fierce fighting that left more than 1,800 Palestinians dead, many of them civilians. On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers and three civilians were killed. Israel said its military campaign, which began July 8 with an aerial assault and led to a ground invasion, was aimed at quelling rocket fire and destroying Hamas’s network of tunnels leading into Israeli territory. Israel withdrew its ground troops from the Gaza Strip but left them on alert along the border and kept its air force on standby.
Hamas is demanding a lifting of the blockade on Gaza imposed by Israel and Egypt and an opening of all the border crossings to allow the free movement of people and goods in and out of the Palestinian coastal territory. Israel is demanding measures to prevent Hamas from rearming and, eventually, the demilitarization of Gaza.
A spokesman for Hamas’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, said in a speech aired Thursday night on Hamas’s television channel, Al Aqsa, that the Israeli forces had left in defeat.
“We gave a space for negotiations in order to agree on the demands of the Palestinian resistance and bring our people a better life of dignity,” he said, warning, “We are ready to resume the gun battle again.”
“We will not accept to end this battle without stopping the aggression, lifting the siege and the most important demand of building a seaport for Gaza, and we will never accept less than that,” he said.
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