Aug 18 2014

Gaza Ceasefire Hangs in the Balance as Wave of Solidarity with Palestinians Grows; Plus Obama Expands Iraq Operation

Negotiations between Israel and Palestinian ruling factions have resumed in Cairo, Egypt, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu maintains that he cannot come to any deal unless his nation’s security needs are fully met. The latest ceasefire which brought to a halt Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, hangs in the balance. Israeli forces killed nearly 2000 Palestinians, mostly civilians and many children.

Meanwhile, at a refugee camp near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, Israeli soldiers shot a 19 year old young man named Mohammad Qattri in the leg and then proceeded to beat him to death. Three days before, an 11 year old boy named Khalil Muhammad al-Anati was also killed by Israeli troops, who shot him in the back. Witnesses say Israeli forces continued to shoot at anyone who tried to rescue the boy, until he bled to death.

Here in the US, solidarity with Palestinians is growing ever stronger. Over the weekend, thousands of protesters blocked an Israeli ship named Zim Piraeus from unloading its goods at the port of Oakland. The ship remained at sea. In Tel Aviv, 10,000 people are said to have gathered in Rabin square to protest Israel’s Gaza operation. Some carried signs saying, “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.”

And in Iraq, the US widened its air war over the weekend, expanding its stated mandate from rescuing the Yazidi tribe, to liberating the Mosul Dam from control of the Sunni rebel group ISIS. US bombs were deployed in the area around the dam, in close coordination with Kurdish pesmerga forces and the Iraqi National Army. President Barack Obama cut short his vacation to Martha’s Vineyard to attend meetings on, among other things, the Iraq operation.

The Syrian regime of Bashar Al Assad, also battling ISIS and other rebel groups, bombed rebel held positions in the northern province of Raqqa, announcing that 31 militants were killed.

GUEST: Phyllis Bennis, directs the New Internationalism Project at Institute for Policy Studies. She is also a fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. She has been a writer, analyst, and activist on Middle East and UN issues for many years. She has written a number of books including Ending the Iraq War, Understanding the US-Iran Crisis, and Ending the US War in Afghanistan

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