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BIBLICAL NINEVEH – THE WORLD CITY

Ancient Nineveh World City
It is now 7 months since my last post, February 1st, on the occasion of celebrating the 39th anniversary of being “Born Again,” making me 70 going on 40. Since a Red Line was drawn in that article, and the Spirit moved me to insert “…to be continued” something I never did with any previous article, I had to pause and wait to see what would develop Spiritually and temporally in this world.

In terms of crossing the Red Line, much has happened since February 1st. On February 21, a new regime took over in the Ukraine, setting Russia and the West on a collision course over Crimea. In my assessment, neither side is backing down, and with more and more economic sanctions being placed on Russia that will have a boomerang effect, what The Kansas City Times published September 13, 1976 is now activated and coming into view, “He wanted to bring to the public’s attention an idea being put out “subtly and deceptively by the government” That “we have to get prepared for a war with Russia.”

The mini-world war in Syria is expanding into Iraq and the Middle East in General, with the Islamic State on the move, attempting to recreate the 600 year Ottoman Empire/Caliphate.

The latest murderous bombardment of the civilian population in the Gaza Ghetto by Israel is also symptomatic of the hatred and violence increasing in this world since February 1st.

This brings me to the latest ‘Sign of the Times’ we live in, and which happened since February 1. Those who keep watch, would find it interesting to note the latest move by the IS in Iraq. They just blew up the Islamic Mosque that contained the tomb of Jonah in the Whale fame, from the Jewish-Christian scriptures, recorded some 2900 years ago.

ISIS threatens Iraq’s ancient past: The lost city of Nineveh

For those who don’t know the story, the ancient Biblical World City of Nineveh was becoming wicked and violent. God chose Jonah, and told him to go tell the people of the city if they didn’t change their ways, the city would be destroyed.

Naturally, Jonah didn’t want to do that and tried to get away. This would be the same as God telling anyone today to warn the world, starting with your friends and neighbours, to change or be destroyed. Who wants to be a buzz kill like that? Jonah tried to escape by taking a cargo ship to another City. A great storm came up, and the sailors, in fear for their lives, tried to lighten the ship by throwing all the valuable cargo overboard.

Jonah escaping by boatThe terrified sailors found Jonah sound asleep in the bowels of the ship and woke him up.

So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon your God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
Then they said to him, Tell us, we pray you, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is your occupation? and where are you coming from? what is your country? and of what people are you?
And he said to them, I am a Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which has made the sea and the dry land.
Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said to him, Why have you done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.
Then they said to him, What shall we do to you, that the sea may be calm to us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.
And he said to them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.
Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech You, O LORD, we beseech you, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for you, O LORD, have done as it pleased you.
So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.

Personally, I always thought the story of Jonah being swallowed by a whale or big fish was an allegory. Spending 3 nights in the belly of a fish symbolized there is no place to hide, to run to, to escape the hand of God as Christ Jesus said 850 years later.Jonah and the Big FishJonah finally did come to his senses, and returned to Nineveh to do what God commanded. It took 3 days to walk through the City, but just 1 day into it, everyone, from the king on down, resolved to change.

And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

JONAH IN NINEVEH JON 3Jonah was angry. He wanted God to destroy the City, and there are many Jonah type people among us Today.

Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from you.
But he answered and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

We now see the Sign with this recent event in Nineveh, Iraq

In searching Google images for this article, I came across this one. Everyone should understand why it would be more interesting for me than for anyone else.

Jonah_in_the_whale_detail_Verdun_altarWhat makes it more interesting to me than to any other, is the name of it, ‘Jonah in the Whale_Verdun_altar? I was born in Verdun, so I have to wonder more!

And the nations were angry, and your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you should give reward to your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear your name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth

Revelation 11:18

Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.

Revelation 12:12

Everyone can see the Nations are angry, and getting angrier in this material world, but which wrath is which?

God made or man made

Thus says the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that you build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
For all those things have my hand made, and those things have been, says the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.

Let ALL those who seek YOU, Rejoice and be Glad in YOU. Let SUCH who LOVE YOUR Salvation say continually, The LORD BE MAGNIFIED!

I AM THAT I AM

TODAY is my Birthday! Thirty-nine years have gone by since that unexpected, Wonder Filled Day when I was ‘Born Again” by the Spirit of God February 1, 1975. I was 29 going on 30, and never experienced anything like it before.

Saving GraceThat Day, I came alive to God and/or God came alive in me. Before that unexpected Day I was like most people, never thinking about God. There was no time or room for God in Life, my thoughts, my calculations and questioning of Life and the systems of THIS world. Why it is the way it is?

Before I was resurrected from the spiritually dead, I anticipated going no further than the grave and turning to dust, ceasing to exist in the expanse of Eternity. That would be Eternal Darkness and Damnation!

In 1968 when I was 24, before The Faith came to me, my annual pay package, with a non taxable company car and expense account benefits to experience Fine Dining in Fine Restaurants, was $25,000. That bought me the stuff and lifestyle requiring $165,000 in Today’s Dollars. It was a very good Year!

I don’t make $25,000 in Today’s Dollars, but in my own estimation, relatively speaking, and all circumstances considered, I am doing better than ever before, having found a Peace of Mind, Joy, and Satisfaction in Life I could not have imagined in 1968.

February 1, 1975, I was lifted up to a much higher plane, dimension and perspective in looking at myself in this world, and everything in it. It was the 1st Day of a Life Long Journey of Discovery with rom-8-14-16no turning back. I describe what happened to me that Day here, without exaggeration or embellishment of the Truth.

It does take a lot of  TIME, PATIENCE and TRUST within our 30 second byte Society where the people want everything now, to Spiritually mature and be able to declare Christ vs anti-Christunequivocally to the world, “Christ is come in my Flesh.” This I do here!

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Hereby you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world
.

With all the Red Lines being drawn everywhere for so many reasons all over the world these days, this is one more, signifying the Final Phase in the War between the Spirit of Christ and Antichrist.

Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.

Revelation 12:12

These words of Christ are in the Book for a reason,

Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD. I shall not want!

Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
 Nicodemus said to him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born again.
The wind blows where it will, and you hear the sound of it, but can not tell from where it comes, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Nicodemus answered and said to him, How can these things be?
Jesus answered and said unto him, Are you a master of Israel, and know not these things?Walking alone in a crowd

But as many as received him, to them HE GAVE POWER TO BECOME THE SONS of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

My flesh body came into this world on May 21, 1944 in the last year of WWII. If it is True what they say, that ‘Life Begins at 40,’ I am looking forward to next Year. This picture was taken Today to mark the occasion of still being a ‘Child of God’ in my 70th year going on 40.

Snapshot_20140201

……to be continued

p.s.

I have always been curious about History, especially with the turn of a page, Caesar, the Emperor of Rome disappeared, and the Pope of Rome reappeared in his place, wearing different vestments, but with the same Imperial powers.

Imperial Rome

For 1000 years, the Church of Rome controlled the thinking of the People from the pulpit. The People did not have access to the Bible to question or challenge the Absolute Authority of the Church.screamingpope

Except for the challenge of Islam rising up in the Middle East at a Time when the Church of Rome, having exercised Power in the Name of Christ for almost 350 years, perverted and inverted all the Principles and teachings of Christ in their application of power, the Church had no opposition in Europe.

What the Church did to Europeans with the Inquisition, and to the Jews and Muslims with the Crusades, was as much a crime against humanity as the worst of what the Islamic terrorists and other powers do Today. There was no challenge to the Church Dictatorship in Europe until The Gutenberg Bible was printed in the 1450s.

Finally, the Bible was being disseminated to the General Public of Europe, and for the 1st Time, the People could compare the words and the actions of the Ruling Authority of the Church and see for themselves, how they conflicted with the recorded teachings of Christ._71479017_guten2

The Biblical Babylon, (ancient Iraq) is the 1st recorded example of an Imperial economic-military Superpower, dictating to, and controlling the lessor kingdoms. The concept of Imperial Power from ancient Babylon, and it’s changing Face with the  subsequent Economic-Military Superpowers throughout the Ages, is carried over from the Old Testament to the New Testament, to the End of the Age, if not the End of the world.

The US is the late, great Power to wear that Imperial Mantle in the Biblical pattern and mould of the Babylonian system of things.

The tail did strike the head in 2003, setting in motion the ongoing series of events leading to the end of the Babylonian Economic-Military System described in Revelation 18.

THE KANSAS CITY TIMES, September 13, 1976

PROPHET CHOOSES PARK FOR VIGIL’

“He came to town for the Republican National Convention and will stay until the election in November to do God’s bidding: To tell the world, from Kansas City, this country has been found wanting and its days are numbered […] He gestured toward a gleaming church dome. “The gold dome is the symbol of Babylon,” he said.”

…………….to be continued

AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER?

GAZA

The following article is re-posted from the Blog of Professor Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for Palestinian Rights under Israeli Military Occupation. I selected and included all the images.

Richard Falk is a recognized International law and International Relations Scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years. Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and taught at the local campus of the University of California in Global and International Studies and since 2005 chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

Professor Falk is Jewish and the Jew Israelis love to hate for pointing out Israeli violations of International Law and UN Resolutions.

The total economic war Israel is currently waging against the entire population of Gaza is beginning to take it’s terrible toll. Innocent civilians, not just the minority fighters resisting Israeli displacement of Palestinians from the land they occupied before the recreation of temporal Israel from the Bible after an absence of 3000 years, and the Jewish settlement expansion on the very land that is the purpose of Peace Negotiations, is part of Israeli policy regarding Palestinians. In effect, the Israeli position is; resistance is futile, but Palestinians will not be assimilated into Eretz Israel They have no Democratic Rights in the “Jewish” State expanding on Palestinian land.

gaza-blockade-2

Statement by Abba Eban, Israeli Foreign Minister, June 14, 1967.
“Wars are not always begun by shots. They are often begun by action and the action which really created the state of war in an acute sense was the imposition of the blockade. To try to murder somebody by strangulation is just as much attempted murder as if you tried to murder him by a shot, and therefore the act of strangulation was the first violent, physical act which had its part in the sequence.”

People are people everywhere. The ordinary people of Gaza have the same material needs and feelings Jews did when Egypt imposed a partial economic blockade on Israeli shipping passing through the Strait of Tiran prior to Israel starting the military hostilities beyond words in the 1967 War.

71646_540270649316919_646769804_n

GAZA: The Unfolding Tragedy

30 Nov

GAZA: The Unfolding Humanitarian Catastrophe

This material below was distributed by John Whitbeck, distinguished American lawyer and author, living in Paris,and doing his best to keep a group concerned with world affairs informed about latest developments, especially inthe Middle East. I also add a slightly edited text of a message sent by Robert Stiver from Hawaii, who has exhibited consistent empathy for the suffering of the Palestinian people.My press release below, although far less emotional than the cri de coeur that Robert Stiver wrote, issues from the same place of urgent concern for the brave and resolute people of Gaza. I hope that Robert is wrong however when he ends with self-tormenting words of despair: “What to do, in the name of common justice?  I know not; it seems useless, all useless.” Such feelings of futility are quite understandable, but let us do all within our power to make sure that this unfolding catastrophe ENDS before its full tragic character is totally realized.

It hardly needs to be observed that the silence of the United Nations and the global media is a continuing disgrace, particularly given the pomp and circumstance of those mighty statesmen who self-righteously proclaim a new doctrine: ‘the responsibility to protect’ (R2P) those whose survival and dignity is at stake due to crimes of state or as a result of natural catastrophe.

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Cutting edge Middle East news analysis edited by Oliver Miles
 Web Arab News Digest
Gaza: a disgraceAccording to a BBC report military action in Gaza between Israel and Hamas Palestinian smuggles calf through tunnel beneath Egyptian-Gaza border in Rafahhas been limited since the serious fighting a year ago in which about 170 Palestinians and six Israelis died. But tension remains high, as also between Hamas and Egypt where northern Sinai has been the scene of much fighting. Meanwhile living conditions for 1.7 million Gazans remain atrocious.Reuters reports that Turkey has pledged $850,000, $200,000 of which have already reached Gaza, to alleviate the fuel crisis which has closed Gaza’s only power station and a major sewage treatment plant, so that raw sewage is running in the streets. Fuel deliveries by the UN have started, and are reported to be promised by Qatar. The immediate cause of the fuel crisis is the destruction by Egypt of cross-border tunnels, and the longer term cause the Israeli blockade.We thank John Whitbeck for an “Action Alert” from the Friends of Al-Aqsa (a UK NGO) drawing attention to the first item below, a UN report on action needed to avert a humanitarian crisis. He comments that the Action Alert refers to the “smuggling” of fuel and other basic necessities into Gaza through tunnels on the border between Egypt and Palestine. ‘This terminology is standard media usage in Israel and the West, intended to semantically criminalize the victims, but, as a matter of both law and common sense, I believe that the use of the word “smuggle” is totally inappropriate in these circumstances. “Smuggling” is an illegal activity, usually involving a violation of the laws of the importing state. Under whose applicable laws is importing basic necessities into Gaza illegal? Certainly not the laws of the importing state, Palestine, or the current de facto government of Gaza, as to which Israel insists that it has not been the occupying power (and, accordingly, has had no responsibilities or obligations) since it withdrew its illegal settlers, locked the gates and, effectively, threw away the keys. If there is an Egyptian law banning the export of basic necessities from Egypt, I am not aware of it. The provisioning of Gaza 130501-gaza-tunnel-sheepwith the basic necessities of life should be characterized as humanitarian relief, those who prevent Gazans from receiving the basic necessities of life should be characterized as criminals and those who are aware of the situation and fail to speak out should be characterized as moral bankrupts.’The second item below is a report published by Al Jazeera on the impact of Israeli drones over Gaza, particularly on children. The author is a British journalist resident in Nazareth, Israel.Gaza fuel crisis: UN expert calls for urgent action to avert a humanitarian catastrophe

GENEVA (26 November 2013) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Richard Falk today called for urgent action to address the power shortage in occupied Palestine  that has left 1.7 million residents of the Gaza Strip in a dire situation. More than three weeks after the only power plant shut down due to a critical fuel shortage, power supply has been limited to six hours a day.

“The situation in Gaza is at a point of near catastrophe,” warned the independent expert chargedAMnesty by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.

“The fuel shortage and power cuts have undermined an already precarious infrastructure, severely disrupting the provision of basic services, including health, water and sanitation,” he said. “The onset of winter is certain to make things even worse.”

Less than half of Gaza’s total power needs are being met and disruptions to specialized health services, such as kidney dialysis, operating theatres, blood banks, intensive care units and incubators are putting the lives of vulnerable patients in Gaza at risk.

Mr. Falk highlighted the plight of patients in Gaza unable to seek affordable specialized medical treatment in Egypt as a result of Egypt’s closure of the Rafah crossing in recent weeks. “The Israeli authorities have been more forthcoming in issuing permits to Gazans in need of urgent specialized treatment, but the high cost of medical treatment in Israel places it beyond the reach of most Gazans,” he noted.

For the past two weeks, approximately 3000 residents, including children, living in or near the Gazan neighbourhood of Az Zeitoun have been wading through raw sewage on the streets after the largest sewage treatment facility in area overflowed due to a power failure.

The Special Rapporteur stressed that other sewage treatment stations may soon also run out of petrol to fuel generators and result in more sewage overflowing onto the streets of Gaza. Medical experts have warned of the serious risk of disease, and even an epidemic

“Up to 40 per cent of Gaza’s population receives water only once every three days,” he noted. “In this situation of dire necessity those who can afford to do so, are shockingly buying unsafe water from unregulated water vendors and distributors.”

The human rights expert believes that the main trigger for the latest crisis is Egypt’s ongoing crackdown on the vast network of tunnels and fuel tanks near the southern border of Gaza, which allowed Gaza to avoid some of the hardships associated with the Israeli blockade maintained since 2007.

Children of Gaza“We mustn’t forget that the underlying cause of a lack of adequate medical facilities and specialized care in Gaza is a consequence of Israel’s illegal blockade,” Mr. Falk said.

The Special Rapporteur explained that, under present conditions, Israel has a special responsibility under international humanitarian law to take whatever measures are necessary to protect the civilian population of Gaza against this mounting threat to their wellbeing. “The failure to do so would be an aggravated instance of collective punishment, which is unconditionally prohibited by the 4th Geneva Convention,” Mr. Falk cautioned.

He also urged the governing authorities in Gaza to cooperate with the Palestinian Authority in a joint effort to ensure that desperately needed fuel becomes available to the residents of Gaza at the earliest hour.

“Israel must end its illegal blockade and exercise its core responsibility as the occupying Power to protect the civilian population,” the expert said.

Last Tuesday, an aid convoy carrying medicine, medical equipment and canned food was reportedly permitted to enter Gaza via the Rafah crossing for first time since June this year.

“Under these conditions of humanitarian emergency, the international community also has a Gaza destructionresponsibility to take special measures to safeguard the acutely vulnerable people of Gaza from impending tragedy,” the Special Rapporteur underscored.

In 2008, the UN Human Rights Council designated Richard Falk (United States of America) as the fifth Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. The mandate was originally established in 1993 by the UN Commission on Human Rights.

Gaza: Life and death under Israel’s drones

Drones buzzing overhead are a source of daily trauma for Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip.

Jonathan Cook: 28 Nov 2013

S-70 BATTLEHAWK Sikorsky-battlehawk-2Jerusalem – There are many things to fear in Gaza: Attacks from Israel’s Apache helicopters and F-16 fighter jets, the coastal enclave’s growing isolation, the regular blackouts from power shortages, increasingly polluted drinking water and rivers of sewage flooding the streets.

Meanwhile, for most Palestinians in Gaza the anxiety-inducing soundtrack to their lives is the constant buzz of the remotely piloted aircraft – better known as “drones” – that hover in the skies above.

Drones are increasingly being used for surveillance and extra-judicial execution in parts of the Middle East, especially by the US, but in nowhere more than Gaza has the drone become a permanent fixture of life. More than 1.7 million Palestinians, confined by Israel to a small territory in one of the most densely populated areas in the world, are subject to near continual surveillance and intermittent death raining down from the sky.

There is little hope of escaping the zenana – an Arabic word referring to a wife’s relentless dronenagging that Gazans have adopted to describe the drone’s oppressive noise and their feelings about it. According to statistics compiled by human rights groups in Gaza, civilians are the chief casualties of what Israel refers to as “surgical” strikes from drones.

“When you hear the drones, you feel naked and vulnerable,” said Hamdi Shaqura, deputy director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, based in Gaza City. “The buzz is the sound of death. There is no escape, nowhere is private. It is a reminder that, whatever Israel and the international community assert, the occupation has not ended. We are still living completely under Israeli control. They control the borders and the sea and they decide our fates from their position in the sky,” said Shaqura.

The Israeli military did not respond to Al Jazeera’s requests for comment.

Suffer the children

gaza-under-attack-women-and-childrenThe sense of permanent exposure, coupled with the fear of being mistakenly targeted, has inflicted deep psychological scars on civilians, especially children, according to experts.

“There is a great sense of insecurity. Nowhere feels safe for the children, and they feel no one can offer them protection, not even their parents,” said Ahmed Tawahina, a psychologist running clinics in Gaza as part of the Community Mental Health Programme. “That traumatises both the children and parents, who feel they are failing in their most basic responsibility.”

Shaqura observed: “From a political perspective, there is a deep paradox. Israel says it needs security, but it demands it at the cost of our constant insecurity.”

There are no statistics that detail the effect of the drones on Palestinians in Gaza. Doctors admit itIsraels-UAS is impossible to separate the psychological toll inflicted by drones from other sources of damage to mental health, such as air strikes by F-16s, severe restrictions on movement and the economic insecurity caused by Israel’s blockade.

But field researchers working for Palestinian rights groups point out that the use of drones is intimately tied to these other sources of fear and anxiety. Drones fire missiles themselves, they guide attacks by F-16s or helicopters, and they patrol and oversee the borders.

A survey in medical journal The Lancet following Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s month-long attack on Gaza in winter 2008-09, found large percentages of children suffered from symptoms of psychological trauma: Fifty-eight percent permanently feared the dark; 43 percent reported regular nightmares; 37 percent wet the bed and 42 percent had crying attacks.

Tawahina described the sense of being constantly observed as a “form of psychological torture, which exhausts people’s mental and emotional resources. Among children at school, this can be seen in poor concentration and unruly behaviour.” The trauma for children is compounded by the fact that the drones also disrupt what should be their safest activity – watching TV at home. When a drone is operating nearby, it invariably interferes with satellite reception.

111224-gaza-anniversary”It doesn’t make headlines, but it is another example of how there is no escape from the drones. Parents want their children indoors, where it feels safer and where they’re less likely to hear the drones, but still the drone finds a way into their home. The children cannot even switch off from the traumas around them by watching TV because of the drones.”

Israel’s ‘major advantage’

Israel developed its first drones in the early 1980s, during its long occupation of south Lebanon, to gather aerial intelligence without exposing Israeli pilots to anti-aircraft missiles. Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University, said drones help in situations where good, on-the-ground intelligence is lacking. “What the UAV gives you is eyes on the other side of the hill or over the border,” he said. “That provides Israel with a major advantage over its enemies.”

Other Israeli analysts have claimed that the use of drones, with their detailed intelligence-collecting abilities, is justified because they reduce the chances of errors and the likelihood of “collateral damage” – civilian deaths – during attacks.

But, according to Inbar, the drone is no better equipped than other aircraft for gathering intelligence or carrying out an execution.

“The advantage from Israel’s point of view is that using a drone for these tasks reduces the risk of endangering a pilot’s life or losing an expensive plane. That is why we are moving towards much greater use of these kinds of robots on the battlefield,” he said.

‘Mistakes can happen’

According to Gaza human rights group al-Mezan, Israel started using drones over the territory from the start of the second intifada in 2000, but only for surveillance.Israeli drone crashes in besieged GazaThe_aftermath

Israel’s first extra-judicial executions using drones occurred in 2004, when two Palestinians were killed. But these operations greatly expanded after 2006, in the wake of Israel’s withdrawal of settlers and soldiers from Gaza and the rise to power of the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas.

Drones, the front-line weapon in Israel’s surveillance operations and efforts to foil rocket attacks, killed more than 90 Palestinians in each of the years 2006 and 2007, according to al-Mezan. The figures soared during Operation Cast Lead and in its aftermath, with 461 Palestinians killed by drones in 2009. The number peaked again with 199 deaths in 2012, the year when Israel launched the eight-day Operation Pillar of Defence against Gaza.

Despite Israeli claims that the intelligence provided by drones makes it easier to target those Palestinians it has defined as “terrorists”, research shows civilians are the main victims. In the 2012 Pillar of Defence operation, 36 of the 162 Palestinians killed were a result of drone strikes, and a further 100 were injured by drones. Of those 36 killed, two-thirds were civilians.

Also revealing was a finding that, although drones were used in only five percent of air strikes, they accounted for 23 percent of the total deaths during Pillar of Defence. According to the Economist magazine, the assassination of Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari, which triggered that operation, was carried out using a Hermes 450 drone.

Palestinian fighters report that they have responded to the constant surveillance by living in hiding, rarely going outdoors and avoiding using phones or cars. It is a way of life not possible for most people in Gaza.

Gaza’s armed groups are reported to be trying to find a way to jam the drones’ navigation systems. In the meantime, Hamas has claimed it has shot down three drones, the latest this month, though Israel says all three crashed due to malfunctions.

Last week, on the anniversary of the launch of Pillar of Defence, an Israeli commander whose soldiers control the drones over Gaza from a base south of Tel Aviv told the Haaretz newspaper that “many” air strikes during the operation had involved drones. “Lt Col Shay” was quoted saying: “Ultimately, we are at war. As much as the IDF strives to carry out the most precise surgical strikes, mistakes can happen in the air or on the ground.”

Random death by drone

It is for this reason that drones have become increasingly associated with random death from the sky, said Samir Zaqout, a senior field researcher for Al-Mezan.

“We know from the footage taken by drones that Israel can see what is happening below in the finest detail. And yet women and children keep being killed in drone attacks. Why the continual mistakes? The answer, I think, is that these aren’t mistakes. The message Israel wants to send us is that there is no protection whether you are a civilian or fighter. They want us afraid and to make us turn on the resistance [Palestinian fighters].”

Zaqout also points to a more recent use of drones – what has come to be known as “roof-knocking”. This is when a drone fires small missiles at the roof of a building to warn the inhabitants to evacuate – a practice Israel developed during Operation Cast Lead three years earlier, to allay international concerns about its repeated levellings of buildings with civilians inside.

In Pillar of Defence in 2012, 33 buildings were targeted by roof-knocking.

Israel says it provides 10 minutes’ warning from a roof-knock to an air strike, but, in practice, families find they often have much less time. This, said Zaqout, puts large families in great danger as they usually send their members out in small groups to be sure they will not be attacked as they move onto the streets.

One notorious case occurred during Cast Lead, when six members of the Salha family, all women and children, were killed when their home was shelled moments after a roof-knocking. The father, Fayez Salha, who survived, lost a case for damages in Israel’s Supreme Court last February and was ordered to pay costs after the judges ruled that the attack was legitimate because it occurred as part of a military operation.

A US citizen who has lived long-term in Gaza, who wished not be named for fear of reprisals from Israel, said she often heard the drones at night when the street noise dies down, or as they hover above her while out walking. “The sound is like the buzz of a mosquito, although there is one type of drone that sometimes comes into view that is silent,” she said.

She added that she knew of families that, before moving into a new apartment building, checked to see whether it housed a fighter or a relative of a fighter, for fear that the building may be attacked by Israel.

Shaqura said the drones inevitably affect one’s day-to-day behaviour. He said he was jogging early one morning while a drone hovered overhead.

“I got 100 metres from my front door when I started to feel overwhelmed with fear. I realised that my tracksuit was black, the same colour as many of the fighters’ uniforms. I read in my work too many reports of civilians being killed by drones not to see the danger. So I hurried back home.”

Palestinians on the way to work in the SettlementsBerlin vs Israeli Separation wall

Robert Stiver’s message:

“I seethe with helpless indignation and rage at the despicable members of the “human” race, including me, who (i) perpetrate and (ii) allow this unspeakable tragedy to continue, always worsening, most often vindictive, all too often indifferent to the hapless-victims aspects of it.  And I must admit that I am as outraged at the God who, via the vaunted “free will” He is credited with giving us, has not yet found “His time” to intervene and put paid to this unending stain on humanity — a stain that, in my 20th-21st Century view, begins and ends with militant/political Zionism and its ever-present worldwide practitioners.

Sadly – how sadly – the Palestinian Authority and the quisling Fateh are in lockstep, fellow travelers with this miasma of shame and inhumanity.  Hamas and Fateh must overcome the USraeli “divide and rule” tactics and link arms as a solid force of resistance to the illegal occupation of their homeland.  Today, that must be the number one priority!

……..

And thanks to Turkey and Qatar for having the scruples to toss a few coins to the suffering masses, perhaps alleviating but by no means solving their torment…as I am mystified that they don’t join hands, trek to Geneva or NYCity and demand a white-hot emergency meeting of the UNSC in demand that international law and countless supportive UNSC resolutions be enforced.  Failing any action there, a certainty because of the US’ enabling of pure evil, the Turkish-Qatari reps should trek to the UNGA and orchestrate a (I’ve forgotten the term…”Uniting for Peace”) proper response and accompanying action.  The “response” would be overwhelming – on the order of 150 pro, 5 opposed.  Why cannot this scenario take place?

Let us pity – we have nothing else to offer – the brave, beleaguered residents of Gaza.  Our pity should be informed by mental images of the children there, slogging through a toxic mix of urine and feces, facing epidemics of pestilence ready to strike at any moment, lacking hope for any surcease of their everyday misery and for a future of human rights, normality and dignity — victims of a deliberately vicious, internationally illegal collective persecution (not “mere” punishment…persecution) of them and their families.

Today/29th is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.  Where is the solidarity?

What to do, in the name of common justice?  I know not; it seems useless, all useless…”

Goliath, Life and Loathing in Greater Israel – Max Blumenthal on Reality Asserts Itself pt1

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