Israel Rejects Ceasefire, Hits PM Office; Iranian Students attack UK Embassy

The pace of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza slowed on Wednesday, with two big airstrikes. One aimed at destroying tunnels that allow Palestinians to smuggle in goods from Egypt. The other targeted the offices of deposed Palestine Authority prime minister Ismail Haniya, who is now in hiding.

Aljazeera English has compelling video of Tuesday’s bombardment from the cell phone of one of their correspondents in Gaza.

An Iranian crowd attacked the British embassy in Tehran.

The Israeli government appears to have rejected international calls for a 48-hour truce to allow humanitarian aid to reach Gaza. Lack of electricity, fuel, medicine and even food is threatening to create an even deep crisis there than during the Israeli blockade that has been in force off and on for the past year.

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In fact, an Israeli ship rammed a vessel attempting to deliver medical supplies to Gaza, severely damaging it and endangering the passengers, who included Karl Penhaul of CNN and former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. The boat, which was in international waters, could easily have sunk.

Aljazeera English has video on the ramming:

A Hamas spokesman came on Aljazeera Arabic to denounce the Palestine Liberation Organization of Mahmud Abbas of running an espionage cell in Gaza against Hamas, and of providing key information to Israel for use in its air strikes. The charges are a reminder that there is a sort of Palestinian war between Hamas in Gaza and the PLO on the West Bank, of which Israel is taking advantage.

Aljazeera English reports on the bombardment of Sderot by rockets from Gaza and its effect on every day life for Israelis there. These Qassam rocket attacks are one reason the leadership of the Kadima and Labor Parties decided to attack Gaza.

There have been many wounded, and there has been property damage in Sderot. Rockets and mortars from Gaza killed no Israelis June-Dec. 26, but since 2000 and before Dec. 27, have killed about 25.

Aljazeera English reports on civilian casualties in Gaza:

Nir Rosen considers the Gaza crisis in the context of the history of colonialism and resistance to it.

Aljazeera English reports on the weaponry given to Israel by the US, which supports Israel to the tune of $3 bn. a year in direct aid and much more in indirect aid. It is universally known in the Middle East that Israel attacks its Arab foes with US military equipment, which is one of the wellsprings of hatred for the US in the region.

For those of you who wanted more extended background reading on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, see the SHUR working paper on Israel, Palestine and democratic possibilities. Here are the report’s policy recommendations:

‘ The historic land of Palestine belongs to all who live in it and to those who were expelled or exiled from it since 1948, regardless of religion, ethnicity, national origin or current citizenship status;

•Any system of government must be founded on the principle of equality in civil, political,
social and cultural rights for all citizens. Power must be exercised with rigorous impartiality on behalf of all people in the diversity of their identities;

•There must be just redress for the devastating effects of decades of Zionist colonization in the pre- and post-state period, including the abrogation of all laws, and ending all policies, practices and systems of military and civil control that oppress and discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, religion or national origin;

• The recognition of the diverse character of the society, encompassing distinct religious,
linguistic and cultural traditions, and national experiences;

• The creation of a non-sectarian state that does not privilege the rights of one ethnic or
religious group over another and that respects the separation of state from all organized
religion;

• The implementation of the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees in accordance with UN
Resolution 194 is a fundamental requirement for justice, and a benchmark of the respect for
equality;

• The creation of a transparent and nondiscriminatory immigration policy;

• The recognition of the historic connections between the diverse communities inside the new, democratic state and their respective fellow communities outside;

• In articulating the specific contours of such a solution, those who have been historically excluded from decision-making — especially the Palestinian Diaspora and its refugees, and Palestinians inside Israel — must play a central role;

• The establishment of legal and institutional frameworks for justice and reconciliation’