Illustrated poetry: ‘Oh rascal children of Gaza’

Rafah-born author and poet Khaled Juma wrote a heartbreaking tribute to the children of the Gaza Strip amidst the missiles striking his hometown. At least 506 Palestinian children have been killed since Israel commenced its latest invasion of Gaza on July 8, 2014

Photograph #1: A Palestinian boy, who fled with his family from their home during Israeli air strikes, bathes his brother at a United Nations-run school in the Jabalya Refugee Camp in the northern Gaza Strip on July 31, 2014. The school is a designated shelter for Palestinians who were displaced by Israel’s offensive. Photo credit: Mohammed Salem

Photograph #2: A Palestinian girl reacts at the scene of an explosion carried out by the Israeli military that killed at least eight children and wounded 40 more in a public garden in Gaza City on July 28, 2014. Photo credit: Finbarr O’Reilly

Photograph #3: A traumatized Palestinian child is comforted by a man arranging care for him in a hospital in Gaza City following an Israeli air strike on July 9, 2014. Photo credit: Momen Faiz

Photograph #4: A Palestinian child pulls out toys from a box at a local market in Gaza City during a temporary ceasefire on August 6, 2014. Palestinian and Israeli delegations met in Cairo with Hamas demanding an end to the siege on Gaza and Israel demanding a demilitarization of the territory. Photo credit: Lefteris Pitarakis

Photograph #5: A Palestinian boy sleeps at a United Nations-run school in Gaza City on July 14, 2014, after fleeing with his family from their home in Beit Lahya. Photo credit: Mohammed Salem

Photograph #6: Doctors tend to injured children while a young girl sitting on her mother’s lap cries at a hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on August 4, 2014. Photo credit: Eyad El Baba

Photograph #7: A Palestinian girl cries while being treated at a hospital in Beit Lahya following after sustaining injuries from an Israeli air strike on a United Nations school in the Jabalya Refugee Camp on July 30, 2014. Photo credit: Khalil Hamra

Photograph #8: Two Palestinians girls celebrate the first day of Eid Al-Fitr on the grounds of a United Nations school in the Jabalya Refugee Camp in the northern Gaza Strip on July 28, 2014. Their families are among the dozens that have fled their homes and sought refuge in the school. Normally, Muslim families in Palestine celebrate Eid Al-Fitr by visiting one another and gifting children with new clothes and shoes. Photo credit: Khalil Hamra

Photograph #9: One-and-a-half year old Razel Netzlream was killed after she was fatally hit by shrapnel from an Israeli air strike on an adjacent home the previous day. Her father carries her body to the funeral in Khan Younis on July 18, 2014. Photo credit: Alessio Romenzi

Photograph 10: A portrait of Shahed Quishta, 8, is fixed to a pillar in her home in Beit Lahya on August 16, 2014, after an Israeli tank fired a shell into the living room. She was killed on July 22, 2014. Photo credit: Khalil Hamra


Iraqi Military Plans to Launch Offensive to Recapture City of Mosul From ISIS


August 18, 2014

Iraqi forces aim to capture Mosul: spokesman


August 18, 2014

Iraqi forces are planning an assault on the northern city of Mosul, hoping to retake it from Islamic State fighters, the spokesman for the country’s counter-terrorism unit said on Monday.

"The new tactic of launching a quick attack shrouded by secrecy proved successful and we are determined to keep following the new assault tactics with help of intelligence provided by Americans," spokesman Sabah Nouri told Reuters.

"The next stop will be Mosul."

This is secrecy?



Not too long ago, I suggested that Israel may have triggered the Third Intifada with Operation Protective Edge.  Here is more evidence of that being the case:

I have just returned from a work visit to Ramallah. I am very concerned and disturbed by what I heard from friends and colleagues there. The calm appearance of the city hides the sizzling bubbling under the surface. The West Bankis on the verge of explosion.

As an illustration of what I’ve heard from people I spoke with, on the way home I listened to some Palestinian popular radio stations. All of the songs were full of praise for Hamas and al-Qassam Brigades – “let’s hit Tel Aviv with our rockets” and much worse . It was horrible to hear the drums of war and battle calls on the radio.

I was told that scenes that haven’t appeared for years since the intifada are now all over Ramallah, Bethlehem and throughout the West Bank – street gangs of masked men with weapons calling for young people to join the Al Aqsa Brigades and other battalions – “revenge for the death of our brothers and sisters in Gaza, we are all Gaza, we are all-Qassam Brigades.”

There is no more talk of peace and two states. The discussions on the street and in the cafes are all about the end of the ceasefire and the renewal of war in Gaza. They say the Jews’ war is not against Hamas, it is against all Palestinians, and the Qassam Brigades are the only ones fighting the Zionists, who want to kill all the Palestinians.

Abbas is described almost as a public enemy. Every day, Mohammed Dahlan transmits calls against Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, from the Gulf. Dahlan and other important Fatah leaders in the West Bank are calling on Palestinian security forces to stop the security coordination with Israel and use their weapons against Israel instead. There are calls to attack settlements and to kidnap Israeli soldiers and civilians.

Back in May, after another round of peace negotiations collapsed, a frustrated U.S. diplomat blamed Israeli officials for the impasse and told the Israeli press that “I guess we need another intifada to create the circumstances that would allow progress.”  It is a sad reflection of the current state of affairs that this observation appears primed to be an accurate prediction of the future, rather than just a frustrated peace negotiator venting his frustration.