Tag Archives: Palestine

U.S. Government Investigating Alleged Data Leak of Justice Department, DHS Employees

Internet hackers, who appeared to be activists in support of Palestine, claimed to have publicly released the personal data of 20,000 Justice Department employees including some within the FBI on Monday after gaining entry to the Justice Department’s database.

The hackers reportedly claimed via Twitter that the leak was in support of Palestine, and was a direct message to the U.S. government to pressure them into ceasing ties with Israel and to also bring awareness to the occupation of Gaza and attacks by Israel.

Before releasing the data of the 20,000 DOJ employees, the group began the leak on Sunday evening by releasing a list containing over 9,000 Department of Homeland Security employees’ names, emails, current country location, employment titles and phone numbers, with a warning stating that there was more to come.

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An individual who contacted Motherboard and identified himself as one of the hackers claimed that he was able to access the employee information after he “compromised” a DOJ employee’s email address. After an unsuccessful attempt to access the DOJ web portal with that email address, he reportedly pretended to be an employee who needed assistance. He said he called the web department to obtain an access code needed to obtain the files. “They asked if I had a token code, I said no, they said that’s fine—just use our one,” the hacker told Motherboard.

After the web department gave him the information he needed, he gained admittance into the portal. According to the Telegraph, the hacker claimed that the group also currently has credit card numbers as well as military emails in their possession from the hack. The Telegraph noted that the “list appears to be real.”

The Department of Justice issued this statement in response to the leak: “This unauthorized access is still under investigation; however, there is no indication at this time that there is any breach of sensitive personally identifiable information,” DOJ spokesperson Peter Carr said in a statement.

While the Justice Department’s statement claimed that there doesn’t appear to be a “breach of sensitive personally identifiable information,” Motherboard noted that the FBI is taking steps to prevent the data from spreading.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, CryptoBin, the site that was reportedly hosting the leaked data, has become more difficult to access. “A Department of Justice spokesman, who previously confirmed that the agency was investigating a possible breach of its systems, declined to comment when asked if the agency had anything to do with the takedown,” reported the Chronicle.

Obama Takes Netanyahu ‘at his word’ In His Promise To Prevent Palestinian Statehood

On Friday, President Obama addressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s promise to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian State in his attempt to garner support for a fourth term as Prime Minister.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Obama said he took Netanyahu “at his word” when he said that a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine would not be reached under his watch.

We’re going to make sure, regardless of disagreements we have on policy, that our military and intelligence cooperation to keep the Israeli people safe continues and that cooperation also helps the American people stay safe,” Obama said. “But we are going to continue to insist that, from our point of view, the status quo is unsustainable. And that while taking into complete account Israel’s security, we can’t just in perpetuity maintain the status quo, expand settlements. That’s not a recipe for stability in the region.”

Reuters reported that despite the “the urgency of renewed, structured and substantial efforts towards peace” expressed by the European Union, the United States will not speak at the annual United Nations debate on Israeli violations in Palestinian territories on Monday.

During an interview with Israeli news website NRG last week, Netanyahu promised that if re-elected as Israeli Prime Minister he would prevent the establishment of a Palestinian State in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

“I think anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state and to evacuate territory is giving radical Islam a staging ground against the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

With opinion polls prior to the election showing Netanyahu’s Likud falling behind Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Union, he urged citizens to vote, claiming that the right-wing government is in danger, due to the fact that “Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls,” and “Left-wing organizations are busing them out.”

Netanyahu won in a narrow victory on Wednesday with his Likud party winning 30 seats and surpassing Herzog’s Zionist Union, which won 24 seats.

Obama told the Huffington Post that when he called Netanyahu on Thursday to congratulate him on the Likud party’s victory, he said that given Netanyahu’s statement prior to the election, “it is going to be hard to find a path where people are seriously believing that negotiations are possible.”

We indicated that that kind of rhetoric was contrary to what is the best of Israel’s traditions,” Obama said. “That although Israel was founded based on the historic Jewish homeland and the need to have a Jewish homeland, Israeli democracy has been premised on everybody in the country being treated equally and fairly.

If Re-Elected, Netanyahu Promises to Prevent Establishment of a Palestinian State

As he entered the final day of campaigning before Tuesday’s election, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to garner support by promising that if re-elected, there would be no establishment of a Palestinian State in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

The Associated Press reported that after six years as prime minister and as the “most dominant personality in Israeli politics,” Netanyahu’s standing has fallen in recent weeks.

According to Reuters, opinion polls predict that Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Union will take 24 to 26 seats in the 120-member parliament, while Netanyahu’s Likud will only take 20 to 22.

In an interview with Israeli news website NRG, Netanyahu was asked about his stance on creating a Palestinian State. In his response, which was translated to English by the Times of Israel, he claimed that the establishment of such a state would only lead to radical Islamic attacks on Israel.

“I think anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state and to evacuate territory is giving radical Islam a staging ground against the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

The New York Times noted that Netanyahu’s statement was contrary to his endorsement of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2009, during a speech at Bar Ilan University, and that the change  “fulfilled many world leaders’ suspicions that he was never really serious about peace negotiations.”

According to Haaretz, Netanyahu has done more campaigning in the Israeli press this election season than in the last six years, and in his latest appearances, he appears to be “under pressure, nervous, tired and confused.”

The Associated Press reported that in contrast to Netanyahu, Herzog has vowed to “revive peace efforts with the Palestinians, repair ties with the U.S. and reduce the growing gaps between rich and poor.”

Reuters noted that both Herzog and his former running mate Tzipi Livni, have accused Netanyahu of “playing up fears over the Palestinians and Iran’s nuclear program to distract voters from the high cost of living and other social issues.”

Rand Paul Introduces Bill to “Defend Israel by Defunding Palestinian Foreign Aid”

Senator Rand Paul introduced the “Defend Israel by Defunding Palestinian Foreign Aid Act of 2015” on Wednesday, which would halt U.S. aid to Palestinians, until they withdraw their request to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), in order to pursue war crimes charges against Israel.

Paul released a statement saying that under the current U.S. law, “America is prohibited from assisting the Palestinian Authority if it seeks ICC claims against Israel.

Certainly groups that threaten Israel cannot be allies of the U.S.” said Paul. “I will continue to do everything in my power to make sure this President and this Congress stop treating Israel’s enemies as American allies.”

Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas requested to join the ICC on December 31, with the intent of investigating Israel’s use of force during the summer of 2014.

Palestine’s bid to join the ICC was submitted just one day after it pushed for an early vote from the United Nations on a resolution that would recognize Palestinian statehood, and end Israeli occupation by 2017. The resolution failed by one vote, and there is speculation that Palestine wanted it to fail, so that they would still be able to join the ICC.

After Palestine submitted its request to join the ICC, the U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke released a statement saying that the United States was “deeply troubled” by Palestine’s “escalatory step,” and that it would not “achieve any of the outcomes most Palestinians have long hoped to see for their people.

Paul’s statement argued that while the U.S. is “deeply troubled,” the Obama administration “has not committed to taking any actions and appears disinclined to cut off aid” thus far.

It is up to the new Republican-led Congress to move on its own so that the President does not once again circumvent clear funding restrictions,” said Paul. “We are currently sending roughly $400 million of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority.

Israel Prepares to Cut Electricity to Palestinians

Cites Inability to Pay After Withholding Palestinian Tax Money

by Jason Ditz, January 05, 2015
Just days after the Israeli government announced it is seizing some $100 million in tax money from the Palestinian Authority to “punish” them for trying to join the International Criminal Courts (ICC), the Israeli state-run electric company has announced it will cut off electricity supplies to the Palestinians for non-payment.

The IEC claims the Palestinian Authority owes NIS645 million, or about $160 million, for past shipments, and that the company can’t keep sending the Palestinians electricity that they can’t pay for.

The IEC warned Israeli military and spy agencies of the planned cuts, saying it fears cutting off the electricity to PA territory would lead to “various responses by the Palestinian population.”

That’s putting it mildly, because even though the $100 million Israel stole from the Palestinians over the weekend isn’t going to the IEC, which is itself owned by the Israeli government, one can’t help but notice that is a big part of why they’re not going to be able to pay their debts.

Palestine Reaches Out to International Criminal Court, Accuses Israel of War Crimes

Following the vote by members of the United Nations to deny the resolution to recognize Palestinian statehood on Tuesday, Palestine reached out to the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, accusing Israel of committing war crimes when it declared war on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip during the summer of 2014.

RT reported that along with letters of accession to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas submitted a request to investigate Israel’s use of force starting June 13, 2014.

They attack us and our land every day, to whom are we to complain? The Security Council let us down – where are we to go?” Abbas said.

According to the Associated Press, Abbas’ decision to turn to the ICC signals a shift in Palestine’s relations with Israel, turning them “from tense to openly hostile,” due to the fact that Palestine’s ultimate goal is to “pressure Israel into withdrawing from the territories and agreeing to Palestinian statehood.”

PressTV reported that while Israel has launched three wars on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since 2008, Palestine is reaching out to the ICC for the “latest military aggression against Gaza,” claiming that the Israeli Defense Forces committed war crimes in the summer of 2014 when they “used advanced weapons to kill over 2,140 Palestinians and destroy thousands of homes.”

According to Reuters, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened that Israel would  “take steps in response,” and urged the ICC to reject Palestine’s bid to become a full member, claiming that Palestine does not “rank as a state.

“We expect the ICC to summarily dismiss the Palestinian Authority’s duplicitous application because the Palestinian Authority is not a state, it is an entity that is allied with a terror organization, Hamas, which commits war crimes,” Netanyahu said.

Following the news of Palestine’s bid to the ICC, the U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke released a statement saying that the United States was “deeply troubled” by the decision, and that Palestine’s actions would not help peace efforts in the region.

It is an escalatory step that will not achieve any of the outcomes most Palestinians have long hoped to see for their people,” said Rathke. “Actions like this are not the answer.

RT reported that Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center Director, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, said that the Gaza War “will be at the heart of the accusations,” and that if found guilty of war, Israel will suffer in terms of international relations.

“Israel will of course try to defend itself, but chances are they will lose,” said Darshan-Leitner. “And if they lose and they’re convicted for war crimes, it would be a game-changer. It would drop Israel to the bottom tier internationally.”

As previously reported, the resolution Palestine presented to the United Nations called for recognition of statehood, an end of Israeli occupation by 2017, the restoration to the 1967 borders, the recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, and the call for a third party to oversee Israeli withdrawal.

The resolution failed to pass, due to the fact that it only received eight out of the nine votes needed. Palestine pushed for the vote to happen before January 1, 2015, even though after January 1, the U.N. Security Council would have received five new members who were all likely to have passed the resolution.

This raises the question of whether Palestine pushed for an early vote so that they would still be able to push for Israel to be investigated for war crimes. Ben Swann was joined by Reema Abu Hamdieh on RT America to discuss:

Poll: Israelis Back Resumption of Peace Talks

Many Doubt Deal Will Be Reached, But Strong Majority Want to Try

by Jason Ditz, November 11, 2014
A new poll from the Israel Democracy Institution and Tel Aviv University shows a growing disconnect between the hawkish stances of the Netanyahu government and the Israeli Jewish voters.
While the government is citing the growing protests and violence among East Jerusalem’s Arabs as a reason to reject Palestinian statehood, the poll shows a strong majority, 57.2% of Israelis, want the peace talks with the Palestinians immediately restarted. Less than 30 percent of Israeli Jews believe the talks will lead to a peace agreement, but 60 percent want the talks to be attempted, whether now or at some point in the future.A vast majority of the poll’s responders, 64%, also said they believed Netanyahu’s decision to expand the settlements was primarily aimed at building his political support on the far right, as opposed to the national interest.

Sweden Recognizes Palestinian State, Draws Criticism from Israel

On Thursday, Sweden became the largest country in Western Europe to recognize a Palestinian state. This decision received strong criticism from Israel, which responded by promptly withdrawing its ambassador from Stockholm.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Margot Wallstrom, insisted that the Palestinians have met all of the necessary standards for recognition, saying that they have “a territory, a people and government.

The Associated Press reported that Sweden’s choice “reflects growing international impatience with Israel’s nearly half-century control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip.”

In addition to withdrawing their ambassador from Sweden, Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avidor Lieberman, defined Sweden’s declaration as “a miserable decision that strengthens the extremist elements and Palestinian rejectionism.”

The Swedish government must understand that relations in the Middle East are more complex than one of Ikea’s flat-pack pieces of furniture, and would do well to act with greater sensitivity and responsibility,” Lieberman said.

According to the New York Times, Sweden’s decision to recognize Palestine was made by the country’s new prime minister, Stefan Lofven, who “ignored Israeli protests and followed through on a pledge he made at his inauguration this month.”

A Senior Palestinian official, Hanan Ashrawi, said that Sweden had made a “principled and courageous decision.”

On behalf of the Palestinians, Ashrawi said they hope both other members of the European Union, and other countries around the world, “will follow Sweden’s lead and recognize Palestine before the chances for a two-state solution are destroyed indefinitely.

According to the Associated Press, although Israel claims, “Palestinians can gain independence only through peace negotiations, and that recognition of Palestine at the U.N. or by individual countries undermines the negotiating process,” Palestinians say that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “isn’t serious about the peace negotiations.”

As previously reported, Sweden’s declaration to recognize a Palestinian state follows the same decision made earlier in October by members of Britain’s Parliament.

The Swedish Foreign Ministry took to its Twitter account to announce the decision with a Tweet that said the Swedish government “expressed hopes for peaceful coexistence” between Israel and Palestine.

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British Parliament Votes to Recognize Palestine as a State

On Monday, Members of Britain’s Parliament voted, 274 to 12, to give diplomatic recognition to a Palestinian state. After passing the non-binding motion, lawmakers from Britain’s lower house released a statement saying:

This House believes that the Government should recognize the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.”

According to The Guardian, the vote took place following “intensive lobbying” from supporters on both sides. The case in favor of recognition lobbied that Britain “should follow 135 of the UN’s 193 member states and recognize Palestinian statehood,” while the case against argued that recognizing Palestine as a state would show “prejudice,” and would affect “the outcome of future negotiations between the two parties.”

At the debate, the leader of the group, Labor Friends of Palestine, Grahame Morris, spoke in favor of the ruling. He said that this “small but symbolically important step” of recognition was a “historic opportunity” for Britain.

Morris claimed that making Britain’s recognition of Palestine “dependent on Israel’s agreement,” would give Israel a “veto over Palestinian self-determination.

A spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Paul Hirschson, told the New York Times that Britain’s resolution to recognize Palestinian statehood made “conflict resolution much more difficult,” due to the fact that it sent the Palestinians the message that “they can achieve things” outside of negotiations.

The chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Richard Ottaway, said that although he normally “stood by Israel through thick and thin,” he now realized, after looking back over the past 20 years that Israel “has been slowly drifting away from world public opinion.”

Under normal circumstances, I would oppose the motion tonight,” said Ottaway. “But such is my anger over Israel’s behavior in recent months that I will not oppose the motion. I have to say to the government of Israel that if they are losing people like me, they will be losing a lot of people.”

Israel Confirms ‘Kidnapped’ Soldier Is Dead

Military’s Claims of Abduction Gave Family False Hope

by Jason Ditz, August 02, 2014

As reported last night here at Antiwar.com, the Israeli military is finally confirming today that British-Israeli soldier Lt. Hadar Goldin, claimed at the time by the military as “kidnapped,” died yesterday, and was never in Hamas custody.

Speculation of Lt. Goldin’s “abduction” centered on the belief that he was taken by Hamas fighters during an Israeli attack on a tunnel, though the putative “kidnappers” were actually slain in heavy Israeli bombardment that immediately followed the tunnel fight, making it probable that, whether by Israeli fire or in battle, the soldier was slain during the ensuing incident.

The Times of Israel later offered a similar assessment, in a front-page article this morning they noted that the claims Hamas would be denying a kidnapping they actually did were not credible, as Hamas normally publicizes capturing Israeli soldiers.

Faced with this and a growing number of similar reports, the Israeli military finally today announced that they ruled Lt. Goldin killed in action, and that a military rabbi, under halachic law, declared him to have “died in combat,” regardless of the specific circumstances surrounding his death.

The Israeli military, certainly privy to all the same details of the media outlets covering the story, maintained the false narrative of a kidnapping for over a day, and it was only in the face of growing coverage to the contrary that they finally admitted to his death.

The false hope this gave to his family was devastating, and his family are still clinging to the “kidnapped” story they inexplicably were offered, unwilling to accept his death.

The use of the “kidnapping” in the official narrative toward escalation yesterday also looms large in this story, leading the Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff to offer an assessment heretofore unprecedented for the paper.

It should be noted that Hamas really is interested in a ceasefire. This is not a cautious assessment, or an Israeli misjudgment. Hamas itself is making this clear at every opportunity. Its representatives had even agreed that Israeli forces would remain inside Gaza during the 72-hour truce — something it had firmly opposed just a few days earlier. The situation in Gaza is getting worse by the day, and with it the pressure on Hamas to stop fighting.

As for Secretary of State John Kerry’s ceasefire work: One can only praise the effort he is making, but the 72-hour truce agreement, as published, did not specifically deal with IDF activities to find and demolish the Hamas tunnels. It did allow for Israel to leave the IDF in place in Gaza for the 72 hours, but did not talk of tunnel demolition. Thus, while Israel insisted that the IDF’s work on destroying the tunnels would continue during the truce, Hamas has stressed repeatedly that it did not agree to this. The lack of clarity in the ceasefire agreement on this issue may have been a factor in everything that played out subsequently.

Greenwald: Israeli Aggression Would Be Impossible Without the Support and Protection of the U.S. Government

In a recent article, Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who brought attention to a series of documents from the National Security Agency one year ago, referenced newly released NSA documents in regards to the relationship between the United States and Israel.

“Top secret documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden shed substantial new light on how the U.S. and its partners directly enable Israel’s military assaults – such as the one on Gaza,” wrote Greenwald.

While the fact that the U.S. supplies Israel with billions of dollars in aid is common knowledge, Greenwald maintained that the leaked NSA documents showed that the U.S. has also helped Israel by using NSA surveillance technology to collect data used to “monitor and target Palestinians.”

The new documents underscore the indispensable, direct involvement of the U.S. government and its key allies in Israeli aggression against its neighbors,” Greenwald wrote. “That covert support is squarely at odds with the posture of helpless detachment typically adopted by Obama officials and their supporters.”

Greenwald added that although Obama recently said it was “heartbreaking” to see what was happening in Gaza, Brooklyn College Professor Corey Robin said, ”Obama talks about Gaza as if it were a natural disaster, an uncontrollable biological event.

“The same process repeats itself in both U.S. media and government circles,” wrote Greenwald, who tied together three times Israeli has attacked Gaza, in 2008, 2012, and now in 2014. He wrote that first, the U.S. government “feeds Israel the weapons it uses and steadfastly defends its aggression both publicly and at the U.N.,” next the U.S. Congress “unanimously enacts one resolution after the next to support and enable Israel,” and lastly, American media figures “pretend that the Israeli attack has nothing to do with their country.”

Greenwald concluded that, in response to this, “all decent Americans helplessly throw up their hands as though they bear no responsibility.”

While last September, The Guardian exposed the fact that the NSA “routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens,” The Intercept recently published a new NSA document from April, 2013, which shows that the NSA “maintains a far-reaching technical and analytic relationship with the Israeli SIGINT National Unit (ISNU) sharing information on access, intercept, targeting, language, analysis and reporting.

According to the newly disclosed NSA document, “This SIGINT relationship has increasingly been the catalyst for a broader intelligence relationship between the United States and Israel.” The document went on to say that, “a dedicated communications line between NSA and ISNU supports the exchange of raw material, as well as daily analytic and technical correspondence.”

Greenwald pointed out that while the relationship between the United States and Israel has grown incredibly close in the last decade, “the cooperation between the NSA and ISNU began decades ago,” with U.S. President Lyndon Johnson and Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol.

The document from the NSA also revealed that, “The Israeli side enjoys the benefits of expanded geographic access to world-class NSA cryptanalytic and SIGINT engineering expertise, and also gains controlled access to advanced U.S. technology and equipment via accommodation buys and foreign military sales.

The new Snowden documents illustrate a crucial fact,” wrote Greenwald. “Israeli aggression would be impossible without the constant, lavish support and protection of the U.S. government, which is anything but a neutral, peace-brokering party in these attacks. And the relationship between the NSA and its partners on the one hand, and the Israeli spying agency on the other, is at the center of that enabling.”

US, UN Outraged as Israel Strikes Another Gaza School

10 Killed in Seventh Israeli Attack on a School So Far

by Jason Ditz, August 03, 2014

Israel continues its war in Gaza today, and continues to hammer refugee centers at an alarming rate, hitting the seventh UN-run school of the current war this morning with a drone strike.

The drone strike landed in the street immediately in front of the school gates, killing 10 civilians and wounding dozens of others, including children who were clustered around the gate playing.

It was, as mentioned, the seventh school hit so far in the war, and the third in the past 10 days. The UN has been using the schools as shelters for refugees, and gave the Israeli military exact coordinates, in theory to avoid them being mistakenly targeted.

Instead the attacks are becoming so common that Israeli military claims of “accidental” strikes are no longer credible, and while Israeli politicians have tried to present the shelters as legitimate military targets, their constant targeting is fueling international outrage.

The United Nations termed the attack a “moral outrage” and a “criminal act,” and the usual Israeli Lobby expressions of fury at UN criticism are no longer as quick to follow up, nor as shrill.

Even the United States, normally up for whatever Israel feels like doing, is no longer dancing around such incidents, with the State Department statement lashing the Israeli attack as “disgraceful” and reiterating that Israel has to stop attacking civilians.

UNRWA head Pierre Krahenbuhl, whose agency runs the schools in question, pointed out again today that the attacks are a violation of international law, a fact Israel no longer seems to be seriously trying to dispute, even if it isn’t stopping them from such attacks.

For the civilians chased out of their homes by the Israeli invasion and crammed into a handful of UN shelters, only to find the shelters themselves targeted, the international outcry is unlikely to be much comfort, especially so long as Israel remains content to keep pounding them and shrug off the criticism.

Protests Against Violence in Gaza, Held Around The World

Following Israel’s decision to begin a ground invasion into Gaza on Thursday, people have taken to the streets all over the world in protest.

Toronto was one of the major cities in Canada in which protests were held on Saturday, condemning the government’s support for Israel. One of the protest’s organizers, Hind Awwad, said that the Canadian government’s “unwavering support” of Israel amounted to them sharing responsibility in the “crimes in the Gaza Strip.”

On Monday, around 500 people participated in a silent protest in Tokyo. According to The Daily Star in Lebanon, protesters waved Palestinian flags, formed large letters spelling “Gaza” in a local park, and carried signs reading, “Stop the killing in Gaza. Japan cares.”

We want people in Gaza to know that they are not isolated from the world,” said Sonoko Kawakami, who was one of the protest’s organizers. “Gaza is far from Japan, but we are going to continue to do whatever we can do here.

Protests were held near the Israeli Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus, on Monday. The Daily Star reported that, “The protest was organized by left-wing trade unions and peace groups and included Turkish Cypriot activists from the ethnically divided island’s breakaway north.”

Marches of solidarity took place in the Middle East in countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.

Demonstrations were also held in Europe, in capital cities such as Madrid, Belfast, and Amsterdam. One of the largest rallies in Europe over the weekend was a rally in Vienna, where the number of participants reached 11,000 people.

In Washington, hundreds of protesters gathered outside of the State Department on Sunday. According to the Washington Post, Palestinian Americans, Muslims, Jews, and others rallied “to demonstrate against Israeli violence in Gaza, with many expressing frustration with what they see as unconditional U.S. support for Israel.”

The U.S. is the primary patron of Israel and provides unequivocal diplomatic and military support,” said Noura Erakat, a Palestinian lawyer and professor at George Mason University. “It’s a complicit third party in what amounts to a massacre of the Palestinian population entrapped within the Gaza strip.”

Mervin Adwan, a mother of six from Gaza, has lived in the United States for the last 13 years. “I would like to see my people safe in their lands. I want to feel free to visit my family, and I can’t do that because it’s not safe for my kids,” said Adwan, who hasn’t been back to Gaza since she originally left.

We want to urge the U.S. to please stop this bloodshed,” said Rabbi Dovid Feldman, from the group Jews United Against Zionism, who was a speaker at the event. “It’s time to realize it’s wrong for the Palestinian people and dangerous for Jewish people.

On Saturday, a protest was held in San Francisco. According to the San Francisco Gate, those involved were “Chanting ‘Free Palestine’ and accusing Israel of genocide.”

At least this is something I can do, a way I can show my support for the Palestinians,” said Amal Saleh, a San Francisco protestor who claimed she was shocked by the “dehumanization of Palestinians” in this conflict.

NBC Removes Reporter from Gaza After He Witnessed Israeli Assault on Children

Foreign Correspondent for NBC News, Ayman Mohyeldin, witnessed the murder of four Palestinian boys via Israeli airstrike on Wednesday. After providing a firsthand account for NBC, he was contacted by the network’s executives, and was told to leave Gaza immediately.

NBC insisted that their decision to remove Mohyeldin from the region was due to “security concerns.” However, according to Journalist Glenn Greenwald, they quickly proceeded to replace Mohyeldin, who is an Arabic-speaking, Egyptian-American with experience reporting in the region, with Richard Engel and an American producer who has never been to Gaza and speaks no Arabic.

Mohyeldin’s account of Wednesday’s events in Gaza weren’t just limited to NBC – he also shared them with social media. On Twitter, he reported that he had been playing and kicking a ball with the young boys, just minutes before their lives were ended.

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Mohyeldin also gave the boys an identity on Social Media, sharing their names and ages on Twitter.

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While the words Mohyeldin wrote made readers aware of the details of the event, the pictures he shared with both Twitter and Instagram brought the horrific and tragic reality of the Bakr boys’ murder to life.

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Mohyeldin posted the picture above on his Instagram, showing the reaction of a Palestinian mother, whose son was one of the victims of the Israeli airstrike.

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A second Instagram post from Mohyeldin showed a Palestinian man grieving after he also learned that his son was one of the four victims.

Despite NBC’s decision to remove Mohyeldin from Gaza, he has gained the attention of Journalists like Glenn Greenwald, who wrote, “Over the last two weeks, Mohyeldin’s reporting has been far more balanced and even-handed than the standard pro-Israel coverage that dominates establishment American press coverage; his reports have provided context to the conflict that is missing from most American reports and he avoids adopting Israeli government talking points as truth.”

Poll Shows Americans Support Israel, But Do They Have All of The Facts?

As tensions come to a head and violence ensues between Israel and Hamas, a new poll shows that the partisan gap in Americans’ sympathies toward the Middle East is wider than it has been since the 1970s.

According to a national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 51% of Americans sympathize with Israel in the conflict between Israel and Palestine. 14% of Americans sympathize with Palestine, 15 chose neither side, and 3% sympathize with both sides. This survey was conducted July 8-14, 2014, using the opinions of 1,805 adults, obtained by telephone interviews.

There were notable differences between age ranges, and after finding that 60% of subjects who were 65 and older, and 56% of subjects who were ages 50-64 said they sympathized more with Israel, compared to 47% of subjects ages 30-49, the survey concluded, “Those under 50 also are more likely than older Americans to sympathize more with the Palestinians.”

According to Fox News, Israel and Hamas agreed Wednesday to a five-hour cease-fire in order to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, following a request from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

The Israeli military said in a statement Wednesday that it would hold its fire for five hours starting at 10:00 a.m. local time on Thursday.

As Ben Swann points out, while the majority of Americans support Israel, many are not aware of the facts of what is actually taking place this battle.

There is a lack of understanding by the American people,” said Swann, who filled in for national radio host Steve Deace on Tuesday. Swann said that while Americans have a right to their opinion, “American media has not painted a very clear picture that no one in Israel has died or been injured by Hamas rockets, while villages in Gaza are being bombed via airstrike.”

Children are being killed in these strikes, including on a coastal road west of Gaza City. Wednesday that airstrike killed four Palestinian boys, who were cousins and ages 9 to 11.  Seven others, adults and children, were wounded in the strike.