Read here for more on The Guardian (UK) and here and here and here
CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY
SUPPORTED BY THE UNITED STATES
While Palestinian Children are being Massacred by US taxpayer-funded Israeli war-planes, Obama is Enjoying Golf in Hawaii
The United States late Saturday BLOCKED approval of a UN Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas and expressing serious concern at the escalation of violence following Israel’s ground attack in Gaza, council diplomats said.
The UN protested at a "complete absence of accountability" for the escalating number of civilian deaths in Gaza, saying "the rule of the gun" had taken over.
Obama Gagged by the Powerful Israeli-Jewish Lobby Groups and Staff Within his Transition Team
(Note: Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Israel Emanuel, is an Israeli and holds a dual citizenship) -read here and here for more
THE refusal of the US president-elect, Barack Obama, to comment on the Gaza conflict had disappointed Arab leaders, the Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister, Riyad al-Maliki, said yesterday. Mr Maliki said that Mr Obama's silence on Gaza contrasted with his willingness to comment on the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last November.
Israel rejects stationing of international monitors at border crossing as also any international force in the area.
UN General Assembly chief Miguel d'Escoto has criticized the Security Council for its inability to curb Israel's "monstrosity" in Gaza. D'escoto criticized the UN Security Council for not showing enough tenacity in ending Gazans suffering in the wake of the weeklong Israeli offensive in the coastal strip.
Doctors in Gaza said more than 40 people died, including children, in what appears to be the biggest single loss of life of the campaign when Israeli bombs hit al-Fakhora school, in Jabaliya refugee camp, while it was packed with hundreds of people who had fled the fighting.
Most of those killed were in the school playground and in the street, and the dead and injured lay in pools of blood. Pictures on Palestinian TV showed walls heavily marked by shrapnel and bloodstains, and shoes and shredded clothes scattered on the ground. Windows were blown out.
Hours before, three young men who were cousins died when the Israelis bombed Asma elementary school in Gaza City. They were among 400 people who had sought shelter there after fleeing their homes in Beit Lahiya, in northern Gaza.
Abed Sultan, 20, a student, and his cousins, Rawhi and Hussein Sultan, labourers aged 22, died.
Abed Sultan's father, Samir, said the bodies were so mangled that he could not tell his son from the cousins. "We came to the school when the Israelis warned us to leave," he said. "We hoped it would be safe. We were 20 in one room. We had no electricity, no blankets, no food. Suddenly we heard a bomb that shook the school. Windows smashed. Children started to scream. A relative came and told me one of my sons was killed. I found my son's body with his two cousins. They were cut into pieces by the shell."
The UN was particularly incensed over targeting of the schools, because Israeli forces knew they were packed with families as they had ordered them to get out of their homes with leaflet drops and loudspeakers. It said it had identified the schools as refugee centres to the Israeli military and provided GPS coordinates.
Israel accused Hamas of using civilians as cover, and said the Islamist group could stop the assault on Gaza by ending its rocket attacks on Israel.
The Palestinian authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, last night delivered an impassioned plea to the UN security council to act immediately to stop the Israeli operation, which he described as a "catastrophe" for his people. Israel has agreed a "humanitarian corridor" to allow Palestinians to get essential goods.
The rising casualty toll, more than 640 Palestinians killed since the assault began 12 days ago, gave fresh impetus to diplomatic efforts. The White House offered its first hint of concern at Israel's actions by calling on it to avoid civilian deaths. The president-elect, Barack Obama, broke his silence by saying he was "deeply concerned" about civilian casualties on both sides. He said he would have "plenty to say" about the crisis after his swearing in.
Gordon Brown said the Middle East was facing its "darkest moment yet" but hoped a ceasefire could be arranged soon.
The head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency, John Ging, said three shells landed at the perimeter of the school. "It was entirely inevitable if artillery shells landed in that area there would be a high number of casualties," he said.
He said UN staff vetted those Palestinians who sought shelter at the school. "So far we've NOT had violations by militants of our facilities," he said, though responding to questions he accepted there had been clashes between Hamas and the Israeli army in the area.
Earlier in the day, Ging visited Gaza's hospital and was shocked at the scale of civilian casualties. "What you have in this hospital is the consequences of political failure and the complete absence of any accountability for actions that are being taken. It's the rule of the gun now, and it has to stop," he said.
At least 12 of one family, seven children aged from one to 12, three women and two men, were killed in an air strike on their house in Gaza City. Nine others were believed trapped.
Rejecting Israeli claims there is no humanitarian crisis, Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), asserted, "The idea there is not a humanitarian crisis is absurd . . . it is appalling for anyone to say there is not."
UNRWA closed 20 health centres, although its staff are doing their best to aid the injured. UNRWA and the World Food Programme have suspended ration distribution, leaving 1.1 million people without basic foodstuffs. Mr Gunness criticised the Security Council for not adopting a ceasefire resolution. "Innocent people in Gaza have suffered enough."