The Guardian & Sorcha Faal & Mike Whitney / Information Clearing House & John Pilger / Information Clearing House & Rory McCarthy, David Batty and agencies / The Guardian – 2009-01-06 23:22:35
‘Sound Bombs’ Hurt Gaza Civilians
GAZA (November 4, 2005) — Israel is deploying a terrifying new tactic against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip by letting loose deafening “sound bombs” that cause widespread fear, induce miscarriages and traumatize children.
The removal of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip opened the way for the military to use air force jets to create dozens of sonic booms by breaking the sound barrier at low altitude, sending shockwaves across the territory, often at night.
Palestinians liken the sound to an earthquake or huge bomb. They describe the effect as being hit by a wall of air that is painful on the ears, sometimes causing nosebleeds and “leaving you shaking inside.”
The Palestinian health ministry says the sonic booms have led to miscarriages and heart problems. The UN has demanded an end to the tactic, saying it causes panic attacks in children.
The shockwaves have also damaged buildings by cracking walls and smashing thousands of windows.
One of them blew in the glass of the Chairman Arafat shop in Gaza City.
“I have never heard such a loud explosion. I thought it was right over the top of my building,” Chairman Arafat shopowner Tareq Dayyeh said.
“Sometimes you hear the rockets the Israelis fire but this was different. I felt like I was in the middle of a bomb. When I ran out the door I thought I might find the rest of the street was gone,” he said.
Over the past week, Israeli jets created 28 sonic booms by flying at high speed and low altitude over the Gaza Strip, sometimes as little as an hour apart through the night. During five days in late September, the air force caused 29 sonic booms.
Israel says that the aim is to break civilian support for armed Palestinian groups responsible for last week’s suicide bombing, which killed five people, and mortar attacks.
The government argues that sound bombs are preferable to real ones.
But on Wednesday, two medical human-rights groups, one Israeli and one Palestinian, submitted a petition to the Tel Aviv high court demanding an end to the tactic on the grounds that it is a breach of international law and detrimental to health.
“The stress that is caused is phenomenal,” said Eyad El Sarraj, a psychologist and director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, one of the groups filing the petition.
“The Israelis do it after midnight and then every one or two hours. You try to go to sleep and then there’s another one. When it happens night after night you become exhausted. You get a heightened sense of alert, waiting continuously for it to happen. People suffer hypertension, fatigue, sleeplessness,” he said.
The UN Palestinian refugee agency said that a majority of the patients seen at its clinics as a result of the sonic booms were under 16 years old and suffering from symptoms such as anxiety attacks, bedwetting, muscle spasms, temporary loss of hearing and breathing difficulties.
Although the Israelis say the shockwaves do not cause casualties, doctors at Gaza’s Shifa hospital said the overflights had forced women to miscarry.
The military was forced to apologize after one of the sonic booms was unintentionally heard hundreds of kilometers inside Israel last week.
Maariv newspaper described it as sounding “like a heavy bombardment. The noise that shook the Israeli skies was frightening. Thousands of citizens leapt in panic from their beds, and many of them placed worried calls to the police and the fire department. The Tel Aviv and central district police switchboards crashed.”
Israeli ‘Sound Bombs’ Reported ‘
Exploding’ Wombs Of Pregnant
Palestinian Woman And Girls
Sorcha Faal / What Does It Mean.com
(January 5, 2009) — Disturbing reports are circulating in the Kremlin today on the FSB’s debriefing of Russian and Ukrainian medical personal evacuated from Gaza that detail the gruesome ‘explosion’ of over 188 pregnant Palestinian women and girls wombs due to the use by Israeli Air Force fighter jets of what are termed ‘sound bombs’.
Britain’s Guardian News Service reports that Israel’s use of these ‘sound bombs’ is to “warn people away before flattening the homes with missiles” and Palestinian psychiatrist Dr. Khalid Dahlan has previously stated that:
“Israel’s sonic blasts are part of a larger psy-ops war that is aimed at directly at children; it has no other conceivable purpose. The explosions have no military value except to attack the fragile psyche of the most vulnerable and sensitive. As the survey indicates, Israel’s plan has succeeded quite admirably. In fact, Israel is so pleased with the results of its psy-ops terror-campaign that it has developed “sound bombs” which are intended to create widespread fear and trauma.
This new weapon has been successfully deployed in Gaza “inducing miscarriages and traumatizing children”. Israel is aware of these effects and continues to use the weapon regardless of the human suffering it causes.”
Reports from Gaza’s hospitals are stating that these women and girls are unable to be cared for as Israeli forces have caused such death and destruction that ‘bodies are lying everywhere’, and with Israel and Egypt’s not allowing humanitarian assistance or medical supplies into Gaza over 37 of these women and girls have died, the youngest being 14-years-old.
Though UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon had called for an ‘immediate ceasefire’ so that the humanitarian concerns of the Palestinian peoples could be addressed, the United States was successful in blocking the Security Council motion calling for both Israel and Hamas to stop fighting.
However, reports from Israel are stating that their government had no intention in the first place of following any UN order to stop their attacks, and as we can read as reported by the YNET News Service:
“Jerusalem expressed satisfaction Sunday with the fact that the UN Security Council’s emergency meeting on the fighting in Gaza ended with no results, after the United States blocked Libya’s proposal for an immediate ceasefire.
Top diplomatic officials said that even if the Security Council does approve a resolution that conflicts with Israel’s interests in its next meeting, “it’s no big deal”, and certainly will not interfere with the continuation of Israel’s operation.”
Though the governments and peoples of both the United States and Israel continue to remain solidly behind the Israelis extermination of the Palestinian peoples, the same cannot be said about other peoples in our World as Global Protests against the extermination of these human beings continue to mount, with reports from Turkey stating that over 700,000 of their citizens have risen in protest against this modern day holocaust.
It is only in the United States, however, that we can see the most glaring contradiction regarding this deliberate slaughter of Palestinian woman and girls, and their unborn children, in that their largest provider of abortions, Planned Parenthood, has voiced ‘great concern’ over the carnage in Gaza, yet the American Christian evangelical community, and their churches, who state that they firmly support the rights of the unborn, are remaining completely silent.
And in, perhaps, the most cruelest irony of all, it appears that these Israeli and American peoples have completely forgotten the heroic Jewish peoples of the Warsaw Ghetto, and who like their modern day Palestinian counterparts, were cut off from all food, water, utilities and medical supplies by the vastly more powerful German Nazi Army, and when these nearly 500,000 beleaguered souls dared to defend themselves, were exterminated to almost the very last man, woman and child.
One can only wonder if these Americans and Israeli peoples of today have gone completely insane as the horrible killing of woman and young girls by exploding their wombs with these ‘sound bombs’ can certainly lead anyone with common sense to believe so.
© January 5, 2009 EU and US all rights reserved.
Targeting Gaza’s Children with Sound Bombs
Mike Whitney / Information Clearing House”
(July 5, 2006) — “The killing, abduction, and suppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli military forces do not conform to any reason or logic; rather they flout the Jewish beliefs.” Official Statement of the Iranian Jewish Community
The photographs of bombed-out buildings, burned-down power plants, and blown-up bridges only tell half the story of Israel’s terror-war on the people in Gaza. Absent from the pictures is the screeching sound of the F-16s flying overhead day-and-night producing the explosive sonic booms that shatter windows and terrify children.
Israel has been remarkably successful in its psychological war against the Palestinians; exacting a heavy toll against the people for whom it was designed, Palestinian children. As author John Pilger notes in a recent article “The War on Children”
“Dr. Khalid Dahlan, a psychiatrist who heads a children’s community health project, told me, ‘The statistic I personally find unbearable is that 99.4 percent of the children we studied suffer trauma … 99.2 percent had their homes bombarded; 97.5 percent were exposed to tear gas; 96.6 percent witnessed shooting; a third saw family members or neighbors injured or killed.’”
Dr. Dahlan’s findings are consistent with other studies which show that at least 72.8% of children in the occupied territories suffer some form of trauma from exposure to random explosions and violence. The result has been a steady up-tick in the number of children who suffer from long-term effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) a condition which can have a destructive effect on mental development and create adults that are excessively nervous, needy or depressed.
As Pilger avers, “These children suffer unrelenting nightmares and ‘night terrors’ and the dichotomy of having to cope with these conditions.”
Israel’s sonic blasts are part of a larger psy-ops war that is aimed at directly at children; it has no other conceivable purpose. The explosions have no military value except to attack the fragile psyche of the most vulnerable and sensitive. As the survey indicates, Israel’s plan has succeeded quite admirably. In fact, Israel is so pleased with the results of its psy-ops terror-campaign that it has developed “sound bombs” which are intended to create widespread fear and trauma.
This new weapon has been successfully deployed in Gaza “inducing miscarriages and traumatizing children”. Israel is aware of these effects and continues to use the weapon regardless of the human suffering it causes.
Just think of the money that could be saved if the Palestinians can just be kept in abeyance by producing a constant state of trepidation.
This appears to be the rationale of the Israeli leadership, who continue to explore the frontiers of psycho-anxiety weaponry.
What other possible reason could there be for sound bombs?
The moral implications of targeting children with mind-damaging weaponry is profound and alarming. To my thinking, it measures up quite impressively with the depraved acts of 9-11. Perhaps, it even exceeds them. After all, is there a more heinous crime than purposefully hurting children?
In recent weeks we have seen numerous incidents where children were killed or wounded by Israeli bombs or missiles. The most widely-publicized of these was the attack on the beach in Gaza where an entire family was killed instantly leaving behind a young Palestinian girl who has become a symbol of Israeli callousness and injustice.
As Pilger notes,
“For the Palestinians, a war against their children is hardly new. A 2004 field study published in the British Medical Journal reported that, in the previous 4 years, ‘Two-thirds 621 children killed (by Israelis) at checkpoints…on the way to school, in their homes, died from small arms fire, directed in over half the cases to the head neck and chest—the sniper’s wound.”
Whether the Israeli people support a policy that intentionally targets children is irrelevant. As the “sound bombs” indicate, such a policy does in fact exist. Also, as the “sniper wounds” of over 400 children suggest, the killing of children is, at the very least, tolerated as an unavoidable consequence of occupation.
This is completely unacceptable.
How does a nation wander so far from its founding principles that children are willingly sacrificed as the price for attaining one’s territorial ambitions? This is truly the calculus of human suffering.
Israel should reject the fanatical militarism and racism of its leaders and do what they can to stop this unfolding catastrophe. The “sound bombs” may be an effective tool for subjugating the occupied peoples, but they are also a poignant memento of Israel’s regrettable slide into moral squalor. If “Greater Israel” is to be built on the lives of innocent children, the cost is too high. It would be preferable for the Israeli people to reassert their commitment to the basic values espoused in their own religion, a religion of peace which teaches forbearance, humanity and justice.
Stop this assault on women and children, withdraw the troops from Gaza and get back to the bargaining table. That’s the only way we can solve this conflict and pull the entire region back from the brink of disaster.
The War On Children
John Pilger / Information Clearing House
(July 6, 2006) —Arthur Miller wrote, “Few of us can easily surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense. The thought that the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied.”
Miller’s truth was a glimpsed reality on television on 9 June when Israeli warships fired on families picnicking on a Gaza beach, killing seven people, including three children and three generations. What that represents is a final solution, agreed by the United States and Israel, to the problem of the Palestinians. While the Israelis fire missiles at Palestinian picnickers and homes in Gaza and the West Bank, the two governments are to starve them. The victims will be mostly children.
This was approved on 23 May by the US House of Representatives, which voted 361-37 to cut off aid to non-government organisations that run a lifeline to occupied Palestine. Israel is withholding Palestinian revenues and tax receipts amounting to $60m a month.
Such collective punishment, identified as a crime against humanity in the Geneva Conventions, evokes the Nazis’ strangulation of the Warsaw ghetto and the American economic siege of Iraq in the 1990s. If the perpetrators have lost their minds, as Miller suggested, they appear to understand their barbarism and display their cynicism. “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet,” joked Dov Weisglass, an adviser to the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert.
This is the price Palestinians must pay for their democratic elections in January. The majority voted for the “wrong” party, Hamas, which the US and Israel, with their inimitable penchant for pot-calling-the-kettle-black, describe as terrorist. However, terrorism is not the reason for starving the Palestinians, whose prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, had reaffirmed Hamas’s commitment to recognise the Jewish state, proposing only that Israel obey international law and respect the borders of 1967.
Israel has refused because, with its apartheid wall under construction, its intention is clear: to take over more and more of Palestine, encircling whole villages and eventually Jerusalem.
The sniper’s wound
The reason Israel fears Hamas is that Hamas is unlikely to be a trusted collaborator in subju- gating its own people on Israel’s behalf. Indeed, the vote for Hamas was actually a vote for peace. Palestinians were fed up with the failures and corruption of the Arafat era. According to the former US president Jimmy Carter, whose Carter Centre verified the Hamas electoral victory, “public opinion polls show that 80 per cent of Palestinians want a peace agreement with Israel”.
How ironic this is, considering that the rise of Hamas was due in no small part to the secret support it received from Israel, which, with the US and Britain, wanted Islamists to undermine secular Arabism and its “moderate” dreams of freedom. Hamas refused to play this Machiavellian game and in the face of Israeli assaults maintained a ceasefire for 18 months. The objective of the Israeli attack on the beach at Gaza was clearly to sabotage the ceasefire. This is a time-honoured tactic.
Now, state terror in the form of a medieval siege is to be applied to the most vulnerable. For the Palestinians, a war against their children is hardly new. A 2004 field study published in the British Medical Journal reported that, in the previous four years, “Two-thirds of the 621 children . . . killed [by the Israelis] at checkpoints . . . on the way to school, in their homes, died from small arms fire, directed in over half the cases to the head, neck and chest – the sniper’s wound.” A quarter of Palestinian infants under the age of five are acutely or chronically malnourished. The Israeli wall “will isolate 97 primary health clinics and 11 hospitals from the populations they serve.”
The study described “a man in a now fenced-in village near Qalqilya [who] approached the gate with his seriously ill daughter in his arms and begged the soldiers on duty to let him pass so that he could take her to hospital. The sol-diers refused.”
Gaza, now sealed like an open prison and terrorised by the sonic boom of Israeli fighter aircraft, has a population of which almost half is under 15. Dr Khalid Dahlan, a psychiatrist who heads a children’s community health project, told me, “The statistic I personally find unbearable is that 99.4 per cent of the children we studied suffer trauma . . . 99.2 per cent had their homes bombarded; 97.5 per cent were exposed to tear gas; 96.6 per cent witnessed shooting; a third saw family members or neighbours injured or killed.”
These children suffer unrelenting nightmares and “night terrors” and the dichotomy of hav-ing to cope with these conditions. On the one hand, they dream about becoming doctors and nurses “so they can help others”; on the other, this is then overtaken by an apocalyptic vision of themselves as the next generation of suicide bombers. They experience this invariably after attacks by the Israelis. For some boys, their heroes are no longer football players, but a confusion of Palestinian “martyrs” and even the enemy, “because Israeli soldiers are the strongest and have Apache gunships”.
That these children are now to be punished further may be beyond human comprehension, but there is a logic. Over the years, the Palestinians have avoided falling into the abyss of an all-out civil war, knowing this is what the Israelis want. Destroying their elected government while attempting to build a parallel administration around the collusive Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, may well produce, as the Oxford academic Karma Nabulsi wrote, “a Hobbesian vision of an anarchic society . . . ruled by disparate militias, gangs, religious ideologues and broken into ethnic and religious tribalism, and co-opted collaborationists. Look to the Iraq of today: that is what [Ariel Sharon] had in store for us.”
The new “body count”
The struggle in Palestine is an American war, waged from America’s most heavily armed foreign military base, Israel. In the west, we are conditioned not to think of the Israeli-Palestinian “conflict” in those terms, just as we are conditioned to think of the Israelis as victims, not illegal and brutal occupiers. This is not to underestimate the initiative of the Israeli state, but without F-16s and Apaches and billions of American taxpayers’ dollars, Israel would have made peace with the Palestinians long ago.
Since the Second World War, the US has given Israel some $140bn, much of it as armaments. According to the Congressional Research Service, the same “aid” budget was to include $28m “to help [Palestinian] children deal with the current conflict situation” and to provide “basic first aid”. That has now been vetoed.
Karma Nabulsi’s comparison with Iraq is apposite, for the same “policy” applies there. The capture of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a wonderful media event: what the philosopher Hannah Arendt called “action as propaganda”, and hav-ing little bearing on reality.
The Americans and those who act as their bullhorn have their demon – even a video game of his house being blown up. The truth is that Zarqawi was largely their creation. His apparent killing serves an important propaganda purpose, distracting us in the west from the American goal of converting Iraq, like Palestine, into a powerless society of ethnic and religious tribalism. Death squads, formed and trained by veterans of the CIA’s “counter-insurgency” in central America, are critical to this.
The Special Police Commandos, a CIA creation led by former senior intelligence officers in Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party, are perhaps the most brutal. The Zarqawi killing and the myths about his importance also deflect from routine massacres by US soldiers, such as the one at Haditha. Even the puppet prime minister Nouri al-Maliki complains that murderous behaviour of US troops is “a daily occurrence”. As I learned in Vietnam, a form of serial killing, then known officially as “body count”, is the way the Americans fight their colonial wars.
Put out more flags
This is known as “pacification”. The asymmetry of a pacified Iraq and a pacified Palestine is clear. As in Palestine, the war in Iraq is against civilians, mostly children. According to Unicef, Iraq once had one of the highest indicators for the well- being of children. Today, a quarter of children between the ages of six months and five years suffer acute or chronic malnutrition, worse than during the years of sanctions. Poverty and disease have risen with each day of the occupation.
In April, in British-occupied Basra, the European aid agency Saving Children from War reported: “The mortality of young children had increased by 30 per cent compared with the Saddam Hussein era.” They die because the hospitals have no ventilators and the water supply, which the British were meant to have fixed, is more polluted than ever.
Children fall victim to unexploded US and British cluster bombs. They play in areas contaminated by depleted uranium; by contrast, British army survey teams venture there only in full-body radiation suits, face masks and gloves. Unlike the children they came to “liberate”, British troops are given what the Ministry of Defence calls “full biological testing”.
Was Arthur Miller right? Do we “internally deny” all this, or do we listen to distant voices? On my last trip to Palestine, I was rewarded, on leaving Gaza, with a spectacle of Palestinian flags fluttering from inside the walled compounds. Children are responsible for this. No one tells them to do it. They make flagpoles out of sticks tied together, and one or two climb on to a wall and hold the flag between them, silently. They do it, believing they will tell the world.
John Pilger’s new book, “Freedom Next Time “, is published by Bantam Press. His website is [ http://www.johnpilger.com ].
Israeli Warplanes Use Sound Bombs;
Destroy Gaza Houses and Mosque as Air Strikes Continue
Rory McCarthy, David Batty and agencies / The Guardian
JERUSALEM (January 2, 2009) — Israeli warplanes struck around 20 targets in Gaza today, raising the death toll in the territory to at least 414 in seven days of intensive bombing.
The continued air strikes, which killed two Palestinians in a house and a mosque, and further rocket attacks by Hamas on the Israeli port of Ashkelon, dashed international hopes of a ceasefire.
Israel said its air strikes targeted a weapons arsenal, a vehicle that transported anti-aircraft missiles, rocket launchers and a tunnel used for arms smuggling.
In what appeared to be a new tactic, the Israeli military telephoned at least some of the 20 houses it destroyed to warn them in advance about the air strikes. In some cases it also fired a sound bomb to warn people away before flattening the homes with missiles, Palestinians and Israeli defence officials said.
The Hamas rocket attacks slightly injured two people in Israel, where four people have been killed since the conflict began on Saturday.
Braced for protests and retaliatory violence a day after it killed a senior Hamas leader in an air strike on his Gaza home, Israel today sealed off the occupied West Bank to bar entry to most Palestinians, and deployed heavy security at checkpoints.
Nizar Rayan, 49, a Hamas hardliner who was close to the group’s military wing, died when an Israeli jet dropped a one-tonne bomb on his home. It killed 11 other people, including two of Rayan’s four wives and seven of his children.
Rayan, who in 2001 dispatched one of his sons on a suicide mission that killed two Israeli settlers in Gaza, was one of the few senior figures in the movement not to go underground when the latest conflict began. The four-storey building where he had his apartment in the Jabalya refugee camp was destroyed and neighbouring buildings were badly damaged.
The Hamas official Ayman Taha called for the killing of Rayan to be avenged. “The blood of Sheikh Nizar Rayan and the blood of other martyrs will never be wasted and the enemy will pay a heavy price for the crimes it has committed,” he said.
Israeli troops, tanks and armoured vehicles remain massed on the Gaza border in preparation for a possible ground invasion, ignoring international calls for a halt to the conflict.
Around 1,850 people have been injured in Gaza in the deadliest period of conflict in four decades. The offensive was launched by Israel to put an end to rocket fire which intensified after Hamas declared an end to its six-month truce on 19 December.
Israeli officials said they were allowing dozens of Palestinians with foreign passports to escape the fighting. The army spokesman Peter Lerner said the fleeing Palestinians held citizenship from a number of other countries, including the US, Russia, Turkey and Kazakhstan.
Last night Israeli war planes bombed the Jabalya mosque. Israeli security officials said it was a meeting place and command post for Hamas militants.
Israel’s foreign minister, Tzipi Livni said its attacks on Gaza had been effective.
“I think that even now, after a few days of operation we have achieved changes,” Livni said following talks in Paris with the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, where she rejected a proposed 48-hour respite in fighting.
The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, travelled to Be’er Sheva, a city hit by Palestinian rockets for the first time this week, but gave no hint as to whether a ground operation was imminent.
For the past three days Israel has allowed about 100 truckloads of humanitarian supplies into Gaza. However, during the six-month ceasefire in the second half of last year less than this was arriving each day, meaning stocks were very low. Before Hamas won the Palestinian elections in January 2006, the average daily rate was 150 trucks, and that only covered immediate needs.
All exports from Gaza have been banned for 18 months, contrary to an agreement signed by Israel and negotiated by the US in November 2005 which said 400 truckloads a day of exports should have been leaving by the end of 2006.
As international pressure mounts for an end to the fighting, Israeli officials have suggested one of their conditions will be international monitoring of a ceasefire.
In a sign of growing concern that Britain should do more to distance itself from the Israeli actions, 53 Labour MPs, peers and assembly members signed a letter to the foreign secretary, David Miliband, calling on the government to condemn the excessive force being used by Israel.
The letter praised Miliband for calling for an immediate ceasefire, but said the conflict had to be seen in the context of the continuing expansion of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
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