Archive | August 8, 2014

Ebola In Nigeria: Should We Be Worried?

Ebola In Nigeria: Should We Be Worried?

By Chikwe Ihekweazu

Prologue: We are putting up this post as a result of increasing demand for information on this disease. As of today, the 7th of August 2014 there have been 9 cases (2 probable, 7 suspect) on Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria and 2 deaths. All nine cases have been known primary contacts of the index case in Nigeria; Mr Sawyer. At this point therefore, as far as we know, while there has been transmission in Nigeria, it is limited to contacts of the primary case. There is no confirmed community transmission i.e. further transmission from any of the currently infected cases.

This is significant because the rest of this post has to be interpreted in this context. If community transmission occurs –it changes the scenario significantly. However, given that the contacts of each case will need to be under close observation, and using a conservative estimate of 3 contacts for each case, there will be over 100 people under close observation at the moment. If any of them develops symptoms, this will change the picture dramatically.

My name is Chikwe Ihekweazu – I am an infectious disease epidemiologist and have worked on several WHO outbreak responses across the continent including an Ebola outbreak in South Sudan in 2004. I have included this information in order to contextualize the information below.

Having said this, we are in the middle of the largest Ebola outbreak ever; showing that the virus is adapting fast to the environment and causing more harm. At the same time medical science is making rapid advances so, as much as I may have some understanding of the issues at hand, knowledge is expanding rapidly and this post may rapidly become out of date.
We will frame the post in line with the questions we have been asked recently.

  1. Should we be worried?
    We should be worried enough to inform ourselves appropriately but we must not panic. The people most at risk at the moment are healthcare workers and family members caring for ill patients that may have been exposed to the index case, or caring for other returned patients from Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea. Specific efforts are going at the moment targeting these two groups. They must follow the infection control guidelines that I presume have been issued to them “religiously”. If you do not fall into any of these categories, please keep yourself informed of the general picture, take normal precautions and go about daily life. If you are caring for anyone with fever, body aches etc, please continue to care for the patient with compassion. The most important question to ask is if there has been contact with any of the nine known cases or a recent travel history to the 3 most affected countries; Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone. If this is the case, please call the helpline 0800ebolahelp. Remember to continue taking precautions against other communicable diseases; use a bed net against malaria, condoms to prevent STIs and HIV, boil your water – a cholera outbreak is going on in Plateau State, and if you are coughing for more than 2 weeks, see your doctor; TB killed approximately 27,000 people in Nigeria last year.
  2. Where can you get information on the disease?
    An excellent website has been put up – http://www.ebolaalert.org/. This was initiated by the Lagos state government with its partners. The information contained there is accurate and informative. The website could have benefitted with some audiovisuals – find here and here links to two good podcasts in pidgin English by Ruona Meyer. Another aspect missing on the website is information for health care workers, here the CDC manual will be useful to some extent.
  3. How is the virus spread?
    The virus is spread by contact with body fluids (blood, sweat, semen, saliva) of an infected and sick person. There is no evidence that it can be spread by air, water, or vectors such as mosquitoes or flies. People who are well cannot transmit Ebola. So, it is actually not an easily transmissible virus and proper adherence to infection control principles will protect most people from getting the virus. Next time you visit your doctor or nurse and he/she tries to give you an injection without gloves on – insist on their wearing gloves and report him/her to the appropriate medical/nursing council, and change your care provider. No ifs, no buts. The most important thing now is to break the chain of transmission – the first patient in Nigeria infected 8 others, if we continue at that rate of transmission – we are in big trouble. We must ensure that these nine do not infect any more, and the main way to do this is through effective and consistent implementation of infection control measures.
  4. Should we stop eating meat?
    The “jump” of the virus from an animal host (we still do not know the host animal(s) for sure) to humans is an extremely rare event. Once this happens, the most likely subsequent source of infection is human-to-human transmission. Heating kills the virus so all cooked meat is safe; yes, including suya. The most important risk at the moment is from humans infected with the virus and not animals!
  5. Can prayer cure the virus?
    No – God has given us brains – He expects us to use them.
  6. Is Government doing enough to contain the disease?
    They are doing the best they can, given the circumstances. A lot of support is now being received from the World Health Organisation, the US Centres for Disease Control and other partners. There are many Nigerians and International colleagues working for these organisations that are rapidly scaling up the response. Could we have been better prepared? Maybe – but this is not the appropriate time to discuss this. We must all rally around the incredibly brave colleagues that are on the frontline of the response now.
  7. Is the strike by doctors having an impact on the level preparedness of the clinical response?
    Yes – obviously. It is a tragedy for the country that doctors and the government have not found a resolution to their differences during this trying period for the county. Our patients need us the most now. Whatever the issues are, I appeal to my colleagues to suspend the strike and rise to the challenge of today. Our patients need us not only to provide clinical care but to restore confidence in the ethos of our profession. In no other country would the index patient have been taken to a private hospital for care as was the case in Nigeria with Mr. Sawyer. Nigerians need us, now more than ever.
  8. Who is actually leading the Nigerian response?
    The response is being led by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, a directorate under the Department of Public Health of the Federal Ministry of Health. As Nigeria is a Federal Republic, the states also have a leading role to play. The responsibilities for the provision of care are poorly delineated by the Nigerian constitution. A National Health Bill that will solve this has been pending between the National Assembly and the president for over eight years.
  9. Why are African patients not being given the experimental medicines being used on the two American survivors?
    First, every country has the option of developing its own scientific capacity in drug development, therefore they can use these drugs as they deem fit. We could ask what new compounds have been developed by the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and the Nigerian Institute for Pharmaceutical Research (NIPRD) since their inception, but again, that is a question for another day.
    Secondly there are very difficult ethical issues around using experimental treatments. Many Nigerians will remember the consequences of the use of an unlicensed medicine during a meningitis outbreak in Kano by Pfizer in 1996. Discussions are going on at the moment, led by WHO on how access to these experimental medicines can be scaled up, but it will not happen overnight as we still do not know for sure that they made a difference for the two Americans. Remember 10 – 40% of all those infected will survive.
  10. What is your most important advice?
    Do not panic. Dealing with the outbreak itself is hard enough; dealing with panicking public will be disastrous. The outbreak can be contained by doing “simple” things diligently and consequently.

If you think that someone you know may be infected call 0800Ebolahelp.

We hope this helps, feel free to share.

If you found this informative, follow us on Twitter @nighealthwatch

Source*

Related Topics:

The Miracle and Irony of Ebola in Sierra Leone*

Ebola Victim Lives to Tell the Tale*

Ebola as a Bio and Psych Warfare from Soros and Gates*

A Cure for Ebola They Don’t Want You to Know About!!*

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Boycott Israeli Products App Gets 350,000 Supporters*

Boycott Israeli Products App Gets 350,000 Supporters*

By Anthony Cuthbertson

 

An app that allows users to search for a product linked to targeted companies or countries in order to boycott them has seen a significant surge in users signing up to anti-Israel campaigns.

Buycott catalogues brands and their affiliations and lets users set up campaigns to either help or avoid funding certain causes. By scanning a product’s barcode with their smartphone camera, consumers are able to determine which brands are associated with which campaigns.

The two most popular campaigns currently on Buycott are Long Live Palestine Boycott Israel and Avoid Israeli Settlement Products. Between them they have close to 350,000 supporters, over a quarter of which have joined in the last 12 hours (at time of publication).

Included on the list of companies implicated by the Long Live Palestine Boycott Israel campaign are:

  • McDonald’s
  • Intel
  • Nestle
  • Marks & Spencer

“This campaign is about ordinary people around the world using their right to choose what they buy in order to help bring about an end to oppression in Palestine,” the campaign’s page states.

“It’s a peaceful means of putting international pressure on the state of Israel and follows in the footsteps of the successful boycott against the South African apartheid.”

Since the start of the most recent escalation in the conflict between Israel and Palestine last month, both campaigns have seen their number of supporters grow from just a few thousand.

There is currently one pro-Israeli campaign on Buycott. Despite being set up over a year ago, it only has 1,380 supporters.

A similar app from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is expected to launch later this year.

Source*

Related Topics:

Israel Changes Bar Code To Avoid Boycott*

Boycott Successful: Israel’s SodaStream Closes*

Israeli Barbarism: 6 Things You Can Stop Buying*

UK.’s Largest Supermarket Chain Tesco to Boycott West Bank Products*

Sainsbury’s Forced to Close due to Gaza*

Irish Shops Urged to Remove Produce from Israel*

Policy: Boycott Israel

Bolivia Revokes Visa Agreement with Israel*

 

Russia Signs Historic $20 Billion Iran Oil Deal*

Russia Signs Historic $20 Billion Iran Oil Deal*

Russia signed a historic $20 billion oil deal with Iran to bypass both western sanctions and the dollar based western monetary system yesterday.

Currency wars are set to escalate as the petro dollar’s decline continues.

Putin shakes hands with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his Iranian counterpart Bijan Zanganeh signed a five-year memorandum of understanding in Moscow, which included cooperation in the oil sector.

“Based on Iran’s proposal, we will participate in arranging shipments of crude oil, including to the Russian market,” Novak was quoted as saying.

The five year accord will see Russia help Iran “organise oil sales” as well as “cooperate in the oil-gas industry, construction of power plants, grids, supply of machinery, consumer goods and agriculture products”, according to a statement by the Energy Ministry in Moscow.

The deal could see Russia buying 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil a day, the Moscow-based Kommersant newspaper has previously reported. Under the proposed deal Russia would buy up to 500,000 barrels a day or a third of Iranian oil exports in exchange for Russian equipment and goods.

The Russian government withdrew the statement regarding the deal last night, but said it would issue a new statement today.

In January, Russia said that they were negotiating an oil-for-goods swap worth $1.5 billion a month that would enable Iran to lift oil exports substantially to Russia, undermining Western sanctions.

Yesterday, the Russian President told regional leaders that “the political tools of economic pressure are unacceptable and run counter to all norms and rules.” He  said in response to western sanctions he had given orders to boost domestic manufacturers at the expense of non-Russian ones.

The White House has previously said that reports of talks between Russia and Iran were a matter of “serious concern”.

“If the reports are true, such a deal would raise serious concerns as it would be inconsistent with the terms of the agreement with Iran,” Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said in January.

US. and European Union sanctions against Russia threaten to hasten a move away from the petro dollar that’s been slowly occurring since the global financial crisis.

 

Source*

Related Topics:

Russia Sanctions Food from the West*

132 Nations Want Out of the Cabal’s Global Banking System*

BRICS Announce $100 Billion Reserve Bypassing Privately Controlled Central Banks*

Blair’s Next Leg of The Global leaders Silence on the Palestinian Holocaust and Piping Gas to the E.U.

Schools to Monitor Students Social Media Posts*

Schools to Monitor Students Social Media Posts*

By Victor Skinner

Officials in western Maryland’s Washington County schools will be tracking students’ social media activity while at school using new software that scans for keywords like “kill” or “bomb.”

The district is using software called Social Sentinel that employs “geofencing” protocol to determine when students are on school grounds and scans their Twitter, Facebook and other social media posts for evidence of violent threats, harassment, drug or alcohol use, or similarly dangerous language, WJLA television station reports.

District officials are assuring the public that student privacy won’t be violated because the “geofencing” protocol limits tracking to when students are at school, a public place.

“School officials said the goal is to protect student safety. Examples of such posts that will be tracked include those that feature keywords like ‘kill,’ ‘bomb,’ and others,” the news station reports.

“School officials said they will also be consulting with parents and members of student government for feedback on what additional keywords should be added to the watch-list.

Once the software nabs posts with words administrators don’t like, someone – the news station didn’t report who – will read the posts closer to determine if there’s anything fishy going on. Depending on the context of a threatening post, it will either be forwarded to police or school officials, according to WJLA.

The Washington County district is only one of four in the nation employing the student snooping software, which runs $20,000 per year. District superintendent Clayton Wilcox told the Herald-Mail it will be in place for the district’s middle and high schools when students return from summer break in two weeks.

“The software will search sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, Meetup, Tumblr, Vimeo, and Google Plus, with other sites expected to be added, according to a presentation Tuesday to the Washington County Board of Education,” the Herald-Mail reports.

While the program would seem to raise objections from students, parents or faculty, no serious objections were cited in media reports.

The Washington County Teachers Association President Denise Fry did, however, raise mild concerns about the potential perception that “’Big Brother is watching,’ and whether the software might be used for other purposes,” according to the Herald-Mail.

And while Wilcox touted the system’s ability to track social media posts precisely within school bounds, he acknowledged that the geofencing feature can be expanded, and it seems as though school officials are already peaking into Pandora’s Box.

During the meeting, (Wilcox) did mention that one day the school system might want to expand it, if officials hear about gang activity or a fight just off campus,” the Herald-Mail reports.

Source*

Related Topics:

School Planned to Microchip Bracelet Students for ‘Good Behaviour’ without Parental Consent*

Google Legally Required to Handover all Details about your G-Mail*

NWO Next Step in Making the State Warden of Your Child*

Australia: To Sterilize, Electroshock, and Restrain Children Without Parental Consent*

Russia Sanctions Food from the West*

Russia Sanctions Food from the West*

Remember, this all began because Russia and China blocked NWO’s occupation of Syria…

Russians will no longer be able to buy fruit, vegetables, meat, fish or dairy products from the EU and the US, as the full scope of Moscow’s food import ban became apparent on Thursday.

President Vladimir Putin told officials on Wednesday to come up with a list of western agricultural products and raw materials to be banned, in reaction to western sanctions over Russia’s policies in Ukraine.

Russia’s Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, said the ban was effective immediately and would last for a year. It covers most foodstuffs from the US, the 28 EU countries, Canada, Australia and Norway.

Until the last moment, we hoped that our foreign colleagues would realise that sanctions lead to a blind alley, and that no one benefits from them. But they didn’t realise this, and now we have been forced to respond,” Medvedev said.

The EU and US have sanctioned a number of Russians, including billionaires believed to be close to Putin and those actively involved in the annexing Crimea and the unrest in eastern Ukraine. After the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which pro-Russia rebels are believed to have shot down , a number of key Russian banks were also sanctioned, cutting them off from European capital markets.

The key question is whether the import ban would hurt European producers more than Russian consumers. The Kremlin’s English-language channel, Russia Today, said the food ban could spark a “crisis in Europe” and would cost billions of pounds in lost revenues.

There was less musing on the cost to ordinary Russians, who have become used to readily available imported foods.

“I am sure that our market will be filled with fresh quality Russian products, which anyway many Russians prefer to the imported ones,” said Medvedev.

The agriculture minister, Nikolai Fyodorov, said more Brazilian meat and New Zealand cheese would be imported to offset the newly prohibited items. He also said Moscow was in talks with Belarus and Kazakhstan to prevent the banned western foodstuffs being exported to Russia from the two countries.

Medvedev said Russia was prepared to introduce further measures in aviation, shipbuilding and automobile sectors, but said it would do so carefully. Moscow has already floated the idea of banning European airlines from flying over Russian airspace, which could add several hours to some flights between Europe and Asia.

Russia is Europe’s second-largest market for food and drink. Exports of food and raw materials to Russia were worth €12.2bn (£9.7bn) in 2013, following several years of double-digit growth.

The UK is less likely to lose out. In 2013, its biggest food and drink export was £17m of frozen fish, followed by £5.7m of cheese and £5.3m of coffee.

The president of the European Central bank, Mario Draghi, said on Thursday that the Ukraine crisis was contributing to heightened geopolitical risks that are threatening the eurozone’s faltering recovery. “Some of them, like the situation in Ukraine and Russia will have a greater impact on the euro area than they … have on other parts of the world,” he said.

The world’s second-largest bottler of Coca-Cola drinks has become the latest company to be hit by the escalating standoff between Russia and the west, along with the sportswear maker Adidas.

Coca-Cola HBC, which bottles and distributes the US company’s drinks in 28 countries, said volumes would fall for the rest of the year, citing a sudden deterioration in Russia, its biggest market.

Monsanto

Financial markets were quick to react to Putin’s tit-for-tat move. Moscow’s main two share indices extended Wednesday’s sharp declines, with retail and banking shares among the biggest fallers. The RTS index lost 1.9%, and the rouble-denominated Micex fell 1.5%. European indices were also weaker.

Food has already been caught up in political tensions between Russia and the west. Moscow’s food safety authorities have recently banned the import of Polish fruit and vegetables, and a regional branch of the consumer protection agency Rospotrebnadzor is investigating McDonald’s cheeseburgers and milkshakes.

European pork was banned at the start of the year as the Ukraine crisis escalated, cutting off 25% of all EU pig meat exports in a move that the European commission said exposed farmers to significant losses.

The EU and US stepped up punitive action against Russia last week in response to Moscow’s support for eastern separatists in Ukraine, which has been unwavering despite the downing of MH17.

A Dutch rescue team had to abandon its work at the crash site on Thursday, judging that the frontline of fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed rebels was too close.

Ukrainian forces have made gains in the east in recent weeks, but at the expense of civilian casualties. The rebels are now mainly holed up in the regional centres of Donetsk and Luhansk, leaving Kiev with a dilemma of how to win back the strongholds without enormous civilian loss of life.

Russia is carrying out military exercises near the border with Ukraine this week, and there are fears that the option of a ground invasion is still on the table. Nato said earlier this week that Moscow had amassed around 20,000 troops near the border and could be planning an invasion under the guise of a humanitarian intervention.

In Kiev, there were clashes on Thursday morning as authorities attempted to clear Independence Square, known as the Maidan, of tents and protesters. The square was the centre of the protests against President Viktor Yanukovych’s rule, and a small hardcore of protesters have refused to move on and have remained living in the square since Yanukovych was deposed in February.

The square was cleared by armed members of volunteer battalions which had returned from fighting the pro-Russia separatists in the east, themselves made up of former Maidan activists. The violent clashes suggest tough times ahead for Ukraine, where President Petro Poroshenko will have to deal with the presence of many armed volunteer groups when the crisis in the east is over.

Source*

Related Topics:

Russia Bans Import of GMO Products*

Blair’s Next Leg of The Global leaders Silence on the Palestinian Holocaust and Piping Gas to the E.U.

Enforcing Imperialism through the Ballot Box in Syria, Egypt and Ukraine*

City of London’s Imperialist Designs on Russia

Ukrainian Soldiers Refuse to Kill their Own Flee to Russia*

60,000 Ukrainians apply for Asylum in Russia*

Russia Mobilizes 160,000 Troops After Israel Took Out Russian Missiles in Syria*

Rothschild’s Summit Fine-tuning Capitalism into Global Economic Tyranny*

Former Israeli Combat Soldier’s Life Threatened for Speaking the Truth*

Former Israeli Combat Soldier’s Life Threatened for Speaking the Truth*

By Joey Ayoub

Former combat soldier and company sergeant of the Israeli army turned whistle-blower Eran Efrati, aged 28, was arrested by the Israeli authorities and questioned concerning his research regarding the use of illegal weapons in Gaza.

On Tuesday, July 29, Efrati announced on Facebook that he received information from sources within the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) revealing what he claims to be the real reason for the Shuja’iyya massacre which occurred nine days prior on July 20: namely that civilians were targeted and killed by Israeli soldiers as punishment for the death of soldiers in their units.

In recent weeks I was on the border of Gaza and getting reports from soldiers in the Gaza Strip who leak information out to me. I am in the process of publication of two big stories in major U.S. newspapers, but there are some things I can share with you right now: Soldiers in two different units inside Gaza leaked information about the murdering of Palestinians by sniper fire in Shuja’iyya neighborhood as punishment for the death of soldiers in their units. After the shooting on the Israeli armored personnel carriers, which killed seven soldiers of the Golani Brigade, the Israeli army carried out a massacre in Shuja’iyya neighborhood. A day after the massacre, many Palestinians came to search for their relatives and their families in the rubble. In one of the videos uploaded to YouTube, a young Palestinian man Salem Shammaly calls the names of his family and looking for them between the ruins when he is suddenly shot at in his chest and falls down. A few seconds after that, there are two additional shootings from snipers into his body, killing him instantly. Since the video was released, there was no official response from the IDF spokesperson. Today I can report that the official command that was handed down to the soldiers in Shujaiyya was to capture Palestinian homes as outposts. From these posts, the soldiers drew an imaginary red line, and amongst themselves decided to shoot to death anyone who crosses it. Anyone crossing the line was defined as a threat to their outposts, and was thus deemed a legitimate target. This was the official reasoning inside the units. I was told that the unofficial reason was to enable the soldiers to take out their frustrations and pain at losing their fellow soldiers (something that for years the IDF has not faced during its operations in Gaza and the West Bank), out on the Palestinian refugees in the neighborhood. Under the pretext of the so-called “security threat” soldiers were directed to carry out a pre-planned attack of revenge on Palestinian civilians. These stories join many other similar ones that Amira Hass and I investigated in Operation Cast Lead. The death toll that continues to rise is steadily reaching the numbers of the massacre of 2009.
More than 1,100 have been killed in Gaza, at least 80 percent of them civilians. Today it is cleared for publication that at least 4 soldiers were killed by a rocket in a gathering area outside of Gaza, and another soldier was killed in Gaza. They join 43 soldiers that have already been killed. We know that more acts of revenge will come soon and it is important that we not stay silent. This is the time to take to the streets and to social media. Demand from your representative wherever you are to stop supporting this massacre and to immediately boycott the state of Israel until the occupation ends, the blockade is lifted and Palestinians will be free. We all want to be in the right place at the right time when history knocks on our door, and history is knocking in Gaza right now. You need to decide on which side you want to go down in history.

In addition to being arrested and questioned, Efrati had both his Facebook and email accounts blocked and apparently received death threats aimed at keeping him silent. He wrote:

In recent days I was arrested by authorities and questioned about my research regarding the use of illegal weapons in Gaza, my mail and Facebook accounts were blocked, And I received strong hints that my life is at risk and I need to be silent and keep low. But I’m not going anywhere.

They may close my communication channels again,but that does not mean I’m not here, I’ll find a way to get the information out to you,and I trust you will echo it on, go down with it to the streets ,And demand your representatives, your government to stop funding the slaughter in your name,to boycott Israel and to stop the bloodshed in Gaza. The whole world is watching now, history is being made.
I’m counting on you.

The Shuja’iyya massacre took place during intense fighting between Hamas forces and the Israeli military. The killing resulted in the death of 72 Palestinians, among whom 17 were children. It also resulted in the death of 13 Israeli soldiers.

The video of the wounded Palestinian who was shot by a sniper was released by the International Solidarity Movement and can be viewed below. [Warning: The video is graphic, viewer’s discretion advised.]

The massacre was described by Amnesty International as tantamount to possible war crimes:

The continuing bombardment of civilian homes in several areas of the Gaza Strip, as well as the Israeli shelling of a hospital, add to the list of possible war crimes that demand an urgent independent international investigation, said Amnesty International.

[…]

The Israeli military said that Shuja’iyyeh, a densely populated area with some 92,000 residents east of Gaza City, had been targeted because it was a “fortress” housing rockets, tunnels and command centres. Israeli military and government officials have repeatedly said that civilians were warned to evacuate the area days before it was attacked.

However, many civilians in Shuja’iyyeh and other areas did not evacuate because they had nowhere to go. All the UNRWA schools and other facilities opened as shelters are overflowing. Issuing warnings to evacuate entire areas does not absolve Israeli forces of their obligations to protect civilians under international humanitarian law.

“The relentless bombardment of Shuja’iyyeh and other civilian areas in the Gaza Strip, as well as the continuing indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel, demand urgent international action to prevent further violations. The UN should impose an arms embargo on all sides, and all states should immediately suspend transfers of military equipment to Israel, Hamas, and other Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip,” said Philip Luther.

Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders accused Israel of indiscriminate bombing:

“While official claims that the objective of the ground offensive is to destroy tunnels into Israel, what we see on the ground is that bombing is indiscriminate and that those who die are civilians,” said Nicolas Palarus, MSF’s project coordinator in Gaza.

At the time of writing, Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” has claimed the lives of more than 1,650 and wounded nearly 9,000 Palestinians. Israel says the assault is targeting Hamas for firing hundreds of rockets across the border into Israel. Seventy-five percent of the Palestinians killed in this offensive have been civilians. Since the offensive started on June 8, 62 Israeli soldiers have been killed in fighting in Gaza, and three civilians killed and around 400 injured in rocket attacks in Israel.

Besides being a member of Anarchists Against the Wall and the pro-BDS Boycott from Within, Efrati was a member of Breaking The Silence*, an Israeli NGO comprised of former IDF soldiers whose aim is “to raise awareness amongst the public about the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories.”

Here’s a lecture he gave in Colorado as part of The Soldier and the Refusenik U.S. tour with Maya Wind a few months ago:

This is Israel’s third military operation in Gaza in 6 years. Israel has bombed residential neighborhoods, schools, a playground, hospitals, shelters and refugee camps. On July 28, Israel attacked the only power plant in Gaza, plunging the congested strip of 1.8 million people into darkness. UN shelters are struggling to accommodate more than 250,000 Gaza residents who are fleeing the violence or whose homes have been destroyed by bombings. Six UN shelters have come under attack by Israeli forces. Excessive restrictions from Israel in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank is why most of the world and the United Nations considers this territory “occupied” by Israel.

[*Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said that Efrati is a member of Breaking The Silence. He is no longer involved in it and has not worked with this organisation for four years.]

Source*

Related Topics:

Israel Resumes Destruction of Gaza*

Demilitarization or Conditional Aid, the Goal Remains the Same for Gazans*

ISIS Weapons Made in Israel*

Trial of Murder Most Horrid of Palestinian boy starts in Israel*

Harvesting Palestinian Organs*

DEBKA Report: Saudi, Egypt and Israel Orchestrated Palestinian Holocaust*

The Real Jihad is in Palestine*

Israel Changes Bar Code To Avoid Boycott*

Military Expert: Israel is Using Three Internationally Banned Weapons*

Operation Protective Edge: The Dead Have Names*

Demilitarization or Conditional Aid, the Goal Remains the Same for Gazans*

Demilitarization or Conditional Aid, the Goal Remains the Same for Gazans*

When one thinks that this is what is necessary for Israel to survive, that the Zionist dream is based on the slaughter of—repeated slaughter of innocents on a scale that we’re watching these days on television, that is really a profound, profound crisis—and should be a profound crisis—in the thinking of all of us who were committed to the establishment of the state and to its success. It leads one virtually to a whole rethinking of this historical phenomenon. – Henry Siegman, former executive director of the American Jewish Congress.

EU initiative to Israel: Gaza reconstruction in exchange for Hamas disarmament

Israeli sources announced that Germany, France and Britain recently presented an initiative aimed at reconstructing Gaza subject to international supervision that will prevent the rearmament of Hamas and other factions in the Gaza Strip.

The principles for agreement about the Gaza Strip are:

  • Preventing the armament and strengthening of Hamas and the rest of the terror organisations in Gaza.
  • Rebuilding the Gaza Strip in cooperation with the international community and the Palestinian Authority and enabling the transfer of humanitarian aid.
  • Setting up an international mechanism to prevent the entry of prohibited materials to the Strip and ensuring that materials, such as cement and iron, do not reach the terror organisations but are used only to rehabilitate Gaza.
  • Returning the Palestinian Authority and President Mahmoud Abbas to the Gaza Strip.
  • The possibility of returning the European Union’s Border Assistance Mission to the Rafah border crossing alongside the Palestinian presidential guard.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz today reported unnamed Israeli sources as saying that “the proposal by the three European states is an answer to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand for the disarmament of Hamas.”

The sources pointed out that representatives from the three countries met in Jerusalem yesterday with Israeli national security adviser, Yossi Cohen, and handed him a two-page document of principles for international agreement about the Gaza Strip.

The document says that Germany, Britain and France are interested in reaching agreements with Israel and are considering turning these understandings into a binding decision that would be submitted to a vote at the UN Security Council.

The sources pointed out that “European diplomats told Israeli officials that the document is a proposal for discussion and open to changes.” Cohen said he was interested in working together to advance the proposal.

It was not possible to get immediate comments from representatives of France, Germany and Britain in the Palestinian territories regarding this initiative, nor from the Israeli side.

Since Hamas, which Israel considers a “terrorist organisation” won the Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006; Israel has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip, where more than 1.8 million Palestinians live. This blockade was tightened after the group seized control of the territory in June of the following year.

Israeli minister: Egypt supports demilitarising Gaza

The United States, Egypt and other countries all support making Gaza a demilitarised zone, PLS48 news site reported an Israeli minister as saying.

Israel’s Minister of Communication, Gilad Erdan, reportedly made the comments during an interview with Israel Radio, in which he said the ongoing indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians in Egypt could lead to a possible solution, pointing out that: “Israel does not oppose the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip; but it will not allow the re-strengthening of Hamas and Islamic Jihad militarily.”

Erdan, who is also a member of the political and security cabinets, warned that:

“If Hamas resumes firing on Israel after the expiration of the current ceasefire, then the Israeli army will increase its retaliation.”

Indeed Israel resumed its assault against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Friday morning, when the 72-hour truce expired.

Erdan criticised the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who himself has sharply criticised Israel over the shelling of UN facilities in Gaza that were sheltering displaced Palestinians during the war. Erdan said: “I am sorry that the UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, is not fully aware of the reality on the ground.”

Israel and the Palestinian resistance factions agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire that began on Tuesday morning under Egyptian auspices to make way for negotiations on a longer lasting truce. Since then, Egyptian intelligence has been conducting separate talks between the Palestinian and Israeli delegations in Cairo.

However, the ceasefire expired without any tangible results.

The war launched by Israel on the Gaza Strip on 7 July has so far killed 1,886 Palestinians, wounding nearly 10,000 others, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry of Health.

Meanwhile, official Israeli reports say that 64 soldiers and three civilians were killed and 1,008 more were wounded, including 651 soldiers and 357 civilians; but the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, claims it has killed 161 soldiers and captured another.

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