It’s a pretty messy and complex situation, in that there are factors dating back to Israel’s founding 64 years ago that continue to contribute to every aspect of the situation.
But I’ll do my best for a brief “What’s happening now”.
The Gaza Strip is a tiny 4 by 23 mile strip of land along the Mediterranean that is home to 1.6 million Palestinians, 80% of whom are refugees who were forced into that corner when they were kicked out of their homes during Israel’s founding in 1948.
In 2006, the US and Israel basically forced an election on the Palestinian people to decide what group would run the country, and the top two contenders were Fatah, which has a long-running history of aiding the Palestinian cause but have recently become nothing more than Western-Backed and funded cronies, and Hamas, which was basically a more radical group that was created as a response to Israeli aggressions and the lack of an armed, unified group to resist it.
The US and Israel were banking on Fatah winning, but instead, Hamas won, because it was basically an election of “The old and corrupt” against “The “not” old and corrupt”, and the Palestinian people wanted a change from the stalemate we had been stuck in with Fatah.
Because Israel and the US weren’t happy with the results, they funded and armed Fatah to “fight out” Hamas, who were democratically elected through an process that they pushed in the first place, which resulted in civil war, and Hamas being pushed into the Gaza Strip, where they currently rule, while Fatah retains control of the West Bank.
After the brief civil war, Israel imposed a siege on the Gaza strip, allowing no-one in or out, no medical/building supplies, food, clothing, or anything else without Israeli approval, which was never granted.
Fast-Forward, to 2012, the Gaza Strip is in shambled, people are dying of malnutrition, facing medical crises’ because they have no supplies, and are basically forced to merely “exist”, rather than to live as normal human beings. The siege is so severe, that Israel has literally set a calorie limit in which it dictated the amount of food that was allowed in that would keep people from just barely starving to death, with multiple reports stating that within 6 years, the Gaza Strip will be an unlivable region unless something drastic is done to save the area.
Last month, Israel “accidentally” killed a 13 year-old boy as he was playing soccer with his friends after a bullet struck his abdomen. Shortly after, they opened fire on a 23 year-old mentally disabled man who wondered too close to the “buffer zone” surrounding Gaza, and refused to allow anyone to treat his wounds, from which he could have been saved. He died shortly after.
In retaliation, the PFLP [another armed group within Palestine] launched a rocket attack on Israeli patrol forces near the border of Gaza, wounding 4.
That attack is what Israel considers the “start” of the current conflict, while ignoring the previous two killings.
Israel responded by assassinating one of the top leader of Hamas and the Gaza Strip, who had at the time been drafting peace-plans towards Israel, despite having a history of terror attacks.
Hamas then responded by launching many rockets into Israel, while Israel continued to launch relentless, punishing air-strikes on the Gaza Strip. Due to the fact that the strip is so small and so crowded, and due to Israeli use of massive missiles in their strikes, no where is safe within the strip, and no one is allowed to even leave. There are no places to seek shelter, no places to hide, and nothing to do but stay in place and pray that you’re not the next piece of “collateral damage”
In the last 4 days, 73 Palestinians have been killed, with early reports claiming 21 children, 9 women [two of whom were pregnant] and 6 elderly among them, with an estimated 700 injured [with injuries ranging from mutilations resulting in physical disabilities, broken bones, or other less extreme tragedies], of which 150 are children.
In the same time frame, 3 Israeli civilians have been killed from the same blast on Thursday.
While Israelis have an active missile defense system called “Iron Dome”, which shoots down rockets, along with sirens to warn of incoming rockets and when to seek bomb shelters to protect themselves from the home-made rockets of Hamas, those in Gaza are subject to shelling by land, air and sea.
There have been talks that the conflict could escalate and that Israel may send troops within the Gaza Strip, which is a source of great fear, considering the last ground invasion Israel launched resulted in the deaths of 1400 Palestinians, between 750 and 930 of which were civilians, while Israeli forces lost 10 combatants [4 to friendly fire] and 3 civilians.
I know this is a exhausting wall of text so I’m sorry about that, but I tried to cover all the bases of the conflict so that I can have this here for future reference.
I hope I helped you a bit :)
[Made rebloggable by request]
Buddha head embedded in the roots at Wat Phra Mahathat, Ayutthaya, Thailand, by Steve McCurry
This recently discovered cave in Vietnam is massive beyond description. An entire forest is growing inside! There are no words to describe the enormity, and beauty of this natural wonder. The Empire State Building will fit inside!
That is amazing!
take me there and i will marry you
Favorite Comic Artists ✒: Paolo Rivera
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes | Favourite Hank & Janet moments [4/15]
Dark Elf from the set of Thor: The Dark World
(aka nightmare fuel)
"The words you speak become the house you live in."
Europe rises up: Day of anti-austerity rage grips the continent
November 14, 2012
Flights and trains were canceled across Europe on Wednesday as thousands of workers took to the streets to protest austerity measures aimed at reducing massive government deficits and boosting shaky economies.
“We all know that reforms, layoffs and cuts will continue but maybe we manage to get them cut (more slowly),” said Francisco Vallejo, 41, an administrative assistant in Madrid. “The only strike that is useless is the one we don’t follow.”
Unions had called for strikes across Europe to protest the trimming of government-funded salaries and pension benefits, which had risen dramatically over the years and led to significant debt problems in some countries.
The call to strike was heeded by many in Italy and Spain; but union workers in Britain, Germany and Denmark held rallies instead of walking off the job. Transport hubs were at standstill across southern Europe and in Brussels as airports and train stations shut down.
In Portugal, all trains and subways shut down and about 200 flights to and from the country were canceled. Hospitals operated on a skeleton staff while thousands of government workers including most in the justice system and trash collectors failed to go to work.
In Spain, some television channels went off the air and assembly lines at the big union-dominated factories shut down. Spanish unions claimed that 9 million Spaniards stayed at home, or 77% of the workforce.
Much of Spain’s school system was closed and more than half of its hospital employees went on strike.
In Barcelona, high-end stores such as Gucci and Chanel on the Paseo de Gracia closed for the day. In the neighborhoods, only a few bakeries and grocery shores dared to open, intermittently closing when they saw trouble.
In Greece, the strike shut down the subway system for part of the day. About 5,000 Greeks protested in Athens. Port workers blocked the entrance to the Ministry of Defense demanding back wages, they said.
In Italy, about 60,000 turned out in Rome. The president of Rome province, Nicola Zingaretti, condemned “groups of rioters” among peaceful protesters. Zingaretti said a climate of “aggressiveness and intolerance” risked sullying Rome’s image abroad following reports of protesters yelling anti-Semitic slogans outside a Rome synagogue.
The so-called austerity measures comprise spending cuts, tax hikes and changes to labor laws to allow businesses to better adjust to shaky economies. But several governments and many workers worry that the measures may worsen economies by driving down individual incomes.
The protests Wednesday brought out people who blame the economic system as a whole.
“They’ve only just started cuts but they are pretty draconian already,” said Andrew Burgin, European officer for the Coalition of Resistance in London, which organized a rally outside the European Commission offices there. “I think this is the beginning of a new movement. It will be a day remembers in history as the beginning of a pan-European movement, possibly an international movement, against capitalism.”
But European leaders, such as Angela Merkel of Germany, says the problem is the massive debts piled up by individual nations, many of which like Greece and Portugal spent beyond revenues on public projects, expanding welfare and government jobs, and generous public benefits.
Greece and Spain, which have been hit hardest by an economic slowdown and debt crisis that has swept up several nations across the continent, are experiencing unemployment rates of more than 25%. Both countries passed measures recently to change labor laws that protected employees from layoffs and that businesses say prevented them from hiring or innovating.
The austerity measures are supposed to improve the economy over time but in the short-term people in Greece and Spain especially are experiencing curtailment of government health care, reductions in their pensions and salaries and higher taxes.
Photo 1: Madrid, Spain
Photo 2: Google map locations of all general strikes in Europe today
Photo 3: London, UK
Photo 4: Paris, France
neo tribal perfomance by Luy Romero
this guy is a really incredible dancer, I can’t wait to attend one of his classes :)
120-Million-Year-Old ‘Ghost Dragon’ Pterosaur Discovered in China
by Dave Mosher
Paleontologists in northeast China have discovered a wildly snaggle-toothed skull that belonged to a previously unknown, 120-million-year-old flying reptile.
Named Guidraco venator, which is Chinese and Latin for “ghost dragon hunter,” the meat-eating pterosaur had a wingspan of between 13 and 16 feet. The basket of pointy teeth at the end of its foot-long skull probably helped it catch fish, and a round sail on its head may have stabilized flight.
“This is really an amazing fossil, but the funny thing to me is that it was found in Asia. It looks very similar but not identical to pterosaurs found in Brazil,” said Eberhard “Dino” Frey, a paleontologist at the State Museum of Natural History in Karlsruhe. Frey was not involved in the work, published online Feb. 22 in Naturwissenschaften.
The closest relative to G. venator may be a fossil Frey and his colleagues recovered in 2003, called Ludodactylus sibbicki, adding further evidence that now 40 known species of pterosaurs were more globally distributed than previously thought. “The longer we search, the more of these animals turn up,” Frey said…
(read more: Wired Science)
(images: T - Xialin Wang et al./Naturwissenschaften/Springer; B - Maurilio Oliveira)