From Gaza: I Would Rather Die in Dignity Than Agree to Living in an Open-Air Prison

Mohammed Suliman* – The Huffington Post

Gaza is a tough place; it’s tiny, overcrowded and besieged. But the people are kind. The food is delicious, and the beach, though filthy, allows us to pretend that we’re free. The sunset at sea is a spectacular scene, despite the Israeli warships dotting the landscape. Take a stroll down the street, and you’ll meet vendors, mostly young children hawking their wares. Take a taxi, and by the time you get off, you’ll be exchanging phone numbers with your newest friend, the taxi driver.

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Powerful and Coldhearted

By MICHAEL INZLICHT and SUKHVINDER OBHI* – SundayReview, The New York Times

I FEEL your pain.

These words are famously associated with Bill Clinton, who as a politician seemed to ooze empathy. A skeptic might wonder, though, whether he truly was personally distressed by the suffering of average Americans. Can people in high positions of power — presidents, bosses, celebrities, even dominant spouses — easily empathize with those beneath them?

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‘The Tank Shells Fell Like Rain’

Sharif Abdel Kouddous* – The Nation

Survivors of the Attack on UNRWA School Report Scenes of Carnage and Destruction

At least sixteen Palestinian refugees seeking shelter were killed, more than 200 were wounded.

Khan Younis and Beit Lahia, Gaza—Hussein Shinbari is the only member of his family that survived the attack on a United Nations school in Beit Hanoun on Thursday. He is covered in blood. His undershirt, his pants and his hands are all stained a deep red.

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The charge of the Atlanticist Brigade

By Peter Lee*

The bloody farce in the Ukraine took another ugly turn with the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

And to be ugly about it, if the rebels shot the plane down, it shouldn’t matter very much except as a horrible and unexpected catastrophe in a war zone and an overwhelming tragedy to the survivors of the victims on board. Call it an accident, collateral damage, manslaughter, there is no credible version of events in which it was intentional mass murder or terrorism, either by the rebels or Russian technicians that, according to the Ukrainian government, possessed the ability to operate the elderly but complex anti-aircraft systems fingered in the attack.

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Ukraine: Anvil of the New Cold War

Tom Hayden – The Nation

To understand the present crisis over downed Malaysian flight MH17, we need to look at the roots of the new Cold War.

The Cold War is perhaps not even remembered by this generation of Americans, beyond dim and distorted traces. Yes, the power alignments in the world have shifted, for example, by the rise of the BRICS and their opposition to Western finance capital. And yes, the rise of China offsets the demise of the old Soviet Union. The Vatican is no longer battling “godless communism.” Communism itself is a spent force.

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Focus on Child Marriage, Genital Mutilation at All-Time High

By Julia Hotz

WASHINGTON, Jul 23 2014 (IPS) – As Tuesday’s major summits here and in London focused global attention on adolescent girls, the United Nations offered new data warning that more than 130 million girls and women have experienced some form of female genital mutilation, while more than 700 million women alive today were forced into marriage as children.

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Japan Remains Committed to ‘Advancing Vibrant Diplomacy’

By Isamu Ueda*

TOKYO, Jul 2014 (IPS) – In recent years, Japan has found itself it in a rapidly changing security environment. The global balance of power has shifted and various new threats have emerged within the region, including the development of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile systems that may soon be capable of delivering them.

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Move over, big brother

Amitav Acharya – The Hindu

The western media has been dismissive of the BRICS move to set up a bank, but such cynicism misses the larger picture — the end of western hegemony and the rise of the multiplex world

For the first time since its creation in the aftermath of World War II, the structure of global economic governance established and dominated by the United States has some serious competition. At their summit in Brazil on July 15, 2014, the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) agreed to set up the New Development Bank with a capitalisation of U.S. $100 billion) and a contingency fund to deal with financial crises.

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Gaza and Israel: The Road to War, Paved by the West

By NATHAN THRALL – The New York Times

JERUSALEM — AS Hamas fires rockets at Israeli cities and Israel follows up its extensive airstrikes with a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, the most immediate cause of this latest war has been ignored: Israel and much of the international community placed a prohibitive set of obstacles in the way of the Palestinian “national consensus” government that was formed in early June.

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Why Opposing the Israel Lobby Is No Longer Political Suicide

Phyllis Bennis* – The Nation

With the collapse of an Egyptian cease-fire proposal, the horror of Israel’s latest Gaza assault continues. At least 185 have been killed, almost 80 percent of them civilians. Almost half are women and children. At least seventy homes were specifically targeted and destroyed. Five healthcare facilities, including a hospital, have been damaged in air strikes. There was a direct attack on a center for profoundly disabled people. It was one of Israel’s much-bragged-about “carefully targeted” bombings, including the now-iconic “knock on the roof” message from the Israeli bombers—the small bomb that signals much worse to come. It wasn’t an accident. Three people, two patients and a caregiver, were killed there. It goes on.

And Congress—indeed almost all of official Washington—is speaking with almost one voice: we stand with Israel. Israel has the right to “defend” itself. No country would stand by and allow this. But something is different this time. And not only that the assault is different, and worse.

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From Financial crisis to a crisis of Legitimacy; Europe on the Brink

By Tony Phillips*

London July 17th – The European phase of the current global financial crisis began in 2009, just one year after the US “sub-prime” crisis flowed across Europe’s deregulated financial frontiers. Transatlantic financial contagion was facilitated by the adoption by European banks of the use of untested financial ‘products’ such as ‘derivatives’. Derivative trades also enabled excessive levels of debt, much of it bad debt. The derivatives were not just deployed in Europe’s banks but also in Europe’s cities and municipalities, they were even sold to national governments. For example, in both Greece and Italy derivatives were used to mask borrowing so that countries could meet debt-to-GDP ratios required by the Maastrict treaty to enter the Eurozone. The crisis has tested the mettle of the Eurosystem, a ten-year-old financial framework consisting of national central banks and the European Central Bank (ECB). The results can hardly be described as positive. Financial innovation had yet again become subverted for private gain. This time the money was to come from the European taxpayers.

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