While I drank my coffee this morning I spent 20-odd minutes watching more testimony from the Russell Tribunal – specifically, the video of Eran Efrati‘s presentation.

Efrati is the treacherous ex-IDF soldier and grandchild of Holocaust survivors who now spends his time investigating and documenting Israel’s ‘tools of war.’ His testimony was focused on the massacre in Shuja’iyya, one of Gaza’s most densely populated neighbourhoods, an act of state terror entrusted to the IDF’s Golani Brigade after seven Israeli soldiers were killed there. Efrati tells us that immediately after the soldiers were killed, a decision was taken at the highest levels of Israeli command to ‘flatten’ the neighbourhood as collective punishment for the deaths, with IDF soldiers being encouraged to vent their grief at their fallen comrades’ deaths on the unarmed civilian population.

Anyone familiar with the Fourth Geneva Convention will know that collective punishment is illegal under international law. But then that applies to the Israeli blockade itself, which is something the BBC, CNN, The Guardian, The New York Times and others don’t bother mentioning. According to Greg Philo our attention spans are too short for that kind of nuance, at least where the Palestinian perspective is concerned.

Besides dropping more than 120 one-tonne bombs on Shuja’iyya in a mere seven hours, Efrati said, IDF soldiers occupied buildings and set up sniper posts, one of which became the infamous spot from which a young Palestinian man was executed when he came back the next morning accompanied by American and European international solidarity workers in search of (the remains of?) his family. Efrati tells us that his commander switched off his radio before giving the sniper explicit permission to shoot the unarmed civilian, and the sniper was congratulated when the job was done. I followed this at the time it occurred. The images were horrifying.

I’ve no idea where Efrati gets his information from but it’s always detailed, virtually verbatim and never disputed by Israeli officials.

A short time later I turned my attention to Twitter where I read about Netanyahu’s claim that the Israeli army does more than any other to protect civilians. Twilight zone. I also learned that three members of the Golani Brigade have committed suicide since the Shuja’iyya assault, and wondered if one was the shooter.

And then I came across the following mundane acts of violence and aggression undertaken today in the name of ‘Israeli democracy’.

1. Israel to build ‘smart fence’ around Gaza Strip

In apartheid news, Israel has announced it will enclose illegal settlements in the Gaza strip with ‘smart fences.’ No doubt this move will receive international condemnation, but of course the World Court has ruled both Israeli settlements and its so-called ‘security fence’ illegal under international law, and Israel couldn’t care less.

2. Israeli settlers ‘occupy 23 homes’ in East Jerusalem neighborhood

Accompanied by Israeli soldiers, settlers stormed the Silwan neighbourhood at 1:30am and forcibly evicted residents from the homes in which they were sleeping. If you read that again, you’ll discover you read it correctly the first time.

3. Army Kidnaps 10 Palestinians In West Bank

The Israeli army ransacked homes and detained 10 Palestinians without charge in dawn raids this morning. In case you wondered, there is nothing new here: since any Palestinian male aged 12-65 is considered a ‘terror suspect’, and Israel is happy to jail people indefinitely without charge, these dawn raids have become a daily occurrence in the West Bank and Jerusalem. In September alone, more than 500 Palestinians have been arrested in this way.

4. Israel approves new settlement plan south of Jerusalem

The Israeli government approved a decision to construct a huge Israeli settlement south of Jerusalem as part of its “Jerusalem 2020” project, which aims to construct 58,000 settler housing units in the Holy City… [T]he establishment of this settlement would mean that the town of Beit Safafa would be surrounded by settlements and bypass roads on all sides.

But it’s not all gloom and doom. This is what good news looks like in Gaza:

1. Gaza was permitted by Israel to export 30 tons of sweet potatoes to the EU for the first time in seven years.

2. Several people I follow who live in Gaza reported that it rained there yesterday. Finally, something clean and light falling from the sky that might carry with it a fleeting sense of joyous release, instead of the usual cocktail of IDF terror and death.

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