The next phase of the violence that has killed nearly 200 Palestinians in Gaza is in flux after a ceasefire proposal from Egypt. The Egyptian government proposed a temporary halt to violence and the reopening of Gaza’s border crossings, followed by talks in Cairo on a long-term truce. Israel’s Security Cabinet has endorsed the proposal, but Hamas has yet to officially respond. The Hamas military wing has rejected the pact as a "surrender," saying the ceasefire fails to meet any of its core demands. These include a lifting of the siege of Gaza, the release of prisoners recently detained in Israeli raids, an end to Israeli attacks on the Occupied Territories, and respect for the Palestinian unity government. But it is Hamas’ political wing that will have the final say. Earlier today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to widen the attack on Gaza if Hamas rejects the ceasefire and if rocket fire continues. The potential for a ceasefire follows a week that saw Israel kill at least 192 Palestinians in a massive bombing campaign on one of the world’s most densely populated areas. The United Nations estimates more than 80 percent of Gaza’s dead are civilians, including 36 children. More than 1,000 rockets from Gaza have hit Israel over the same period, with just a fraction landing in urban areas. Around a dozen Israelis have been wounded. No casualties have been reported. We are joined from Ramallah by Amira Hass, Ha’aretz correspondent for the occupied Palestinian territories, the only Israeli journalist to have spent several years living in and reporting from Gaza and the West Bank.
It is widely thought that the flare-up in Israel and the Occupied Territories began with the kidnapping of three Israeli teens in the West Bank just more than a month ago. But our guests — author Norman Finkelstein and Palestinian political analyst Mouin Rabbani — argue that such a narrative ignores the broader context of decades of occupation and recent events highlighting the expansionist goals of the Israeli government in the Palestinian land under its control. "Whenever the Palestinians seem like they are trying to reach a settlement of the conflict — which the [Fatah-Hamas] unity government was — at that point Israel does everything it can to provoke a violent reaction, in this case from Hamas, break up the unity government, and then Israel has its pretext," Finkelstein says. Rabbani and Finkelstein are co-authors of the forthcoming book, "How to Solve the Israel-Palestine Conflict."
The government has unveiled federal terrorism charges against two animal rights activists accused of helping to free minks and foxes from fur farms in rural Illinois. In newly unsealed indictments, the prosecutors accuse Tyler Lang and Kevin Oliff of freeing about 2,000 mink from their cages on a fur farm, and then removing parts of the fence surrounding the property so the mink could escape. The activists are also accused of spray painting "Liberation is Love" on the farm’s walls. Lang and Oliff have been indicted under the controversial Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), which each count carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. We are joined by reporter Will Potter, who covers animal rights and environmental issues at GreenIstheNewRed.com. "It really doesn’t matter how you feel about animal rights groups, or about these alleged crimes of stealing animals," Potter says of theAETA, which he argues is too broad while criminalizing protests and civil disobedience. "This is really about a corporate campaign to demonize their opposition and to use terrorism resources to shut down a movement." Potter also discusses his wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to purchase a drone for use in photographing abuses at factory farms.
A new investigation by The Crime Report published Monday documents how corporations almost never face criminal investigations for violating environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. A survey of environmental violations tracked by the Environmental Protection Agency shows just one-half of one percent of them trigger criminal prosecution. Joining us to describe his investigation, The Crime Report’s Graham Kates describes how one company, Alpha Natural Resources, faced only civil fines after it racked up more than 6,000 violations between 2007 and 2013. Kates say prosecutions are hampered by limited government resources in pursuing corporate polluters. The EPA has just 200 agents nationwide, and the Environmental Crime section of Department of Justice has just 38 prosecutors.
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