Posts Tagged ‘Palestinians killed and injured’

Breaking the Silence on Gaza

July 21, 2009
by César Chelala | CommonDreams.org, July 20, 2009

A new set of revelations by soldiers who participated in the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) operation in Gaza offers a disturbing picture of the actions carried out in that territory. Testimony regarding their conduct in Gaza by Breaking the Silence, an organization of Israeli soldiers, confirms previous denunciations by human rights organizations and signals that urgent attention must be paid to the economic and medical needs of a repeatedly abused civilian population.

Operation “Cast Lead” was initiated December 27, 2008 and ended January 18, 2009. Over 1400 Palestinians were killed, 900 of them civilians (65%), including 300 hundred children (22%). Extensive areas of Gaza were razed to the ground and thousands of people were left homeless, even months after the operation ended. The economy of Gaza was all but destroyed.

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Israel Killed Everything but the Will to Resist

January 26, 2009

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, January 25, 2009

” ‘Freedom or death’, is the popular Palestinian mantra,” wrote Palestine Chronicle Editor-in-Chief Ramzy Baroud in his January 22 article titled “Breaking Gaza’s Will: Israel’s Enduring Fantasy.”

Three weeks of Israeli terror caused about 1400 deaths, over 5500 injured (many seriously), vast destruction and  throughout Gaza, and Physicians for Human Rights warning that large numbers of wounded may die because hospitals are overloaded and lack basic supplies. Yet Palestinians endure. Their spirit is unbowed and unbroken. Hamas is more popular than ever, and world outrage sustains them.

Middle East analyst Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies believes Israel blundered badly. On January 9, he asked:

“The War in Gaza – Tactical Gains, Strategic Defeat?” In spite of all the IDF’s might “The fact remains that the growing human tragedy in Gaza is steadily raising more serious questions as to whether the kind of tactical gains that Israel now reports are worth the suffering involved.”

Cordesman reviewed the death, injury and destruction toll after 14 days of fighting, then added: “These direct costs are only part of the story.” He cited the siege’s crippling economic and humanitarian effects and wrote: “The current war has consequences more far-reaching than casualties. It involves a legacy of greatly increased suffering for the 1.5 million people who will survive this current conflict.”

“It is also far from clear that the tactical gains are worth the political and strategic cost to Israel. At least to date, (the war) increased popular support for Hamas and anger against Israel in Gaza. The same is true in the West Bank and the Islamic world….The US is seen as having done virtually nothing….and the President elect is getting as much blame as” George Bush.

He quotes former Saudi ambassador to Washington and London, Prince Turki al-Faisal saying: “The Bush administration has left you (with) a disgusting legacy and a reckless position towards the massacres and bloodshed of innocents in Gaza. Enough is enough, today we are all Palestinians….”

According to Cordesman, Israel appears to be repeating “the same massive failures” as in the 2006 Lebanon war. “Has Israel somehow blundered into a steadily escalating war without a clear strategic goal or at least one it can credibly achieve? Will Israel end in empowering (Hamas) in political terms….? Will Israel’s actions seriously damage the US position in the region, any hope for peace, as well as moderate Arab regimes and voices in the process? To be blunt, the answer (appears) to be yes….If this is all that Olmert, Livni, and Barak have (to show for their efforts) then they have disgraced themselves and damaged their country and their friends.”

Three Weeks of Israeli Terror Took Its Toll

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights compiles it daily and presents it in weekly reports. Its latest January 15 – 22 one includes whole families killed. More than 43% of deaths and injuries were women and children. The vast majority of casualties were civilians. “Entire features of many areas have disappeared, and civilian infrastructure services have completely collapsed.” Other destruction included:

— hospitals, ambulances, civil defense and private vehicles, and relief services damaged or destroyed;

— thousands of homes and whole neighborhoods damaged or destroyed as well as –

— roads, bridges, power installations, sewage facilities, water wells, and other infrastructure;

— 28 public civilian facilities;

— ministry, municipality and other government buildings; the parliament building;

— UN sanctuaries;

— commercial buildings;

— 121 industrial and commercial workshops destroyed; at least 200 others damaged;

— fishing boats and harbors;

— 21 private projects, including cafeterias, wedding halls, tourist resorts and hotels;

— 30 mosques completely destroyed; 15 others damaged;

— five concrete factories;

— 60 police stations;

— five media buildings and two health ones completely destroyed;

— 29 educational institutions completely or partly destroyed; and

— thousands of dunams of agricultural land razed.

After Israel declared a January 17 “ceasefire,” homes were bulldozed, agricultural land razed, civilians attacked and killed, homes invaded and searched, and arrests made. The war cost the al-Sammouni clan 36 of its men, women and children.

The West Bank wasn’t spared. The pattern repeats weekly, but from January 15 – 22 alone:

— Hebron and Beit ‘Awa village (southwest of the city) homes were raided and searched; four civilians were arrested;

— Jenin town and refugee camp homes were invaded, searched, and one civilian arrested;

— Bourqin village homes, west of Jenin, were raided, searched, and one civilian arrested;

— Qabtatya village homes, southwest of Jenin, were invaded and searched; no arrests were reported;

— Roujib village homes, east of Nablus, were raided, searched, and one arrest made;

— Dura village, southwest of Hebron, homes were invaded, searched, and four arrests made;

— Beit Sahour homes were raided and searched; one resident was arrested earlier;

— al-Lubban village, near Nablus, homes were invaded, searched, and three arrests made, including a child;

— at a January 16 Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, anti-war demonstration, the IDF fired live rounds at civilians wounding at least three;

— at another January 16 southern Hebron demonstration, the IDF shot and killed one man and wounded four others, including a child;

— at a same day East Jerusalem demonstration, the IDF fired sound bombs, tear gas, and violently beat protesters; journalists were also attacked and forced to leave;

— at another demonstration near the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the IDF attacked and violently beat at least 10 women;

— at an al-‘Eissawiya village, east of Jerusalem, demonstration, the IDF fired on and wounded four children, and arrested two others;

— homes were also raided and searched in Beita village, south of Nablus; Zabbouba village, west of Jenin; ‘Anza village, southeast of Jenin; Hawara village, south of Nablus; Taqqou’ village, southeast of Bethlehem; Bani Na’im, east of Hebron; ‘Arraba village, southwest of Jenin; Fahma village, southeast of Jenin; Sa’ir village, northeast of Hebron; Western Toura village, southwest of Jenin; ‘Assira village, north of Nablus; Beit Emrin village, northwest of Nablus; al-Zahiriya village, south of Hebron; Ya’bad village, southwest of Jenin; Bethlehem city; al-Duhaisha refugee camp, southwest of Bethlehem; ‘Aaida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem; and Qaryout village, southeast of Nablus — homes in all areas were raided and searched; numerous arrests were made;

— at a Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron, demonstration, the IDF fired live rounds on protesters wounding at least one child and arresting another;

— two undercover IDF operations made arrests in Qabatya village, southeast of Jenin, and Qiffin village, north of Tulkarm.

PCHR reports that the Gaza siege continues. Border crossings remain closed. Collective punishment is enforced. Basic food, medicine and other essentials are unavailable or in scarce supply to the great majority of Gazans. Impoverishment now exceeds 80%. Mass human suffering affects everyone. The world community is complicit by its silence.

Continued >>

Israelis bombard Gaza Strip UN HQ

January 16, 2009

The Morning Star

(Thursday 15 January 2009)
Israeli air strikes destroying a building in the Gaza Strip.

OBLITERATION: Israeli air strikes destroying a building in the Gaza Strip.

ISRAELI forces bombarded the United Nations headquarters in the Gaza Strip with phosphorus shells on Thursday, as hundreds of refugees cowered inside.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon, who is in Tel Aviv on a mission to end Israel’s devastating offensive, expressed “outrage” over the bombing, which set buildings ablaze and injured at least three people.

Only that morning, the UN compound in Gaza was put to use as a makeshift shelter for hundreds of Gaza City residents seeking sanctuary from the relentless shelling.

Two of the shells hit a UN warehouse housing humanitarian supplies, setting off intense fires.

UN relief operations director John Ging said: “They are phosphorus fires so they are extremely difficult to put out because if you put water on it, it will just generate toxic fumes and do nothing to stop the burning.

“This is going to burn down the entire warehouse. Thousands and thousands of tons of food, medical supplies and other emergency assistance are there,” he warned.

UN spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said that the UN had given Israel the co-ordinates of the building and that the compound was also clearly marked with UN flags and logos.

Israeli soldiers, backed by tanks and warplanes, pushed into a crowded Gaza City neighbourhood for the first time, sending terrified residents fleeing for cover.

Shells struck the al-Quds Hospital, causing fires that trapped about 400 patients and staff inside the main building.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Five high-rise apartment buildings and a building housing media outlets in Gaza City were also hit, injuring several journalists.

Bullets entered another building housing Associated Press offices and they lodged into the wall of a room where two staffers were working, but no-one was wounded.

The Foreign Press Association, which represents journalists covering Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, demanded a halt to attacks on press buildings.

Over 1,066 Palestinians, including at least 311 children, have been killed and 4,700 have been injured since Tel Aviv kicked off Operation Cast Lead on December 27.

Addressing soldiers at a southern base on Thursday, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak declared that the offensive would continue, but that Israel’s eyes were “also open to the possibility of winding up this operation and consummating Israel’s exceptional accomplishments through diplomacy.”

A SATANIC GENOCIDAL ISRAEL

January 8, 2009

5556gazachild.jpg

by Khalid Amayeh |  uruknet.info, Jan 7, 2009

For years, I have been warning that Israel is psychologically and morally capable of carrying out a holocaust or a genocide against the Palestinian people.

Needless to say, the horrible events of the past two weeks in Gaza seem to have enforced and vindicated my convictions in this regard.

Israel, government and people, seem to possess the psychological propensity that would make her embark on such a monstrosity. Yes, there is a minority of Israeli Jews and non-Israeli Jews who say “No” to all the evils and crimes Israel is doing in the name of their name.

However, let us be honest and realistic. These people are a small minority and have very little influence if any on the Israeli government and army.

Today, what many people had thought would be unthinkable or far-fetched in terms of the extent to which Israel would be willing to go in savaging the Palestinian people seems quite possible in light of the Jewish state’s Nazi-like behavior in the Gaza Strip.

Given the Israeli mindset, Israel may well be hoping the latest genocidal onslaught could have a certain desensitizing and de-mystifying effect on people’s perceptions and attitudes.

The logic is quite simple. If the world can be bullied or cajoled into silence and apathy when Gaza is ravaged and thousands of its inhabitants are slaughtered en mass in full view of humanity, the same world can likewise be manipulated in similar fashion to come to terms with a greater genocide.

On Tuesday, 6 January, one Israeli official, Eli Yeshai, called for the total extermination of Gaza. The leader of the ultra Orthodox Shas party argued that “extermination of the enemy is sanctioned by the Torah.”

Other Israeli political and religious leaders have lately spoken enthusiastically of the need for “wiping off Gaza from the face of earth” and “annihilating of every moving thing there.”

Interestingly, this is by no means a minority opinion in Israel. Indeed, one could safely argue that the “ideology of annihilation” now represents the mainstream in the Israeli society.

As we all know, Israel heavily employs mendacity, deception and disinformation to conceal, or at least blur, its criminality and barbarianism.

The Israeli hasbara machine’s main job has always been and continues to be to turn the black into white, the white into black and the big lie into a “truth” glorified by millions, especially in the west.

To effect these obscene lies and “virtual realities,” the Israeli government counts heavily on the Jewish-controlled or Jewish influenced media in the western world, especially in North America where telling the truth about Israel is the ultimate taboo.

In truth, what has been happening in Gaza is a huge massacre of genocidal proportions as many conscientious Jews have testified.

What else can be said of this wanton, deliberate and indiscriminate blanket bombing of densely-populated neighborhoods and refugee camps?

I believe terms such as “huge massacres” and “genocidal onslaught” used in reference to the Gaza nightmare cannot be dismissed by Israel and her supporters as merely overstatements or rhetorical exaggerations.

This is unless Israel views non-Jewish pain and suffering as disingenuous, probably because non-Jews or “goyem” are actually considered “human animals” by a large and growing class of fanatical rabbis, politicians and military leaders.

So far, more than 4000 Gazans have been mercilessly killed or badly mutilated or incinerated in less than two weeks of intensive indiscriminate aerial and artillery bombing targeting everyone and everything.

Mosques, homes, public buildings, shelters, schools, colleges, dormitories, factories, cultural institutions, businesses, even hospitals and drug stores as well as the entire civilian infrastructure have been bombed and reduced to rubble.

The rabid bombing from high altitudes has exterminated numerous whole families and destroyed entire neighborhoods. This is probably what Israeli leaders had in mind when they spoke earlier about a “shock and awe” campaign against Gaza.

On 6 January, Israeli tanks fired several artillery shells at a school at the Jabalya refugee camp, killing more than 40 civilians, mostly children and women, who had sought shelter at the UNRWA-run facility. Dozens others were injured, many critically.

Israeli army spokespersons, who are actually professional liars, claimed that Palestinian fighters were seen in the vicinity of the building and that some of these actually fired on Israeli troops from the school.

However, UN officials in Gaza strongly denied the Israeli account, with one UN official saying that he was “99.99%” that the Israeli army was lying.

Earlier, the Israeli air forces hit a mourning reception, killing 15 members of the same family.

The pornographic killing of civilians has no explanation other than the ostensible fact that Israel is adopting a no-holds-barred approach toward Gaza, which is still under effective Israeli occupation despite the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the coastal enclave more than three years ago.

Well, if we are to accept this logic, namely that everything is fair in war, then Jews should stop complaining about what the armies of Hitler did to them during World War II.

It is just unacceptable to apply two standards of morality, one for Jews and another for non-Jews. For if what Israel is doing in Gaza is right, as Israel and her supporters maintain, then what the Nazis did in Europe several decades ago must have been right as well. And vice versa.

After all, crime doesn’t become kosher when committed by Jewish hands.

Colossal crime

The enormity of the present holocaustic assault is undoubtedly a colossal crime against humanity.

In proportion to the size of population, the murder and maiming of 4000 Gazans (the number keeps rising) is like the US having at least a million of its citizens killed or badly injured as a result of a foreign aggression.

As to the utter destruction of Gaza, it is equally shocking. Some American expatriates here in occupied Palestine have spoken of a double holocaust in Gaza, one targeting humans, and another targeting civilization.

Facing their crimes, pornographic and outrageous as they are, many Israelis, probably the majority, are simply so gleeful that they think Israel is doing the right think and that God is standing on the side of Israel in this war and every war.

Some religious Israelis have become so euphoric, thanks to the Gaza blitz, that they think the Messiah’s coming imminent.

Other “religious” Israeli Jews, including rabbis, readily justify the wanton slaughter by quoting biblical verses justifying genocide.

One Israeli settler leader recently argued during a conversation with a visiting American peace activist that “if it was right to commit genocide during Biblical time, why can’t it be right to commit genocide now . Has God changed his mind,” the settler wondered sarcastically.

As to Israeli leaders and officials, they simply indulge in what they have always been indulging in, namely “denial” and “self-righteousness” or simply playing the role of victim.

Thus behaved Shimon Peres, the Israeli President, when he told al-Jazeera during a live interview on Monday, 5 January.

” We don’t kill and we have not killed any children in Gaza. We are the victim of Hamas aggression,” said the pathological liar and certified war criminal rather shamelessly.

Peres’s pornographic lies don’t need any further comment. They speak for themselves.

Zionist Jews may very well think that might is right, and that morality is unneeded and unnecessary as long as they possess overwhelming material strength.

They may think that the rivers of blood the “only democracy in the Middle East” has been shedding will strengthen Israel and terrorize its neighbors.

Well, it may in the short run. However, in the long run, Israeli criminality and evilness will make it sterile from within to the point of death.

Like evil people, evil states shall not prosper.

Israeli savagery in Gaza

January 5, 2009

Eric Ruder reports on Israel’s savage invasion into one of the most densely populated places on earth.

Israeli tanks mass on border before ground invasion of Gaza (Rafael Ben-Ari | Chameleons Eye)Israeli tanks mass on border before ground invasion of Gaza (Rafael Ben-Ari | Chameleons Eye)

THE ISRAELI military stormed into Gaza January 3 with thousands of troops, tanks, armored personnel carriers and bulldozers, inflicting a new round of death and suffering on Gaza’s population.

“This will not be easy, and it will not be short,” said Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Israeli television as the ground invasion began. Major Gen. Yoav Galant, a top commander of Israel’s ground forces, told reporters that the aim of the operation was to “send Gaza decades into the past” and inflict “the maximum number of enemy casualties.”

The latest surge of Israel’s violence pushed the death toll among Palestinians to more than 500 and the injured to more than 2,500 as the weekend came to an end. More than one in three people in Gaza has no access to water and electricity, and sewage flows in the streets.

After a week of punishing air strikes and then heavy artillery barrages, Gaza’s residents live in a state of constant fear. As Ayman Mohyeldin, Al Jazeera’s Gaza correspondent, reported:

The Israeli military continues to pound targets everywhere in the territory. On the eighth day of attacks, people here are very much terrorized by what is going on. The Israeli military is engaging in very aggressive psychological warfare.

They have been dropping leaflets warning Palestinians that they have to flee their homes, and warning that anyone who lives in an area that could be a possible target that their home will be targeted as well. So that is causing a ripple effect of fear, but the question is where do 1.5 million Palestinians trapped in Gaza go?

What you can do

Protests against Israel’s assault on Gaza have already taken place in cities around the country, with more planned for the coming days. Contact local organizers for details where you live.

For updates on the current situation, plus commentary and analysis on the background to the war, read the Electronic Intifada Web site. Electronic Intifada Executive Director Ali Abunimah’s “Gaza massacres must spur us to action” is a good starting point for further reading.

You can also find updated coverage on conditions in Gaza and the efforts of activists to stand up to the Israeli war at the Free Gaza Web site.

Between the Lines: Readings on Israel, the Palestinians and the U.S. “War on Terror,” by Tikva Honig-Parnass and Toufic Haddad, documents the apartheid-like conditions that Palestinians live under today.

For background on Israel’s war and the Palestinian struggle for freedom, read The Struggle for Palestine, a collection of essays edited by Lance Selfa on the history of the occupation and Palestinian resistance.

Despite the scale of the human suffering, the U.S. government–predictably enough–blocked a proposed United Nations Security Council statement that expressed concern at the escalating violence between Israel and Hamas, and called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, according to the Associated Press.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

WITH THEIR incursion, Israeli forces encircled Gaza City and effectively sliced the territory into northern and southern halves. But rather than enter Gaza’s population centers, Israeli troops remained poised on the outskirts, sending columns of troops and tanks to seize strategic hilltops above urban areas–putting them in the position of the military equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel.

At the opening of the ground offensive January 4, the New York Times faithfully reported the assertion by Israeli Defense Ministry spokesperson Shlomo Dror that “Hamas can stop it whenever it wants,” by stopping its rocket fire.

This idea–that Hamas provoked Israel into attacking Gaza, and therefore bears primary responsibility for the bloodshed–serves as the primary justification for the Israeli military’s war crimes. But it was Israel that broke the truce with Hamas–back on November 5, with an attack that killed six Palestinians. Until that point, the Palestinians had scrupulously abided by the 5-month-old truce, only firing rockets after Israel attacked.

But Israel has never needed the excuse of Palestinian attacks to unleash violence. As Ilan Pappe, part of a school of “new historians” in Israel that has challenged many of the central myths of the country’s founding, wrote:

There are no boundaries to the hypocrisy that a righteous fury produces. The discourse of the generals and the politicians is moving erratically between self-compliments of the humanity the army displays in its “surgical” operations on the one hand, and the need to destroy Gaza for once and for all, in a humane way, of course, on the other.

This righteous fury is a constant phenomenon in the Israeli, and before that Zionist, dispossession of Palestine. Every act–whether it was ethnic cleansing, occupation, massacre or destruction–was always portrayed as morally just and as a pure act of self-defense, reluctantly perpetrated by Israel in its war against the worst kind of human beings…

Today in Israel, from left to right, from [the conservative party] Likud to [the centrist party] Kadima, from academia to the media, one can hear this righteous fury of a state that is more busy than any other state in the world in destroying and dispossessing an indigenous population.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

AS THE superpower of the Middle East, Israel has used its massive military superiority to physically annihilate the civilian and government infrastructure of Gaza. But it still faces a thorny problem. “Though Israel has struck at hundreds of targets across the Gaza Strip, it has yet to seriously injure Hamas’s fighting force,” according to the Christian Science Monitor.

This is the same problem that every conventional military power pitted against a resistance movement must contend with–from the French forces occupying Algeria in the 1950s, to the U.S. in Vietnam in the 1960s, to the American occupiers in Iraq today.

“One of the most important things in this conflict between state and non=state actors is what is the meaning of victory,” said Eitan Azani, a former Israeli colonel at the Institute for Counter Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. “A lot of people from [Hamas] dying? A collapse? Or most of the operational capability destroyed? This is up for debate. We are in a very complicated situation.”

The harder Israel tries to pound Gaza’s residents into submission from afar, the more fierce becomes support for the Hamas resistance fighters that Israel is seeking to isolate. But if Israeli troops attempt to fight Hamas militants at close quarters, conventional military superiority would be transformed from an advantage into a weakness–tanks and troops would become targets for a resistance that can choose when and where to strike, and then slip away.

In the words of Israeli-based journalist Jonathan Cook:

Gaza, as Israelis know only too well, is one mammoth refugee camp. Its narrow alleys, incapable of being negotiated by Merkava tanks, will force Israeli soldiers out into the open. Gaza, in the Israeli imagination, is a death trap.

Similarly, no one has forgotten the heavy toll on Israeli soldiers during the ground war [against Lebanon] with Hezbollah in 2006. In a country such as Israel, with a citizen army, the public has become positively phobic of a war in which large numbers of its sons will be placed in the firing line.

That fear is only heightened by reports in the Israeli media that Hamas is praying for the chance to engage Israel’s army in serious combat. The decision to sacrifice many soldiers in Gaza is not one [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak, leader of the Labor Party, will take lightly with an election in six weeks.

This dilemma has caused anxiety within the Israeli establishment about how to avoid the defeat the Israeli military suffered in 2006 when a month-long assault on Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon failed to achieve any of its strategic objectives, while Israeli troops were killed, injured and captured.

In this sense, despite the overwhelming force that Israel is using, it’s too soon to say that it has won. “The main risk for Israel is that it will drag out into a full occupation of the Gaza Strip,” worried Shlomo Brom, former director of the Israeli army’s planning division. “If we have very few casualties in this operation, it may lead some to ask why don’t we topple Hamas?”

Meanwhile, around the world, there has been an outpouring of solidarity for the people of Gaza–from Palestinians living in Israel, who staged a huge demonstration over the weekend; to Arab citizens around the Middle East; to supporters of Palestinian rights in Europe and the U.S.

This is critical to bringing pressure to bear on Israel–and its chief backer, the U.S.

Building this pressure will require patient explanation and sustained campaigning against the central justifications offered by Israel for its war of terror against the people of Gaza. It’s Israel, not Hamas, that can end this conflict at any time. When Israel ends its occupation of the Palestinian homeland, then the resistance will end.

As Ilan Pappe put it:

Despite the predictable accusation of anti-Semitism and what have you, it is time to associate in the public mind the Zionist ideology with the by-now familiar historical landmarks of the land: the ethnic cleansing of 1948, the oppression of the Palestinians in Israel during the days of the military rule, the brutal occupation of the West Bank and now the massacre of Gaza.

Very much as the apartheid ideology explained the oppressive policies of the South African government, this ideology–in its most consensual and simplistic variety–allowed all the Israeli governments in the past and the present to dehumanize the Palestinians wherever they are and strive to destroy them…

By connecting the Zionist ideology and the policies of the past with the present atrocities, we will be able to provide a clear and logical explanation for the campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions. Challenging by nonviolent means a self-righteous ideological state that allows itself, aided by a mute world, to dispossess and destroy the indigenous people of Palestine is a just and moral cause.


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