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    Posted: Jul 26 2014 at 2:17pm

Five Misconceptions About the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Saturday, 26 July 2014 09:46 By Hessam Akhlaghpour, Truthout | Op-Ed

2014 726 misc fwSmoke from an Israeli strike rises over Gaza City, July 25, 2014. (Photo: Wissam Nassar / The New York Times)


The stories and images coming from Gaza are truly heart-breaking. Over the past three weeks over 800 Palestinians have been brutally killed by Israeli forces, most of them civilians, among them at least 200 children. Hospitals have been bombed, neighborhoods have been reduced to rubble, and over 100,000 of an already refugee population have been displaced within a tiny strip of land. All this is even more unbearable when one witnesses the efforts to try to justify Israel's actions in the media. When most Americans say they consider Israel's Gaza offensive to be justified that simply reflects the amount of misinformation and propaganda that exists in the media.

I agree with the majority of Palestinians that the best way to end the occupation and the ongoing conflict is through peaceful negotiations and nonviolent resistance. The fact that Hamas won the elections in 2006 against Fatah should not be interpreted as popular support for their policies. Both parties are very unpopular among Palestinians.

Here are five of the many misconceptions about the Israel-Palestine conflict:

Misconception 1. Israeli attacks are a response to rockets from Hamas.

If anything, the opposite is more plausible: that Hamas is responding to Israeli provocations and attacks by launching rockets.

In the recent series of events, Hamas launched its very first rockets on July 7, in retaliation to overnight airstrikes that killed several Hamas militants, calling it a "grave escalation." Those were the first rockets Hamas claimed responsibility for since the 2012 cease-fire. The events prior to July 7 suggest that Israel acted to provoke a response from Hamas that could serve as a pretext for launching a military operation in Gaza. The violent raids and mass arrests of politicians and activists in the West Bank provoked some rocket attacks, but none were from Hamas. Israeli officials had to wait until the day Hamas launched rockets to announce "Operation Protective Edge."

If that does not convince you, consider this: In the first three months following the November 2012 cease-fire, not a single rocket came out of the Palestinian territories. Israel, however, carried out numerous unprovoked attacks and incursions, killing innocent civilians and violating the cease-fire.

These examples are the pattern rather than the exceptions. Perhaps the most telling case was the cease-fire in June 2008. Israel did not honor the cease-fire terms, kept the harsh blockade on Gaza and continued attacking Gazans even just hours after the cease-fire began. Despite this, not a single rocket was fired by Hamas, and there were zero Israeli casualties resulting from violence from Gaza. Hamas even went as far as imprisoning members of other militant groups that were firing rockets during that period. After several months of relative calm, Israel broke the truce with unprovoked airstrikes in November, killing several Hamas members. Hamas responded with rockets. The situation escalated and eventually led to Operation Cast Lead, a 22-day assault on Gaza that killed roughly 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians.

Misconception 2. Israel wants to stop the violence, but Hamas rejects offers for peace.

In the days before the ongoing ground invasion, Egypt proposed a cease-fire that Israel immediately accepted and Hamas rejected, saying it hadn't been consulted about the offer and learned about it from the news. Hamas then proposed their own cease-fire terms.

Very few sources mentioned that Hamas was already offering cease-fire terms even before the Egyptian proposal. From the very first day after Hamas and Israel began exchanging fire, Hamas offered to stop firing rockets in return for a release of the prisoners who were re-arrested after the Shalit prisoner exchange and a recommitment to the 2012 cease-fire terms by Israel.

Similarly, in the events leading to the ground invasion of 2008, Hamas offered to extend the cease-fire that was violated by Israel. Israel rejected the offer because Hamas included conditions Israel deemed unacceptable, for example lifting the blockade, stopping attacks and expanding the truce to cover the West Bank.

Misconception 3. Israel provides humanitarian aid to Gaza even during times of conflict.

Israel is restricting - not providing - food and humanitarian aid to Gaza. There is a very harsh blockade on Gaza that limits and regulates the flow of goods, into and out of Gaza. Israeli authorities actually had to calculate the minimum amount of calories needed to prevent malnutrition (a daily average of 2,279 calories per person) in an attempt to optimize what they call "economic warfare." The goal is to "keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge" as a form of collective punishment for voting for Hamas. The motivation behind this strategy is discussed quite openly. Palestinians are treated like cattle that need to be guided with carrots and sticks. Thomas Friedman writes in a recent op-ed:

Sure, Israel can inflict enough pain on all of Gaza to get a cease-fire, but it never lasts. The only sustainable way to do it is by Israel partnering with moderate Palestinians in the West Bank to build a thriving state there, so Gaza Palestinians wake up every day and say to the nihilistic Hamas: "We want what our West Bank cousins have."

As a matter of fact, we know from Amnesty International that during the previous ground invasion, "Israeli forces deliberately blocked and otherwise impeded emergency relief and humanitarian assistance. They also attacked aid convoys, and distribution centers and medical personnel, prompting United Nations Relief and Works Agency [UNRWA] and the ICRC [Internatonal Committee of the Red Cross] to cut back on their operations in Gaza"

So when Israeli officials say they are providing food and humanitarian aid to Gaza, what they actually mean is that they haven't totally cut off Gaza from basic supplies and they are still allowing the 150 truckloads a day to reach the 1.8 million population. Gaza is already in a state of humanitarian crisis, even without the intensive bombardment. That is why Palestinians are so insistent on conditioning the truce to lifting the blockade.

Misconception 4. Hamas uses human shields.

Israel tries to explain the high civilian tolls by blaming Hamas for using human shields. The claim is that Hamas stores weapons and launches rockets near residential areas, leaving Israel with no choice but to bomb those locations.

That Hamas launches and stores rockets near densely populated residential areas must inevitably be true, since Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas on earth and if Hamas had designated an area for military operations, it would be instantly pulverized by Israeli forces. But, this does not necessarily qualify as using "human shields," defined as "intentionally using civilians to shield a military objective." So, for example, the weapons that were discovered in one UNRWA school last week (an incident described as "the first of its kind), does not confirm the "human shield" allegations, because the school was vacant at the time.

Amnesty International investigated Israel's previous claims in 2009 and found "no evidence Palestinian fighters directed civilians to shield military objectives from attacks, forced them to stay in buildings used by militants or prevented them from leaving commandeered building." The same report found that on several occasions the Israeli forces, however, "had forced Palestinians to serve as human shields," as also confirmed by Human Rights Watch and the UN.

Amnesty's report acknowledges that Palestinian armed groups were endangering civilians by "firing rockets from residential areas and storing weapons, explosives and ammunition in them," but also acknowledged that mixing with the civilian population "would be difficult to avoid in the small and overcrowded Gaza Strip, and there is no evidence that they did so with the intent of shielding themselves." The report also points out that Israel behaves similarly by placing military bases and headquarters in or around residential areas of Israeli cities and conducting military activities "close to civilian areas in the south of Israel."

Anyone who paid attention to the twitter account of Hamas' military wing  (recently suspended) would have noticed that whenever they announced they were launching rockets at Israeli cities, they would claim they were targeting military bases. It would be absurd to blame potential Israeli civilian casualties on the Israeli Defense Force for placing military bases close to residential areas. But blaming Palestinian civilian casualties on Hamas is quite normal.

Furthermore, forcing civilians to act as human shields for military objectives should not be confused with activists voluntarily acting as human shields to protect hospitals and homes. The former is a war crime and should be condemned, but the latter is a courageous form of nonviolent resistance and should be praised.

Misconception 5. Israeli forces never deliberately target civilians.

It is hard to imagine that Israeli forces do not foresee the predictable consequence of massive bombardment of homes, hospitals, schools, mosques, cafes and ambulances. Over 80 percent of the casualties have been civilians.

Nicolas Palarus from Doctors Without Borders says:

"While official claims that the objective of the ground offensive is to destroy tunnels into Israel, what we see on the ground is that bombing is indiscriminate and that those who die are civilians."

The IDF's actions are more than plain carelessness or disregard for civilian lives. We know from previous investigations that there have been numerous cases where Israeli soldiers shot and killed civilians carrying white flags during "Operation Cast Lead" five years ago, as documented by Human Rights Watch and by Amnesty International.

The public has been kept uninformed and ignorant about the crimes that are being carried out in their name. Surely, there are many tragic things going on around the world, but this one we are responsible for. As long as the government continues to provide Israel with billions of dollars of annual military aid and exceptional political support for its crimes, the bloodshed will continue.

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/25156-five-misconceptions-about-the-israel-palestine-conflict
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Im_oh_so_hott Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 26 2014 at 2:19pm
Sigh ... smh
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote carolina cutie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 26 2014 at 2:50pm
Thanks tatee. I've been watching Israeli officials/PR folk on TV talking as if they had over 1000 of its people (women & children mainly) killed by bombings and shootings by the military.Geek


Imma just leave this here for anyone who wants extra reading:
http://www.dailydot.com/politics/israel-gaza-kidnap-false-inaccurate/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote thewonderfulwa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 26 2014 at 3:20pm
I find it disgusting that the media has chosen to only show one side of the conflict.
What about the women and children that are innocent do they not count???
Where are Palestinians suppose to go if they keep on pushing them back of their land.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote tatee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 01 2014 at 2:44pm

Beautiful dream of Israel has become a nightmare

Everyone ought to be sad at what the beautiful old dream of Jewish redemption has come to. Everyone ought to grieve the death of innocents.

Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 22.

Hatem Moussa / AP

Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 22.

By: Gabor Maté Published on Tue Jul 22 2014

As a Jewish youngster growing up in Budapest, an infant survivor of the Nazi genocide, I was for years haunted by a question resounding in my brain with such force that sometimes my head would spin: “How was it possible? How could the world have let such horrors happen?”

It was a naïve question, that of a child. I know better now: such is reality. Whether in Vietnam or Rwanda or Syria, humanity stands by either complicitly or unconsciously or helplessly, as it always does. In Gaza today we find ways of justifying the bombing of hospitals, the annihilation of families at dinner, the killing of pre-adolescents playing soccer on a beach.

In Israel-Palestine the powerful party has succeeded in painting itself as the victim, while the ones being killed and maimed become the perpetrators. “They don’t care about life,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says, abetted by the Obamas and Harpers of this world, “we do.” Netanyahu, you who with surgical precision slaughter innocents, the young and the old, you who have cruelly blockaded Gaza for years, starving it of necessities, you who deprive Palestinians of more and more of their land, their water, their crops, their trees — you care about life?

There is no understanding Gaza out of context — Hamas rockets or unjustifiable terrorist attacks on civilians — and that context is the longest ongoing ethnic cleansing operation in the recent and present centuries, the ongoing attempt to destroy Palestinian nationhood.

The Palestinians use tunnels? So did my heroes, the poorly armed fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto. Unlike Israel, Palestinians lack Apache helicopters, guided drones, jet fighters with bombs, laser-guided artillery. Out of impotent defiance, they fire inept rockets, causing terror for innocent Israelis but rarely physical harm. With such a gross imbalance of power, there is no equivalence of culpability.

Israel wants peace? Perhaps, but as the veteran Israeli journalist Gideon Levy has pointed out, it does not want a just peace. Occupation and creeping annexation, an inhumane blockade, the destruction of olive groves, the arbitrary imprisonment of thousands, torture, daily humiliation of civilians, house demolitions: these are not policies compatible with any desire for a just peace. In Tel Aviv Gideon Levy now moves around with a bodyguard, the price of speaking the truth.

I have visited Gaza and the West Bank. I saw multi-generational Palestinian families weeping in hospitals around the bedsides of their wounded, at the graves of their dead. These are not people who do not care about life. They are like us — Canadians, Jews, like anyone: they celebrate life, family, work, education, food, peace, joy. And they are capable of hatred, they can harbour vengeance in the hearts, just like we can.

One could debate details, historical and current, back and forth. Since my days as a young Zionist and, later, as a member of Jews for a Just Peace, I have often done so. I used to believe that if people knew the facts, they would open to the truth. That, too, was naïve. This issue is far too charged with emotion. As the spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle has pointed out, the accumulated mutual pain in the Middle East is so acute, “a significant part of the population finds itself forced to act it out in an endless cycle of perpetration and retribution.”

“People’s leaders have been misleaders, so they that are led have been confused,” in the words of the prophet Jeremiah. The voices of justice and sanity are not heeded. Netanyahu has his reasons. Harper and Obama have theirs.

And what shall we do, we ordinary people? I pray we can listen to our hearts. My heart tells me that “never again” is not a tribal slogan, that the murder of my grandparents in Auschwitz does not justify the ongoing dispossession of Palestinians, that justice, truth, peace are not tribal prerogatives. That Israel’s “right to defend itself,” unarguable in principle, does not validate mass killing.

A few days ago I met with one of my dearest friends, a comrade from Zionist days and now professor emeritus at an Israeli university. We spoke of everything but the daily savagery depicted on our TV screens. We both feared the rancour that would arise.

But, I want to say to my friend, can we not be sad together at what that beautiful old dream of Jewish redemption has come to? Can we not grieve the death of innocents? I am sad these days. Can we not at least mourn together?

Gabor Maté, M.D., is a Vancouver-based author and speaker.

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/07/22/beautiful_dream_of_israel_has_become_a_nightmare.html

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rumbera Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 01 2014 at 3:02pm
Originally posted by thewonderfulwa thewonderfulwa wrote:

I find it disgusting that the media has chosen to only show one side of the conflict.
What about the women and children that are innocent do they not count???
Where are Palestinians suppose to go if they keep on pushing them back of their land.

 
I agree.
 
I hate it when people says, Pray for Isreal.....Confused When peole say that, i know right away that they have no clue and going along with the media.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoliePoufiasse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 01 2014 at 3:16pm
Originally posted by thewonderfulwa thewonderfulwa wrote:

I find it disgusting that the media has chosen to only show one side of the conflict.
What about the women and children that are innocent do they not count???
Where are Palestinians suppose to go if they keep on pushing them back of their land.



Don't expect any of that to change any time soon. The U.S. is permanently sucking Israel's dicc. And they swallow. Been hearing the same sheit for over 20 years.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tatee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 05 2014 at 6:32am

Noam Chomsky | Nightmare in Gaza

Sunday, 03 August 2014 09:09 By Noam Chomsky, Truthout | Op-Ed

Palestinian children gather books from the rubble of the Imam Shafi’i Mosque in Gaza City, Aug. 2, 2014. (Photo: Sergey Ponomarev / The New York Times)Palestinian children gather books from the rubble of the Imam Shafi’i Mosque in Gaza City, Aug. 2, 2014. (Photo: Sergey Ponomarev / The New York Times)

Amid all the horrors unfolding in the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza, Israel's goal is simple: quiet-for-quiet, a return to the norm.

For the West Bank, the norm is that Israel continues its illegal construction of settlements and infrastructure so that it can integrate into Israel whatever might be of value, meanwhile consigning Palestinians to unviable cantons and subjecting them to repression and violence.

For Gaza, the norm is a miserable existence under a cruel and destructive siege that Israel administers to permit bare survival but nothing more.

The latest Israeli rampage was set off by the brutal murder of three Israeli boys from a settler community in the occupied West Bank. A month before, two Palestinian boys were shot dead in the West Bank city of Ramallah. That elicited little attention, which is understandable, since it is routine.

"The institutionalized disregard for Palestinian life in the West helps explain not only why Palestinians resort to violence," Middle East analyst Mouin Rabbani reports, "but also Israel's latest assault on the Gaza Strip."

In an interview, human rights lawyer Raji Sourani, who has remained in Gaza through years of Israeli brutality and terror, said, "The most common sentence I heard when people began to talk about cease-fire: Everybody says it's better for all of us to die and not go back to the situation we used to have before this war. We don't want that again. We have no dignity, no pride; we are just soft targets, and we are very cheap. Either this situation really improves or it is better to just die. I am talking about intellectuals, academics, ordinary people: Everybody is saying that."

In January 2006, Palestinians committed a major crime: They voted the wrong way in a carefully monitored free election, handing control of Parliament to Hamas.

The media constantly intone that Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. In reality, Hamas leaders have repeatedly made it clear that Hamas would accept a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus that has been blocked by the U.S. and Israel for 40 years.

In contrast, Israel is dedicated to the destruction of Palestine, apart from some occasional meaningless words, and is implementing that commitment.

The crime of the Palestinians in January 2006 was punished at once. The U.S. and Israel, with Europe shamefully trailing behind, imposed harsh sanctions on the errant population and Israel stepped up its violence.

The U.S. and Israel quickly initiated plans for a military coup to overthrow the elected government. When Hamas had the effrontery to foil the plans, the Israeli assaults and the siege became far more severe.

There should be no need to review again the dismal record since. The relentless siege and savage attacks are punctuated by episodes of "mowing the lawn," to borrow Israel's cheery expression for its periodic exercises in shooting fish in a pond as part of what it calls a "war of defense."

Once the lawn is mowed and the desperate population seeks to rebuild somehow from the devastation and the murders, there is a cease-fire agreement. The most recent cease-fire was established after Israel's October 2012 assault, called Operation Pillar of Defense .

Though Israel maintained its siege, Hamas observed the cease-fire, as Israel concedes. Matters changed in April of this year when Fatah and Hamas forged a unity agreement that established a new government of technocrats unaffiliated with either party.

Israel was naturally furious, all the more so when even the Obama administration joined the West in signaling approval. The unity agreement not only undercuts Israel's claim that it cannot negotiate with a divided Palestine but also threatens the long-term goal of dividing Gaza from the West Bank and pursuing its destructive policies in both regions.

Something had to be done, and an occasion arose on June 12, when the three Israeli boys were murdered in the West Bank. Early on, the Netanyahu government knew that they were dead, but pretended otherwise, which provided the opportunity to launch a rampage in the West Bank, targeting Hamas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed to have certain knowledge that Hamas was responsible. That too was a lie.

One of Israel's leading authorities on Hamas, Shlomi Eldar, reported almost at once that the killers very likely came from a dissident clan in Hebron that has long been a thorn in the side of Hamas. Eldar added that "I'm sure they didn't get any green light from the leadership of Hamas, they just thought it was the right time to act."

The 18-day rampage after the kidnapping, however, succeeded in undermining the feared unity government, and sharply increasing Israeli repression. Israel also conducted dozens of attacks in Gaza, killing five Hamas members on July 7.

Hamas finally reacted with its first rockets in 19 months, providing Israel with the pretext for Operation Protective Edge on July 8.

By July 31, around 1,400 Palestinians had been killed, mostly civilians, including hundreds of women and children. And three Israeli civilians. Large areas of Gaza had been turned into rubble. Four hospitals had been attacked, each another war crime.

Israeli officials laud the humanity of what it calls "the most moral army in the world," which informs residents that their homes will be bombed. The practice is "sadism, sanctimoniously disguising itself as mercy," in the words of Israeli journalist Amira Hass: "A recorded message demanding hundreds of thousands of people leave their already targeted homes, for another place, equally dangerous, 10 kilometers away."

In fact, there is no place in the prison of Gaza safe from Israeli sadism, which may even exceed the terrible crimes of Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009.

The hideous revelations elicited the usual reaction from the most moral president in the world, Barack Obama: great sympathy for Israelis, bitter condemnation of Hamas and calls for moderation on both sides.

When the current attacks are called off, Israel hopes to be free to pursue its criminal policies in the occupied territories without interference, and with the U.S. support it has enjoyed in the past.

Gazans will be free to return to the norm in their Israeli-run prison, while in the West Bank, Palestinians can watch in peace as Israel dismantles what remains of their possessions.

That is the likely outcome if the U.S. maintains its decisive and virtually unilateral support for Israeli crimes and its rejection of the long-standing international consensus on diplomatic settlement. But the future will be quite different if the U.S. withdraws that support.

In that case it would be possible to move toward the "enduring solution" in Gaza that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for, eliciting hysterical condemnation in Israel because the phrase could be interpreted as calling for an end to Israel's siege and regular attacks. And - horror of horrors - the phrase might even be interpreted as calling for implementation of international law in the rest of the occupied territories.

Forty years ago Israel made the fateful decision to choose expansion over security, rejecting a full peace treaty offered by Egypt in return for evacuation from the occupied Egyptian Sinai, where Israel was initiating extensive settlement and development projects. Israel has adhered to that policy ever since.

If the U.S. decided to join the world, the impact would be great. Over and over, Israel has abandoned cherished plans when Washington has so demanded. Such are the relations of power between them.

Furthermore, Israel by now has little recourse, after having adopted policies that turned it from a country that was greatly admired to one that is feared and despised, policies it is pursuing with blind determination today in its march toward moral deterioration and possible ultimate destruction.

Could U.S. policy change? It's not impossible. Public opinion has shifted considerably in recent years, particularly among the young, and it cannot be completely ignored.

For some years there has been a good basis for public demands that Washington observe its own laws and cut off military aid to Israel. U.S. law requires that "no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights."

Israel most certainly is guilty of this consistent pattern, and has been for many years.

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, author of this provision of the law, has brought up its potential applicability to Israel in specific cases, and with a well-conducted educational, organizational and activist effort such initiatives could be pursued successively.

That could have a very significant impact in itself, while also providing a springboard for further actions to compel Washington to become part of "the international community" and to observe international law and norms.

Nothing could be more significant for the tragic Palestinian victims of many years of violence and repression.

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/25343-noam-chomsky-|-nightmare-in-gaza

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Merin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 05 2014 at 8:18am
I agree disagree with the notion the Media has only shown one side of this. I was watching CNN and they actually showed plenty of Jewish people protesting Israels actions.  And then there is this story ( http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=337165291) NPR did about what happens to Israeli's who protest their governments actions.  Tune in to BBC, NPR, Al Jazeera and you will see plenty of people giving Israel the ultimate side eye here.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote tatee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 06 2014 at 10:10am

GERMANY 1940               ISRAEL 2014




http://whatreallyhappened.com/IMAGES/GazaHolo/index.html
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