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Thread: Israel Goes to War

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    Israel Goes to War

    When the world was celebrating the Peace of Yuletide and, at least some of us , the rebirth of the glorious Sun of the Heavens, the Israelis found the time to launch devastating air raids ('Blitzkrieg') on the landlocked and politically trapped populations of Gaza to the south. We can only imagine the suffering that this has caused - and the wholly disproportionate loss of Arab lives. We can only wonder what this means for the Regions' future. Perhaps it has no future ....

    --------------------------


    Analysis: Israel's assault on Gaza continues but the goal is not to overthrow Hamas


    As Israel’s assault on Gaza enters its fifth day, much of Hamas’s military machine remains intact, including about two thirds of its entire stock of missiles.

    By David Blair, Diplomatic Editor

    Telegraph 30 Dec 2008


    A briefing for Israel’s national security cabinet on Sunday assessed that Hamas “still has the ability to launch perhaps 100 rockets a day,” according to Mark Regev, the official spokesman for Ehud Olmert, the prime minister.

    Of an arsenal of about 3,000 missiles in Gaza, Israeli reports suggest that some 2,000 remain.

    But Israel’s planners face a crucial problem: they must achieve their military objective before the government succumbs to outside pressure to halt the offensive.* The more ambitious their goal, the harder this will be.

    (* see the EU's latest response)


    Ehud Barak, the defence minister, has raised expectations by pledging “all-out war” on Hamas to the “bitter end”. This brand of fighting talk gives the impression that Israel’s central aim is to topple Hamas from power in Gaza. If so, this would entail a full-scale invasion and probably a campaign lasting for months. If Hamas survived in power – or returned to government after an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza – the war would be deemed a failure.......

    So Israeli officials are carefully lowering expectations . Mr Regev said that “regime change” was not Israel’s goal and denied any intention to “reoccupy” Gaza.
    Instead, the campaign’s only aim was to end the rocket attacks on southern Israel and bring a “sustainable situation of quiet” . Just as Israel’s northern border has been quiet for two years, despite the presence of Hizbollah in Lebanon, so the same can be done with Gaza.......

    (( ... are these situations really comparable? ))


    Mr Regev said this “peace and quiet” would be “based on deterrence and that will only be achieved if we continue to inflict painful and surgical blows on the Hamas military machine”.

    The crucial word here is “deterrence”. Israel does not aim to destroy Hamas or overthrow its government in Gaza, nor even totally eliminate its ability to fire rockets. Instead, the aim is to drive home the cost of bombarding Israel. This campaign is designed to deprive Hamas of the will – not necessarily the means – to fire its missiles.

    As war aims go, this is relatively modest. The question is whether Israel’s armed forces will have enough time to achieve it. “A lot depends on what we do and how we do it. If we continue to be as surgical as possible, that gives us more time,” said Mr Regev.

    No-one can say for certain how many civilians have been among the 360 Palestinians killed so far. About 60 were women or children. Scores of policemen have also been killed – and many question how they can be called military targets.

    If one attack kills a large number of civilians, the entire operation may become untenable, just as the deaths of 106 refugees under Israeli shellfire in Qana, southern Lebanon, forced the end of Operation Grapes of Wrath in 1996.

    But whenever this does end, Hamas will probably still be in power in Gaza. Israel hopes the movement will then be deterred from launching any more rockets. Then it would declare victory. If, however, Hamas promptly fires another salvo, having become still more radical and won greater popular support, Israel’s campaign will have failed.

    ======



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    Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    Inevitable I suppose :

    Troops 'storm' into Gaza.....

    America blocks UN ceasefire call.

    Fierce fighting as Israel's troops battle Hamas in the streets

    Hamas claimed to have captured two Israeli soldiers as 'the Jewish state' launches a major ground offensive after eight days of air strikes failed to halt the Islamist group's rocket attacks on Israel.

    Telegraph 04 Jan 2009

    Israel turned off the power in the areas attacked, plunging them into darkness.

    ((...such is the Power and control over a virtual prison state ))


    A column of Israeli tanks, backed by aircraft, pushed deep into the territory, and Israel's navy prevented travel along Gaza's coastal road, witnesses said, effectively cutting the enclave in half.

    In initial fighting, Israeli ground forces killed eight Gazans, five of them gunmen, bringing the Palestinian death toll since the start of an air campaign on Dec. 27 to more than 450, Palestinian medical officials said.

    Israel said 30 of its soldiers were wounded, two seriously, since the start of the ground assault and that Israeli aircraft struck more than 45 targets, including arms smuggling tunnels, weapons depots and mortar squads.

    Meanwhile, Hamas radio claimed the militant group had captured two Israeli soliders during the fighting.

    "During exchanges of fire overnight, dozens of armed Hamas operatives were hit," an Israeli military communique said...........


    Israel said it called up tens of thousands of reservists and the military's chief spokesman estimated the operation in the Hamas-run territory could take "many long days".

    Heavy casualties are likely to increase international pressure on Israel to halt its biggest operation in the Gaza Strip in four decades, fighting that holds significant political risks for Israeli leaders ahead of a Feb. 10 national election.

    The plight of the 1.5 million Palestinians crammed into the Gaza Strip was growing more desperate. People have taken shelter in their homes for days and humanitarian agencies warned that water, food and medical supplies were running short.

    WIDESCALE OPERATION

    The Israeli military said "large infantry, tank, engineering, artillery and intelligence forces" were operating throughout the Gaza Strip, backed by attacks by aircraft and warships off the Mediterranean coast.

    A spokesman for Hamas's armed wing, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, said Israeli troops faced certain death or capture. "The Zionist enemy must know his battle in Gaza is a losing one," said the spokesman, Abu Ubaida.

    At least a quarter of the 453 Palestinians killed in the current conflict have been civilians, a U.N. agency said. Another 2,050 Palestinians have been wounded. A leading Palestinian rights group put the number at 40 percent.

    Four Israelis have been killed by rockets that continue to pound southern Israel.

    In New York, the U.N. Security Council held a special meeting to discuss the latest developments. Several council diplomats said the U.S. refusal to back the Libyan-drafted demand for an immediate truce had killed the initiative, since council statements must be passed unanimously.

    The U.S. State Department said a ceasefire should take place "as soon as possible", in a statement that urged Israel to be "mindful of the potential consequences to civilians" but did not refer directly to the invasion or call for an immediate truce.

    Washington, the statement said, was working towards a ceasefire that would not allow for a re-establishment of the status quo, "where Hamas can continue to launch rockets out of Gaza and to condemn the people of Gaza to a life of misery".

    A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the Israeli attack as "a vicious aggression".

    HOME FRONT

    Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said the aim of the ground push was to "protect the home front" from rocket attacks. He refrained in a televised address from making any threat to try to topple Gaza's Hamas government.

    "It won't be easy. It won't be short," said Barak, leader of the centre-left Labour party and a candidate for prime minister in an election that opinion polls predict will return right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu to power.

    Major Avital Leibovich, an Israeli army spokeswoman, said the objective "is to destroy the Hamas terror infrastructure in the area of operations". Israeli commentators said the offensive was also aimed at boosting Israel's deterrence power.

    Israeli troops face Hamas fighters whom the United States and Israel say have received arms and training from Iran. Hamas is believed to have about 25,000 fighters and has placed landmines and other traps in anticipation of an invasion.

    An Egyptian-brokered six-month truce expired on Dec. 19 but it had been strained by Hamas rocket strikes and Israeli military operations against the group.

    Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, representing major powers sponsoring Middle East peace talks, planned to begin shuttling on Sunday between Israeli leaders and Palestinian leaders - Hamas's rivals - in the occupied West Bank.

    But divisions within the European Union over the Israeli assault could buy Israel more time....... France condemned the Israeli ground assault, as well as Hamas rocket fire. On Monday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is scheduled to go to Jerusalem.......



    Welcome to 2009; so this struggle will therefore continue.....
    .......will there ever be an end to all this I wonder?

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    I take no sides, i am for the recalling of all the troops we have in the Middle East and that Europe or atleast my land stays impartial, take no sides in the matter.

    Would i want that a Western dies for Israel ? No

    Would i want that a Western dies for Palestina? No

    Semite tribalwar, let them fight it out.

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    It looks as though that is what Bush has permitted - the fighting goes on because the dogs are not sent back......

    Gaza will explode if US stays on sidelines

    In the absence of serious diplomatic pressure, the bloodshed will get much worse.

    It already has !!

    By Con CoughlinLast Updated: 7:41PM GMT 05 Jan 2009



    Nothing abhors a vacuum more than military conflict, and the inability, or unwillingness, of the outgoing Bush administration to provide clear leadership over the deepening crisis in Gaza could very easily result in a serious escalation of hostilities.

    So far as the Israeli-Palestinian issue is concerned, President George W. Bush is ending his eight-year tenure at the White House very much as he began it, by studiously avoiding any political investment in a dispute that has provided his predecessors with scant reward. True, Mr Bush did, at an early stage in his presidency, unveil the "road map" for a lasting agreement, and his administration later took the historic step of committing Washington to a two-state solution.

    But apart from his fruitless appeals for the combatants to observe the conditions of the negotiating framework, whether it was calling on Israel to halt settlement construction or on the Palestinians to cease attacks on Israel, Mr Bush's default position has invariably been to side with Israel the moment trouble flared.

    So we should not be surprised that Mr Bush's attitude to Israel's latest Gazan incursion has been to sit back and let the Israelis get on with it, apart from Washington's unhelpful intervention in blocking UN attempts to agree a ceasefire resolution. Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, who is supposed to be spearheading Washington's peace-making efforts, has been noticeable by her absence, leaving it to Gordon Brown, fresh from what he regards as his triumph in saving the global economy, to provide much-needed leadership in calling for an immediate ceasefire.

    Mr Brown's intervention is likely to be as effective as his attempts to rebuild the world's banking system, which has proved to be stubbornly resistant to the Prime Minister's entreaties to mend its ways. But the fact that Mr Brown, who has an innate aversion to involving himself in international conflict, should find himself the cheerleader for some form of foreign intervention underlines the extent of the Bush administration's abrogation of its responsibility to provide global leadership.

    Mr Bush may feel, with only two weeks to go before the inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama, that there's nothing to be gained from involving himself in a conflict over which his ability to influence events diminishes by the day, but he runs the risk that the diplomatic void is filled by even more violence and bloodshed.

    It is a measure of Hamas's unpopularity throughout much of the Arab world that Israel has not been subjected to the ritual condemnation it receives every time it attempts to protect its citizens from unprovoked attacks. That said, there are enough malcontents in the wings biding their time to make their own unhelpful contribution to the conflict the moment a suitable opportunity presents itself.

    Iran, which is Hamas's main financial supporter and has provided the movement with many of the missiles that provoked the crisis, has declared its backing for Hamas, with Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian Majlis, warning that Gaza would turn into a "graveyard" for Israeli forces.

    Syria, which claims to be interested in making a peace deal with Israel, allows Khaled Meshaal, the hardline Hamas leader who narrowly survived an assassination attempt by Israeli Mossad agents in 1997, to reside in Damascus, from where he broadcasts inflammatory anti-Israeli rhetoric.

    If either of these rogue states, or the terror groups they support, were to involve themselves directly in the fighting, the world would quickly find itself dealing with an alarming escalation in a conflict that is still predominantly parochial in nature.

    ======

    failure all round ; 500 palestinians dead - 5 israelis ??

    US blocks UN resolution for a ceasefire............

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dietsch View Post
    I take no sides, i am for the recalling of all the troops we have in the Middle East and that Europe or atleast my land stays impartial, take no sides in the matter.

    Would i want that a Western dies for Israel ? No

    Would i want that a Western dies for Palestina? No

    Semite tribalwar, let them fight it out.
    If only the world was like that.

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    A Palestinian man stands near bodies outside a United Nations school in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip January 6, 2009. Israeli tank shells killed at least 40 Palestinians on Tuesday at a U.N. school where civilians had taken shelter, medical officials said, in carnage likely to boost international calls for a halt to Israel's Gaza offensive.


    A Palestinian hospital worker lays down the body of a child beside the bodies of two other children in the Shifa hospital morgue in Gaza January 5, 2009. An Israeli tank shell killed the three Palestinian children in their home in eastern Gaza City on Monday, medical officials said. They said several other Palestinians were wounded in the incident in Gaza's Zeitoun neighbourhood. An Israeli military spokeswoman said she was checking the report.


    Palestinian father Magdi al-Samuli mourns over the bodies of his children, killed by an Israeli tank shell early on January 5, 2009, upon their arrival at the mortuary of Gaza City's Al-Shifa hospital. Five children were killed in two separate Israeli strikes in Gaza early today, Palestinian medics said.
    More at Source

    Hamas Says 50,000 Gunmen Ready To Defend Gaza

    Fifty thousand Palestinian gunmen and hundreds of suicide bombers are ready to repel or at least impede any large-scale Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip, an official from the ruling Hamas said on Friday.

    Israel has threatened to mount a massive ground sweep of Gaza as a last resort against cross-border rocket fire by Palestinian militants, which has not been significantly reduced by more limited air strikes and commando incursions.

    But Israeli officials say such a mission in the congested territory would mean major casualties on both sides, a price the Jewish state may not be willing to pay given the relatively low death toll exacted by the crude short-range Palestinian rockets...

    (Such justification! )

    More at Source
    "The only way to get smarter is to play a smarter opponent."

    _________________

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    In the US, Gaza is A Different War



    05/01/2009
    By Habib Battah
    Posted by Al-Jazeera


    The mainstream US media has been careful to balance images of Gazan suffering with those of Israelis, leading to accusations it is not reflecting the unequal death toll.

    The images of two women on the front page of an edition of The Washington Post last week illustrates how mainstream US media has been reporting Israel's war on Gaza.

    On the left was a Palestinian mother who had lost five children. On the right was a nearly equally sized picture of an Israeli woman who was distressed by the fighting, according to the caption.

    As the Palestinian woman cradled the dead body of one child, another infant son, his face blackened and disfigured with bruises, cried beside her.

    The Israeli woman did not appear to be wounded in any way but also wept.

    Arab frustration
    To understand the frustration often felt in the Arab world over US media coverage, one only needs to imagine the same front page had the situation been reversed.

    If an Israeli woman had lost five daughters in a Palestinian attack, would The Washington Post run an equally sized photograph of a relatively unharmed Palestinian woman, who was merely distraught over Israeli missile fire?

    When the front page photographs of the two women were published on December 30, over 350 Palestinians had reportedly been killed compared to just four Israelis.

    What if 350 Israelis had been killed and only four Palestinians - would the newspaper have run the stories side by side as if equal in news value?

    Like many major news organizations in the US, The Washington Post has chosen to cover the conflict from a perspective that reflects the US government's relationship with Israel. This means prioritizing Israel's version of events while underplaying the views of Palestinian groups.

    For example, the newspaper's lead article on Tuesday, which was published above the mothers' photographs, quotes Israeli military and civilian sources nine times before quoting a single Palestinian. The first seven paragraphs explain Israel's military strategy. The ninth paragraph describes the anxiety among Israelis, spending evenings in bomb shelters. Ordinary Palestinians, who generally have no access to bomb shelters, do not make an appearance until the 23rd paragraph.

    To balance this top story, The Washington Post published another article on the bottom half of the front page about the Palestinian mother and her children. But would the paper have ever considered balancing a story about a massive attack on Israelis with an in-depth lead piece on the strategy of Palestinian militants?

    Context stripped
    Major US television channels also adopted the equal time approach, despite the reality that Palestinian casualties exceeded Israeli ones by a hundred fold. However, such comparisons were rare because the scripts read by American correspondents often excluded the overall Palestinian death count.

    By stripping the context, American viewers may have easily assumed a level playing field, rather than a case of disproportionate force.

    Take the opening lines of a report filed by NBC's Martin Fletcher on December 30: "In Gaza two little girls were taking out the rubbish and killed by an Israeli rocket - while in Israel, a woman had been driving home and was killed by a Hamas rocket. No let up today on either side on the fourth day of this battle."

    Omitted from the report was the overall Palestinian death toll, dropped continuously in subsequent reports filed by NBC correspondents over the next several days.

    When number of deaths did appear - sometimes as a graphic at the bottom of the screen - it was identified as the number of "people killed" rather than being attributed specifically to Palestinians.

    No wonder the overwhelmingly asymmetrical bombardment of Gaza has been framed vaguely as "rising tensions in the Middle East" by news anchors.

    With the lack of context, the power dynamic on the ground becomes unclear.

    ABC news, for example, regularly introduced events in Gaza as "Mideast Violence". And Like NBC, reporters excluded the Palestinian death toll.

    On December 31, when Palestinian deaths stood at almost 400, ABC correspondent Simon McGergor-Wood began a video package by describing damage to an Israeli school by Hamas rockets.

    The reporter's script can be paraphrased as follows: Israel wanted a sustainable ceasefire; Israel needed to prevent Hamas from rearming; Hamas targets were hit; Israel was sending in aid and letting the injured out; Israel was doing "everything they can to alleviate the humanitarian crisis". And with that McGregor-Wood signed off.

    Palestinian perspective missing
    There was no parallel telling of the Palestinian perspective, and no mention of any damages to Palestinian lives, although news agencies that day had reported five Palestinians dead.

    For the ABC correspondent, it seemed the Palestinian deaths contained less news value than damage to Israeli buildings. His narration of events, meanwhile, amounted to no less than a parroting of the official Israeli line.

    In fact, the Israeli government view typically went unchallenged on major US networks.

    Interviews with Israeli spokesmen and ambassadors were not juxtaposed with the voices of Palestinian leaders. Prominent American news anchors frequently adopted the Israeli viewpoint. In talk show discussions, instead of debating events on the ground, the pundits often reinforced each other's views.

    Such an episode occurred on a December 30 broadcast of the MSNBC show, Morning Joe, during which host Joe Scarborough repeatedly insisted that Israel should not be judged.

    Israel was defending itself just as the US had done throughout history. "How many people did we kill in Germany?" Scarborough posed.

    The blame rested on the Palestinians, he concluded, connecting the Gaza attacks to the Camp David negotiations of 2000. "They gave the Palestinians everything they could ask for, and they walked away from the table," he said repeatedly.

    Although this view was challenged once by Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former US official, who appeared briefly on the show, subsequent guests agreed incessantly with Scarborough's characterisation of the Palestinians as negligent, if not criminal in nature.

    According to guest Dan Bartlett, a former White House counsel, the Palestinian leadership had made it "very clear" that they were uninterested in peace talks.

    Another guest, NBC anchor David Gregory, began by noting that Yasser Arafat, the late Palestinian president, "could not be trusted", according to Bill Clinton, the former US president.

    Gregory then added that Hamas had "undercut the peace process" and actually welcomed the attacks.

    "The reality is that Hamas wanted this, they didn't want the ceasefire," he said.

    Columnist Margaret Carlson also joined the show, agreeing in principal that Hamas should be "crushed" but voicing concern over the cost of such action.

    Thus the debate was not whether Israel was justified, but rather what Israel should do next. The Palestinian human tragedy received little to no attention.

    Victim's perspective
    Arab audiences saw a different picture altogether. Rather than mulling Israel's dilemma, the Arab news networks captured the air assault in chilling detail from the perspective of its victims. The divide in coverage was staggering.

    For US networks, the bombing of Gaza has largely been limited to two-minute video packages or five minute talk show segments. This has usually meant a few snippets of jumbled video: explosions from a distance and a momentary glance at victims; barely enough time to remember a face, let alone a personality. Victims were rarely interviewed.

    The availability of time and space, American broadcast executives might argue, were mitigating factors.

    On MSNBC for example, Gaza competed for air time last week with stories about the economy, such as a hike in liquor sales, or celebrity news, such as speculation over the publishing of photographs of Sarah Palin's new grandchild.

    Most US networks have reported exclusively from Israel.
    On Arab TV, however, Gaza has been the only story.

    For hours on end, live images from the streets of Gaza are beamed into Arab households.

    Unlike the correspondents from ABC and NBC, who have filed their reports exclusively from Israeli cities, Arab crews are inside Gaza, with many correspondents native Gazans themselves.

    The images they capture are often broadcast unedited, and over the last week, a grizzly news gathering routine has been established.

    The cycle begins with rooftop-mounted cameras, capturing the air raids live. After moments of quiet, thunderous bombing commences and plumes of smoke rise over the skyline. Then, anguish on the streets. Panicked civilians run for cover as ambulances careen through narrow alleys. Rescue workers hurriedly pick through the rubble, often pulling out mangled bodies. Fathers with tears of rage hold dead children up to the cameras, vowing revenge. The wounded are carried out in stretchers, gushing with blood.

    Later, local journalists visit the hospitals and more gruesome images, more dead children are broadcast. Doctors wrap up the tiny bodies and carry them into overflowing morgues. The survivors speak to reporters. Their distraught voices are heard around the region; the outflow of misery and destruction is constant.

    Palestinian voices
    The coverage extends beyond Gaza. Unlike the US networks, which are often limited to one or two correspondents in Israel, major Arab television channels maintain correspondents and bureaus throughout the region. As angry protests take place on a near daily basis, the crews are there to capture the action live.

    Even in Israel, Arab reporters are employed, and Israeli politicians are regularly interviewed. But so are members of Hamas and the other Palestinian factions.

    The inclusion of Palestinian voices is not unique to Arab media. On a number of international broadcasters, including BBC World and CNN International, Palestinian leaders and Gazans in particular are regularly heard. And the Palestinian death toll has been provided every day, in most broadcasts and by most correspondents on the ground. Reports are also filed from Arab capitals.

    On some level, the relatively small American broadcasting output can be attributed to a general trend in downsizing foreign reporting. But had a bloodbath on this scale happened in Israel, would the networks not have sent in reinforcements?

    For now, the Israeli viewpoint seems slated to continue to dominate Gaza coverage. The latest narrative comes from the White House, which has called for a "durable" ceasefire, preventing Hamas terrorists from launching more rockets.

    Naturally the soundbites are parroted by US broadcasters throughout the day and then reinforced by pundits, fearing the dangerous Hamas.

    Arab channels, however, see a different outcome. Many have begun referring to Hamas, once controversial, as simply "the Palestinian resistance".

    While American analysts map out Israel's strategy, Arab broadcasters are drawing their own maps, plotting the expanding range of Hamas rockets, and predicting a strengthened hand for opposition to Israel, rather than a weakened one.

    Habib Battah is a freelance journalist and media analyst based in Beirut and New York.

    http://www.almanar.com.lb/NewsSite/N...28&language=en

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    What if Israel loses? Do you think they ever will? Will there be another wave of jewish diaspora?

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    Why would Israel lose? They receive millions of US dollars a day to substain their highly developed army and economy that is far superior to every other nearby nation, and even if they do lose, America would soon come to the 'rescue' even if it would require another USS Liberty...


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    Quote Originally Posted by Rozenstorm View Post
    Why would Israel lose? They receive millions of US dollars a day to substain their highly developed army and economy that is far superior to every other nearby nation, and even if they do lose, America would soon come to the 'rescue' even if it would require another USS Liberty...

    I know whats going on but if the rest of the muslim world unites Israel might be in big trouble. All over the news the islamic militants are being called the new nazis of our time. That kind of talk sounds like a pre-WW3 hint.

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