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Home arrow Blog arrow December 2008 arrow December 29, 2008

December 29, 2008
WAWA Blog December 29, 2008:  Disinformation, secrecy, lies, Third Intifada and "An eye for an eye will leave US all blind"-Gandhi

Haaretz  28/12/2008
Disinformation, secrecy and lies: How the Gaza offensive came about

By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent


Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public - all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces "Cast Lead" operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.

The disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.

Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas. According to the sources, Barak maintained that although the lull would allow Hamas to prepare for a showdown with Israel, the Israeli army needed time to prepare, as well.

Barak gave orders to carry out a comprehensive intelligence-gathering drive which sought to map out Hamas' security infrastructure, along with that of other militant organizations operating in the Strip.

This intelligence-gathering effort brought back information about permanent bases, weapon silos, training camps, the homes of senior officials and coordinates for other facilities.

The plan of action that was implemented in Operation Cast Lead remained only a blueprint until a month ago, when tensions soared after the IDF carried out an incursion into Gaza during the ceasefire to take out a tunnel which the army said was intended to facilitate an attack by Palestinian militants on IDF troops.

On November 19, following dozens of Qassam rockets and mortar rounds which exploded on Israeli soil, the plan was brought for Barak's final approval. Last Thursday, on December 18, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the defense minister met at IDF headquarters in central Tel Aviv to approve the operation.

However, they decided to put the mission on hold to see whether Hamas would hold its fire after the expiration of the ceasefire. They therefore put off bringing the plan for the cabinet's approval, but they did inform Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of the developments.

That night, in speaking to the media, sources in the Prime Minister's Bureau said that "if the shooting from Gaza continues, the showdown with Hamas would be inevitable." On the weekend, several ministers in Olmert's cabinet inveighed against him and against Barak for not retaliating for Hamas' Qassam launches.

"This chatter would have made Entebe or the Six Day War impossible," Barak said in responding to the accusations. The cabinet was eventually convened on Wednesday, but the Prime Minister's Bureau misinformed the media in stating the discussion would revolve around global jihad. The ministers learned only that morning that the discussion would actually pertain to the operation in Gaza.

In its summary announcement for the discussion, the Prime Minister's Bureau devoted one line to the situation in Gaza, compared to one whole page that concerned the outlawing of 35 Islamic organizations.

What actually went on at the cabinet meeting was a five-hour discussion about the operation in which ministers were briefed about the various blueprints and plans of action. "It was a very detailed review," one minister said.

The minister added: "Everyone fully understood what sort of period we were heading into and what sort of scenarios this could lead to. No one could say that he or she did not know what they were voting on." The minister also said that the discussion showed that the lessons of the Winograd Committee about the performance of decision-makers during the 2006 Second Lebanon War were "fully internalized."

At the end of the discussion, the ministers unanimously voted in favor of the strike, leaving it for the prime minister, the defense minister and the foreign minister to work out the exact time.

While Barak was working out the final details with the officers responsible for the operation, Livni went to Cairo to inform Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, that Israel had decided to strike at Hamas.

In parallel, Israel continued to send out disinformation in announcing it would open the crossings to the Gaza Strip and that Olmert would decide whether to launch the strike following three more deliberations on Sunday - one day after the actual order to launch the operation was issued.

"Hamas evacuated all its headquarter personnel after the cabinet meeting on Wednesday," one defense official said, "but the organization sent its people back in when they heard that everything was put on hold until Sunday."

The final decision was made on Friday morning, when Barak met with Chief of Staff General Gabi Ashkenazi, the head of the Shin Bet Security Service Yuval Diskin and the head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, Amos Yadlin. Barak sat down with Olmert and Livni several hours later for a final meeting, in which the trio gave the air force its orders.

On Friday night and on Saturday morning, opposition leaders and prominent political figures were informed about the impending strike, including Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, Yisrael Beuiteinu's Avigdor Liebermen, Haim Oron from Meretz and President Shimon Peres, along with Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik.

 

http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1050426.html



Look at me
I would love to write poetry about love,
Paint rainbows and butterflies,
Smell the scent of rose buds,
And dance;
Dance with the melody of birds singing

I would love to close my eyes and see children smiling
No guns pointing at their heads
Tell them stories of little fairies in far away lands
Not bullets shooting... missile exploding

But
How can I?

There is a knife in my heart

I am hurting
Hurting
I bleed,
I cringe
I cry

HUMANITY, WHERE ARE YOU?

I am being slaughtered
Under your watchful eyes
I am cold… cold…. cold
I cringe
I cry

Humanity, where are you?
Why do you turn your face away?
Why do you keep looking the other way?

I am here
Languishing
In Gaza alleyways

Humanity, where are you?
Look at me
Look at me
I am here
In Gaza alleyways
I cringe
I cry

Humanity,
Enough turning the other way.

-By nahida December 27th, 2008, sent to me by CL



Dignity Leaves for Gaza: Challenges World to "Stop this Madness!"

(Larnaca, Cyprus 29 December 2008) - There is a time when silence is complicity and inaction is unacceptable. On Saturday, December 27, Israel began Operation "Cast Lead," a military onslaught against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip that has - so far - massacred more than three-hundred men, women, and children, and seriously injured over a thousand.

In response to Israeli butchery, the Free Gaza ship, the DIGNITY, will depart Larnaca Port at approximately 5pm (UTC), on Monday, December 29, bound for besieged Gaza. The ship is on an emergency mission carrying in physicians, human rights workers and over three tons of desperately needed medical supplies donated by the people of Cyprus. Coordinating with the Gaza Ministry of Health, the doctors will be immediately posted to overburdened hospitals and clinics upon their arrival.

We are not asking Israel for "permission" to go, and we will not stop until the DIGNITY lands in Gaza. We are answering urgent calls from hospitals and health care workers in Gaza by taking in three physicians who will stay and work in Gaza for several weeks. We will hold Israel responsible for the safety of our passengers and our cargo of emergency medicine.

Even before the present Israeli blitzkrieg, Karen Koning Abu Zayd, head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), asserted that, "Gaza is on the threshold of becoming the first territory to be intentionally reduced to a state of abject destitution, with the knowledge, acquiescence and - some would say - encouragement of the international community."

Ewa Jasiewicz, a Free Gaza organizer living in Gaza, agreed with Abu Zayd, saying: "Where is the United Nations? Where is the Arab League? Where is the outrage against Israeli cruelty and Egyptian complicity? Every hospital in Gaza is already overwhelmed. Israel is committing war crimes here in Gaza, and words of condemnation are no longer enough. The world must act now to stop this madness."

The Free Gaza Movement continues to do what the governments of the world will not do - take direct action to defend the health, lives, and dignity of 1.5 million Palestinians under siege in the Gaza Strip.

This catastrophe is still unfolding, and humanitarian needs in Gaza are quite literally devastating. The world can no longer stay silent as the Palestinian people are deliberately massacred, starved and humiliated. We have to create a new consciousness that turns the practice of human rights from rhetoric into reality. Palestinians have an inalienable right to live, and the undeniable right to a life with dignity.

The passengers on this Free Gaza emergency delegation include:
* International humanitarian and human rights workers from Cyprus, Australia, Ireland, Great Britain, Tunisia, and the United States.
* Doctors going to Gaza to volunteer in local hospitals, including Dr. Elena Theoharous, surgeon and Member of Parliament from Cyprus.
* Journalists going to Gaza to report on the massacre, including Al-Jazeera reporter Sami al-Haj, a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay.
* The Hon. Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate.


The Free Gaza Movement, a human rights group, sent two boats to Gaza in August 2008. These were the first international boats to land in the port in 41 years. Since August, four more voyages were successful, taking Parliamentarians, human rights workers, physicians, and other dignitaries to witness the effects of Israel's draconian policies on the civilians of Gaza.

For more information, please contact:
(Gaza) Ewa Jasiewicz, +972 598 700 497 /
(Cyprus) Lubna Masarwa +357 99 081 767 /
(U.S.) Greta Berlin, +1 310 422 7242 /



Email from occupied Bethlehem:

It was not possible to sleep here for two nights now.  The events and the images of death and carnage of children, of policemen, of people that look like my mother and my son and my sister and my friends were simply too much.  Gaza has run out of stretchers and many are now carried to hospitals (which are running out of supplies) and morgues on commercial street signs, in blankets or simply by their limp limbs. Three mosques were destroyed. 

I recalled the Israeli attacks on the Church of Nativity which was minor compared to this.   I was watching Israel shell the University in Gaza city including its faculty of science and a residence dorm for female students and was thinking of my university and my lab and office at Bethlehem University.  I was then shocked into more horrific scenes and news.  In one house five young sisters killed.  In another six family members including four children killed while eating breakfast.  In a scene that haunted me where four children were killed with their mother, I saw rescue workers try frantically to pull the remaining surviving girl whose legs were crushed under a huge boulder from the roof.  As some of them were calming her down and working hard, just next to them other workers pulled the dead body of her sister (looked like 3-4 year old).  They quickly covered her but I think her sister noticed. 

Sometimes the dead are envied for their suffering has ended. Her suffering is just beginning.  I thought of all the thousands of relatives of all the victims and how they feel…..I thought of friends I lost and talks with people in Gaza...I thought of my mother who at 76 has seen so much suffering and still she cried at the new images of new atrocities…

 
My heart aches and struggles with my scientist brain. The latter wants to focus on facts and figures.   The attack in its second day was in the words of Israeli leaders “the beginning” and is intended “to send Gaza back decades”.  

So far over 300 were killed and over 1000 injured (200 of those critically), 35% women, children and elderly. I examine numbers of homes, police stations, civil society building destroyed.  I read the Al Mezan Center for human rights which rationally states that most Gaza victims are civilians [1].

But even my rational mind refuses to deal with these things.  How could it handle just that one image of the young girl’s anguished pained look under the rubble of her house and so tears stream down again to to try to wash the image to no avail…..How could my mind examine rationally the statements of “leaders” saying this carnage is not the fault of the bombers and war criminals, but of Hamas!

 

Protests were organized around the world and more are being planned [2]. The demonstrations helped vent some frustration and we hope will herald a reawakening of the heart of humanity that has been sputtering.  But we hope it will go much farther to changing the rotted system of elites in power ignoring people’s rights for political expediency and for profit.

 

In the Bethlehem demonstration, we pounded on the permanently closed gate of the apartheid wall with deafening sound and the soldiers in the tower started to through stun grenades and tear gas.  Injuries were sustained for activists....Our lungs still ache but our hearts ache more for the criminality of the apartheid regime, and the collaboration of the world governments.  The Israeli occupation army killed two protesters with live ammunition in other parts of the West Bank [3].

 

Can someone asks western media or the Wetsern governments ruled by elite racists who keep spouting the nonsense about "Hamas" and "rockets" (projectiles that are militarily of little use and have no explosives, killed one person this year), why targeting civilian police stations, mosques, homes with children, ports, fishing vessels, streets, and more in one of the most densely populated areas on earth murdering hundreds of civilians would be an acceptable action (I don’t say response because Israel was killing people and massacring them for 60 years before)? 

And what would they expect from a starving 1.5 million people to do?  Especially when one million of those are refugees or displaced people denied their rights to return to their homes and lands for 60 years while settlers live across the borders on their lands in areas like “Sderot” and “Netviot”? Would they not expect some resistance from some of those? Isn’t that codified in International law for the right of occupied people to resist including violently?  (note that I personally support civil forms of resistance).

Even if one buys the US/Israeli government propaganda, would it be acceptable to bomb cities in Europe and the US for any perceived or actual crime of a portion of their society or even their leaders (Bush and Blair in Iraq?)?

 
But again I think it is not best for me to try and reason things through in such times of calamities and little sleep. I got so many letters of support but please redirect your letters and energies elsewhere.  Redirect them to challenge the injustice directly [4]. Jesus made a statement directly relevant for us today:

 

"You are the earth's salt. But if the salt should become tasteless, what can make it salt again? It is completely useless and can only be thrown out of doors and stamped under foot. You are the world's light - it is impossible to hide a town built on the top of a hill. Men do not light a lamp and put it under a bucket. They put it on a lamp-stand and it gives light for everybody in the house.”

 

It is thus the time when people who claim they want peace and justice to stop talking about it and actually work for it. Put your lamp higher. It is time for real change...It is time for a world Intifada (uprising against injustice). It is time to do something concrete (like throwing our shoes at someone?)

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

In Bethlehem, Occupied Palestine
http://qumsiyeh.org




I entitled my second book; Memoirs of a Nice Irish American Girl’s Life in Occupied Territory: Third Intifada/Uprising: Nonviolent, But with Words Sharper than a Two-Edged Sword, because the following words ran through my head all during my fourth journey to Palestine in November 2006:

“The word of God is living and active. Sharper than a two-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him whom we must give account.”- Hebrews 4:12-13

Education is The Way to Compassion; Compassion is The Way to Change and:

"HOPE has two children. The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."-St. Augustine



   
 
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"HOPE has two children.The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."-St. Augustine

 "He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust." - Aquinas

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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

" In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway."-Mother Teresa


“You cannot talk like sane men around a peace table while the atomic bomb itself is ticking beneath it. Do not treat the atomic bomb as a weapon of offense; do not treat it as an instrument of the police. Treat the bomb for what it is: the visible insanity of a civilization that has ceased...to obey the laws of life.”- Lewis Mumford, 1946



The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."  - William Fulbright



“Any nation that year after year continues to raise the Defense budget while cutting social programs to the neediest is a nation approaching spiritual death.” - Rev. MLK
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"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations." - May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the Establishment of Israel
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