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Home arrow Blog arrow January 2010 arrow January 19, 2010

January 19, 2010
January 19, 2010: "The worst man made disaster" and a "Three Way Siege"

Dr. Mads Gilbert has just begun a speaking tour in Canada, New York, New Jersey and Chicago regarding what he has witnessed in Gaza.









Dr. Mads Gilbert & Dr. Erik Fosse, wrote in Eyes in Gaza
:


The boy with the destroyed brain did not need anesthetic; he  could no longer feel anything. The other lay in an artificial coma with intravenous anesthetic agents to soften the pain and allow the ventilator to work without resistance from the boy’s own breathing.  A large bandage covered both his eyes.

He could not see anyway.

He was already blind.

Where could I cry out the despair and rage I felt for all this terrible fate we saw at such close quarters?

Would the heavens hear?

Will the world hear?

They know that this is happening, after all.

The numbers tick into the West every single afternoon, to the news agencies, to the
intelligence services and to the diplomatic missions of the world’s most powerful nations, who do not even make an attempt to pull in the reins and control the wildness of the Israeli war machine.


         “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.” - H. L. Mencken






In 2005, I wrote the following in KEEP HOPE ALIVE:
9/11/05 and the Gulfport Blues



Back at the A-frame, Terese sipped from her steaming mug of black brew and checked her email, to find report 57 from Jerry Levin, the reporter and full-time volunteer with Christian Peacemaker Teams who had shepherded through Hebron. She sighed repeatedly as she read about the start of a new school year in Hebron, for it wasn’t good. She had spent a few hours in Hebron in June, and had not forgotten it for one day since.

“Christ, have mercy! These teachers and kids trying to get to school are threatened and hassled by these erratic and illegal settlers, and a trigger-happy IDF! What a daily life to have to contend with! I cannot imagine watching my child have to go through a checkpoint or be verbally and physically abused just to get to school! What are we teaching these kids, when they grow up looking up the barrel of an Israeli soldier’s weapon of destruction?”

Next, she opened a press conference summary of September 6, 2005, from Dr. Mustafa Bargouthi, September 6, 2005's Palestinian National Initiative report regarding the aftermath of the “disengagement,” and the bottom line was more settlers, more walls, and more corruption in the PA. He stated that ‘Ninety percent of security violations in Palestine are committed by security forces and intelligence. These forces must be disciplined; the rule of law and an independent judiciary must be installed. [And] it is estimated that 30 percent of the 160,000 salaried government employees do not attend work of any kind. This kind of corruption and nepotism must be ended.’

Terese moaned when she read about the violations since the cease-fire agreement of February 8. “Christ, have mercy! Seventy-five Palestinians, including seventeen innocent children, and fourteen Israelis, including two innocent children, have been murdered. Two thousand Palestinians have been arrested; there have been 2,306 checkpoints imposed, and 8,700 acres of Palestinian land has been confiscated by the Israeli government! And how can these settlers sleep at night, after attacking Palestinians 394 times since the cease-fire agreement? I feel bad about these screwed-up settlers, but they are a cult that has been allowed to get out of control. The Israeli government enticed and encouraged them to settle in illegal land, and this is what it has come to! And yet, the illegal settlements continue!

“And, what a farce the so-called disengagement in Gaza was. The  Israeli government still controls all access to Gaza by land, sea, and air. Bargouthi documented that only 25 of over 150 settlements will be dismantled, and only 8,475 of over 436,000 settlers [less than 2 percent of settlers] have been evacuated. Meanwhile, in the past year, 12,800 new settlers have moved into the West Bank--50 percent more settlers than were evacuated.”

 
“This is no withdrawal, this is BS! Until Palestinians have control of Gaza’s borders and a guaranteed passage between Gaza and the West Bank, it is not a withdrawal; it’s just BS propaganda! And Gaza is less than 6 percent of the occupied territories, and that leaves 94 percent of Palestinian territories under the boot of the IDF. The corruption in the PA government and hot tempers from those under occupation are a powder keg that’s getting ready to blow! What’s it going to take to wake the world up to the fact that most of our problems with radical Islamist fundamentalist militants leads us back to the conflict in Israel and Palestine? All roads do indeed lead to Jerusalem. What’s it going to take before the International community gets it together and insists, in unity, upon the upholding of international law as the rule we all live by? And that includes Israel and America, too, for both ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I wonder, what’s the point of signing on, but then not doing it?


“What’s it going to take to wake up the legions of blind U.S. Christian Zionists to their indifference to the misery of their sisters and brothers in Israel and Palestine? Their blind allegiance to the Israeli government has allowed our best friend in the world to become a big bully. What’s it going to take to break through the ignorance that hard-earned U.S. tax dollars are being used to continue the occupation and apartheid wall?”








MEC Analytical Group

13 January 2010


The Egypt Gaza wall

 

We circulate below two reports on the high-tech wall being constructed by Egypt to close off access to Gaza, including access by tunnel. The first, by a Palestinian Arab correspondent of the Israeli website Ynet news, considers the impact on the Hamas administration of Gaza. We are grateful to Hugh Miles for bringing to our attention the second, published on the website of Tariq Ramadan, which argues that the wall is an example of the hypocritical policy towards Palestine of Arab governments and the Islamic authorities.

 

Hamas fears Gaza fence part of three-way siege

 

January 11, 2010

 

Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip have admitted that they are concerned over the Egyptian underground barrier under construction along the Gaza-Egypt border.


The fence is expected to reach a depth of 18 meters (59 feet), and span 10 km (about 6 miles), and threatens to strangle the Strip's only lifeline – the smuggling tunnels.

 

Hamas fears that via this channel, Egypt is joining the Palestinian Authority and Israel in creating a three-way siege on the Strip that would severely hurt the movement.

 

If the Egyptian plans, which are already in the works, are completed, the Palestinian organizations will have a much more difficult time smuggling weapons, especially with the Israeli navy keeping a close eye on its shores.

 

The Palestinians are equally concerned with the strain the barrier will put on their ability to smuggle basic living goods into the Strip.


"We are capable of dealing with the Egyptian attempt, but there is no doubt that this fence is not a simple one, and it is very concerning for us," Gaza sources told Ynet.

 

The tools to which the sources referred are Arab public pressure and Arab mediation attempts, which so far, do not seem to be having an impact on the Egyptian regime.

 

Lawsuits filed in Egyptian courts by a number of local bodies in hopes of having restraining orders issued against the construction of the fence also failed to hinder construction.

 

Sources in the Strip told Ynet they fear the fence may be just one part of the puzzle, which includes the renewal of the diplomatic process between Israel and the PA, as well as Israeli threats of military action in the Strip.

 

The Hamas movement realizes that one of the goals behind the construction of the fence is to make breaching the border more difficult. The organization is also following statements made by IDF officials on the continued armament of Palestinian organizations. Hamas believes the IDF is preparing the ground for military activity.


Anyone looking in on the occurrences both on the Palestinian side and the Egyptian side can see that in order to topple Hamas, joint Palestinian-Israel-Egyptian activity is required. For the first time, such cooperation seems to be underway.

 

Israel and Egypt are pushing via the blockade, and the Palestinian Authority may be part of a political process through which the international community may turn a blind eye to Israel's forceful defeat of Hamas, in order to restore PA leadership in the Strip.


Ynet has also learned that in the meantime, Egypt continues to boost activity in Egyptian Rafah in hopes of limiting the smugglers' step before they even make it to the Gaza border.

 

The Egyptian military demonstrates much presence in the area, in hopes of keeping elements that may harm efforts to deal with the smuggling away.


Gaza sources also wonder how much money Egypt received in exchange for damaging its own economy, which rolls in hundreds of millions of dollars per year from the goods smuggled to the Strip.


Prices in Gaza continue to rise by the day following steps taken against the smugglers and tunnel operators, as well as IDF threats to strike the tunnels.

 

"We are in a period similar to that before war, we are gathering and storing, and at much higher prices," Palestinians in the Strip told Ynet.

 

 

 


 

 

Egypt Palestine : The Wall of Shame

By Tariq Ramadan

Friday 8 January

 

It is common knowledge that the Palestinians have long been direct victims of the directionless, spineless and hypocritical polices of the Arab leadership. It is equally common knowledge that the State of Israel need make no effort to impose its vision, its methods and its objectives. Given the support of the United States, Europe’s guilty silence and the compliant passivity of the Arab regimes, we know what to expect. The foreign policy of most Arab states has been described with good reason as “pro-Zionist.” Their cowardice and treachery comes as no surprise.

Following last year’s murderous attack on Gaza by Israeli forces, we may have thought we’d seen the worst. That judgment failed to take into account the ingenuity of the “worse yet” scenario produced by the Egyptian regime and the “religious authorities” of al-Azhar. In the name of “national security”, of the fight against “terrorism”, and ultimately, of combating “corruption”, “smuggling” and “drug trafficking”, the Egyptian government is building a wall reaching twenty meters below ground level to stop the “Gazans” from carrying out their “illegal” activities and from digging “smuggling tunnels.” Of course, the Egyptian government has no intention of confining the inhabitants of Gaza to their hell; of course, the measure is dictated only by concern for national security! So persuasive is the argument that the committee of religious experts of al-Azhar quickly endorsed the government decision, declaring it to be “islamically legitimate” (“in conformity with the Shari’a”) for the country to protect its borders. (The al-Azhar scholars were responding to a fatwa issued by the International Union of Muslim Scholars that had ruled the exact opposite, that the Egyptian decision was “islamically unacceptable.”)

For shame! So this is how justice is mocked, how power and religion are misused. The Palestinian people, and most of all the inhabitants of Gaza, are denied their dignity and their rights; deprived of access to food, to water and to basic health care. And now, the Egyptian government becomes the ally of Israeli policy at its worst: isolating, strangling, starving, and smothering Palestinian civilian life after having eradicated hundreds. The aim is clear: to choke off all resistance and to destroy its leadership. The Egyptian government has blocked convoys attempting to deliver badly needed aid to the Palestinian people in an effort to raise the siege of Gaza. The mobilization that brought hundreds of women and men from around the world to Rafah was met by refusal upon refusal by the Cairo authorities, along with a strategy of selective humiliation.


For shame! No wonder the Israeli government purring with contentment. After all, a new and “promising” start for the “peace process” has been announced! There will be something for everybody: the United States, along with Saudi Arabia and Egypt has spared no efforts to draft a new and “comprehensive” program. A splendid “peace process” indeed, in whose name civilians have suffered months of blockade before their leaders are invited to take their place at the “free” and “respectful” negotiating table. Israel can keep on purring: it can play for more time without making the slightest concession. Settlement activities are to be temporarily frozen—except for construction projects already underway. Finer negotiations would be hard to find!

It cannot be repeated often enough: the Egyptian “national security wall” is a wall of shame. The religious authorities that have legitimized it have behaved exactly like the notorious “ulama” (Muslim scholars) or “Islamic councils” that openly serve power, whether of dictators or the forces of colonialism, or of some self-styled Republic specializing in the manipulation of religion. What can possibly remain of their credibility after issuing a “political fatwa” that lends the Islamic endorsement of craven scholars to the power of dictatorship? Silence would have been far better.

We must condemn these unacceptable acts, and stand beside those who resist with dignity. If successive Israeli governments know one thing—with which we must agree—it is this: the Palestinian people will not surrender. For those who may still harbor doubts, we must add a second certainty, that of time: History is on the side of the Palestinians; it is they who represent, today and tomorrow, hope for the noblest human values. To resist oppression, to defend one’s legitimate rights and one’s land, to never yield to the arrogance and to the lies of the mighty. As for the power of the Israelis, the Egyptians and others, as for the fatwas of government-appointed ulama, these things too will pass; they will pass, and will be forgotten. Happily forgotten. For the duty of memory is transformed into forgetfulness when it comes to the names and the acts of dictators, traitors and cowards.

 

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People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
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Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
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The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
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