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Home arrow Blog arrow January 2008 arrow January 31, 2008

January 31, 2008
WAWA Blog January 31, 2008: Ultra Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem petition the UN, Israeli Supreme Court OK's collective punishment and a PRESS RELEASE response, commentary by Dr. Ilan Pappé, an Israeli historian and I wonder what's it going to take to WAKE UP America? UPDATE 8AM-Article and maybe an answer from Phyllis Bennis THE GAZA WALL COMES TUMBLING DOWN
 
Phyllis Bennis
Institute for Policy Studies
30 January 2008

The breaching of the Israeli-built wall dividing the Gaza Strip from Egypt brought some critical relief for the population of 1.5 million Palestinians whom Israel had kept locked into a kind of prison since January 2006.  That lock-down was tightened in June 2007, and by early last week it had created a rising humanitarian crisis as Israel completely cut off access into and out of a walled-off Gaza, and halted crucial supplies of fuel, food, and already scarce medicines and medical equipment.  By targeting the wall, rather than Egyptian border guards, Hamas also kept the focus on the infrastructure of occupation, rather than the personnel. The opening of the wall, and the crossing of the border by hundreds of thousands, served not only to provide food and medicine; they represented collective feats of popular defiance and the reclaiming of human and social rights.

But the collapse of the Gaza-Egyptian border wall also set in a motion a range of significant power shifts in the international, regional, and internal Palestinian political scenes, shifts which hold the potential for both positive and dangerous consequences

In the international and regional arenas, it is now much more difficult to maintain the U.S. and Israeli-backed campaign to isolate Hamas. While the Egyptian government has made clear its preference for the U.S.-backed Palestinian Authority government of President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, Cairo has recognized the need to talk to Hamas and has opened communications with the Hamas leadership to discuss regaining some semblance of control over the currently chaotic border. So far Egypt has not used the opportunity to facilitate a resumption of Palestinian unity talks between the Gaza-based Hamas and the West Bank leadership of Fatah, arranging instead separate meetings with each side, but that kind of internal Palestinian unity process may yet emerge. A new unity process would significantly strengthen the struggle to realize Palestinians' national and human rights.

Israel continues to reject Hamas as a political leadership, while imposing collective punishment, prohibited by the Geneva Conventions, against the entire Gaza population, 50% of which is under 14 years of age.  But Israel also has an interest - largely unacknowledged, though recently made public by several leading government officials - in having Egypt "take over responsibility" for meeting the humanitarian needs of the Gaza population.  Israel has claimed since the summer of 2005, when it withdrew its occupying soldiers and settlers from Gazan territory, that it was no longer responsible for conditions of life in Gaza because it was "no longer occupying" the territory.  But that was a lie. International law defines occupation in the context of an outside power controlling the borders and territory - which Israel continued to do, through control of Gaza's borders, border-crossings, air space, coastal waters, underground, economy, electricity - and through constant military attacks, assassinations, and arrest raids.  Gaza remains occupied.  (There is an interesting question regarding Hamas' political legitimacy, despite the unacceptable militarization of their fight with Fatah last summer. If most Gazans believe the Hamas-led government in Gaza is oppressive or extremist, forcing Islamization on an unwilling population, they would have simply taken the opportunity to stay in Egypt once they crossed the border.  But that didn't happen.)

Israel hopes that if Egypt "takes over" the provision of fuel, food, medicines, etc., to Gaza, that Israel will no longer face criticism from humanitarian and human rights organizations, and will somehow be off the hook.  So while there is continuing concern expressed in Israel about allowing Gazans free passage into and out of their own territory, many Israelis are not-so-secretly pleased with the prospect of Egypt re-engaging with the Gaza Strip.

Similarly, the U.S. is continuing to pressure Egypt, gently, to re-close the border and reassert control over entry and exit to and from Gaza. But that U.S. pressure is mitigated by the Bush administration's continuing dependence on Egypt for support (or at least in preventing large-scale opposition) for the U.S. war in Iraq, and especially for Egypt's role in maintaining regional Arab support for the escalation against Iran.  So the U.S. is requesting, rather than demanding, compliance from Cairo.

The heaviest pressure on the Egyptian government, in fact, seems to be coming not from Washington or Tel Aviv, but from the Cairo streets.  Demonstrators have demanded that President Mubarak allow the border to remain open. And despite some tensions between Palestinian shoppers and Egyptian store owners when the government refused to allow local Egyptian stores to re-stock their goods, the overwhelming public opinion in Egypt seems to be strong support for allowing Gazans open access to Egypt, both for humanitarian and political reasons.  Facing that public challenge, Mubarak is likely to tread lightly on the Palestinians.  In the medium term, an Egyptian arrangement with the European Union to "monitor" an open Gaza-Egypt crossing, possibly with less overt Israeli control than in earlier versions, and with the Palestinian side controlled jointly by the two parts of the Palestinian Authority's polity (the Fatah-led presidency from the West Bank and the Hamas-controlled parliament in Gaza) could be the result.

Depending on how the new border arrangement looks, it could result in a significant (at least temporarily significant) shift in the political geography of Gaza and of occupied Palestine as a whole.  Such an outcome could have several positive results. It could alleviate the worst of the humanitarian crisis that has been imposed on Gaza since the victory of Hamas in the parliamentary elections of January 2006, by allowing people and goods free access in and out of Gaza.  It would allow some potential recovery of the shattered Gazan agricultural sector.  And there could be a possible move towards greater integration of the weakened Palestinian economy with the Egyptian and other Arab economies, rather than having to rely solely on relations with the enormously larger and wealthier Israeli economy.  And ultimately, such a shift would at the very least shake up a political stalemate that has been largely paralyzed for years.

But there are serious dangers as well. A permanent, or even medium-term opening between Gaza and Egypt holds the potential of a return to the 1948-1967 period, following the Palestinian nakba, or catastrophe, that resulted from the creation of the State of Israel, when Egypt maintained military control over Gaza.  While not the same kind of military occupation that Israel imposed from 1967 on, Egyptian control certainly constrained the potential political and economic development of Gaza. Most importantly, an Egypt-linked Gaza would consolidate the rift splitting the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Gaza - further separating sectors of the already forcibly divided Palestinian nation.  Depending on Egypt's stance, there is certainly the danger that some parts of the international community might follow Washington's likely lead in endorsing Israel's claim that it was no longer the occupying power in Gaza, thus undermining Palestinian rights guaranteed by international law and UN resolutions.

Internally, within Palestinian society, the breaching of the wall and the mass participation in the "no-border" crossing, have provided a huge boost to social and political mobilization. The level of involvement - the UN estimated that as many as half of Gaza's 1.5 million people may have crossed into Egypt - showed the potential to rebuild on a national scale the kind of popular resistance movement that characterized the first Palestinian intifada, or uprising. That mobilization, from the end of 1987 through 1993, brought virtually every sector of society into active political life - women, children, old people, farmers, medical workers, trade unions, cultural workers - and the internal "shaking up" of Palestinian society that resulted was in fact more important in building resistance than the symbolic stone-throwing of the children.

The second uprising began in 2000 under conditions in many ways more difficult, including a leadership that was much more top-down than the bottom-up grassroots and unified leadership that characterized the first intifada.   The second intifada was also much more a phenomenon of militias and armed actions than it was an example of popular mobilization; the vast majority of Palestinians were not directly involved as they had been during the first uprising.  (And it is not insignificant that most of the young 20-something men who made up the gunmen of the second intifada, had been toddlers and small children during the first uprising - too young to remember the popular mobilization, but old enough to remember their fathers and older brothers being beaten, arrested, humiliated by Israeli occupation soldiers.)

The closest thing to the popular mobilization of the first intifada has been the non-violent civil disobedience actions that have continued for years across parts of the West Bank - in places like Bi'ilin and the Har Homa settlement, and elsewhere where local Palestinians are joined with internationals and some Israelis to protest the building of the apartheid Wall and the continuing encroachment of expanding settlements and settler-only roads built on stolen Palestinian land. And there have been such popular mobilizations in Gaza as well. It was in Rafah, close to the Egyptian border crossing, that American peace activist Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli soldier in 2003 while trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home.  But in general neither the West Bank nor Gaza have experienced the kind of permanent national mobilization and popular direct action for nearly fifteen years.  Breaching the Gaza wall sent a message around the world - but first of all to the Palestinians themselves - that they could return to that level of permanent popular mobilization.  They had done it once. They could do it again, in Gaza, the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.

And in the U.S., the call to popular non-violent collective action is also underway to protest wars and occupation in Palestine as well as in Iraq, Afghanistan and to prevent war against Iran.  Those protests, opposing our government's support for Israeli occupation and apartheid and demanding instead a policy based on an end to occupation, human rights and equality for all, take place in the streets, in the halls of congress, through petitions and media activism, in teach-ins and speaking tours across the country. The protests remain our answer to those U.S. policies, and our message of solidarity to Palestinians suffering under and mobilizing to resist Israeli apartheid.



In noting the passing this week of Dr. George Habash, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Palestine's most visionary leader, there is a particularly poignant reality in recognizing that so many Palestinians (and other veterans of anti-colonial struggles) in the U.S. who might wish to mourn his passing are afraid to do so publicly for fear of the post-9/11 consequences of appearing to "support" the PFLP. Whatever critical assessments one might make of Dr. Habash's strategic approach, al Hakim was the conscience of the PLO.  That remains his legacy, and for that he is already greatly missed.


Phyllis Bennis is author of Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer.  Her first book, with photographer Neal Cassidy, was From Stones to Statehood: The Palestinian Uprising.  For more information, go to www.ips-dc.org where you can also sign up to receive these occasional articles and talking points by clicking the "Stay Connected" button and select "New Internationalism" as well as any other projects of interest. The U.S. Campaign to End Israeli Occupation can be reached at www.endtheoccupation.org  





Jan 21.08: URGENT LETTER TO THE ESTEEMED SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS, THE HONORABLE BAN-KI MOON FROM ORTHODOX JEWS IN JERUSALEM AND WORLDWIDE ABOUT THE CURRENT ZIONIST ONSLAUGHT AGAINST THE PALESTINIANS IN GAZA NETUREI KARTA of THE ORTHODOX JEWRY PALESTINE , JERUSALEM



Dear Hon. Secretary-General:

It is with a heavy heart that we write you from the city of Jerusalem. For sixty years the authorities of what is mischaracterized as the "Jewish State" have been undertaking a vicious campaign of oppression and ethnic cleansing against millions of Palestinians who currently still live in historic Palestine and who are refugees from Palestine in other countries. And they have been committing all these crimes in the name of the ancient and holy Jewish religion! For sixty years the State of Israel been desecrating and violating our sacred religion! For sixty years the State of Israel has been flaunting international law and United Nation General Assembly and Security Council resolutions! For sixty years they have been bringing Mankind to the edge of world war, claiming to do so in the name of Judaism!

Even today, as we write this letter, the Zionist regime is waging an unrelenting war of starvation and suffering against the people of Gaza. In the name of the sacred values of the Jewish religion we cry out to the international community and especially the great powers and the United Nations: Please use your skills to finally stop the vicious and insane campaigns of the State of Israel against the Palestinians whose suffering worsens from one day to the next under the heavy hand of occupation and oppression, ethnic cleansing and discrimination!

Mr. Secretary-General, we beseech you to use your offices to work with world leaders to stop this mad campaign of collective punishment and oppression! Our holy religion teaches us values that are the utter opposite of those of the State of Israel: we are taught by our Torah to live in harmony and brotherhood, friendship and neighborliness.

The State of Israel is trying to use its military power to preserve its ethnocracy and is demanding that the world community watch silently as they continue to hammer the Palestinian People year after year with the most sophisticated weapons of war. This cannot go on any longer! The state-sponsored terrorism and collective punishment practiced by the State of Israel must be condemned and stopped!

We fervently pray that G-d guide world leaders to take the necessary action to stop the suffering of the Palestinian People, rein in the State of Israel, restore the full rights of the Palestinians throughout their homeland in historic Palestine, and thereby create peace not only in the Holy Land, but also throughout the world. The world cannot stand by and watch the State of Israel commit these terrible crimes!

Thank you kindly for your attention to this urgent matter,

Yours truly,
Rabbi Meir Hirsh
Neturei Karta Palestine

Jan. 16/08
To:  Honorable Doctor Mahmud Al-Zahar

    As Orthodox Anti-Zionist Jews we harshly condemned the brutal acts of terrorism committed by the Zionist thug regime against the Palestinian People. We wish to express our most sincere sympathies to all suffering Palestinians, especially following the latest vicious attack of the Zionists in Gaza. We also wish to express our most sincere sympathies to you personally, Dr. Al-Zahar, for the death of your son, Hussam, at the hands of the Zionists following on the tragic murder of your other son, Khalid, several years ago at the hands of the Zionists. We pray fervently to God to stop the vicious crimes of the Zionist regime and to dismantle that absurd Zionist state and restore all the rights to the Palestinian People, both those living inside Zionistoccupied Palestine and in other countries as refugees.

    RABBI MEIR HIRSH
    Neturei Karta
    Jerusalem, Palestine



Ha’aretz Update Wednesday, January 30, 2008

 High Court okays reducing fuel and power supply to Gaza Strip

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/949679.html


By Yuval Yoaz, Haaretz Correspondent


The High Court of Justice on Wednesday gave the state a green light to reduce the supply of power and fuel to the Gaza Strip, ruling that the reductions are legal as they still meet the humanitarian needs of the population.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved the plan to reduce electricity, gasoline and diesel fuel supplies in late October last year, thereby accepting the defense establishment's recommendation to impose economic sanctions on the Gaza Strip in response to continued Qassam rocket attacks by Palestinian militants on southern Israel.

In Wednesday's ruling, the court denied petitions presented by several human rights organizations seeking to stop the government's plans to scale back the supply of fuel and electricity to the Strip.

Several human rights groups had challenged the sanctions, but Wednesday's ruling denied their petitions. Palestinian officials say the cutbacks have harmed Gaza's already impoverished residents by causing power shortages and crippling crucial utilities.

Israel supplies all of Gaza's fuel and more than two-thirds of its electricity.

As militants have continued to hit Israeli towns near Gaza with near-daily rocket barrages, Israel has reduced fuel shipments but not the electricity it directly supplies. That stood to change after the court ruling Wednesday. Israel blames the Hamas militant group, which violently seized control of Gaza last June, for the rocket fire.

"We emphasize that the Gaza Strip is controlled by a murderous terror group that operates incessantly to strike the state of Israel and its citizens, and violates every precept of international law with its violent actions," Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch wrote.

The three-judge panel presiding over the case ruled that "during wartime, the civilian population is the first and central victim of the fighting, even when efforts are made to minimize the damage. Even within Israeli territory, in the age of terror attacks that has been going on for many years, the immediate and main victim is the civilian population. However, in the case of the attacks against Israel, the damage is not accidental, but rather a result of deliberate and frequent assaults on civilian populations which are aimed at harming innocent civilians. This is the difference between Israel - a democracy fighting for its life within the confines of the law - and the terrorist organizations trying to destroy it."

The Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, a leading opponent of the Gaza cuts slammed the court decision as a "dangerous precedent."

"This is a dangerous legal precedent that allows Israel to continue to violate the rights of Gaza residents and deprive them of basic humanitarian needs in violation of international law, the groups said in a statement," the group said in a statement.

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said Wednesday's decision reflects the "criminal, ugly face of the occupation."




News Release –For Immediate Release – Wednesday, January 30, 2008

In response to the Supreme Court's Rejection of Petition against Fuel and Electricity Cuts:
Gisha and Adalah: "This decision sets a dangerous legal precedent that allows Israel to continue to violate the rights of Palestinians in Gaza and deprive them of basic humanitarian needs, in violation of international law."

Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008:  Israel's Supreme Court today rejected a petition by human rights organizations to stop Israel from cutting supplies of fuel and electricity to the Gaza Strip, as part of a governmental decision authorizing punitive measures against the population of Gaza. The petitioners had claimed that cutting fuel and electricity supplies constitutes forbidden collective punishment and violates the international law prohibition against deliberately targeting civilians. The fuel cuts, which have forced Gaza's only power plant to reduce production of electricity, have severely disrupted the functioning of vital humanitarian services, including hospitals, water wells, and sewage pumps.
 
The court's decision allows the state to proceed with its plan to cut electricity sold to Gaza directly by Israel's Electric Company, beginning February 7. Gaza is already experiencing a 20% electricity deficit, which is forcing rolling blackouts in hospitals and other vital humanitarian institutions. The petitioners submitted extensive documentation showing that cuts in supplies of electricity and the industrial diesel needed to produce electricity will necessarily mean longer and more frequent power outages across Gaza, from which vital humanitarian institutions will not be spared.
 
At the last hearing held Sunday, Jan. 27, Israel's military prevented utility officials from Gaza from attending the hearing, in violation of a previous commitment to the court. The state attorneys offered oral testimony by a military official, unsubstantiated by affidavit as required, claiming that the cuts would not harm humanitarian needs.
 
According to Sari Bashi, Director of Gisha: "This is an unprecedented decision authorizing collective punishment in its most blatant form. The court ruling relies on unsubstantiated declarations by the military and ignores the indisputable and well-documented evidence of harm to civilians caused by the fuel and electricity cuts – with no legally valid justification."
 
According to Hassan Jabarin, Director of Adalah: ""According to the Supreme Court's decision, it is permitted to harm Palestinian civilians and create a humanitarian crisis for political reasons. This constitutes a war crime under international criminal law."
Background on the Fuel and Electricity Petition
 
The court decision comes at a time when the Gaza Strip is already suffering from a 20% deficit in electricity, during the winter peak season – even before the February 7 cuts go into effect.
 
During the winter, the demand for electricity in the Gaza Strip is approximately 240 mega-watts, depending on the weather, but as of today, Gaza has just 192 megawatts from all sources: 120 mega-watts sold by Israel; 17 megawatts supplied by Egypt; and 55 megawatts from. Gaza's power plant is able to produce 80 megawatts, but restrictions imposed on the supply of industrial diesel sold to Gaza limits the power plant to generating just 55 megawatts. As a result, the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO) is unable to provide the electricity needed to operate hospitals, water pumps and schools and so institutes rolling blackouts across main lines. Some humanitarian institutions have back-up generators, but the restrictions on the supply of diesel have disrupted the operation of the generators, too.
 
The petition was submitted October 28, 2007, the day that Israel cut supplies of petrol (benzene), diesel, and industrial diesel to Gaza. Residents of Gaza purchase fuel from an Israeli company and receive it via Israeli-controlled crossings.
 
A prior decision of the Supreme Court prevented Israel from cutting supplies of electricity sold to Gaza by Israel's Electric Company. Today's decision allows the direct electricity cuts to be implemented on February 7.
 
The organizations who petitioned the court are:
 
Adalah – The LegalCenter for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
Gisha - LegalCenter for Freedom of Movement
HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel
Gaza Community Mental Health Programme
B'Tselem – The IsraeliInformationCenter for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
Al –Haq
MezanCenter for Human Rights
 
Maher Najjar, Deputy Director of Gaza's Coastal Municipalities Water Utility and a farmer from Beit Hanoun also joined the petition




Genocide In Gaza, Ethnic Cleansing In The West Bank

By Ilan Pappe

28 January , 2008
The Indypendent

Not long ago, I claimed that Israel is employing genocidal policies in the Gaza Strip. I hesitated before using this very charged term and yet decided to adopt it. The responses I received indicated unease in using such a term. I rethought the term for a while, but concluded with even stronger conviction: it is the only appropriate way to describe what the Israeli army is doing in the Gaza Strip.

On Dec. 28, 2006, the Israeli human rights organization Betzelem published its annual report on Israeli atrocities in the occupied territories. In 2006, Israeli forces killed 660 citizens, triple the number of the previous year (around 200). Most of the dead are from the Gaza Strip, where Israeli forces demolished almost 300 houses and have slain entire families. Since 2000, almost 4,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, half of them children, and more than 20,000 wounded.

The point is not just about escalating intentional killings but the strategy.

Annexation

Israeli policy makers are facing two very different realities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In the former, they are finishing construction of their eastern border. Their internal ideological debate is over, and their master plan for annexing half of the West Bank is gaining speed.

The last phase was delayed due to the promises made by Israel, under the Road Map, not to build new settlements. Israel found two ways of circumventing this. First, it defined a third of the West Bank as Greater Jerusalem, which allowed it to build towns and community centers within this new annexed area. Second, it expanded old settlements to such proportions that there was no need to build new ones.

Creeping Transfer

The settlements, army bases, roads and the wall will allow Israel to annex almost half of the West Bank by 2010. Within these territories, Israeli authorities will continue to implement creeping transfer policies against the considerable number of Palestinians who remain.

There is no rush. As far as the Israeli are concerned they have the upper hand there; the daily abusive and dehumanizing combination of army and bureaucracy effectively adds to the dispossession process.

All governing parties from Labor to Kadima accept Ariel Sharon’s strategic thinking that this policy is far better than the one offered by the blunt “transferists” or ethnic cleansers, such as Avigdor Liberman. In the Gaza Strip there is no clear Israeli strategy, but there is a daily experiment with one. The Israelis see the Strip as a distinct geo-political entity from the West Bank. Hamas controls Gaza, while Mahmoud Abbas seems to run the fragmented West Bank with Israeli and American blessing.

There is no land in the Strip that Israel covets and there is no hinterland, like Jordan, to which the Palestinians can be expelled.

Ethnic cleansing is ineffective here. The earlier strategy in the Strip was ghettoizing the Palestinians there, but this is not working. The Jews know it best from their history. In the past, the next stage against such communities was even more barbaric. It is difficult to tell what does the future hold for the Gaza community: ghettoized, quarantined, unwanted and demonized.

Throwing Away the Key

Creating the prison and throwing the key to the sea, as South African law professor John Dugard has put it, was an option the Palestinians in the Strip reacted against with force in September 2005. Determined to show that they were still part of the West Bank and Palestine, they launched the first significant number of missiles into the Western Negev. The shelling was a response to an Israeli campaign of massive arrests of Hamas and Jihad people in the Tul Karim area.

Israel responded with operation “First Rain.” Supersonic flights were flown over Gaza to terrorize the entire population, succeeded by heavy bombardment of vast areas from the sea, sky and land. The logic, the Israeli army explained, was to weaken the community’s support for the rocket launchers. As was expected, by the Israelis as well, the operation only increased the support for the rocket launchers.

The real purpose was experimental. The Israeli generals wished to know how such operations would be received at home, in the region and in the world. And it seems the answer was “very well;” no one took interest in the scores of dead and hundreds of wounded Palestinians.

Following operations were modeled on First Rain. The difference was more firepower, more casualties and more collateral damage and, as expected, more Qassam missiles in response. Accompanying measures ensured full imprisonment of Gazans through boycott and blockade, with which the European Union is shamefully collaborating.

The capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006 was irrelevant in the general scheme, but it provided an opportunity for the Israelis to escalate even more. After all, there was no strategy that followed the decision of Sharon to remove 8,000 settlers from Gaza whose presence complicated “punitive” missions. Since then, the “punitive” actions continue and have become a strategy.

First Rain was replaced by “Summer Rains.” In a country where there is no rain in the summer, one can expect only showers of F-16 bombs and artillery shells hitting the people of the Strip.

Summer Rains brought a novel component: the land invasion into parts of the Gaza Strip. This enabled the army to kill citizens and present it as an inevitable result of heavy fighting within densely populated areas and not of Israeli policies.

Summer Rains, Autumn Clouds

When the summer was over came the even more efficient “Autumn Clouds:” beginning on Nov. 1, 2006, the Israelis killed 70 civilians in less than 48 hours. By the end of that month, almost 200 were killed, half of them children and women.

Some of the activity was parallelled the Israeli attacks on Lebanon, making it easier to complete the operations without much external attention, let alone criticism. From First Rain to Autumn Clouds there is escalation in every parameter. The first is erasing the distinction between “civilian” and “non-civilian” targets: the population is the main target for the army’s operation. Second is the escalation in the means: employment of every possible killing machine the Israeli army possesses. Third is escalation in the number of casualties: with each future operation, a much larger number of people are likely to be killed and wounded. Finally, and most importantly, the operations have become a strategy — the way Israel intends to solve the problem of the Gaza Strip.

A creeping transfer in the West Bank and a measured genocidal policy in the Gaza strip are the two strategies Israel employs today. From an electoral point of view the policy in Gaza is problematic, as it does not reap any tangible results; the West Bank under Mahmoud Abbas is yielding to Israeli pressure and there is no significant force that arrests the Israeli strategy of annexation and dispossession.

Gaza Fights Back

But the Strip continues to fire back. This would enable the Israeli army to initiate larger genocidal operations in the future, but there is also the great danger that, as in 1948, the army would demand a more drastic and systematic “punitive” action against the besieged people of the Gaza Strip. Ironically, the Israeli killing machine has rested lately. Its generals are content that the internal killing in the Strip does the job for them.

They watch satisfied the emerging civil war in the Strip that Israel foments and encourages. The responsibility of ending the fighting lies of course with the Palestinian groups themselves, but U.S. and Israeli interference, the continued imprisonment, the starvation and strangulation of the Strip all make such an internal peace process very difficult.

Cutting Israel’s Oxygen

What unfolds in Gaza is a battleground between America’s and Israel’s local proxies most unintentional but who dance to Israel’s tune nonetheless — and those who oppose their plans. The opposition that took over Gaza did it in a way that one finds very hard to condone or cheer.

Once fighting there subsides, the Israeli Summer Rains will fall down again on the people in the Strip, wreaking havoc and death. There is no other way of stopping Israel than that of boycott, divestments and sanctions. The only soft point of this killing machine is its oxygen lines to “western” civilization and public opinion. It is still possible to puncture them and make it at least more difficult for the Israelis to implement their future strategy of eliminating the Palestinian people either by cleansing them in the West Bank or genocide in the Gaza Strip.


Dr. Ilan Pappé is an Israeli historian and author of numerous books, including The Modern Middle East and The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

   
 
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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
Establishment of Israel
"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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posted 3/25/2009

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