Posts Tagged ‘Israel’s war against Gaza’

It had been pointed out (thanks Wassy and Eva) that there was a banner on the top of the “newspaper pro-Palestinian activists in the West love”, Ha’aretz, for a “Palestinian State”. This banner was paid for by a group of Fanatics lead by Israeli MK Aryeh Eldad and the text of it, I found on this site,  http://israelifrontline.blogspot.com/ run by a woman who lived 40 years of her life in Canada and the USA, but now has “returned to Israel”. Check out this campaign entitled:

A Democratic Jordan is Palestine  (Jordan is Palestine)

What follows is the material the signatories spread if they have a site or mailing list, with my (mary rizzo) comments in RED.

Just because the flags are similar, they propose "unification" as Palestine

Please sign this petition from Knesset Minister Dr. Aryeh Eldad, and forward it to all your friends, urging Jordanian King Abdullah to declare Jordan as the new Palestinian State and Homeland.
The New ‘Road Map’ for Peace starts Now! No. No need for the actual citizens to have a voice in it! That’s the way every “Road Map for Peace” has always worked.

Larry Kosberg
—————————–
As you well know, we are encouraging people to sign this petition so we can declare Jordan the new Palestinian State. Because wishing makes it so! Please watch the video below (complete with trashy electronic pop) to learn more about the history of this region.  Read the declaration, and if you agree, please sign the petition. And in the meantime declare Disneyland a Nuclear Free Zone and why not The Moon as the next frontier? Lacking that, declare your next door neighbour’s garage as belonging to the guy across the street. Everyone will think it’s reasonable!

Israel is being pressured to create a Palestinian State.  In response, we want to pressure the international community and the UN to pressure King Abdullah II to turn Jordan into the Palestinian State. 80% of Jordanians are so-called “Palestinians”. We propose that the rest may join them. From Pressure to pressure, the pressure on “the rest” is not going to be a petition or a kind invitation. It takes other forms, ones that include guns, bombs, arrests, and the thing we call “willing population transfer”.

Now is the time to stand in support of the state of Israel and to create peace in this region by giving the Arabs a country of their own. Arabs there had a country of their own, a land of their own, a home of their own.  They will never again be able to say that they do not have a state. They actually were robbed of their homes, and during the process of post colonial state-making, were swindled out of their state, which is a crime that has not been rectified with the imposition of unlimited mass immigration of Jews into Israel and with the expulsion of the indigenous Palestinian population also into other Arab states.

Most importantly, after you have signed, please be sure to forward this message to your list to keep this trend going and to have a significant number of signatures.
Thank you very much,

Michelle Cohen (a so-called “Israeli” who lived 40 of her years in Canada and the USA).

Please click HERE to sign this petition. Not advised to even leave a snide remark… they will use your name and that is not what you want.  

The Government of Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu are under  pressure to accept and implement “the  two states solution”  which means a creation of  a Palestinian State in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Right now, they better grab it while the going is good. But they have never been able to understand what the implications of their Jewish State were in actual fact. It means obviously claiming in fact what the unstated annexation of the territory has allowed them to avoid…. less territory than the entirety. Now that the “demand” might happen, they change the cards on the table. So, to find a way to get all the land, “get the rest of the unwanted to join others” in population transfer, which is actually a word that means deportation, a crime against humanity, they make it look like a boon for Palestinians and an asset for peace. YES!  The old hasbara trick of commit an atrocity and paint it as humanitarian goodness! 

It was the late Prime Minister Rabin who wrote :”A Palestinian State can be created only on the ruins of the State of Israel”. We are concerned that the only political plan to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – is the plan that endangers the very existence of Israel.
 
 
 

Prof. Aryeh Eldad, M.D. (For a detailed biography on Prof. Eldad, please click here.) No, see below where I comment on his “illustrious” biography.

Jordan is Palestine (with deconstruction in red)

To His Majesty
The King of Jordan
King Abdullah the Second
&
The Government and Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Presented this Date, the 25th of May 2011
The 65th Independence Day of the Kingdom of Jordan
 
As the cries for democracy reach us from Tunis, Egypt, and all around the Arab world, we call upon the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to declare itself the democratic nation state of the Palestinian people. (And it frightens us to see the word democracy which is translated into human terms, numbers and people in flesh and blood asking to be counted. This goes against our ideals of what democracy means so let’s kill two birds with one stone: complain that Jordan is NOT a democracy because it is ruled by a King, and also present ourselves as a democratic entity because we don’t have a king. We are the Jewish state, we don’t need anything else that complicates this simple reasoning).
 
80% of the population of Jordan are disenfranchised Palestinians. (Let’s hope that no one remembers how they actually ended up there, it’s already bad enough we have to use the P word).  This declarative step (imposed by us, so you have to reject it, and then the real victory: ARABS ARE AGAIN REJECTIONIST OF A PEACEFUL SOLUTION)  would correct that injustice and provide the foundation for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace between the Jewish and Arab peoples. (Israel isn’t even stated yet in MY words, how clever am I? Now let me drop the bomb for my own people, after all, they are the only ones who will read this! Then I repeat it once we get that pesky Palestine out of the way.)
 
The late Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin wrote: “A Palestinian State can be created only on the ruins of the State of Israel”.
That needn’t be the case. That shouldn’t be the case. (How in the hell can I sell the idea of Eretz Yisrael unless I brand it in the figurehead the peaceniks love? How clever am I?!)
 
Let Jordan be democratic and free, and let the Palestinian people accept upon themselves the full mantle and responsibility of democratic statehood in Jordan – without the destruction or diminishment of the state of Israel and without the physical transfer of any population, neither Jew nor Arab. (Now, when I say without the physical transfer, I cover my bottom nicely, and I don’t even need to state that we officially take the land and make it Jewish! We keep on doing what we are doing now and if they are so masochistic they want to say, it’s their own damn doing! How clever am I? Now remember, what I said, those Arabs are the enemies within the Jewish state of Israel. Within a few years we would be able to resettle 2-3 million refugees in Jordan, this is my plan and I never hid it except now. I call it “willing population transfer”.)
 
We the undersigned, citizens of the world, representatives of hundreds of thousands around the world, (there, covered my bottom again because the signatories will not be even six million) ask the Government of Jordan and King Abdullah the Second, to proclaim the Hashemite Kingdom the democratic nation state of the Palestinians, and with this symbolic and declarative step, make a decisive contribution to Middle East and world peace. (Since he’s a KING, he can just do that! Monarchy is good for us right now, thanks G-d!)
 
We remind you of the brave words of your father: (who was a king, so WTF does this mean but deep Arabic bowing which will win his heart and make us look like we respect all of that rot).
  
“I wish democracy and peace to be my legacy to my people and the shield of generations to come.” - King Hussein I of Jordan

Aryeh Eldad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 

 

Aryeh Eldad
Arie Eldad.jpg
Date of birth 1 May 1950 (1950-05-01) (age 60)
Place of birth Tel Aviv, Israel
Knessets 16th, 17th, 18th
Party National Union
 

Prof. Aryeh Eldad, M.D. (Hebrew: אריה אלדד‎, born 1 May 1950) is an Israeli physician and politician, and a member of the Knesset for the National Union, within which he heads the Hatikva faction.

Biography

Eldad was born in Tel Aviv in 1950. He is married with five children. His father, Israel Eldad, was a well known Israeli public thinker and formerly one of the leaders of the underground group Lehi. (Underground is a polite word for TERRORIST. Lehi assassinated Folke Bernadotte, the UN attachè in the mandate.

The other major Jewish terrorist group, Lehi, was more extremist than the Irgun, claiming all the land between the Nile and the Euphrates as belonging to the Jews. When Jabotinsky declared a cease-fire in the fight against Britain and its mandate troops in Palestine during World War II, Stern broke with him and founded Lehi. Stern sought alliance with the Nazis, both because they shared an enemy in Britain and because Lehi shared Hitler’s totalitarian ideology. During the war Sternists openly celebrated Nazi victories on the battlefield.

 He is a resident of Kfar Adumim (he’s a settler in the most simplified sense of the term) and is a Brigadier-General (reserves) in the Israel Defense Forces. Self explanatory.

Medical career

Eldad is a professor and head of the plastic surgery and burns unit at the Hadassah Medical Center hospital in Jerusalem. He studied medicine at Tel Aviv University, where he earned his doctorate. He served as the chief medical officer and was the senior commander of the Israeli Defense Forces medical corps for 25 years, and reached a rank of Tat Aluf (Brigadier General). He is renowned worldwide for his treatment of burns and won the Evans Award from the American Burns Treatment Association.

Political career

Eldad was first elected to the Knesset on the National Union list in 2003, and chaired the Ethics Committee

Some of his ethics: He considers Israel as the “canary in the mines of radical Islam,” something his fellow Israelis would rather not think about. He is bringing courageous Dutch parliamentarian, Geert Wilders to show his controversial film “Fitna” (strife or chaos in Arabic) and legislators from Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, the U.K. and America to formulate a declaration against Islamization among Western democracies. Eldad deems it to be crucially important for Israelis to become educated about the nuances of this existential threat that seeks to extinguish the Jewish state as well as other non-Muslim nations.

and how about these ethics:

Thus, the first step in the attack against Iran should be a pre-emptive strike against Hezbollah and Hamas. The timing of the war against Hezbollah should be coordinated with the plans against Iran.

Prior to the scheduled Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank in August 2005, Eldad was the only member of parliament to call for non-violent civil disobedience as a tactic in the struggle against the government. Eldad even walked the few hundred kilometres between the now evacuated community of Sa-Nur (in the northern West Bank) to Neve Dekalim in order to attract attention to the opposition of the Withdrawal plan.

In the February 2006 dismantlement of the Amona outpost Eldad was injured during the confrontation between demonstrators and police, as was his ally MK Effi Eitam. The event caused a storm of criticism on both sides, as interim Prime MinisterEhud Olmert accused them of inciting the crowd to attack the police, while they accused Olmert and the police of reckless use of force. But it achieved the enormous benefit of making the settlers into “the force to reckon with”. From the horse’s mouth: But a new standard of resistance was achieved. No government in Israel will take for granted that they can evacuate a settlement and destroy it. They know very well that the next time they try it; they may have to kill some of us first. They know that no government in Israel will survive such brutality. The fact that the government avoids any attempt to forcibly evacuate settler outposts after Amona is the direct result of that very traumatic day.

After being re-elected in 2006, in August 2007 Eldad established and headed a 10-member Homesh Knesset caucus met for the first time. The caucus’ mandate is to work to promote the re-establishment of Homesh – with the aim of eventually re-establishing all the settlements dismantled in 2005.

In November 2007 he announced the formation of a new secular right-wing party named Hatikva. Ultimately the party ran as a faction of the National Union in the 2009 elections, with Eldad in third place on the alliance’s list. He retained his seat as the Union won four mandates.

In 2008 he submitted a bill to the Knesset proposing that Hebron‘s Arab residents be removed “in order to protect the Jews of Hebron”.[1] but his suggestion came to no avail.

Eldad’s 2009 proposal that Palestinian Arabs be given Jordanian citizenship drew a formal protest from the Jordanian foreign minister.[2]

Political beliefs

Eldad is a Revisionist Zionist who believes in the ideas of Zionist philosopher Zeev Jabotinsky who wrote:

“If you wish to colonize a land in which people are already living, you must provide a garrison for the land, or find a benefactor who will maintain the garrison on your behalf. … Zionism is a colonizing adventure and, therefore, it stands or falls on the question of armed forces.” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 45).

Eldad supports the right of Jews to live in any part of the Land of Israel and opposes any surrender of Israeli sovereignty to the PLO. “We have to understand that there is a price to pay if we want to be an independent Jewish State. It is still a lower price then what we will have to pay as Dhimmis living at the mercy of the Islamic terror” and what is that price? “There is only one answer to the challenge of the Jihad from Gaza: a military one.”

Eldad opposes the creation of any Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan River and called its possibility a “disaster”. The creation of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would lead, Eldad believes, to a Hamas-run center of terror within three days of Israeli transfer of the land. Furthermore, Eldad believes that the State of Israel will never have peace with the Arabs.

On his Zionism, Eldad stated that “I belong to this part of the Jewish people that believes the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel.” In a university lecture, he questioned, “how did we [the Jewish people] become so distorted as to say the Arabs have a right to our land?” On “occupation,” he posits that “the only occupation I know of is the Arab occupation of the Land of Israel in the seventh century… If I am an occupier in Hebron, I am an occupier in Tel Aviv…” The Balfour Declaration, the White Papers, the United Nations recognition of the State of Israel – all these, Eldad believes, are not the sources of the Jewish right to the Land of Israel, but “only recognition of our right.” Yes, an occupier. This is clear. If one is an occupier in Hebron, one is an occupier in Tel Aviv.

On his political goals, Eldad has stated: “When I wake up in the morning, I divide the day into two parts. In the first part of the day, I try to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. It is not a full-time job, so in the second part of the day, I try to prevent corruption.”

In March 2010, in response to David Miliband‘s statement that the Israeli cloning of British passports is “intolerable”, he commented: “I think the British are being hypocritical, and I do not wish to insult dogs here, since some dogs show true loyalty, [but] who gave the British the right to judge us on the war on terror?” Uhm, try the same guys who gave you that Declaration that you use as the recognition of your “right”. Let’s make a deal, they withhold judgement and you forget about the Balfour Declaration. Seems logical.

During Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s visit to Lebanon in October 2010, Eldad stated:

“History would have been different if in 1939 some Jewish soldier would have succeeded in taking Hitler out. If Ahmadinejad will be in the crosshairs of an IDF rifle when he comes to throw rocks at us, he must not return home alive.” (spoken like a true son of Lehi).

  

Jamila Al Habash

It has been two years since the war launched on the Gaza Strip. On 27th of December 2008 at 11:30, explosions were heard everywhere; and then the nightmare of 22 days begun. The nightmare, which resulted in 1,434 martyrs and 5,303 injured most of them were children. For most of the Gazans, the war did not end yet. Its memories bring alive the moment of the war. Everyone in Gaza has his own story to tell about the war. The war came into our houses like a thief, stole our beautiful and precious things and left for us pain and agony. Every house, every family, every person, every child and even me has a story of loss, fear and horror. I have lived the moment of fear and horror that I might wake up; and I do not find my family around me. In my dreams, I have seen my mother crying beside my dead body. The suffering did not end. Mothers still remember their children dying in front of their eyes, fathers still smell the blood of children on their hands and some children are still afraid that the war might come back again. There are many tragic and appalling stories to tell. Al Samouny family’s story, Jamila Al Habash and Om Ahmed Fawaz Saleh all suffered from the brutality of the war.

Al Samouny family’s plight began with the Israeli incursion into and firing at Al Zaytoun neighborhood. The Israeli occupying forces started bombing the area leaving no way out to the people living there. As the situation deteriorated and the shelling intensified, Al Samouny family sought refuge in Tallal Al Samouny’s house, thinking that they would be safe there, 60 members of Al Samouny family gathered at Tallal’s house. They were left without water for 24 hours. Unconcerned about the people’s lives in the area, the Israeli forces continued shelling the house. Emergency services were banned from reaching the area. Dead bodies of Palestinians lay in the house, only thirteen family members were still alive. Eight of them were children, some of them injured, who had been locked in for three days with the bodies of their dead parents and family members, with no access to food or water. Overall, 26 members of the Al Samouny family were killed, including 10 children and 7 women. Back to the children who had been locked in with the dead bodies for three days. Those children will be traumatized by the sad and mournful memory of seeing their parents dying in front of their eyes. They will be imprisoned in their painful past forever. Can any child in the world endure what those children have undergone?

Om Ahmed Fawaz Saleh has a story of loss to tell. Om Ahmed lives in Jabalia; she had four children. She lost two of them in the war, Ahmed and Fawzia. During the war, Jabalia was subjected to an intensified Israeli shelling. Most of people there left their houses to seek shelter. Om Ahmed did the same thing. She wanted to take her children to a safe place, her sister’s house. She started packing her children’s clothes, but the Israeli forces were faster than she was. As her children stepped out of the room, a missile hit the house. Ahmed and Fawzia achieved martyrdom, and the other two children were injured. Om Ahmed tried her best to save her children, but she could not. She spoke about her children with tears in her throat. She remembers her sons, Ahmed’s, dreams. She said:” Ahmed wanted to go to the kindergarten; he wanted to buy me sweets with his pocket money. But his dream will never come true.” Om Ahmed has nothing left for her except memories that will always bring the harsh moment of war.

Jamila Al Habah is another evidence of the Israeli barbarity and cruelty. Jamila is a 15-year old girl who lost her legs in the war, when her house was bombed by a missile. Her sister and cousin were killed. Jamila was taken to the hospital and had several operations. When she woke up, she discovered that her legs were amputated. In spite of her ordeal, Jamila decided to be a strong girl, smile, and continue her way towards her dreams. Jamila went under physical treatment and used a wheelchair. Now she is able to walk using crutches with artificial limbs. When I met Jamila, I was impressed by her beautiful smile and her strong will. She challenged her plight. She continues going to school every day on crutches. Looking at her gave me hope. She is willing to achieve her dream and be a famous journalist. Her story is a story of faith and hope.

The Israeli war caused the Gazans so much misery; but it did not break our strong will to exist. The Israelis are to be held accountable for their crimes against humanity, and the truth will be exposed one day. Despite the war, the life in Gaza did not die. Nothing will kill the Gazans’ spirits. Finally, I would thank a friend of mine who supported and helped me in writing this article; a friend who has a story of loss; but it was so painful to talk about it.

Homicide, a Zionist holy war: The 22-day sadistic Israeli Assault on Gaza which ended up with flowing rivers of innocent blood of 108 women and 437 children isn’t a deviation of the Zio-Nazi mainstream terrorism in the region, The Israel of Operation “Cast Lead” is still the Israel of 1948 Plan Dalet, under which 840,000 Arabs were expelled from more than 530 Palestinian Villages and towns. 15,000 of them were ethnically cleansed adding 20,500 square Km to the Zionist occupied land. Like a jigsaw collecting piece after piece to complete the ugly picture of a so-called Promised Land for the Jews, hiding behind their holy scriptures interpreted by ill minds and worldly whims.

Israel of Operation “Cast Lead” is still the 1948 Israel of massacres; of Deir Yassin where in all over 100 men, women, and children were systematically murdered. Fifty-three orphaned children were literally dumped along the wall of the Old City; of Sabra and Shatila where 1,500 Palestinians were massacred under the watchful Eye of Ariel Sharon, the Defense Minster back then. Who entered with his cursed Zionist feet into Al-Aqsa Mosque and provoked the Intifada (up-rising) of Al-Aqsa in 2000; Still Israel of more than 50 documented bloody massacres committed over 60 years of occupation.

Israel remains Israel of defilement, Terror, Massacres and malignant merciless policies towards the Palestinians, but what really grasped my attention in the latest Israeli assault wasn’t the Gaza war crimes but the dramatic changes and major turns from friends rather than foes. From family rather than enemy.

Parricide, an Arabic Backstab: In 1948 as soon as Tel-Aviv announced the establishment of an official Jewish state in Palestine. Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria gathered forces and tried to face such budding Zionist threat with military might before it spreads likes cancer in the region despite it ended with a ceasefire the year after, it certainly proved that the word “dignity” used to exist in the Arabic dictionary back then.

Unfortunately, regarding Arab Patriotic, heroic moves history doesn’t repeat itself. For more than thirty-five years now, with every Israeli demoniac move in the region we find the very same scenario happens. Israel acts, Arabic Street watches, Arab leaders talk and the western world enjoys the show. Every Player performs his normal routine.

Along the years of this Conflict, We didn’t need fortune tellers to prophesize the reactions of the Arab/Islamic leaders towards Israel’s inhumane actions. Starting with some preliminary Denials and Disagreements launched from Arab Capitals being broadcasted in news channels, followed by telling off the Israeli Ambassadors; “How bad you naughty guys are!” then ending up with an action reveals an everlasting wisdom from the Arab world; calling for a quick unscheduled Arab summit, where every Arab leader takes his private plan and joins the big boys club. Then in the end of the day, after some good quarrels and talk fights between them, accusing one another with treason and  idiocy comes out some more announcements carrying more denials, disagreements and  a Decalogue of what Israel should/shouldn’t due as if they are the Ten commandments Israel ought to follow!  Not to mention that such meek announcements from the so-called summit is fortified with some “change” from the fat wallets of some leaders. Thinking that such funding removes the sense of Guilt from their consciences, anesthetizing their super-egos with “that’s the best we can do for now.”

In the Arabic world of today, such humble and meek actions don’t even exist.

This time, reactions were different, in fact frightening, from the Arabic/Islamic world. A day before Gaza Genocide Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni held talks with Egypt’s Mubarak regarding the situation in Gaza and Hamas. After the talk has ended she said the following:
“Enough is enough. The situation is going to change,” and that Israel will “change the reality” of the situation in the Gaza Strip.

Hearing this kind of statement given out from an Israeli official in an Arabic capital without even hearing a direct counter-reply from the Egyptian side only meant one thing  that the sequel of events and responses from the Arab side will be much more different this time and things going to get much worse. 

Absolutely, Leaders of the Middle East understands that the only winning card to polish their pictures in front of the Arabic street is Palestinian. Hizbullah has used this card pretty well with some furious speeches to achieve Iran’s hidden agenda to gain the loyalty of the Arab street. Qatar drove a hard bargain as well to save face after the long shameful co-operation with the United States against Iraq. Trying to show the world it’s hard thriving to make all Arab leaders sit together around a single table, acting innocent. Egypt decided to blow this humble summit not only by declining the invitation but also preventing Mahmud Abbas (The Palestinian President) from attending. Since Egypt realized that it’s so-called leading role and its political throne in the region is in jeopardy since other leaders began to start other peace initiatives stepping Egypt aside.  Kuwait decided to sell stocks of Palestinian blood in the Arab economic summit after more than 20 days of the assault.

Saudi Arabia along with Egypt claimed that a summit is useless and it’s time to act, but eventually their actions were much more worse than attending a Summit.

What I find ironic is to see frontline articles in Egyptian national newspapers that without the help and wise actions from the Egyptian side, things would have gotten much worse in Gaza and it was Egypt, and Egypt alone, who ended the Israeli Assault with it’s wells of wisdom, patient and skillful diplomacy.

The Cease-fire didn’t end with the Egyptian initiative but with the U.S.-Israel agreement to condemn any pockets of resistance in Palestine.

On the other side of the Red Sea, We see Qatar greeting its King as a Conqueror who came from a Victorious Battle, only because he called for an urgent Summit, talking to the press of how stubborn Arab leaders are, as soon as a leader agrees to attend the summit another declines. With all this Propaganda giving me the feeling that all praise shall be given to Qatar for ending the Arab/Israeli Conflict that existed for decades! Neither the Conflict ended, nor Qatar did add anything to this Issue.

In the end of the day, we are witnessing a Parricide committed towards Palestine by the hands of its siblings. 

Sanctimonious, Uncle Sam: Definitely, Israel failed this time to imitate her elder brother Uncle Sam, the United States kept on throwing the same winning card (war on terrorism) on the “international community” table for over 6 years. Still winning with it the blessings of the Western world to bully around the world, doing whatever it likes whenever it likes. Israel thought it can use the very same card, to justify the Gaza offence as they are fighting terrorism exactly like America, thinking that this will pass quietly and smoothly with the help of the World’s bully to shut ever mouth with a “Veto” tape in the Security Council.

So, it was not surprising to see the IDF spokesman calmly answers the question of weather Israel is using illegal Weapons like D.I.M.E (Dense Inert metal Explosives) and WP (White phosphorus) in Gaza with such words “IDF is not using any weapon that has not been used before by the United States on its war on terrorism”. Still the United States sets a perfect example of the Sanctimonious showing the world how great values it conveys to the third world, and how it is an excellent example of the free world. Still remains ugly from the inside.

The winning American “war on terrorism” card didn’t quite fit well in Gaza war, this time War Crimes, Genocide and ethnic cleansing were broadcasted on many non pro-Zionist media witnessed by the whole world in such a way neither Israel nor the US could control. 

In the end of this tragedy “parricide, homicide, and the Sanctimonious” which was preformed at Gaza theater this time. And after the curtains fell, we shall say to the international legality “Rest in Peace” and to inform the three actors of this play that “Tiochfaidh ar la” which means in Irish, “our day will come”.

Sameh is a 23 years old training surgeon in Orthopedics. He just started Article writing as soon as he graduated from medical school this year. Sameh’s main interests lie in political and “Sarcastic Comedy” articles, currently writing comedic articles called “Living in the Republic Series” discussing daily problems facing Arabs in the middle east. He is now living in Cairo, Egypt.

Sick and starving animals soften Israeli hearts: There never is a limit to the absurd. In a period when Israelis approve of killing and starving human beings, they find enough compassion so that they can get animal feed into the Gaza Zoo. I found this piece in Israel 21C (the site that brags about the high tech of Israel) and was dumbstruck reading it. I will add a few comments within in Blue
Israeli animal charity sends aid to Gaza zoo
By Abigail Klein-Leichman   
Truckloads of food and medicine for lions, horses, donkeys, and other ill and hungry animals were among the relief supplies flowing into the Gaza Strip from Israel following the recent three-week war.

It was no easy feat getting help to the inhabitants of the Gaza Zoo and to other wild and domesticated creatures in an area hostile to the Jewish state.

Oh Gee, I wonder why it would be hostile to the Jewish State, especially now.

But Eti Altman, co-founder and spokeswoman of Israel’s largest animal-welfare organization, Let the Animals Live (LAL), is tenacious in her mission to alleviate suffering.

You will note the name of the organisation, which sounds so noble. I suppose the name of the organisation that represents Israel and the policy the absolute majority supports of bombing the living daylights out of Gaza as Let the People Die (LPD). I suppose alleviating suffering is important only for animals.

Since its beginnings in 1986, LAL has sheltered and found homes for 35,000 dogs and cats, neutered 50,000 strays, and provided veterinary care to thousands of abused horses, donkeys, crocodiles, dolphins, camels, and members of other species.

LAL’s lobbying efforts have resulted in Israeli legislation banning practices such as exportation of dogs and cats to the Philippines for food; “entertaining” dog fights and matches between men and crocodiles; baboon breeding for experiments; university laboratory experiments on monkeys; and the exploitation of wild animals by circus owners. It is also working to stop the importation of live animals for slaughter.

Again, it seems odd that since vegetarianism is not part of the canonical Jewish diet, it stands to reason that animals that are slaughtered first have to be alive. This might be another name for protectionism, but I was also under the impression that the strict dietary laws for observant Jews would seek to bring the animals in alive, so that the butcher could apply the correct steps to the slaughter. Oh well… this one will just remain a mystery to me.

Altman’s assistant general manager, Ilan Lusky, explains to ISRAEL21c that the organization first learned that lions in the Gaza Zoo were in distress at the end of 2007. Their food supply was limited because of blockades in the wake of attacks on Israeli border towns.

Now, how could they imagine that the king of the jungle would have its share of meat if there was nothing coming in even for humans? And, not to neglect, they have to insist in the propaganda that the blockade was caused by Palestinians… sure… sure.

Altman made phone call after phone call to Hamas government officials, determined to take the lions to a foster home in Israel. The offer was consistently refused.

Well, check that out! They were sure they could waltz right out of there with the animals in the zoo, and they expect us to believe they were calling Hamas officials to arrange it! That’s a mighty tall story!

Animals living in terrible conditions

But as the dawning of 2009 brought with it retaliatory Israeli raids on Gaza, Altman renewed her efforts to assist the zoo.

Double dose of propaganda: the war is called “retaliatory raids” and the dear activist is very worried about the occupants of the zoo, so compassionate are Israeli hearts…. Hamas would prefer, it is thus implied from the previous paragraph, to let the poor beasts die.

“We found out that the situation there was terrible,” says Lusky. “Many animals died in the bombings, and the remaining animals were living in poor conditions. We said, ‘Let’s put politics aside and take care of the animals.’ We were not giving up.”

This segment is so absurd, it really doesn’t deserve a comment. It speaks for itself.

Altman worked around refusals of direct aid by establishing contacts with government officials and Palestinian and international animal-relief groups such as Veterinary World Service. The Israeli Ministry of Defense granted permission for the entry of 30 truckloads of oats, hay, and veterinary supplies into Gaza. LAL volunteers brought in the goods over a period of weeks and transferred them to local Arabs for delivery. The last two trucks were dispatched on Tuesday.

An official “thank you” was neither forthcoming nor anticipated.

Are you laughing too?

“We’re not waiting for medals or prizes,” says Lusky. “Officially, they don’t want our help. But we did get thanked by our international partner groups, and we know from our Palestinian contacts that the donations went to the right places.”

It seems they feel bad about not getting thanked for the oats. But… the question begs, since when do lions eat oats?

LAL also launched a campaign to bring relief to pets affected on both sides of the conflict. Many pets were abandoned when their owners fled, or went hungry because they were unable to earn a living while under siege.

Again, the extent of the enormous human drama is not even hinted at… people fleeing, starving, unemployed and desperate under a seige worse than what would have been done in the middle ages. It’s the pets, folks, the pets have to be allowed to live, they don’t vote Hamas.

Pets deserted in bombed cities

During the war, Altman went to hard-hit southern Israeli cities with veterinarians and other volunteers to help local animal-welfare groups rescue homeless animals and distribute donated food. This initiative has extended beyond the ceasefire.

“There is an unbelievable situation with deserted pets in bombed cities such as Sderot and Ashkelon,” says Lusky. “These cities are trying to take of their people, and there is no money for the animals. Because of budgetary constraints, animals are at the bottom of the list.”

You read a sentence, “bombed cities”, you think of Gaza City, Khan Younis, Rafah… not to the LAL folks.

LAL’s shelter in Ramla houses 200 dogs and 70 cats, some of them war refugees. Lusky coordinates volunteers at the shelter, and welcomes help from tourists.

If LAL can raise enough money, it will set up free veterinary clinics in war-ravaged areas. In cooperation with Israeli pet supermarket Pet Point, it is offering emergency care packages for purchase through letlive.org.il.

And if donors are found to foot the bill of $170-$350 per truckload, LAL hopes to continue sending aid to the Gaza Zoo and to domestic animals in Gaza.

In fact, although offers to find new homes for Gazan animals in Israel still are being rebuffed, Altman dares to hope that a continuing relationship can ease hostilities.

And why should they give up their animals? To make a propaganda tool even bigger than the one of the lorryloads of oats? Wouldn’t access to food and supplies be the best solution for humans and animals? This is not something that the LAL people would consider, surely.

“In light of this humanitarian effort, I have no doubt we can save many of the animals in the place,” says Altman. “I am hoping that through the animals we will be able to draw the two sides closer together.”

For information on donating or volunteering, call Ilan Lusky, +972-3-624-1776, ext 5.

http://www.israel21c.org/bin/en.jsp?enDispWho=Articles%5El2462&enPage=BlankPage&enDisplay=view&enDispWhat=object&enVersion=0&enZone=Democracy&

Having left Gaza now, I am trying to come to terms with what I saw, what I heard and honestly, what I don’t think I will ever understand  is the justification.  While Israel’s recent offensive has been the most egregious of any historical attack upon the Palestinians in Gaza, it is just that, one of many.  Gaza has been under Israeli bombardment and sanctions for many years.  Prior to the Israeli pullout in 2005, Gaza was under the complete control and occupation of Israel.  Nearly 8000 Israeli settlers occupied 40% of Gaza while the 1.5 million Palestinians occupied the remaining 60%.  Settlements were located on the most fertile lands and along Gaza’s beautiful coastal regions and checkpoints prevented Palestinian mobility.  Despite being one-fifth the size of Rhode Island, 25 miles long by 4-7.5 miles wide, Gaza was divided into three sections and Palestinians had to pass through multiple checkpoints to get from one section to the next.  Often Israeli forces would close these checkpoints and not allow the Palestinians access to the other regions in Gaza as a form of collective punishment.
 
Yet with Israel’s pullout in 2005, the Palestinian experience has not improved.  Rather, it has become even more unpredictable and isolated.  Palestinians who celebrated the exodus of the Israeli settlers and the return of their land could not have imagined what would follow and how Israel would subsequently unleash its brutal force against them.  As the saying goes, nothing in life is free and the Palestinians have paid, and continue to pay, a dear and unforgivable price for Israel’s withdrawal from their legally rightful land.
 
From the first moments of Israel’s military campaign on December 27, Israel’s indifference to civilian casualties was clear.  Its first attacks started at around 11:30 AM, at a time when children leave the morning session of school and the afternoon students arrive.  The streets were packed with civilians,­ children no less.  Within moments, hundreds of Palestinians were killed and even more Palestinians were injured (at least 280 Palestinians were killed on the first day, and 700 wounded, including more than a dozen policemen attending a graduation ceremony at the Gaza City police station).  One of the little girls in Jabalia told me that she was in school when the attacks started.  She fainted from the overwhelming fear and was not able to go home and see her family for days.  When she did go home, she remembers seeing dead and injured bodies stranded all over street and hearing the thundering sound of missiles falling.
 
In its offensive, Israel attacked UNRWA warehouses, schools, mosques, civilian neighborhoods, businesses, factories, hospitals, universities and the media center.  Its attacks took place during the day, night, during temporary ceasefires, and often without any notice or warning.  I would ask the Palestinians I met who had lost loved ones in the recent incursion whether they were warned about an oncoming attack by some flyer or radio announcement.  The majority would laugh at my question.  “Why would I stay in my home if I knew that it was going to be attacked?  Do you think I want to die?  Do you think I would want to put my family and children in danger?”  Most of the Palestinians had no notice that they were going to be attacked and bombarded until it was too late, and at that point, all they could do was stay in their homes, far from any window or door, and pray that their house would not be next.
 
Those, like Majid Fathi Abd al-Aziz al-Najjar, who were warned, tended to flee to “safer” areas.  Majid and his wife and children resided in a border town in Khan Younis.  Shortly after the start of its incursion, the Israeli military dropped flyers on his town, a copy of which he showed me.  It said in Arabic that militants had entered your area and as a result we are forced to react and attack this area.  Yet these flyers were only dropped in the center of town and Majid did not even realize that they were dropped until after the attacks on his way to see the rubble that used to be his home.  Realizing that Israeli tanks were planning on entering Gaza and would destroy anything that would block their entry, Majid packed his family and fled to his relative’s home far from the border, in an area deemed safe.  Yet at 10 PM on January 3, 2009, a white phosphorus missile strayed off course and rammed right into the home that Majid and his family had taken refuge in, along with 15-20 other Palestinians.  The missile came through the roof and broke through the wall and hit Majid’s wife, Hanan Abd al-Ghani al-Najjar, dead center in her chest.  She died immediately upon impact.  Six or seven others, including Hanan’s elderly mother and Hanan and Majid’s daughter were severely injured by shrapnel and rushed to the hospital.  Whereas Majid thought he had fled from certain death in his home on the border, death followed him to his place of refuge.  Yet the sad reality is that no matter where Majid fled, no place in Gaza was safe.  Hanan’s death was not the unpredictable result of a misguided missile, but rather the predictable consequence of a one-sided war waged by the fifth largest army against a population that is trapped within a prison and weakened by decades of occupation and years of blockade.  
 
While Israel has perfected its many excuses in justifying innocent Palestinian death and destruction (“there were militants present…well we thought there were militants present” ,”we warned them but they did not to leave”, “missiles were being fired from that [insert location here]“, “we are investigating this attack”, “it was an accident”), Israel has fallen short of providing actual evidence to substantiate killing people like Hanan Al-Najjar, Kassab Shurrab, Mahmoud Masharrawi, Sabha’s husband and the majority of others killed.  After attacking the UN-operated al-Fakhura School in Jabalia on January 6, where many families had taken refuge and killing at least 40 innocent women and children and injuring dozens more, Israel made a rare attempt to actually justify its attacks.  Not only did Israel use one of its staple excuses (“militants were firing from inside the school”), but it actually showed a video of militants firing mortars from the school.  Within a matter of days, though, the video was dated to 2007 and till now, Israel has not provided us with another staple excuse of why, two years later, the al-Fakhura School was attacked and the hundreds of Palestinian civilians were killed and injured. 
 
How does Israel explain the executions, the shooting of Palestinians point blank in cold blood?  How does it justify Israeli soldiers shooting Kassab Shurrab with five bullets across the chest as he came out of his car with his hands to his side, especially as one of the Palestinian hostages sitting blindfolded by the soldiers heard the commander tell the soldier in Hebrew to shoot the civilians that were driving down the road.  What about the two daughters of Khaled Abed Rabbo, Amal, age 2, and Suaad, age 7, murdered by an Israeli soldier using a semi-automatic rifle before their father’s eyes as the other Israeli soldiers ate chips and chocolate?  Let us not forget about Sameer Rashid Mohammad Mohammad, a 43 year old UNRWA worker, who was separated from his family by Israeli soldiers and taken to a separate room and shot in the chest?  For four days after killing Sameer, Israeli soldiers held his family hostage and would make the family prepare the murdered Sameer food.  Only when the Israeli soldiers left their home, did Sameer’s children see that their father was executed and by their father’s dead and bleeding body were piles of food.  How about Farah al-Halo, 1.5 years of age, who was shot in the stomach when her family was forced to evacuate from their home at 6:30 PM by Israeli soldiers who assured them of their safety?  Only 50 meters down the road they were shot at by other Israeli soldiers.  Farah, with her intestines spilling from her stomach, died on the side of the road a few hours later as the same soldiers that had assured their safety watched.
 
Further, how can Israel explain its use of the Palestinians as human shields?  Upon entering a village, Israeli soldiers would separate the men from the women.  Sami Rashid Mohammad Mohammad, Sameer’s brother, was taken as a hostage and forced to accompany the Israeli soldiers for four days.  He was handcuffed and blindfolded and made to walk in front of the Israeli tanks and soldiers as bullets would whiz by.  At other times, he was made to sit on his knees in an open field for hours while Israeli soldiers would shoot from behind him and often at his feet.  These Palestinians were nothing more than entertainment for the soldiers, a child’s play toy.  When I asked Sami whether he saw any Palestinian militants during his time as a human shield, he laughed and said that he only saw Israeli soldiers with their blackened faces and camouflage outfits.  “It was only Israeli soldiers shooting at each other,” he remarked.  It is thus no wonder that between four to six Israeli soldiers were killed and 24 others injured in “friendly fire.”
 
Additionally, how can Israel explain the humiliation tactics it used against the Palestinians such as forcing Palestinian ambulance drivers to abandon their ambulance cars and drive donkey carts to pick up the dead and wounded as if to equate Palestinians with donkeys?  The soldiers would grant the ambulance drivers half an hour to clear the area using donkey carts and threatened to shoot after half an hour.  And what about the racist remarks painted on the walls of the Palestinian homes?  One of my co-delegates took pictures of the Hebrew writings graffitied on the walls of some of the Palestinian homes we visited in Zeitoun and had a friend translate them.  Among the things written were: “Death to Arabs”, “War now between Arabs and Jews”, “An Arab brave is an Arab in a grave” “Bad to the Arab=good for me”, “He who dreams Givati [Israeli infantry brigade] does not expel Jews. He who dreams Givati kills Arabs!!!”
 
The reality is that Israel cannot explain or justify any of these things, nor does it even care to do so.  When Israel’s staple excuses are not readily consumed or when it is examined under a critical lens, Israel applies another tactic­ threat and demonization.  Israel has created one of the strongest lobby organizations in the U.S., AIPAC, which actively demonizes any opponent or criticizer of the State of Israel.  Due to John Ging’s, the Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), open opposition to Israel’s attacks in Gaza and his call for the investigation of Israeli attacks, he has been demonized and AIPAC recently introduced House Resolution 29 attacking UNRWA and alleging that it supports terrorists.  Even I have received a few threatening emails upon the issuance of NLG’s Press Report which documented some of our findings.  One of the emails indicated that I, along with the other attorneys, will have our careers followed.  As the email stated, “Israel is smart not stupid, and will continue to do what they must as will America to survive even over the bodies of their leaders if necessary.” 

Almost every Palestinian I met in Gaza believes that Israel’s recent attack will only be followed by another bloodier and more deadly attack on Gaza that will exterminate the Palestinians once and for all.  Considering the history of attacks on Gaza, the level of atrocities recently committed in Gaza and the lack of international redress, I do not think that these statements are mere paranoia.  Israel must be held accountable for its crimes in Gaza lest it commit larger and more egregious crimes in the future.  As one who has been trained in the legal profession, I demand that Israel engage the legal arena and provide the international community with real evidence, and not just staple excuses and dated videos, that can justify every single civilian murder and the widespread d estruction of Palestinian civil society.  Until Israel is able to do so, the evidence in Gaza leads anyone willing to visit to the inevitable conclusion that Israel has committed war crimes.

Two Surgeons from the UK, Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah and Dr Swee Ang, managed to get into Gaza during the Israeli invasion. Here they describe their experiences, share their views, and conclude that the people of Gaza are extremely vulnerable and defenseless in the event of another attack.

The wounds of Gaza are deep and multi-layered. Are we talking about the Khan Younis massacre of 5,000  in 1956 or the execution  of 35,000 prisoners of war by Israel in 1967? Yet more wounds of the First Intifada, when civil disobedience by an occupied people against the occupiers resulted in massive wounded and hundreds dead?  We also cannot discount the 5,420 wounded in southern Gaza alone since 2000. Hence what we are referring to below are only that of the invasion as of 27 December 2008,
Over the period of 27 December 2008 to the ceasefire of 18 Jan 2009, it was estimated that a million and a half tons of explosives were dropped on Gaza Strip. Gaza is 25 miles by 5 miles and home to 1.5 million people. This makes it the most crowded area in the whole world. Prior to this Gaza has been completely blockaded and starved for 50 days.  In fact since the Palestinian election Gaza has been under total or partial blockade for several years.

On the first day of the invasion, 250 persons were killed.  Every single police station in Gaza was bombed killing large numbers of police officers. Having wiped out the police force attention was turned to non government targets.  Gaza was bombed from the air by F16 and Apache helicopters,  shelled from the sea by Israeli gunboats and from the land by tank artillery. Many schools were reduced to rubble,  including the American School of Gaza, 40 mosques, hospitals, UN buildings, and of course 21,000 homes, 4,000 of which were demolished completely. It is estimated that 100,000 people are now homeless.

Israeli weapons
The weapons used apart from conventional bombs and high explosives also include unconventional weapons of which at least 4 categories could be identified.

Phosphorus Shells and bombs
The bombs dropped were described by eye witnesses as exploding at high altitude scattering a large canopy of phosphorus bomblets which cover a large area.

During the land invasion, eyewitnesses describe the tanks shelling into homes first with a conventional shell. Once the walls are destroyed, a second shell – a phosphorus shell is then shot into the homes.  Used in this manner the phosphorus explodes and burns the families and the homes. Many charred bodies were found among burning phosphorus particles.
One area of concern is the phosphorus  seems to be in a special stabilizing agent. This  results in the phosphorus being more stable and not completely burning out.  Residues still cover the fields, playground and compounds. They ignite when picked up by curious kids, or produce fumes when farmers return to water their fields. One returning farming family on watering their field met with clouds of fumes producing epistaxis.  Thus the phosphorus residues probably treated with a stabilizer also act as anti-personnel  weapons against children and make the return to normal life difficult without certain hazards.

Surgeons from hospitals are also reporting cases where after primary laparotomy for relatively small wounds with minimal contamination find on second look laparotomy  increasing areas of tissue necrosis at about 3 days.  Patients then become gravely ill and by about 10 days those patients needing a third relook encounter massive liver necrosis. This may or may not be accompanied by generalized bleeding , kidney failure and heart failure and death. Although acidosis, liver necrosis and sudden cardiac arrest due to hypocalcemia are known to be a complication of white phosphorus it is not possible to attribute these complications as being due to phosphorus alone.

There is real urgency to analyze and identify the real nature of this modified phosphorus as to its long term effect on the people of Gaza. There is also urgency in collecting and disposing of the phosphorus residues littering the entire Gaza Strip. As they give off toxic fumes when coming into contact with water, once the rain falls the whole area would be polluted with acid phosphorus fumes. Children should be warned not to handle and play with these phosphorus residues.

Heavy Bombs
The use of DIME (dense inert material explosives) were evident, though it is unsure whether depleted uranium were used in the south.  In the civilian areas, surviving patients were found to have limbs truncated by DIME, since the stumps apart from being characteristically cut off in guillotine fashion also fail to bleed. Bomb casing and shrapnel are  extremely heavy.

Fuel Air Explosives
Bunker busters and implosion bombs have been used . There are buildings especially the 8 storey  Science and Technology Building of the Islamic University of Gaza which had been reduced to a pile of rubble no higher than 5-6 feet.

Silent Bombs
People in Gaza described a silent bomb which is extremely destructive.  The bomb arrives as a silent projectile at most with a whistling sound and creates a large area where all objects and living things are vaporized with minimal trace.  We are unable to fit this into conventional weapons but the possibility of new particle weapons being tested should be suspected.

Executions
Survivors describe Israeli tanks arriving in front of homes asking residents to come out. Children, old people and women would come forward and as they were lined up they were just fired on and killed. Families have lost tens of their members through such executions. The deliberate targeting of unarmed children and women is well documented by human right groups in the Gaza Strip over the past month.

Targeting of ambulances
Thirteen ambulances had been fired upon killing drivers and first aid personnel in the process of rescue and evacuation of the wounded.

Cluster bombs
The first patients wounded by cluster were brought into Abu Yusef Najjar Hospital.  Since more than 50% of the tunnels have been destroyed, Gaza has lost part of her lifeline. These tunnels contrary to popular belief are not for weapons, though small light weapons could have been smuggled through them.  However they are the main stay of food and fuel for Gaza. 

Palestinians are beginning to tunnel again. However it became clear that cluster bombs were dropped on to the Rafah border and the first was accidentally set of by tunneling.  Five burns patients were brought in after setting off a booby trap kind of device.

Death toll
As of 25 January 2009, the death toll was estimated at 1,350 with the numbers increasing daily. This is due to the severely wounded continuing to die in hospitals. 60% of those killed were children.

Severe injuries
The severely injured numbered 5,450, with 40% being children. These are mainly large burns and polytrauma patients.  Single limb fractures and walking wounded are not included in these figures.

Through our conversations with doctors and nurses the word holocaust and catastrophe were repeatedly used. The medical staff all bear the psychological trauma of the past month living though the situation and dealing with mass casualties which swamped their casualties and operating rooms. Many patients died in the Accident and Emergency Department while awaiting treatment. In a district hospital, the orthopaedic surgeon carried out 13 external fixations in less than a day.

It is estimated that of the severely injured, 1,600 will suffer permanently disabilities. These include amputations, spinal cord injuries, head injuries, large burns with crippling contractures.

Special factors
The death and injury toll is especially high in this recent assault due to several factors:

No escape:  As Gaza is sealed by Israeli troops, no one can escape the bombardment and the land invasion. There is simply no escape. Even within the Gaza Strip itself, movement from north to south is impossible as Israeli tanks had cut the northern half of Gaza from the south. Compare this with the situation in Lebanon 1982 and 2006, when it was possible for people to escape from an area of heavy bombardment to an area of relative calm – there was no such is option for Gaza.

Gaza is very densely populated.  It is eerie to see that the bombs used by Israel have been precision bombs. They have a hundred percent hit rate on buildings which are crowded with people. Examples are the central market, police stations. Schools, the UN compounds used as a safety shelter from bombardment, mosques (40 of them destroyed), and the homes of families who thought they were safe as there were no combatants in them and high rise flats where a single implosion bomb would destroy multiple families.  This pattern of consistent targeting of civilians makes one suspect that the military targets are but collateral damage, while civilians are the primary targets.

The quantity and quality of the ammunition being used as described above.
Gaza’s lack of defense against the modern weapons of Israel. She has no tanks, no planes, no anti-aircraft missiles against the invading army.  We experienced that first hand in a minor clash of Israeli tank shells versus Palestinian AK47 return fire.  The forces were simply unmatched.

Absence of well constructed bomb shelters for civilians. Unfortunately these will also be no match for bunker busters possessed by the Israeli Army.

Conclusion
Taking the above points into consideration, the next assault on Gaza would be just as disastrous. The people of Gaza are extremely vulnerable and defenseless in the event of another attack. If the International Community is serious about preventing such a large scale of deaths and injuries in the future, it will have to develop a some sort of defense force for Gaza. Otherwise, many more vulnerable  civilans will continue to die.

Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah and Dr Swee Ang
(Franklin, thanks for sending!!)

The rebuilding of Gaza has become the latest siege weapon. The Israeli occupation, the US that had backed its offensive, and the EU which did nothing to stop it are conspiring to turn the reconstruction process into a means to produce a suitable “peace partner” while the Arab summit in Kuwait hopes to use it to bring about Palestinian reconciliation. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority (PA) government is urging all parties and others to look to it as the sole channel for administering the construction process on the grounds that it is the government formed by the Palestine Liberation Organisation that is recognised as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Soon we will see that freezing reconstruction will become the tool of all those parties for extracting from the resistance what they have been unable to gain from three weeks of warfare and the long blockade that preceded it.

Israel, the occupying power, is determined to keep a tight grip on the reconstruction process, which is why it sustained its closure of the border crossing following its “unilateral” ceasefire. Indeed, this is why it declared the ceasefire unilaterally: it did not want to be bound by any agreement — the Egyptian initiative or any other framework — that would oblige it to lift the embargo, if only partially, in order to facilitate reconstruction. Tel Aviv has also been seeking to obtain “guarantees” from international agencies such as UNWRA. On 19 January Reuters reported that Western diplomats revealed that Israel had asked the UN and other agencies to submit itemised lists of the goods, equipment and staff that they intend to send into Gaza, whether for urgent relief or for the more long-term reconstruction process. According to these sources, Israel plans to keep close tabs on these processes by insisting that the various agencies obtain its approval in advance for every project. One of the conditions for that approval will be that the project will not benefit Hamas or its government in Gaza. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has appointed Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog as coordinator of the Gaza reconstruction drive.

The US not only fully supports Israel on this; it is open about using the reconstruction process to help the PA reassert its authority and influence in Gaza. The EU is equally frank in its approval. EU External Relations Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner made clear that the EU would not contribute to reconstruction unless Gaza produced a viable peace partner and that it would not make aid available to a government led by Hamas. A high-level European diplomat was reported by Reuters as saying that this was “a recipe for failure”. “Let’s be realistic. If the PA is going to be responsible, its leadership and institutions have to exist on the ground. Right now none of that does,” he said.

It is patently clear that to Tel Aviv, Washington and Brussels the assertion of PA rule over Gaza is the strongest argument for holding off reconstruction as a Damocles sword over Gaza, and for the occupying power this condition is its strongest “guarantee” for sustaining its grip on that sword. The fear now is that Israel and the international powers that have helped it to perpetuate its occupation since 1967 will use a Palestinian façade buttressed by official Arab support to stage a repeat in Gaza of the Iraq experience in the wake of the 1991 war when reconstruction and development were perpetually deferred in order to further weaken the country preparatory to toppling the regime through the invasion that took place in 2003. It may or may not be a coincidence that the Israeli invasion of Gaza ended almost on the same date that the war against Iraq started 18 years ago. Nor does it bode well for the aftermath of a “regime change” scenario in Gaza that Iraq’s infrastructure today, six days after the Saddam regime was toppled, is worse than it was beforehand.

The attempt to engineer such a scenario can be seen in PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s appeal to the Arab summit last week to channel the reconstruction process through the PA and its institutions, an appeal echoed by World Bank President Robert Zoellick who met with Abbas on the fringes of the summit in Kuwait. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and other Western leaders had proposed creating a temporary international committee to oversee the funding and organisation of the reconstruction effort. However, Abbas and his supporters rejected such a mechanism on the grounds that “it presumes that the separation between Gaza and the West Bank will continue,” as acting PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad put it, adding that international donors who are eager to reconstruct Gaza “will risk deepening the Palestinian division by ignoring the role of the PA”.

The PA’s stance, if followed, would condemn Arab pledges made in Kuwait — as well as any pledges made in a possible international conference on the reconstruction of Gaza called for by Egypt, the PA and the EU president — to remain pending until such time as a “viable peace partner” secures a steady seat in Gaza.

Although the participants at the Kuwaiti summit stressed the need for the reconstruction of Gaza in principle, they failed to reach an agreement over the mechanism. Differences between leaders obstructed a proposal to create a reconstruction fund and the most participants managed to agree upon was to make reconstruction contingent upon Palestinian reconciliation, a task they designated to Arab foreign ministers without setting a date or place for a ministerial meeting for this purpose, leaving us with the question as to when and how Arab ministers are to succeed where their heads of state failed.

Of course this procrastination through delegating makes the pledge to reconstruct Gaza barely worth the paper it was written on and will probably consign it to the same oblivion fated for so many other Arab summit resolutions. One of those forgotten resolutions was that adopted by the emergency Arab summit in Cairo in October 2000 calling for the creation of an Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem Fund for the purpose of reconstructing Palestinian infrastructure, especially in the sectors of healthcare, education, agriculture and housing. Apparently Arab leaders in Kuwait did not wish to recall that that resolution did not restrict the distribution of funds through the channel of the PA but also provided for other channels such as UNWRA, the Egyptian and Qatari Red Crescents, the Jordanian Royal Philanthropic Organisation, the UN Arab Gulf Programme and other such regional and international humanitarian agencies. Perhaps, too, they did not want to remind anyone that when that earlier resolution was passed there was no “Hamas problem” behind which are hiding those who do not really want to reconstruct the occupied territories, whether in Gaza or in the West Bank.

The underlying reason why the Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem Fund was not adopted by the Kuwaiti summit as a mechanism for the reconstruction of Gaza is that the urgent humanitarian mission has been politicised whereas it should remain above the political fray between Palestinians, Arabs, foreign powers and everyone else whose voices are loud enough to drown out the appeals of those in need. There is nothing to debate about humanitarian relief. The Israeli offensive destroyed all the civil infrastructure of the government in Gaza on the grounds that it served as bases for Hamas whereas in fact it was PA infrastructure paid for by taxpayers in donor countries. Whole residential quarters were flattened, totally destroying 4,000 homes and severely damaging around 16,000 more. There are now some 100,000 civilians in urgent need of shelter, temporarily accommodated in some 12 refuges opened by UNWRA in schools that were also targeted by Israeli guns and therefore need to be repaired as well. In addition, agricultural land ruined by bombardment has to be reclaimed, potable water needs to be supplied to half a million Palestinians, electricity has to be restored to about the same number of people, and about 80 per cent of the inhabitants of Gaza are in urgent need of food relief (these are all UN estimates). Any political argument for postponing such urgent aid is morally outrageous.

The Israeli list of “prohibited materials” even before its offensive includes such items as iron, steel and cement, which are now absolutely vital to reconstruction. UN Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes pointed out this self-evident truth in a statement last Tuesday saying that if Israel refuses to allow in construction materials reconstruction cannot begin.

It is equally obvious that to adopt the PA as the sole channel for reconstruction financing is to effectively allow the occupying power, which destroyed Gaza, to supervise reconstruction. It is hardly possible to expect the PA, which is at Israel’s every beck and call, to independently and effectively manage the reconstruction process by remote control from Ramallah, let alone release funding for projects without Israel’s prior approval. Remember that President Abbas, himself, pleaded the difficulty of obtaining an Israeli exit permit on short notice as the reason he did not appear at the Doha summit on Gaza, according to Qatari Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamed Ben Jasem Al Thani. Also, only two months ago, Abbas’s government in Ramallah could not disburse salaries to some 70,000 PA government employees who are believed paid to stay home because of the internal Palestinian rift. If, as acting Prime Minister Fayyad repeats on every occasion, the PA is unable to deliver the budgetary allocation to Gaza, which is about half of its total budget, how can that government be relied upon to deliver the funds that have been pledged — or will be pledged — for reconstruction?

Kuwait, for one, acted correctly when instead of waiting for the Arab summit to reach an agreement it donated $34 million directly to UNRWA. Similarly, Norway donated 20 million kroner to organisations capable of reaching civilians directly in Gaza, such as the International Red Cross. Such noble examples confirm the existence of practical, serious channels for meeting urgent humanitarian needs. These should not be made pawn to the demand for the arrival of a Palestinian “peace partner” to Gaza, contrary to the insistence of PA Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki in Kuwait that everything had to be coordinated with the PA “in all fields” before beginning the relief and reconstruction process. If that demand is met, nothing could be more guaranteed to subject the reconstruction process to the whims of the occupying power and turn it into another way to besiege Gaza in order to bring it to its knees.

* The writer is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit on the West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. This article was translated from Arabic and published by Al-Ahram Weekly, Issue No. 932, 29 January – 4 February 2009.

Source: http://en.timeturk.com/nicola-nasser-gaza-new-siege-mechanism–377-yazisi.html TimeTurk

The World Economic Forum at Davos had an incredible moment of truth… After Shimon Peres was allowed to justify the wanton killing that the Jewish State engaged in over the territory they have strangled with their inhumane blockade, (and received applause for it by the men and women waiting for their champaign glasses to be filled after the dinner that of course was more important to them than hearing the words of the Prime Minister of the largest European State with a Muslim majority and one of the most strategic areas on the face of the earth), Tayyip Erdogan begins to respond to the barrage of filth poured out by Peres.

At the moment, our Turkish translators in www.tlaxcala.es are getting a verbatim translation of the intervention, which we will post up here as soon as it is available, but in the meantime,

Here is a translation found here: http://video.aol.com/video-detail/turkish-prime-minister-erdogan-leaves-the-debate-in-davos-translation/3833761515/?icid=VIDURVNWS06

Moderator: There was a heated debate here. This is a discussion that can

last for hours. We are already out of time.
Erdogan: One minute.
Moderator: Mr. President, well, you know
Erdodan: One minute, one minute! No! One minute.
Moderator: Ok, but I want you not to speak more than one minute.
Erdogan: Mr. Peres, you are older than me. Your voice is very loud. I know that you are speaking aloud because of the requirement of a sense of guilt. My voice will not be that loud. About murdering, you know killing very well. I am well aware how you murdered children on beaches. Two former prime ministers of your country had important sayings to me. You have former prime ministers who say When I entered Palestine over armed combat cars, I consider myself more and more pleased. I can give their names, maybe some of you wonder. Besides, I condemn those of you who applaud this persecution. Because applauding these killers who murdered those children, who massacred those people is, I believe, also another crime committed against humanity. Look, we cannot disregard a reality here. Here, I jotted down a lot of notes, but I dont have time to answer all of them. But, I will say you only two things:
Moderator: Excuse me Prime Minister, we can’t start the debate again.
Erdogan: Excuse me. First, excuse me, do NOT interrupt me! First, The Old Testament says in the 6th commandment: You shall not kill! But there is murder here. Second, this is also very interesting. Gilad Atzmon, a Jew himself, says: Israeli barbarity is far beyond even ordinary cruelty. Besides, Avi Shlaim, Professor of Oxford who performed his military duty in Israeli army, says in the Guardian the following:
Moderator: Prime Minister, Prime Minister. I wanna ask to our host.
Erdogan: Israel became a gangster state. (to the moderator) I thank you, too. For me, Davos is done for me from now on. I will not come again. You all know this in this way. You are not letting us speak. (Showing Peres) He spoke for 25 minutes, but you let e speak 12 minutes. No way!

********************

Well, we at PTT think several things must be said:
1) More leaders should have the courage to speak out about the atrocities and to isolate Israel from sitting on a stage and endorsing their violence, which has no justification. That Erdogan did this, (and used also as his source writing by one of our editors, Gilad Atzmon), can only encourage us in our belief that sooner or later even people responsible for the guiding of a country numbering almost 63 million people, will stand up to Israel and say enough is enough. We are waiting for other Leaders to follow, the ice has been broken.

2) To state the obvious is no longer verboten. Things have to be called with their names, a State that is a menace to humanity and violent beyond all decency MUST be denounced in the loudest terms possible. We can’t walk on eggshells anymore. For a leader to express the thoughts of his people (finally) rather than to kowtow to some impossible situation of sitting on the fence (and Turkey in many ways is a nation that has a lot to answer for in past and recent atrocities, as well as its position of support for the invasion of Iraq) moves a step in the right direction. It is NOT in the interests of Turkey to acquiesce all horrors and violence just to stay in the club. It is sometimes BEST to walk off when you realise the platform is there to present a justification for what cannot be justified. We believe that this brave action, widely appreciated by millions, is the first of a series. Of the entire Davos Forum, this was the moment cited in the news.. It is food for thought.

3) NO normalisation with Israel until they accept the rules of International Law. Thank you PM Erdogan, for listening to us, for using our words, and for using that international platform for expressing the views that we know millions of humanitarian people hold. You are enabling all of us.
Palestine Think Tank

Erdogan gets hero’s welcome upon his return to Turkey

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE50T20E20090130?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0

(excerpt)

By Paul de Bendern

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan received a hero’s welcome on his return to Istanbul on Friday after accusing Israel of “knowing very well how to kill” during a heated debate at the World Economic Forum.

Erdogan stormed out of a debate on Israel’s Gaza offensive on Thursday, and vowed he might never return to the annual gathering of the rich and powerful in Davos.

President Shimon Peres had launched a fiery defense of his country’s offensive in Gaza over the past month, and with a raised voice and pointed finger, questioned what Erdogan would do if rockets were fired at Istanbul every night.

“When it comes to killing, you know very well how to kill,” Erdogan, visibly angry, responded as he sat next to Peres at the debate, which also included United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Arab League chief Amr Moussa.

Turkey, a predominantly Muslim but secular country that historically has had good ties with Israel and the Arab world, played a role in helping broker an end to the Gaza offensive this month, particularly by lobbying the Islamist Hamas group to declare a ceasefire.

Thousands of people gathered at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport to greet Erdogan when he returned, waving Turkish and Palestinian flags and chanting “Turkey is proud of you.”

“Our people would have expected the same reaction from any Turkish prime minister,” he told a news conference at Ataturk airport on Friday morning after speaking to the crowd.

“This was a matter of the esteem and prestige of my country. Hence, my reaction had to be clear. I could not have allowed anyone to poison the prestige and in particular the honor of my country,” he said.

“Our reproaches are not against the Israeli people or Jews. Our reproach is totally against the Israeli administration,” Erdogan said.

Soon after we had seen a unilateral ceasefire from Israel followed by the withdrawal of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) after a 22-day assault on the Gaza Strip, we hear the usual two sides of the story, from both Israel and Hamas, each one claiming that Victory was on its Side and all goals were achieved. Either by “Eliminating Hamas Infrastructures and putting an end to the weapon smuggling through underground tunnels” or by “Showing that Hamas Militants stood still facing the state-of-the-Art destructive ‘American-made’ technology by the hands of the Zionists” and how it was able with it’s humble capabilities to push IDF back with bare hands renewing the memory of Israel Defeat in the minds of those who witnessed the Lebanon War in 2006.

Whether Hamas or Israel won, it would matter no more. After all, thousands of Civilians have paid the price in this war, fed their innocent blood to the barrels of the Israeli machine guns and the Zionist bloodthirsty grenades and missiles.

While War Crimes were committed in Gaza, Countries were silently watching it on the media screens and when they decided to act positively towards this horrible situation, they decided to watch some more. Each country (whether, Arab or non-Arab) carrying its hidden agenda, shutting every spokesmen’s mouth from speaking out the truth supporting the weak Gazans.

It was not a surprise for us to see former President Bush behaving gloatingly, invoking the mendacious mantra that “Israel has the right to defend itself.” No wonder his era was the bloodiest since Roman times. Neither are we expecting Obama to change the unjust statements that come from the White House. Unfortunately, as Khaled Amayreh said, “the American political environment is too morally barren, Zionist soaked to produce truly moral politicians who would be willing, let alone able, to call the spade a spade, especially when the Zio-Nazi state is concerned.”
Neither was it a surprise to see Egypt has, to some extent, used this conflict, certainly seen it, as a means of weakening Hamas and bringing Mahmud Abbas [the Palestinian President, also known as Abu Mazen] back to a ruling position in Gaza. Since he always played the “good boy” role regarding so-called peace talks with the Zionist state. Not to mention on 06/20/07, Hamas gunmen stormed the Fatah security compounds in Gaza discovering something far more valuable than some American-made weapons and grenades — CIA files which purportedly contain “information about the collaboration between Fatah and the Israeli and American security organizations; CIA methods on how to prevent attacks, chase and follow after cells of Hamas and their Committees; plans about Fatah assassinations of members of Hamas and other organizations; and American studies on the security situation in Gaza.” So eventually Israel had created a pretty good doll to play with to eliminate all the pockets of resistance.

On the controversy, Israel with this attack failed to weaken the ties of loyalty between the Palestinian citizens and Hamas; One of its unfulfilled primary goals was to weaken Hamas’ reputation in Gaza, starting with an absolute Siege preventing any basic supplies from entering to the civilians. Then after the siege was met with complete failure and Gazans bravely stood strong and showed the Zionists they are ready to take more for the sake of free Palestine, the military attack started adding more cuts to the unhealed wounds and more Death to the terminally ill.

We saw many Palestinian demonstrations in the West Bank and even inside Jerusalem supporting the Palestinian Resistance. With no doubt Gazans are more loyal to Hamas than before.

And this only shows that Israel kept on ignoring THE FACT, that there is a big difference between trying to eliminate a group of rebellious militiamen that could be thrown in the cages of surrender by military force and a movement based on a Religious Ideology which had been planted in Palestinian soil for decades, its roots reach deep inside the hearts of Palestinians. Every time trials are made to remove it, it even grows more strong, blossoming it’s Fruits sweeter than ever. And what Israel also learned is the more it presses on the so-called Moderate Arabic leaders, the more the Gap between them and their streets increase. This street rage in the Arabic world will swallow them before their own leaders like “Youssry Fouda” has mentioned in his recent article.

After this Crisis we have witnessed two major outcomes.

(1) If there is a bright spot of hope for Palestinians in the horrific aggressiveness of the last few weeks, it is that Israel’s deployment of disproportionate and blind, indiscriminate violence in Gaza has revealed the abnormality, brutality and pro-Terrorist nature of the occupation for millions of people, especially in the western world, who previously had been unable to perceive it due to the pro-Zionist Media washing the blood from the faces of the Israeli spokesmen before appearing on the news channels.

(2) It was a reckoning day for the Arab and Western Leaders, Arab and International states where all masks were removed and true faces were revealed regarding their devotion/deception, truthfulness/treason, hatred/hope towards a free Palestine for Palestinians.

 

 

WRITTEN BY Sarah Gillepsie


‘What impartiality requires is not that everyone receive equal treatment, but rather that everyone be treated as an equal.’ Ronald Dworkin Taking Rights Seriously. Harvard University Press. 1977, p. 227).

 

BBC director general Mark Thomson can not screen footage of Palestinian suffering in Gaza without compromising his cooperation’s impartiality. At the heart of his obfuscation lays a belief that Palestinian pain is not an objective reality. It is, at best, a subjective possibility, one loaded with the potential to burst into a subversive, destabilizing force.  

 

For activists and supporters who are frequently asked why they devote more energy to Palestine than Darfur or the Congo (the implication being of course that they are anti-Semites) Mark Thomson provides the most succinct answer. For Thomson has no problem whatsoever screening Disaster Emergency Committee films on behalf of Darfur and the Congo. The suffering endured by people in these regions is endorsed by the BBC as a universally acknowledged fact. Screening footage of the humanitarian disaster in Palestine though, sabotages Sky and the BBC’s obligation to be ‘balanced.’ If this was indeed a war, and not genocidal attack, then the BBC could counter their depictions of carnage in Gaza with images of the horrors endured in Sderot. But this is of course impossible. The visual impact of a damaged kitchen doesn’t quite cut it next to the apocalyptic hell hole that is Gaza.

 

Problematically, for a Zionist broadcaster who wants to appear ‘fair’, the humanitarian appeal does not come across as ‘balanced’ because the conflict is not ‘balanced’. Again, the Palestinians are collectively punished for this annoying glitch in egalitarian reporting. Rather than responsibly portray a reality that inevitably induces a condemnation of Israel, these corporations re-brand Palestinian reality as’ journalistic bias.’

 

Thus, the BBC’s refusal to air this film suggests that Palestinian suffering is itself a form of propaganda. Through the lens of the BBC, the screams of kids riddled with phosphorus become anti Israeli screams. The piles of burning concrete become anti-Semitic piles of burning concrete. The howls of grief are Islamist and undemocratic. The lives of children snubbed out in an instant by Israeli bombs may have grown into adults who failed to recognize Israel’s right to exist; that is if Israel had not had the foresight to violate their right to grow up.

 

Perhaps the most menacing aspect of this tragic debacle is Mark Thomson himself. A quick bit of research online ploughs up a surfeit of information proving the man is far from ‘impartial’. His Jewish wife, the scholar Jane Blumfeild, hails from an American family that attends Yeshivas. Evidence suggests that she recently signed a petition campaigning against the anti-Israeli content of the Washington Post. In 2005 she traveled together with her husband to Jerusalem to engage in talks with Ariel Sharon in an attempt to build bridges between the BBC and Israel. According to the Independent , this was an unprecedented gesture by any serving BBC director general. ‘He has a far greater regard for the Israeli cause than some of his predecessors’ a BBC source said. All in all, it is infuriatingly impossible to imagine the reverse; a BBC director general married to a woman from a Wahabi background who petitions news organizations to write pro-Palestinian copy and visits Khaled Meshaal in an attempt to help him out with his PR.

 

The implausible tone of this scenario betrays the catastrophic reality behind Sky and the BBC’s position. It is very clear that, as much as these media institutions champion their Voltaire-esque spiel about covering both sides of every story, at the end of the day their ‘objectivity’ is merely Israeli objectivity.

 

Gerard Kaufman MP elaborates Probably the (BBC’s) attitude has been: ‘Oh this is just too much trouble and it’s too much trouble because of the pressure of the Israelis. This very active and not very pleasant Israeli diplomatic representation in Britain’.

 

With over a million people dependent on aid to survive, the decisions of both corporations, continues the legacy of pathological barbarism carried out by the Jewish state. The Jerusalem Post and some other editorials go slightly further and refer to the DEC film as an ‘advert’ as if just trying to save lives were a sales tactic. Thankfully ordinary human beings are finally able to see through their transparent rhetoric and are doing to their TV licenses what Israel did to Gaza, burning them into obliteration.

I have decided to publish some names and photos of the Israeli military personnel who participated in the so-called “Operation Cast Lead”, the offensive launched by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on the Gaza Strip between 27 December and 18 January 2009. The names of these criminals called my attention since the first day of their criminal attack against the Palestinian civilians in Gaza. I consider each person who took part in this IOF and each one whose name appears in this report as a war criminal who should be requested by an international court of justice, just like all other war criminals who were persecuted before…Colonel Ron Ashrov.jpgThe Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz is conniving with others the war crimes committed in Gaza. These others are Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert and his cabinet of criminals, and the military counterpart, Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit. Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi is equally involved in the war crimes in Gaza. The Attorney General of Israel asked his military counterpart to open a quick investigation among the military as an “alternative” measure to hinder potentially “hundreds” of international lawsuits against Israeli officials alleging war crimes against the Gaza population during the operation has been widely anticipated. There is growing concern in the offices of the Israeli justice and war ministries because they expect a massive wave of lawsuits for human rights violations against Israeli officers and politicians.

Colonel Hartzi Halevi – Paratroops Brigade Commander1The criminal intentions of Menechem Mazuz, namely helping to cover up war crimes of the State of Israel by giving an advice to the military, and by opening a “formal and internal investigations” is a clear fraud planned by the Israeli ministry of justice. Such a behavior is not that of a state, it is the behavior of a criminal organization trying to escape their well deserved punishment.

The military censor of Israel is preventing the media from identifying officers who participated in the Gaza Strip IOF, and divulging information about them which could be used in legal proceedings against them in courts of justice abroad. There is great concern at the defense and the justice ministries that Israeli officers will be singled out in a massive wave of suits for human rights violations.

Eyal Eisenberg2.jpgIn recent days the censor has forbidden publishing the full names and photographs of officers from the level of battalion commander down. It is assumed that the identity of brigade commanders has already been made known. The censor also forbids any reports tying a particular officer of battlefield command rank (lieutenant to lieutenant colonel) to destruction inflicted in a particular area.

The Israeli war criminal number one, Ehud Barak, stated that the State of Israel bears the responsibility for sending IOF troops on missions in Gaza, as well as for defending civilians, and as such it is obligated to grant its full support to these officers and soldiers who participated in the IOF in Gaza. Barak said that no harm should come to officers and soldiers as a result of their Commander of the 401st Brigade Colonel Yigal Slovikinvolvement in the operation.

The war criminal Barak ordered the IOF to set up a team of intelligence and legal experts to collect evidence related to operations in Gaza that could be used to defend military commanders against future lawsuits abroad.

 

Here are Some Names of the Israeli War Criminals who Operated in Gaza 

maj-gen-ido-nehushtan-approved-as-new-iaf-commanderMaj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan, a war criminal, Commander of Israeli air forces which lead all the operation of destruction with tons of phosphorus bombs.

Colonel Ron Ashrov, a war criminal, Commander of the Northern Gaza, deputy to the Givati Brigade.

Brigadier-General Eyal Eisenberg - Commander of all the IOF war criminal forces of “Operation Cast Lead” were under his command in Gaza Division. He personally participated in the war. He commanded the operations, in which Armored and Engineering corps units, as well as infantry soldiers were taking part. Eisenberg also commanded a division during the Second Lebanon War.

colonel-yigal-slovikColonel Yigal Slovik, commander of 401st Armored Corps Brigade convoy, entered Gaza in a Merkava tank from Netzarim and he did not stop until it reached the coast. He murdered the Palestinian civilians who raised the white flags, and he destroyed many houses over the head of the people. The brigade units also conducted numerous raids targeting public infrastructure.

destruction-commander-in-gaza-warSho’alay Marom, Brigadier (res.), razed to the ground hundreds of houses in Rafah, and in Jabalia.

Lt. Col. Yoav Mordechai, he served as a commander of the criminal Golani infantry brigade’s 13th Battalion in Gaza and in the “second Lebanon war”. He attacked the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood, where hundreds of Palestinian residents who had fled on foot were murdered under his instructions. In one well-known incident, about more 150 Palestinian civilians were gathered by the IOF in a house, and then the house was bombed and shelled. Lt. Col. Yoav Mordechai is a friend of the PA, and it is known that he coordinated his crimes with the PA.

Lt. Col. Oren Cohen, a war criminal, commander of Battalion 13 in the Golani Brigade, who led on night his troops into eastern of Gaza City, they murdered over hundred Palestinian. He was moderately wounded by the Israeli war criminal friends. Cohen and his soldiers operated during the second Lebanon war.

Lt. Col. Avi Blot, a war criminal, commander of the 101st Battalion in the Paratrooper Brigade.

Lieutenant-Colonel Yehuda Cohen, battalion commander in Givati infantry Brigade’s Rotem Regiment, a war criminal in the second war in Lebanon, and a war criminal in Gaza.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ronen Dagmi, deputy commander of the 401st Armored Brigade which operated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Col. Avi Peled.jpgCol. Avi Peled, a war criminal, a commander brigade in Battalion 51 who operated in Gaza during “Operation Cast Lead”, and he was operated during the second war of Lebanon.

Brig.-Gen. ( res.) Zvika Fogel, a war criminal, a former deputy OC Southern Command in charge of artillery fire for Operation Cast Lead. Zvika and his son Zivi Fogel participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.
Brigadier-General Yuval Halamish, Chief IOF Intelligence Officer, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Paratrooper Brigade commander, Hartzi Halevi, during an IDF opeCol. Hertzi Halevy, brigade commander, a former Sayeret Matkal, commander of the Israel Paratroopers’ Brigade in Gaza, committed war crimes in Gaza during “Operation Cast Lead”.

Col. Tomer Tsiter, a Givati squad commander from Ra’anana, participated in the massacre in Gaza during “Operation Cast Lead”, and previously he participated in the massacre “Operation Defensive Shield” in the Jenin refugee camp in 2002.

Gur Rosenblatt, infantry reserve officer, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Guy Ohaion, infantry reserve officer, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Lt. Col. Erez, armored corps, tank commander, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Maj. Nimrod Aloni, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Lieutenant Colonel (res.) Shlomo Saban, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Capt. Ron Vardi, a war criminal, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

Ashkinazi_terrorist_1Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi, IOF Chief of Staff, whose father was a holocaust survivor from Bulgaria and whose mother was born in Syria. This moral degenerate is the engineer of this new  holocaust in Gaza. He committed war crimes in south of Lebanon. Three of his soldiers were captured by the Hizbullah resistance after they illegally crossed into Lebanon as a provocation ordered by him.

Commander of the Shoalay Marom Brigade_destroying Gaza houses.JMajor-General Yoav Galant, southern command chief. He was the chief commander in charge of “Operation Cast Lead”. He personally participated in the massacre against civilians in Gaza.

Richard Awizrat, Senior Warrant Officer, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza, and he also participated in the massacre in Jenin of 2002, during “Operation Defensive Shield”.

Major-General Amos YadlinMajor General Amos Yadlin, Military Intelligence chief, participated in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza.

War Criminals Preparation Team 

Ehud Olmert, the corrupt Israeli Prime Minster legitimized the War in Gaza together with his cabinet.

Ehud Barak, Israeli War Minister, planned “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza in order to improve his chances during the next elections.

Tzipi Livni, Foreign Minister of Israel, who leads the Israeli propaganda to legitimize the massacre and destruction in Gaza, planned and coordinated “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza in order to improve her chances during the next elections

Yuval Diskin.jpgThe names of many other war criminals from the infantry, tanks, combat engineers, artillery, and intelligence who participated in the war crimes in Gaza are still unknown. They should not feel safe either. War crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide are proscribed and prosecuted in all countries of the world in one way or other, and there exists no statute of limitations for such crimes. The “protection” offered by Mazuz and his cronies is weak, first of all because the fact that such “protection” is offered is a implicit admission of guilt, and because national and international statutes specifically address the issue of sham “proceedings which are instituted to protect the guilty”, and because since the Nuremberg proceedings against the German army, following orders is no excuse and does not absolve of culpability. We and others will continue doing whatever is possible to find out the names of as many of the criminals who participated in Gaza as possible, and any information which will put them behind bars.

Read and See more Photos About the Israeli War Criminals here.

Yuval Diskin, Shin Bet security service chief, the organizer of the war in Gaza. Due to his personal recommendation, the IAF bombed the hospitals and the medical centers of Gaza.

Brig Gen Jonathan Locker, head of Israeli air forces which operated in Gaza.

brig-gen-jonathan-lockerhead-of-iaf1My decision is a challenge to the State of Israel, to the Israeli attorney general Mazuz and the military headquarters, who forbade the media from publishing the names of the Israeli officers who lead “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza, murdering 1310, and wounding over 5600, over 90% of these casualties being civilians, destroying public and the private property in many parts of towns and cities, and completely razing several areas completely to the ground.

WRITTEN BY Henry Siegman

 

Western governments and most of the Western media have accepted a number of Israeli claims justifying the military assault on Gaza: that Hamas consistently violated the six-month truce that Israel observed and then refused to extend it; that Israel therefore had no choice but to destroy Hamas’s capacity to launch missiles into Israeli towns; that Hamas is a terrorist organisation, part of a global jihadi network; and that Israel has acted not only in its own defence but on behalf of an international struggle by Western democracies against this network.

 

I am not aware of a single major American newspaper, radio station or TV channel whose coverage of the assault on Gaza questions this version of events. Criticism of Israel’s actions, if any (and there has been none from the Bush administration), has focused instead on whether the IDF’s carnage is proportional to the threat it sought to counter, and whether it is taking adequate measures to prevent civilian casualties.

 

Middle East peacemaking has been smothered in deceptive euphemisms, so let me state bluntly that each of these claims is a lie. Israel, not Hamas, violated the truce: Hamas undertook to stop firing rockets into Israel; in return, Israel was to ease its throttlehold on Gaza. In fact, during the truce, it tightened it further. This was confirmed not only by every neutral international observer and NGO on the scene but by Brigadier General (Res.) Shmuel Zakai, a former commander of the IDF’s Gaza Division. In an interview in Ha’aretz on 22 December, he accused Israel’s government of having made a ‘central error’ during the tahdiyeh, the six-month period of relative truce, by failing ‘to take advantage of the calm to improve, rather than markedly worsen, the economic plight of the Palestinians of the Strip . . . When you create a tahdiyeh, and the economic pressure on the Strip continues,’ General Zakai said, ‘it is obvious that Hamas will try to reach an improved tahdiyeh, and that their way to achieve this is resumed Qassam fire . . . You cannot just land blows, leave the Palestinians in Gaza in the economic distress they’re in, and expect that Hamas will just sit around and do nothing.’

 

The truce, which began in June last year and was due for renewal in December, required both parties to refrain from violent action against the other. Hamas had to cease its rocket assaults and prevent the firing of rockets by other groups such as Islamic Jihad (even Israel’s intelligence agencies acknowledged this had been implemented with surprising effectiveness), and Israel had to put a stop to its targeted assassinations and military incursions. This understanding was seriously violated on 4 November, when the IDF entered Gaza and killed six members of Hamas. Hamas responded by launching Qassam rockets and Grad missiles. Even so, it offered to extend the truce, but only on condition that Israel ended its blockade. Israel refused. It could have met its obligation to protect its citizens by agreeing to ease the blockade, but it didn’t even try. It cannot be said that Israel launched its assault to protect its citizens from rockets. It did so to protect its right to continue the strangulation of Gaza’s population.

 

Everyone seems to have forgotten that Hamas declared an end to suicide bombings and rocket fire when it decided to join the Palestinian political process, and largely stuck to it for more than a year. Bush publicly welcomed that decision, citing it as an example of the success of his campaign for democracy in the Middle East. (He had no other success to point to.) When Hamas unexpectedly won the election, Israel and the US immediately sought to delegitimise the result and embraced Mahmoud Abbas, the head of Fatah, who until then had been dismissed by Israel’s leaders as a ‘plucked chicken’. They armed and trained his security forces to overthrow Hamas; and when Hamas ­ brutally, to be sure ­pre-empted this violent attempt to reverse the result of the first honest democratic election in the modern Middle East, Israel and the Bush administration imposed the blockade.

 

Israel seeks to counter these indisputable facts by maintaining that in withdrawing Israeli settlements from Gaza in 2005, Ariel Sharon gave Hamas the chance to set out on the path to statehood, a chance it refused to take; instead, it transformed Gaza into a launching-pad for firing missiles at Israel’s civilian population. The charge is a lie twice over. First, for all its failings, Hamas brought to Gaza a level of law and order unknown in recent years, and did so without the large sums of money that donors showered on the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority. It eliminated the violent gangs and warlords who terrorised Gaza under Fatah’s rule. Non-observant Muslims, Christians and other minorities have more religious freedom under Hamas rule than they would have in Saudi Arabia, for example, or under many other Arab regimes.

 

The greater lie is that Sharon’s withdrawal from Gaza was intended as a prelude to further withdrawals and a peace agreement. This is how Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weisglass, who was also his chief negotiator with the Americans, described the withdrawal from Gaza, in an interview with Ha’aretz in August 2004:

 

What I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements [i.e. the major settlement blocks on the West Bank] would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns . . . The significance [of the agreement with the US] is the freezing of the political process. And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and you prevent a discussion about the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package that is called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed from our agenda indefinitely. And all this with [President Bush's] authority and permission . . . and the ratification of both houses of Congress.

 

Do the Israelis and Americans think that Palestinians don’t read the Israeli papers, or that when they saw what was happening on the West Bank they couldn’t figure out for themselves what Sharon was up to?

 

Israel’s government would like the world to believe that Hamas launched its Qassam rockets because that is what terrorists do and Hamas is a generic terrorist group. In fact, Hamas is no more a ‘terror organisation’ (Israel’s preferred term) than the Zionist movement was during its struggle for a Jewish homeland. In the late 1930s and 1940s, parties within the Zionist movement resorted to terrorist activities for strategic reasons. According to Benny Morris, it was the Irgun that first targeted civilians. He writes in Righteous Victims that an upsurge of Arab terrorism in 1937 ‘triggered a wave of Irgun bombings against Arab crowds and buses, introducing a new dimension to the conflict’. He also documents atrocities committed during the 1948-49 war by the IDF, admitting in a 2004 interview, published in Ha’aretz, that material released by Israel’s Ministry of Defence showed that ‘there were far more Israeli acts of massacre than I had previously thought . . . In the months of April-May 1948, units of the Haganah were given operational orders that stated explicitly that they were to uproot the villagers, expel them, and destroy the villages themselves.’ In a number of Palestinian villages and towns the IDF carried out organised executions of civilians. Asked by Ha’aretz whether he condemned the ethnic cleansing, Morris replied that he did not:

 

A Jewish state would not have come into being without the uprooting of 700,000 Palestinians. Therefore it was necessary to uproot them. There was no choice but to expel that population. It was necessary to cleanse the hinterland and cleanse the border areas and cleanse the main roads. It was necessary to cleanse the villages from which our convoys and our settlements were fired on.

 

In other words, when Jews target and kill innocent civilians to advance their national struggle, they are patriots. When their adversaries do so, they are terrorists.

 

It is too easy to describe Hamas simply as a ‘terror organisation’. It is a religious nationalist movement that resorts to terrorism, as the Zionist movement did during its struggle for statehood, in the mistaken belief that it is the only way to end an oppressive occupation and bring about a Palestinian state. While Hamas’s ideology formally calls for that state to be established on the ruins of the state of Israel, this doesn’t determine Hamas’s actual policies today any more than the same declaration in the PLO charter determined Fatah’s actions.

 

These are not the conclusions of an apologist for Hamas but the opinions of the former head of Mossad and Sharon’s national security adviser, Ephraim Halevy. The Hamas leadership has undergone a change ‘right under our very noses’, Halevy wrote recently in Yedioth Ahronoth, by recognising that ‘its ideological goal is not attainable and will not be in the foreseeable future.’ It is now ready and willing to see the establishment of a Palestinian state within the temporary borders of 1967. Halevy noted that while Hamas has not said how ‘temporary’ those borders would be, ‘they know that the moment a Palestinian state is established with their co-operation, they will be obligated to change the rules of the game: they will have to adopt a path that could lead them far from their original ideological goals.’ In an earlier article, Halevy also pointed out the absurdity of linking Hamas to al-Qaida.

 

In the eyes of al-Qaida, the members of Hamas are perceived as heretics due to their stated desire to participate, even indirectly, in processes of any understandings or agreements with Israel. [The Hamas political bureau chief, Khaled] Mashal’s declaration diametrically contradicts al-Qaida’s approach, and provides Israel with an opportunity, perhaps a historic one, to leverage it for the better.

 

Why then are Israel’s leaders so determined to destroy Hamas? Because they believe that its leadership, unlike that of Fatah, cannot be intimidated into accepting a peace accord that establishes a Palestinian ‘state’ made up of territorially disconnected entities over which Israel would be able to retain permanent control. Control of the West Bank has been the unwavering objective of Israel’s military, intelligence and political elites since the end of the Six-Day War.[*] They believe that Hamas would not permit such a cantonisation of Palestinian territory, no matter how long the occupation continues. They may be wrong about Abbas and his superannuated cohorts, but they are entirely right about Hamas.

 

Middle East observers wonder whether Israel’s assault on Hamas will succeed in destroying the organisation or expelling it from Gaza. This is an irrelevant question. If Israel plans to keep control over any future Palestinian entity, it will never find a Palestinian partner, and even if it succeeds in dismantling Hamas, the movement will in time be replaced by a far more radical Palestinian opposition.

 

If Barack Obama picks a seasoned Middle East envoy who clings to the idea that outsiders should not present their own proposals for a just and sustainable peace agreement, much less press the parties to accept it, but instead leave them to work out their differences, he will assure a future Palestinian resistance far more extreme than Hamas ­ one likely to be allied with al-Qaida. For the US, Europe and most of the rest of the world, this would be the worst possible outcome. Perhaps some Israelis, including the settler leadership, believe it would serve their purposes, since it would provide the government with a compelling pretext to hold on to all of Palestine. But this is a delusion that would bring about the end of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

 

Anthony Cordesman, one of the most reliable military analysts of the Middle East, and a friend of Israel, argued in a 9 January report for the Center for Strategic and International Studies that the tactical advantages of continuing the operation in Gaza were outweighed by the strategic cost ­ and were probably no greater than any gains Israel may have made early in the war in selective strikes on key Hamas facilities. ‘Has Israel somehow blundered into a steadily escalating war without a clear strategic goal, or at least one it can credibly achieve?’ he asks. ‘Will Israel end in empowering an enemy in political terms that it defeated in tactical terms? Will Israel’s actions seriously damage the US position in the region, any hope of peace, as well as moderate Arab regimes and voices in the process? To be blunt, the answer so far seems to be yes.’ Cordesman concludes that ‘any leader can take a tough stand and claim that tactical gains are a meaningful victory. If this is all that Olmert, Livni and Barak have for an answer, then they have disgraced themselves and damaged their country and their friends.’

 

15 January

 

Note

 

[*] See my piece in the LRB, 16 August 2007.

 

Henry Siegman, director of the US Middle East Project in New York, is a visiting research professor at SOAS, University of London. He is a former national director of the American Jewish Congress and of the Synagogue Council of America.

 

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n02/sieg01_.html

 

LRB contributors react to events in Gaza

 

Tariq Ali, David Bromwich, Alastair Crooke, Conor Gearty, R.W. Johnson, Rashid Khalidi, Yitzhak Laor, Yonatan Mendel, John Mearsheimer, Gabriel Piterberg, Jacqueline Rose (certainly to be published elsewhere), Eliot Weinberger, Michael Wood.

 

January 15, 2009

 

http://www.lrb.co.uk/web/15/01/2009/mult04_.html#tariqali

 

Tariq Ali

 

A few weeks before the assault on Gaza, the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army published a levelheaded document on ‘Hamas and Israel’, which argued that ‘Israel’s stance towards the democratically-elected Palestinian government headed by Hamas in 2006, and towards Palestinian national coherence – ­legal, territorial, political and economic – has been a major obstacle to substantive peacemaking.’ Whatever their reservations about the organisation, the authors of the paper detected signs that Hamas was considering a shift of position even before the blockade:

 

It is frequently stated that Israel or the United States cannot ‘meet’ with Hamas (although meeting is not illegal; materially aiding terrorism is, if proven) because the latter will not ‘recognise Israel’. In contrast, the PLO has ‘recognised’ Israel’s right to exist and agreed in principle to bargain for significantly less land than the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip, and it is not clear that Israel has ever agreed to accept a Palestinian state. The recognition of Israel did not bring an end to violence, as wings of various factions of the PLO did fight Israelis, especially at the height of the Second (al- Aqsa) Intifada. Recognition of Israel by Hamas, in the way that it is described in the Western media, cannot serve as a formula for peace. Hamas moderates have, however, signaled that it implicitly recognises Israel, and that even a tahdiya (calming, minor truce) or a hudna, a longer-term truce, obviously implies recognition. Khalid Mish’al states: ‘We are realists,’ and there is ‘an entity called Israel,’ but ‘realism does not mean that you have to recognise the legitimacy of the occupation.’

 

The war on Gaza has killed the two-state solution by making it clear to Palestinians that the only acceptable Palestine would have fewer rights than the Bantustans created by apartheid South Africa. The only acceptable alternative is a single state for Jews and Palestinians with equal rights for all. Certainly it seems utopian at the moment with the two Palestinian parties in Israel ­Balad and the United Arab List – both barred from contesting the February elections. Avigdor Lieberman, the chairman of Yisrael Beitenu, has breathed a sigh of satisfaction: ‘Now that it has been decided that the Balad terrorist organisation will not be able to run, the first battle is over.’ But even victory has its drawbacks. After the Six-Day War in 1967, Isaac Deutscher warned his one-time friend Ben Gurion: ‘The Germans have summed up their own experience in the bitter phrase “Mann kann sich totseigen!” — you can triumph yourself to death. This is what the Israelis have been doing. They have bitten off much more than they can swallow.’

 

Five hundred courageous Israelis have sent a letter to Western embassies calling for sanctions and other measures to be applied against their country, echoing the 2005 call by numerous Palestinian organisations for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) on the South African model. This will not happen overnight but it is the only non-violent way to help the struggle for freedom and equality in Israel-Palestine.

 

Tariq Ali’s latest book is The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power.

 

David Bromwich

 

Like the suicide bombings of the Second Intifada, the rockets from Gaza were a choice of tactics of a spectacular vengefulness. The spectacle was greater than the damage: no Israeli had been killed by a rocket before the IDF launched their assault. Yet the idea of rockets falling induces terror, whereas the idea of an army invading a neighbouring territory has an official sound. The numbers of the dead ­ as of 15 January, more than 1000 Palestinians and fewer than 20 Israelis tell a different story. Many people remain unmoved by the tremendous disproportion because they cannot get the image of rockets out of their heads.

 

In the United States, since this one-sided war began on 27 December, facts are not suppressed but fiction pervades the commentary. We are offered an analogy: what would Americans do if rockets were fired from Canada or Cuba? The question has been repeated with docility by congressional leaders of both parties; but the rockets are assumed to come suddenly without cause. The choking of the Gaza Strip by land, sea and air, the rejection by the US of the Palestinian Unity Government, the coup launched by Fatah and bankrolled by the US, which ended in the seizure of power by Hamas ­ all of this happened before the rockets fell from thee sky. It is as if it belonged to a prehistoric time.

 

American politicians exhibit an identification with Israel that is now in excess of the measurable effects of the Israel lobby. The blindness of the identification has led the US to respond with keen sensitivity to Israeli requests for assistance and moral support, and to underestimate the suffering caused by the Gaza blockade and by the settlements and checkpoints and the wall on the West Bank. Yet grant the potency of the lobby and the identification ­ even so, the arrogance with which Israel dictates policy is hard to comprehend on the usual index of motives. Ehud Olmert boasted to a crowd in Ashkelon on 12 January that with one phone call to Bush, he forced Condoleezza Rice to abstain from voting for the UN ceasefire resolution she herself had prepared. The depth, the efficacy and the immediacy of the influence are treated by Olmert as an open secret.

 

To judge by the nomination of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state and the likely nomination of Dennis Ross as Middle East envoy, Obama wants to be seen as someone who intends no major change of course. In a televised interview on 11 January, he said he would deal with Israel and Palestine in the manner of the Clinton and Bush administrations. The unhappy message of his recent utterances has been reconciliation without truth; and reconciliation, above all, for Americans. This preference for bringing-together over bringing-to-light is a trait of Obama’s political character we are only now coming to see the extent of. It is an element  -until lately an unperceived element- ­ of a certain native moderation of temper that is likely to mark his presidency. Yet his silence on Gaza has been startling, even immoderate. The ascent of Barack Obama was connected in the world as well as in the US with peculiar and passionate hopes, and his chances of emerging as a leader of the world are diminished with every passing day of silence.

 

David Bromwich teaches English at Yale.

 

Alastair Crooke

 

‘We have to ask the West a question: when the Israelis bombed the house of Sheikh Nizar Rayan, a Hamas leader, killing him, his wives, his nine children, and killing 19 others who happened to live in adjoining houses ­because they saw him as a target, ­was this terrorism? If the West’s answer is that this was not terrorism, it was self-defence ­then we must think to adopt this definition too.’

 

This was said to me by a leading Islamist in Beirut a few days ago. He was making a point, but behind his rhetorical question plainly lies the deeper issue of what the Gaza violence will signify for mainstream Islamists in the future.

 

Take Egypt. Mubarak has made no secret of his wish to see Israel teach Hamas a ‘lesson’. Hamas are sure that his officials urged Israel to proceed, assuring Amos Yadlin, Israel’s Head of Military Intelligence, at a meeting in Cairo that Hamas would collapse within three days of the Israeli onslaught.

 

Islamists in Egypt and other pro-Western ‘moderate’ alliance states such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan have noted Israel’s wanton disregard for the deaths of civilians in its desire to crush Hamas. They have seen the barely concealed pleasure of the regimes that run those states. The message is clear: the struggle for the future of this region is going to be uncompromising and bloody.

 

For all Islamists, the events in Gaza will be definitive: they will tell the story of a heroic stand in the name of justice against overwhelming odds. This archetype was already in place on the day of Ashura which fell this year on 7 January — when Shi’ites everywhere commemorate the martyrdom of Hussein, the Prophet’s grandson, killed by an overwhelming military force at Kerbala. The speeches given by Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah’s secretary general, were avidly followed; the ceremony of Ashura drove home the message of martyrdom and sacrifice.

 

Islamists are likely to conclude from Gaza that Arab regimes backed by the US and some European states will go to any lengths in their struggle against Islamism. Many Sunni Muslims will turn to the salafi-jihadists, al-Qaida included, who warned Hamas and others about the kind of punishment being visited on them now. Mainstream movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hizbullah will find it hard to resist the radical trend. The middle ground is eroding fast.

 

At one level Gaza will be seen as a repeat of Algeria. At another, it will speak to wider struggles in the Arab world, where elites favoured by the West soldier on with no real legitimacy, while the weight of support for change builds up. The overhang may persist for a while yet, but a small event could trip the avalanche.

 

Alastair Crooke is co-director of Conflicts Forum and has been an EU mediator with Hamas and other Islamist movements. Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution will come out next month.

 

Conor Gearty

 

It is just possible the killings in Gaza may mark the end of Israel’s disastrous plunge into militant Zionism. The key is Obama: will he collapse under pressure like most of his predecessors, or is there more to him? Let us assume he knows how senseless it is for the US to collude in a crime of the kind going on in Gaza. There are ways of marking this without unleashing the pro-Israeli forces against him at too early a stage.

 

Clearly the new administration desires to re-engage with the global community and revive its commitment to international law: the ‘war on terror’ will be reconfigured and Guantanamo closed. A rededication of the US to law should also involve a more consensual approach to the UN ­“Security Council business in particular ­ including (for example) support for UN investigative missions to regions where egregious violations of human rights and breaches of the UN charter have occurred. It should entail the US signing up to the International Criminal Court” and urging its closest allies to do likewise. Framed in this way, a US engagement in the international human rights agenda would quickly lead to a crucial re-empowerment of the rapporteurs, special representatives, committees of experts and so on who have languished on the margins for so long.

 

This reformist energy would then need to be backed by mechanisms along the lines of the MacBride principles or the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act linking US financial and military aid to the newly emerging international legal order. The worst offenders against the new dispensation would run the risk of economic and intellectual boycotts. Since its application would be general, Obama could do all this without any mention of Israel, leaving the consequences to be worked through by various bureaucracies, while the phone calls and special pleas are politely fended off with an easy ‘it is out of my hands’. Were pressure from the lobbies to reach dangerous levels, the president might choose to take the issue to the American people, to discuss openly whether Israel should have an exemption from the system of values to which every other genuine ally and the US itself will by then have signed up. That is not likely to be a debate which the Israeli leadership will want.

 

Conor Gearty, Rausing Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights and professor of human rights law at the LSE, has written a number of books on terrorism and human rights.

 

R.W. Johnson

 

The current crisis has probably not changed anything fundamental. As even the more pessimistic Israeli analysts have been noting for some time, the pressure of the crisis has turned many, perhaps most Palestinians into irreconcilable foes of Israel. To that extent the two-state solution, however much the great and good may wish it, gradually becomes less and less of a real solution. The present crisis was probably unavoidable given (a) Iran’s position, (b) the coming Israeli election and (c) the failure of Israel to achieve full-scale victory over Hizbullah last year. That last factor has weighed on all minds, showing Iran how much leverage it had, threatening to turn all Arab-occupied land into rocket-launching grounds and increasing Israeli determination to show that this is a prohibitively expensive option for anyone who opts to host such an exercise. The stalemate seems complete.

 

I doubt whether Obama will make much difference. His chief of staff is an ex-Israeli soldier and his administration will be heavily in hock to the Israel lobby from day one. Israel may be unhappy that he will talk to Hamas but this unhappiness is quite unnecessary. He is not going to soft-talk them into accepting Israel’s existence and laying down their rockets, so what will such talks really change?

 

The real key remains US-Iran relations. This was a period in which many expected an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. The fact that it has not happened is promising and suggests that the CIA is right to say Iran is not close to having nuclear weapons. As it is the US has hugely strengthened Iran by handing Iraq over to Shi’ites and an Obama administration might try to capitalise on that by making a US-Iranian deal the cornerstone of Middle East politics, thus reducing Syrian, Saudi and Egyptian leverage. Iran would obviously be greatly tempted by such a deal. But if Obama and Ahmadinejad really could reach a deal it would probably be very bad news for both Hizbullah and Hamas, who might get cut off from Iranian aid. If that happens, I can’t see much joy for Palestinian militancy. But if it doesn’t and the US under Obama is left to face an unchanged position, he is bound to end up taking Israel’s side as much as Bush did. Which also doesn’t bode well for militant Palestinians. So whatever happens I’d expect the Palestinians to emerge worse off from this conflict and Israel stronger, though probably less popular.

 

R.W. Johnson lives in Cape Town.

 

Rashid Khalidi

 

It is commonplace to talk about the ‘fog of war’, but war can also clarify things. The war in Gaza has pointed up the Israeli security establishment’s belief in force as a means of imposing ‘solutions’ which result in massive Arab civilian suffering and solve nothing. It has also laid bare the feebleness of the Arab states, and their inability to protect Palestinian civilians from the Israeli military, to the despair and fury of their citizens. Almost from the moment the war began, America’s Arab allies ­ above all Egypt ­ found themselves on the defensive, facing accusations of impotence and even treason in some of the largest demonstrations the region has seen in years. Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hizbullah in Lebanon, reserved some of his harshest criticism for the Mubarak regime; at Hizbullah rallies, protesters chanted ‘Where are you, Nasser?’ ­ a question that is also being asked by Egyptians.

 

The Egyptian government and its Arab allies ­ Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco ­ responded to the war much as they responded to thee 2006 invasion of Lebanon: by tacitly supporting Israel’s offensive in the hope of weakening a resistance movement which they see as a proxy for Iran and Syria. When the bombing began, Egypt criticised Hamas over the breakdown of the reconciliation talks with Fatah that Cairo had brokered, and for firing rockets at Israel. The implication was that Hamas was responsible for the war. Refusing to open the Rafah crossing, the Mubarak government pointed out that Israel, the occupying power, not Egypt, was responsibile for the humanitarian situation in Gaza under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Egypt’s concern is understandable: ever since it recovered the Sinai in 1979, it has worried that Israel might attempt to dump responsibility onto it for the Strip’s 1.5 million impoverished residents, a fear that has grown as the prospects of ending the occupation have receded. But its initial refusal to open the crossing to relief supplies, medical personnel and reporters made it difficult for Cairo to deny charges that it was indifferent to Palestinian suffering, and that it valued relations with Israel and the US (its main patron) more highly than the welfare of Gaza’s people.

 

Since Hamas came to power in Gaza in 2006, Egypt’s press has been rife with lurid warnings ­ echoed in conservative Lebanese and Saudi newspapers, as well as Israeli ones ­about the establishment in Gaza of an Islamic emirate backed by Iran. Cairo’s distrust of Hamas is closely connected with internal politics: Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brothers, the country’s largest opposition movement; and it came to power in Gaza in the kind of democratic elections that Mubarak has done everything to prevent. (He is likely to be succeeded by his son, Gamal, after sham elections.) When there still seemed hope of a Palestinian Authority (PA) coalition government between Fatah and Hamas (which would have diluted the latter’s power), Egypt was careful to appear balanced. But after the deep split in Palestinian politics that followed the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, Egypt tilted increasingly against Hamas. The division of occupied Palestine into two PAs ­ a Fatah-ruled West  Bank and a Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, both without sovereignty, jurisdiction or much in the way of authority ­ was seen in Cairo as a threat to domestic security: it promised greater instability on Egypt’s borders, jeopardised the negotiated two-state solution with Israel to which Egypt was committed, and emboldened allies of the Muslim Brothers.

 

Egypt has also been alarmed by Hamas’s deepening relationship with its fiercest adversaries: Iran, Syria and Hizbullah. ‘Moderate’ Arab regimes like the one in Egypt ­ deeply authoritarian, at best, but friendly with the US ­ have favoured peaceful negotiations with Israel, but negotiations have not led to Palestinian independence, or even translated into diplomatic leverage. Resistance movements such as Hizbullah and Hamas, by contrast, can plausibly claim that they forced Israel to withdraw from occupied Arab land while scoring impressive gains at the ballot box; they have also been reasonably free of corruption. As if determined to increase the influence of these radical movements, Israel has undermined Abbas and the PA at every turn: settlements, bypass roads and ‘security barriers’ continue to encroach on Palestinian land; none of the 600 checkpoints and barriers in the West Bank has been removed; and more than 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners languish in Israeli jails. The result has been the erosion of support for the PA, and for the conciliatory approach pursued by the PA and Arab states such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which reacted by moving even closer to the Bush administration in its waning days. Mubarak, according to Ha’aretz, urged Olmert to continue the Gaza offensive until Hamas was severely weakened – though Egypt has, of course, denied these reports.

 

But Hamas will not be so easily defeated, even if Israel’s merciless assault and Hamas’s own obduracy have brought untold suffering on the people of Gaza and much of the Strip lies in ruins: like Hizbullah in Lebanon in 2006, all it has to do in order to proclaim victory is remain standing. The movement continued to fire rockets into Israel under devastating bombardment, and it looks likely to emerge politically stronger when the war is over, although as with Hizbullah, it may have provoked popular resentment for bringing Israeli fire down on the heads of the civilian population: there was little Palestinian popular support for the firing of rockets at Israel in the months before the Israeli offensive. It is doubtful, moreover, whether any Hamas leader will be as shrewd as Hassan Nasrallah after the 2006 Lebanon war, when he admitted that had he known the damage Israel would do, he would not have offered the pretext that triggered its onslaught.

 

Israel began a propaganda campaign several months ago, when it closed Gaza to journalists in what appears to have been an effort to remove witnesses from the scene before the crime took place. Cell phone transmission was interrupted to prevent the circulation of photos and videos. The result, in Israel and the US, has been an astonishingly sanitised war, in which, in a bizarre attempt at ‘balance’, the highly inaccurate rocket attacks against Israel and their three civilian victims since the fighting began on 27 December have received as much attention as the levelling of Gaza and the killing of more than 1000 Palestinians and the wounding of nearly 5000, most of them civilians. But Arabs and Muslims (and indeed most people not living in the US and Israel) have seen a very different war, with vivid images of those trapped in the Gaza Strip, thanks in large part to Arab journalists on the ground.

 

During the large demonstrations that erupted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan and Yemen, condemnation was directed not only at the usual targets, Israel and the US, but also at the passivity, even complicity, of Arab governments. Stung by the protests and fearing popular unrest, several Arab states sent their foreign ministers to New York, led by Prince Sa’ud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, and forced through a Security Council resolution in the face of American resistance. Jordan withdrew its ambassador from Tel Aviv; Qatar broke off ties with Israel and offered $250 million for the rebuilding of Gaza. At the same time, Egypt made limited concessions, taking some wounded Gazans to hospitals in Egypt, providing medical supplies, and belatedly allowing a few medical personnel into the Strip through the Rafah crossing. Yet the Mubarak regime has otherwise continued to play the role of even-handed mediator.

 

As I write, its proposals for a ceasefire have met with a positive response from both Hamas (which has significantly modulated its criticism of Egypt) and Israel. It is still unclear how Egypt will respond to Israel’s demands that it halt arms smuggling through tunnels into Gaza; when and if the crossings will be fully opened; under what arrangements, and how reconstruction aid will be channelled to the devastated area; and indeed how an Egyptian-brokered arrangement, should it come into force and endure, will be regarded by Egyptian and Arab public opinion.

 

For the moment, the shaky legitimacy of Abbas’s government in Ramallah, and of the authoritarian Arab governments that have cast their lot with Israel and the United States in the regional contest with Iran, appears to have grown shakier still. Should Iran and Syria succeed in rapidly establishing new relationships with Washington under the Obama administration, these governments will be further weakened. Moreover, their inability (or their unwillingness) to do more to resolve the Palestine question, or even to alleviate Palestinian suffering, has been exposed once again. It contrasts starkly with democratic and non-Arab Turkey’s robust support for the Palestinians. Palestine has been a rallying cry for opposition movements in the Arab world since 1948, and in the decade after the first Arab-Israeli war a series of domestic upheavals, revolutions and coups took place in several Arab countries, including Egypt, where veterans of the Palestine war led by Nasser came to power in the 1952 coup against King Farouk. The repressive capacities of a government such as Egypt’s, whose secret police is said to employ more than a million people, should not be underestimated. But several unpopular regimes may face serious consequences at home for having aligned themselves with Israel.

 

Rashid Khalidi is Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia.

 

Yitzhak Laor

 

We’ve been here before. It’s a ritual. Every two or three years, our military mounts another bloody expedition. The enemy is always smaller, weaker; our military is always larger, technologically more sophisticated, prepared for full-scale war against a full-scale army. But Iran is too scary, and even the relatively small Hizbullah gave us a hard time. That leaves the Palestinians.

 

Israel is engaged in a long war of annihilation against Palestinian society. The objective is to destroy the Palestinian nation and drive it back into pre-modern groupings based on the tribe, the clan and the enclave. This is the last phase of the Zionist colonial mission, culminating in inaccessible townships, camps, villages, districts, all of them to be walled or fenced off, and patrolled by a powerful army which, in the absence of a proper military objective, is really an over-equipped police force, with F16s, Apaches, tanks, artillery, commando units and hi-tech surveillance at its disposal.

 

The extent of the cruelty, the lack of shame and the refusal of self-restraint are striking, both in anthropological terms and historically. The worldwide Jewish support for this vandal offensive makes one wonder if this isn’t the moment Zionism is taking over the Jewish people.

 

But the real issue is that since 1991, and even more since the Oslo agreements in 1993, Israel has played on the idea that it really is trading land for peace, while the truth is very different. Israel has not given up the territories, but cantonised and blockaded them. The new strategy is to confine the Palestinians: they do not belong in our space, they are to remain out of sight, packed into their townships and camps, or swelling our prisons. This project now has the support of most of the Israeli press and academics.

 

We are the masters. We work and travel. They can make their living by policing their own people. We drive on the highways. They must live across the hills. The hills are ours. So are the fences. We control the roads, and the checkpoints and the borders. We control their electricity, their water, their milk, their oil, their wheat and their gasoline. If they protest peacefully we fire tear gas at them. If they throw stones, we fire bullets. If they launch a rocket, we destroy a house and its inhabitants. If they launch a missile, we destroy families, neighbourhoods, streets, towns.

 

Israel doesn’t want a Palestinian state alongside it. It is willing to prove this with hundreds of dead and thousands of disabled, in a single ‘operation’. The message is always the same: leave or remain in subjugation, under our military dictatorship. We are a democracy. We have decided democratically that you will live like dogs.

 

On 27 December just before the bombs started falling on Gaza, the Zionist parties, from Meretz to Yisrael Betenu, were unanimously in favour of the attack. As usual ­ it’s the ritual again ­ differences emerged only over the dispatch of blankets and medication to Gaza. Our most fervent pro-war columnist, Ari Shavit, has suggested that Israel should go on with the assault and build a hospital for the victims. The enemy is wounded, bleeding, dying, desperate for help. Nobody is coming unless Obama moves ­ yes, we are all waiting for Godot. Maybe this time he shows up.

 

Yitzhak Laor lives in Tel Aviv. He is the editor of Mita’am.

 

John Mearsheimer

 

The Gaza war is not going to change relations between Israel and the Palestinians in any meaningful way. Instead, the conflict is likely to get worse in the years ahead. Israel will build more settlements and roads in the West Bank and the Palestinians will remain locked up in a handful of impoverished enclaves in Gaza and the West Bank. The two-state solution is probably dead.

 

‘Greater Israel’ will be an apartheid state. Ehud Olmert has sounded a warning note on this score, but he has done nothing to stop the settlements and by starting the Gaza war he doomed what little hope there was for creating a viable Palestinian state.

 

The Palestinians will continue to resist the occupation, and Hamas will still be able to strike Israel with rockets and mortars, whose range and effectiveness are likely to improve. Palestinians will increasingly make the case that Greater Israel should become a democratic binational state in which Palestinians and Jews enjoy equal political rights. They know that they will eventually outnumber the Jews, which would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state. This proposal is already gaining ground among Israel’s Palestinian citizens, striking fear into the hearts of many Israelis, who see them as a dangerous fifth column. This fear accounts in part for the recent Israeli decision to ban the major Arab political parties from participating in next month’s parliamentary elections.

 

There is no reason to think that Israel’s Jewish citizens would accept a binational state, and it’s safe to assume that Israel’s supporters in the Diaspora would have no interest in it. Apartheid is not a solution either, because it is repugnant and because the Palestinians will continue to resist, forcing Israel to escalate the repressive policies that have already cost it significant blood and treasure, encouraged political corruption, and badly tarnished its global image.

 

Israel may try to avoid the apartheid problem by expelling or ‘transferring’ the Palestinians. A substantial number of Israeli Jews ­ 400 per cent or more ­ think that the government should ‘encourage” their fellow Palestinian citizens to leave. Indeed, Tzipi Livni recently said that if there is a two-state solution, she expects the Palestinians inside Israel to move to the new Palestinian state.

 

Why would American and European leaders intervene? The Bush administration, after all, backed Israel’s creation of a major humanitarian crisis in Gaza, first with a devastating blockade and then with a brutal war. European leaders reacted to this collective punishment, which violates international law, not to mention basic decency, by upgrading Israel’s relationship with the European Union.

 

Many in the West expect Barack Obama to ride into town and fix the situation. Don’t bet on it. As his campaign showed, Obama is no match for the Israel lobby. His silence during the Gaza war speaks volumes about how tough he is likely to be with the Israelis. His chief Middle East adviser is likely to be Dennis Ross, whose deep attachment to Israel helped squander opportunities for peace during the Clinton administration.

 

In a recent op-ed about the Gaza war, Benny Morris said that ‘it would not be surprising if more powerful explosions were to follow.’ I rarely agree with Morris these days, but I think he has it right in this case. Even bigger trouble is in the offing for Israel ­ and above all ffor the Palestinians.

 

John Mearsheimer is a professor of political science at the University of Chicago and co-author of The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy.

 

Yonatan Mendel

 

It’s very frustrating to see Israeli society recruited so calmly and easily to war. Hardly anyone has dared to mention the connection between the decision to go to war and the fact that we are only a few weeks away from an election. Kadima (Tzipi Livni’s party) and Labour (Ehud Barak’s) were doing very badly in the polls. Now that they have killed more than 1000 Palestinians (250 on the first day ­ the highest number in 41 years of occupation) they are both doing very well. Barak was expected to win eight seats in the Knesset; now it is around 15. Netanyahu is the one sweating.

 

I am terribly sad about all this, and frustrated. On the first day of the operation I wrote an article for the Walla News website and within four hours I had received 1600 comments, most calling for my deportation (at best) or immediate execution (at worst). It showed me again how sensitive Israeli society is to any opposition to war. It is shocking how easily this society unites behind yet another military solution, after it has failed so many times. Hizbullah was created in response to Israel’s occupation of Lebanon in 1982. Hamas was created in 1987 in response to two decades of military occupation. What do we think we’ll achieve this time?

 

The state called up more than 10,000 reservists, and even people who had not been called also travelled to military bases and asked to be sent to Gaza. This shows once again how efficient the Israeli propaganda and justification machine is, and how naturally people here believe in myths that have been disproved again and again. If people were saying, ‘We killed 1000 people, but the army is not perfect, and this is war,’ I would say it was a stupid statement. But Israelis are saying: ‘We killed 1000 people, and our army is the most moral army in the world.’ This says a lot about the psychology of the conflict: people are not being told what to think or say; they reach these insights ‘naturally’.

 

Since I was a soldier myself ten years ago, I worry I might be called up as a reservist. If I were to refuse now, when Israel is at war, I would be sent to prison. But still, I tell myself, that would be so much easier than being part of what my country is doing. Apparently, every single Jewish member of the Knesset, except one from the Jewish-Arab list, believes that killing more Palestinians, keeping the Gazan population under siege, destroying their police stations, ministerial offices and headquarters will weaken Hamas, strengthen Israel, demonstrate to the Palestinians that next time they should vote for Fatah, and bring stability to the region. I have no words. Only one Jewish member of the Knesset, out of 107, went to the demonstration that followed the deliberate bombing by the Israelis of an UNRWA school being used to house refugees, resulting in the deaths of 45 civilians. Once again, the Israeli slogan is ‘Let the IDF win’ and once again everybody agrees. People have short memories. By 2008, two years after the Second Lebanon War ended, Hizbullah had more soldiers than before, three times more weapons, and had dramatically improved its political position. It now even has a right of veto in parliament. The same could happen to Hamas, but once again military magic enchants Israeli society.

 

I have a friend whose brother is a pilot in the IDF. I asked to speak to him. I told him what I thought about Israel’s behaviour and he seemed to agree with my general conclusions. He said, however, that a soldier should not ask himself such questions, which should be kept to the political sphere. I can’t agree. But the second thing he told me was more important. He told me that for pilots, a day like the first day of the war, when so many attacks are being made simultaneously, is a day full of excitement, a day you look forward to. If you take these words into account, and bear in mind that in Israel every man is a soldier, either in uniform or in reserve, there is no avoiding the conclusion that there are great pressures for it to act as a military society. Not acting is damaging to the IDF’s status, budget, masculinity, power and happiness, and not only to the IDF’s. This could explain why in Israel the military option is almost never considered second best. It is always the first choice.

 

Ha’aretz too is a source of unhappiness for me, since in wartime the paper is part of this militaristic discourse, shares its values and lack of vision. Ha’aretz did not criticise Israel when its troops deployed to Lebanon in 2006. Nor did it have anything to say when the same soldiers bombed Gaza’s police, schools and people. Even when there was a demonstration against the war, with more than 10,000 people taking part, both Jews and Palestinian citizens of Israel, the Ha’aretz website chose to publish a picture of a counter-demonstration, in which a few hundred participated, waving Israeli flags and shouting: ‘Let the IDF win.’

 

I have problems speaking to my closest friends and family these days, because I can no longer bear to hear the security establishment’s propaganda coming from their mouths. I cannot bear to hear people justifying the deaths of more than 200 children killed by Israeli soldiers. There is no justification for that, and it’s wrong to try to find one. Usually I feel part of society in Israel. I feel that I am on one side of the political map and other people are on the opposite side. But over the last few days, I feel that I am not part of this society any more. I do not call friends who support the war, and they do not call me. The same with my family. It is a hard thing for me to write, but this is how it is.

 

Yonatan Mendel was a correspondent for the Israeli news agency Walla. He is currently at Queens’ College, Cambridge working on a PhD that studies the connection between the Arabic language and security in Israel.

 

Gabriel Piterberg

 

Israel’s onslaught on Gaza may well do permanent damage to one of the most effective tools in its propaganda kit: the image of the morally handsome, ‘shooting and crying’ Israeli soldier.

 

Three weeks after the 1967 War, Avraham Shapira and Amos Oz, then a rising young author, were summoned to Labour Party headquarters. They were asked to make the demobilised soldiers from the kibbutzim break the wall of silence and discuss their war experience. Soldiers’ Talk (Siah Lohamim), the collection of interviews they edited, was a national and international success. The book, which forged the image of the handsome, dilemma-ridden, existentially soul-searching Israeli soldier, was a hymn to that frightening oxymoron, ‘purity of arms’ and the ideal of an exalted Jewish morality.

 

It was also a kind of ‘central casting’ from which Oz drew many of his fictional protagonists. Rabin (when he was ambassador to Washington) and Elie Wiesel read extracts in the US ‘in order to present the Israeli soldier’s profile'; and Golda Meir called it ‘a sacred book': ‘we are fortunate to have been blessed with such sons.’ The latest version of Soldiers’ Talk, in terms of register and success, is Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir.

 

Given the might of Israel’s warriors and the vulnerability of their targets, now that the country no longer engages in wars against other state armies, the image is hard to keep alive. At the same time it no longer matters in the way it once did: for political and military elites in Israel, and the War on Terror constituency in the US, the killing of Arabs and Muslims no longer requires any weeping or soul-searching. It’s just what freedom-loving people do. The war adulation of the recent pro-Israel demonstrations in Los Angeles is chastening but you couldn’t call it hypocritical.

 

Perhaps with the benefit of hindsight, the attack on Gaza will be seen as the action of a colonial power that is running out of ideas; not unlike France in the final stage of the Algerian war.

 

Gabriel Piterberg teaches history at UCLA. The Returns of Zionism was published last year. 

 

Eliot Weinberger

 

1. Who remembers the original dream of Israel? A place where the observant could practice their religion in peace and the secular would be invisible as Jews ­ where being Jewish only mattered if you wanted it to matter. That dream was realised, not in Israel, but in New York City.

 

2. The second dream of Israel was of a place where socialist collectives could flourish in a secular nation with democratic freedoms. Who remembers that now?

 

3. ‘Never again’ should international Jews invoke the Holocaust as justification for Israeli acts of barbarism.

 

4. As in India-Pakistan, blaming the Brits is true enough, but useless.

 

5. A few days ago, to illustrate the Gaza invasion, the front page of the New York Times had a large pastoral photograph of handsome Israeli soldiers lounging on a hill above verdant fields. Unquestioning faith in the ‘milk and honey’ Utopia of Israel is the bedrock of American Judaism, and reality does not intrude on faith.

 

6. Any hope for some sort of peace will not come from the US, even without Bush. It must come from within an Israel where the same petrified leaders are elected time and again, where masses of the rational have emigrated to saner shores and have been replaced by Russians and the American cultists who become settlers. It is hard to believe that this will be anytime soon.

 

7. It is hard to believe that two states will ever be possible. So why not a new dream of Israel? A single nation, a single citizenry with equal rights, three languages­ English as a neutral third­ €“ and three religions, separate from the state. Give it a new name– say, Semitia, land of the Semites.

 

Eliot Weinberger’s recent books include What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles.

 

Michael Wood

 

A New York Times reporter describes the ‘lethal tricks’ of Hamas in Gaza. I don’t doubt the existence of the tricks, but the implication is that the far more lethal directness of the Israeli attack is not only justified but morally superior to the enemy’s underhand modes of action. This is an adaptation of an old paradigm, in which Israel gets to play the role of the rational modern state. The straightforward, civilised West meets the endlessly devious, backward Orient, and takes care of things in its up-to-date efficient way. What’s wrong with that? They are always ‘they'; their deaths don’t count as ours do.

 

When does an invasion become a massacre? How many Palestinians have to die just because they are Palestinians before we recognise another old paradigm? Herzl thought the native population of what was to become Israel would have to be ‘spirited’ across the border; now the very deaths of that population are being spirited off into arguments about the right to self-defence. If self-defence includes the bombing of ambulances and feeling no qualms at killing such an astonishing number of children, then we have entered a moral territory from which there may be no return. Unless of course we have merely returned to the imperial 19th century, a world of brutal and unapologetic conquest, where force was the only argument that mattered and our only choice was whether to be hypocritical about it or not.

 

Michael Wood teaches at Princeton. His most recent book is Literature and the Taste of Knowledge.

 www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n02/sieg01_.html