Because I know so many of the people in that very small Strip, through my cumulative about 3 years there, I can’t stop myself from scouring the latest death toll updates to see if any of the families, farmers, medics, resistance I knew are among the martyred.
At the same time, I worry about new friends in Syria who–while Syria seems to have mysteriously fallen from the corporate media–still suffer from the terrorism of armed groups which shoot their mortars (filled with hundreds of jagged metal pieces, glass) on residential areas, on schools. Yesterday, a friend in Damascus updated me on the latest attacks, 9 shells on the city, which killed three civilians and injured (remember the jagged bits of metal and glass…) at least 20 [Sana reports on the mortars in Damascus and throughout Syria yesterday]. The same friend days earlier sent photos of minor damage to his home, not on ground level. Although like Palestinians, Syrians are taking this in stride, they are nonetheless, like Palestinians, living under terrorism.
Then there are the random, deadly car-bombings every now and then. And of course the presence of the despicable ISIS and their ilk, still be-heading Syrians who don’t live up to their fabricated version of religion, flogging others, be-handing others…This is all still going on, even though the corporate media does not deign to highlight these crimes.
I am grateful that more and more the reality of the Gaza genocide is getting told truthfully, with elements of truth even in some of the corporate media.
But, while there is supposedly a 72 hour ceasefire in place, without intending to be a sour pessimist, I have to say I’m waiting for the Zionists to violate it as they always do (see: Israeli Ceasefire Violations in Gaza and World Silence and Israel, not Hamas, is the serial truce-breaker, for examples, as well as my own experiences post 2009 massacre and 10 minutes into the ceasefire after the Nov 2012 massacre, as well as repeated violations in the days after, against farmers and against fishers).
“Israel says it’s pummelling Gaza, killing civilians, and destroying civilian infrastructure to destroy tunnels the Palestinian resistance could use to kill or kidnap civilians. But how many times has the Palestinian resistance emerged from tunnels to kidnap or kill civilians? None. And how many Israeli civilians were killed by rocket fire in the year and half before Operation Protective Edge? Zero.
The use of violence by the Palestinian resistance against Israel is legitimate.
Over 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes by Jewish settlers in a massive ethnic cleansing operation over six decades ago. None were permitted to return. Today, the exile and diaspora community stands at five million. Palestinians who remained in the 80 percent of their country seized by Zionist settlers are second class citizens—non-Jews in a Jewish state. The remaining 20 percent of historic Palestine remains under the heel of a brutal Israeli military occupation.
To sum up: The violence of the Palestinian resistance is legitimate. The harm it has caused Israeli civilians is minimal. The violence of Israel against Palestinians is illegitimate. It is the violence of the oppressor enforcing its domination. The harm it has caused Palestinian civilians is immense.”
“Abbas’s unity pact with Hamas was a retaliatory strike at Israel’s play-acting at negotiating. But with one of the world’s largest militaries, Israel is hardly motivated to negotiate. Backed militarily and diplomatically by the world’s hegemonic power, Israel has overwhelming bargaining power. Why would it make even a millimeter’s breadth concession? Better, in the view of the settler state, to use its US-supplied military machine to crush resistance and advance its colonial-settler agenda.
Netanyahu kicked off his new campaign to squeeze Hamas—or “mow the grass”, an Israeli reference to regular offensives against Palestinian resistance—by cutting off the $100 million of monthly tax revenue it collects on the Authority’s behalf.
Next, Tel Aviv ordered a June 11 airstrike on Gaza, violating the ceasefire, negotiated after the November 2012 Israeli assault on Gaza. Netanyahu said the airstrike was targeted at a Hamas police officer who had been involved in numerous rocket attacks against Israel. “This is the true face of Hamas,” thundered the Israeli prime minister. “It is continuing to plan terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens even as it is inside the Palestinian government.”
To intensify pressure, Israel announced it would build 1,500 new housing units in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, “saying it was retaliation for the creation of a Palestinian unity government with the militant group Hamas.” Israel’s housing minister Uri Ariel called the new construction—illegal under international law—”an appropriate Zionist response to the Palestinian terrorist government. I believe that these homes will be just the beginning.”
On June 12, Israel was handed a pretext to further heighten its crackdown on Hamas. Three Israeli youths, Eyal Yifrach, 19, and two 16-year-olds, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaar, were abducted in the West Bank. Netanyahu immediately accused Hamas of kidnapping the teens. …Producing not a speck of evidence to substantiate his claim, the Israeli prime minister insisted Hamas was responsible. Netanyahu, it should be noted, has a long record of fabrication in the service of political goals.
The outcome of Israel’s military offensive was consistent with an operation to degrade Hamas more than it was a police operation to locate abductees. The Israelis abducted 640 Palestinians, including Hamas’s top West Bank leadership, but charged none of them with kidnapping the three youths. They re-arrested and re-sentenced 75 Palestinians previously released in a 2011 prisoner exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. They raided 1,000 homes, universities and other facilities, including 10 Hamas-run institutions. And they heaped punishment on Palestinian political prisoners, subjecting them to extra cruelties, including cutting back on visits from their families. Additionally, they killed five Palestinians, and imposed restrictions on Palestinian exit from the West Bank to Jordan and Gaza, at the same time limiting travel around Hebron.”
“We can start with how the Israelis, and their lobby headquartered in Washington, have managed to demonize Palestinians, with the result that Israel can undertake a massive slaughter and be barely criticized for it both by our media. We can begin with Israel’s request to the US government a couple of decades ago to label Hamas as a “Terrorist Group,” which our government happily agreed to do. Other people in other parts of the world have tried this tactic, with some success, but for the most part such rebels are labeled “insurgents.”
Demonization of those you occupy is an essential first step to allow a colonial power to do what it wishes with the people being occupied. How else can one explain the lack of meaningful protests by Americans, who have furnished the money and the weapons to the maiming and the slaughter by Israel of thousands of Palestinians in the many wars its Army has conducted against the Palestinians.
Lewis Lapham, interviewed by Bloomberg News, said, in January of this year, that following the Wounded Knee Massacre, General Miles investigated the shooting. In response to allegations that it was a massacre, soldiers came to the defense of the commander of the unit that had been in charge of guarding the Indians, Col. James Forsyth, saying “they couldn’t tell the men from the women since all were wearing blankets, and that in any case, “A Sioux squaw is as an enemy as a man.”
When the investigation report was sent to the Secretary of War, General John Schofield, who was commander of the Army, attached a note saying the troops had clearly bent over backwards to avoid killing women and children, while also denying that any troops had died in friendly fire.
The final report exonerated the US soldiers and blamed the massacre on the Sioux themselves, with many of the dead women and children supposedly killed by other Indians.
I have been watching Mark Regev, Netanyahu’s spokesman, tell lies for the last three weeks, saying Hamas is the culprit shelling the hospitals and civilians gathered at markets, buying food.
But the demonization of the Indians in general and ghost dancers in particular enabled the Army to do what they did, much as Israel is demonizing Palestinians today, seeking to characterize Hamas as the cause of the fighting, and the culprit in the destruction of institutions and of countless numbers of women and children.
The demonization has been so effective, assisted by our media, that no media person, and certainly no national politician, has hardly raised an eyebrow at the mass slaughter of Palestinians by Israel during the Gaza campaign. At the time of this writing Israel has deliberately shelled and bombed Palestinian hospitals, UN shelters where Palestinians run to what they believe is a safe haven. The photos we see of Gaza cities on television show nothing more than a huge pile of rubble. It is not clear where those Palestinians will live after Israel has finished its dirty work and leaves Gaza.
It is all part of Israel’s strategy of bombing Gaza’s Palestinians into submission—to show them who is boss, and to prevent any Palestinian from raising his or her hand in protest of the eight year blockade of the strip. Not even the most greedy and cruel Israelis believe they can kill all the Gazans, so they must satisfy themselves that it is necessary to control them. There is no thought of ending the occupation. That is the lesson the Israeli government has learned from other colonial powers around the world. The other lesson, that of the Warsaw Ghetto, quite obviously has been forgotten, except for that part that has shown Israel how to control those they occupy.
“There are no plans for the ‘international community’ to intervene in Gaza to protect civilians. R2P has always been a cover for imperialist conquest, a way to organize regime change—almost invariably to foster a free-trade, free-market, free enterprise economy friendly to investor interests–behind lofty humanitarian goals. It’s not needed for use against Israel.
Accordingly, intervention on behalf of Palestinians won’t be happening. Humanitarian intervention is carried out selectively, never against brutish regimes in Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, or Kiev (whose army, assisted by neo-fascist paramilitaries, is shelling Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the country’s east.) These are all US allies, and US allies get R2P exemptions.
The doctrine of humanitarian intervention is a cover for assaults on states that Washington designates it enemies. Intervention doesn’t depend on whether a country’s government tramples human rights, or threatens its own citizens, or practices terrorism, or eschews liberal democracy, or violates international law. It depends on whether rulers are willing to allow their country to become fully integrated into the US-led global economy and bow to the international dictatorship of the United States.
If Washington cared one whit about international law and states that practice terrorism, it could hardly continue to send Israel $3 billion every year in military and economic aid. Indeed, it would have to address its own foreign policy shortcomings, from regularly trampling on international law to protecting anti-Cuban terrorists to carrying out terrorist bombing and missile strikes around the globe.
The West could intervene to stop the Israeli massacre in Palestine. To begin, Washington could cancel military and economic aid to Tel Aviv. Western governments could stop providing Israel with diplomatic cover. But none of this is happening.
Instead, Washington has done the opposite, intervening on Israel’s side, not against it, by replenishing the store of munitions Israel forces have used to destroy homes, mosques, hospitals and people in Gaza. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon is allowing Israel to tap an ammunition stockpile to replace the 120 mm tanks rounds and 40 mm illumination rounds it has used to carry out a massacre in Gaza.
Not a single Israeli civilian died from rocket or mortar fire from Gaza from the November 2012 ceasefire until Israel renewed its assault on Gaza last month. Three Israeli civilians have died from rocket fire since—one-fifth of one percent of the total civilian casualties of Operation Protective Edge. For every Israeli civilian killed, 467 Palestinian non-combatants have been effaced by Israeli forces.
If Israel had a genuine interest in protecting its citizens from Palestinian rocket fire, it would never have broken its ceasefire with Hamas, blockaded Gaza to collectively punish Palestinians for electing Hamas in 2006 elections, continued its illegal occupation of the West Bank and effective occupation of Gaza, or continued to illegally expand Jewish settlements on the tiny fraction of historic Palestine Zionists forces haven’t already gobbled up.”
“Over 200 Palestinians have been abducted by occupation soldiers on the borders of Gaza during the ground invasion of Gaza, transferred to undisclosed locations, interrogated, and abused, while those same occupation forces killed over 1850 Palestinians, wounded nearly 10,000 and destroyed thousands of homes.
These civilians, who refused or who were unable to leave their homes due to massive aerial bombing and shelling, were transferred to special camps set up inside occupied Palestine ’48, and interrogated for hours or days by military forces and the Shin Bet. Over 75 of them were released and left outside Beit Hanoun, and the remaining Palestinian civilians from Gaza remain unaccounted-for and under arrest, as well as wounded people, some of whom were released without treatment after two days of interrogation. Paramedics and wounded people were arrested on July 24 as they left Khuza’a.
Issa Qaraqe, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, cautioned on August 4 that some Palestinians who were captured by the occupation army may have been shot immediately after their arrest, as were civilians attempting to leave Khuza’a. Some of those detained were taken to occupation hospitals and another portion are still under interrogation. He warned that some of the missing may have been murdered by occupation forces or allowed to bleed to death without medical treatment, and called upon the International Committee of the Red Cross to act urgently to determine the fate of the Palestinians arrested in Gaza by the occupation forces and the circumstances of their detention.
Addameer issued the following statement on the urgent situation of Palestinians arrested from Gaza:
24 July 2014, occupied Ramallah – As the brutal assault in Gaza continues onto its seventeenth day, Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association expresses deep concern regarding the newly launched mass arrest campaign launched by the Israeli forces.
At least 150 Palestinians were arrested overnight in Gaza and forcibly transferred to an undisclosed detention center where they are now undergoing interrogation by Special Unit 504 in coordination with the intelligence services. The detainees are expected to undergo interrogation by the Shin Bet as well.
Also among those who have been arrested in recent days are ‘Ammar Shami, who was injured during the shelling and is now hospitalized during his detention.”
“The view that Jews are a nation is the primary belief underlying Zionism. Other ideas too are inherent to Zionism, but no useful purpose would be served by discussing them all here. The notion of Jewish nationhood is a 19th-century invention, and like many other 19th-century inventions it is taking a long time to unravel and lay to rest. The following addresses the question of how the damage caused by the Zionist project might be reduced, or even reversed, by peaceful political means.
Zionism is a conceptual ideology in which it is assumed that part or all of the land of Palestine belongs to “the Jews.” Of course, we should all be free to assume whatever we want, but where such assumptions lead to organized conquests, expulsions, land dispossession or the kind of repetitive episodes of brutal violence we have just seen in Gaza, that is quite another matter.
Many words have been devoted to the question of how to attain “peace” between the Zionist colonists and the people who were living in Palestine prior to the Zionists’ arrival. This article is not about that kind of peace. Defining grounds on which to make peace within the status quo is not my concern here. What I have in mind is something far more fundamental: the return of Palestine, through political inducements, to the people we have come to call the Palestinians. It behooves those who seek an end to violence and a just peace to at least remain open to my argument, as follows:
By Palestinians, I mean all those who inhabited this region in the centuries during which it was under Turkish rule (1517-1917). Some of those people were Jewish. I include these Jews among the Palestinians, since they took no part in the Zionist colonization of Palestine from about 1890 onwards.
For about the past hundred years, this Palestine, excluding Jordan, has been regarded as an emigration destination for people calling themselves “Zionists.” These are people originating from a large number of countries where Jews have lived and still live today. I regard this emigration as unlawful, since it was forced on the local population by foreign powers.
The people who lived in this region did not have any resources either to repel this flow of emigrants or to conclusively disprove the political and ideological justifications that were presented for it.
The 1917 Balfour Declaration is regarded as one of these justifications. However, no one maintains that the then government of Great Britain had any authority to assign the land of Palestine to anyone other than the people who were living there. Similarly, although the United Nations assigned a portion of Palestine to the immigrants in the so-called Partition of Palestine in 1947, its own Charter stated that it had no right to do so without obtaining the consent of the mandate territory’s population.
…The colonial powers that controlled the primary financial and military resources within the UN in 1947 enabled these squatters to move in and subsequently helped them furnish their new home.
In his voluminous, carefully formulated book, A Just Zionism, Chaim Gans sets out to demonstrate that the Jews possess “historical rights” to the land of Palestine. Like many other commentators, I disagree; his entire line of argument is spurious. The proposition that some Jews living today are descendants of those who lived in Palestine thousands of years ago is at best a hypothesis. But even if a plausible case could be made for this hypothesis, this still does not provide any lawful basis for the Zionist dispossession of Palestine.
Gans therefore supplements the supposed “historical rights” by asserting that “the horrendous scope and nature of the persecution [of Jews] in the 1930s and 1940s provided justification for establishing Jewish self-determination in the Land of Israel.” He repeats this argument in different ways in many places, all of them coming down to his conclusion that the Jews, like the original inhabitants, have rights, and must “therefore” share the land. This argument has all the logic of a criminal invoking the horrendous abuse he has suffered in childhood and the murder of all his siblings to explain why his crime is not in fact a crime at all.
This line of argument, the standard turn of phrase for those who are supposedly proposing a way out of this conflict, still has many supporters in Israel, in the United States, and in Europe. It is sheer obfuscation, however, and the twisted reasoning at its heart contains the origin of the conflict: a piece of land is given illegally to immigrants, after which this act is justified by advancing opportunistic arguments cast in a religious and historical mold, while carefully avoiding the proper description. What happened in Palestine, of course, was classical Western colonialism that can sustain itself only by dint of its superior military or economic resources and by enforced occupation.
However you look at it, the immigrants who went to Palestine from about 1890 onwards, or after the completely unlawful “partitioning” by the UN in 1947, are just that: immigrants. They descended on a mandate territory against the express wishes of the population and against the rules of international law as set down in the UN Charter. The population of Palestine and their leaders tried to put up some sort of resistance, with the primitive means at their disposal, but were defeated by the immigrants’ superior financial and military organization, derived from the West.
…It is time to call a spade a spade: Israel, as a colony, is a constant source of violence and conflict. It is not an ex-colony, nor is it an accepted part of the world for many. It is a territory in the Middle East under Western occupation, which possesses no political legitimacy now, nor can it ever acquire such legitimacy in the future because it has no raison d’être and cannot create one.
What I propose here is that the flow of millions of Zionists to Palestine be reversed. That the Zionists who emigrated to Israel should be offered a peaceful and generously compensated return to where they came from or the choice of any other destination. And that the descendants of emigrants who were born in Israel be invited to return to the countries of their parents/grandparents, or to go somewhere else as they choose.
In a well-crafted UN plan to decolonize Israel and reconstruct Palestine, the injustices that befell the Palestinians should not be repeated. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their homes and lands, never receiving a penny in compensation for the immense damage inflicted on them by the Zionist project. This is not the example to follow. So my proposal does not involve “deporting” Israelis from Israel, but giving them opportunities to build far better lives elsewhere which over time would unwind the Zionist project.
There is no end in sight to this violence, since the Israelis have reaped major benefits from it over the years, in the form of land and political domination. But if the world were to adopt a different strategy, namely that of ending the deportation and military subjection of the Palestinians, this would be a good step in the direction of reversing the single most fatal mistake of post-war Western politics.
In addition, we should make Israel’s economic life extremely difficult, as in the case of South Africa not so long ago. That such measures would greatly alter the political, moral and economic position of Israel will be obvious. A date should be set (for instance, 12 or 15 years after the start of the compensation program) on which the Palestinians will be given full authority over their entire territory. An authority that they should have been given on the basis of the UN Charter following the end of the British Mandate on May 14, 1948. Zionists who want to remain in Palestine could be offered the choice of doing so, but it would be up to the Palestinians to decide whether to grant this option. These ex-colonialists would not have any separate privileges, roads, laws, protection or enclaves. Within the Palestinian State, they would be subject to a different legal system than they are now.
…As long as the Zionists are left in charge they will never share the country; it was given to them and to them alone, by God and the atom bomb. They have used the past sixty years to make this crystal-clear. This leaves only one realistic solution: the complete dissolution of the colony, and the ending of the expulsions and land dispossession that was initiated in 1948. The only way to achieve this is by offering incentives for current and later generations of Zionists to resettle elsewhere, while removing the Western foundations of that colonization: the military, ideological, and economic support that sustains it.
…We must have the courage to finally end the Second World War, and to dismantle Israel in a sensible way.”
“When originally discovered in 2000, Gaza’s ofshore 1.4 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves were valued at $4 billion. Since then the Gaza Marine reserve has been re-estimated to 1.6 trillion cubic feet, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), while “offshore Gaza territory may hold additional energy resources.”
Israel is approaching a severe domestic ‘gas crunch’ pending the development of its own deep-water Leviathan gas field. Moreover it is now estimated that Gaza Marine’s exploitation could yield revenues of $6-7 billion per year.
And one thing is clear – Israel has no intention of letting Hamas anywhere near that money – nor even Fatah, which runs the West Bank, on any terms other than those that Israel lays down. In 2007 Moshe Ya’alon, a former IDF chief of staff, stated:
“It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement.” And needless to say, that would be entirely unacceptable.
For now, Israel get get away with its crimes, not only scot-free but to applause and material support. Hot on the heels of its attacks on ‘protected’ civilians, for example, as reported on CNN, the US decided to release stocks of munitions for Israel to continue its attacks:
“Among the items being bought are 120mm mortar rounds and 40mm ammunition for grenade launchers, the [anonymous US defense] official said. Those will come from a stockpile the United States keeps in Israel, which is worth more than $1 billion.”
While support for Israel in Europe falls away, elsewhere in the world, sentiment is turning to outright hostility. Bolivia now classifies Israel as a “terrrorist state”, and on 23rd July the UN Human Rights Council voted overwhelmingly (only the US voted against) to
“urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry … to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip …”
And only yesterday, the Palestinian Authority decided to accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court – a first move towards allowing the proto-state to file lawsuits against Israel for its alleged war crimes.
So what is Israel’s will? It could be this simple: to finish the job of 1948, when the indigenous inhabitants of southern Palestine were ‘ethnically cleansed’ from the land by Jewish militia, terrorised into abandoning their homes, towns and villages, and forced to seek refuge in the narrow strip of land that is Gaza.
The next step in this historic process would be to empty Gaza of its people. A drastic step indeed – but not an irrational one. It was all very well to keep 1.8 million Palestinians incarcerated in Gaza, so long as the land was of little value. But now, thanks to its offshore wealth, it’s a treasure trove.
So why can’t Israel simply take the gas, but leave the people where they are? In a word, rockets. So long as Hamas and other armed groups can target offshore gas infrastructure with their rockets, the gas is unexploitable. So not only must Hamas go, but the entire ‘sea’ in which Hamas swims (that is, the Palestinian people) must also go.
Moreover, so long as Palestinians control the territory of Gaza, they will also be able to assert and sustain claims of ownership of its offshore marine resources.
If it is indeed Israel’s intention to ‘cleanse’ Gaza of its people, then the attacks on civilians, and vital civilian infrastructure, make perfect sense. So too do Netenyahu’s warnings of a “prolonged offensive” and his call-up of another 16,000 military reservists, and the US’s release of further munitions into the fray.
There does remain one unanswered question: where are all the people to go? One answer is that many may die. Not from direct bombing and shelling – the total of dead, now approaching 1,400, is well short of having a ‘demographic’ impact on the territory. Even if 6,000 are killed by the time it’s all over, that would be only 0.5% of Gaza’s population.
But what could have a demographic impact is the effect of disease. If by some mischance the ebola virus, or cholera were to take root in Gaza, with its filthy water, lack of electrical power, failed sewage system and demolished hospitals, a great many more would surely die, perhaps hundreds of thousands.”
**The Canadian Peace Alliance has an extensive listing of actions across Canada for Gaza. Check it regularly!