GAZA…..again


It should come as no surprise the Israeli government is on another blood lust for Palestinian land and souls.  Gaza, the open air prison that rivals Guantanamo Bay is being relentlessly bombarded because of Hamas rockets fired on Israel.

Israelis look at a crater caused by a rocket outside a shop in Ashdod, on the second day of Operation Protective Edge, Wednesday, July 9, 2014 (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Israelis look at a crater caused by a rocket outside a shop in Ashdod, on the second day of Operation Protective Edge, Wednesday, July 9, 2014 (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Since this latest “provocation” by Hamas a total of ONE Israeli has been killed and that AFTER the Israeli retaliatory strikes whereas scores of Palestinians have been killed or murdered.  Numbers are irrelevant and there are no equivalences…..you don’t slaughter innocents in retaliation…unless you’re the Israeli government.

What’s newsworthy and drawn me to post is the latest attempt at a cease fire advocated by Hamas.  Here are the “terms

First – Opening all the crossing with the Gaza Strip.

Second – Opening Rafah crossing, the link between Gaza and Egypt, on a permanent basis, 24 hours per day with international guarantees it will not be closed.

Third – A maritime corridor to Gaza.

Fourth – Allowing residents of the Gaza Strip to pray in the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Fifth – Israel will release the prisoners who were freed as part of the “Shalit” deal, and Israel will abide by the previous agreement reached by prisoners and the Israel Prison Service with Egyptian mediation in 2012.

 

Hold your breath if you think Israel will accede to these conditions; they are too busy trying to acquire the land they want Palestinians to leave with threats of military invasion of Gaza if they don’t go.

Gaza after an Israeli strike on July 8, 2014

Gaza after an Israeli strike on July 8, 2014

And if you’re counting on the Americans to broker peace there forget that one too.  Obama’s shameless pandering to the Israelis was no more evident than at the “iftar” meal he held for Muslims at the White House earlier this week, where the Israeli ambassador to America was also present.  There Obama asserted there is  justification on the part of Israel for its slaughter because of the destruction being rained down upon it by Hamas rockets. Hardly…The Israeli Ambassador, Ron Dermer, was delighted by Obama’s stand, tweeting,

.@WhiteHouse for Iftar dinner. Appreciate strong statement there by President Obama about Israel’s right to defend itself.

— Amb. Ron Dermer (@AmbDermer) July 15, 2014

As in your face as one can get; being invited to a party being held for someone else and then humiliating them the honorees, but that’s Israel.  That’s what they’ve been doing and allowed to do for decades. It was bad enough to get get Tariq Ramadan to write

It was supposed to be an evening where the American President showed respect to a religious community, to the millions of American Muslims who have been fasting during the sacred month of Ramadan.

It was supposed to be a political expression of respect. It ended up being a political instrumentalisation of (voluntarily) trapped Muslim leaders listening to President Obama justify the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians, declaring Israel has the right to defend itself. One wonders what is the relationship between the Iftar celebration and Israel ? What is the US administration’s implicit-explicit intention in putting the Muslim leaders in such an embarrassing situation? To test their loyalty or rather their capacity to compromise or betray? They obviously remained silent.

The Israeli ambassador, Mr. Ron Dermer, also invited (why?), was actually the first to speak. One must remember what he said about Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims : Palestinians have “a cultural tendency towards belligerency” that is “deeply embedded in the culture of the Arab world and its foremost religion”. This is the man who was invited to celebrate Iftar with the Muslims meanwhile his Government is destroying Gaza. From the White House he tweeted, triumphantly : “@WhiteHouse for Iftar dinner. Appreciate strong statement there by President Obama about Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Obviously Muslim leaders didn’t tweet. It was enough of an honor for them to be invited to the White House and to have met the President. An honor, truly, dear Muslim leaders? Ordinary Muslims (and proponents of justice and dignity from other religions) in the US and around the world, as well as Palestinians, might think differently.

That just about sums it up.

 

 

Clothing is now a WMD


After the Gaza genocide, immediately following the truce, Israel bombed northern and southern Gaza saying they were interdicting weapons being smuggled by way of the mass tunnel system.  It doesn’t matter that those very same tunnels were also used to smuggle in much needed medicine and foodstuffs to the people of Gaza, since even they are no longer allowed to farm their fields nor fish in the waters off the shores of Gaza.  The youtube video shows the daily pressures Palestinian fisherman go through for mere subsistence level fishing.

Now comes word that not even clothes  are  allowed in to Gaza anymore and is considered contraband. The Brotherhood, an aid ship destined for Gaza was intercepted by the Israeli navy and taken to an Israeli port because it was carrying food and medical supplies in an attempt to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.  No weapons were found.

Israel removed cloths and shoes from the list of goods that were allowed into Gaza Strip after Egypt brokered a ceasefire there, a Palestinian official said on Wednesday.

Ali al-Hayek, head of Industries Federation, said the Israeli occupation prevented these sorts of goods from entering Gaza Strip “since they could be used in producing military uniforms.”

So how is it that a ship going to Gaza and  carrying humanitarian supplies is taken by the Israelis?  What legal right do the Israelis have in seizing humanitarian aide?  The Israelis look upon Gaza as their own territory and have set up strict limits on what the Palestinians can and cannot do there.

Israel continues to maintain complete control over the air and sea space of the Gaza Strip. Control of the air space provides Israel with the ability to effectively and easily control actions on the ground, and to interfere with radio and television broadcasts. Control of the coastal area and territorial waters enables Israel , among other things, to restrict the activity of Palestinian fishermen.

Israel continues to control the joint Gaza Strip-West Bank population registry. Formal authority for administering the population registry was transferred under the second Oslo Agreement, of 1995, to the Palestinian Authority, but in practice, Israel continued to hold most of the powers regarding the registry. Almost every change in the registry made by the Palestinian Authority, except for the registration of children whose two parents are residents of the Occupied Territories , requires the prior approval of Israel . Israel does not recognize changes made by the Palestinian Authority without its approval.

Israel continues to maintain complete control of the movement of people and goods between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank . This is the case also when the movement does not take place across Israeli territory. Israeli control is based on a military order that classifies the entire West Bank as a “closed military area,” as to which entry and exit requires a permit issued by the military. Residents of Gaza who are caught in the West Bank without a permit, even if they have lived in the West Bank for years and established families there, are considered to be staying illegally in the area and are expelled to the Gaza Strip.

Israel continues to exercise complete control over the movement of goods into the Gaza Strip. The three crossing points designated for this purpose   – Karni, Sufa, and Kerem Shalom – are under Israel ‘s sole control. Rafah Crossing, the administration of which was handed over to the Palestinian Authority, has a terminal for the crossing of goods, but according to the November 2005 agreement, the crossing is limited to exports.

It is easy to see why the Palestinians resist  such regulations as those imposed on them by the Israelis and why they have set up ways of insuring  their own self-reliance. The living conditions in Gaza aren’t independence they are slavery and everyone who is aware of them knows that!


They’re baaaacccckkkk!!


idfThe timing couldn’t be more accurate.  We’ve pointed out how the Israelis are usually the first to kill after conflict pauses that last more than one week.  In fact the empirical evidence says  over 90% of the time the Israeli government acts provocatively to end truces with its Palestinian neighbors/prisoners but less than one week after announcing a unilateral truce the Israelis are  at it again this time in the West Bank, kidnapping civilians from Jenin and Qaryut as well as shelling Gaza from naval boats off the coast.  Both actions are nothing more than a provocation designed to get the Palestinians to respond in a way that will justify a disproportionate military response on the order of a week ago.

If that doesn’t work, the Israelis are quite content to sit back, tighten the screws on their already strangling blockade and let the Palestinians starve until they try to break the blockade, at which point they’ll return militarily.

“This war and the ceasefire have not brought about a lifting of the siege on Gaza. People might not be dying by gunfire, but they may still starve to death or succumb to easily treatable ailments. This brutal siege has crippled Gaza and most importantly the children”, he ( Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP) emphasised, referring on the siege policy that Israel has heavily imposed on the Gaza Strip for 14 months.

Of course the Israelis will say the blockade is to restrict the flow of arms to Hamas, but much needed supplies are being denied to the few remaining civilians  of Gaza and the blockade has become a political tool to ratchet up pressure on Hamas or Gazans in general.  The Israelis are offering the excuse that they want the people of Gaza to disavow their elected officials, but that’s not happening anytime soon.

“Hamas is now our army, the only ones fighting to defend the Palestinian people,” said Gaza resident Ahmed al-Sultan, standing outside the rubble of the north Gaza City home his family has lived in for 40 years. “I saw how they fight, their courage and their sacrifice, and so I’ve changed my opinion about them.”

After it won control in Gaza, Hamas sentenced Mr. Sultan to death. He won a reprieve through a connected relative. Today, he calls the Palestinian Authority leaders he once served, who are based in the West Bank, “donkeys” and says Hamas, his onetime nemesis, are “rightful defenders of the Palestinian people.”

Most nationalist movements are not motivated or moved by outside pressure while their country is occupied.  The US tried it with Iraq after the first Gulf war, with little or no results, despite the thousands of deaths and the utter ruin of the Iraqi economy, and it’s really foolhardy to think Gazans will reject Hamas or vote them out of power.   What the Israelis have done rather successfully is a play on the old divide and conquer philosophy, where they have pit one group of Palestinians against another.  Hamas is a by product of this strategy and the Israelis will perpetuate the lie that  Hamas  doesn’t recognize the state of Israel as a a casus belli for any military action against Palestinians, prolonging the conflict, keeping the region unstable, while appealing for and getting  massive military and economic aid from the US.

President Obama should know all this.  The patterns are really very clear and well discernible.  The Israelis can go on with this game of abuse and genocide as long as they are enabled by the US specifically and western powers generally.  The pressure to change will have to come from the citizens of America and the west on their elected officials who are, for the moment anyway, in the back pocket of the Lobby.

Black gold


I blogged how Israel wants the natural resources of its neighbors but didn’t know about this!

…..the invasion of Gaza was in part motivated by vital energy resources, too. According to an article by Jake Bower, “Why It Rains: Hamas holding Israeli gas reserves hostage”:

“GAZA: Plans for proposed $400,000,000 offshore natural gas field development project….The deposit reportedly contains an estimated 50 to 60 billion cubic meters of natural gas. The field… is considered to be the largest in the area north of Egypt….

Estimated at 100 billion cubic meters of proven reserves, these discoveries potentially offer enough gas to meet Israel’s goal of supplying 25% of its energy needs for more than 20 years – even without further imports. The discovery has also raised realistic expectations of locating oil deposits beneath the gas fields.

Unfortunately for Israel, 60% of these reserves are in waters controlled by the Palestinian Authority, which has signed a 25-year contract with British Gas for further exploration in the area…. Keen to secure the gas for its domestic market but unwilling to submit its sensitive energy supplies (and their profits) into the hands of the Palestinians, Israel has for the past 6 years pursued a policy of non-commitment, stalling and obstruction.” (Jake Bower, “Why It Rains: Hamas holding “sraeli” gas reserves hostage”) http://tinyurl.com/7y2bcf

The natural gas deposits are just one more reason why Israel plans to remove Hamas and replace them with Mahmoud Abbas and the corrupt Palestinian Authority (PA).

The Middle East is being reshaped according to the ideological aspirations of Zionists and the exigencies of a viciously-competitive energy market. That’s a combo that makes peace nearly impossible.

Go figure.