Quote of the day


Over the last four weeks the powerful Israeli propaganda machine has been churning out lie after lie about Hamas in order to excuse its own inexcusable onslaught. Israel stopped journalists going into Gaza, preventing any independent reporting on the war crimes its forces were committing. Truth is usually the first casualty in war. Gaza was not even a war in the conventional sense of the word; it was one-sided carnage.

Hamas is the democratically elected government of the Palestinian people, not the corrupt regime led by Mahmoud Abbas. Second, Hamas spokesmen have repeatedly declared their readiness for a long-term ceasefire. Khalid Mish’al recently did so on these pages (Comment, 6 January). Third, Hamas has a solid record of observing ceasefires, while Israel has a consistent record of sabotaging them. Fourth, even during the ceasefire Israel did not lift its economic blockade of the 1.5 million inhabitants of Gaza, a form of collective punishment forbidden by international law. Fifth, the offensive unleashed in Gaza was illegal, immoral and unnecessary. If all Israel wanted was to stop rocket attacks from Gaza, all it had to do was to observe the ceasefire brokered by Egypt in June 2008.
Professor Avi Shlaim
Oxford

Advertisements

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.