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humanitarian relief --Israeli style « Previous | |Next »
January 11, 2009

The Palestinian death toll has climbed toward 850. Israel shelled a UN school that had been turned into a refugee centre near Gaza city, killing 42 people who had fled the fighting. The International Red Cross broke its usual silence over an attack in which the Israeli army herded a Palestinian family into a building and then shelled it, killing 30 people and leaving the surviving children clinging to the bodies of their dead mothers. The army prevented rescuers from reaching the survivors for four days.

RowsonIsrael.jpg Martin Rowson

Meanwhile, the Bush Administration in its dying days continues to support Israel's action. The current occupants of the White House still see the struggle in neocon terms of the Middle East as a Manichean struggle between an embattled democracy and Islamic terrorism. The Israeli Government has rejected the UN cease-fire proposal and it presses on with the 15-day-old offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Will the ongoing military action cause the collapse of Hamas rule in Gaza? And bring about the end of Abbas' rule in the West Bank? Israel appears to be on a pathway of killing and destroying indiscriminately whilst also trying to come out looking good, with a clean conscience.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:51 PM | | Comments (12)


Rumours of white phosphorous are emerging.

I was wrong. I thought they'd stop when the infrastructure was gone. Apparently it's to be much worse.

The the death toll from Israel's war on Hamas has approached 900 deaths.

they appear to be determined to destroy Hamas, with Hams standing for ISlamic terrorism in general and Israel standing for the West. That neocon talking point is what I heard on Radio national Breakfast this morning from a spokesperson from the Israeli embassy.

If that's the aim Gary, they're not doing a very good job of it.

Somebody is still firing rockets into Israel from somewhere in Gaza. If you could spot a couple of Hamas militants in a school full of refugees, surely you could spot the rocket launch sites.

Gary, Michael Lerner at Tikkun Magazine has a sane balanced essay on what to do about this never-ending dreadul situation.

A letter to The Australian Financial Review which it has not and may not publish:

Nicholas Goodstone asks, "If a terrorist organisation were firing rockets into areas of Sydney... I wonder whether you would want the Australian army... to prevent this from continuing?" ("Rocket prevention", Letters, January 9)

Certainly not - at least certainly not using the tactics employed by the Israel Defence Force. Let's have some perspective here. While the Palestinian and Lebanese rocket attacks are to be roundly condemned, even at the height of suicide bombings in Israel the likelihood of Israeli death in a traffic accident was four times higher than from a terrorist attack. The risk from the rocket attacks is, in comparison, insignificant. If Israeli authorities reduced road speed limits slightly and policed them properly, that would save far more Israeli lives than attacking Gaza.

There is little point in debating whose fault this mess is. Its origins date back to 1909 when Zionists settled in Palestine and set up armed forces to protect themselves against Arabs - it has become a hundred years war. Finger-pointing will get nowhere. Neither will persecuting the people of Gaza. Israelis should realise from their own history that persecution may simply strengthen resolve.

There is also no future in trying to build up the corrupt and incompetent administration of Fatah. Hamas was elected in Gaza not because of ideology but because it brought competent government.

The only way out of the impasse is for a consensus to build within Arab nations that Israel is there to stay: they must force the leaders of Hamas to accept this. The Egyptian government and the Muslim Brotherhood must reach some sort of accommodation and Israel must dismantle the network of settlements, checkpoints and roadblocks that have turned the West Bank into a series of gulags.

It would help too if the stand-off between Iran and the United States was addressed. Iran has no geopolitical reason to wish Israel to disappear but it has every reason to embrace positions that infuriate the United States and its allies.

Australian policy should be directed to engaging both Israel and moderate Arab nations in seeking a political resolution. The only conflict I can think of that has gone on for longer was that between Ireland and Britain, whose origins can betraced back to the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. It was not resolved by the Royal Air Force firing rockets into Northern Ireland or the British Army sending in the tanks.

Israel is now talking about reoccupying the Gaza strip on a permanent basis.

there is more likelihood that there will be some movement on Iran than the Gaza strip. Israel is in no mood to listen to anyone other than the US. It's the iron fist or nothing at the moment.

Within Israel the Central Elections Committee has decided to ban Arab political parties from running in next month's parliamentary elections.They are seen as the enemy within---parties of incitement that support terrorist groups and refuse to recognise Israel's right to exist.

It had been fully expected when the ceasefire went into effect that Israel would lift its blockade of the Territory which had caused severe hardships on the entire population especially through restraints on the supply of food, medicine, medical equipment and fuel.

Israel failed to lift the blockade. The blockade, which has persisted for more than 18 months, was a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention by Israel as occupying power of the Territory.

Hamas has said that in the event that the blockade was lifted it would agree to the ceasefire.

the Nazi genocide of Europe's Jews has ceased to excuse the state of Israel from the demands of international law and of common humanity. Israeli is not the victim here--it is a colonial settler society that has invaded the Gaza strip and acts as an occupying power.

the Israeli objectives are pretty clear now. The've been stated by Binyamin Netanyahu. He says that Israel needed a "clear victory" against Hamas and that the movement should "ultimately be removed" from Gaza. He called for a victory against the Islamist movement "that will cripple its capability" to attack.

He has made it clear that halting Iran's nuclear ambitions will be a priority and he described Hamas in Gaza as a proxy Iranian force. He rejected a peace treaty with Hamas, which he said would only legitimise the movement and give "immunity to terror".

He has rejected endorsing a two-state solution that would create an independent Palestinian state.

What the Rowson cartoon shows is that Israel is an occupying power that wishes to retain its adversary’s territory and it does by means of avoiding peace talks