Archive for the ‘Gaza’ Category
The ceasefire agreed by Israel and Hamas in Cairo after eight days of fighting is merely a pause in the Israel-Palestine conflict. It promises to ease movement at all border crossings with the Gaza Strip, but will not lift the blockade. It requires Israel to end its assault on the Strip, and Palestinian militants to stop firing rockets at southern Israel, but it leaves Gaza as miserable as ever: according to a recent UN report, the Strip will be ‘uninhabitable’ by 2020. And this is to speak only of Gaza. How easily one is made to forget that Gaza is only a part – a very brutalised part – of the ‘future Palestinian state’ that once seemed inevitable, and which now seems to exist mainly in the lullabies of Western peace processors. None of the core issues of the Israel-Palestine conflict – the Occupation, borders, water rights, repatriation and compensation of refugees – is addressed by this agreement.
The fighting will erupt again, because Hamas will come under continued pressure from its members and from other militant factions, and because Israel has never needed much pretext to go to war. In 1982, it broke its ceasefire with Arafat’s PLO and invaded Lebanon, citing the attempted assassination of its ambassador to London, even though the attack was the work of Arafat’s sworn enemy, the Iraqi agent Abu Nidal. In 1996, during a period of relative calm, it assassinated Hamas’s bomb-maker Yahya Ayyash, the ‘Engineer’, leading Hamas to strike back with a wave of suicide attacks in Israeli cities. When, a year later, Hamas proposed a thirty-year hudna, or truce, Binyamin Netanyahu dispatched a team of Mossad agents to poison the Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Amman; under pressure from Jordan and the US, Israel was forced to provide the antidote, and Meshaal is now the head of Hamas’s political bureau – and an ally of Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi.
It cannot be doubted the turning-point in Israel’s latest murderous rampage.
It came when Hamas leader Khaled Meshal taunted Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Go ahead, attack!
At that moment Netanyahu stood exposed in all his nakedness.
The bluff had been called.
Only the ninth-rate hacks at the New York Times preserved until the last second the fiction that the IDF still stood poised for an offensive. Isabel Kershner, the ex-beautician from Sderot Coiffures, whose only known scholarly work is The Complete History of Mah Jong Tournaments in the Catskills, dutifully repeated the party line that Netanyahu held back on the ground offensive because he of course preferred a diplomatic solution.
Just like Genghis Khan.
Israel couldn’t attack because the population won’t accept any IDF casualties, while the presence of foreign journalists and the honor of Egypt and Turkey prevented Israel from fighting in its usual style: the scorched-earth destruction of everything and everyone in its path, no questions asked.
The 2006 Lebanon War ended when Hezbollah escalated its rocket attacks on Israel’s heartland, while Israel dreaded the prospect of a ground invasion on the terrain of the Party of God. So, Israel called on the U.S.to bail it out and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice engineered a U.N. resolution, which she had blocked during the first weeks of the Israeli massacre–or, what this Witch from the Pits of Hell called the “birth pangs of a new Middle East.”
This time it’s Scarecrow Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who is flying in to rescue Israel from another debacle, as Hamas escalated its–albeit, largely symbolic–retaliatory strikes.
It’s unlikely that Palestinians will win much in the ceasefire–the interests of Egypt, Turkey and Qatar, on the one hand, and the Palestinians on the other, diverge more than they converge.
But still, the IDF’s Achilles heel has once again been revealed, and consequently, although Tel Aviv’s proclaimed goal in launching the attack on Gaza was to enhance its “deterrence capacity”–i.e., its capacity to terrorize the Arab/Muslim world into submission–in fact, under the supremely stupid leadership of Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Israel emerges with a diminished deterrence capacity.
No doubt, these Draculas are thrilled at the sight of the rubble and corpses in Gaza.
But they cannot be pleased that all the world now knows just how cowardly they are.
In the end, notwithstanding its super-space-age arsenal of death, the IDF trembled at the prospect of engaging the weaponless men, women and children of Gaza.
It was a prudent move on Netanyahu’s part.
The Ubermenschen of Israel’s Wehrmacht would probably have been slaughtered.
The picture above is doing the rounds on the internet labelled as a Palestinian child victim of US-backed Zionist bombing in Gaza. In fact, it seems that it depicts a Syrian child injured by Russian and Iranian-backed Asadist barbarism. No matter – the two are interchangeable today. Both are fighting hyper-violent tyrannies rooted in the Sykes-Picot carve-up of bilad ash-Shaam. And while Zionism bombs Palestinian refugees in Gaza, Asad’s forces continue to bomb Palestinian refugees in the Yarmouk camp, Damascus. The film below shows some of the aftermath of this bombing. Below that we reprint an article by novelist Ahdaf Soueif, in which she describes the changed Arab environment meeting the latest aggression on Gaza, and points out that Israel’s action is in part aimed to take “the heat off Bashar al-Assad’s murderous activities in Syria.”
If you click here, you can listen to the Israeli attacks on Gaza. You can hear explosions, drones and ambulances. This is the soundtrack of the lives of Palestinians there now. They’re recording it and transmitting it, and their friends all over the world – particularly the Arab world – are listening to it live.
We are also reading the tweets and blogs the young Gazans are putting out, and taking a good look at the images they’re posting – like the one of Ranan Arafat, before and after. Before, she’s a pretty little girl with green eyes, a green halter-neck top and green ribbons in her hair. After the Israeli bomb, she’s a charred and shrunken figure. Her mouth is open. A medic lifts – for just a moment – her blue hospital shroud.
In that hospital, Shifa in Gaza City, we watched the Egyptian prime minister, Hisham Kandil, this morning. For the first time in 42 years an Egyptian prime minister was where we Egyptians wanted him to be. For the first time a government official was telling the truth when he said he spoke for the Egyptian people. And he was spot on when he referred to the Egyptian people first, before the Egyptian president.
Since he won the presidency, Mohamed Morsi has tried to be a pragmatic politician. He pressed on with “security co-ordination” with Israel in Sinai; he started sealing up the tunnels that provide a lifeline to the besieged Gazans; he rejected the proposal of a free trade area on the borders between Egypt and Gaza; and he sent an ambassador to Tel Aviv with a fulsome letter to Shimon Peres. And so he found himself uncomfortably cosied up with remnants of the Mubarak regime and aficionados of the military government.
The rank and file of the Muslim Brotherhood and their Freedom and Justice party had a hard time justifying the actions of their man in the presidential palace to the rest of the country. Progressives and liberals mocked them for their big talk on Palestine all the years they were in opposition, and their resounding silence now they were in power. Skits about Morsi’s “love letter” to Peres appeared online and parodies on Cairo walls.
Now, the Israelis have pushed him – pushed him perhaps into a position where he’ll find himself more at ease in his presidency, and more in tune with the people. Large groups of young Egyptians have been heading for Gaza; my youngest niece is one of them. Like the efforts of the world’s civil society to send ships to Gaza, young Egyptian civilians with a passion for freedom are going to support their friends. And on a more “official” level, medics and pharmacists have already arrived there. Abdel Moneim Aboul-Fotouh, a presidential candidate and doctor, has gone – as he did in 2008 during Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead“, long before he had political intentions. The Arab Doctors’ Union has called for donations and volunteers.
Israel has always sold itself to the west as a democracy in a sea of fanaticism. The Arab spring has undermined that narrative, possibly fatally. So Israeli politicians have been pushing hard for a war against Iran and, in the interim, they’ve gone on a killing spree in Gaza. If they had wanted to instigate violence against themselves they could not have done better than to assassinate Ahmed al-Jaabari, the Hamas commander who’s prevented attacks on Israelis for the past five years. With his killing they’ve raised the probability of these attacks resuming, as is happening now. They can then try to hijack the narrative of the Arab spring and wind the clock back to “Islamist terrorists v civilised Israelis”. Meanwhile, they take the heat off Bashar al-Assad’s murderous activities in Syria – and, of course, score hawkish points for Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak before the coming elections.
But they have served to remind the world that Israel is a democracy where politicians may order the murder of children to score electoral points. Palestinian children, true. But the citizens of the world don’t make racist distinctions. On Thursday there were protests for Gaza across the world. They continued today. And there will be many more.
In every Arab country where the people rise up to demand their rights, they demand action on Palestinian rights as well. Tunis has just announced that its foreign minister is heading for Gaza. In Jordan today, hundreds of thousands were on the streets and, as well as demanding the fall of their own regime, they’re also calling for justice for Palestine. Protesters are out in Libya. In Egypt, people are heading for Rafah. We are heading for true representation of the people’s will in the region and, in the coming years, governments will need to follow the road shown to them by their people.