Archive for December 29th, 2008

Myths, Complicity

More Mustafa Barghouti here. Read the whole thing, here’s the conclusion.

In closing, there is another reason – beyond the internal politics of Israel – why this attack has been allowed to occur: the complicity and silence of the international community.

Israel cannot and would not act against the will of its economic allies in Europe or its military allies in the US. Israel may be pulling the trigger ending hundreds, perhaps even thousands of lives this week, but it is the apathy of the world and the inhumane tolerance of Palestinian suffering which allows this to occur.

‘The evil only exists because the good remain silent’

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“a war crime, a bloodbath”

Mustafa Barghouti, via Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: We’re also joined in Ramallah by Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, independent Palestinian lawmaker, democracy activist. Your response from the West Bank right now, which isn’t under siege, to say the least, in the same way as Gaza, Dr. Barghouti?

DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI:
We are not under siege, but we are under Israeli attack, as well. The Israeli army attacked civilian nonviolent demonstrators yesterday in Nil’in and killed one person and injured three very seriously. Another young boy was killed in another village in [inaudible]. Three people have been killed already in the West Bank, and the number is rising.

But let me say that what Israel is doing in Gaza is not an act of self-defense, as it is claiming. It’s not an attack on Hamas. It is an attack on the whole Palestinian population. What we see is a war crime, a bloodbath, unprecedented since 1967. What we have had so far is 318 people killed, including thirty children, and at least 1,400 people injured, including 150 children and forty women. I was shocked deeply today over the fact that yesterday the Israeli planes destroyed a house in Jabaliya camp and killed five girls, five sisters from one family, and injured their mother seriously and critically. This is a bloodbath that should stop immediately.

Israel is claiming that it is attacking Hamas, but in fact it is attacking all the Palestinians. It is attacking the whole infrastructure. They have destroyed a university. They have destroyed five mosques. They have attacked the hospital. They are shooting and destroying everywhere. And it seems imminent that there will be even a land invasion which could destroy and kill and take away thousands of lives. This is very dangerous. And Israel would not have gone so far if it wasn’t for the compliance and the silence of the international community.

One very important point here, I must clarify that it was not the Palestinians or Hamas that broke the ceasefire; Israel was the one that broke the ceasefire since two months. They started operations and attacks here and there, trying to provoke a reaction, ’til there was a reaction, and then they claim that it was the Palestinians who broke the ceasefire.

Also, I want to clarify that Gaza Strip is the highest densely populated area in the world, with almost 4,150 people in each square kilometer. When you start bombing the place with bombs that are one to two tons heavy, then you’re determined to kill people and kill civilians and innocent people. I’ve just heard Tzipi Livni, the Foreign Minister of Israel, saying that Palestinians should go away from Hamas and Gaza. Where should they go away? In which place? Where? Which place they can go to, when Israel is putting Gaza for two years under total blockade, by sea, by air, by land. Israel has been claiming that it has withdrawn from Gaza. Israel never ended its occupation of Gaza. It maintains the occupying of the airspace, the sea around Gaza and the land around Gaza. And it was preventing people from getting medical aid and equipment and fuel and electricity. I was just talking to our people in Gaza and asked them, “What is your situation?” They told me they don’t have bread. Even bread is unavailable in Gaza. And now Israel is bombarding it in this horrible and unacceptable way.

I think the world community must see the reality. This is an unprecedented bloodbath that the Israeli generals are using—and politicians are using for their political campaigning in their elections. For one more time, they’re using Palestinian blood for their election campaigns. I’m so sorry that even some left parties in Israel are supporting such an aggression. They all claim that this is about missiles. But let me ask a very simple question: How many Israelis were killed during the last six months by missiles? Almost none. The only two Israelis that were killed so far were killed after this operation.

Will this bring peace? It will not bring peace. Will this bring security? On the contrary, it is bringing back the intifada of the West Bank. It is creating terrible feelings all over the occupied and Palestinian territories, and this must be stopped. And if it wasn’t for the compliance of this terrible American administration, Bush administration, who seems to insist to have a very dark reputation before he leaves his office, if it wasn’t for that support and compliance, Israel would not have dared to go so far in punishing innocent victims and in creating this terrible disaster in Gaza Strip.

Links

I don’t have much time to write posts these days, for at least another week. So a few links in relation to recent events:

Safa Joudeh:

Six locations were hit during the air raid on Gaza City. The images are probably not broadcasted on US news channels. There were piles and piles of bodies in the locations that were hit. As you looked at them you could see that a few of the young men were still alive, someone lifts a hand, and another raises his head. They probably died within moments because their bodies were burned, most had lost limbs, some of their guts were hanging out and they were all lying in pools of blood. Outside my home which is close to the two largest universities in Gaza, a missile fell on a large group of young men, university students. They’d been warned not to stand in groups as it makes them an easy target, but they were waiting for buses to take them home. Seven were killed, four students and three of our neighbors’ kids, young men who were from the Rayes family and were best friends. As I’m writing this I can hear a funeral procession go by outside; I looked out the window a moment ago and it was the three Rayes boys. They spent all their time together when they were alive, they died together and now they are sharing the same funeral together. Nothing could stop my 14-year-old brother from rushing out to see the bodies of his friends laying in the street after they were killed. He hasn’t spoken a word since.


Ali Abunimah

Israel says it is acting in “retaliation” for rockets fired with increasing intensity ever since a six-month truce expired on 19 December. But the bombs dropped on Gaza are only a variation in Israel’s method of killing Palestinians. In recent months they died mostly silent deaths, the elderly and sick especially, deprived of food, cancer treatments and other medicines by an Israeli blockade that targeted 1.5 million people – mostly refugees and children – caged into the Gaza Strip. The orders of Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, to hold back medicine were just as lethal and illegal as those to send in the warplanes.

Ehud Olmert, Israel’s prime minister, pleaded that Israel wanted “quiet” – a continuation of the truce – while Hamas chose “terror”, forcing him to act. But what is Israel’s idea of a truce? It is very simple: Palestinians have the right to remain silent while Israel starves them, kills them and continues to violently colonise their land.

Gideon Levy

The pictures that flooded television screens around the world yesterday showed a parade of corpses and wounded being loaded into and unloaded from the trunks of private cars that transported them to the only hospital in Gaza worthy of being called a hospital. Perhaps we once again need to remember that we are dealing with a wretched, battered strip of land, most of whose population consists of the children of refugees who have endured inhumane tribulations.

For two and a half years, they have been caged and ostracized by the whole world. The line of thinking that states that through war we will gain new allies in the Strip; that abusing the population and killing its sons will sear this into their consciousness; and that a military operation would suffice in toppling an entrenched regime and thus replace it with another one friendlier to us is no more than lunacy.

Tom Segev:

Israel is striking at the Palestinians to “teach them a lesson.” That is a basic assumption that has accompanied the Zionist enterprise since its inception: We are the representatives of progress and enlightenment, sophisticated rationality and morality, while the Arabs are a primitive, violent rabble, ignorant children who must be educated and taught wisdom – via, of course, the carrot-and-stick method, just as the drover does with his donkey.

and

It is admittedly impossible to live with daily missile fire, even if virtually no place in the world today enjoys a situation of zero terror. But Hamas is not a terrorist organization holding Gaza residents hostage: It is a religious nationalist movement, and a majority of Gaza residents believe in its path. One can certainly attack it, and with Knesset elections in the offing, this attack might even produce some kind of cease-fire. But there is another historical truth worth recalling in this context: Since the dawn of the Zionist presence in the Land of Israel, no military operation has ever advanced dialogue with the Palestinians.

John Berger:

We are now spectators of the latest — and perhaps penultimate — chapter of the 60 year old conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people.  About the complexities of this tragic conflict billions of words have been pronounced, defending one side or the other.

Today, in face of the Israeli attacks on Gaza, the essential calculation, which was always covertly there, behind this conflict, has been blatantly revealed.  The death of one Israeli victim justifies the killing of a hundred Palestinians.  One Israeli life is worth a hundred Palestinian lives.

This is what the Israeli State and the world media more or less — with marginal questioning — mindlessly repeat.  And this claim, which has accompanied and justified the longest Occupation of foreign territories in 20th C. European history, is viscerally racist.  That the Jewish people should accept this, that the world should concur, that the Palestinians should submit to it — is one of history’s ironic jokes.  There’s no laughter anywhere.  We can, however, refute it, more and more vocally.

Let’s do so.


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