Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, who is in hiding from Israeli assassins, called for a ceasefire yesterday while Israel prepared its ground forces for invasion of Gaza and Olmert postured. As a consequence of Israel’s 2 year collective punishment on its people by siege and recently bombings, Gaza is one of the most wretched, impoverished places on the planet.
“What is happening in Gaza is not normal aggression,” said Mr Haniya. “It is a real war, a war without morals, with neither principles nor laws. It is a war of elimination against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. We tell the Palestinian people that you will win, inevitably.”
Earlier, the Israeli security cabinet rejected a French proposal for a 48-hour “humanitarian” ceasefire that would be used to mediate a long-term ceasefire.
“We didn’t initiate the Gaza operation to end it while Israeli towns are still under fire, as they were before the operation,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said.
He added that the proposal would be reconsidered when the time was right and only if international monitors took responsibility for enforcing it. As for humanitarian considerations, he said Israel was permitting an unlimited amount of humanitarian supplies to be trucked into the Gaza Strip daily.
Israel is believed to be planning a brief incursion aimed at weakening Hamas’s incentive to resort to violence in the future.
Since Israel’s slaughter is more likely to have the opposite effect of inciting more violence against it, one can only imagine that perpetual retaliation is precisely what Israel desires. When there is no suitable ‘partner for peace’ more land grabs can be justified.
Aid agencies give a contradictory and deeper understanding of the humanitarian crisis. They feel a cease fire is essential.
“After six days of Israeli bombardment, aid agencies say that Gazans are facing a humanitarian crisis with air strikes causing severe problems in getting food, medicine and fuel supplies to the besieged civilian population.
The assessment, by several international relief organisations, contradicts the statement by the Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, during a visit to Paris yesterday that “there is no humanitarian crisis in the Strip, and therefore there is no need for a humanitarian truce”. While relief shipments were allowed into Gaza by the Israeli authorities in the days before the start of the offensive, they came after weeks of virtually no supplies getting through, the agencies point out.
Dr Hassan Khalaf, of the main Shifa hospital in Gaza City, said that Palestinian civilians are paying a terrible price: “We are getting really badly injured people coming in every day. What is the point of saying you are allowing food in for people when you then go on to bomb them? The Israelis may say they are just attacking Hamas but I am seeing children and women coming covered in blood. What we are seeing is a war on the people. The Hamas fighters firing the rockets are at the border, they are not in the city.
“We have organised the hospitals so that different ones are looking after different types of injuries. But the common problem we face is that we are having bad shortages in lots of things, especially anesthetics and antibiotics. We are talking to the ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] and I hope we shall get some help.”
Christine Van Nieuwenhuyse, head of the World Food Programme for Gaza and the West Bank, acknowledged that a “significant amount” of food was allowed in by the Israelis before the start of the air strikes. “But we must not forget this came after weeks when hardly any food had got in at all. One of our warehouses is full but we have another one empty as it is in an area which has seen a lot of bombings.
“Our partners in Gaza are the Ministry of Social Welfare and their officials are not taking part in the distribution process because they feel they might get bombed for working for a Hamas government. This is a serious problem as is the fact that people are finding it difficult to move about. We are facing an acute food crisis.”
Maxwell Gaylard, the UN’s humanitarian co-ordinator for Gaza and the Palestinian territories, said “Gaza is facing a serious emergency, that is a fact. Food supplies have been allowed in but there are huge problems caused by the lack of industrial fuel and this is causing severe problems. To address all these problems we need a ceasefire.”
Does Olmert’s mention of international monitors signal an opportunity for diplomacy? if so, when? after a ground assault killing spree?
After petitions by the Foreign Press Association, Israeli courts have now allowed foreign journalists to enter Gaza..
Israel however, is not complying with the court decision and foreign journalists are still barred. A ground invasion with accompanying atrocities safe from scrutiny by the media is still on the cards.
Oren Ben-Dur points out the logical outcome from Zionist terror inflicted on the Palestinian people in Gaza:
No army, however well equipped and trained, can win a combat against increasing number of people who no longer have any reason to care about dying. If there was hatred against Israelis before the Gaza massacre, the hatred after it will be of a different order of magnitude.