Watching the Blood-Stained Monster & Its Friends

Barak brands Livni as ‘dangerous’ – how’s that for a whopping Pot, Kettle, Black?

Netanyahoo is ahead in the Israeli election polls – Barak may be positioning himself in a future Knesset coalition.

Israeli voters do not like governments with bad relations with the US as would probably be the case if Mr Netanyahu relied solely on the right-wing parties. Instead he will probably bring in Labour or Kadima to give his coalition a more moderate image but without diluting his basic opposition to concessions to the Palestinians.

Far right Yisrael Beiteinu leader and genocidalist Avigdor Lieberman is suspected of money laundering with several associates including family members being arrested.

Anti-arab ethnic cleansing fervour is now rampant amongst Israeli youth –

anti-Arab sentiment in the country has never been greater. The Lieberman party “ultimately seeks a direct clash with the Arab citizens in Israel” he said. And he worries that “there’s no serious effort to stop it.”

The 100 people at the Yisrael Beitenu rally for English-speaking voters Thursday night in Jerusalem certainly don’t want to stop it. “It’s the clarity of it that’s so appealing,” said Yona Triestman, a thirtysomething who works helping new immigrants settle in Israel. And the message certainly is straightforward. At the end of the night, Uzi Landau, a former Likud cabinet minister now running for Yisrael Beitenu, leaned forward and wagged his index finger at the audience. “There’s just one thing you have to remember about our platform,” he said, “just one thing to tell your friends: ‘No loyalty, no citizenship.’ “

Mondoweiss draws attention to the actions of the International Coalition against Impunity (HOKOK), a non-governmental organization registered with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. The organisation has

submitted a “Letter of Notification and Referral” to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court outlining the case for the arrest of 15 Israeli political and military leaders for crimes committed in Gaza in violation of the Rome Statute and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

It has also issued an international appeal for information about the undermentioned war crimes suspects. Members of the public in Israel and throughout the world who have information about the travel plans or whereabouts of the undermentioned suspects when they are outside Israel should report this immediately to:

The Prosecutor
P.O. Box 19519
2500 Hague
Netherlands
Fax +31 70 515 8 555
otp.informationdesk@icc-cpi.int

The Israeli war crimes suspects are:

1. Ehud Barak
2. Amir Peretz
3. Binyamin Ben Eliezer
4. Avi Dichter
5. Carmi Gillon
6. Dan Halutz
7. Doron Almog
8. Ehud Olmert
9. Eliezer Shkedy
10. Gabi Ashkenazi
11. Giora Eiland
12. Matan Vilnai
13. Moshie Bogie Yaalon
14. Shaul Mofaz
15. Tzipi Livni

Uri Avnery points out that Israel Screwed Itself Over with Its Gaza Assault; the World Sees It as a ‘Blood-Stained Monster’

There is widespread anger in Egypt at Mubarak regime

Muhammad lights up a cigarette and quietly utters an oath directed at Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The 25-year-old expresses what many Egyptians think at present: “Mubarak is a swine who has worked together with Israel to turn Gaza into a prison and is responsible for the suffering of the Palestinians.”

The student from downtown Cairo continues to speak harshly about the government. Today, three days after Israeli troops began to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, he remains angry and criticizes the role played by Egypt in the Gaza conflict. “Probably Mubarak gave [Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi] Livni permission to attack Hamas, which he regards as a thorn in his side.”

In fact, Livni met Mubarak two days prior to the Israeli attack and, according to a report in the Israeli daily Haa’retz, Egyptian government officials were informed in advance of the planned offensive.

US Media Accused of Racist Gaza Coverage

Though Becker criticized the corporate media as a whole for its coverage of Gaza and Israel-Palestine issues, the Jan. 16th protest sponsored by ANSWER and MAS (the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation) demonstrated at the Post in particular because, at the height of Israel’s assault on Gaza, four major protests against Israel’s actions took place in Washington and the Post did not cover any of them.

“Not one word has been written about any of the protests”, Becker complained. While the Post is usually seen as one of the four most prestigious and influential newspapers in the U.S. and is expected to cover important national issues and debates on foreign policy, their news blackout on the protests also had a local component: “The Post prides itself on having very strong local coverage,” Becker claimed. “The Arab-American community, which is an important part of Washington, D.C., came out in tens of thousands and were totally ignored by the Post.”

More symptoms of Israeli fascism – Army rabbi ‘gave out hate leaflet to troops’

The Israeli army’s chief rabbinate gave soldiers preparing to enter the Gaza Strip a booklet implying that all Palestinians are their mortal enemies and advising them that cruelty is sometimes a “good attribute”.

In one section, Rabbi Aviner compares Palestinians to the Philistines, a people depicted in the Bible as a war-like menace and existential threat to Israel.

In another, the army rabbinate appears to be encouraging soldiers to disregard the international laws of war aimed at protecting civilians, according to Breaking the Silence, the group of Israeli ex-soldiers who disclosed its existence. The booklet cites the renowned medieval Jewish sage Maimonides as saying that “one must not be enticed by the folly of the Gentiles who have mercy for the cruel”.

Jimmy Carter has weighed into the conflagration stating:

Israel will face a “catastrophe” unless it revives the Mideast peace process and establishes an independent Palestinian state.

Carter pointed out in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday that Arabs will outnumber Jews in the Holy Land in the foreseeable future.

He said that would leave Israel with three options: expelling many Palestinians, keeping the Palestinians but depriving them of equal voting rights, or giving them equal voting rights, which would give the Palestinians a majority.

He said that with the third option, one would no longer have a Jewish state.

In Ynetnews, Carter’s comments are expanded:

Hamas can be trusted, former US President Jimmy Carter said Monday, in an interview on NBC’s ‘Today’ show. Carter spoke with NBC’s Meredith Vieira about his perspective on the Middle East conflict, and his new book, “We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land.”

According to the former president, Hamas never deviated from their commitments as per the ceasefire agreement. He said that, during his meetings with Hamas leaders in Damascus and Gaza, he was promised that Hamas would honor agreements between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel, as long as they were supported by public referendum.

Hamas did bad things. I’m not defending them. But they did adhere to the ceasefire fully, Carter maintained. He added that Israel has a choice between a one-state solution – which is, for Israel, a catastrophe, and a two-state solution, which everyone would support.

Sunday, Carter met with President Barack Obama’s new US envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell. While Carter is not certain Obama should speak directly with Hamas, he believes that Mitchell should, explaining that “there won’t be peace in the Middle East without Hamas involvement.”

But despite the obstacle of Hamas involvement, the former president expressed optimism for peace. “Despite the recent lack of progress, I see this as a unique time for hope, not despair. The outlines of a peace agreement are clear and have broad international support,” he told NBC.

“There is a remarkable compatibility among pertinent United Nations resolutions, previous peace agreements reached at Camp David and in Oslo, the publicly declared policy of the United States, the Geneva Accord, key goals of the International Quartet’s Roadmap for Peace, and tentative proposals made by all Arab nations for reconciliation with Israel,” he said.

“Perhaps most important, there is an overwhelming common desire for peaceful and prosperous lives among the citizens of Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt,” he added.

Francis A. Boyle discusses international law and Israel’s war on Gaza. He sets the agenda for an international legal response:

First, we must immediately move for the de facto suspension of Israel throughout the entirety of the United Nations system, including the General Assembly and all UN subsidiary organs and bodies. We must do to Israel what the UN General Assembly has done to the genocidal rump Yugoslavia and to the criminal apartheid regime in South Africa! Here the legal basis for the de facto suspension of Israel at the UN is quite simple:

As a condition for its admission to the United Nations Organization, Israel formally agreed to accept General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) (1947) (partition/Jerusalem trusteeship) and General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) (1948) (Palestinian right of return), inter alia. Nevertheless, the government of Israel has expressly repudiated both Resolution 181 (II) and Resolution 194 (III). Therefore, Israel has violated its conditions for admission to UN membership and thus must be suspended on a de facto basis from any participation throughout the entire United Nations system.

Second, any further negotiations with Israel must be conducted on the basis of Resolution 181 (II) and its borders; Resolution 194 (III); subsequent General Assembly resolutions and Security Council resolutions; the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949; the 1907 Hague Regulations; and other relevant principles of public international law.

Third, we must abandon the fiction and the fraud that the United States government is an “honest-broker.” The US government has never been an honest broker from well before the very outset of these negotiations in 1991. Rather, the US has invariably sided with Israel against the Palestinians. We need to establish some type of international framework to sponsor these negotiations where the Palestinian negotiators will not be subjected to the continual bullying, threats, harassment, intimidation and outright lies perpetrated by the United States government.

Fourth, we must move to have the UN General Assembly impose economic, diplomatic, and travel sanctions upon Israel pursuant to the terms of the Uniting for Peace Resolution (1950), whose Emergency Special Session on Palestine is now in recess.

Fifth, the provisional government of the State of Palestine must sue Israel before the International Court of Justice in The Hague for inflicting acts of genocide against the Palestinian People in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention!

Sixth, An International Criminal Tribunal for Israel (ICTI) can be established by the UN General Assembly as a “subsidiary organ” under Article 22 of the UN Charter. Article 22 states the UN General Assembly may establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions. The purpose of the ICTI would be to investigate and prosecute suspected Israeli war criminals for offenses against the Palestinian people.

On Jan. 4, 2009, Nobel Peace laureate, Mairead Maguire wrote to the UN Secretary- General, Ban Ki-moon and Father Miguel D’Escoto, president of United Nations General Assembly adding her voice to the many calls from international jurists, human rights organizations, and individuals, for the UN General Assembly to seriously consider establishing an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel in view of the ongoing Israeli atrocities against the people of Gaza and Palestine.

Maguire said:

“In November 2008 I visited Gaza and was shocked at the suffering of the people of Gaza, being under ‘siege’ as they are for over two years. This collective punishment by the Israeli government, has led to a great humanitarian crisis. Collective punishment of the civilian community by the Israeli government breaks the Geneva Convention, is illegal and is a war crime and crime against humanity.

“Instead of protecting the civilian community of Gaza and relieving their suffering by lifting the ‘siege’, the Israeli military have carried out 7 days of consecutive bombardment of civilians, by sea and air. Dropping Israeli bombs from the air and sea on unarmed civilians, many women and children, destroying mosques, hospitals, and homes, and infrastructure, is illegal and constitutes war crimes. The deaths of people in Gaza are now over 1,500 with over 5,500 people injured – many of them women and children. The infrastructure of Gaza has been destroyed, and the people cut off from the world – including journalists, humanitarian workers, locked out of Gaza, and unable to go to the aid of the people.

“The UN must help uphold human rights and justice for Palestinian people, by seriously considering establishing an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel, (ICTI) in order that Israeli government be held accountable for war crimes.”

The Fringe’s post on BBC partiality to Israel has been updated with numerous new sources detailing interference with the BBC by Israel.

Time Magazine reveals more about Israeli use of white phosphorus on civilians in Gaza.

“I saw my mother coming towards me. She was on fire. I threw a blanket around her to try to put out the flames but she kept on burning. I went to Saadallah who was lying on the ground with his three young kids wrapped inside his coat. He was trying to protect them. But the coat had caught fire, too. When I tried to pull the kids away, their flesh came off in my hands.”

With help from the neighbors, they got the burn victims into the back of a pick-up truck, but as Mahmoud said of his family: “They were hardly human. They were like coal.”

Their appalling luck got worse. As they were driving to the hospital, an Israeli sniper, possibly fearing suicide bombers, shot and killed the driver, Mahmoud says. His wife and daughter were also among the phosphorus victims, and still alive. “I pleaded with the soldiers not to shoot again. I explained that we were taking our family to the hospital. They made me take off my clothes and when they saw I didn’t have a bomb or a weapon, they let me carry my wife and daughter to the hospital –-on foot.”

Munir Chalabi’s article at ZNet makes better points on US support of its blood-stained policeman in the ME than Chomsky.

The overwhelming indications are that the Israeli war on Gaza was not just an attempt by the Israeli army to stop the home-made Hamas rockets being fired on Southern Israel, as the Israelis together with the US administration, European governments and the so-called ‘Coalition of Arab Moderates’ want us to believe.

It was a pre-planned war by all the above parties in this US/Israeli-led alliance against the Palestinian people and their resistance movements in Palestine. It represents the final attempt by the US neo-conservatives, before the Bush administration leaves office, to resolve the Palestinian problem once and for all. The Israeli war on Gaza was only another step in the plan of the US, Israel and the ‘Coalition of Arab Moderates’ to build their ‘New Middle East’.

The scale of this war was an indication of its goals, and the steps taken and statements made by the many leaders in this camp, including the public statements by King Abdulla of Jordan and Middle East envoy Tony Blair during and prior to the start of the war, corroborate such a conclusion.[1]

The war on Gaza is the second stage in the plan. The first stage was the 18 month economic siege of Gaza by Israel, Egypt and Mahmoud Abbas’s corrupt and illegal government in Ramallah, which aimed to topple Hamas and all the other Palestinian resistance movements by using the blockade on all of life’s basic necessities to the 1.5 million Palestinian civilians in Gaza, in order to force them to surrender.

In this plan against the Palestinian resistance, Egypt moved to become one of the most significant players by openly taking on a major supporting role. The siege of Gaza was not only an Israeli blockade, but also a well coordinated blockade by Egypt, following complete closure of the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

In order to understand how the Israeli war on Gaza was an integral part of this plan, we have to stop and have a more comprehensive look at the political map of the Middle East and the strategies of all the parties involved.

Since the neo-conservatives took control of all the positions of power in the US, both battle grounds in the Middle East — the Israeli/Palestinian/Arab region and the Arab/Persian gulf region — became deeply divided into two political camps, with two opposing strategies, and no prospect for peace in the foreseeable future.

The first camp is the US/Israeli-led camp or, as it is called in the West, ‘The Moderate’s alliance’, which consists mainly of three devoted and corrupt pro-western Arab regimes. The first is the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia, with their financial might, headed by King Abdulla and his foreign minister Prince Faisal, and from behind the scenes, by Prince ‘Bender bin Sultan,’ the head of the Saudi intelligence services, who is a close friend of the Bush family. The second is the Egyptian regime headed up since 1981 by the Egyptian ruler and air force General President Mubarak, his chief of the intelligence service, General Suleiman, together with their foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.[2] The third is the Jordanian regime, where all the power is in the hands of the King, assisted by his well established internal security forces.

As well as the above three main Arab partners of the US/Israeli plan, there stand several Arab governments and political groups within a number of other Middle Eastern countries.

First among them is the pro-Oslo illegitimately ruling Palestinian group in Ramallah (part of the old Fatah movement’s traditional leadership, which were spared their lives by Israel for political reasons), which is headed by President Mahmud Abbas with his illegally appointed Palestinian government of Salam Fayyad in Ramallah. The second is the 14th of March group in Lebanon which is in command of the existing Lebanese government and headed by the Saudi/Lebanese young Sheikh, Al-Hariri. The third are the US friends in the ‘front of the moderates’ government in Iraq, whose role is restricted to the Gulf area, but the US has difficulties with them as they cannot trust all of their Iraqi acquaintances in the long term. There are other governments in the Arab world which are part of this camp: They include five of the kingdoms and states of the ‘Gulf Council States’ and the North African Arab governments.

The main objectives of the US/Israeli strategy for this alliance is to integrate Israel so it becomes part of the Middle East region, and at the same time continue their old policy of ensuring that Israel will be developed more effectively as the US’s policeman for the area, using its military and economic superiority as the main tool. In order to do so, they first needed to constitute Israel as the check on Iran, which was portrayed as a looming threat to the Arab world. This undertaking, which is part of America’s project for a “New Middle East,” was kicked off prior to Israel’s war against Lebanon in July 2006 and was presented as the concluding phase of the neo-conservatives’ plan for the area.

That is why we are able to recognise a number of similarities between US and Israeli policy, similarities that are clearly apparent in Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon — the three countries representing the front lines of the war. These are under either full or partial US or Israeli occupation and the Israeli policies here are dominated by the US Administration.

All the US/Israeli policies are based on increasing the political divisions in every Arab and Muslim country and creating two separate and opposing fronts. The first, which is influenced by them, is called the “moderate front,” and the second, which is opposed to their policies, they call the “terrorist front” or the front which is controlled by Iran.

In all three countries, the US/Israeli policies involve pressurising their allies to take full control of the political arena, instigating conflicts between the two sides in each country to bring it to the edge of armed conflict or even start violent confrontations between them. They attempt to play on the sectarian divisions, as in the cases of Iraq and Lebanon — and where such divisions do not exist, they will instead use political divisions, as in the case of Palestine.

It is also noticeable that the divisions between the two fronts in most cases are between the political parties and movements who are opposed to the US and Israeli military occupation and the ones who are ready to accept their influence and co-operate with them.

The second camp is the resistance camp and in it stands a coalition of governments and movements which to diverse degrees reject the US/Israeli domination plans and are called ‘the terrorists’ by the US and Israelis, or ‘the extremist’ governments and movements by most of the European governments. This alliance includes the Iranians, the Syrian government, the democratically elected government of Hamas and their allies, Al-Jihad Al Islami movement in Palestine, together with Hezbollah and their 8th of March political alliance in Lebanon. It also comprises the Sadr movement in Iraq and the Muslim brotherhood movement in Egypt, together with many other smaller political parties and groups. However, the most important asset this alliance has comes from the increasing support given to them by the vast majority of ordinary people around the Arab and Islamic world.[3]

The developing strategy of the core of this resistance camp is that they consider the US and Israel to be the key enemies to the people in the area. They believe that the US is a foreign imperialistic power, which wants to control the destiny of the region’s people by using Israel as its main instrument, and their friends, the Arab rulers in the ‘coalition of the moderates’ as a secondary, but important internal tool to implement the neo-conservative strategy.

The main driving force of this camp is Iran, Hezbollah, Syria and Hamas. Iran is like any other country in the Middle East that wants to stay independent from US control but is today surrounded by US forces on all sides, which creates a very real threat to them. They are always considered by the US to be the “Great Satan” and Israel is its principal enemy in the Middle East. Most of the other parties in this alliance share this belief, but to various degrees. All of the US administrations and Israeli governments have considered the Iranian and Syrian governments, Hezbollah and Hamas as their main enemies and the major obstacle to their control of the Arab and Islamic world.

The war on Gaza has widened the support for the resistance camp, gathering additional backing from other Muslim people and governments who previously felt that this struggle was not part of their political agenda. Of most significance has been the support from the Qatari government and the massive support from the millions of ordinary Turkish people and their government to the Palestinian people. This further support has strengthened this camp, but on the other hand these additional elements should not be counted as internal parts of the resistance alliance.

The division between the two camps which exists in the Palestinian occupied territory, the alliance of all the Palestinian resistance movements on the one hand and the pro-Oslo group lead by Abbas, who hijacked the leadership of Fatah movement and the control of the West Bank on the other, is deepening.

This is evident when we look at the division between Gaza and the West Bank of Palestine. The Gaza strip is now represented by the Palestinian resistance movements and the legally elected Palestinian government of Mr. Haniya. Conversely, we see that the West Bank is ruled by the pro-Oslo group led by Abbas and the illegally appointed government of Salam Fayyad — which utilises over 10,000 armed personnel (trained by Egyptian and Jordanian security services), the so-called ‘National Palestinian police force’ and ‘Presidential guards’ who are under the control of US General Dayton with the assistance of another two US generals and in full co-operation with the Israeli security services. Over 1,000 prisoners from Hamas and other resistance movements have been put in Abbas’s jails, in addition to over 13,000 political prisoners in Israeli prisons.

So how should we envisage relations between these two camps developing?

Throughout the Arab and Islamic world many are calling for a united front involving all the Arab and Islamic states in the area, in the struggle against the US/Israeli policies in the region. But with the two opposing strategies of both camps and with one camp being a vital part of US/Israeli plans, it is becoming an impossible task to achieve. Some of these calls are coming from the pro-US camp who want to keep the upper hand in controlling official Arab policies with the Arab moderates, and in particular, in the organisation of the ‘Arab League’ which has been controlled by the Egyptians and the Saudis for a long time. However, there are also other calls coming from some Arab nationalists who have stated that public disunity will inevitably harm both sides.

Many in the resistance camp believe that what is needed today is not in fact a call for unity — which is unlikely to be achieved, but instead an attempt to ensure that none of the internal national, political, ethnic or sectarian disagreements, which exist deeply within the Arab and Islamic world, should lead to the use of force or the shedding of blood between the two national sides, and that the fight should be on the political front only, using any democratic methods available.

This understanding would exclude the fight against the foreign powers including Israel, which came to occupy or control the area.

This could be achieved in a comparable way to the existing means which are being carried out today in Lebanon by Hezbollah and their 8th of March political alliance. At the same time, the methods used during the Iraqi experience should be avoided at all costs, i.e. where the Iraqi Baathists, together with their new friends Al Qaida, used the weaknesses prevalent throughout multi-sectarian Iraqi society to create a bloody sectarian division with the help and the participation of the US occupying forces and their foreign mercenaries.[4]

Conclusions:

1. The US backed Israeli war on Gaza was the final attempt by the neo-conservatives before the Bush/Cheney administration left office, to succeed in their failing effort to create the ‘New Middle East’ — A Middle East which would be controlled by the US and policed by Israel and would end once and for all the Palestinian dream to set up their own state.

2. The failure of the Israeli war on Gaza to achieve any of Israel’s political goals including the destruction of Hamas and all the resistance movements, ending control of Gaza by Hamas and finally stopping the firing of resistance home-made rockets on Israel, represent a political success for Hamas and the Palestinian resistance camp.

All that Israel managed to achieve during its war on Gaza was the killing and injuring of thousands of Palestinian civilians, the destruction of over 20,000 civilian houses, government buildings, police stations and a large number of schools and private businesses.[5] Many Israeli government and military leaders are now facing the possibility of being charged in International criminal courts.[6]

3. The Israeli war on Gaza has helped the resistance camp a great deal and created the conditions for it to grow faster than ever before. The ideological divisions between the two camps are deepening.

The whole of the Middle East is now divided into two political camps with two opposing strategies, developing in to one large battle ground between the two ideologies.

The two battle fronts of the Arab/Persian Gulf and the Arab/Israeli region are very much interlinked today. Any failure or success to either camp in one region will reflect on their strength on the other front.

4. It looks that corruption is a common quality among all in the pro-US/Israeli camp .It is very obvious that all the governments who are part of the ‘coalition of the moderates’ are dictatorial and enormously corrupt. It is also noticeable that the corruption is a characteristic of the latest two Israeli governments and the Bush/Cheney’s administration.

5. We should not expect any genuine changes in the US strategy from the new Obama/Biden administration towards the Middle East. It is very likely that the new US administration will continues Bush/Cheney’s policies.[7]

6. There is a strong belief that for the first time in the Middle East, the formation of this anti-US/Israeli/moderate Arab front will give some hope and optimism to the ordinary people in the Arab and Islamic world and will be a big setback to the Islamic terrorist ideologies of Al Qaida.

It has reduced the level of desperation felt by the majority of the ordinary Arab and Muslim people when they see that there is a sizable resistance front from Muslim and Christian sectors — as in Lebanon — which is growing in strength in their societies to resist and stop the US/Israeli plans. Therefore, the disappointment resulting from the growth in size and strength of the resistance camp will affect not just the neo-conservative’s Christian and Zionist Jewish terrorist ideologies, but also Al Qaida’s Muslim terrorist ideology.

7. There is a growing belief within the Arab population that for the first time in the Palestinian people’s history, there is genuine public understanding and recognition in the West concerning the rights of the Palestinian people to have their own state and against the US/Israeli attempt to deny them this right. However, there is also recognition that this change is not reflected in the policies of the western governments as support by the European governments for the Israeli aggression not only continued but increased.

The Arab TV stations have played a very important role in exposing the real face of Zionism during the war on Gaza. For the vast majority of Arabs and Muslims, the mass killings of civilians and the size of the destruction of civilian properties in Gaza, revealed that the Zionist ideology today is no different from the Nazi ideology of the Second World War.[8]

In Gaza, UNRWA is struggling to cope with human needs.

It is estimated that $2 billion is needed to repair the 21,000 homes damaged or destroyed, along with factories and government buildings, in the three-week Israeli attack to end Hamas’ rocket-firing. Fundraising has hardly begun, and the question of how the money will be funneled remains unanswered.

“We’re delivering the services of a state, until the state is established,” John Ging, the head of Gaza operations for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, told The Associated Press this weekend.

The organization is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from countries, its largest donors include the United States, the European Union, Sweden and Britain. Louis Michel, the European Union’s humanitarian chief, said the EU is by far the largest overall donor to the Palestinians.

Ging says UNRWA is able to take on the daunting task of rebuilding Gaza refugee camps. But, he says, this will only be possible if Israel allows the blockaded territory to receive enough of the humanitarian aid already piling up at its border.

Paul Woodward comments on Osama Hamdan’s, Hamas’s representative in Lebanon statement that the peace process is irreversibly over –

Hamas on the other hand, in spite of the devastation of Gaza, is still committed to politics.

The political imperative of the moment is one of clarification. Hamas sees that Palestinian unity and a Palestinian national movement cannot be built on an illusory foundation.

Meanwhile, Tzipi Livni claims that the carnage in Gaza has advanced the peace process. This is an Orwellian, obscene, and outrageous insult to common sense. It displays a sociopathic view of human suffering.

But it also serves as a reminder and confirmation that Osama Hamdan is right: the peace process is irreversibly over.

If this is a conclusion which can commonly be agreed upon, where do we go from here? Is this not a conclusion that will feed utter despair or a justification for endless conflict?

I believe not.

Political change can only gain traction when it is rooted in objective reality. We can only advance from the conditions we actually inhabit.

For several years now the peace process has floundered because of a glaring contradiction between Israel’s stated aim — a two-state solution — and its actions, which consistently advanced in the opposite direction.

By its own choice, Israel has abandoned the goal of a two-state solution. The so-called peace process has provided the water and the sustenance that has allowed the occupation to flourish.

America has been the enabler. It has provided a stage upon which a pantomime of peace could be performed. It has quite effectively silenced those who would disrupt the performance and insisted that we all silently enjoy a show whose tedious enactment perpetually held out the promise of a happy ending.

“When Israel supports a solution of two states for two people, the pressure won’t be on Israel,” Tzipi Livni correctly observed over the weekend.

George Mitchell’s duty, the duty of the international community and of all Palestinian leaders, is to say: the game is up, the show is over. The charade has gone on for long enough. Israel has stated its position on the ground. It’s words have proved to be of no consequence.

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