Condi really has no idea at all. Gaza is trivialised, reduced to a kindergarten slave state, its democratically elected government defined as a coup. The clinical ignorance of this woman is appalling.
Surely she can’t be this thick – do the Israelis feed their US accomplices something that blinds them from reality?
Israel and the US have concluded a unilateral cease fire which is meaningless without agreement from Hamas, no matter how much they might like to think they have marginalised them.
Basically this ‘cease fire’ means that Israel can swoop down from its Mordor like country and bomb, assassinate and the rest of its tricks at its leisure. Same old scenario as before the carnage – low intensity terrorism.
There can be only ONE Pharaoh. And when were Pharaohs ever dragged up to answer for their misdeeds at a war crimes trial?
John J. Mearsheimer “Another War, Another Defeat” in The American Conservative – excellent, succinct historical analysis:
The actual purpose [of Operation Cast Lead] is connected to Israel’s long-term vision of how it intends to live with millions of Palestinians in its midst. It is part of a broader strategic goal: the creation of a “Greater Israel.” Specifically, Israel’s leaders remain determined to control all of what used to be known as Mandate Palestine, which includes Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinians would have limited autonomy in a handful of disconnected and economically crippled enclaves, one of which is Gaza. Israel would control the borders around them, movement between them, the air above and the water below them.
The key to achieving this is to inflict massive pain on the Palestinians so that they come to accept the fact that they are a defeated people and that Israel will be largely responsible for controlling their future. This strategy, which was first articulated by Ze’ev Jabotinsky in the 1920s and has heavily influenced Israeli policy since 1948, is commonly referred to as the “Iron Wall.”
What has been happening in Gaza is fully consistent with this strategy.
Even before Hamas came to power, the Israelis intended to create an open-air prison for the Palestinians in Gaza and inflict great pain on them until they complied with Israel’s wishes. Dov Weisglass, Ariel Sharon’s closest adviser at the time, candidly stated that the disengagement from Gaza was aimed at halting the peace process, not encouraging it. He described the disengagement as “formaldehyde that’s necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.” Moreover, he emphasized that the withdrawal “places the Palestinians under tremendous pressure. It forces them into a corner where they hate to be.”
Arnon Soffer, a prominent Israeli demographer who also advised Sharon, elaborated on what that pressure would look like. “When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.”
In January 2006, five months after the Israelis pulled their settlers out of Gaza, Hamas won a decisive victory over Fatah in the Palestinian legislative elections. This meant trouble for Israel’s strategy because Hamas was democratically elected, well organized, not corrupt like Fatah, and unwilling to accept Israel’s existence. Israel responded by ratcheting up economic pressure on the Palestinians, but it did not work. In fact, the situation took another turn for the worse in March 2007, when Fatah and Hamas came together to form a national unity government. Hamas’s stature and political power were growing, and Israel’s divide-and-conquer strategy was unraveling.
To make matters worse, the national unity government began pushing for a long-term ceasefire. The Palestinians would end all missile attacks on Israel if the Israelis would stop arresting and assassinating Palestinians and end their economic stranglehold, opening the border crossings into Gaza.
Israel rejected that offer and with American backing set out to foment a civil war between Fatah and Hamas that would wreck the national unity government and put Fatah in charge. The plan backfired when Hamas drove Fatah out of Gaza, leaving Hamas in charge there and the more pliant Fatah in control of the West Bank. Israel then tightened the screws on the blockade around Gaza, causing even greater hardship and suffering among the Palestinians living there.
Maximilian Forte “Obama as Intermission for Gaza: Mass Murder Hits the Pause Button” in Open Anthropology
The unilateral Israeli truce is merely a temporary respite, much like reloading a weapon also offers a momentary respite. It is, more than anything listed above, a break, breather, intermission, interval, letup, lull, pause, rest, stay, or suspension.
The reasoning behind it is utterly cynical: Israel claims it has achieved its objectives — then go home; there are too many wars of occupation already by imperialists claiming to have reached their objectives, but who nonetheless “linger.” Others interpret this as a pause to allow Americans and their intended world audience to party for the arrival of this plastic messiah called Barack Obama. As we have already seen on numerous occasions, nothing and nobody can take the attention away from Obama, during Obama’s time to celebrate himself, during a party for Obama, when Obama is supposed to be the object of fixation.
Under these circumstances, and with more insults added to already grievous injuries, the last thing Hamas can or should do, is stop fighting back.
From John Ging, UNRWA head in Gaza
Israel-OPT: “Today is a better day than yesterday,”
Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Date: 18 Jan 2009
GAZA CITY/RAMALLAH, 18 January 2009 (IRIN) – The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is the lead UN agency working for Palestinian refugees. Its compound and schools, sheltering displaced Gazans, have come under Israeli attack during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, which began on 27 December with aerial bombardments and was combined with a ground assault beginning on 3 January.
Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire on 18 January. John Ging, head of UNRWA operations in Gaza, spoke with IRIN by phone from Gaza City on 17 and 18 January.
IRIN: Is UNRWA able to deliver assistance to Gaza residents under the current conditions? What type of assistance is being delivered and to how many recipients?
JG: The warehouse and all its contents were destroyed [in the 15 January Israeli attack on the UNRWA compound], and we could not deliver that day.
Gaza is now cut in two, so we are supporting the northern area and Gaza City from the [UNRWA] compound. The following day [16 January] we resupplied the compound from our warehouses in the south. We are continuing with our operations. Trucks are moving, but not safely.
There are 50,000 people are in our temporary shelters in our schools – they have to be fed every day. Some 80 percent of the [Gaza] population is food dependent on us.
IRIN: Did UNRWA trucks only move during the daily three-hour lull to deliver humanitarian assistance?
JG: We would not be able to support our operation effectively if we were limited to three hours. People were working around the clock in our installations to provide assistance.
The three-hour lull was for the people to feel safer to come out to get the assistance.
Bringing in goods from Kerem Shalom [border crossing] is a day’s effort, at least 16 hours, then the supplies have to be unloaded and the goods prepared for distribution.
Today [17 January] 50 trucks entered via Kerem Shalom, but we need hundreds of trucks. The needs are growing exponentially and the pipeline for humanitarian supplies is very narrow. Even those, such as Palestinian Authority employees, who were not dependent [on UNRWA assistance], have become dependent. There is nothing on the market and there is no cash.
Aid – emergency supplies, food and medical – is coming in through Rafah.
Food distribution is operating at almost full capacity – it is interrupted in certain places day to day when the place becomes the scene of fighting. We do all we can on a daily basis that is within the margins of safety for our staff to keep the operations running.
Seven of 10 food distribution centres are fully operational and 16 out of 20 health centres are fully operational.
UNRWA health staff are volunteering in the Ministry of Health hospitals and on ambulances teams – it’s all hands on deck here!
IRIN: If the border crossings are not opened consistently to bring in goods, will this increase demands on UNRWA?
JG: We cannot contemplate that the crossings will remain closed; there must be a better future. The ordinary people here during this siege have paid the price of this conflict and this operation. For them, their singular priority is access to restore dignity to their existence.
The closures have driven thousands into aid dependency against their will – that has to end. A solution that prioritises the needs of the ordinary people must be found.
IRIN: You have headed UNRWA’s operations in Gaza since January 2006, before Hamas won elections to govern the enclave. Will Israel’s military operation bring peace and stability to the region?
JG: No – it is counter-productive to that objective. The scale of death and destruction is most definitely counter-productive. Throughout this conflict so many experts and global leaders have highlighted there is no military solution to this conflict – an effective political solution is needed.
Now there are additional problems: so many people have been killed and [there has been widespread] destruction of infrastructure. There is no finance ministry or foreign affairs ministry. The American School, the presidential compound and the presidential residences have been destroyed – in addition to the massive destruction of housing. It will be very costly to restore Gaza. This money should have been invested in development not reconstruction.
IRIN: What do you say about Israel’s unilateral ceasefire?
JG: Today [18 January] is a better day than yesterday and we hope there will continue to be positive developments every day until we can restore a dignified existence for the people in Gaza.
No safe place in Gaza
UNRWA said that two children who had taken refuge in its school in Bet Lahiya, north of Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip, were killed by Israeli shells on 17 January.
“There is no safe place in Gaza. We carry on distributing food wherever we can in coordination with the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces],” UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness told IRIN on 17 January, hours after the attack on the school. On 15 January a UNRWA warehouse in Gaza City burned down completely after a direct hit from the Israeli army.
The Israel defence ministry said its army retaliated after militants opened fire from there.
A warehouse belonging to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society was also shelled by the Israelis on 15 January and was reduced to ashes, according to a 17 January update on Gaza by the ICRC. The ICRC said that “very substantial stocks of relief goods were destroyed” in the fire.
UNRWA distributes food to some 750,000 Palestinian refugees in Gaza. Since Operation Cast Lead began, an estimated 50,000 Gaza residents have taken up refuge in UNRWA schools and compounds.
Gunness has said that all those who have taken up refuge in the schools will be given food regardless of whether they are on UNRWA list or not.