Global politics can be sleazy, but it doesn’t get any sleazier than this. Nearly 1000 Gazan people have paid with their lives for Israel’s lies – Israel plotted and schemed a massacre whilst smiling in truce with Hamas, then breached the cease fire and tried to blame it on Hamas.
According to Israel radio (in hebrew) Kol Yisrael, Peres warned Sharon Wednesday that refusing to heed incessant American requests for a cease-fire with the Palestinians would endanger Israeli interests and “turn the US against us.”
At this point, a furious Sharon reportedly turned toward Peres, saying “every time we do something you tell me Americans will do this and will do that. I want to tell you something very clear, don’t worry about American pressure on Israel, we, the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it.”
Regardless of the veracity of the above quote, what is verifiable are Mearsheimer’s observations:
As one former Democratic senator, Ernest Hollings, noted on leaving office, ‘you can’t have an Israeli policy other than what AIPAC gives you around here.’ Or as Ariel Sharon once told an American audience, ‘when people ask me how they can help Israel, I tell them: “Help AIPAC.”’
Thanks in part to the influence Jewish voters have on presidential elections, the Lobby also has significant leverage over the executive branch. Although they make up fewer than 3 per cent of the population, they make large campaign donations to candidates from both parties.
By February 2003, a Washington Post headline summarised the situation: ‘Bush and Sharon Nearly Identical on Mideast Policy.’ The main reason for this switch was the Lobby.
The Security Council resolution passed on Friday calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza was a source of embarrassment for US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who helped prepare it but ultimately was ordered to back down from voting for it and abstain, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday.
Is Condi really humiliated, or has she already been promised a holiday home at Netanya after Obama’s inauguration? perhaps a post at an Israeli University?
Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says that he told President Bush not to vote in favor of the United Nations’ last week resolution on Gaza.
“I told him (Bush) the United States could not vote in favor. It cannot vote in favor of such a resolution. He immediately called the secretary of state and told her not to vote in favor,” said Olmert on Monday.
Last Thursday, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1860, calling for an immediate ceasefire between Hamas and Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip and an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. The US was the only country that abstained while fourteen of the council’s 15 members voted in favor of the resolution.
According to Olmert, Bush had ordered Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to abstain.
“In the night between Thursday and Friday, when the secretary of state wanted to lead the vote on a ceasefire at the Security Council, we did not want her to vote in favor,” Olmert said in a speech in the southern town of Ashkelon.
“I said ‘get me President Bush on the phone’. They said he was in the middle of giving a speech in Philadelphia. I said I did not care. ‘I need to talk to him now’. He got off the podium and spoke to me,” he added.
Elsewhere, Olmert rubs salt in Condi’s wounds – does this put paid to her presumptions that she might birth something alive in the Middle East?
“She was left shamed. A resolution that she prepared and arranged, and in the end she did not vote in favour,” Olmert said in a speech in the southern town of Ashkelon.
The US tries to cover up or is it telling the truth? is this a repeat of the Barak pre election invasion of Lebanon?
But a US State Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, denied Olmert’s claim.
“Mr. Olmert is wrong,” the official said.
Even if everything had gone according to plan, “she would have abstained. That was the plan,” said the official. “The government of Israel does not make US policy.”
Right – so the State Department can maintain a convenient facade to protect exposure of US policy interests when the crunch comes – it’s a win win situation. A sort of “clayton’s defence”, like the media frolics in the last foray by Israel into Lebanon, the possession of that wonderful genie in the bottle – plausible deniability.
Rice shamed over UN Gaza vote: Olmert
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said a telephone call he made to US President George W Bush last week forced Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to abstain in a UN vote on the Gaza war.
Pouring on political bravado in a speech, Mr Olmert said he demanded to talk to Mr Bush with only 10 minutes to spare before a UN Security Council vote on Thursday on a resolution opposed by Israel calling for an immediate ceasefire.
“When we saw that the Secretary of State, for reasons we did not really understand, wanted to vote in favour of the UN resolution … I looked for President Bush and they told me he was in Philadelphia making a speech,” Mr Olmert said.
“I said, ‘I don’t care. I have to talk to him now,'” he said, describing Mr Bush, who leaves office on January 20, as “an unparalleled friend” of Israel.
“They got him off the podium, brought him to another room and I spoke to him. I told him, ‘You can’t vote in favour of this resolution.’ He said, ‘Listen, I don’t know about it, I didn’t see it, I’m not familiar with the phrasing.'”
Mr Olmert said he then told Mr Bush: “‘I’m familiar with it. You can’t vote in favour.’
“He gave an order to the Secretary of State and she did not vote in favour of it, a resolution she cooked up, phrased, organised and manoeuvred for. She was left pretty shamed and abstained on a resolution she arranged,” he said.
Fourteen of the Security Council’s 15 members supported the resolution, which has failed to halt Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip and Hamas’s cross-border rocket fire.
Mr Olmert, under police investigation over alleged corruption, resigned as prime minister in September but is serving in a caretaker capacity until a new government is formed after Israel’s February 10 parliamentary election.
Olmert’s account cannot be accurate as to detail. Bush was not interrupted during his speech in Philadelphia, and the speech was given many hours before the UN vote. But that kind of discrepancy is easily resolved if we want to believe that Olmert is telling the truth. When he called the White House, he may have initially gotten a staffer who said something like, Bush is away at Philadelphia for a speech. Olmert could have misunderstood the staffer to say that Bush was still giving the speech.
Then everyone was surprised by Rice’s about-face. And it was reported at the time that she changed her mind after a phone call from Bush.
She must have blown him off or been evasive, alarming him that there would be a UN ceasefire resolution before which Israel might have to bow. My own guess is that Olmert had Bush tell her to veto it altogether, but you have to wonder whether she and Khalilzad engaged in their own little final rebellion and so just voted “present,” which allowed the resolution to pass. (Olmert has ignored it.)
Olmert reports that Bush had no idea what the substance of the resolution was, and this anecdote is consistent with what we know about how this White House has functioned. Bush admitted to Bob Woodward that an important decision on sending some troops to Iraq had been made by National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and that Bush had not sat in on the relevant meetings. So Rice was at the UN on her own, thinking she was a plenipotentiary of Bush, and Olmert was annoyed at this attitude and decided to put her in her place.
The likelihood is that Olmert was stung by severe criticism of his government for allowing the UNSC cease-fire resolution to be passed. His Kadima Party is in a neck and neck race with the even more hard line and far rightwing Likud Party, with elections to be held on February 10. Presumably Olmert was trying to deflect the Likudniks’ charges that Kadima was inept or impotent, and to improve the standing of his would-be successor, Tzipi Livni (now the Foreign Minister).
Other than the obvious – that Bush is dumb as two planks and is a serial sadist, Cole points to 2001:
3. Olmert has something over Bush. I remember that Bush had taken on Sharon in September of 2001, calling for a Palestinian state and ordering Sharon to stop colonizing the West Bank. Sharon was so furious that he compared Israel’s situation to that of Czechoslovakia in 1938, when the rest of Europe let Hitler grab part of it. But by spring of 2002 Bush was bending over backward to please the Likud. What changed? Something did. There is a mystery to be explained here. I only point out that along with the previous two explanations, this one would make sense of otherwise baffling behavior on Bush’s part.
For some, the conspiracy buttons wil be pressed.
Did Sharon pass on to Olmert a little present prior to his vegetabilisation?
Or was Bush simply unable to stand up to the Zionist Lobby in the fact of its considerable influence on the Congress and Senate?
Laila Al-Arian reveals another side of Condi relating a chance encounter at a hair salon:
Recognizing how rare it is to get face-time with the nation’s top diplomat, Nadia felt she had to say something, anything. “Great job you’re doing in Gaza,” she blurted out. Nadia says Rice then turned to her and smiled. “Ohh thank youu,” she responded, dramatically dragging out each word. “I don’t think she understood the sarcasm,” Nadia told me. “No. I mean is there anything else that the U.S. can say other than all of the onus is on Hamas to end the violence?” she asked Rice.
“We’ve made other statements!” Rice replied, as she walked away. “And it is,” she added, referring to the notion that solving the crisis is solely in the hands of Hamas.
Perhaps these omissions should not have been surprising considering Rice’s bewildering remark that Israel’s 2006 war in Lebanon — in which more than 1,000 people were killed, thirty percent of whom were children–was simply part of “the birth pangs of a new Middle East.”
“We need very much to find a solution to this problem in the short term,” Rice told the Security Council. “But it really must be a solution this time that does not allow Hamas to use Gaza as a launching pad against Israeli cities,” she added, once again refusing to even mildly admonish Israel for the civilian deaths or acknowledge what had occurred earlier that day.
On Thursday, after nearly two weeks of carnage, the Security Council finally passed a resolution – with a 14-0 vote– calling for an “immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.” The United States, represented by Rice who helped draft the text, abstained from voting.
According to writer Karim Makdisi, “the text of Resolution 1860 makes no mention of international humanitarian laws (let alone offer any condemnation for the breaching of these laws), and it appears to adopt Israel’s narrative of events.” Israel dismissed the resolution as “unworkable” and continued its bombing campaign on Friday, the day Rice told reporters “it’s hard” for Israeli troops to shield civilians in Gaza because the area is so densely populated.
Excuses, excuses, always for the ‘ally’ there are excuses – even for mass murder.
Condi has reaffirmed herself as an Aunty Tom in the last days of the Bush idiot presidency with her lockstep except for the last gaff, collaboration with the torturous Israeli Occupation of Palestine. Does she know or even care that the Israelis have inflicted an illegal, brutal Occupation for many decades, from which much angst flows – the rockets of Hamas are in one sense analagous to the cruel necklacings perpetrated by some rebels during the apartheid era in South Africa. Are the birth pangs to which she has referred Israel being born as regional hegemon, rather than the liberation of the oppressed Palestinians within their own free state? With the US economy flailing, has Tel Aviv conveniently become the new power nexus for the electorally ousted US neoconservatives?
Olmert’s arrogance reemerges with NATO:
Prime Minister Olmert thanked NATO Secy.-Gen. Scheffer for NATO’s cooperation with Israel: “Israel stands behind NATO and fully supports its struggle against terrorism, just as we expect that you will understand us in our struggle against terrorism. The difference between us is that while you are fighting terrorism even if your territory is not in immediate danger, we are defending our territory and our citizens, who are being attacked on a daily basis.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni earlier met on Sunday with the NATO secretary-general. They spoke together about mutual ways to cooperate in a war on terrorism, and discussed actions to prevent the smuggling of weapons into Gaza.
In reaction to Livni’s hopes for cooperation in preventing smuggling into Gaza, Secretary-General Scheffer stated that NATO has no plans for a peacekeeping force to supervise any ceasefire in Gaza.
The NATO chief told an audience at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies on Sunday that NATO would be willing to play a peacekeeping role only if there existed a full-scale peace agreement, consent from both sides, and a UN mandate. He predicted that those conditions would not be ripe any time in the near future.
The convolutions of the US and Israel stand in terrible bleak contrast to the plight of the people of Gaza, caught in the midst of some grand game.
Khaled Meshaal, Hamas’ political leader states the Gazan government’s present position:
The enemy has succeeded in bringing about a new Holocaust on Gaza.
Let me now speak to Israelis and Zionists. What have you achieved in this war that you supported? You supported your leaders in going ahead with this war, but what have you achieved besides killing innocent children, breaking skulls and creating an ocean of blood in Gaza?
What have you achieved except a Holocaust that your leaders want to use to win the next elections in February? Palestinian blood is now a means for political achievements in your elections.
You complain about the Holocaust that was committed against you, but you today are now committing an even harsher Holocaust. The Palestinians can now make a museum of your Holocaust in Gaza…
What prevented the US from allowing Resolution 1860 being passed a week or two weeks ago? They wanted to give Israel a chance to kill more Palestinians and claim victory over Gaza. But when the resistance did not back down and Israel failed and when the magnitude of these massacres were uncovered and the USA and those who collaborated in this military campaign witnessed the dissent and intifada among the Muslim masses, which carries with it real danger, at that point they let the resolution pass.
But they took the teeth out of (UN Security Council Resolution) 1860. The resolution is a non-binding cease-fire with no date specified for the cease-fire.
The question now is about who should implement the resolution. Those who started the military campaign in the first place, the Zionists, should implement it and immediately pull out of Gaza. This is logic.
Concerning us, we want the immediate and complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza and the lifting of the unjust siege on Gaza that has led to the current situation.
Our other request is the opening of all border crossings including the Rafah border crossing.
We, with an open mind, will deal with any initiatives and decisions based on these three requests.
Therefore, we will not accept any negotiations for a truce in the light of and under the pressure of a military campaign and siege.
Let the military campaign stop, let the Israelis withdraw, and let the rights of our people be admitted to, let them recognize our rights to live without a siege and closed border crossings, just like other humans, then we are ready to discuss a truce, just like we did before.
We will not accept a permanent truce, because it will take the right of resistance from the Palestinian people. The resistance is against occupation and military campaigns and therefore as long as occupation exists, resistance will too…
We will also not accept the interference of international forces because international forces will come only to protect Israel’s security and any international force imposed will be considered as occupiers.
We will not accept any talks about strengthening the ‘choke hold’ on the resistance concerning its weapons. Some are speaking about the tunnels as if Gaza is a super power with advanced weapons, while we are people with very limited capabilities to defend our territories and ourselves. No body has the right to take our legitimate right for defense and resistance. The US, as if the whole of the Israeli arsenal does not exists, sends hundreds of tons of explosives and artillery shells to Israel.
In this context, we still sent our delegation to Cairo to talk about Egypt’s proposal and other political plans. The November 2005 Rafah crossing agreement, must be reconsidered because this agreement really promoted the blockade on Gaza and we proposed different means and methods.
I call on Mr. Mahmoud Abbas – who called for national unity in the face of Israel’s attacks – to declare to the world that we must agree to a Palestinian partnership between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in Gaza, so that we can reach a firm arrangement in Rafah. This is appropriate choice for you. Anything besides this has no credibility when it comes to national unity.
We supported national unity from day one–nNational unity based upon confronting the military campaign, but this needs honesty and credibility. All political detainees must be freed and the Palestinians in the West Bank must be free to hold protests without being arrested. We saw them arrested of course yesterday. We also call on Mahmoud Abbas to stop cooperating with the enemy and to stop negotiations with the Israelis. There is no future for these negotiations…
And to the Arab countries, by God you abandoned and degraded us. But if you made mistakes in the past go ahead and correct your mistakes before it is to late… I call on Arab countries not to welcome any Israeli official in their capitals.
The Arab leaders must coordinate and be aligned with the will of their people. Moreover, I call on Arab countries that have relations with Israel to tell the Israelis either that they should stop their war, or that the Arab countries will stop their relations.
After this resolution, the Muslim Ummah should not calm down and assume the atrocities are over. Resolution 1860 has not brought about any changes on the ground. Israel refuses the resolution and the battle in Gaza is in its most intense phase. What we need is more stern resistance in Gaza and we need more fierce protests in the Arab and Islamic world and the international community to achieve victory for the people of Gaza. We need a third ‘Intifada’ (uprising) in the West Bank and a revolution in the Arab, Islamic world until the enemy withdraws from Gaza, the siege is lifted and the border crossings are opened.
A very important point is that the Muslim world should stand by us. In spite of all these massacres committed by Israel, some say that we are the problem and the massacres are our fault. These are shameful words. What provided the atmosphere for the Zionists to boost their reputation (among their people) and to increase our wounds and impose new circumstances, for example the separation wall, settlement activities and so on, all happened at the time of negotiations.
Concerning are casualties and wounded, resistance cannot liberate without martyrs and casualties. It is better to achieve victory through martyrs and wounded, instead of having casualties without resistance and victory.
Some express fear that after all the sacrifices, the leadership of the resistance may collapse or make a settlement for example. On the contrary, the blood of our women and children and people will increase our cohesion and determination to achieve our aims. It is unjust that after all these massacres to just go and say lets make a truce. On the contrary, the price of this bloodshed is freedom and to decide our own destiny and to end the occupation and siege.
In this psyop war of all psyop wars, the Israel public is held captive to fears of Israel’s own creation. The shallowness of the Israeli public perception, bereft of the appallingly sad narrative of their occupied neighbours leads to a one-sided bitterness, perpetuating victimhood and cruelty, engendering callous disregard for needs of others less fortunate. All Palestinians, even babies, clinics, ambulances, schools and even foreign aid workers are the enemy. However unequally matched the protagonists are, this is war, the eternal war, and resistance must be crushed ruthlessly, without any acceptance of criticism.
“It is very frustrating for us not to be understood,” remarked Yoel Esteron, editor of a daily business newspaper called Calcalist. “Almost 100 percent of Israelis feel that the world is hypocritical. Where was the world when our cities were rocketed for eight years and our soldier was kidnapped? Why should we care about the world’s view now?”
Israel, which is often a fractured, bickering society, has turned in the past couple of weeks into a paradigm of unity and mutual support. Flags are flying high. Celebrities are visiting schoolchildren in at-risk areas, soldiers are praising the equipment and camaraderie of their army units, neighbors are worried about families whose fathers are on reserve duty. Ask people anywhere how they feel about the army’s barring journalists from entering Gaza and the response is: let the army do its job.
Mondoweiss Where is Hillary on cease-fire?
It turns out Australia was gutless at the UN and abstained inline with its fairy godmother the US. To be expected with conservative Christians and others beholden to the Zionist lobby at the helm. When we get a chance we’ll be looking at the latest party donation lists to see which Zionists are feathering which political nests.
Labor backbencher Melissa Parke has questioned why Australia abstained from a United Nations vote last month demanding an immediate end to the Israeli military offensive in Gaza.
More than 1,300 people died during the three-week war, including more than 400 children.
Ms Parke, a former United Nations lawyer who has lived in Gaza, raised the matter on Monday during the first Labor caucus meeting for the year.
Last month, Australia was one of eight UN members to abstain from a vote demanding “full respect” of a Security Council resolution calling for “an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces” from Gaza.
In a convincing wrapup of events leading to the holocaust being perpetrated on the essentially defenceless people of Gaza, John Pilger refers to the Dagan Plan.
Behind this sordid game is the “Dagan Plan,” named after General Meir Dagan, who served with Sharon in his bloody invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Now head of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence organization, Dagan is the author of a “solution” that has seen the imprisonment of Palestinians behind a ghetto wall snaking across the West Bank and in Gaza, effectively a concentration camp. The establishment of a quisling government in Ramallah under Mohammed Abbas is Dagan’s achievement, together with a hasbara (propaganda) campaign relayed through a mostly supine, if intimidated western media, notably in America, that says Hamas is a terrorist organization devoted to Israel’s destruction and to “blame” for the massacres and siege of its own people over two generations, long before its creation. “We have never had it so good,” said the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Gideon Meir in 2006. “The hasbara effort is a well-oiled machine.” In fact, Hamas’s real threat is its example as the Arab world’s only democratically elected government, drawing its popularity from its resistance to the Palestinians’ oppressor and tormentor. This was demonstrated when Hamas foiled a CIA coup in 2007, an event ordained in the western media as “Hamas’s seizure of power.” Likewise, Hamas is never described as a government, let alone democratic. Neither is its proposal of a ten-year truce as a historic recognition of the “reality” of Israel and support for a two-state solution with just one condition: that the Israelis obey international law and end their illegal occupation beyond the 1967 borders. As every annual vote in the UN General Assembly demonstrates, 99 per cent of humanity concurs. On 4 January, the president of the General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto, described the Israeli attack on Gaza as a “monstrosity.”
When the monstrosity is done and the people of Gaza are even more stricken, the Dagan Plan foresees what Sharon called a “1948-style solution” – the destruction of all Palestinian leadership and authority followed by mass expulsions into smaller and smaller “cantonments” and perhaps finally into Jordan. This demolition of institutional and educational life in Gaza is designed to produce, wrote Karma Nabulsi, a Palestinian exile in Britain, “a Hobbesian vision of an anarchic society: truncated, violent, powerless, destroyed, cowed … Look to the Iraq of today: that is what [Sharon] had in store for us, and he has nearly achieved it.”
Although the UN has passed Resolution 1860 calling for a cease fire, Israel is continuing its strikes against anything that moves or doesn’t move in the beleaguered Gaza Strip.
This is unacceptable. The US may already been dragged into being accomplice to war crimes on the eve of Obama’s inauguration – is this Bush’s last petulant tantrum too?
Francis A. Boyle An Israeli War Crimes Tribunal – An Israeli War Crimes Tribunal (ICTI) May be the Only Deterrent to a Global War
Not that again – still at least some folks are waking up to the Machiavellian possibilities neocons may be hoping to ignite in these last desperate days of Straussian ponderosity.
Ari Shavit writes in Haaretz of that perennial classic, the White Man’s Burden
George E. Bisharat Israel Is Committing War Crimes – Hamas’s violations are no justification for Israel’s actions.
Pentagon denies arms shipment to Israel linked with Gaza fighting – interesting because the first time we looked the story said US was sending 3000 tons of ammo on a merchant ship.
In fact, here it is sitting on Reuters UK. So who’s the anonymous informant, and which story is true? ??
Fri Jan 9, 2009 11:42pm GMT
By Stefano Ambrogi
LONDON (Reuters) – The U.S. is seeking to hire a merchant ship to deliver hundreds of tons of arms to Israel from Greece later this month, tender documents seen by Reuters show.
The U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) said the ship was to carry 325 standard 20-foot containers of what is listed as “ammunition” on two separate journeys from the Greek port of Astakos to the Israeli port of Ashdod in mid-to-late January.
A “hazardous material” designation on the manifest mentions explosive substances and detonators, but no other details were given.
“Shipping 3,000-odd tons of ammunition in one go is a lot,” one broker said, on condition of anonymity.
“This (kind of request) is pretty rare and we haven’t seen much of it quoted in the market over the years,” he added.
The U.S. Defense Department, contacted by Reuters on Friday in Washington, had no immediate comment.
The MSC transports amour and military supplies for the U.S. armed forces aboard its own fleet, but regularly hires merchant ships if logistics so require.
The request for the ship was made on December 31, with the first leg of the charter to arrive no later than January 25 and the second at the end of the month.
The tender for the vessel follows the hiring of a commercial ship to carry a much larger consignment of ordnance in December from the United States to Israel ahead of air strikes in the Gaza Strip.
A German shipping firm which won that tender confirmed the order when contacted by Reuters but declined to comment further.
Shipping brokers in London who have specialized in moving arms for the British and U.S. military in the past said such ship charters to Israel were rare.
Israel is one of America’s closest allies and both nations regularly sell arms to each other.
A senior military analyst in London who declined to be named said that, because of the timing, the shipments could be “irregular” and linked to the Gaza offensive.
The ship hired by the MSC in December was for a much larger cargo of arms, tender documents showed.
That stipulated a ship to be chartered for 42 days capable of carrying 989 standard 20-foot containers from Sunny Point, North Carolina to Ashdod.
The tender document said the vessel had to be capable of “carrying 5.8 million pounds (2.6 million kg) of net explosive weight,” which specialist brokers said was a very large quantity.
The ship was requested early last month to load on December 15.
In September, the U.S. Congress approved the sale of 1,000 bunker-buster missiles to Israel. The GPS-guided GBU-39 is said to be one of the most accurate bombs in the world.
The Jerusalem Post, citing defense officials, reported last week that a first shipment of the missiles had arrived in early December and they were used in penetrating Hamas’s underground rocket launcher sites.
(Reporting by Stefano Ambrogi; editing by Michael Roddy)
UPDATE ON SHIP
Greek bloggers used Twitter to pressure the Greek government to halt the arms transfer.
Delivery of the munitions was suspended, just as the Greek government was coming under fire from opposition parties, and Amnesty International was calling for an arms embargo.
At first, official sources contested the story from the international news agency Reuters on January 9. But it was picked up by Twitter users and investigated after Indy.gr – an offshoot of the Indymedia Athens group – provided a translation of the article in Greek.
1:10 p.m. Here’s one for the Israel Info Guys in Tel Aviv and New York.
You know the “human shields” line that Hamas hides behind civilians, especially women and children, to conduct their nefarious activities? Well, a released Gazan detainee has offered an inconvenient twist — at least for Israel:
In the first day (of the ground offensive) special forces stormed Beit Lahiya. Maybe a thousand soldiers landed on rooftops then began arresting people….They used us as human shields in military positions they established inside Gaza Strip before they drove us to a prison in Beersheba. They made us sleep on gravel, or on the sand. They stripped us of our clothes.
And here’s a little footnote: “They used a bulldozer to pile up the bodies of the dead.”
Oxford professor of international relations Avi Shlaim – How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe
@AJGaza: UN says more than 15,000 people are now internally displaced after fleeing their homes in an attempt to avoid the fighting in #Gaza
Israel crossed the line.
@KABOBFest A UN school in #gaza where people were taking shelter was just tank-shelled by Israel, killing 40 people there. http://tinyurl.com/777edx
@AJGaza US state department says it wants an “immediate” ceasefire in #Gaza, that is “durable, sustainable and not time limited”.
@tweetsfromgaza Israeli tanks fire on 2nd UN school killing and injuring dozens of refugees with nowhere else to go. #Gaza
RT: @syrianews: UN says it “gave the exact GPS co-ordinates” of the location of the UN school which Israel CHOSE to bomb
The UN, which said the school was clearly marked, said it was “strongly protesting these killings to the Israeli authorities and is calling for an immediate and impartial investigation”.
“Where it is found that international humanitarian law has been violated, those responsible must be held to account. Under international law, installations such as schools, health centres and UN facilities should be protected from attack. Well before the current fighting, the UN had given to the Israeli authorities the GPS co-ordinates of all its installations in Gaza, including Asma elementary school.”
Just prior to the announcement of the UN school massacre, the Israeli Consulate tweeted:
@IsraelConsulate New Post: How to End the Battle Successfully http://is.gd/eGKS #AskIsrael #Israel #Gaza
Bret Stephens writes in today’s Wall Street Journal on ways that Israel can achieve its military aims without imposing unnecessary hardship on the residents of Gaza.
Achieving this aim would not require Israel to take over large swaths of Gaza, but it would require an extended policy of smaller-scale counterterrorism operations, along the lines of the successful West Bank operations.
We shall have to wait and see which post conflict model is adopted, and how free an arm the US gives Israel to complete its balancing act, and whether international monitors will be involved as previously mentioned by Israel.
“What is being visited on Gaza today was visited on Yasser Arafat before. When he refused to bow to Israel’s dictates, he was imprisoned in his Ramallah headquarters, surrounded by tanks for two years. When this failed to break his resolve, he was murdered by poisoning.
Gaza enters 2009 just as it did 2008: under Israeli fire. Between January and February of last year 140 Gazans died in air strikes. And just before it embarked on its failed military assault on Lebanon in July 2006, Israel rained thousands of shells on Gaza, killing 240. From Deir Yassin in 1948 to Gaza today, the list of Israel’s crimes is long. The justifications change, but the reality is the same: colonial occupation, oppression, and never-ending injustice. If this is the “free world” whose “values” Israel is defending, as its foreign minister Tzipi Livni alleges, then we want nothing to do with it.
Israel’s leaders remain in the grip of confusion, unable to set clear goals for the attacks – from ousting the legitimately elected Hamas government and destroying its infrastructure, to stopping the rockets. As they fail to break Gaza’s resistance the benchmark has been lowered. Now they speak of weakening Hamas and limiting the resistance. But they will achieve neither. Gaza’s people are more united than ever, determined not to be terrorised into submission. Our fighters, armed with the justice of their cause, have already caused many casualties among the occupation army and will fight on to defend their land and people. Nothing can defeat our will to be free.
Once again, Washington and Europe have opted to aid and abet the jailer, occupier and aggressor, and to condemn its victims. We hoped Barack Obama would break with George Bush’s disastrous legacy but his start is not encouraging. While he swiftly moved to denounce the Mumbai attacks, he remains tongue-tied after 10 days of slaughter in Gaza. But my people are not alone. Millions of freedom-loving men and women stand by its struggle for justice and liberation – witness daily protests against Israeli aggression, not only in the Arab and Islamic region, but worldwide.
Israel will no doubt wreak untold destruction, death and suffering in Gaza. But it will meet the same fate in Gaza as it did in Lebanon. We will not be broken by siege and bombardment, and will never surrender to occupation.”
Defence for Children International Children killed as a result of Israel military and settlers 2000 – 2008
In addition, from the UN 4/1/09:
As of this evening, the MoH reports casualty figures since the beginning of the Israeli military operation on 27 December of 491 dead and approximately 2,400 injured, out of which figures, at least 20 percent of the fatalities and 40 percent of the injuries are women and children.
As the occupying power, under the Geneva Conventions Israel has the responsibility for caring for the occupied. Despite its claims of having left Gaza in 2005, Israel still occupies it under international law.