OpEd UPDATES: Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Civilians Are Paying the Price in Gaza' By Haider Rizvi
International aid groups, including several United Nations agencies, are warning of a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza if Israel does not stop its military action there immediately. here
"Since the dawn of the Zionist presence in the Land of Israel, no military operation has ever advanced dialogue with the Palestinians." (From James M. Wall just below...)
"Israel, once again, demonstrated its blatant contempt to humanity and to all religions when its fourth most powerful army desecrated on Saturday December 27 the most Christian, Muslim and Jewish holiest religious holidays, and even their own supposed-to-be holy Sabbath, by spelling the blood of the weak, the hungry, the thirsty, the poor, the desolate, and the two-years besieged Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. So it’s merry Christmas, happy New Year, happy Hanukkha, and Shabat shalom."
Find the source to this quote, in MWC article below the article by James M. Wall)
Preface to Walls Writings latest on Gaza:
The Gaza Attacks: “Israel carefully planned the attack to extract the highest possible price.”
Israel’s attacks on Gaza have entered their fifth day. The Israeli cabinet has rejected a call for a cease fire.
Amira Hass writes in Ha’aretz on the careful planning of these attacks. Hass covered Gaza and the West Bank for Ha’aretz for many years. She is currently a correspondent for Haaretz. Her understanding of Gaza’s neighborhoods adds an important insight into the Israeli bombing campaign of Gaza. She is the author of Drinking the Sea at Gaza. Here are the opening paragraphs of her Haaretz report:
This isn’t the time to speak of ethics, but of precise intelligence. Whoever gave the instructions to send 100 of our planes, piloted by the best of our boys, to bomb and strafe enemy targets in Gaza is familiar with the many schools adjacent to those targets - especially police stations. He also knew that at exactly 11:30 A.M. on Saturday, during the surprise assault on the enemy, all the children of the Strip would be in the streets - half just having finished the morning shift at school, the others en route to the afternoon shift.
This is not the time to speak of proportional responses, not even of the polls that promise a greater share of Knesset seats to the mission’s architects. This is, however, the time to speak of the voters’ belief the operation will succeed, that the strikes are precise and the targets justified.
Take, for example, Imad Aqel Mosque in Jabalya refugee camp, bombed and strafed shortly before midnight on Sunday. These are the names of the glorious military victory we achieved there - Jawaher, age 4; Dina, age 8; Sahar, age 12; Ikram, age 14; and Tahrir, age 17, all sisters of the Ba’lousha family, all killed in a “precise” strike on the mosque. Another three sisters, a 2-year-old brother and their parents were injured. Twenty-four neighbors were wounded and five homes and three stores destroyed. This part of the military victory did not open our television or radio news broadcasts yesterday morning, nor did they appear on many Israeli news Web sites.
This is the time to speak about the detailed maps in the hands of IDF commanders, and about the Shin Bet advisers who know the exact distance between the mosque and nearby homes. This is the time to discuss the drone planes and the hot air balloons fitted with advanced cameras floating over the Strip day and night, filming everything. . . .
by James M. Wall
The mind boggles, the heart aches, and the anger builds. Massive suffering and destruction in Gaza enters its fourth day. The death toll exceeds 350 and the wounded total approaches 1,400.
American political leaders and media reports say the attacks are the fault of Hamas. Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter, a regular commentator on MSNBC, makes a big deal about all those rockets Hamas has been slinging Israel’s way, and once again quotes Barack Obama’s ill-chosen statement that if someone were sending rockets that threatened his daughters, he would respond.
Which raises the question: Now that Obama has demonstrated that he needs to work out a better understanding of proportionality–a serious flaw in a president, as we know–we must ask, what would Obama do if his daughters lived in Gaza with bombs falling from the sky? He would not be able to do very much because the only weapons available to the Obama parents would be those largely ineffective rockets Hamas keeps firing at a major military power out of their frustration and anger.
American political leaders and American media are trash talkers, something that basketball player Obama knows well. They talk trash about anyone opposing Israel even though the smart ones know that the justification for Israel’s attack on Gaza is a complete farce. Define farce? Doing something that does not connect to reality.
Media coverage constantly repeats Israeli talking points that absolves Israel of all blame. The Bush White House blames Hamas. Both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi say, in unison, Israel has every right to “defend itself”. So let us be forewarned: With Reid and Pelosi running the Congress and Rahm Emmanuel in the White House, if Obama names Dennis Ross as his envoy to the Middle East, expect the policy of “never blame Israel” to continue. If Ross is tapped, who you gonna call? Ghostbuster Hillary Clinton? Good luck on that one.
A moment in history with Joseph Welch springs to mind. On that memorable day in 1954 Welch had finally had all he could take of Senator Joe McCarthy’s deceptive and deceitful attacks.
Reacting to a McCarthy attack on a Welch staff member during a Senate committee hearing, Welch said what should now be said to Israel and its American sponsors, and which someday will be said when enough sensible Americans wake up to the reality of Israel’s Occupation:
Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. . . .Little did I dream you could be so reckless and cruel as to do an injury to that lad. It is true he is still with Hale & Dorr. It is true that he will continue to be with Hale & Dorr. It is, I regret to say, equally true that I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty, I will do so. I like to think I am a gentleman, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me. .
These brutal attacks against Gaza are part of a long range ethnic cleansing strategy that is “reckless and cruel” and it has done enormous injury to the Palestinian people. It is a strategy that has been on the Israeli planning books since 1948. Was Israel ever called to explain its actions? Where is the challenge today for its farcical rocket rationale?
Check the record. Both ill-fated invasions of Lebanon were blamed on “attacks” from the other side. All those targeted assassinations of Palestinian leaders? Think back, Pilgrim: Those attacks were sold as responses to something those “targeted” leaders would have done had they lived. Think of it as Israel’s version of preemptive strikes.
Challenge is an online magazine which originates in Israel from a peace-minded publisher. In its current issue, Challenge describes the current attack on Gaza as carefully planned in advance...
Read the rest of the article, GO here
This is from a new site: The Wall Writings - begun by James M. Wall who is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Jim launched this new personal blog April 24, 2008. The inspiration comes from many sources that have influenced (Wall's) writing for the Christian Century, including politics, cinema, media, American culture, and the Middle East. This summer he will focus on the political campaigns, and in January, 2009, he will focus on the new administration in Washington. The effort will be made to deal with all of these topics, and others as they emerge, from within an understanding of the ambiguity of the human condition as perceived from a religious perspective.
I often find inspiration from cinema, like these Paul Simon lyrics:
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon God they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming.
And the signs said, the words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.
And whispered in the sounds of silence.
The photograph above, from the Electronic Intifada, shows Palestinians carrying the body of a victim of an Israeli air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, 27 December 2008. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)
From "Media With Conscience" Gaza: Israel’s Butchering Block
As usual, Israel, once again, demonstrated its blatant contempt to humanity and to all religions when its fourth most powerful army desecrated on Saturday December 27 the most Christian, Muslim and Jewish holiest religious holidays, and even their own supposed-to-be holy Sabbath, by spelling the blood of the weak, the hungry, the thirsty, the poor, the desolate, and the two-years besieged Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. So it’s merry Christmas, happy New Year, happy Hanukkha, and Shabat shalom.
Israel started what it called “operation cast lead” on Saturday by sending 60 F-16 fighter jets to drop 100 tons of explosives on Gazans, whose children, under the age of 18, comprise 50% of the population. The targets were, initially, police stations and academy and government buildings. Many of them were hit multiple times to inflict casualties among medical teams, civil service personnel, and regular citizens, who gathered to save the victims. Later the Israeli war planes targeted charity institutions, civilian homes, apartment tower buildings, educational institutions and Islamic mosques, seven of which were totally leveled to the ground. Up till today, Tuesday 30th, 400 Palestinians were murdered and 1057 others were wounded many with life-threatening wounds that may raise the death toll. Among the dead were police officers and cadets, school children who were just leaving schools when the attack started, whole family members, whose houses collapsed on them, and praying men and women in the mosques. Next two days the Israeli gun-boats lined up the shores of Gaza and targeted Gaza sea ports and every fishing boat they encountered including the humanitarian “Dignity” boat transporting medical equipment and dignitaries to Gaza.
The main goal of the Israeli aggression, according to Israeli military and political officials, is the total destruction and annihilation of terrorist Hamas; the democratically elected Palestinian government in Gaza.
After the Palestinians demonstrated to the whole world that they can exercise democracy by choosing their representatives through free and fair election that was internationally monitored and certified, the so-called democracy spreading Western countries and Israel did not like the results. The stunning victory of Hamas in the election and its popularity and control in Gaza Strip did not please Israel, the US, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his gang, and the so-called moderate Arab leaders.
The decision came down to destroy Hamas politically through political boycott, discredit, and imprisonment of its MPs, ministers and senior officials. When this failed it was decided to topple Hamas violently. But Hamas, preemptively, foiled Mohammad Dahlan’s, and his thugs, coup attempt. Then came the decision to isolate Hamas in Gaza, and to impose an economic blockade against the Strip hoping that starving Gazans would depose of Hamas themselves. But this also failed and served only to exalt Gazans and Hamas as heroes resisting occupation, to expose the collusion of some Arab regimes, especially Egyptian and Abbas’s PA in Ramallah, with Israel against their Palestinian Arab brothers, and to attract the sympathy of many nations in the West as well as in the Islamic World....Read the rest here
Dr. Elias Akleh a contributing editor to MWC, is an Arab writer from a Palestinian descent born in the town of Beit Jala. His family was first evicted from Haifa after the “Nakba” of 1948, then from Beit Jala after the “Nakseh” of 1967. He lives now in the US, and publishes his articles on the web in both English and Arabic.
War Crimes & Tribunal Needed?
An Israeli War Crimes Tribunal (ICTI) May be the Only Deterrent to a Global War
By Francis A. Boyle
The United Nations General Assembly must immediately establish an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel (ICTI) as a "subsidiary organ" under U.N. Charter Article 22. The ICTI would be organized along the lines of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY), which was established by the Security Council. Go here