Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Scar of David

Smoke rose on Sunday over Gaza City, where Israeli troops were clashing with Palestinian fighters in what was described as a fierce battle.

Palestinians Will Never Forget

By Susan Abulhawa

How can anyone watching Gaza burn escape the bitter realization that history repeats itself? Many have compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to Apartheid South Africa. But not in their cruelest hour did the Apartheid regime wreak such wanton murder and destruction. Let us stop mincing words. What is happening to Palestinians now whispers of Warsaw and Lodz.

Schools, universities, mosques, police stations, homes, water treatment plants, factories, and anything that supports civil society, including the only mental health clinic in Gaza, have been blown to rubble from planes that rain death from clear skies without any resistance, because Palestinians have no opposing air force. Nor do they have an army or navy. No mechanized armor or heavy weaponry. Thanks to Israel, they haven’t even had continuous electricity or fuel for the past two years. Or food and medicine. Israel’s siege and blockade of Gaza has prevented the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza, including the import of the most basic goods necessary for survival.

A recent study by the Red Cross showed that 46 percent of Gazan children suffer from anemia. Malnutrition affects 75 percent of Gaza’s population, half of whom are under the age of 17. There has been widespread deafness among children due to Israel’s intentional and frequent sonic booms from low overflights. An alarming number have stunted growth and serious mental disorders due lack of food. The only way they have been able to survive thus far has been due to the tunnels that smuggle food and goods from Egypt.

Half of Gazan children under 12 have lost their “will to live.” Can anyone fathom the kind of oppression that leads small children en mass to lose their will to live?

This is what Israel has done to Gaza over the past two years. They ghettoized Gaza and turned it into an open air prison – a concentration camp of civilians with no way to earn a living, no way to defend themselves and no place to run from the slaughter bombarding them from air, land, and sea. From the white phosphorous disemboweling young and old alike.

But Gazans dared to try to resist with pathetic homemade rockets that, until Israel’s barbaric attack, generally landed in open desert. The rockets were mostly symbolic of resistance, very much like the fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. But who would have called on a ceasefire there, in 1943, for “both parties” to “cease the violence”? Who would have blamed the Ghetto fighters for their ultimate fate? Who would say they had no right to resist? No right to fight back?

Just as Nazis gave Jews only the right to die silently, Israel starves and besieges Palestinians, giving them only that same right. Just as the Warsaw Ghetto was blown to rubble, Gaza is left to burn in an inferno, its hospitals bursting with the puss of death and unspeakable wounds. The entire population of Gaza is terrorized and traumatized. No one is spared the insecurity and fear. Imagine, please, that you are a Gazan.

What have Palestinians done to deserve such a fate? To be endlessly hunted like animals? To have their homes demolished, their ancient history and heritage cast into forgotten space? To languish in refugee camps and slums, while Jews from all corners of the earth flock to fill their confiscated homes and farms? To be tortured, imprisoned, and denied in every conceivable way?

What have we done that leaders will not speak against this massive and cold aggression against our people? With what logic do you call Palestinians terrorists when their streets flow with the blood of their own children? When they have been stripped naked of possessions, dignity and hope?

Why? Because they elected Hamas? Hamas has held power for less than two years. Yet, Palestinians have suffered this kind of slaughter for 61 years. Whether now in Gaza, in 2002 in Jenin, in 1947 and 1948 in Deir Yasin, Balad el-Sha, Yehida, Tantura, and the list goes on. Or 1982 in Sabra and Shatila.

Palestinians are killed as if insects not because of Hamas or Yasser Arafat before them. Not because of Qassasm rockets or hand thrown rocks. Palestinians burn and bleed because they are the non-Jewish natives of that land. There is no other reason. Just like Jews were killed for being Jewish. Palestinians are killed for being the Muslims and Christians who hold historic, legal and even genetic title to that land.

But unlike Jews of Europe, Palestinians are killed slowly over decades. Unlike Israel, Nazi Germany did not establish such an effective global propaganda machine that would demonize its victims and blame them for their own ghastly fate. But most importantly, like the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto, Palestinians do not march like mice to their death. In six decades of enduring unspeakable oppression, their will has not been broken. Now is no exception.

Israel, and the United States with its unconditional support, will only succeed in radicalizing a whole new generation of its victims. Of revving world hatred and resentment against this unholy duo.

Palestinians will not forget this, as they have not forgotten the past 60 years. But what will you remember a week or a year or a decade from now, when a Gazan, who stood before the long rows of corpses and vowed vengeance, creates your 9-11? When one of those few million children without a will to live straps on a belt that rips through your daily routine? Will you remember what we did to them?

- Susan Abulhawa is the author of The Scar of David,, and founder of Playgrounds for Palestine,
Post is from: Natalie


In Washington, All Roads Lead to Tehran

By Daniel Luban

WASHINGTON, Jan 9 (IPS) - As the war in Gaza approaches its third week, a chorus of influential voices in the U.S. media has cast the conflict as a proxy war in which the real enemy is not Hamas but Iran.

The result has been a growing tendency in the U.S. to view Gaza as simply one battleground in a larger war between Iran and the West, and to dismiss the stated concerns of the Palestinians as a mere smokescreen for Iranian influence.

But critics charge that this way of framing the conflict is both overly simplistic and agenda-driven. By overstating the importance of Iran's operational aid to Hamas, they claim, these opinion-makers aim to increase hostilities with Iran, to bolster an increasingly shaky Israeli rationale for war, and to curtail any inclination to reach a peace settlement with the Palestinians.

For years, it has been a commonplace among neoconservatives that Iran is the real source of opposition to the U.S. and Israel throughout the Middle East, from Palestine to Lebanon to Iraq. During Israel's 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, prominent neoconservatives urged the West to focus "less on Hamas and Hezbollah, and more on their paymasters and real commanders in Syria and Iran", as William Kristol wrote in the Weekly Standard.

Similarly, neoconservatives have taken the current war with Hamas as a sign that the West needs to take a harder line with Iran. "It's all about Iran," Michael Ledeen, a prominent Iran hawk based at the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies, wrote in National Review Online on Dec. 30. "[The Israelis] are left to contend with the tentacles of the terrorist hydra, while the main body remains untouched. They may chop off a piece of Hamas or Hezbollah, but it will regenerate and grab them again."

However, the belief that Hamas is merely an Iranian proxy has spread beyond neoconservative circles to be voiced by opinion-makers closer to the political centre. Self-described realist Robert Kaplan wrote in the Atlantic on Monday that "Israel's attack on Gaza is, in effect, an attack on Iran's empire...Our own diplomacy with Iran now rests on whether or not Israel succeeds."

In the New York Times, influential neoliberal Thomas Friedman implied that Iran was to blame for the outbreak of hostilities in Gaza, writing that Tehran can "stop and start the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at will". In the Los Angeles Times, Israeli commentators Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael B. Oren wrote an op-ed titled "In Gaza, the real enemy is Iran", which warned that if Hamas "manipulat[es] world opinion into the imposition of a premature ceasefire...[it] would mean another triumph for Iran".

And in the literature released by hawkish advocacy groups such as the Israel Project, Hamas is rarely mentioned without the adjective "Iran-backed".
more - IPS


Israeli soldiers on a armoured personnel carriers (APC) give the thumbs up as they display a small Isralei flag on 06 January 2009 after as they leave fighting in the Gaza Strip and roll to a staging area along the Gaza border.


Statements by Peres, Olmert and Livni on Gaza and Iran

compiled by Cem Ertür
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
11 January, 2009

Iran is heavily involved in the evolution of Hamas … When (Hamas) started, the missiles were homemade – made in the Gaza Strip. But not anymore. Now they are professional, coming from Iran. (Israeli Foreign Minister Livni, 10 January 2009) [1]

Our goals are clear: we do not want to make Gaza a satellite of Iran, and we don’t want a ceasefire but the end of the terror. (Israeli President Peres, 8 January 2009) [2]

Iran and Syria are continually trying to smuggle improved rockets into the Strip. (Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, 6 January 2009) [3]

Israel does not want to see Iranians in the Middle East… It was bad enough that Iran was supplying its two satellites, Hizbullah and Hamas, with long-range missiles… Opening the passage to Sinai … would mean opening doors to Iranian long-range missiles, which will mean total war. (Israeli President Peres, 6 January 2009) [4]

Hamas works with Iran, he gets weapons from Iran, and its headquarters are in Damascus, and it works closely with Hezbollah. (Israeli Foreign Minister Livni 5 January 2009) [5]

They [i.e. Hamas] cannot explain why they are shooting…and they cannot hide that they are acting by orders from Iran. Iran has two satellites in the Middle East, the Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. (Israeli President Peres, 4 January 2009) [6]


Israel accused of using illegal white phosphorus shells in Gaza

By Damien McElroy in Jerusalem
Jan. 11, 2009

White phosphorus is an incendiary material that causes severe burns when it comes in contact with human skin and its use in conflict zones is restricted inside civilian areas. Syria called on the UN to investigate the claim.

Human Rights Watch said its researchers witnessed the use of the materiel on Saturday and Sunday in Gaza City and Jabalia refugee camps, both built-up areas.

The Israeli military, which refuses to comment on the types of munitions it is using in the conflict, rejected the accusations. "There is no use of white phosphorus," a spokeswoman said. "Everything we use is according to international law," Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch said: "Israel should not use it in Gaza's densely populated areas."

source: Telegraph UK

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