Many people around the world, especially Arabs, have been looking to the Obama administration, hoping that his call for change will extend to fairness for Palestinians. They might as well hope for rain in the middle of the Arabian Desert in July, notes Paul J. Balles.
The United Nations says some 50,800 Palestinians are now homeless and 400,000 are without running water.
Israel, in a disgustingly conciliatory mood, says it will allow 143 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid into Gaza, plus 60,000 litres of fuel. Disgustingly conciliatory because they kept aid from getting to the needy long before the latest conflict and all during it. Instead of starving Gaza into submission, Israel decided to slaughter as many as their US-supplied sophisticated armaments could manage.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports 1,314 Palestinians were killed during the conflict, including more than 400 children. More than 5,000 people were injured, nearly 2,000 of them children. All of 13 Israelis were killed in what Israel consistently calls self-defence. Nine of those were military, four of whom were killed by friendly fire. When Israel called a ceasefire on Saturday [17 January], it brazenly announced it had met its war aims.
Hamas declared a "great victory" over Israel when it announced its own truce. Was that Israel’s aim? Or did it include the disappearance of entire neighbourhoods as reported by BBC's Christian Fraser?
"Isn't it Time for a War Crimes Tribunal?" headlines Robert Fisk, adding: It's a wrap, a doddle, an Israeli ceasefire just in time for Barack Obama to have a squeaky-clean inauguration with all the world looking at the streets of Washington rather than the rubble of Gaza."
Fisk also points out "history was quite forgotten. The Hamas rockets were the result of the food and fuel siege; Israel broke Hamas's own truce on 4 and 17 November 2008. Forgotten is the fact Hamas won the 2006 elections, although Israel has killed a clutch of the victors."
Since September 2005, Gaza has been nothing but a refugee camp. Israel simply transferred the Israeli settlers who had been in Gaza to the West Bank. This expanded the Israeli occupation and left the Palestinians isolated in Bantustans.
It's obvious simply from their behaviour that the Israelis want to have Egypt annex and take over the responsibility for controlling Gaza. At the same time, they want to force an exodus of West Bank Palestinians to Jordan. Noam Chomsky has noted: "… Gaza should be turned into a cage, a prison basically, with Israel attacking it at will, and meanwhile in the West Bank we'll take what we want. There was nothing secret about it."
Chomsky supported his conclusion by referring to a speech by Ehud Olmert in May 2006: "He simply announced to a joint session of Congress and to rousing applause, that the historic right of Jews to the entire land of Israel is beyond question."
How will the Israelis accomplish the ethnic cleansing of Palestine? Chomsky, again, is quite clear: "... they have sufficient military control over the West Bank to terrorize the population into passivity."
Meanwhile, the West and the corrupt minions among Palestinians, like Mahmoud Abbas, talk of ridiculous ideals of a two-state solution. Salah Bardaweel, spokesman for Hamas, reports that “Abbas, the acting Palestinian Authority chief, played a key role in the war and in assassinating Hamas's senior political leaders, through his spies in the coastal strip”.
Despite its propaganda, Israel has never made a serious effort to negotiate toward a Palestinian state. When Israel speaks about Hamas using its ceasefires to rearm itself with its ineffective rockets through tunnels to Egypt, it is projecting. It is Israel which has been stalling serious negotiations in order to further terrorize the Palestinians.
"The only thing Israel has proved it can do militarily better than anyone else," writes Yvonne Ridley, "is kill innocent women and children. And in its genocidal drive to wipe the Palestinian people from existence it has dealt itself a fatal blow."
Chris Hedges reminds the US that the Palestinian reaction to Israeli occupation should be familiar to Israelis:
Tzipi Livni, Israel’s foreign minister, says that the Israeli government will have no dealings with Hamas terrorists. But Tzipi Livni’s father was Eitan Livni, the chief operations officer of the terrorist Irgun Zvai Leumi, which fought against the British occupation of Palestine. The underground Jewish group set off a massive bomb in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, a blast in which 91 victims were killed, including four Jews. These Jewish terrorists hanged two British sergeants and booby-trapped their corpses. Irgun, together with the terrorist Stern gang, massacred 254 Palestinians in 1948 in the village of Deir Yassin. Tell me the moral difference between Irgun Zvai Leumi, the Stern gang and Hamas. I fail to see one.
It’s not enough that Israel has become the best-armed and largest gang of terrorist thugs in the world. Anyone aware of what happened in the UN with a ceasefire proposal to be voted on must have realized that Israel controls America when Olmert had Bush call off a vote by the US, which drafted the proposal.
Why? “I [Olmert] spoke with him [Bush]; I told him: You can't vote for this proposal. He said: listen, I don't know, I didn't see, don't know what it says. I told him: I know, and you can't vote for it! He then instructed the secretary of state, and she did not vote for it."
Writing in Counterpunch, Brian Cloughley says: "The worst of all the barbarians who are killing children and their mothers and fathers in Gaza are the Israeli pilots who mercilessly bomb houses occupied by terrified families. And they are staunchly supported by the House of Representatives of the United States of America." The US Senate has also supported the savagery. Cloughley adds:
These pilots, these vile little war-gamers of the skies, these latter-day examples of what Tom Wolfe called “The Right Stuff”, can zoom over towns full of traumatized children and happily heave and hurl their bombs and rockets to kill yet more Palestinian kids without the remotest chance of being shot down. How heroic; how truly gladiatorial. How contemptible.
Amnesty International has accused Israel of war crimes, saying its use of white phosphorus in Gaza was indiscriminate and illegal. When a young burn victim in Vietnam was photographed running down a road in flame, Americans protested vigorously. When Israel burns Gaza’s children with phosphorous, the media ignores it.
Obama's unbridled support for Israel doesn't bode well. He's been doing everything he can to play both sides of the political spectrum, and the political spectrum in the US is all one-sided when it comes to Israel. The secretary of state is as mesmerized by Israel as is the US Congress and the administration.
“During the July 2006 Lebanon war, Barack Obama stood up strongly for Israel's right to defend itself from Hezbollah raids and rocket attacks,” reports the new White House website. Barack Obama and Joe Biden have consistently supported foreign assistance to Israel,” concludes the entry.
They defend and support the annual foreign aid package that involves both military and economic assistance to Israel and have advocated increased foreign aid budgets to ensure that these funding priorities are met. They have called for continuing US cooperation with Israel in the development of missile defence systems.
It will be interesting to see how long it will take Americans suffering as a result of the financial crisis to object to the continuing Israeli bailout. Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel will surely come under scrutiny as unnecessary financial diversions from needed benefits to Americans.
Many people around the world, especially Arabs, have been looking to the Obama administration, hoping that his call for change will extend to fairness for Palestinians. They might as well hope for rain in the middle of the Arabian Desert in July.
Alternatively, visit the White House website and respond to the new administration’s invitation to comment, claiming that “President Obama is committed to creating the most open and accessible administration in American history”. The address is http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact. Let them know that you know that Israel is not the innocent victim that the propaganda makes it out to be.--MORE--"