Palestinians

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550 to 5!

Who is ahead? Who’s on first base? 550 people killed in Gaza versus 5 in Israel. Those poor Israelis!

The New York Times has an editorial, Incursion Into Gaza, this morning which many find sadly out of touch. I’ve been reading the comments and have selected two, the first from Valenciennes, France, the second from Chicago, Illinois, which capture my views better than I myself might express them.

Are you joking? How can you honestly report these opinions? Essentially, what I gather from this article is “Well, Israel has killed an obscenely disproportionate amount of people, but now it’s time to use caution. But only if Hamas rocket fire stops.”

Why does no one speak of the cause for this rocket fire? Namely, the humanitarian crisis imposed on Gaza by the Israeli blockade. Food shortage. Mass unemployment. Blame Hamas, blame Palestine, but facts are facts. People are starving. Children are starving. There’s sewage in the streets. And now people and children are dying by the hundreds. Hospitals don’t have NEARLY the capacity or the medicine. And even if they did, there’s no electricity or running water.

That’s not to say that I support Hamas’s rocket fire. I think it’s counterproductive, stupid, and wrong, and it should be stopped.

We often hear about Israelis in Sderot developing trauma related disorders. A few days ago I heard a story about a young Palestinian boy, 14 years old, in the Gaza strip. He died of shock. Had a heart attack. A 14 year old boy.

Please, NY times, please reconsider

— Ed Caddell, Valenciennes, France


The Times has waited for several days before sharing its “wisdom” on Israel’s invasion of Gaza, and out popped a mouse. It would have been better not to say anything.

First, what is an “incursion”? Israel has invaded Gaza, and even the Times is forced to admit the gross disparity in death (550 Palestinians and 5 Israelis), although it mentions not the destruction, wounded, threats to public health, etc, to the Palestinians. Nor does it mention ambulances being destroyed, medical personnel being killed, assassinations, etc., all by the Israelis. Where I come from, that’s called “terrorism.”

Where is the demand that Israel cease and withdraw immediately–and more importantly, where it the demand that the United States cut off all funding to Israel? As long as the US gives a blank check to the Israelis, no possible just solution can emerge.

This is not to say Hamas have been saints. Rocketing Israeli civilians is not acceptable. Period.

But let’s recognize that Hamas is an Israeli invention, initially intended to undercut the sectarian PLO. Oops. And when Hamas competed in democratic elections, Israel and the United States rejected the outcome–we didn’t like the outcome.

Israel has created the world’s largest prison, and just cannot understand why human beings wouldn’t like being forced to live in those conditions.

Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians has failed for 60 years–or more. It’s clear that more repression will not work.

Israelis won’t be safe until the Palestinians are safe. The Palestinians won’t be safe until they have true equality with the Israelis; where the Israelis don’t have power over the Palestinians.

Any “solution” that does not address the extreme power differential is a joke, whether by the Bush Administration of the new Obama Administration. And only hinders a real solution that is just for both sides.

But the Times’ complicity in covering up the atrocities, and blaming Hamas for ordering those Israeli tanks and aircraft to attack, is beyond despicable.

— Kim Scipes, Chicago

Well, maybe Obama can get them all to sit down in a room together and talk, talk, talk, until a solution is reached, and then talk, talk, talk some more until the solution is refined and peace is achieved. Simple? Take a century? Maybe.

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Juan Cole tells it the way it is. Here’s his last paragraph:

The Israelis on Saturday killed 5% of all the Palestinians they have killed since the beginning of 2001! 230 people were slaughtered in a day, over 70 of them innocent civilians. In contrast, from the ceasefire Hamas announced in June, 2008 until Saturday, no Israelis had been killed by Hamas. The infliction of this sort of death toll is known in the law of war as a disproportionate response, and it is a war crime.

UPDATE: I keep hearing in our MSM that Hamas must stop its rocket attacks on Israel. It’s interesting that the first Israeli killed by a rocket from Hamas since the June ceasefire was killed after the Israeli’s launched their attack on Saturday. Now Hamas is launching mortars and rockets towards the Israeli towns. This is happening in response to the Israeli attacks, not the other way around. The only Democrat who is pointing this out is, of course, Denis Kucinich.

A Little Background: A disaster was waiting to happen, and no-one was doing much about it. There was of course a date for the end of the ceasefire – December 19th. As that date approached both sides sought to improve their relative positions, to test some new rules of the game. Israel conducted a military operation on November 4th (yes, you had other things on your mind that day), apparently to destroy a tunnel from which an attack on Israel could be launched, Hamas responded with rocket-fire on southern Israeli towns. That initiated a period of intense Israeli-Hamas dialogue, albeit an untraditional one, largely conducted via mutual military jabs, occasional public messaging and back-channels. Again though the main reliance was on Egypt – by now in an intense struggle of its own with Hamas. When Hamas pushed the envelop with over 60 rockets on a single day (December 24th), albeit causing no serious injuries and mostly landing in open fields (probably by design), Israel decided that it was time for an escalation. That happened today [Dec. 27] – on a massive scale – with an unprecedented death toll.

Robert Fisk

Here’s a cell phone video:

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