( ... AND Emperor Nero Played the Fiddle, While Rome Burned)
"The evil only exists because the good remain silent."
President-Elect Obama Golfing in his Deafing Silence in Hawaii ....
Meanwhile in Gaza........
They were killed when their home was destroyed
in an Israeli missile-strike
- EGYPT Complicit in the Bombing of Gaza: As the Palestinian death toll approaches 400, much of popular anger throughout the Arab world has been directed at Egypt – seen by many as complicit in the Israeli campaign."Israel would not have hit Gaza like this without a green light from Egypt," Hamdi Hassan, MP for the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition movement, told IPS. "The Egyptian government allowed this assault on Gaza in hopes of finishing off Hamas." Read here for more
- United States President George W. Bush supports Israel's operation in Gaza. During the conversation, Bush backed Israel's demand that a ceasefire with Hamas take effect only after the rocket fire at Israeli communities end. Read here for more
- As the war in the Gaza Strip rages on, protests continue all across the world. In the United States alone, over 100 protests have already been organized against the attacks, from a small rally in Salt Lake City to much larger rallies along the east coast. Among the largest was in Dearborn, Michigan, where thousands of protesters braved freezing cold temperatures in a rally organized by the Congress of Arab-American Organizations. As has been the case since the war began, the real President-elect (Barack Obama) has remained silent on the situation. What was he doing today instead of commenting on the hundreds of people killed in the Gaza Strip? According to the Associated Press, he was getting his picture taken with a nine-month-old. Read here for more
- President-elect Obama conveniently remains silent on the current hostilities (for now) and has thus deferred to President Bush. Earlier this summer he endorsed Israel's right to defend itself against Qassam rockets by stating, "If someone were sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do anything to stop it." One wonders, however, if President elect Obama's principles of safety, dignity and self defense apply to Palestinians as well? Obama had no such words of comfort for 40 year old father,Anwar Balousha from Gaza. Balousha had to bury five of his daughters - Tahrir, 17, Ikram, 14, Samar, 13, Dina, 8, and Jawaher, 4 - after they were killed when their home was destroyed in an Israeli missile-strike on a nearby mosque.
- Obama was monitoring the situation "along with other global events", a spokesman said. Monitoring? It sounded like a line from the Bush school of loose linguistics, where "immediate" and "ceasefire" are coupled to be heard by one audience as an instinctive, human appeal to halt a brutal war, while the meaning conveyed to others is approval to press their attack. Read here for more
- By continuing to vocally defend Israel as the only advocate and partner of peace while perpetually blaming Palestinians as the sole aggressor, the United States recklessly obfuscates the reality of an Israeli blitzkrieg that repeatedly bombards a beleaguered Palestinian refugee population with an inordinately superior and sophisticated military might. Read here for more
- As Israel nails shut the coffin that is Gaza under a siege that has lasted nearly three years, steadily intensifying so that malnutrition rates rival those of sub-Saharan Africa, sewage runs raw in the streets and pollutes the ocean, homes are still being bulldozed to super-add collective punishment upon collective punishment; men, women and children are still being sniped at and killed; children are deafened by continuing sonic booms, the vast majority of them suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome, and many of that majority have no ambition other than becoming “martyrs,” Israel in mid-December denied entry to Richard Falk, UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on the occupied territories. It is Dr. Falk's responsibility to report to the UN on conditions in the occupied territories. Israel is blocking him from carrying out this job. He not only describes Israel’s atrocities in Gaza, but calls for immediate protective action “to offset the persisting and wide-ranging violations of the fundamental human right to life.” He also calls for an International Criminal Court investigation to “determine whether the Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders responsible for the Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law.” Many others, Jewish and not Jewish (including Israeli Jews ) have charged Israel with violations of international law and war crimes in Gaza. As Falk himself noted in his statement about Gaza to the UN, the Secretary General of the UN, the President of the General Assembly, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights have all condemned Israel for its monstrous siege. Christopher Hedges writes that Falk told him Israel’s siege has unleashed “an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe that each day poses the entire 1.5 million [population] Gazans to an unspeakable ordeal, to a struggle to survive . . . This is an increasingly precarious condition. A recent study reports that 46 per cent of all Gazan children suffer from acute anemia. There are reports that the sonic booms associated with Israeli overflights have caused widespread deafness, especially among children. Gazan children need thousands of hearing aids. Malnutrition is extremely high in a number of different dimensions and affects 75 per cent of Gazans. There are widespread mental disorders… Over 50 per cent of Gazan children under the age of 12 have been found to have no will to live." Read here for more
- Hamas missiles could reach Israel's nuclear facility at Dimona. Rocket attacks from Gaza have forced Israelis to flee in ever greater numbers and military chiefs have been shaken by the size and sophistication of the militant group’s arsenal. the rockets fired by Hamas in the current fighting have flown farther and been more accurate than weapons used by the group in the past, the officials said. Some have flown nearly two dozen miles, destroying buildings in the southern Israeli cities of Ashdod and Beersheba. Read here for more
" There is another reason why this attack has been allowed to occur:The complicity and silence of the international community.Israel cannot and would not act against the will of its economic allies in Europe or its military allies in the US.
Israel may be pulling the trigger ending hundreds, perhaps even thousands of lives this week, but it is the apathy of the world and the inhumane tolerance of Palestinian suffering which allows this to occur.
'The evil only exists because the good remain silent'
- Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi
Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative
29 December 2008
The Israeli campaign of 'death from above' began around 11 am, on Saturday morning, the 27th of December, and stretched straight through the night into this morning.
The massacre continues Sunday as I write these words.
The bloodiest single day in Palestine since the War of 1967 is far from over following on Israel's promised that this is 'only the beginning' of their campaign of state terror.
At least 290 people have been murdered thus far, but the body count continues to rise at a dramatic pace as more mutilated bodies are pulled from the rubble, previous victims succumb to their wounds and new casualties are created by the minute.
What has and is occurring is nothing short of a war crime, yet the Israeli public relations machine is in full-swing, churning out lies by the minute.
Once and for all it is time to expose the myths that they have created.
1. Israelis have claimed to have ended the occupation of the Gaza Strip in 2005.
While Israel has indeed removed the settlements from the tiny coastal Strip, they have in no way ended the occupation. They remained in control of the borders, the airspace and the waterways of Gaza, and have carried out frequent raids and targeted assassinations since the disengagement.2. Israel claims that Hamas violated the cease-fire and pulled out of it unilaterally.
Furthermore, since 2006 Israel has imposed a comprehensive siege on the Strip.
For over two years, Gazans have lived on the edge of starvation and without the most basic necessities of human life, such as cooking or heating oil and basic medications.
This siege has already caused a humanitarian catastrophe which has only been exacerbated by the dramatic increase in Israeli military aggression.
Hamas indeed respected their side of the ceasefire, except on those occasions early on when Israel carried out major offensives in the West Bank.3. Israel claims to be pursuing peace with 'peaceful Palestinians'.
In the last two months, the ceasefire broke down with Israelis killing several Palestinians and resulting in the response of Hamas. In other words, Hamas has not carried out an unprovoked attack throughout the period of the cease-fire.
Israel, however, did not live up to any of its obligations of ending the siege and allowing vital humanitarian aid to resume in Gaza. Rather than the average of 450 trucks per day being allowed across the border, on the best days, only eighty have been allowed in - with the border remaining hermetically sealed 70% of the time.
Throughout the supposed 'cease-fire' Gazans have been forced to live like animals, with a total of 262 dying due to the inaccessibility of proper medical care.
Now after hundreds dead and counting, it is Israel who refuses to re-enter talks over a cease-fire. They are not intent on securing peace as they claim; it is more and more clear that they are seeking regime change - whatever the cost.
Before the on-going massacre in the Gaza Strip, and throughout the entirety of the Annapolis Peace Process, Israel has continued and even intensified its occupation of the West Bank. In 2008, settlement expansion increased by a factor of 38, a further 4,950 Palestinians were arrested - mostly from the West Bank, and checkpoints rose from 521 to 699.4. Israel is acting in self-defense.
Furthermore, since the onset of the peace talks, Israel has killed 546 Palestinians, among them 76 children. These gruesome statistics are set to rise dramatically now, but previous Israeli transgressions should not be forgotten amidst this most recent horror.
Only this morning, Israel shot and killed a young peaceful protester in the West Bank village of Nihlin, and has injured dozens more over the last few hours. It is certain that they will continue to employ deadly force at non-violent demonstrations and we expect a sizable body count in the West Bank as a result. If Israel is in fact pursuing peace with 'good Palestinians', who are they talking about?
It is difficult to claim self defense in a confrontation which they themselves have sparked, but they are doing it anyway. Self-defense is reactionary, while the actions of Israel over the last two days have been clearly premeditated.5. Israel claims to have struck military targets only.
Not only did the Israeli press widely report the ongoing public relations campaign being undertaken by Israel to prepare Israeli and international public opinion for the attack, but Israel has also reportedly tried to convince the Palestinians that an attack was not coming by briefly opening crossings and reporting future meetings on the topic.
They did so to insure that casualties would be maximized and that the citizens of Gaza would be unprepared for their impending slaughter.
It is also misleading to claim self-defense in a conflict with such an overwhelming asymmetry of power.
Israel is the largest military force in the region, and the fifth largest in the world.
Furthermore, they are the fourth largest exporter of arms and have a military industrial complex rivaling that of the United States.
In other words, Israel has always had a comprehensive monopoly over the use of force, and much like its super power ally, Israel uses war as an advertising showcase of its many instruments of death.
Even while image after image of dead and mutilated women and children flash across our televisions, Israel brazenly claims that their munitions expertly struck only military installations. We know this to be false as many other civilian sites have been hit by airstrikes including a hospital and mosque.6. Israel claims that it is attacking Hamas and not the Palestinian people.
In the most densely populated area on the planet, tons upon tons of explosives have been dropped. The first estimates of injured are in the thousands. Israel will claim that these are merely 'collateral damage' or accidental deaths. The sheer ridiculousness and inhumanity of such a claim should sicken the world community.
First and foremost, missiles do not differentiate people by their political affiliation; they simply kill everyone in their path. Israel knows this, and so do Palestinians. What Israel also knows, but is not saying public ally, is how much their recent actions will actually strengthen Hamas - whose message of resistance and revenge is being echoed by the angry and grieving.7. Israel claims that Palestinians are the source of violence.
The targets of the strike, police and not Hamas militants, give us some clue as to Israel's mistaken intention. They are hoping to create anarchy in the Strip by removing the pillar of law and order.
Let us be clear and unequivocal. The occupation of Palestine since the War of 1967 has been and remains the root of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.With these myths understood, let us ponder the real reasons behind these airstrikes; what we find may be even more disgusting than the act itself.
Violence can be ended with the occupation and the granting of Palestine's national and human rights. Hamas does not control the West Bank and yet we remain occupied, our rights violated and our children killed.
The leaders Israel are holding press conferences, dressed in black, with sleeves rolled up.
'It's time to fight', they say, 'but it won't be easy.'
To prove just how hard it is, Livni, Olmert and Barak did not even wear make-up to the press conference, and Barak has ended his presidential campaign to focus on the Gaza campaign. What heroes...what leaders...
We all know the truth: the suspension of the electioneering is exactly that - electioneering.
Like John McCain's suspension of his presidential campaign to return to Washington to 'deal with' the financial crisis, this act is little more than a publicity stunt.
The candidates have to appear 'tough enough to lead', and there is seemingly no better way of doing that than bathing in Palestinian blood.
'Look at me,' Livni says in her black suit and unkempt hair, 'I am a warrior. I am strong enough to pull the trigger. Don't you feel more confident about voting for me, now that you know I am as ruthless as Bibi Netanyahu?'
I do not know which is more disturbing, her and Barak, or the constituency they are trying to please.
In the end, this will in no way improve the security of the average Israeli; in fact it can be expected to get much worse in the coming days as the massacre could presumably provoke a new generation of suicide bombers.
It will not undermine Hamas either, and it will not result in the three fools, Barak, Livni and Olmert, looking 'tough'.
Their misguided political venture will likely blow up in their faces as did the brutally similar 2006 invasion of Lebanon.
In closing, there is another reason - beyond the internal politics of Israel - why this attack has been allowed to occur: the complicity and silence of the international community.
Israel cannot and would not act against the will of its economic allies in Europe or its military allies in the US. Israel may be pulling the trigger ending hundreds, perhaps even thousands of lives this week, but it is the apathy of the world and the inhumane tolerance of Palestinian suffering which allows this to occur.
'The evil only exists because the good remain silent'