By Michael Collins Piper
THE POWERFUL JEWISH LOBBY in Washington is already issuing marching orders to President-elect Barack Obama.
One of the most influential voices of the lobby has published an array of “working papers” designed to tell the president how he must maintain the “special relationship” between the United States and Israel, increase pressure on a variety of Arab and Muslim states that are perceived as dangers to Israel, and generally assure that Israel’s interests will always be first and foremost in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy, not only in the Middle East but around the globe.
The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), a particularly vocal force in the Jewish lobby, published an entire edition of its Journal of International Security Affairs (dated fall 2008), sending the official word to Obama.
JINSA was founded by one Stephen Bryen who—along with a host of other well known names connected to JINSA—was once investigated by the FBI on charges of espionage for Israel.
A variety of articles in the journal addressing “Middle East Policy and the Next President” and “Iran, Iraq and Beyond,” make it clear that JINSA—best known as a nest of the infamous “neo-conservatives” who misdirected U.S. foreign policy during the outgoing Bush administration, sparking the war in Iraq and continuing to clamor for action against Iran—wants Obama to pursue Bush-style policies.
AIPAC is particularly obsessed with using U.S. military and economic power to force Arab and Muslim nations to “reform” from within. Talk of “democracy” flows freely within AIPAC’s assorted essays, demanding that Israel’s neighbors conform to the Western version of democracy.
But when the Palestinian people voted the Hamas movement into power in the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza strip, AIPAC and other elements in the Jewish lobby immediately began calling for the United States to reject that freely elected government.
Now, of course, Hamas is largely only in control of the beleaguered Gaza—which many refer to as “ghetto”— and the Palestinian statehood movement has been eviscerated, at least for now. This makes AIPAC and the lobby for Israel quite happy, for Israel has long encouraged U.S. policies—and helped create conditions—that have the effect of “divide and conquer” in the Arab and Muslim world.
Israel is not like any other nation in the world, in that it seems to thrive best (and enjoys the benefits of) having its neighbors quarreling among themselves and rent within. Other nations prefer neighbors that are peaceful and internally secure. Israel wants its neighbors in chaos, because this prevents them from waging war against Israel, either individually or united.
And although in the wake of the debacle in Iraq, which led many Israelis and their allies in the United States to suddenly proclaim that the Iraq war should never have been waged, the fact is that Israel and its U.S.-based agents-in-place were the prime movers behind that war and it was Israeli intelligence that was providing what critics now recognize was the “bad intelligence” that led the Bush administration to “mistakenly” conclude that Iraq was working toward an assembly of nuclear weapons to rival that of Israel.
The Israelis and their American spokesmen evidently now believe that if they tell the “big lie” often enough—the lie that Israel’s interests played no part in orchestrating the debacle in Iraq—that it will make Americans forget that Israel was the foremost advocate of the war in the first place.
However, the evisceration of Iraq by the United States is part and parcel of a long-standing Israeli national security policy aimed toward “balkanizing” the Muslim world.
Yet, AIPAC, in its journal, is now working to perpetuate the myth of Iraqi nuclear weapons and suggesting that Iraq’s weapons were transported into Syria, another nation which has been on the “wish list for war” of Israel and its lobby in America. And AIPAC makes it clear that the destruction of Iran’s nuclear development program is a “must.”
AIPAC is not the only Israeli lobby unit sending the message to the new president. Commentary magazine, long affiliated with the American Jewish Committee, has—in recent issues—been trumpeting a similar bellicose refrain directed at Obama.
The editorial director of the Jewish lobby journal is John Podhoretz, a longtime close personal and political associate of the ubiquitous William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard magazine, which is the most infamous voice of the neo-conservative, hard-line pro-Israel elements operating in the media, in the think tanks, and in official policy making and national security and intelligence circles in Washington.
Their fathers, Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz, are two of the founding fathers of the neoconservative network, both Trotskyite Marxists who announced their “conversion” to conservatism during the latter days of the Cold War, banging the drum for intensified U.S. support for Israel.
A complete overview of the neo-conservative power structure and its rather bizarre origins in the days when American Jewish communists like Kristol and Podhoretz turned on the Soviet Union when then- Soviet chief Josef Stalin began moving against Jewish and Zionist elements inside Russia can be found in The High Priests of War and The Judas Goats, two works by this author.
Whether President Obama intends real change, as he promised, or whether he will advance the Israeli agenda (which saw its power expand exponentially in the Republican administration of George W. Bush) remains to be seen. But “the lobby” is making its voice heard and Obama knows that he better not ignore it.
Thus Sprach Barack: Pouring Acid on Gaza's Wounds
by Chris Floyd
Yesterday, we wrote of our eager anticipation of Barack Obama's long-suppressed opinion on the mass slaughter in Gaza. As we all know, the most eloquent, forthright and morally concerned orator of the age kept a demure silence on this subject for weeks, because, he said, "we have only one president at a time," who alone should speak about foreign policy.
Of course, that didn't keep the morally concerned orator from speaking freely on almost every other aspect of foreign policy -- Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, etc.
But consistency, as they say, is the hobgoblin of small minds, and the brain of the new president -- who has set the world aflame with rhetoric that has never been heard in Washington before, soaring phrases of penetrating uniqueness about freedom, hope, peace, and the enduring greatness of the American people -- is famously large.
Anyway, we have waited, and at last Obama has spoken. Here's what he had to say today, while welcoming Hillary Clinton to the State Department and appointing Establishment grandee George Mitchell as his special envoy to the Middle East:
Let me be clear: America is committed to Israel's security. And we will always support Israel's right to defend itself against legitimate threats. For years, Hamas has launched thousands of rockets at innocent Israeli citizens. No democracy can tolerate such danger to its people, nor should the international community, and neither should the Palestinian people themselves, whose interests are only set back by acts of terror.There you have it. The invasion of Gaza -- which began after Israel broke the ceasefire, launched provocative and deadly raids inside Gaza, and had also tightened its death-grip blockade to a level quite legitimately comparable to the Warsaw Ghetto -- was actually the fault of (wait for it, wait for it).... the Palestinians. Thus sprach Barack.
To be a genuine party to peace, the quartet has made it clear that Hamas must meet clear conditions: recognize Israel's right to exist; renounce violence; and abide by past agreements. Going forward, the outline for a durable cease-fire is clear: Hamas must end its rocket fire; Israel will complete the withdrawal of its forces from Gaza; the United States and our partners will support a credible anti-smuggling and interdiction regime, so that Hamas cannot rearm.
Yesterday I spoke to President Mubarak and expressed my appreciation for the important role that Egypt played in achieving a cease-fire. And we look forward to Egypt's continued leadership and partnership in laying a foundation for a broader peace through a commitment to end smuggling from within its borders."
But do let's be fair. The new president also feels the pain of the Palestinians in Gaza. He feels it so much that he is going to ensure that any reconstruction in Gaza is controlled by the kleptocracy known as the Palestinian Authority -- the same faction that tried -- with American and Israeli backing -- to overthrow the legitimate, democratically elected government of Palestine, instigating a vicious civil war that, lo and behold, left Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation weak and splintered. Now hear the words of the Compassionate One:
Now, just as the terror of rocket fire aimed at innocent Israelis is intolerable, so, too, is a future without hope for the Palestinians. I was deeply concerned by the loss of Palestinian and Israeli life in recent days and by the substantial suffering and humanitarian needs in Gaza. Our hearts go out to Palestinian civilians who are in need of immediate food, clean water, and basic medical care, and who've faced suffocating poverty for far too long.At every point, the control of the "Palestinian Authority" -- which means, of course, the Israeli government -- is stressed. Even Obama's dramatic call to open the crossings that Israel has imposed on the open-air prison of Gaza, where many thousands of people have been living in refugee camps for 60 years, and where the entire 1.5 million-strong population is kept stateless and imprisoned, is carefully hedged: the crossings will require "an appropriate monitoring regime" -- i.e., the same regime that has been monitoring the crossings for years on end: the Israeli government. Of course, the PA -- the former insurgent group that has turned itself into the Judenrat of the occupation, doing the Israeli government's dirty work for them -- is to be cut in on the action, along with unspecified "international participation." Of course, the recent deadly attack on UN buildings in Gaza has given us yet another in a long string of demonstrations of how Israel treats "international participation" within its domains and targeted territories.
Now we must extend a hand of opportunity to those who seek peace. As part of a lasting cease-fire, Gaza's border crossings should be open to allow the flow of aid and commerce, with an appropriate monitoring regime, with the international and Palestinian Authority participating.
Relief efforts must be able to reach innocent Palestinians who depend on them. The United States will fully support an international donor's conference to seek short-term humanitarian assistance and long-term reconstruction for the Palestinian economy. This assistance will be provided to and guided by the Palestinian Authority.
Now we can see why Obama kept silent on Gaza while Bush was still in the White House: because he held precisely the same views as Bush on the subject. There is nothing in Obama's statement that could not have been said -- or was not actually said -- by Bush. You couldn't slide a piece of onion-skin paper between the stances of the two men on Gaza.
Meanwhile, Professor As'ad AbuKhalil, the "Angry Arab," takes an equally dim view of today's developments:
Well, it took two longs days before Obama dispelled any notions of a change in US Middle East policy. For some reasons, many Arabs and many American leftists I know (you know yourselves) have wanted to believe so bad that Obama will deviate from the Zionist path of US foreign policy. I knew that it would be a matter of weeks that he would prove me right, but I did not know that he would prove me right in a matter of hours. His speech on the Middle East today could have easily been written by Benjamin Netanyahu....AbuKhalil also points us to this analysis of Obama's chosen partner in Middle East peace, the man who was in fact the first foreign leader the new president called upon taking office: Palestinian "president" Mahmoud Abbas. (The quote are required because Abbas' term has actually ended, but he is still somehow president of a rump Palestinian Authority.) From The National:
Obama's speech was quite something. It was like sprinkling sulfuric acid on the wounds of the children in Gaza--those who survived the Israeli terrorist festival of butchery and massacres. His remarks leave you with the impression that there are two sets of problems in the holy land: that there was terrorism against civilians in "southern Israel" and then there is some undefined civilian suffering in Gaza from some undefined natural disaster--an earthquake or hurricane.... He then followed the Zionist line that all aid should pass through the transparent gangs in Ramallah--but that is important because Fatah has a very long record of integrity, transparency, merit, and high ethical standards--along with collaboration with Israel.
The reasons for Abbas’s demise are few, and they predate the Israeli attack on Gaza: he long ago placed all of his eggs in the Israeli-American basket. Acting as if his chickens had already hatched, his inability to deliver any tangible achievement has instead meant they came home to roost with a vengeance.This then is the broken reed upon which Obama proposes to build "a lasting peace in the Middle East." An unconstitutional, totally compromised puppet leader rejected by his people, whom he disdains.
Key to this is Abbas’s relationship to his people: simply put, it never existed. Arafat saw the Palestinians as the ace in the deck to be played when all else failed, and understood that his leverage with outside actors derived from their conviction that he represented the Palestinian people. If he consistently failed or refused to properly mobilise this primary resource, he at least always held it in reserve.
Abbas has by contrast been an inveterate elitist, who seems to have regarded the Palestinian population as an obstacle to be overcome so that the game of nations could proceed – there are after all only so many seats at the table where great statesmen like George Bush and Ehud Olmert together create the contours of a new Middle East....
Cursed with exceptional self-regard, Abbas has always shown disinterest in the opinions of others. From the moment he convinced himself of the sincerity of Bush’s visions, which put the onus on the Palestinians to prove they qualify for membership in the human race and are worthy of being spoken to by Tsipi Livni and Condoleezza Rice, there was no turning back. Henceforth the Palestinian security forces would point their weapons exclusively at their own people, and only Saeb Erakat would be aimed at Israel. At the United Nations, once a primary arena for the Palestinian struggle, Abbas’s emissary Riad Mansour was too busy drafting a resolution declaring Hamas a terrorist entity to deal with more trivial Palestinian concerns. It was simply impossible to steer Abbas towards a change of course, let alone a national dialogue that could produce a genuine strategy.
By the expiration of his presidency on January 9, his constitutional status had become the least of his problems. Each and every one of his policies had failed. In the West Bank, settlement expansion was proceeding at an unprecedented pace while the Wall neared final completion, rendering talk of a two-state settlement all but moot.
After Hamas triumphed in the 2006 parliamentary elections, Abbas’s ceaseless scheming to remove the Islamists from office and overturn the election’s results – characteristically in active partnership with outside forces rather than the Palestinian electorate – was a veritable carnival of folly and incompetence. When Hamas acted first in 2007, it took the Islamists only several days to dispose of those few forces still prepared to fight for Mohammed Dahlan [the PA's ruthless "security" enforcer and much-beloved Washington favorite].
What, wasn't Ahmad Chalabi available?
Thursday, January 29, 2009
By Michael Collins Piper
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Read here for more on The Guardian (UK) and here and here and here
CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY
SUPPORTED BY THE UNITED STATES
While Palestinian Children are being Massacred by US taxpayer-funded Israeli war-planes, Obama is Enjoying Golf in Hawaii
The United States late Saturday BLOCKED approval of a UN Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas and expressing serious concern at the escalation of violence following Israel’s ground attack in Gaza, council diplomats said.
The UN protested at a "complete absence of accountability" for the escalating number of civilian deaths in Gaza, saying "the rule of the gun" had taken over.
Obama Gagged by the Powerful Israeli-Jewish Lobby Groups and Staff Within his Transition Team
(Note: Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Israel Emanuel, is an Israeli and holds a dual citizenship) -read here and here for more
THE refusal of the US president-elect, Barack Obama, to comment on the Gaza conflict had disappointed Arab leaders, the Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister, Riyad al-Maliki, said yesterday. Mr Maliki said that Mr Obama's silence on Gaza contrasted with his willingness to comment on the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last November.
Israel rejects stationing of international monitors at border crossing as also any international force in the area.
UN General Assembly chief Miguel d'Escoto has criticized the Security Council for its inability to curb Israel's "monstrosity" in Gaza. D'escoto criticized the UN Security Council for not showing enough tenacity in ending Gazans suffering in the wake of the weeklong Israeli offensive in the coastal strip.
Doctors in Gaza said more than 40 people died, including children, in what appears to be the biggest single loss of life of the campaign when Israeli bombs hit al-Fakhora school, in Jabaliya refugee camp, while it was packed with hundreds of people who had fled the fighting.
Most of those killed were in the school playground and in the street, and the dead and injured lay in pools of blood. Pictures on Palestinian TV showed walls heavily marked by shrapnel and bloodstains, and shoes and shredded clothes scattered on the ground. Windows were blown out.
Hours before, three young men who were cousins died when the Israelis bombed Asma elementary school in Gaza City. They were among 400 people who had sought shelter there after fleeing their homes in Beit Lahiya, in northern Gaza.
Abed Sultan, 20, a student, and his cousins, Rawhi and Hussein Sultan, labourers aged 22, died.
Abed Sultan's father, Samir, said the bodies were so mangled that he could not tell his son from the cousins. "We came to the school when the Israelis warned us to leave," he said. "We hoped it would be safe. We were 20 in one room. We had no electricity, no blankets, no food. Suddenly we heard a bomb that shook the school. Windows smashed. Children started to scream. A relative came and told me one of my sons was killed. I found my son's body with his two cousins. They were cut into pieces by the shell."
The UN was particularly incensed over targeting of the schools, because Israeli forces knew they were packed with families as they had ordered them to get out of their homes with leaflet drops and loudspeakers. It said it had identified the schools as refugee centres to the Israeli military and provided GPS coordinates.
Israel accused Hamas of using civilians as cover, and said the Islamist group could stop the assault on Gaza by ending its rocket attacks on Israel.
The Palestinian authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, last night delivered an impassioned plea to the UN security council to act immediately to stop the Israeli operation, which he described as a "catastrophe" for his people. Israel has agreed a "humanitarian corridor" to allow Palestinians to get essential goods.
The rising casualty toll, more than 640 Palestinians killed since the assault began 12 days ago, gave fresh impetus to diplomatic efforts. The White House offered its first hint of concern at Israel's actions by calling on it to avoid civilian deaths. The president-elect, Barack Obama, broke his silence by saying he was "deeply concerned" about civilian casualties on both sides. He said he would have "plenty to say" about the crisis after his swearing in.
Gordon Brown said the Middle East was facing its "darkest moment yet" but hoped a ceasefire could be arranged soon.
The head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency, John Ging, said three shells landed at the perimeter of the school. "It was entirely inevitable if artillery shells landed in that area there would be a high number of casualties," he said.
He said UN staff vetted those Palestinians who sought shelter at the school. "So far we've NOT had violations by militants of our facilities," he said, though responding to questions he accepted there had been clashes between Hamas and the Israeli army in the area.
Earlier in the day, Ging visited Gaza's hospital and was shocked at the scale of civilian casualties. "What you have in this hospital is the consequences of political failure and the complete absence of any accountability for actions that are being taken. It's the rule of the gun now, and it has to stop," he said.
At least 12 of one family, seven children aged from one to 12, three women and two men, were killed in an air strike on their house in Gaza City. Nine others were believed trapped.
Rejecting Israeli claims there is no humanitarian crisis, Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), asserted, "The idea there is not a humanitarian crisis is absurd . . . it is appalling for anyone to say there is not."
UNRWA closed 20 health centres, although its staff are doing their best to aid the injured. UNRWA and the World Food Programme have suspended ration distribution, leaving 1.1 million people without basic foodstuffs. Mr Gunness criticised the Security Council for not adopting a ceasefire resolution. "Innocent people in Gaza have suffered enough."
Friday, January 02, 2009
"The evil only exists because the good remain silent."
President-Elect Obama Golfing in his Deafing Silence in Hawaii ....
Meanwhile in Gaza
- 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? If Obama and President Bush's daughters were forced to suspend their emergency hospital operations due to fuel shortages, beg for 300 essential medicines, drink contaminated water that causes malnutrition and anemia in children, eat bread made of animal feed, and renounce electricity because their main power plant was forced to shut down, what would they do? 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
QUOTE: "..There is another reason why this attack has beenallowed 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.
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.2. Israel claims that Hamas violated the cease-fire and pulled out of it unilaterally.
Hamas indeed respected their side of the ceasefire, except on those occasions early on when Israel carried out major offensives in the West Bank.
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.3. Israel claims to be pursuing peace with 'peaceful Palestinians'.
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.
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?4. Israel is acting in self-defense.
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.
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.5. Israel claims to have struck military targets only.
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.
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.6. Israel claims that it is attacking Hamas and not the Palestinian people.
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.
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.7. Israel claims that Palestinians are the source of violence.
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.
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.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.
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'