It’s time for every person in the world who cares for human rights…

28 Dec

…to condemn the attacks on Gaza. This is Gaza. Note the scale.


Barack Obama, show yourself a statesman… Speak out.*

I will not add my analysis, which is not worth a bean, but rather an article posted in the US Jewish magazine Tikkun – very much an Obama-style outfit.


A Press Release from The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)

December 27, 2008

Let’s be crystal clear. Israel’s massive attacks on Gaza today have one overarching goal: conflict management. How to end rocket attacks on Israel from a besieged and starving Gaza without ending the impetus for those attacks, 41 years of increasingly oppressive Israeli Occupation without a hint that a sovereign and viable Palestinian state will ever emerge.

Indeed, the Occupation, in which Israel controls Gaza under a violent siege which violates fundamental human rights and international law, is not even mentioned in Israel’s PR campaign. Speaking to the international community, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni insists that no country would tolerate its citizens being attacked, a seemingly reasonable statement were it not for Israeli sanctions on Gaza supported by the US and Europe – sanctions that preceded the rocket fire on Israel – or the fact of Israeli Occupation in general. Solely focusing on the rocket attacks conceals the political policy that led to them: "The Hamas government in Gaza must be toppled," Livni has said repeatedly. "The means to do this must be military, economic and diplomatic."

The responsibility for the suffering both in Israel and Gaza rests squarely with successive Israeli governments, Labor, Likud and Kadima alike. Had there been a genuine political process (remember, the closure of Gaza began in 1989), Israelis and Palestinians could have been living together in peace and prosperity already for 20 years. After all, already in 1988 the PLO accepted the two-state solution in which a Palestinian state would arise on only 22% of historic Palestine, alongside the state of Israel on the other 78%. A truly generous offer.

In Israel, however, the effort is to hide its preference for control over peace. Framing its attacks as a response to rockets from Gaza, exploiting an immediate trigger to effectively conceal deeper political intentions and policies, does that. It also conceals Israeli violations of the cease-fire. The fact that the rocket attacks could have been avoided altogether through a genuine political process means that the people of southern Israel are being held hostage by their government as well. Their suffering, and the suffering of the people of Gaza and the rest of the Occupied Territories, must be placed squarely at the feet of the Israeli government.

Israel cannot expect security for its people and political normalcy as long as it occupies Palestinian lands and continues its attempt to impose its permanent rule over the Palestinians by military force. We call on the Israeli government to end its aggression immediately and enter into genuine political negotiations with a united Palestinian leadership. We call on the international community to end its sanctions on Gaza immediately in accordance with international law, initiate an effective political process to end the Israeli Occupation and bring about a just peace – which reflects the will of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions

And there I leave it.

Next day

* Realistically, there is not a lot Obama can do right now, though it will be interesting to see how his administration handles the situation from late January onwards. I leave the statement from that Israeli group for the record as evidence that the current Israeli government’s approach is not the only one that has been on offer.

Paul McGeough is informative on what game is really being played: All-out battle for political control.

AS GAZANS hunkered last night, with corpses scattering their living nightmare, there was little comfort to be taken from the fact that the war inflicted on them in the weekend had more to do with political strategy in Israel than with military tactics in Gaza.

The timing of the expiration of a six-month truce that had held shakily between Israel and the elected Hamas government in Gaza has proved doubly opportune for the Israeli political establishment.

First, the US president-elect, Barack Obama, is obliged to watch from the sidelines as Israel’s disgraced outgoing Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, uses the last days of the Bush presidency to have another shot at imposing their will on Gaza.

Second, public disquiet with the Olmert Government’s handling of Hamas in Gaza means that Olmert’s two coalition colleagues who have their eye on the national leadership need to show what they are made of…

On the other side, this story has its own disgusting charm as well: Egypt says Hamas not allowing wounded to leave Gaza.


Posted by on December 28, 2008 in Israel


3 responses to “It’s time for every person in the world who cares for human rights…

  1. Benjamin Solah

    January 1, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Interesting that Obama defended Israel and said he understands their need to ‘retaliate’ which isn’t that surprising considering he has Clinton in his administration who is staunchly pro-Israel

  2. Neil

    January 1, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    You’ll have noted that I am not exactly pro-Hamas either. Having worked at one time with Israelis and admiring many of them, I am very sad about what policy directions have prevailed there of course, but I am also not too impressed with much that Hamas as done, though I am aware of the side of Hamas we don’t hear so much about, not to mention the embarrassing fact they were democratically elected.

    I am also thoroughly sick of the disproportionate attention paid to this part of the world and its frustrating problems. There are plenty of even more horrible situations where just as many are suffering and dying.

    From your viewpoint, however, you might like to check Renegade Eye.

  3. Benjamin Solah

    January 2, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    It’s a kind of tricky situation when it comes to Hamas. I, and other socialists, take a position of uncritical and unconditional support. We understand their need to retaliate and more than that understand ordinary Palestinians support for them for fighting back, whilst noting that a lot of Hamas’ supporters probably don’t actually agree with the rest of their political program.

    But at the same time, we are critical of their politics and of course, like in Australia, look to the working class of the region for change.

    Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out.

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