Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Desk
31 July, 2014
Recruiting To Kill: It Is Not Just an Israeli War on Gaza
By Ramzy Baroud
Eight Hundred Dead Palestinians: But Israel Has Impunity
By Robert Fisk
Gaza: A Little Context
By Gwynne Dyer
Israeli Crimes - Getting Away With It for Over 60 Years
By Chris Doyle
Egypt And Palestine: Who Is Defending Who?
By Dr. Fahmy Howeidy
Method to the Gaza Madness
By S M Hali
Will 'Lawfare' Define The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict?
By Charles J. Dunlap, Jr.
A War To Market The Iron Dome
By Samer Jaber
Israeli Lies Exposed
By Bikram Vohra
Sinister Israeli Rabbis and Blind Western Eyes
By Neil Berry
The Israel-Palestine War
By Abdur Rahman Chowdhury
A Purely "Palestinian' State Beforehand
By Emre Gönen
Recruiting To Kill: It Is Not Just an Israeli War on Gaza
By Ramzy Baroud
30 July 2014
To some, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry may have appeared to be a genuine peacemaker as he floated around ideas during a Cairo visit on July 25 about a cease-fire between Israel and resisting Palestinian fighters in Gaza. But behind his measured diplomatic language, there is a truth not even America’s top diplomat can easily hide. His country is very much involved in fighting this dirty war on Gaza that has killed over 1,050, injured thousands more, and destroyed much of an already poor, dilapidated space that is barely inhabitable to begin with.
U.S. economic and military aid to Israel is measured annually in the billions, and the U.S. government continues to be Israel’s strongest and most ardent ally and political benefactor.
In fact, the U.S.-Israel “special relationship” is getting more “special” by the day even though Israel is sinking further into the abyss of a well-deserved isolation.
True, there are some, even in the justice for Palestinians camp, who oddly speak of how exceptional and fair the Barack Obama administration has been in comparison to its predecessors. However, they neglect the fact that aside from a few particularly strong-worded statements, Obama has been a dedicated stalwart on behalf of Israel and its security by going as far as defending Israel’s ‘Operation Protective Edge’ war — the slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians in Gaza.
But America’s support for Israel is crossing new red lines. There are reportedly over 1,000 U.S. citizens fighting in the Israeli Army according to reports that are now resurfacing due to the recent killing of two U.S.-Israeli soldiers — Max Steinberg, 24, of California, and Nissim Sean Carmeli, 21, of Texas.
Like the rest of the IDF soldiers killed in recent fighting, they were killed while invading parts of the besieged Gaza Strip. But the number must be an understatement since some of Israel’s most ardent Jewish settlers are also American, and happen to be armed and dangerous. Although this is causing a bit of a media buzz, there is no political crisis. Instead, only condolences are offered to the families of the Americans fighting the genocidal war on Gaza.
The U.S. is not alone in this. European governments display an incredible amount of hypocrisy as they continue to utilize doublespeak in their approach to Middle East conflicts in general, and the situation in Palestine in particular. The pressure mounting from European civil society makes it a bit more challenging for EU governments to endow Israel with the same unconditional love and support as that bestowed upon it by the U.S.
EU hypocrisy is too palpable even for clever politicians to hide. The British government is shamelessly on the Israeli side, even while entire families in Gaza are being pulverized by Western weapons and military technology. Meanwhile, the French government imposed a ban to prevent French society from showing its solidarity with the besieged and massacred Palestinians in Gaza.
But why ban mere demonstrations of solidarity while France, the U.S. and other Western governments are allowing their Jewish citizens to be enlisted in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) which is actively killing Palestinian civilians? Shouldn’t that be a much greater concern to the duplicitous French government than some protesters chanting slogans during a solidarity rally that may or may not be deemed anti-Semitic?
Indeed, not only are Western governments providing Israel with arms, funds and political cover to sustain its occupation and war, but it is also contributing thousands of military experts and boots on the ground in order to fight a war in Gaza where war crimes and crimes against humanity are being committed on an hourly basis.
Consider this: While British citizens fighting against the Syrian government of Bashar Assad are being detained and persecuted, British citizens who are fighting for Israel are not. The British government is turning a blind eye to what should be considered a criminal act.
Western hypocrisy on this is as profound as the phenomenon of Westerners killing Palestinians, which some are now calling ‘Israeli Jihadists.’
Belgium also stands accused of allowing such criminality. Although Belgian civil society is one of Palestine’s strongest supporters, their government is cloaked with unmistakable dishonesty. Many Belgian citizens are also taking part in Israel’s lethal wars in Gaza and military occupation of the occupied territory, with little or no protest from their government. The recruitment of Belgians is mostly done through the same organizations that recruited thousands of foreign fighters for the IDF. Think of them as terrorist headhunting organizations that operate in a perfectly legal environment.
Recently, Mayor of Antwerp, Bart De Wever, called on the Belgian government to cancel dual citizenship of ‘Syria jihadis.’ His call was made during a recent visit to a synagogue in Brussels after four people were shot by an alleged French-born citizen suspected of having spent time fighting in Syria. The country’s Minister of Justice Annemie Turtelboom took the initiative further by calling on EU countries to block "jihadists" from going to Syria, suggesting the creation of a list of all known “Syria jihadists.”
But what about the Belgians that are fighting, killing and committing war crimes on behalf of Israel? Why is the Belgian government keeping silent regarding those accused war criminals in the Israeli Army, with no statement yet issued, even after the killing of Belgian citizen Eytan Barak?
The same questions apply to other Western governments. The hyper-sensitive French government turned a blind eye when a French citizen was killed during the Gaza onslaught. While the Israeli daily Haaretz reported on the killing of staff Sgt. Jordan Bensemhoun, most of the French media and government have looked the other way. The very government that continues to make life difficult for African immigrants in France sees no problem of its own immigrants taking part in foreign wars that are in violation of its own citizenship laws.
Western involvement in the war on the Palestinian people is indeed going beyond the usual and known support of funds, military technology and economic aid, to actual participation in the slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. This is not a matter than can be addressed within the larger argument of Western double standards in Israel and Palestine, but an urgent issue that demands immediate attention.
It is one thing to fail to stop war crimes from being committed; it is a whole other level of failure to defend, finance and take active part in carrying out these war crimes. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not the only leader culpable of Gaza’s bloodbath; others in Western capitals should also be held to account.
Palestinian-American journalist, author, editor, Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) taught Mass Communication at Australia's Curtin University of Technology, and is Editor-in-Chief of the Palestine Chronicle. Baroud's work has been published in hundreds of newspapers and journals worldwide and his books “His books “Searching Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion” and “The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle” have received international recognition. Baroud’s third book, “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story” narrates the story of the life of his family, used as a representation of millions of Palestinians in Diaspora, starting in the early 1940’s until the present time.
Eight Hundred Dead Palestinians but Israel Has Impunity
By Robert Fisk
26 July 2014
Impunity is the word that comes to mind. Eight hundred dead Palestinians. Eight hundred. That’s infinitely more than twice the total dead of flight MH17 over Ukraine. And if you refer only to the “innocent” dead – ie no Hamas fighters, young sympathisers or corrupt Hamas officials, with whom the Israelis will, in due course, have to talk – then the women and children and elderly who have been slaughtered in Gaza are still well over the total number of MH17 victims.
And there’s something very odd, isn’t there, about our reactions to these two outrageous death tolls. In Gaza, we plead for a ceasefire but let them bury their dead in the sweltering slums of Gaza and cannot even open a humanitarian route for the wounded. For the passengers on MH17, we demand – immediately – proper burial and care for the relatives of the dead. We curse those who left bodies lying in the fields of eastern Ukraine – as many bodies have been lying, for a shorter time, perhaps, but under an equally oven-like sky, in Gaza.
Because – and this has been creeping up on me for years – we don’t care so much about the Palestinians, do we? We care neither about Israeli culpability, which is far greater because of the larger number of civilians the Israeli army have killed. Nor, for that matter, Hamas’s capability. Of course, God forbid that the figures should have been the other way round. If 800 Israelis had died and only 35 Palestinians, I think I know our reaction.
We would call it – rightly – a slaughter, an atrocity, a crime for which the killers must be made accountable. Yes, Hamas should be made accountable, too. But why is it that the only criminals we are searching for today are the men who fired one – perhaps two – missiles at an airliner over Ukraine? If Israel’s dead equalled those of the Palestinians – and let me repeat, thank heavens this is not the case – I suspect that the Americans would be offering all military support to an Israel endangered by “Iranian-backed terrorists”. We would be demanding that Hamas hand over the monsters who fired rockets at Israel and who are, by the way, trying to hit aircraft at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport. But we are not doing this. Because those who have died are mostly Palestinians.
More questions. What’s the limit for Palestinian deaths before we have a ceasefire? Eight hundred? Or 8,000? Could we have a scorecard? The exchange rate for dead? Or would we just wait until our gorge rises at the blood and say enough – even for Israel’s war, enough is enough. It’s not as if we have not been through all this before.
From the massacre of Arab villagers by Israel’s new army in 1948, as it is set down by Israeli historians, to the Sabra and Shatila massacre, when Lebanese Christian allies of Israel murdered up to 1,700 people in 1982 while Israeli troops watched; from the Qana massacre of Lebanese Arabs at the UN base – yes, the UN again – in 1996, to another, smaller terrible killing at Qana (again) 10 years later. And so to the mass killing of civilians in the 2008-9 Gaza war. And after Sabra and Shatila, there were inquiries, and after Qana there was an inquiry and after Gaza in 2008-9, there was an inquiry and don’t we remember the weight of it, somewhat lightened of course when Judge Goldstone did his best to disown it, when – according to my Israeli friends – he came under intense personal pressure.
In other words, we have been here before. The claim that only “terrorists” are to blame for those whom Hamas kills and only “terrorists” are to blame for those whom Israel kills (Hamas “terrorists”, of course). And the constant claim, repeated over and over and over, that Israel has the highest standards of any army in the world and would never hurt civilians. I recall here the 17,500 dead of Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, most of whom were civilians. Have we forgotten all this?
And apart from impunity, the word stupidity comes to mind. I will forget here the corrupt Arabs and the killers of Isis and the wholesale mass murders of Iraq and Syria. Perhaps their indifference to “Palestine” is to be expected. They do not claim to represent our values. But what do we make of John Kerry, Obama’s Secretary of State, who told us last week that the “underlying issues” of the Israeli-Palestinian war need to be addressed? What on earth was he doing all last year when he claimed he was going to produce a Middle East peace in 12 months? Doesn’t he realise why the Palestinians are in Gaza?
The truth is that many hundreds of thousands of people around the world – I wish I could say millions – want an end to this impunity, an end to phrases such as “disproportionate casualties”. Disproportionate to what? Brave Israelis also feel this way. They write about it. Long live the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz. Meanwhile, the Arab, Muslim world becomes wilder with anger. And we will pay the price.
Gaza: A Little Context
By Gwynne Dyer
You can see why Hamas doesn’t want a cease-fire in Gaza yet. It is continuing the fight in the hope that international outrage at the huge loss of people being killed by Israel’s massive firepower will somehow, eventually, force Israel to give it what it wants.
Hamas would be quite willing to give up firing its pathetic rockets – which have so far killed a grand total of three civilians in Israel – if Israel ends its seven-year blockade of the Gaza Strip. Dream on.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s goal is harder to define. Domestic political pressure to “do something” about those pesky rockets pushed him into this war, but now he must produce some kind of success in order to justify all those deaths: around 1,150 Palestinians and more than 50 Israelis already.
But what kind of success could it be? He cannot destroy all the rockets – Hamas shows no sign of running out of them – and even if he could Hamas would just manufacture more of them later unless he physically re-occupied the whole Gaza Strip. In recent days, therefore, Netanyahu has redefined the objective as destroying all the “terror tunnels” that Hamas has dug to infiltrate its fighters into nearby areas of Israel.
This makes no sense at all. In order to protect the lives of a few hypothetical Israeli soldiers who might be killed in the future by Hamas fighters using the tunnels, over 40 real Israeli soldiers have already died. Besides, Israel can’t stop Hamas from digging more tunnels after the shooting stops unless it can find a way to ban picks and shovels in the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu needs a victory of some sort before he accepts a cease-fire, but he cannot even define what it would be. So, as he said on Monday, “We should prepare ourselves for an extended campaign.” Meanwhile, the slaughter of Palestinians continues, and sympathy for Israel shrivels even in the United States.
The 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are living at the same population density as the residents of London or Tokyo: about 5,000 people per square kilometer. You cannot use high explosives in this environment without killing a great many innocent civilians, and Netanyahu knew that from the start, because this is Israel’s third war in Gaza in six years.
So the Israelis are being brutal and stupid, and the Hamas leaders are being brutal and cynical. (Hamas doesn’t really use civilians as “human shields,” as Israel claims, but its leaders know that Palestinian civilians killed by Israeli fire provide them with a kind of political capital.) But this is not to say that the two sides are equally to blame for the killing. There is a broader context.
Before 1948, only about 60,000 people lived on the land now known as the Gaza Strip. The vast majority of those who live there now are Arab refugees, or the children, grand-children and great-grandchildren of Arab refugees, who fled or were driven out of what is now Israel during the 1948 war. They are not there by choice.
Israel has traditionally insisted that the refugees freely chose to flee, although revisionist Israeli historians have debunked that story pretty thoroughly. But which story you believe doesn’t really matter. Fleeing your home in time of war does not deprive you of the right to go home when the fighting ends. Yet the Palestinians have not been allowed to go home, and Israel is adamant that they never will be.
The ancestral lands of the Palestinians in what is now Israel are lost as permanently as those of the American Indians. The “peace” everybody talks about is really just about giving them security of tenure and real self-government in the one-fifth of former Palestine that they still occupy. Unfortunately, that is not even visible on the horizon.
When Netanyahu is addressing American audiences, he gives lip-service to a “two-state solution” that includes an independent, demilitarized Palestinian mini-state, but everybody in Israel knows that he is really determined to avoid it. Israel is therefore effectively committed to penning in and controlling the Palestinians forever.
When their objections to this situation get too violent, they have to be disciplined. That is what is happening now. Just like 2009 and 2012.
Israeli Crimes - Getting Away With It for Over 60 Years
By Chris Doyle
30 July 2014
The people of Gaza must suffer from serial déjà vu. Another Israeli invasion, yet more death and destruction, flattened urban quarters and above all hundreds of innocent civilians killed. Yet so much of the media reporting might suggest this was the first time it had ever happened.
The massacres of 500-700 Palestinian civilians in Khan Younis in took place during the first Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip on Nov. 3, 1956. According to the BBC’s Middle East Editor, Jeremy Bowen, there was one family that lost 21 members.
Fast forward to the first day of the second Israel occupation on June 6, 1967, and Bowen cites the 28 young men from the Abu Rass family from the Zaytoun district in Gaza who were captured and just executed. To show Israel’s consistency 23 members of the Al Samouni family were killed in 2009, one of many extended families to be suffers mass losses. In this current aggression at least 20 members of one were killed in Khan Younis on 20 July. Are Israeli soldiers unaware that this unarmed civilian population are ‘protected persons’ under International humanitarian law?
The United Nations has also been a regular target for Israeli bombing rarely missing out on a pounding. Are Israeli forces not aware that U.N. buildings should enjoy immunity? There have been Israeli shelling of United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools and health centres including on a school in Beit Hanoun on July 24. Go back to 1967, one finds that the headquarters of the United Nations Expeditionary Force was bombed in Gaza and 90 of UNRWA’s 100 schools were damaged in the fighting. On Jan. 152009 the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was bombed. Israel also targeted a U.N. compound at Qana in Lebanon in April 1996 killing 106.
An Israeli speciality is bombing power stations. On July29, it put Gaza’s sole power station out of action. In fact Israel had hit the station twice in the week before as well but much of the reporting could not even delve that far back. Very few indeed noted that Israel had bombed this same plant in 2006 and in 2009. Moreover, it did the same to a power plant in southern Beirut in 2006. Power plants are civilian infrastructure and their destruction is possibly a war crime.
Historical crimes are barely reported in media coverage. Audiences may not be aware at all that 70 per cent of Palestinians in Gaza are refugees or about how they got there. Do they know that Sderot, the target of many rocket attacks from Gaza, is built on the lands of the Palestinian village of Najd, whose villagers were expelled in 1948? Some 400,000 civilians are told to move from areas of Gaza, to where Israel does not say, forcing yet another mass displacement of Palestinians.
The obvious question is how come Israel has got away with all this and much more.
A major issue is accountability or more accurately the breath-taking total lack of it. This goes to the heart of the issue as to how Israel is viewed as it is across the Arab and broader Islamic World. The scale of Israeli atrocities pales in comparison with those of many other regimes. Over 1700 Syrians were killed last week alone, the worst week of the entire Syrian uprising but barely rated a media mention.
But what gets under the skin of so many is that whilst the Assad regime is sanctioned and condemned, Israel is lauded, protected and given a multi-billion dollar annual sponsorship deal with the U.S.. Nearly every Arab knows Israel has violated countless United Nations Security Council Resolutions but also that the U.S. has vetoed (42) or threatened to veto countless other resolutions. Why, they ask, is Israel untouchable?
The issue is brought into sharper contrast with the outrage over Russia, Ukraine and Crimea. Western nations demanded Russia end its occupation of Crimea, but do not say the same over Gaza and the West Bank. Putin’s aggression has been confronted immediately with escalating sanctions. Not only is Israel not faced with sanctions but these are specifically ruled out. In contrast western powers sanction Palestine and Palestinians.
Unlike Israel, Hamas is held to account for its crimes of deliberately rocketing civilians. The international community sanctions Hamas and many countries designate it as a terrorist group. Israel metes out its own instant ‘justice’ usually with a one tonne bomb.
What will be the impact on Israel? According to Gerard Horton from Military Court Watch: "The danger is Israel will sleep walk into pariah status if it is seen to remain above the law." Horton tells me that Israel is "operating in a parallel universe, a completely different set of principles seem to apply to this conflict."
Attempts to hold Israel to account have always failed. Notoriously the U.N. investigation into the 2008-2009 Gaza conflict commonly known as the Goldstone report, found both Israel and Hamas guilty of war crimes. Israel and the U.S. orchestrated such a backlash to ensure the commission’s findings were ignored. The U.N. Human Rights Council is mounting another inquiry even though opposed by the U.S. given the saving of Goldstone expectations that it will be respected must be slim. President Abbas may, indeed should, apply for membership of International Criminal Court as the only way to provide protection to his people, but the U.S. has already made clear the torrent of punitive measures such a move would trigger.
If the international community does not hold Israel to account, there is a distinct possibility of increasing private lawsuits and more Boycott Divestment Campaigns. Israel fears delegitimisation but its actions fuel exactly that process. International leaders should demand accountability for Israel’s sake as well as the overriding objective of ensuring that such horror never befalls Gaza again as it has not least in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1987, 2006, 2009, 2012, and 2014.
Chris Doyle is the director of CAABU (the London-based Council for Arab-British Understanding). He has worked with the Council since 1993 after graduating with a first class honours degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Exeter University. As the lead spokesperson for Caabu and as an acknowledged expert on the region, Chris is a frequent commentator on TV and Radio, having given over 148 interviews on the Arab world in in 2012 alone. He gives numerous talks around the country on issues such as the Arab Spring, Libya, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Islamophobia and the Arabs in Britain. He has had numerous articles and letters published in the British and international media. He has travelled to nearly every country in the Middle East. He has organized and accompanied numerous British Parliamentary delegations to Arab countries. Most recently he took Parliamentary delegations to the West Bank in April, November, December 2013 and January 2014 including with former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
Egypt And Palestine: Who Is Defending Who?
By Dr. Fahmy Howeidy
30 July 2014
Egypt's stance on what is currently happening in Gaza has reopened many wounds. It has raised the issue of Egypt's relation with the Palestinian cause, along with all its confused aspects and unanswered questions. Some are now lamenting the era of late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser.
Well-known Palestinian author and former minister Freih Abu Middein expressed this in an article published last week on the Rai al-Youm website. "A special relation was established between Abdel Nasser and the Gaza Strip," he wrote. "The strip had a special place in his heart. Abdel Nasser followed up on its affairs on a daily basis, and it always had the priority when it came to educational, health, economic or other issues."
He was strict regarding any violations made by his government figures towards the people of the Strip as Gaza offered heroic sacrifices during that phase. Perhaps Israel's Gaza massacre of Feb. 28, 1955, is the transformation point in Abdel Nasser's strategic thinking. It is perhaps what made him seek to break the monopoly of arms and nationalize the Suez Canal and what later led to the aggression on Egypt and Gaza and in which the latter bravely fought.
There were many Israeli massacres in Gaza, such as that in Khan Younes, when 1,550 were martyred. When Israel withdrew from Sinai and then-Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion refused to withdraw from Gaza, Abdel Nasser refused all solutions that did not include the strip. Its inhabitants took to the streets from March 7 - 14, 1957, until Gaza was returned to Egypt. Abdel Nasser did not abandon it.
Gaza experienced another war in June 1967, and bravely fought alongside the Egyptian army. It did not fall until the Sinai, Golan and West Bank did so. Gaza adopted resistance the moment it was occupied, and Abdel Nasser remained fond of Palestine and Gaza until he passed away. "If Abdel Nasser had been alive, would he have left Gaza behind him?" asked Abu Middein. "Would he have let Gaza be besieged, starved and slaughtered?"
It's as if we are talking about ancient history! But this is an era which our generation actually witnessed before new generations fell victims of confusion. The enemy thus turned into a friend, and the friend into an enemy. Palestine paid the price of this miserable transformation.
Amid this new situation, many view Gaza and the Palestinian cause as a burden to Egypt, one it has long carried and sacrificed for by engaging in many wars and offering thousands of its sons as martyrs. Some politicians and journalists base their statements on this common belief. Such views need to be broken down to set things straight.
One of the interesting ironies is that while many in Egypt think it is defending Gaza and is victim of the strip, the common belief in Gaza is that it is defending Egypt and sacrificing for its sake. I have heard Palestinian intellectuals say the "curse of geography" has made Gaza the buffer that prevents Israeli expansion into Egypt. They say if it had not been for Gaza - which contains more than 2 million people and shares a 13-kilometer borders with Egypt - Israel would be standing at Egypt's eastern entrance.
Israel has been looking forward to this since 1948. Back then, Israel occupied Gaza when it was under Egyptian control, but Israel withdrew upon Britain's warning. Then Israel reoccupied it in 1956. Following Russia's warning, it was returned to Egyptian control in 1957. Israel occupied Gaza for a third time in 1967. It remained under direct military occupation until 2005, when Israel withdrew after suffering a lot from its presence there. By that time, Gaza had become included in the autonomy policy as per the Oslo Agreement signed in 1993.
Gaza Paid the Price On Behalf Of Egypt
During these phases, Gaza paid the price on behalf of Egypt and because of it. This happened when the Egyptian army entered Palestine in 1948 with other Arab armies in compliance with an Arab League decision. It happened when Egypt was subjected to Israeli, British and French aggression in 1956. Gaza also paid the price during the 1967 war, which erupted after Abdel Nasser closed the Strait of Tiran, preventing Israeli ships from passing.
The president's decision to close the strait was due to Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol's threat to occupy Damascus. During these three rounds, Gaza paid the price of being Egypt's neighbour. It was occupied, and its people's blood was heavily shed. This is always recalled by Palestinian intellectuals whenever this question is raised about who defended who.
However, this raises another question. Is it true that Egypt fought its wars to defend Palestine? The common answer in Egypt is yes. This is a response marketed by media outlets, while history says otherwise. On April 12, 1948, when the Arab League decided to send Arab armies to Palestine after the British mandate ended, many countries responded to this decision. Egypt was among the first countries that did so. Other countries included Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
It is well known that the Egyptian government objected to interfering in Palestine at first, as Prime Minister Ismail Sidqi Pasha's opinion was that Egypt could co-exist with a Jewish state on its eastern border.
However, Egypt's King Farouk supported sending Arab armies, either due to his competition with Jordanian King Abdullah, or because he wanted to lead the Arab world. Farouk thus ordered the army to get ready for war. On May 15, Egyptian troops - including 9,000 officers and soldiers led by Ahmad Ali al-Mwawi - began their operations in Palestine.
The year of 1948 was the only time in which Egyptian armed forces took out to clash with Zionist gangs in Palestine. The decision was made by the Arab League, and it was taken to confront a threat to Arab national security. Other than that, Egypt did not engage in any war against Israel with the aim of defending Palestine.
The 1956 war was led by France, Britain and Israel to topple Abdel Nasser. The 1967 war was due to his support of Syria and to closing the Tiran Strait. Back then, what was known as the War of Attrition against Israel happened within efforts to remove the repercussions of aggression. This is the slogan Abdel-Nasser raised back then and he's exceeded the idea of liberating Palestine with this slogan. As for the 1973 war, its aim was to end the Israeli occupation of Sinai since 1967.
The wars that Egypt got involved in after 1948 were Egyptian patriotic wars mainly aimed at defending national interests. It is thus impossible to generalize and claim they were launched for the sake of Palestine. Abdel Nasser's stance against Israel was part of his stance against colonization. This could also be seen in his support for national liberation movements that resisted France in the Arab Maghreb and Britain in Africa.
This analysis - if true - leads us to another result worth further detailing.
Political and media circles say Egypt sacrificed 100,000 martyrs in defence of the Palestinian cause. No fair researcher can ignore what Egypt offered to serve the cause, but support was mainly political, particularly under Abdel Nasser. Regarding the issue of 100,000 martyrs. no more than 11,161 Egyptian troops were killed in Palestine during the 1948 war, including 100 officers, 861 soldiers and 200 volunteers (the names of martyrs from the armed forces are recorded).
This figure was cited by Egyptian military historian, Major-General Ibrahim Shakib, in his book "Palestine war 1948 - an Egyptian vision." This number did not differ much from the evaluations of American sources. Israeli sources, however, exaggerated a bit (the Jewish Virtual Library said the number was 2000.) Shakib said Arab armies’ altogether endured 15,000 martyrs and 25,000 injured, while Israel lost 6,000 with 15,000 injured.
Former Defense Minister Mohamed Fawzi said the number of Egyptian martyrs from the 1956 war was around 3,000, while the number from 1967 was around 10,000, and 5,000 in 1973. This means that the total number of martyrs from 1948 until now is no more than 20,000. The allegation of 100,000 martyrs has no scientific or historical basis.
Regarding Egypt's mainly politically support, the military performance of the Egyptian and other Arab armies in 1948 was weak in general, though there were some exceptional heroic acts carried out by certain individuals. When Arab armies got involved in the war, they were in control of 73% of the land while Israelis did not control more than 27%. When the war ended, both parties had exchanged these shares.
The "Atlas of Palestine," by Dr Salman Abu Sitta, explains this in detail and attributes it to the weakness of Arab armies. He says Israeli gangs outnumbered Arab troops and surpassed them in military competency (officers of these gangs had fought in World War II).
Abdel Nasser stood by the Palestinian people and the resistance, while his successor Anwar Sadat turned against them and harmed the cause by signing a peace treaty with Israel. Hosni Mubarak followed Sadat's footsteps, to the point where he was described as Israel's strategic treasure. The situation has taken a turn for the worse, with the closing of the Rafah border crossing preventing injured people from receiving treatment and after your read the news of what happened since the initiative was made until the Shjaya massacre was committed.
Dr. Fahmy Howeidy has worked in journalism since 1958 for Egypt's Al-Ahram Foundation. He is currently the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Al-Ahram newspaper. Previously, Howeidy served as the Managing Editor of Kuwait's Al-Arabi magazine and of Arabia magazine, which is published in London, UK in English. He is now fully dedicated to contributing to Al-Ahram and has a column each Tuesday published in six Arab countries in Asharq Al-Awsat, Al-Majalla, and Al-Wafd Newspaper. Howeidy has had seventeen books published, including: The Quran and the Sultan, Awareness Forgery, In Order Not to be A Sedition, Islam in China, Iran from the Inside, Taliban, Establishing Due Rights, and The Crisis of Religious Awareness. Howeidy is a specialist in Arab and Islamic affairs.
Method to the Gaza Madness
By S M Hali
July 29, 2014
The method in Israel’s madness of laying siege and persisting with the attacks on Gaza is probably the discovery in 2000 by British Gas that Gaza sat on an estimated four billion dollars worth of natural gas
The killing fields of Gaza have taken a mighty toll because the international community has been lethargic in intervening. The Zionists have so mesmerised and paralysed world opinion that nary a nation, including the Muslim Ummah, is willing to come forward and demand a halt to this one-sided bloodshed. The seven years’ long siege by Israel has already made life hell for the Palestinians trapped in the mass concentration camp called Gaza.
The Israeli operations, “Cast Lead” of 2008, 2012’s “Pillars of Defence” and the 2014 attack termed “Protective Edge”, have indicated that they were meticulously planned months in advance and were primed for genocide and ethnic cleansing of the hapless Palestinians. The massive attacks in the current operation are aimed at collective punishment of a helpless mass of humanity comprising impoverished and incarcerated people, whose only crime is that they demand an end to the tyranny of Israel but, unbeknown to the Gazans, nature has endowed them with a rich resource.
It is deplorable that the Jewish nation, which condemns the Holocaust genocide of approximately six million Jews, massacred by the German military, under the command of Adolf Hitler, now stoops so low as to attempt to annihilate the Palestinians. It is ironic that when British troops cracked down on the Jewish Agency in Palestine in 1946 to weed out the Irgun and Haganah, the Palestinians provided refuge to the Jews. The Zionists repaid Palestinian hospitality by causing the Nakba, the 1948 Palestinian exodus, in which approximately 726,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes.
For the last 66 years, Palestinians have suffered immense repression at the hands of Israel but, apart from the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israel wars, which ended bitterly for the Arabs, the international community, including the powerful Arab nations, has remained oblivious to the plight of the Palestinians. World bodies, including the UN and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), continue to tolerate the Israeli blockade and siege of Gaza with indifference. An emboldened Israel persists in committing piracy in international waters to prevent unarmed merchant ships reaching Gaza despite the fact that NATO naval fleets are operating in the eastern Mediterranean. Even today, the plea taken by Israel for pounding the helpless Gazans is the so-called barrage of Qassam rockets, which cause little or no harm because of their limited firepower and the Iron Dome protective shield of air defence, developed through US financial support.
The method in Israel’s madness of laying siege and persisting with the attacks on Gaza is probably the discovery in 2000 by British Gas that Gaza sat on an estimated four billion dollars worth of natural gas. This shocked the Israelis since they had relegated the Palestinians to the purported wasteland of Gaza. Energy starved Israel is dying to gain control of Gazan gas. The US has supported Israel in its madness. Since Israel’s establishment in 1948, the US has vetoed more than 40 UN resolutions that sought to curb Israel’s lust for occupation and violence against the Palestinians. It has ignored the few successful resolutions aimed at safeguarding Palestinian rights, such as the Security Council Resolution 465, passed in 1980.
The current carnage has been staged under the false flag operation of the alleged murder of three Israeli youths by Hamas. Facts have emerged invalidating this claim, giving credence to Israel’s impatience in gaining control of the gas reserves, thus the urgency in annihilating Hamas and crushing the Palestinians. Former Israeli Defence Force (IDF) Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon confirmed in 2007 that it would be improbable to gain access to the energy sources via Hamas, which would either sabotage the project or demand exorbitant royalties. The solution lay in a military operation to uproot Hamas. Coincidentally, the siege of Gaza commenced in 2007 but, not having achieved the desired results, Israeli patience has run out and thus the massive onslaught to resolve its mounting energy crisis, high rate of inflation and rising unemployment.
As the Human Rights Council launched a probe into the Gaza offensive, investigating Israel’s war crimes, the US voted against it while Europe, Japan and South Korea abstained from casting their vote. Temporary truce efforts have been short lived. The killing fields of Gaza will continue to slaughter innocent civilians because Israeli obduracy is supported and rewarded. US President Barack Obama announced an extra $ 430 million in aid to one of the most brutal regimes in the world, the political dispensation in Tel Aviv. This is on top of the three billion dollars that Israel receives every year from the US government. Unless the true rationale behind the Israeli madness is exposed, Palestinians will continue being slaughtered till they are evicted from Gaza or sign off their energy resources’ rights to Israel.
Will 'Law Fare' Define The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict?
By Charles J. Dunlap, Jr.
July 30, 2014
The latest conflict between Palestinians and Israelis is highlighting a number of innovations in war fighting. Some of these advances are technological: Palestinians are employing more powerful rocket systems with greater ranges as well as a sophisticated tunnel system, and Israelis are using an array of modern war methodologies, including drones and precision weaponry. What might be more significant than these technologies, however, is the means of 21st century combat I call “law fare.”
Law fare has been defined, by this writer anyway, as the “strategy of using — or misusing — law as a substitute for traditional military means to achieve an operational objective.” There are lots of permutations of law fare, but each typically attempts to achieve an effect that is virtually indistinguishable from that which would have otherwise required the application of kinetic armed force or other conventional military means.
In its modern context, law fare can be dated to the 1990-91 Gulf War, in particular to the al-Firdos bunker incident. In that case, a bunker thought to be an Iraqi command and control facility, but actually used as a bomb shelter by the families of high-ranking Iraqi officials, was attacked. The bombing caused hundreds of civilian deaths and injuries and led the Iraqis to accuse US forces of war crimes.
Although there was no actual illegality, the mere allegation of such, accompanied by media photos of the dead, had a real operational effect. As Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor recorded in "The Generals’ War," the political fallout from the bombing “accomplished what Iraqi air defences could not: downtown Baghdad was to be attacked sparingly, if at all.”
Clearly, many groups have concluded that allegations of illegality, not to mention actual incidents of misconduct by opposing forces, can be as effective as traditional military means in accomplishing a military objective. Emulating the al-Firdos case by propagandizing civilian casualties as war crimes means that law fare provides an odd sort of “air defence,” but one as or more effective as fighters or anti-aircraft guns.
Of course, alleging war crimes against one’s adversary is not especially new in the annals of warfare, but what is different today is the dramatically enhanced means of making the allegations known worldwide. The proliferation of 24-hour media, cell phone videos, Twitter and all the other artefacts of the information revolution have become weapons in the hands of law fare practitioners.
Moreover, the need for international law for global commerce has in recent years given the world something of a legally oriented mindset receptive to law fare operations.
Of all the laws of armed conflict, the most basic is the requirement that belligerents distinguish between combatants and civilians and attack only the former. Accordingly, in the present conflict, Hamas and Israel have sought to assign the other blame for the rising numbers of civilian casualties in an obvious effort to convince world opinion as to who is acting unlawfully and, therefore, gain support around the world.
Hamas expertly wages lawfare by effectively publicizing the deaths of civilians as a result of deliberate Israeli attacks on them. Israelis counter by charging that Hamas is responsible since it operates amid civilians contrary to international law. In addition, Israelis insist that many civilian deaths are the result of Hamas rockets malfunctioning and falling onto Gaza.
Recently, Israelis have taken the unusual step of generating personalized phone calls to civilians occupying buildings that are about to be bombed. In addition, it has been reported that Israeli drones are being used to conducted “roof knocks,” wherein a flare is fired onto the roof of a targeted building. Sadly, even with such warnings, civilian casualties are still occurring because it is not clear where Palestinians can go for safety. Still, these actions are offered as evidence of Israel's extraordinary efforts to comply with international law aimed at protecting civilians.
Palestinians cannot do the same, as they simply do not have the technology and resources to wage the kind of precision warfare that the Israelis are trying to conduct. Instead, they are left to fire rockets almost randomly at Israeli population centers, but there is no construct of international law that can justify indiscriminate attacks against civilians by any belligerent. Israelis’ are using these indiscriminate rocket attacks, as well as allegations of the use of human shields and other violations of the law of war, to accuse Hamas of terrorism.
Nevertheless, Palestinians have been able to wage a form of law fare rather successfully in international law forums. For example, in a 2004 advisory opinion, "Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory," the International Court of Justice concluded that the Israelis could not rely upon international law to justify the security barrier that they argued was essential but Palestinians insisted was dividing families and impeding economic progress.
Similarly, the 2009 report of the United Nations fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict, often called the “Goldstone Report,” after the mission’s lead investigator, Richard Goldstone, was critical of both sides but generally supported the Palestinians' positions. Although Goldstone later asserted that the allegation that the Israelis were intentionally targeting civilians was erroneous, the report’s overall tenor remains hostile to Israel.
Most recently, on July 23, Palestinians won a major law fare victory when the United Nations Human Rights Council voted to establish a commission to investigate possible Israeli war crimes in connection with the current conflict. While theoretically Hamas' actions could also be investigated, it is not without significance that the resolution condemned what it characterized as “the widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations.”
Law has successfully resolved conflicts. The demilitarization of the Irish Republican Army was largely accomplished through law-centered negotiations that led to the IRA’s integration into the legal and political architecture.
Regrettably, although law fare is being used by both sides in the current Gaza conflict, it has not yet succeeded in moving the fighting from the battlefield to the courtroom.
A War to Market the Iron Dome
By Samer Jaber
29 Jul 2014
Operation Protective Edge, Israel's name for its latest war on the Gaza Strip, shares many characteristics with its predecessors of 2008 and 2012.
Once again, there is a high casualty rate among Palestinian civilians, especially women and children. Israeli forces are again targeting the family homes of suspected members of armed Palestinian groups as part of the policy of collective punishment used to deter Palestinian resistance.
But this time around, there is something new - the ability of armed Palestinian groups in Gaza to reach towns and cities deep inside Israel with their crude missiles. It is the first time they have reached as far as Haifa and Ben Gurion airport.
Israel's Iron Dome defence system is designed to act as a shield against missiles and artillery shells fired from Gaza - and it has attracted great attention from international media. Major news outlets such as CNN, the BBC, Sky News, The New York Times and The Telegraph, have carried daily news and operational information of the Iron Dome's successes.
The Dome's fame has even reached prominent business outlets such as Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal.
Reporting on the Dome has provided near-real time televised war coverage. The media has repeated statistics demonstrating its success rates - although there appears to have been a reluctance to scrutinise official Israeli figures and an absence of voices from those who might question its effectiveness.
It is understandable that Israeli officials would want to promote the idea of the Dome's success. It gives the Israeli public a sense of safety and security. It demonstrates that the state is fulfilling one of its commitments to its citizens - the duty to protect.
But it is undeniable that this unquestioning tone helps provide a certain marketing message.
The mainstream media narrative is framed to show the conflict as one between the democratic state of Israel and Islamic "terrorist" groups - especially Hamas - with little or no mention of Israel's occupation, or the eight-year siege of the Gaza Strip.
So the message is clear - the Dome is an effective and highly desirable product, made in Israel and employed on the front line against Islamic terror, able to be customised to meet the needs of potential buyers.
The marketing message is designed to link Palestinian groups which resist Israel's siege and occupation with armed groups around the world, subliminally suggesting that Israel is fighting the same threats - unexpected attacks designed to create fear in the public - as many other "civilised" countries.
The Dome is, according to Israel's security industrial complex, an effective and successful high-performance instrument in the fight against both local and international terrorism. It protects not only the general public in their homes but also important soft targets with limited defence systems - civilian airports, government buildings, public spaces, and so on - making missile attacks ineffective.
Israel is also eager to show the Dome as an ongoing development. Shortly after the launch of operation Protective Edge, the Israel Army deployed new Dome units described as advanced and able to meet the diversity of missiles launched from Gaza. The tacit message is that the war on Gaza is an experiment in real life - where people are the mice of this war laboratory, and the results are televised for the world.
Of course, the Israel security establishment censors, as a war measure, what information is made available for public consumption. But it does keep feeding news outlets with new information about the Dome's achievements. At the same time, opinions that question its effectiveness, such as an analysis that recently appeared in the MIT Technology Review, is given little international attention.
The latest round of war on Gaza Strip has neither promoted Israeli objectives nor met the Israeli criteria of war. It is a military operation that was widened as a result of a dispute between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
The war on Gaza might have been launched as a warning to armed Palestinian groups, but Israel's security institutions and associated corporate interests have exploited the situation, constructing an advertisement event for the Iron Dome system from the ravages of war.
Israel, as a colonial state, is run by the security apparatus headed by the army, and private security companies such as RAFAEL.
Following Operation Pillar of Defense, launched against Gaza in November 2012, seven nations, including the United States and South Korea, expressed interest in buying some variant of the Iron Dome system. As the Israeli economy depends on the sale of weapons and other military equipment, this latest round of war on Gaza is another opportunity for Israel's weapon consortium to boost its business around the world.
Israel has already succeeded in securing additional funding from Washington to develop the Dome even further.
Israel's intransigent approach to the political issue of the colonisation of Palestine - whereby it employs security solutions rather than working towards a political settlement - may in some part be explained by the Iron Dome's profitability.
Samer Jaber is a political activist and researcher. He holds a master's degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University, and studied at the Kennedy School at Harvard University and MIT. He served six years' political internment in Israeli jails during the first Palestinian intifada.
Israeli Lies Exposed
By Bikram Vohra
30 July 2014
Score: One thousand dead and climbing. Several hundred thousand wounded, displaced and part of a month-long trail of agony and violence. Gaza and the West bank scorched earth. Fear is the key and the world stands by and rubbernecks the death toll. Every single day. And now, pretty as you please, the Israeli police have agreed that the three teenage Israeli boys were not killed by the Hamas but by a group from the outside.
It’s Israeli Police Foreign Press spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, who falsified the Israeli government’s claim that Hamas was responsible for the killing of the teens in June. These killings were the flash point that began the convulsion of violence. At the time it all began, Israeli authorities placed the blame squarely on Hamas, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying: "They were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by animals in human form.”
So, why this making a clean breast of it now? How does one make sense of this confession? Is it a ploy, some new twist in the tale or just an indication that having cut through the west back and established its power base now it can rub salt into the wound.
Although the news was broken by a BBC correspondent who claims that Rosenfeld said the killers were a group who may have been affiliated to Hamas but not operating under its command. Hamas has always denied its involvement in the killings.
It seems to contradict the incredibly strong stance taken by Israel and a practical all-out war it conducted. Does it make any sense to “confess” all this to a news agency who then tweets it globally.
Even in the confession there is a bit of self-congratulation. Rosenfeld also said if kidnapping had been ordered by Hamas leadership, it would have known about it in advance.
So then if you knew this all along what was the point of destroying so many lives including those of women and children? Somewhere along the line very soon the Israelis will deny the Rosenfeld statement … there is no way they will allow this discovery to get a stamp of approval. It would undermine them so totally for any offensive in the future. The truth may just remain a tweet.
Sinister Israeli Rabbis and Blind Western Eyes
By Neil Berry
30 July 2014
Published in the US at the close of 2013, Max Blumenthal’s big, brash, furiously accusatory book, ‘Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel,’ contains passages eminently calculated to make many readers shudder, especially in light of Israel’s fresh infanticidal onslaught on Gaza.
This media-savvy US Jewish journalist has been reviled by Zionists for painting an unforgiving picture of Israel as a rabidly Arabophobic ethnocracy. However, his outraged critics have been hard-pressed to fault his book on grounds of accuracy. For Goliath is essentially a work of reportage, a wide-ranging dossier of events and utterances that belong to the public record. Particularly arresting in current circumstances is Blumenthal’s account of the book, ‘Torat Ha’Melech,’ or the King’s Torah, published in Israel in 2009 amid no little controversy and addressed to soldiers and army officers needing rabbinical guidance on rules of military engagement.
Co-authored by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira and Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, Torat Ha’Melech sets out Judaic laws concerning the killing of Goyim. As reported by Blumenthal, the rabbis draw on scholarly texts to advocate a policy of mercilessness toward non-Jews, even making a case for killing dissenting Jews whose views identify them as enemies of Zion. Most shockingly, they offer, he writes, a substantial if crudely reasoned justification for the slaughter of innocent children, contending that the rules of war “permit the intentional hurting of babies and of innocent people if this is necessary for the war against the evil people.” Central to the rabbis’ message is the edict that killing babies and small children serves to “create a correct balance of fear” while also satisfying the collective thirst for vengeance.
In 2011, British security officers barred Rabbi Elitzur from entry into the United Kingdom after the Home Secretary signed a formal letter that charged him with ‘fomenting or justifying terrorist violence... and seeking to provoke others to commit terrorist acts.’ Yet, though Elitzur and Rabbi Shapira were briefly detained in 2010 by the Israeli police, in their own country they faced no official censure. Moreover, when two prominent state-funded rabbis who defended the book were summoned to be interrogated by Israel’s security service, the Shin Bet, they treated the summons with contempt.
Max Blumenthal points out that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remained curiously silent about the rabbis’ flagrant flouting of the law — just as he declined to deplore the contents of the Torat Ha’Melech or take issue with those who publicly endorsed the book. What Goliath conveys is that the political culture of Israel has been decisively hijacked by the forces of Zionist intolerance. If Natanyahu’s lips have stayed sealed on the subject of the rabbis’ advice to Israeli soldiers, it is because, Blumenthal maintains, both his own Likud party and the coalition government he has led since 2009 have been reduced to abject subservience by the ethno-religious extreme right.
Little of this features in Western coverage of Israel. Indeed, the basic assumption of the Western media remains that Israel is a normal Western-style democracy — albeit one confronted by challenges of abnormal severity. The other day, a London columnist, Hugo Rifkind, confessed that while Israel’s actions made him uncomfortable he also recognized that it was easy for cosseted Britons like himself to talk. After all, he observed, the UK does not have Palestinians to contend with, and might not treat them well if it did. And besides, he added, there are far grimmer places than Israel: China, for example.
Yet the human devastation perpetrated by Israel means that more and more people are unable to ignore the palpable disjunction between what is reported regarding the Palestine-Israel conflict and how it is reported. Commenting on coverage of the Gaza crisis, the laudably undiplomatic former Director General of the BBC Greg Dyke declared that it is not acceptable to him that the adjective ‘militant’ is regularly applied by the BBC to Palestinians but never to Israelis. There is no denying that much reporting on Israel manifests a hyper-neurotic concern to avoid offending Zionist sensitivities. By an extraordinary irony, the state long upheld as the Middle East’s lone bastion of Western democratic values is stifling Western freedom of expression.
The Israel-Palestine war
By Abdur Rahman Chowdhury
July 29, 2014
Nelson Mandela and Yasser Arafat were also terrorists at one time but later on they were courted by the White House because they fought for their people
The ongoing war between Israel and Palestine has once again exposed the vulnerability of Israel as a Jewish state. Notwithstanding billions of dollars in military and development assistance from the US, Israel could not provide security to its citizens. The Iron Dome system built with US funding and technology has been successful in neutralising the homemade rockets of Hamas but one rocket found its way and exploded close to Ben Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv. The US aviation authority placed a 72-hour restriction on American Airlines for flying to Israel and European airlines followed suit. The Israeli government became unnerved with the decision and made a hue and cry. The Netanyahu government complained that the flight suspension was a victory for Hamas and Hamas believed it was so.
The war, till the writing of this article, has claimed over 823 Palestinian lives and has seriously wounded 4,100. The UN estimates that 77 percent of the victims are women and children. It also confirmed that three Palestinian children are being killed every hour by Israel’s reckless airstrikes. One can calculate the number of innocent children who have fallen prey to Israeli firepower during the past 18 days. The global community has condemned “Israel’s excessive use of force” but the condemnation has been whittled down by the frequently pronounced phrase: “Israel has the right to defend itself.” But what about the people on the other side, the Palestinians? Do they not have a right to live? In Gaza, over 1.5 million men, women and children have been living under a blockade for years. They are unable to move out in search of bread, butter and medication. Shimon Peres, the outgoing Israeli president, wondered why rockets are still fired from Gaza since Israel withdrew from the Strip a few years ago. Mr Peres would have understood if his country were under occupation, placed under siege from all sides and people found it impossible to get out of the boundaries of Israel.
The Israeli army has been pounding bombs 24 hours of the day for the past two weeks. The air strikes have been so intense that the people in Gaza have found it extremely difficult to arrange the mass burial of their loved ones. The Washington Post, last Monday, showed the heartbreaking image of a Palestinian father holding the body of his four-year-old daughter whilst waiting for her burial. Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu may not feel the pain of the parents whose children are being murdered every hour by Israeli bombs but there are people in Israel who share the pain of Palestinian parents. Columnist Uri Avnery could not have closed his eyes and endorsed the brutality of the Peres-Netanyahu axis. The voice of humanity has not yet been extinguished in Israel.
Much has been said about the ceasefire brokered by Egypt, endorsed by the Arab League, accepted by Israel but dismissed by Hamas. How ridiculous has been the ceasefire agreement! It was formulated by the pseudo-civilian regime in Egypt in negotiations with Israel. Hamas, the major party in the conflict, was not on board and their demands, including the lifting of the blockade, release of prisoners and disbursement of Palestinian funds to Gaza to pay employees, found no reference in the agreement. The government of General al Sissi does not represent either the people of Gaza or Egypt. How can a usurper take it upon himself to draft a peace agreement while keeping thousands of political activists imprisoned and thousands more with the death penalty hanging over their heads? A ceasefire to be workable requires participation and concurrence of the parties involved in the conflict. It is as simple as that. Now the “seven-day ceasefire” proposal by John Kerry has been rejected by Israel. Why is there no denunciation by the US and European countries? Under pressure, Israel has accepted (but not yet implemented) a 12-hour pause to allow humanitarian assistance to the besieged people in Gaza.
John Kerry is shuttling from capital to capital and meeting with kings, presidents and prime ministers to arrange a ceasefire agreement but he is opposed to talking to the Hamas leadership because Hamas has been branded a terrorist organisation. Nelson Mandela and Yasser Arafat were also terrorists at one time but later on they were courted by the White House because they fought for their people. Hamas could be kept at a distance but what about the demands they have made? These demands are very reasonable and must be reflected in the ceasefire deal if it is intended to bring lasting peace. Sinn Fein was once outlawed but, in order to restore peace to troubled Northern Ireland, the Sinn Fein leadership was accepted as a stakeholder. Hamas is no different in the Palestine-Israel conflict.
Israel and the US may not negotiate with Hamas because it is a ‘terrorist organisation’ but who is a terrorist? In this conflict, Israel has killed over 823 Palestinians of whom 634 were women and children while Hamas has killed 37 Israelis of whom three were civilians. Rockets fired by Hamas have damaged only a few houses while the Israeli airstrikes have destroyed over 3,000 houses, buildings, schools and even hospitals. It bombed a UN shelter, killing 16 and injuring more than 200. Let the people judge who is a terrorist, Hamas or the state of Israel? Who should stand trial for committing crimes against humanity, Khalid Mashal (the Hamas leader) or Benjamin Netanyahu?
Israel would have reconciled to coexist with the Arabs had the US refrained from extending unconditional economic, military and diplomatic support to Tel Aviv. This unconditional support has not won Israel the security it so badly needs. It has fallen into a quagmire and there is no way out. The two state solution is no longer an option. The massive and rapid expansion of settlements has grabbed the land supposed to comprise the territory of Palestine. How can the state of Palestine be conceived without a territory? Now the two state solution has been buried deep under the heap of corpses of Palestinian men, women and children.
The obstinacy, obduracy and arrogance of Israeli leaderships and their utter refusal to let Palestinians live have transformed the Middle East into a flash point of insurgency. The much-propagated argument that Israel has the right to defend itself is no longer convincing. Millions of people belonging to different faiths have come out onto the streets of major cities around the world denouncing the atrocities unleashed by Israel against the people of Gaza. David Ward, a liberal British member of parliament has said that if he were in Gaza he would have fired rockets towards Israel. Organisations like the Jewish Voice for Justice for Palestinians have sought an end to the carnage in Gaza. Around 100 Israeli reservists have refused to participate in the invasion of Gaza as they believe it aims at collective punishment for innocent civilians.
The influence of the US in the region is on the decline due to its tilt towards Israel. People on the Arab street no longer consider the US a neutral peace broker. The endorsement of Israeli action by the US Senate comes as a fresh reminder to Muslims that the US is deeply committed to the protection of Israel even at the cost of innocent Palestinian lives. This perception will grow stronger with the passage of time and anti-Americanism will run deeper across the Muslim world. The US has been on the wrong side of history in patronising a recalcitrant Israel widely condemned for crimes against humanity. Washington should now reformulate its foreign policy into broader objectives based on friendship for all.
A Purely "Palestinian' State Beforehand
By Emre Gönen
31 July 2014
The occupation in Gaza won't be solved through military interventions. Each time, Israel proclaims that there will be a decisive turning point for its defence and security. Each time, it has been wrong; still nobody questions the method. The Lebanese War in 1982 was mainly waged by the Tsahal in order to eradicate the PLO's presence in South Lebanon. It was a blunt reality that the PLO had created a "state within a state" system and used Lebanon as a safe haven against the Israeli threat. The war was successful, and the PLO's presence in Lebanon ended once and for all. Incidentally, when the Sabra and Shatila massacres took place, hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent lives were destroyed, but the objective was reached, no more PLO in Lebanon.
The reaction came, only a few months after, but not from the conventional army of an enemy state. Palestinian children and youngsters revolted in the West Bank. The Intifada, a term that the public became acquainted with thereafter, has been a desperate revolt against injustice. South Lebanon has been virtually occupied by Hezbollah, a much more radical armed organisation. It took years but instead of the PLO Israel had to deal with an organisation whose most visible political agenda is the total annihilation of Israel. Unlike the PLO, no other armed movement after the Lebanese War of 1982 has ever tried to face the Tsahal directly.
This was plainly not possible… In 2006, Israel did attack the Southern Lebanese territories it had left in 2000 and that have been occupied by Hezbollah since, to no avail. A huge number of civilian lives were lost, but the Tsahal lost just 120 soldiers, whereas Hezbollah acknowledged the loss of 250 militants years after the conflict. For the first time, a large operation staged by the Israeli Defence Force had been unsuccessful. Hezbollah is still holding Southern Lebanon and has become, in the meantime, one of the major political forces in Lebanon, having seats in the cabinet.
In 1982, both Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir refused to deal with the PLO, "a terrorist organisation." This is also a constant in Israeli policies. They were on the other side willing to deal with "moderate Palestinian leaders not members of the PLO," who, as Shimon Perez wrote in his memoires, existed only in their imagination. Today's Israeli policies are not so different: Netanyahu refuses to deal with the "terrorist" Hamas, but there is no one else to represent Palestinians in Gaza.
A number of attacks on Gaza over the years only resulted in a fully operational guerrilla warfare waged by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It has also resulted in heavy civilian losses, which also risks becoming another constant in Israeli policies. Gaza is no Vietnam, but the tunnel structure to resist Israeli forces, the abnegation of the fighters and the inextricable political situation may pretty well create a "Vietnam like situation."
There is no military solution to the problem, but again, what is the problem? The right of Israel to live in internationally recognised frontiers, in security and stability? What about Palestinians? Are they not allowed to have the right to live in internationally recognised frontiers, in security and stability? Apparently not, so long as their houses crumble, their roads are filthy, their schooling remains poor, their traffic abominable, their politicians either corrupt or radical, and the best: there has never been a purely "Palestinian" state beforehand… This is plainly "dehumanising" Palestinians.
Daniel Barenboim, who remains one of the many to have understood the real problem, went to Gaza to direct a very tiny classical music orchestra.
After the performance, a young Palestinian violinist told him: "Maestro, when you direct us, your hands create life"… Yes, Palestinians are like all of us, they aspire to live like all of us and, when fired upon, they die. How many Palestinian Anna Frank have lost their lives in Gaza, we will never know.