Saturday, December 27, 2008
The world sympathized with Israel for the rockets they endured in their backyards, but when they get on the revenge bandwagon and indiscriminately kill, they lose sympathy. The oppressed ones all around the world including the majority of Israelis and Jews feel the pain of this violence, it flies in the face of our continued efforts to stop massacres, it is time for all of us to speak up. This is not the act of peace making; this is the act of destroying a people.
Edmund Burke had said something to this effect, “Evil flourishes not because of evil men, but because good men do nothing about it “. Indeed, lack of condemnations or protests encourages the evil to flourish. The least we can do is to speak up and show that the world stands against this attitude..
The poor reasoning the Israeli admin is propagating is that they were tired of the rockets. The causes that led to this situation is the blockade of Gaza; where a parent watching her son die for lack of medicine was ignored, it was brutal and inhuman, the world stood by and particularly our Admin sank low on human rights. They were even blocked from seeking Medicine. Prior to that our admin refused to acknowledge an elected Government in Gaza, causing Israel and Hamas to dig in their heels, so much for our Bush freedom hypocrisy. Mother Teresa had said " if you want to make peace, you talk with your enemies and not your friends". The Neocons have duped the Israeli and American Administrations not to talk with Hamas. Who will we make peace with then? I hope the new President will change that equation for the good of the Israeli and Palestinian people and keep the greedy men, lobbyists and the Neocons out of reach.
This bombarding is not good for Israel’s psyche and it is not good for us to watch and do nothing about it. We the Americans are consistently duped by the media, we are conditioned not even to ask the other point of view and are made to become judgmental beings. We need to know the truth, so we can live with morality.
Peace begins when we recognize our own faults, it takes guts and vision, and when we get it, it would be a solid step towards peace making. Thank God, there are many Organizations including several Jewish organizations who are working for peace, we all need to lend them our support.
On Monday or some time next week, the world will witness the stupidity of our administration. The US Ambassador to the UN will say a soft word of condemnation, then Ms. Rice or Bush, will make a statement to the Israeli PM, that our friendship with Israel is solid and that they can ignore the remarks of that Ambassador. Meaning? ‘Keep doing it’, we just have to do the verbal diarrhoea to appease the world. This is a guaranteed response from our shameful history. The world will laugh at us again.
Sixty years have gone by; a few good men have made remarkable efforts and brought some stability, but in the last decade neither the Israeli nor the Palestinian leadership has produced notable peace for the people, instead they have ruined the work of Begin, Sadat, Rabin, Peres and Arafat. Both sides have a few evil destructive men at the helm. Our Middle East policies are dictated by the Neocons and this will do more harm to Israel than Good. The Israelis and the Palestinians need to wake up and rid of all those who are war mongers and destructive, we did it in America.
The revenge mind set is not good to either Israelis or the Palestinians; it deteriorates any possibility of peace. The public needs to elect the people whose focus is peace - and each leader must be asked to look into the eyes of the children, both Israeli and Palestinian and ask them to spend a week with babies, toddlers and teens, and then make public pronouncements that he or she will work on giving hope and security to both children. Most Israelis and Palestinians will support that; hitherto they were not given that opportunity by the villains of humanity. It is time to stoke the moderates in Israel and Palestine, who probably make up more than 95% of the population.
Let’s hope the Israelis and Palestinians will dump their Bushes and elect some one who can at least promise peace and not destruction.
PLEASE NOTE: I am committed to peace and my words and my actions are expressed to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill. This is one of the most painful events this month and I have done my best to focus on solutions though not fully satisfied with it. I particularly invite my Palestinian and Israeli friends to add another perspective with the intention of finding solutions. No solution will be fully acceptable to any one, but we have to take the steps to break the cycle of revenge - all of us owe the hope and security to those little Children in Palestine and Israel, we cannot live in peace unless we think and act peace and it begins with each one of us. Furthermore, neither Israelis nor Palestinians can have advantages at the cost of the other, such benefits are temporary and deleterious to lasting peace. We believe what is good for one has got to be good for the other and vice versa, to sustain it. It is in their interest to ensure Justness. Please share your comments below.
Courtesy: The Mike Ghouse Journal, A pluralistic perspective on issues of the day, www.MikeGhouse.net
Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer on Pluralism, interfaith, terrorism, peace, interfaith, Islam, Multiculturism and India. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website www.MikeGhouse.net. Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com
© MIKE GHOUSE 2001- 2008: ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Outrage in Gaza and war against terrorism
EDITORIAL in The Dawn, Karachi
Israel killed 280 people in Gaza on Saturday in retaliation against some rocket-fire from Gaza into the Israeli neighbourhood which killed no one. Many of the 300 critically wounded will die in the days to come, stoking the Islamist rage that the US President-elect Barack Obama was supposed to assuage. The Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, said, “The battle will be long and difficult, but the time has come to act and to fight”. But the world, including the European Union, Russia, Britain and France, has urged both sides to stop fighting.
The Gazans under Hamas have long forgotten how to believe the world when it says Israel can be persuaded to seek peace in Palestine. The exiled Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, has now called on the Palestinians to wage a new intifada against Israel, including a return to suicide missions. Realising the impact of the mangled, bloodied and often charred corpses littering the pavement around Hamas’s security compounds, the US has asked Israel to avoid killing innocent people. The Arab League has reacted the way it usually does, and a foreign ministers’ emergency meeting of the OIC has been called.
The news of the outrage will spread and figure in the pronouncements of those carrying out acts of terrorism around the world in the name of Islam; and, tragically but understandably, their victim states and populations will speak in unison with them. The injustice of the past years is so stark that few will take into account that Palestine is divided; and that as long as this division remains, no peace negotiations with Israel can be fruitful. The Israeli policy of starving Gaza out through an economic siege since June 2007, when Hamas evicted the secular Fatah movement from the Strip, has actually forced the Gazans to resort to rocket-fire on Israeli settlements.
Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) for a Palestinian state have not made headway because Israel is not interested in empowering Al Fatah against Hamas by offering some concessions to the Palestinian demand. The truth is that the PA is under siege in its own territory from Hamas because of Israel’s refusal to budge from its position on the borders, Jerusalem and on the question of the refugees. The Israeli prime minister is a lame duck since he is expected to leave after the elections that are coming up in February; and Hamas sneers at the PA President Mahmoud Abbas, calling him a lame duck after his four-year term expires in January. Factually, Mr Abbas no longer speaks for Gaza where Hamas dominates.
The world has not been able to stop Israel from violating the occupied territory through illegal Jewish settlements. The supposed Palestinian state is being eroded even as the world waits for the day of its inauguration. The PA recognised Israel’s right to exist long ago but the lack of progress made on peace is turning the West Bank away from that position. Hamas will not say plainly that it will ever accept the permanence of Israel. What was a possibility a decade ago is now being rolled back by the prevalence of Hamas’s understandable rejectionism.
If the idea was that Hamas would come to heel through an economic squeeze, it has failed miserably. Life in Gaza has become not very different from death and people no longer care if they live or die. They go on supporting Hamas’s rejectionism because they no longer believe that Israel will let them live or that the world in general, and the US in particular, will be able to pressure Israel into behaving humanely. The people in the rest of the Islamic world have gradually ditched the PA and adopted the desperate stance of Hamas. Iran has made Palestine its cause number one in foreign policy, and supports it materially, simply because a radical Sunni Hamas has nowhere else to go for survival.
President-elect Obama was supposed to approach Israel with the traditional American position: “two states sharing Jerusalem, with a border very close to the pre-1967 armistice line, not one that lets Israel keep its settlement blocks deep in the West Bank”. Now commentators think he may delay it beyond February. He was also supposed to change his predecessor’s tough policy on Iran, which would have had a positive effect on Palestine. But will Israel and its lobby in the US let him do it? Islamist radicals and terrorists refer to Palestine as their cause. Muslims all over the world say if you want to end terrorism, remove its causes; and the most prominent cause, they say in unison with the terrorists, is Palestine. The latest Israeli outrage has seriously dented America’s war against global terror. *
Global Indifference to Israeli Aggression
29 December 2008
The tepid response of world leaders to Israel’s ferocious attack on a defenceless Gaza conveys a helpless feeling to all world citizens — brutality rules and we are all vulnerable to attack.
EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, commented that “the EU is very concerned by the events in Gaza.”
French President Nicolas Sarkozy was quoted as saying he “strongly condemns the irresponsible provocations which led to this situation as well as the disproportionate use of force.”
Are world leaders totally ignorant of the events leading to the massive destruction of Palestinian life? Are they unaware of Israel’s provocations and shrewd manipulation of the facts which allowed them to seem innocent and carry out a diabolical plan to destroy the Palestinians? The facts are:
For two years Israel has illegally blockaded Gaza. The densest area of the world, which contains 1.5 million people, has received less than a quarter of the volume of imported supplies they received in December 2005 and has not been permitted to export many goods.
A totally paralysed economy has tried to exist with reduced fuel supplies, electrical outages and a lack of spare parts, all of which has caused hunger and severe psychological damage. Include impacts on sewage treatment, waste collection, water supplies and medical facilities.
Despite a truce between Hamas and Israel, the Israel military continued its attacks on West Bank Palestinians.
Here are some of the provocations:
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, over the last two weeks, from December 4th — 17th, two Palestinians, including a civilian were killed by Israeli forces, 10 Palestinian civilians were wounded by Israeli gunfire and three others were wounded by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. Four fighters with the Palestinian resistance, and an unarmed woman were wounded by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip. (Dec. 19, IMEMC News)
A report has Israeli forces invading Salfit, Hebron, Bilin, and Khan Younis, injuring four Palestinians, and taking 18 civilians into custody during December.
Settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron destroyed Palestinian property and attacked Palestinians after Israel Defence Forces evicted them from a building of disputed ownership. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other Israeli figures branded the settler attacks as a “pogrom” against the Palestinians.
How did Hamas react to these provocations — quite normally.
In order to continue the truce, Hamas issued two responsible demands: (1) Israel halt its devastating economic blockade of Gaza;
and (2) Israel observe a truce in the West Bank as well as Gaza.
When Israel refused to meet these humanitarian demands, Hamas refused to continue the truce, as it had promised and as Israel knew would happen. Rocket fire by militants, not clearly identified with Hamas, sent mortars and rockets into Israel. Despite the intensive barrage, not a single Israeli was killed or wounded.
So, world leaders, what do we note?
For two years the people in Gaza have been starved and left destitute by Israel actions. Israeli attacks on innocent Palestinians continue. Despite no Israelis being harmed, Israel used these harmless and rocket and mortar attacks as an excuse to obliterate the defenceless Palestinians.
Inaction of world leaders to Israel’s diabolical scheme of using deadly provocations (similar to continuing West Bank settlements) to invite retaliation, and then using harmless retaliation as an excuse for more deadly actions is paralysing.
Equally paralysing is the lack of realisation of the average American to the truth of the situation.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, considered a US ally in Beirut, described the Israeli attacks as a “criminal operation” and “new massacres to be added to its full record of massacres.”
If the United Nations, European Union and the US administration cannot listen to the Middle East region’s leaders and prevent these atrocities against the Palestinian people, what hope do the democratic and peace loving populations of the world have against tyranny and aggression?
Dan Lieberman is editor of Alternative Insight, a monthly web based newsletter. This article first appeared in PalestineChronicle.com
Gaza Carnage a Challenge to World’s Conscience
Khaleej Times: 29 December 2008
Gaza continued to burn for a second day yesterday. At a time when rest of the world including the Middle East is celebrating as it prepares to ring in a new year, the Palestinians are burying their dead.
And they are preparing to bury many more as Israel continues to expand its murderous campaign against an utterly defenceless people.
The two years of Israeli siege and blockade have already driven the people of Gaza to the brink. As we write this, nearly 300 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli blitz targeting one of the world’s most densely-populated areas.
Who is responsible for this? Of course, it’s easy to hold Israel responsible for this genocidal campaign against the Palestinians. However, it’s the world community’s indifference and criminal failure to stop Israeli aggression that is really to blame for the current campaign against Gaza, one of the deadliest over the past six decades.
If the international community had held the Jewish state to account in the past, the Palestinians wouldn’t be dying like flies today. Let alone confronting Israel, the United Nations hasn’t even been able to so much as censure it for its repeated crimes against Palestinian civilians. Why? Because the US wouldn’t allow it.
Even now when Palestinians are being exterminated in a well orchestrated campaign, the US ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad blames Hamas for the Israeli campaign. “Sequence wise”, Khalilzad pointed out in New York yesterday, “it’s the Palestinian rockets that started this!”
If we are talking of ‘sequence’ and ‘background’ why not go back further in time and examine what started those homemade, rudimentary Palestinian rockets in the first place? The answer is the Israeli occupation of Palestinian people of the past six decades and more immediately the crippling and choking siege of Gaza.
It is this unquestioning patronage and protection of Israel by big powers and the inaction of the United Nations that emboldens the Zionist regime to kill at will.
Peace will continue to elude the holy land and the Middle East at large as long as world powers and the so-called international community do not step forward to check Israel. The UN, the world body that is supposed to promote peace and protect those who cannot protect themselves, was once again endlessly debating the “situation in Gaza” yesterday asking “all sides to stop violence”! All over again, the victims are being blamed for inviting this “violence” on themselves!
It is this duplicity of big powers and ineffectiveness of the international community that encourages Israel to target a vulnerable people again and again.
The response of the Arab and Muslim world has been equally disappointing. Instead of offering a concerted and effective response to the horror of Gaza carnage, the Arabs have been looking to the UN for leadership and action. The UN in turn is dependent on the world’s reigning superpower. The emergency meeting of the Arab League to discuss the Gaza issue has been postponed until after the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Muscat, Oman that opens today.
Gulf Summit in Muscat
The GCC summit was to discuss the global economic crisis and its consequences for the region as well as the proposed Gulf monetary union. In view of the Middle East economic situation showing disturbing signs of global recession, the Gulf Arab states needed to discuss and evolve a unified response to deal with the situation. However, the summit is now likely to be preoccupied with the unfolding catastrophe in Gaza. Which is just as well. The Arab leadership now has an early opportunity to confront the issue of Israeli aggression against the Palestinians.
While the economic situation doubtless needs an early response from the region, the humanitarian disaster in Gaza demands an immediate and effective action by the Arabs. For if there’s no peace in the Middle East, no economy in the region will be able to function or progress.
The Arab and Muslim countries as well as other leading members of the international community must push the US and UN to rein in Israel and peaceful resolution of the conflict. Israel has timed this attack on Gaza rather well. It’s the holiday season in the Western hemisphere and elsewhere. In the US itself, there’s a transition of power taking place.
There’s virtually no government in Washington. In any case, little could have been expected of the Bush administration to help the Palestinians. This makes the task of halting Israeli offensive all the more challenging. The carnage in Gaza is a challenge to the world’s conscience.
‘Shock and Awe’in Gaza Strip
Arab News, Monday 29 December 2008 (02 Muharram 1430)
It is natural for us to expect that a once oppressed and persecuted people will be sympathetic and kind toward others, especially those under their control. Natural for us but not for Vladimir Jabotinsky (1880-1940), the Russian Zionist and a founder of Irgun, the Jewish terrorist organization that fought Arabs and British authorities in Mandate Palestine. “Contemporary morality has no place for such childish humanism,” said Jabotinsky leaving Palestinians in no doubt about what to expect once Jews succeeded in establishing a homeland in what was Arab Palestine.
Israel came into existence eight years after Jabotinsky’s death but those who worked for and those who took control of the Jewish state have shown unfailing fidelity to the Russian Zionist’s dictum. There was no “childish humanism” in the actions of Irgun and other Jewish terrorist outfits who fought against Arabs and the British in Palestine. There was none in Israeli actions after it came into existence in 1948 (whether the ruling party was hawkish Likud, Kadima, an offshoot of Likud or moderate Labor). Deir Yassin, Sabra and Shatila, Jenin ... it is a long list. We have seen it in various places and under various names like “Grapes of Wrath.”
What is happening in Gaza for the last two days should be seen in this context. The horrific TV images of dead and wounded Gazans can capture only a fraction of the human tragedy unfolding in a territory described as the largest open prison in the world. Warplanes pressing one of Israel’s deadliest assaults ever on Palestinians continue to drop bombs and missiles leaving a trail of death and destruction in their wake. This is barbaric and disproportionate use of force even by Israeli standards. There are reports of the hospital morgues being already full. The dead are being piled on top of each other outside morgues. Panic-stricken children and women are running helter-skelter to get away from lethal bombs and missiles.
In a way this is only the continuation of a policy Israel has always followed with regard to Palestinians. In occupied territories genocide has been taking place in slow motion, though sometimes things happen too fast. The one difference is that after Hamas took over the Gaza Strip following a short, brutal struggle with Fatah in the summer of 2007, Israel has been concentrating all its destructive fury on this land covering just 365 square kilometers.
Palestinians’ mistake (in West Bank as well as Gaza) was that they took US President George W. Bush’s sermons on democracy too seriously and voted to power a party they thought was competent and honest — Hamas, which according to Israel and its US friends, was a terrorist organization — in an internationally monitored legislative election in 2006. Israel reacted by imposing a blockade on the Gaza Strip after the Hamas takeover. The calculation in Tel Aviv and Washington was that the humanitarian catastrophe brought about by this blockade would turn 1.5 million Gazans against the Hamas. But this is not what happened just as 12 years of penalizing sanctions did not bring Iraqis into the streets in a massive anti-Saddam revolt. So what we are witnessing may be a replay of Iraq — regime change by force. There is “shock and awe” in abundant measure. And the reaction from Washington has been on predictable lines — blaming Hamas for everything. Mercifully, the US wants Palestinian civilian casualties “minimized”. But one expected a more robust and nuanced response from the UN. True, the Security Council calls for an immediate halt to the violence, but it does not mention Israel by name. As for the Arab League, it has decided to hold an “emergency” meeting day after tomorrow, four days after the Israeli onslaught. There is seething anger on the Arab street. Arab public opinion is inflamed as never before. There are stone-throwing protests across the West Bank and demonstrations in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and even as far as non-Arab Turkey.
Meanwhile, Israel would do well to remember that this overwhelming show of force will not stop the Palestinian resistance and liberation movements, led by Hamas or some others. Past operations have never achieved that goal. Even if Israel reoccupies Gaza, it will not be able to break Hamas. It has tried before, it is attempting to do so now but as in all previous attempts it will fail again. Hamas will not be cowed. If anything, there will be retaliation.
No one should be surprised, least of all Israel, if a third intifada erupts. The first two swept through the Palestinian territories after incidents not nearly as serious as what began on Friday. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says the goal of this attack is to bring about a “fundamental improvement in the security situation.”
As long as the occupation continues there will be unrest. Israel can kill all the leaders of Hamas; it can’t kill the will of a people to be free and decide their own destiny. So someone else will take the place of Hamas. What Israel means by an improved security situation is one in which Palestinians allow their free movement denied by enclosed population centres, closed borders, regular curfews, roadblocks, checkpoints, electric fences, and separation walls.
So this is the real problem, not the Hamas attacks on Israel as Israel and its allies insist. If one would like to speak of sequence and responsibility, then we must start with the economic blockade of Gaza that Israel was supposed to lift anytime during the past six months when there was some sort of a cease-fire in place. The blockade was never lifted, despite the relative peace, which led to what every world organization and agency concerned called a humanitarian crisis, now of course made much worse. When will this catastrophe end, we do not know. What we know is that even if there is a temporary truce, the Palestinian territories will continue to explode from time to time until the infrastructure of occupation is demolished.
History of Massacre After Massacre in Palestine
29 December 2008
Massacres were part and parcel of the Zionist project in Palestine. They aimed at intimidating the Arabs and make them leave the country.
Dozens of massacres were committed against the Arabs starting with the Massacre at Baldat al-Shaikh in December 1947 and not ending with the massacres in Qana in South Lebanon in 1996 and 2006. Another brutal massacre is being committed in Gaza today. Hundreds of Palestinian Arabs have been killed and/or wounded. Given below, is a list of some of the massacres committed by the Zionists since 1947:
Massacre in Baldat al-Shaikh (31 December 1947): Haganah gang members stormed the village of Baldat al-Shaikh in pursuit of unarmed citizens. The death toll was about 600 people, most of whose corpses were found inside the houses of the village.
Massacre in Deir Yassin (10 April 1948): A brutal massacre was committed in Deir Yassin: over 250 men, women and children were killed.
Massacre in Lid (11 July 1948): A commando unit led by Moshe Dayan carried out this massacre. The unit stormed the city in the evening and many of the Arab citizens of the city took refuge from the attack in the Dahmash Mosque. The Zionists reached the mosque and killed 176 civilians who took refuge to the mosque raising the victims of the massacre in Lid to 426 Palestinian Arabs.
Once the slaughter had come to an end, the unarmed civilians were led to the city’s sports stadium, where the young men were detained. Then the families were given a mere half-hour to leave the city for the area where the Jordanian Army was located. They were to go there on foot and without food or water, which caused the deaths of many women, children and elderly people.
Massacre in the Village of Eilaboun (30 October 1948): The village was attacked on October 29, 1948. The Israeli forces managed to enter the town at five o’clock am on October 30.
The people of Elabun took refuge in the two local churches where yellow and white flags of submission were flown. Marcos Daoud, the Greek Catholic priest, told the Israelis, “I put my village under the protection of the State of Israel”. The Israeli answer was as follows:
1. Thirteen young men were murdered.
2. The surviving young men were taken as PoWs.
3. The women and children were marched off to the Lebanese border under severe conditions, which resulted in many casualties.
4. Looting and desecration of the churches followed the evacuation of the village.
Massacre in Dawayma (15 October 1948): Operation Ten Plagues was launched against the Egyptians in the South. Mass murder took place in many of the towns on the southern front during the October offensive. One of the worst massacres during the offensive took place at Dawayma.
The American Consul in Jerusalem, William Burdett, had heard about the visit of the UN team to Dawayma. After making inquiries, on 6 November, he reported to Washington, “Investigation by UN indicates massacre occurred but observers are unable to determine number of persons involved”. Estimates vary considerably but probably about 300 Arab civilians were slaughtered in the town. The Massacre at Qibya (14 October 1953): The fatalities from the massacre numbered 67, including men, women and children, while hundreds of others were injured.
The Massacre at Kufr Qasim (29 October 1956): A curfew was imposed on the village of Kufr Qasim, after which a number of children and elderly people took off to inform the young men who were working in the fields outside the village about the curfew. However, the forces stationed outside the village killed them in cold blood, murdering the young men before they could reach the village. The death toll for this massacre came to 49 civilians, including a number of children and elderly people.
Massacre at Sabra and Shatila (18 September 1982): A plan had been laid to storm the Sabra and Shatila camps for Palestinian refugees in the Beirut area since the first day of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Its purpose was to weaken the Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut and force the Palestinians to emigrate outside Lebanon.
Before sundown on Thursday, September 16, 1982, the storming of the camps began. The massacre itself, which was carried out by the Lebanese kata’ib (Falangist) militia, continued for approximately 36 hours. During the operation, the Israeli army surrounded the camps, preventing anyone from entering or leaving. In addition, the occupation soldiers set off incandescent bombs by night to facilitate the militia’s mission. The Zionist soldiers also provided other logistical services to the Maronite militiamen during the massacre.
Information about the massacre began to leak out after a number of children and women fled to the Gaza hospital in the Shatila camp, where they informed doctors of what was happening. News of the massacre likewise reached some foreign journalists on Friday morning, September 17, 1982. The bloodletting went on until noon on Saturday, September 18.
Three thousand two hundred ninety-seven (3,297) men, women and children were killed within forty hours, between September 16-18, 1982. Among the dead bodies, 136 Lebanese were found; 1,800 victims were killed in the streets and alleys of the camp, while 1,097 were killed in the Gaza Hospital and 400 others in the Akka Hospital.
Commenting on the massacre, Menachem Begin described the Palestinian resistance fighters to the Israeli Knesset as “animals that walk on two legs”.Massacre at the Ibrahimi Mosque (25 February 1994): Before worshippers had completed the dawn prayer in the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, the blast of hand grenades exploding and the sound of bullet spray filled the mosque. Bullets and splinters from the grenades pierced the heads, necks and backs of the worshippers, wounding more than 350.
The crime began when terrorist Baroukh Goldstein and a group of Jewish settlers from the Kiryat Arba settlement entered the mosque. Goldstein was carrying his military machine gun and hand grenades along with large amounts of ammunition. He stood behind one of the pillars in the mosque and waited until the worshippers had prostrated, then opened machine gun fire on them. Meanwhile, others helped him load the ammunition, which included the internationally banned explosive dumdum lead. Goldstein carried out the massacre at a time when Zionist soldiers had closed the mosque doors to prevent worshippers from fleeing. They also prevented those coming from outside the mosque precincts from coming in to rescue the wounded. Later, others were shot to death by occupation soldiers outside the mosque and at the cemetery during the funeral processions of those who had been martyred in the mosque. The massacre led to fifty deaths, twenty-nine of which occurred inside the mosque.
The Massacre at Qana (18 April 1996): The Israeli artillery and helicopters shelled a shelter inside the Fijian battalion working within the UN forces in south Lebanon, using bombs which explode in the air in order to increase casualties among the ranks of civilians who might try to seek refuge in shelters. The operation led to the deaths of 160 civilians, most of them women, children and the elderly who were unable to flee towards Beirut and were thus obliged to seek refuge in the shelter at the Fijian Battalion headquarters in the Lebanese village of Qana.
Another Massacre at Qana (2006): During Israel’s ‘open war’ against Lebanon using Hezbollah’s kidnapping of 2 Israeli soldiers as a pretext, another massacre was committed by Israel in Qana. About 54 innocent Lebanese civilians, including about 37 children, were killed through an air raid.
Nizar Sakhnini is a Palestinian researcher. Courtesy: Khaleej Times.