New Age Islam
Sat Jan 16 2021, 06:15 PM


Islam and the West ( 29 Jul 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

World Media on Israel and Gaza - Part 10






Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau

30 July, 2014


On Gaza, Genocide, and Impunity

By Abukar Arman

Moral Responsibility towards Palestine

By Octavia Nasr

Gaza, Anti-Semitism and Erdogan's Discourse of Justice

By Markar Esayan

The Palestinian Predicament

By Zafar Aziz Chaudhry

Will A Ceasefire Take Hold In Gaza?

By Najmuddin A Shaikh

Gaza: No Innocent Victims?

By Alia Brahimi

Israel Should Accept Hamas’ Demands

By Rasheed Abou-Alsamh

Gaza Oh Gaza! Why Do You Cry?

By Ashfaqur Rahman

Gaza Shows the Pitfalls of Objectivity

By Jessy El Murr

The Israel-Palestine War

By Abdur Rahman Chowdhury

Method to the Gaza Madness

By S M Hali


On Gaza, Genocide, and Impunity

By Abukar Arman

27 Jul 2014

In recent weeks, Israel has unleashed what amounts to the worst one-sided barbarism against one of the world's most densely populated areas - Gaza. In the process, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pulled back the curtain to proudly show the world how, under his leadership, Israel has defeated North Korea for the rogue state par excellence award.

How else could one describe a state that is officially sustained by a belligerent apartheid system; a state that occupies the land of another and systematically carries out ethnic-cleansing; and a state that relentlessly demonstrates a rejectionist attitude toward UN resolutions, international law and institutions?

In its latest campaign of brazen aggression, Israel has caused colossal destruction of lives, homes and critical infrastructure.

The official Israeli line, often parroted by key international media groups, is that Israel had to carry out this brutal massacre as "self-defence" since three teenage settlers were kidnapped and killed by Hamas - a charge that the latter categorically denied.

Since then, it has emerged that Israel knew that Hamas was not responsible for the death of the three Israelis. Clearly Netanyahu's government had concocted a plan to create an emotionally charged atmosphere at home and abroad to smooth the way for an attack on Gaza.

Since its founding, the state of Israel has enjoyed exclusive and, indeed, absolute impunity that shielded it from international law. Hence, Israel never experienced any repercussions for its routine manoeuvres outside international norms and legal constraints that protect weaker nations from the predatory tendencies of the stronger ones. This above-the-law status - secured mainly by the US - has emboldened Israel to become the most dangerous bully in the Middle East.

'Give This Man What He Wants'

Nowhere is context more important than in understanding the impetus that drives action and reaction in Israel and Palestine.

In September 2013, Presidents Obama and Rouhani had a historic one-on-one telephone conversation to discuss issues of strategic interests. Back then Netanyahu openly expressed his dismay of being sidelined.

Netanyahu, who expressed in no uncertain terms his eagerness to attack Iran at a 2013 General Assembly meeting, was hit in the face with the reality that his Western allies did not see such military provocation in their respective national interests. Instead, they opted for a diplomatic rapprochement with Iran - something that Netanyahu adamantly opposed.

In April 2014, despite Israel's objection and threats warning against such unity, Fatah and Hamas signed an agreement to engage Israel in peace talks as a single Palestinian entity - an act welcomed by many nations including the US.

Despite Israel's claim that it faces an existential threat from Hamas, the latter has on a number of occasions expressed willingness to negotiate a long-term truce with Israel within the framework of a two-state solution to the conflict. On each of those occasions, Israel had a way of torpedoing progress.

A month after Fatah and Hamas united, Pope Francis visited both Israel and Palestine. On May 25, the Pope visited the separation wall that runs through Bethlehem. The picture of him praying at the graffiti-covered wall next to a "Free Palestine" slogan dominated the news. This simple gesture reminding the world of the plight of the oppressed Palestinian people outraged Netanyahu and his ultra-Zionist political base. Israeli journalist Caroline Glick had the following to say on this occasion: "Until this week, the Catholic Church stayed out of the campaign to dehumanize Jews and malign the Jewish state."

These three historical developments sent Netanyahu and his supporters a strong message that the world has grown profoundly impatient with Israel's never-ending "peace" talks and that it was time to get serious about peace settlement with the Palestinians.

So Netanyahu did what his mentor, Ariel Sharon, would've done under such circumstances: pull a violent trick from his hat. Israel's illogical objective is to maintain the "status quo (minus Hamas rockets)". In other words, keep the Gaza occupation, oppression, and systematic genocide to make life unbearable for Palestinians. Keep the economic strangulation and the ever-expanding land grab in the West Bank, while preaching to the international community about "the right to self-defence".

Genocide Is Something Others Do

Several years ago, I was invited by an interfaith group interested in bringing the Save Darfur "anti-genocide movement" to our local community. At our first brainstorming meeting, I raised a point that needed to be clarified.

I introduced myself as a Muslim who is profoundly pained by the atrocities committed against Darfurians by their own Muslim brothers in what was indeed genocide. Furthermore, I confessed my cynicism toward the political groupthink that galvanises people and lends them the moral clarity to selectively recognise genocide.

I talked about how the massacre in Rwanda was ignored internationally until the number of victims reached hundreds of thousands. I also pointed out the callous disinterest in the genocide in Palestine. So, I suggested we find an internationally accepted definition of genocide to get us all on the same page. Two of the committee members were assigned to find an official definition.

In our next meeting copies of the definition were distributed. I read it and I declared my unequivocal endorsement  and my commitment to be part of the movement so long as the group was willing to use that definition against any and all groups and nations that fall within its parameters. Not all agreed.

To understand why what happened in Darfur is officially considered genocide and Israel's brutal ethnic-cleansing of the Palestinian people is not, one must read Mahmood Mamdani's The Politics of Naming. As he explains: "It seems that genocide has become a label to be stuck on your worst enemy, a perverse version of the Nobel Prize, part of a rhetorical arsenal that helps you vilify your adversaries while ensuring impunity for your allies."

As much as Israel is trying to misrepresent what it is doing in Palestine and move away from the word "genocide", it is clear that its strategy is failing. While Israel has Gaza in the cross-hairs, international public opinion has Israel in its cross-hairs as well. Netanyahu must accept the fact that the Palestinian people, like their cousins - the Jewish people - are too resilient in their drive to survive and reclaim their land.

Israel has three options to choose from: To allow a free and an independent Palestinian state to form and exist side by side with that of Israel; allow a bi-national state in which both peoples would have to learn to live together as in South Africa; or keep pushing the Palestinian people against the wall till the youth snap and their wrath explodes. Keep in mind that Palestinian youth are at ground zero and they have nothing to lose!

Ambassador Abukar Arman is the former Somalia special envoy to the United States and a foreign policy analyst.


Moral Responsibility towards Palestine

By Octavia Nasr

29 July 2014

Palestinians have been struggling for a homeland for seven decades. This struggle has taken on many forms and has raged in several continents. Following a long armed struggle for the liberation of all of Palestine, it became apparent to all involved that peace is the only viable option with mutual acceptance by Palestinians and Israelis of each side’s right to exist and prosper.

At one point in history, father figures, not simple leaders, stepped in and convinced their people that it is not easy but possible to dream of security and peace. They spoke of sacrifice, reconciliation, and concessions.

In retrospect, those were unique times for the world: Polarization was not as lethal as today, and the Arafat, Hussein, Rabin blood friendship, born out of the struggle, cannot be replicated.

Had peace found a fertile ground in the early 90’s how things would have been different today!

No matter where in the spectrum of war and peace you stand, the plight of the Palestinian people cannot be a bargaining chip. Nor can it be an occasional outburst of morality when Israel raises the level of its aggression.

Gaza is indeed an open prison in which Palestinians are paying the price of Israel’s insecurity and Hamas’ desperation. When the indiscriminate Israeli killing spree and apocalyptic destruction of homes, hospitals, schools and businesses hits a raw nerve and sends us in a frenzy in defense of innocent civilians, is the moral thing to do; but without consistency and follow through, it becomes a dishonest reaction to a rightful cause.

We have a moral obligation to speak up before tragedy befalls people everywhere. Arabs have lent their blind eyes and deaf ears to Palestine for far too long. They have done the same in Iraq and Syria and other struggling countries in the region. The world simply followed their example.

Across the board, extremism is growing not only on battlefields, but among civilian populations as well. If action is not taken today towards humility and cooperation, it won’t be long before our entire world, will look a lot like Gaza.

Multi-award-winning journalist Octavia Nasr served as CNN’s senior editor of Middle Eastern affairs, and is regarded as one of the pioneers of the use of social media in traditional media. She moved to CNN in 1990, but was dismissed in 2010 after tweeting her sorrow at the death of Hezbollah’s Mohammed Fadlallah. Nasr now runs her own firm, Bridges Media Consulting, whose main aim is to help companies’ better leverage the use of social networks.


Gaza, Anti-Semitism and Erdogan's Discourse of Justice

By Markar Esayan

28 July 2014

The atrocities and genocide that the Jewish people endured during World War II deeply shook the world. For thousands of years Jews had lived in ghettoes and exile, and faced oppression and pressures due to their identity. The Jewish community in Spain, whose lives were at risk, found a safe haven in the Ottoman Empire's tolerant political system.

This sad story ended when the modern West perpetrated the Holocaust. The post-World War II world, therefore, reflected a sense of guilt toward the Jewish people. It was under such circumstances that the state of Israel was founded in 1948 and the Middle Eastern question arose. The Arabs, who were unhappy with the situation, led an unsuccessful military campaign against Israel. Over past decades, the conflict turned into a greater, more complex challenge. Obviously, it would have been best for the two aggrieved peoples to agree on a two-state solution. But that proved elusive.

Currently, we are faced with Israeli aggression against Gaza, a massive ghetto, where approximately 1,060 people lost their lives. Over 250 children, in addition to scores of women and elderly, have perished. Unfortunately, there is the problem of anti-Semitism in the world and the Palestinian conflict aggravates it. Meanwhile, a lot of people have reacted against Israel for inflicting the kind of destruction upon Palestinians that their own ancestors had to endure.

Criticizing Israel's state terror without resorting to anti-Semitism and stopping anti-Semites from diverting the world's attention from Israel's human rights violations represents a serious challenge. In other words, we need to scrutinize both anti-Semitism and the attacks on Gaza. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has thus far done a good job in this area.

Against the backdrop of the Gaza attacks, certain unpleasant statements have been made in Turkey which we all criticized in our columns. But Erdogan, a government official that evokes respect among conservatives, lending his support to the campaign against anti-Semitism marked a turning point. And to be fair, he has been quite sensitive about the issue during his entire tenure. Addressing hundreds of thousands of people, for instance, Erdogan raised the following point with good effect:

"The Jews in Turkey are our citizens, and we are responsible for the life and property of our citizens. Recently, a certain institution made heavy statements but neither our history nor the Islamic faith would condone such an approach. It was our Prophet who founded the city-state of Medina with the Jews. Therefore, we cannot act emotionally to provoke the streets. We would never stand for that. We cannot encourage nor allow outbursts."

Elsewhere, he said, "There is a shameless campaign, at home and abroad, to portray us as anti-Semites. I was perhaps the first prime minister to state that anti-Semitism was a crime against humanity, and I asked them to identify Islamophobia as a crime against humanity. At an international summit in Warsaw, we put this on the record but Europe did not act honestly or sincerely. They could not view Islamophobia as a crime against humanity, but we do and we will continue to do so whether or not they want to. Wherever we are, we will continue saying this."

Nowadays, when the world – in particular the U.S. – stands idly by as a great tragedy unfolds in Gaza, Erdogan's fair and balanced position bears additional importance. In Turkey and elsewhere, acting with immaterial political calculations does more harm than good with regard to world peace, anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism. That is, of course, if they are at all concerned about these issues.


The Palestinian Predicament

By Zafar Aziz Chaudhry

July 28, 2014

The conflict between Gaza and Israel has so far resulted in the deaths of 1,000 Palestinians and some 35 Israelis besides leaving countless injured and throwing the entire population on either side into a state of mental trauma. What sparked off this bloody confrontation was neither an ideological affront nor a territorial violation. The tragic escalation started with a minor incident. Three Israeli teenage hitchhikers were killed by Palestinian youths and, in retaliation, a young Palestinian was burned to death by Israelis seeking revenge. There is no knowledge of when this gory feud will end.

About 1.8 million Palestinians reside in the Gaza Strip, about 11 km wide and 51 km in length situated on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. Gaza city is the most densely populated area in the world with a population of 0.51 million. Gaza fell to British forces after World War I and later, as a result of the Arab-Israel War of 1948, it came under the administrative control of Egypt. It was captured by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967 but, in 1993, it was transferred to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) as a result of the Oslo Accord in return for the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) recognising Israel’s right to exist in peace. In 2007, Hamas took over the political authority of the Gaza strip. The state of Palestine is a sovereign state and has been granted the status of ‘non-member observer state’ by the United Nations, amounting to its de facto recognition as the sovereign state of Palestine.

The Palestinians at present are the most unfortunate people on earth who are not only internally riven by dissention but have few Muslim friends in their immediate neighbourhood who can lend them moral or material support. In addition, they are geographically between the devil and the deep sea, virtually keeping them locked in the siege of a hostile enemy that can, at will, impose an economic blockade and cut off their supplies, making them inaccessible to the rest of the world. Besides, there is a vast disparity in the military strength of the two and, therefore, their conflict can hardly be termed as “war”, which connotes armed confrontation between evenly poised sides. This disparity has been highlighted by Noam Chomsky, one of the most sane and objective analysts of the US, who says that, “Israel uses sophisticated assault jets and naval vessels to bomb densely-crowded refugee camps, mosques and slums, to attack a population that has no air force, no air defence, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanised armour, no command and control and no army, and calls it a war! It is not war, it is murder!” Another critic, Dan Sanches describes the disparity in arms between the Israeli war machine and Palestinian scrap metal projectiles by saying, “They [the Gazans] are like fish in a barrel, being blasted by a shotgun from above. The fish spitting water at the gunman and the US media calling it a ‘shooting battle.’”

Fate runs counter to the Palestinians. Egypt, being their immediate Arab neighbor, has always had cordial relations with the Palestinians since the time of Jamal Abdul Nasir who even provided them military aid to fight for their just cause. That support continued until Hosni Mubarak came to power. The Mubarak regime’s policy towards Gaza was generally repressive. It sided with Israel in its draconian siege of Gaza in 2006 and was fully complicit in Israel’s brutal offensive against Gaza in 2009. After the downfall of Mubarak, the Palestinians had expected that the Rafah Crossing (through which it received supplies) would be permanently opened allowing free passage of people and goods, thus eliminating the need for the tunnels connecting Gaza to Egypt.

However, the Military Supreme Council of Egypt did not change the policy of the previous regime towards Palestine but only partially and for limited hours opened the Rafah Crossing. The Palestinians did not feel appeased. After the Egyptian presidential elections, the Palestinians had high hopes that with the support of the Muslim Brotherhood their long-standing grievances would be redressed, the blockade would end, Camp David Accords would be revisited and trade with Israel would be boycotted. Nothing like that happened during the rule of Morsi who remained involved in striking a balance between the policies of the previous regime and the wishes of the military high command. Thus, under him, the Brotherhood failed to rise up to the expectations of the people on internal and external fronts. Instead of according whole-hearted support to the Palestinians, Morsi followed a pragmatic line of commitment to international agreements, forging a special relationship with the US and maintaining diplomatic ties with Israel.

The Palestinians again felt disillusioned with the new Muslim Brotherhood regime during which the blockade against Gaza was tightened, most of the tunnels were closed and even the traffic on the Rafah Crossing was brought to the minimum. The Brotherhood did not even dare to condemn the atrocities committed by Israel, regarded as manslaughter and genocide by human rights organisations all over the world.

After the military coup of July 2013, Egypt’s new ruler, al Sisi came to power. He is dead set against the Muslim Brotherhood and has therefore no soft corner for Hamas. In order to establish his legitimacy, especially in the eyes of Israel and the US, al Sisi shares all information with Israel and, in the present crisis, has not opened the Rafah passing point, even though hundreds of people are being killed in Gaza. It is anticipated that as long as Sisi remains in power, Hamas’ relationship with Egypt will continue to deteriorate. In this background, Hamas has rejected the recent Egyptian proposal of a ceasefire, suggesting demilitarisation of Hamas and, by implication, allowing Israel to continue its brutal attacks against the innocent and un-armed people of Gaza (since no conditions have been imposed on Israel). Israel is prepared under the terms to accept a ceasefire while Hamas has vehemently rejected it. Most of its allies including the Arab League, some of the Gulf States, its partner Fatah and even Iran have favoured a cease-fire.

The Arab-Israel conflict will remain unresolved as long as it is set in existential terms, meaning either Israel’s destruction or the Palestinian Arab’s exile and political non-existence. Unless both sides perceive that neither can be eliminated, they will not be ready to adopt a national framework involving a two-state solution in which Israel and Palestine partition the land and live in peace. The present predicament that unwittingly overtakes the Palestinians does point in no uncertain terms that it is the only way out of the present, uneasy co-existence. If not adopted now it will eliminate one or both sides through a process of attrition that has already taken a heavy toll on human life, besides causing un-ending torture. Presently, the Palestinians are devoid of a visionary leader and suffer the structural malfunctioning of their government. As and when such a leadership takes control of their affairs, they will be steered out of their present difficulties. Living in a perpetual state of egregious hatred, doubt and mistrust is worse than hell.


Will A Ceasefire Take Hold In Gaza?

By Najmuddin A Shaikh

July 28, 2014

The writer was foreign secretary from 1994-97 and also served as Pakistan’s ambassador to Iran (1992-94) and the US (1990-91)

As I write this piece on July 26, it appears that both Hamas and Israel have agreed to a 12-hour truce, which Secretary of State John Kerry — one of the architects of the agreement along with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Egyptians — hopes will be extended to 24 hours and then to a week-long ceasefire. So far in Gaza, according to the UN, some 870 have been killed and thousands injured while in the demonstrations on what was termed the ‘Day of Rage’ in the West Bank, another five have been killed by Israeli firing on gatherings that exceeded 10,000 in many places. Israel has yet to acknowledge responsibility but the most recent egregious example was the bombing of an elementary school under UN protection where more than 16 died and more than a hundred were wounded. On the Israeli side, 35 soldiers and three civilians have been killed.

By the time this article appears, Kerry will have met with his Turkish and Qatari counterparts along with European ministers in Paris. His purpose — to get the Qataris and Turks to persuade Hamas leaders to accept the Egyptian unconditional ceasefire proposal for a week against the promise that in this week, all parties concerned would meet in Cairo to talk about measures that could meet Hamas’s demands. The UN secretary general was clear on what was sought. He said, “First, stop the fighting. We called for a seven-day humanitarian ceasefire, extending over the Eid period, beginning with an extendable 12-hour pause. Second, start talking. There is no military solution to addressing the grievances and all parties must find a way to dialogue. Third, tackle the root causes of the crisis. The ongoing fighting emphasises the need to finally end the 47-year-old occupation, end the chokehold on Gaza, ensure security based on mutual recognition and achieve a viable two-state solution, by which Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and security side by side.”

Hamas demands that the blockades imposed on the crossings into Egypt and Israel be lifted, the prisoners rearrested after the abduction and killing of the three Israelis be released, and the transfer of funds from the West Bank or from Qatar to enable Hamas to pay its 40,000 municipal employees be facilitated. All Palestinian parties endorse the Hamas demands and are expected to meet in Cairo shortly to formalise their support.

Sameh Shoukry, the Egyptian foreign minister, claimed at the press conference that the “Rafah crossing is open continuously and at all times, but it has to be under regulation related to the Egyptian policy”. The fact is that Egypt is unlikely to lift all the current restrictions over fears of Hamas’s interference in Sinai.

Israel may be prepared under international pressure to ease the current restrictions on the six border crossings into Israel and even permit the transfer of funds. But the main sticking point will be its demand that it should not be asked to withdraw its forces until it has not only located, but also cleared all the tunnels — far more extensive than originally believed — that Hamas uses to infiltrate Israel. Hamas may agree to the seven-day truce since it would want the bombing to stop during the Eidul Fitr holidays, but beyond that it is difficult to imagine Hamas accepting the Israeli troop presence in Gaza for the weeks that Israel says it would take to eliminate all underground tunnels.

Israel’s perspective is best exemplified by Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the US, who says that all those senior statesmen concerned about casualties can be most helpful by doing nothing and permitting Israel “to crush Hamas in the Gaza Strip”.

Netanyahu said at the start of Operation Protective Edge, “there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.” This means, in effect, that there can be no independent Palestinian state. So, one is forced to conclude that all international efforts notwithstanding, the prospect for a durable ceasefire, let alone an advance towards a two-state solution, are bleak.

In these circumstances the only bright prospect is that of an increase in extremist sentiment in the Arab world.

Will this trigger the third intifada?


Gaza: No Innocent Victims?

By Alia Brahimi

27 Jul 2014

In 1894, a young anarchist left a bomb outside the offices of a mining company in Paris.  Before he met the guillotine, Emile Henri claimed that his very humanity compelled him to act the way he did, in defence of the starving and exploited men working in the mines.  But what about the innocent victims of the bombing?  "I soon resolved that question," explained Henri. "The building where the Carmaux Company had its offices was inhabited only by bourgeois; hence there would be no innocent victims."

In justification for the overwhelmingly civilian death toll on 9/11, Osama bin Laden carried forward this type of reasoning.  Also claiming to represent the oppressed, bin Laden argued that, "given that the American Congress is a committee that represents the people, the fact that it agrees with the actions of the American government proves that America in its entirety is responsible for the atrocities that it is committing against Muslims".  Thus for bin Laden, as for Henri, there were no innocent victims.

In advocating collective punishment, these alarming arguments seized on the essential quality of a whole category of people (being middle class, being an American citizen) to determine their guilt.

During Israeli's Operation Pillar of Defence in Gaza in 2012, Gilad Sharon argued along similar lines.  Sharon, the son of Ariel and the "gatekeeper" to his father during his tenure as Israeli Prime Minister, invoked Hiroshima and Nagasaki and urged the IDF to flatten all of Gaza.  "The desire to prevent harm to innocent civilians in Gaza", he wrote in the Jerusalem Post, "will ultimately lead to harming the truly innocent: the residents of southern Israel. The residents of Gaza are not innocent.  They elected Hamas… they chose this freely and must live with the consequences".

Just like bin Laden, Sharon invoked a process of democracy (elections) to egregiously violate its substance (killing civilians).  In weaponising democracy itself, he suggested that these civilians had actually done something (voting) to forfeit their right to life, in a way akin to the combatant picking up a weapon. Again, then, a whole class of people (Gazans) was not innocent.

Sharon's views, controversial as they were at the time, could not be said to be representative.  However, the worry is that a series of recent remarks betray the existence of a similar demonising mindset in some Israeli quarters, in which Palestinians can be targeted by virtue of the essential quality of being Palestinian.

The Dehumanisation of Palestinians

This mindset has been reflected in the statements of Israeli parliamentarians, one of whom deemed the enemy to be "the Palestinian people".  Ayelet Shaked, of the Jewish Home party, also posted to Facebook an article advocating killing the mothers of Palestinian "martyrs", and destroying their homes for having raised "little snakes" in them.

The deputy speaker of the Knesset and a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, Moshe Feiglin, decried the "illogical pity" Israel has for its enemies and argued against warning Gazans of impending bombings, because they were supporters of Hamas.

This mindset, of creeping dehumanisation, was also evident in the scenes of ordinary Israelis gathered on a hilltop, cheering, clapping and eating popcorn during the bombardment of Gaza. It was evident in the remarks of an Israeli scholar of Arabic literature at Bar-Ilan University, who stated that raping the wives and sisters of Palestinian fighters would deter attacks.  And it was evident, of course, in that refrain of the mobs - "Mavet La'aravim" ("Death to the Arabs") - in Jaffa, Jerusalem and elsewhere.

The major concern is that this mindset could be currently active within the political leadership, which continues the war despite global outcry over the perceived violation of international humanitarian law; within the military leadership, which has not changed its tactics in full knowledge that 1 in 4 fatalities is not only a civilian, but also a child; and among Israeli soldiers, who appear willing to deliberately kill Palestinian non-combatants, whether children playing football on the beach or a young unarmed man searching the rubble for his cousin.        

This mindset is, perhaps, both a cause and an effect of the 47-year old occupation, the longest in modern history, and the ways in which it must be continually sustained: from human rights abuses to daily harassments and humiliations; from the seven-year economic blockade of 1.8 million people to the current deployment of a military superpower against the residential buildings, schools, hospitals, mosques and disabled centres of an impoverished, captive population, 43 percent of whom are under 16.

'A Colonial War'

Just as this mindset seems psychologically necessary to uphold the occupation, so it is integral to the paradigm of "colonial war" in which, as Talal Asad described, it is proper that ethnically inferior peoples die in much larger numbers.

This dehumanising mindset jars, violently, with the claim to be civilised and so moral and linguistic gymnastics ensue, raising as many questions about the civilian death toll as they seek to answer.

We are told the civilian population is warned before Israel launches its attacks. But, under international law, do such warnings really then transform a civilian object into a military one?  Anyway, where are Gazans supposed to run?

We are told Israel doesn't kill Palestinian civilians; instead Hamas uses the population of Gaza as human shields.  But, in addition to its military wing, which uses terrorist means, isn't Hamas also a political party active and embedded in civilian life, in one of the most densely populated strips of land on earth?  Anyway, haven't we heard the human shields argument before, from the likes of al-Qaeda?

We are told any other democratic country would act in the same way if terrorists targeted its people.  But when civilians in the United Kingdom were repeatedly attacked by the IRA, did the British government bombard Catholic areas of Belfast?  Anyway, isn't the hallmark of a democratic country its restraint?

We are told Israel has an inviolable right to self-defence.  But if Israelis have the right to self-defence, don't the Palestinians also have that right, a fortiriori, given the massive imbalance of power in times of war and the raids, killings and expropriation of land in times of peace? Anyway, is it even meaningful to talk of self-defence against a population you are occupying?

Much more sophisticated questions than these have been asked of Israel's narrative, and it is likely that challenge will continue as long as the occupation thunders on. The danger, as much for Israelis as for the Palestinians, is that, as answers increasingly fail and fall flat, Israel will be forced to resolve the issue in the manner of Emile Henri: There were no innocent victims.

Dr Alia Brahimi is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. She received her doctorate from the University of Oxford in 2007.


Israel Should Accept Hamas’ Demands

By Rasheed Abou-Alsamh

27 July 2014

It is amazing that more than three weeks after the start of this Israeli aggression on Gaza, no one is discussing the proposal of the Palestinian group to put an end to hostilities. The 10 demands of Hamas are nothing extraordinary; on the contrary, they are items that have been discussed several times with Israel in the past but never implemented.

The Hamas demands include release of more than 400 Palestinian prisoners arrested by Israel after June 23 when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and allegedly killed by Palestinians; an end to the naval and land blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt, with the full reopening of border crossings, which have basically been closed for the past seven years; establishment of an international airport and seaport for Gaza, and the permanent reopening of the Rafah crossing with Egypt under UN supervision; rehabilitation of the industrial zones in Gaza; that Israel refrain from interfering with the unity government between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank; and finally, expansion of the fishing zone in the Mediterranean Sea by six nautical miles. In exchange, Hamas promises to cease all hostilities against Israel for the next 10 years.

It is ironic that Gaza did once have an international airport financed with US, Saudi and European money, opened in 1998 by US President Bill Clinton and the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the late Yasser Arafat. Palestinian Airlines had flights from the airport to Cairo, Jeddah, Amman, Dubai, Doha and Istanbul. Unfortunately, the Israelis shut the airport down after the second Palestinian Intifada broke out in September 2000, and destroyed the 2.2 mile runway in December 2001 after an attack killed four Israeli soldiers. The Israelis also bombed the radar centre. Today the airport remains in ruins, only emphasizing the sense of isolation that the Gaza population feel being cut-off from the rest of the world by the Israeli blockade of the territory.

The resounding silence that came from the Israelis and Americans to the Hamas proposal was not surprising. After all, it’s no secret that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hates Hamas, but likes to have them there in Gaza to derail peace talks with the Palestinians, and to ultimately prevent the formation of a free and independent Palestinian state, composed of Gaza and the West Bank. A radical and heavily armed Hamas launching missiles into Israel every two years, coupled with the growing number of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank, authorized by the Netanyahu government, are the perfect excuse for the Israelis to never reach a final peace treaty with the Palestinians and so leave them living under the punitive and unforgiving fist of Israel.

The Israeli columnist Ben-Dror Yemini of the daily Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper partly agrees with me, writing that Israel should accept all the demands of Hamas, and even more, in exchange for the Palestinian group to disarm. He says it is necessary to demonstrate the willingness of Israel to negotiate a cease-fire and a durable peace, especially now that Israel is suffering both in the court of international public opinion because of the more than 864 Palestinian civilians killed in Gaza by the heavy Israeli bombardment, including over a hundred children, and more than 5,700 injured.

But it is extremely unlikely that Hamas will disarm. After all, what will it win in return? An independent Palestinian state, totally free from the control of Israel? No. And besides, no country in the world would accept being totally unarmed and at the mercy of its former enemy (Israel), which has the sixth largest army in the world and nuclear weapons. These demands are unrealistic.

What we saw this week once again was the shameful support of the administration of US President Barack Obama of the brutal Israeli offensive in Gaza, using US bombs paid for by American taxpayers to kill innocent civilians. According to calculations by the UN itself, only 110 of the more than 864 Palestinians killed in Gaza so far were members of Hamas. The American scholar Stephen Walt wrote a great article on The World Post website this week saying that the only explanation for the morally bankrupt US policy of how to deal with Israel can only be explained by the power and influence that pro-Israel lobbyists, like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, have on most American politicians and the US Congress. And I have to note that there are many pro-Israel lobby groups on the Christian Right also. This has led to a paralysis of truth among American politicians, who are terrified of telling the truth when Palestinians are massacred by Israel, for fear that they will be punished by these pressure groups in upcoming elections. If an American politician has the audacity to criticize Israel publicly, do not doubt that in the next election pro-Israel lobbyists will not spare money to help competitors, funding attack ads on TV and radio.

If Israel accepted Hamas’ demands, it would force both sides to have to make efforts to show they were sincere in implementing the accord. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is enough goodwill in the Netanyahu government. It’s too hawkish and would rather play the role of victim and continuously blame Hamas for all of its problems.

 Rasheed Abou-Alsamh is a Saudi journalist based in Brazil.


Gaza Oh Gaza! Why Do You Cry?

By Ashfaqur Rahman

July 28, 2014

The Gaza Strip, or simply Gaza, is a Palestinian region on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. For 11 km, it borders Egypt in the south west. There is Israel on its east and north along a 51 km border. This small sliver of land of 360 sq km has 1.8 million people, of whom 98 % are Sunni Muslims. It generates a GDP of $ 6.6 billion and a per capita GDP of $ 6,000. Gaza has a 4,000 year history when various dynasties, empires and peoples ruled it.

Gaza expanded in the first half of the 20th century under mandatory Palestine. But after the 1948 Arab Israeli war, the population of the enclave exploded with Palestinian refugees. Israel occupied it in the Six Day war. But under the Oslo Accords Gaza was given over to the newly established Palestinian National Authority. In 2007, Hamas, a militant organisation seeking full independence from Israel, became the sole governing authority there. Israel could not tolerate existence of such an organisation so close to its territory and imposed many curbs on the movement of the people of Gaza. In 2008-9, Israel militarily attacked Gaza, killed 3,000 people and destroyed 4,000 buildings. Ever since then, Gaza has been periodically attacked by Israel to terrorise the people there.

Gaza is, therefore like, a major prison camp. The 1.8 million people who are crammed into 360 sq km are unable to move from Gaza to the West Bank or other areas and are subject to great harassment and abuse. Israel controls its airspace, territorial water and border crossings. Only Gaza's border with Egypt is open.

There is asymmetrical killing in Gaza too. More Palestinians are killed by Israeli rocket fire than the number killed by Hamas missiles. Thirty or more Israelis have been killed this time round against 800 or more Gazans killed till yesterday.

Since 2006, Israel has been 'collectively punishing' the people of Gaza for electing a Hamas government. It considers Hamas a 'terrorist organisation' bent on doing away with illegal Israeli settlements along Gaza border. These settlements remain a direct threat to the security of the Gaza people. Israel has stopped supply of all daily essentials to the Gazans; simple things like coriander, ginger and even daily newspapers are not allowed in.

Due to this lack of supply of fresh food the children in Gaza are the most malnourished in the world. Together with this, the unemployment rate in Gaza is over 50% of the population. How can Israel claim to be a democratic country when it oppresses children and young men and women by denying them basic opportunities? Today, 30% of the people of Gaza are below the poverty line. The world has silently tolerated Israeli aggression on the people of Gaza with bated breath. The only crime that the people had committed was to elect a government of their choice.

So what is likely to take place in the coming weeks in Gaza? There is no doubt that more Gazans are likely to be killed by Israeli bombs, ground assault and deadly projectiles. More blood will be spilt and more humanitarian suffering for the people of Gaza is in store. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has clearly said that in spite of the great odds, the Palestinian and Hamas fighters have made gains against Israel. He now seeks a humanitarian truce but is not willing to agree to a ceasefire until the plight of the Gazans is eased. Hamas clearly wants the Israeli forces to lift the blockade they have around Gaza. It is willing to suffer unless the humanitarian aspects of the plight of the Gazans are mitigated.

All this puts the Israelis and the US in a serious bind. They want a quick end to the war as it is causing too much bad publicity for them. US Secretary of State John Kerry is shuttling between various Arab countries asking them to put pressure on Hamas. The US and Israel both consider Hamas a terrorist organisation and therefore do not talk directly to them. Hamas rejects any proposal that does not come to it directly from Israel or the US. The cease fire brokered by Egypt recently, therefore, failed in a few hours. Hamas was not consulted. Hamas also remains in a dilemma. There is much blood letting and loss of lives of civilians. How long it can bear the brunt of this oppression is also matter of serious concern to Hamas.

An interesting development has been that Hamas has been able to inflict increasing losses on the Israeli military. Already, over 40 military men have been killed. This is making the military realise that the hostility cannot be allowed to persist. Another development is the banning of flights to Tel Aviv airport by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This is a body blow to the Israeli economy as tourism to Israel has already dropped and the economy has started to suffer. Hamas, by use of its missiles, has been able to threaten the air space of Israel and close it down. However, the FAA ban is likely to be lifted, if it has not already been. But Hamas has shown that it has the deadly capability to cripple the Israeli economy if it needs to.

Israel has also discovered that Hamas has dug many more underground tunnels between its borders and Egypt, and is able to smuggle sophisticated arms and ammunition into Gaza. The tunnels are also much more undetectable. This has sent fear through the spine of the Israelis. Finally, Hamas missiles are now long distance and getting increasingly accurate. This is keeping the entire Israeli population at bay.

For the first time in many decades the people of Gaza are seeing some hope for their future. If they are able to force the Israeli to agree to more humanitarian terms to a cease fire, and also if effective steps can be ensured to stop attacks on Gaza, there is every reason for the Gazans to stop crying and face the Israeli attacks a little longer to break the back of the camel. So don't cry Gaza, let us see the end of the conflict. This could be the silver lining that had eluded the Gazans for so long.

Ashfaqur Rahman is a former Ambassador and a commentator on current affairs.


Gaza Shows the Pitfalls of Objectivity

By Jessy El Murr

Jul. 28, 2014

I am not a Muslim. I am not a Palestinian nor do I have Palestinian relatives. In fact, as a journalist, I have yet to enter Gaza despite having reported from many countries. I am, however, a Lebanese-American Western-educated journalist who chooses to have some views – and now to express them – on the current Israeli offensive in Gaza. At the risk of being labeled “biased,” I will explain why I’ve decided to do so. Working for a 24-hour news network, I wish I could now be in Gaza reporting on the high death toll and severe humanitarian crisis there. But for the moment, my network relies on Gaza-based correspondent for its coverage. So, since the start of the offensive, I took to Twitter and followed every related hashtag: #Gaza, #IDF, #Hamas, #Israel and #Gazatestimonies.

I figured I can at least be in Gaza in the virtual sense.

What I saw on Twitter was a parallel battlefield: a ferocious war of words and images complete with fighters, officials, activists, aggressors, propagandists and fabricated headlines. Oh and journalists too. Lots and lots of international journalists.

Like many, I was horrified by the photos of headless Palestinian children entering Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza. Elsewhere, the chilling and gruesome scenes of tiny lifeless body parts in the rubble sickened me.

But having worked in Washington D.C. for major international networks, including the BBC, I have always been advised against using images of dead children in my reporting. Images as these, I was told, are quickly dismissed as propaganda by some Western readers and many outlets. This may affect my image as an “objective” and unemotional journalist. So, for years, I succumbed. I shied away from using “graphic” images in my reporting and stuck to a sterile version of storytelling.

But something in this so-called “war” has changed my mind about what it means to be “objective” in approaching an aggression on such a grand scale. And I am not the only one.

When NBC’s Middle East correspondent Ayman Mohyeldine witnessed the Israeli killing of four Palestinian boys playing on a Gaza beach on July 16, he tweeted about it. He used words such as “emotional” “unbelievable” and “horror” in his tweets describing scenes of the boys’ family at the morgue. His network pulled him out of Gaza almost immediately after the incident, citing security concerns. NBC then announced it would send another correspondent to Gaza to replace Ayman.

The Twitterati then came to Ayman’s rescue and launched a fierce campaign on his behalf. Thousands of tweets poured in questioning NBC’s decision and demanding an explanation for what seemed an attempt to influence the seasoned journalist’s work. Other American media outlets picked up on the story and NBC found itself in the hot seat.

Guess where Ayman is now? He was sent back to Gaza and he’s tweeting away on the carnage.

No such luck for CNN’s Diana Magnay. She used the word “scum” in a tweet to describe a group of Israelis who were threatening to attack her if she said anything “wrong” about Israel. Although she deleted the tweet, her network pulled her out of Israel and sent her to Moscow.

Despite all this, I still think the definition of “objective” journalism is changing in Western media. Facing such atrocities as the ones witnessed in Gaza on a daily basis, journalists find it increasingly difficult not to use descriptive words or tweet photos previously frowned upon by their networks.

Objectivity no longer means that a journalist cannot express what it feels like to see a headless child, or a grieving father who lost all his children in an Israeli attack. And some major American networks with Middle East correspondents are just now coming to this realization. After all, a reporter without any views comes across as no more than a robot with a mounted camera.

No journalist phrased it better than British television reporter Jon Snow, who’s currently inside Gaza. He tweeted, “Were any other country on Earth doing what is being done in Gaza, there would be worldwide uproar.”

Tweets like these have a profound impact on public opinion. With almost 250 million current Twitter users, has tracked more than 4 million tweets with the hashtag #GazaUnderAttack, compared to 200,000 with #IsraelUnderFire. What does that say about the current media war between Israel and Gaza?

Since the start of the Israeli invasion in Gaza I have been continuously asked where I stand on the issue as a journalist. I have even been ridiculously labeled a “mouthpiece for Islamists” and a “Jew hater” just for speaking against the ongoing butchering of Palestinian children. I resisted answering until today.

As a journalist, I am witnessing a terrible atrocity taking place in an area many non-governmental organizations have rightfully described as “the world’s largest open-air prison.” Gaza is almost half the size of New York City with nearly 2 million Palestinians trapped and under siege.

I wish I could report from inside Gaza. But until that day comes, I will responsibly report what I see and read through my tweets, where I continue to connect with doctors on the ground in Gaza who show me photos of overloaded mortuaries and horrific scenes of bloodbaths and crimes history will judge.

Almost everything you watch and read about Gaza today has a parallel dimension on Twitter.

There, many wrongs are made right and many other wrongs, well, remain wrong for now. But on Twitter I don’t hide my views because of my profession as a journalist. I actually have views because of it.

Jessy El Murr is a SKY News Arabia journalist currently based in the United Arab Emirates. This commentary, written for THE DAILY STAR, expresses her own views.


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 solutions 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 solutions 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.


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.