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> Gaza's darkness, By Gideon Levy


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Posted: Sep 4 2006, 07:38 PM
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While the news media focused on the destruction of Lebanon by Israel, the assault on Gaza was kept out of the front view.

QUOTE
Gaza's darkness
By Gideon Levy
04/09/2006 
QUOTE
Gaza has been reoccupied. The world must know this and Israelis must know it, too.
It is in its worst condition, ever.

Since the abduction of Gilad Shalit, and more so since the outbreak of the Lebanon war, the Israel Defense Forces has been rampaging through Gaza - there's no other word to describe it - killing and demolishing, bombing and shelling, indiscriminately.

Nobody thinks about setting up a commission of inquiry; the issue isn't even on the agenda. Nobody asks why it is being done and who decided to do it. But under the cover of the darkness of the Lebanon war, the IDF returned to its old practices in Gaza as if there had been no disengagement. So it must be said forthrightly, the disengagement is dead. Aside from the settlements that remain piles of rubble, nothing is left of the disengagement and its promises. How contemptible all the sublime and nonsensical talk about "the end of the occupation" and "partitioning the land" now appears. Gaza is occupied, and with greater brutality than before. The fact that it is more convenient for the occupier to control it from outside has nothing to do with the intolerable living conditions of the occupied.

In large parts of Gaza nowadays, there is no electricity. Israel bombed the only power station in Gaza, and more than half the electricity supply will be cut off for at least another year. There's hardly any water. Since there is no electricity, supplying homes with water is nearly impossible. Gaza is filthier and smellier than ever: Because of the embargo Israel and the world have imposed on the elected authority, no salaries are being paid and the street cleaners have been on strike for the past few weeks. Piles of garbage and obnoxious clouds of stink strangle the coastal strip, turning it into Calcutta.

More than ever, Gaza is also like a prison. The Erez crossing is empty, the Karni crossing has been open only a few days over the last two months, and the same is true for the Rafah crossing. Some 15,000 people waited for two months to enter Egypt, some are still waiting, including many ailing and wounded people. Another 5,000 waited on the other side to return to their homes. Some died during the wait. One must see the scenes at Rafah to understand how profound a human tragedy is taking place. A crossing that was not supposed to have an Israeli presence continues to be Israel's means to pressure 1.5 million inhabitants. This is disgraceful and shocking collective punishment. The U.S. and Europe, whose police are at the Rafah crossing, also bear responsibility for the situation.

Gaza is also poorer and hungrier than ever before. There is nearly no merchandise moving in and out, fishing is banned, the tens of thousands of PA workers receive no salaries, and the possibility of working in Israel is out of the question.

And we still haven't mentioned the death, destruction and horror. In the last two months, Israel killed 224 Palestinians, 62 of them children and 25 of them women. It bombed and assassinated, destroyed and shelled, and no one stopped it. No Qassam cell or smuggling tunnel justifies such wide-scale killing. A day doesn't go by without deaths, most of them innocent civilians.

Where are the days when there was still a debate inside Israel about the assassinations? Today, Israel drops innumerable missiles, shells and bombs on houses and kills entire families on its way to another assassination. Hospitals are collapsing with more than 900 people undergoing treatment. At Shifa Hospital, the only such facility in Gaza that might be worthy of being called a hospital, I saw heartrending scenes last week. Children who lost limbs, on respirators, paralyzed, crippled for the rest of their lives.

Families have been killed in their sleep, while riding on donkeys or working in fields. Frightened children, traumatized by what they have seen, huddle in their homes with a horror in their eyes that is difficult to describe in words. A journalist from Spain who spent time in Gaza recently, a veteran of war and disaster zones around the world, said he had never been exposed to scenes as horrific as the ones he saw and documented over the last two months.

It is difficult to determine who decided on all this. It is doubtful the ministers are aware of the reality in Gaza. They are responsible for it, starting with the bad decision on the embargo, through the bombing of Gaza's bridges and power station and the mass assassinations. Israel is responsible now once again for all that happens in Gaza.

The events in Gaza expose the great fraud of Kadima (olmert's party): It came to power on the coattails of the virtual success of the disengagement, which is now going up in flames, and it promised convergence, a promise that the prime minister has already rescinded. Those who think Kadima is a centrist party should now know it is nothing other than another rightist occupation party. The same is true of Labor. Defense Minister Amir Peretz is responsible for what is happening in Gaza no less than the prime minister, and Peretz's hands are as blood-soaked as Olmert's. He can never present himself as a 'man of peace' again.

The ground invasions every week, each time somewhere else, the kill and destroy operations from the sea, air and land are all dubbed with names to whitewash the reality, like 'Summer Rains' or 'Locked Kindergarten.' No security excuse can explain the cycle of madness, and no civic argument can excuse the outrageous silence of us all.

Gilad Shalit will not be released and the Qassams will not cease. On the contrary, there is a horror taking place in Gaza, and while it might prevent a few terror attacks in the short run, it is bound to give birth to much more murderous terror. Israel will then say with its self-righteousness: 'But we returned Gaza to them.'

http://signs-of-the-times.org/signs/editor...27sdarkness.php




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~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
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Posted: Sep 5 2006, 12:25 AM
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QUOTE
Genocide in Gaza
By Ilan Pappe
Information Clearing House
09/04/06
QUOTE
Nothing apart from pressure in the form of sanctions, boycotts and divestment will stop the murdering of innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip.

A genocide is taking place in Gaza. This morning, 2 September, another three citizens of Gaza were killed and a whole family wounded in Beit Hanoun. This is the morning reap, before the end of day many more will be massacred. An average of eight Palestinian die daily in the Israeli attacks on the Strip. Most of them are children. Hundreds are maimed, wounded and paralyzed.

The Israeli leadership is at lost of what to do with the Gaza Strip. It has vague ideas about the West Bank. The current government assumes that the West Bank, unlike the Strip, is an open space, at least on its eastern side. Hence if Israel, under the ingathering program of the government, annexes the parts it covets - half of the West Bank - and cleanses it of its native population, the other half would naturally lean towards Jordan, at least for a while and would not concern Israel. This is a fallacy, but nonetheless it won the enthusiastic vote of most of the Jews in the country. Such an arrangement cannot work in the Gaza enclave - Egypt unlike Jordan has succeeded in persuading the Israelis, already in 1948, that the Gaza Strip for them is a liability and will never form part of Egypt. So a million and half Palestinians are stuck inside Israel - although geographically the Strip is located on the margins of the state, psychologically it lies in its midst.

The inhuman living conditions in the most dense area in the world, and one of the poorest human spaces in the northern hemisphere, disables the people who live it to reconcile with the imprisonment Israel had imposed on them ever since 1967. There were relative better periods where movement to the West Bank and into Israel for work was allowed, but these better times are gone. Harsher realities are in place ever since 1987. Some access to the outside world was allowed as long as there were Jewish settlers in the Strip, but once they were removed the Strip was hermetically closed. Ironically, most Israelis, according to recent polls, look at Gaza as an independent Palestinian state that Israel has graciously allowed to emerge. The leadership, and particularly the army, see it as a prison with the most dangerous community of inmates, which has to be eliminated one way or another.

The conventional Israeli policies of ethnic cleansing employed successfully in 1948 against half of Palestine’s population, and against hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank are not useful here. You can slowly transfer Palestinians out of the West Bank, and particular out of the Greater Jerusalem area, but you cannot do it in the Gaza Strip - once you sealed it as a maximum-security prison camp.

As with the ethnic cleansing operations, the genocidal policy is not formulated in a vacuum. Ever since 1948, the Israeli army and government needed a pretext to commence such policies. The takeover of Palestine in 1948 produced the inevitable local resistance that in turn allowed the implementation of an ethnic cleansing policy, preplanned already in the 1930s. Twenty years of Israeli occupation of the West Bank produced eventually some sort of Palestinian resistance. This belated anti-occupation struggle unleashed a new cleansing policy that still is implemented today in the West Bank. The Gaza imprisonment in the summer of 2005, which was paraded as an Israeli generous withdrawal, produced the Hamas and Islamic Jiahd missile attack and one abduction case. Even before the abduction of Giald Shalit, the Israeli army bombarded indiscriminately the Strip. Ever since the abduction, the massive killing increased and became systematic. A daily business of slaying Palestinians, mainly children is now reported in the internal pages of the local press, quite often in microscopic fonts.

The chief culprits are the Israeli pilots who have a field day now that one of them is the General Chief of Staff. In the 1982 Lebanon war, the Israeli airforce issued orders to its pilots to abort missions if within 500 square meters of their target they spotted innocent civilians. Not that these orders were kept, but the pretense for internal moral consumption was there. It is called in the Israeli airforce, the “Lebanon Procedure” [Nohal Levanon]. When the pilots asked a year ago if the “Lebanon procedure” is intact for Gaza, the answer was no. The same answer was given to the pilots in the second Lebanon war.

The Lebanon war provided the fog for a while, covering the war crimes in the Gaza Strip. But the policies rage on even after the conclusion of the cease-fire up in the north. It seems that the frustrated and defeated Israeli army is even more determined to enlarge the killing fields in the Gaza Strip. There are no politicians who are able or willing to stop the generals. A daily killing of up to 10 civilians is going to leave a few thousand dead each year. This is of course different from genociding a million people in one campaign - the only inhibition Israel is willing to undertake in the name of the Holocaust memory. But if you double the killing you raise the number to horrific proportions and more importantly you may force a mass eviction in the end of the day outside the Strip - either in the name of human aid, international intervention or the people’s own desire to escape the inferno. But if the Palestinian steadfastness is going to be the response, and there is no reason to doubt that this will be the Gazan reaction then the massive killing would continue and increase.

Much depends on the international reaction. When Israel was absolved from any responsibility or accountably for the ethnic cleansing in 1948, it turned this policy into a legitimate tool for its national security agenda. If the present escalation and adaptation of genocidal policies would be tolerated by the world, it would expand and used even more drastically.

Nothing apart from pressure in the form of sanctions, boycotts and divestment will stop the murdering of innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip. There is nothing we here in Israel can do against it. Brave pilots refused to partake in the operations, two journalists - out of 150 - do not cease to write about it, but this is it. In the name of the holocaust memory let us hope the world would not allow the genocide of Gaza to continue.

Ilan Pappe is senior lecturer in the University of Haifa Department of political Science and Chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian Studies in Haifa. His books include among others The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (London and New York 1992), The Israel/Palestine Question (London and New York 1999), A History of Modern Palestine (Cambridge 2003), The Modern Middle East (London and New York 2005) and forthcoming, Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006)

Copyright © 2006 palestinechronicle.com

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article14830.htm




--------------------
QUOTE
"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
~ Buddha
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