Saturday, January 03, 2009

Gaza and the world: Will things ever change?
By Ramzy Baroud

"In times of crisis, most Arabs watch the news. Sometimes it’s comforting for the truth to be stated the way it is, with all of its gory and unsettling details, without blemishes and without censorship. When Israel carried out massive air strikes against Gaza on Saturday, December 27, terrorizing an already hostage and malnourished population, I too tuned in to Arab satellite channels.
Within seconds I learned of the tally: 290 deaths and climbing, with 700 more wounded, all in one day. But as dramatic as this event may have seemed – the highest Israeli inflicted death toll in one day in Palestine since Israel’s establishment in 1948 – there was nothing new to learn. Tragedies anywhere - natural or manmade – tend to lead to social, cultural, economic and political upheavals, revolutions even, that somehow alter the social, cultural, economic and ultimately political landscapes in the affected regions, save in Palestine.
I gazed pointlessly at the screen. Learning of the aftermath of such tragedies seems more of a ritual than a purposeful habit. The Arab and international responses to the killings can only serve as a reminder of how ineffectual and irrelevant, if not complacent their timid mutterings are.
Once again the US blamed Palestinians, and the Hamas “thugs” using words that defy logic, such as “Israel has the right to defend itself.” The statement remains as ludicrous as ever, for a country like Israel with an army that possesses the world’s most lethal weapons, including nuclear arms, cannot possibly feel threatened by an imprisoned population whose only defense mechanism are fertilizer-based homemade rockets. While Israel has killed and wounded thousands of Palestinians in Gaza (one thousand on Saturday alone) a handful of Israelis have reportedly died as a direct result of the Palestinian rockets in years. Do numbers matter at all?
European governments chose their words carefully, “expressing concern”, “calling on Israel to use restraint” and so on. Arab governments were, as usual, distracted with trivialities, protocols and easily lost sight of the crisis at hand.
Then, the same, ever predictable outbursts began. Passionate callers from all over the world called various TV and radio stations in the Middle East and shouted, yelled, cried, vented, called on God, called on Arab leaders, called on all of those with “living conscience” to do something. In turn, audiences too cried at home as they listened to the heated commentary and watched footage of heaps of Palestinian bodies throughout the Gaza Strip.
The passion soon spilled to the streets of Arab capitals, of course under the ever-vigilant eyes of Arab police and secret services. Flags of U.S. and Israel, and in some cases Egypt were sat ablaze along with effigies of Bush and Israeli leaders.
‘Rising up to the occasion’ some Arab governments declared, with much hype their intention to send an airplane or two of medicine and food to Gaza, a few boxes clad with the donor country’s flag, flashed endlessly on local media. Meanwhile, news reports spoke of Palestinians attempting to flee the Gaza prison into the Sinai desert. They were met with decisive Egyptian security presence at the border.
Strangely enough, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas remained faithful to the script, despite Gaza’s unprecedented tragedy. On Sunday, he blamed Hamas for the bloodbath. "We talked to them (Hamas) and we told them, 'please, we ask you, do not end the truce. Let the truce continue and not stop", so that we could have avoided what happened."
Was Mr. Abbas informed of the fact that Hamas hasn’t carried out one suicide bombing since 2005? Or that the ‘truce’ never compelled Israel to allow Palestinians in Gaza access to basic necessities and medicine? Or that it was Israel that attacked Gaza in November, killing several people, claiming that it obtained information of a secret Hamas plot?
Even stranger that while Abbas has chosen such a position, many Israelis are not convinced that the war on Gaza was at all related to the Hamas’ rockets, and is in fact an election ploy for desperate politicians vying for Israel’s dominating right wing vote in the upcoming February elections. In fact, the Israeli design against Gaza had little to do with the ‘escalation’ of the rocket attacks of mid December.
"Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public - all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces "Cast Lead" operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip," wrote the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz on December 28, which also revealed that the plan had been in effect for six months.
"Like the U.S. assault on Iraq and the Israeli response to the abduction of IDF reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser at the outset of the Second Lebanon War, little to no weight was apparently devoted to the question of harming innocent civilians," said Haaretz.
And why should Israel devote a moment to the question of harming civilians or violating international law or any such seemingly irrelevant notions – as far as Israel is concerned - as long as their “Palestinian partners”, the Arab League, or the international community continue to teeter between silence, complacency, rhetoric and inaction?
By Thursday, January 1, the death toll climbed to 420, according to Palestinian medics and news reports, and over 2000 wounded. A doctor from a Khan Yunis clinic in Gaza told me on the phone, “scores of the wounded are clinically dead. Others are so badly disfigured; I felt that death is of greater mercy for them than living. We had no more room at the Qarara Clinic. Body parts cluttered the hallways. People screamed in endless agony and we had not enough medicine or pain killers. So we had to choose which ones to treat and which not to. In that moment I genuinely wished I was killed in the Israeli strikes myself, but I kept running trying to do something, anything.”
Until Arab countries and nations translate their chants and condemnations into a practical and meaningful political action that can bring an end to the Israeli onslaughts against Palestinians, all that is likely to change are the numbers of dead and wounded. But still, one has to wonder if Israel kills a thousand more, ten thousand, or half of Gaza, will the US still blame Palestinians? Will Egypt open its Gaza border? Will Europe express the same “deep concern”? Will the Arabs issue the same redundant statements? Will things ever change? Ever?"

As i read this, a well-coiffed female CNN reporter asks a chief palestinian negotiator who is askign for a cease-fire, "you were given 6 months of cease-fire and you still had political divides between Hamas and the palestinian authorities so why should you be given another cease-fire?"
Anyone else finds this question insane? Is stopping the kilings and the atrocities a luxury that this largely irrelevant reporter cannot grant?

I don't think anything will even change. I might live to see the end of this, or not. I might witness a total ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian race but like Baroud said, even is a thousand, tens of thousands are killed, even when no Palestinian flags are allowed in the anti-war protests by the Israeli government, even when nothing is been done, how do you wipe out a nation? how do you kill a culture? a history? you simply cannot. There will always be a Palestine as long as there are Palestinians. Palestine will always be in our hearts and in our culture and in our conscience.
After all the Jews are living proof that you cannot wipe a people, are they not?


Zee said...

Sinister, but well written article.

Anonymous said...

Coexistence will happen in the West Bank but this Gaza op. is an example of what SHOULD happen when one of the parties involved does not want to negotiate. The dismantling of settlements was supposed to end the rocket fire, right??? Guess what? It got worse.
When speaking of civillian casualities and Palestinian deahts, no one mentions King Hussein killed more Palestinians in September of 1970 alone than Israel had put together since 1948. Why? Because he was an Arab too. Who killed all those Palestinians in Sabra and Shatilla? Ariel Sharon did. No Lebanese were involved.


Lirun said...

i think you can refer to arab massacres of arabs when you discuss the hipocracy.. thats valid.. but not as a moral standard for us to judge ourselves by..

as an israeli - i cant agree with that..

Anonymous said...

Hypocracy IS the standard and that's the problem. It's not about killing, it's about who is killing who. It always has been.


Anonymous said...

The Sick Sentiments of one snudley...quite sick indeed.

You are so pathetic. It is whiners like you that help create the ugliness in this world. Especially in that part of the world called


You know...the LAND YOU STOLE.

And TELL the TRUTH about what sharon REALLY did for Gaza concerning those dismantled settlements!

israel left Gaza a much worse Gulag, an open air prison, the TRUE death camp of this world.

FACT: In the first ten months after butcher sharon announced his decision to dismantle the colonial settlements, israeli forces killed 563 Palestinians in Gaza, whereas during the previous ten months 264 were killed. For the occupied, death itself is routine.

The withdrawal was a HOAX. your israeli Occupation Farces erected three-line-fences equipped with barbed wire along the israeli border with Gaza ...built a water barrier along the borders with Egypt.

THe withdrawal was a HOAX.... two more fences erected, parallel to the already existing fence on one side of Gaza Strip.

The withdrawal was a HOAX: tell people the the truth about the seven-metres-high cement walls built in some areas behind the fence, equipped with watchtowers and remotely controlled guns, sensor devices and reconnaissance cameras erected at a distance of 70 to 150 metres from this already existing fence.

Your settlement withrawal was a HOAX, SCAM, SMOKESCREEN:

israel couldn't have a jewish majority, no annexation, not with over a million Palestinians and just 8,000 ILLEGAL israeli squatters. And brutally crushing the resistance of Gaza was too expensive for American-paid-for-"israel".

It was much EASIER and CHEAPER to turn Gaza into a FENCED PRISON, control all movements in and out of it, and share the job of controlling the armed resistance with the P.A. itself.

3 BILLION was given to israel for this withdrawal HOAX - some of that money used to lure abbas and his p.a. weaklings to help IOF control Gaza's resistance.

israel-USA gov. loves it easily- paid-for-traitor Arabs. You couldn't survive without them. Even the American billions isn't enough.

- Rhiannon

Anonymous said...

ariel sharon - among other israeli terrorist militants - worked and devised with the Lebanese Maronites to slaughter over 3,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.


King Hussein was bought and paid for with usa money. Gee, what do you suppose that means?

Look at Arab traitor Mubarek of Egypt today!

There's your answer.

- Rhiannon

Anonymous said...


Sorry, your ilk looked at the 2007 withdrawal "hoax" as a victory, like in Lebanon in 2000. Israel knows who it's dealing with, not a peace-loving people in Gaza. Egypt wanted everything back in 1979 BUT Gaza. Wonder why? That one bearded goon of Hamas even sent his own son on a suicide mission. Most Egyptians fear the Gaza beardies that are closely linked with Osama. How does it feel to be on the same side as bin Laden Rhiannon?


Anonymous said...

Playing the "Bin Laden" card?

EH? Snud?

Oh yes, the good ole "Bin Laden" tapes, courtesy of CNN! LOL!

Well, by your estimation, you little small-minded gossip goon, I am on the side of a mysterious unmarked gravesite, shrouded in secrecy.

Bin Laden has been dead for many years. Your mafia ilk at all the major TV / Radio networks, ZIO-JEW owned and operated, keep him alive.

It's a sensational story to keep the zombie Americans satisfied, but a false one, indeed.

Btw...the withdrawal HOAX / SCAM / SMOKESCREEN occurred in the summer of 2005. Even little you should know that.

- Rhiannon

Zee said...

Why do you always get so hissy - Rhiannon and smack everyone over the head?
Of course Bin Laden (who is dead) and his followers have nothing to do with Ghazza and the present Israeli devastating bombings and incursions, everyone knows that.

The Ghazza problem is not a Ghazza problem. It is a general Palestinian issue that includes all of Palestine. You know my approach towards this issue Rhiannon, so I don't have to further explain myself.

Zee said...

... and by the way Rhiannon, why don't you get your own blog in order to discuss issues there?!?

Anonymous said...

From Rhiannon:

I am not the hissy one. Your "Ghandi approach" is LUDICROUS. I suggest you use the "Ghandi approach" on yourself to undo the hissy reactions toward my comments. I have not asked you to explain anything further.

FYI - The biggest mass murderer of our time - THE MEDIA - zionist operated and OWNED.

Anonymous said...

The Egyptian officer killed by Hamas militants is a martyr

Perhaps. But what about the Egyptian soldiers who were killed by Israeli fire across the Egyptian-Palestinian border? In the period between 2004 and 2008, at least eight Egyptians were killed along Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip. They were buried in silence, no reverence, no attention.

In contrast, heroes are made of the Egyptian victim of Hamas; prime media time is generously offered to highlight the agony of the deceased’s loved ones and a military funeral is held in honor of “the brave officer who was safeguarding Egypt’s sacred land.”

In other words, Egyptian bloodshed at the hands of Israeli Apachi helicopters and F-16s is cheap and neglected. But hostile Palestinian bullets are an opportunity to legitimize Egypt’s antagonistic stance toward Hamas and mobilize people against it.

Double-standards reveal hypocrisy and reflect policy too; the crimes of Israel are forgiven because Israel is an ally, Hamas is a foe. No wonder the Israeli commentator Zvi Bar’el wrote in Haaretz that following the Egyptian media gives the impression that the real war is between Egypt and Hamas, not Israel and Hamas.

President Mubarak spelled out his intentions when he told a European delegation that “Hamas must not be allowed to win,” a statement which the regime was quick to deny.

The bloodbath on Egypt’s doorstep is a reminder that Israel comprises the real threat to Egypt’s national security, not Hamas. But the strategic calculations of the nation have been overshadowed by the narrow interests of a ruling elite.

Nael M. Shama, PhD, is a political researcher and freelance writer based in Cairo.

- Rhiannon

Zee said...

Look Rhino, there is a root to every problem - and there is a rot in some roots.
The Palestinian/Israeli situation (rotten root) will never be found out or solved in my lifetime, not by negotiations, not by treaties, not by force...
But it will solve itself in the end, simply by demographics, when Jews become the minority on their dedicated soil.

Anonymous said...

From Rhiannon:

the rot is the foreign policies of the USA/israeli entity.

That, dear Watson, is the rotted root.

"their dedicated soil"...what a bizarre choice of words. mean DEADicated.

Zee said...

...I was sure I would amuse you with "dedicated soil" Rhiannon.
Perhaps Moses should be resurrected and lead the "chosen people" again, to Texas this time and skip Egypt.

Anonymous said...

It is a well-written post. I liked it. Keep sharing!

This is Joshua from Israeli Uncensored News