LA Times – “Israel Can’t Bomb Its Way to Peace” by Rosa Brooks – 4 Jan 08:
Ehud Barak, Israel’s Labor Party defense minister, and Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister from the centrist Kadima party, are both contenders for prime minister in Israel’s Feb. 6 national elections. A show of ‘toughness’ against Hamas could help Labor and/or Kadima beat back the right-wing Likud Party of Benjamin Netanyahu, which has been leading in the polls. Meanwhile, outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who faces corruption charges, has just a few weeks to restore his own tattered reputation.
Adding to the time pressure is U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s upcoming inauguration. As long as President Bush was in the White House, Israel could count on a U.S. administration that wasn’t merely ‘supportive’ of Israel but blindly, mindlessly so. Obama may be less willing to offer Israel blank checks. Thus this New Year’s military offensive, timed for the crucial window before Israeli elections and Obama’s swearing-in.
In a strictly military sense, Israel will ‘win’ this battle against Hamas. For all its threats and bravado, Hamas is weak, and its weapons — terrorism, homemade rockets — are the weapons of the weak. Since 2001, Hamas has fired thousands of unguided Kassam rockets at Israel, but the rockets have killed only a handful of Israelis.
Israel’s military, in contrast, is one of the most modern and effective in the world (thanks in part to an annual $3 billion in U.S. aid). Israel can easily bottle up the tiny Gaza Strip and its 1.5 million people. On Saturday, the first day of the offensive, Israeli bombs killed at least 180 Palestinians. By Wednesday, the Palestinian death toll exceeded 390.But if there is no reason to doubt Israel’s ability to pulverize Gaza, there’s also no reason to think this offensive will improve Israeli security. Destruction of Hamas’ infrastructure may temporarily slow Hamas rocket attacks, but sooner or later they’ll resume.… [read the full article]
counterpunch.org – “Israel’s Dogs of War: A Defining Moment for the Human Rights Movement” by Sonja Karkar – 2 Jan 08:
If that description offends readers, then ethnic cleansing might be more palatable a term, or genocide used to such chilling effect in the last half century, although its focus was never the Zionist plan to cleanse Palestine of its people. The crimes and guilt run the full gamut of planning, executing, collaborating, watching and pretending that one does not see. Ah, watching and pretending – they are the reasons that the perpetrators of history’s horrors can carry out their deeds at all. Only when it is all over, do we whimper “we just didn’t see” and then more brazenly, “never again” until it suits us to remain silent once more.
We have seen such massacres before: Deir Yassin, Lydda, Sabra and Shatila, Jenin, Beit Hanoun and many more. While Israel serves up the same shabby reason for its dastardly deeds – security – it double dips and reduces one part of Palestine to rubble, and with the world looking on and distracted, it grabs more land from another part of Palestine to consolidate its illegal settlement project in the occupied West Bank.
A world conditioned to genocide of systematic wholesale slaughter and mass graves, finds it difficult to accept genocide in slow motion. However, the immense suffering of Palestinian dispossession, displacement, transfer, exile, occupation, collective punishment and mass imprisonment, is constantly drowned out by Israel’s claim to unending victimhood built on the legacy of the holocaust – a different time, a different place, different people and different narrative.
Since then, all is manufactured: God’s design, the clash of civilizations, ‘the war on terror’. We have heard over and over again the clarion call of democracy, security and liberty being sounded over the corpses of people who have been denied their basic human rights and justice. And shamefully, the two-faced, craven accomplices of the Arab world sit on the sidelines hoping that these human sacrifices will appease the real lords of the puppet states they rule. Like Pontius Pilate, they wash their hands of sixty years of associated guilt by reciting pious platitudes while concerned only with their own crumbling puny seats of power. How little is the lesson learned from history, if at all – when one is expendable, so will others be also. Their time will come, but not before rivers of blood flow into the sea of Gaza.… [read the full article]