Posts Tagged ‘Abbas’

Prof. Noam Chomsky’s extended response to Obama’s Cairo Speech: Palestine-Israel, U.S. presence in the Middle East, U.S. rejectionism, and the Newspeak cover for no change in the U.S. quest for ‘global dominance’. (more…)

In 2002, then-president George W. Bush (like his father and many other presidents) tossed ‘brave rhetoric’ around while signing checks to Israel. His rhetoric was as fresh and promising as President Obama’s this week in Cairo,  in that it wasn’t. (more…)

IPS: Under international law, including various UN Security Council resolutions, the settlements are built illegally on Palestinian land. Nevertheless Israeli settlement building on the West Bank has accelerated at an unprecedented rate in the last few years. (more…)

India national magazine Frontline interviews Prof. Chomsky on the post-Gaza situation in Palestine-Israel and the region. (more…)

Israel paper of record’s analysis of its relations with Hamas. (more…)

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Turkey PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the Palestine-Israel conflict and the process for peace in the Middle East. Israel Pres. Shimon Peres’ response was refused adequate rebuttal by the moderator and PM Erdogan walked off the stage, pledging never to go to Davos again, and headed back to Turkey. (more…)

Obama’s forceful reiteration of Israel’s right to defend itself is another exercise of cynical deceit — though, it must be admitted, not unique to him, but virtually universal. (more…)

al Jazeera special on Israel’s occupation of Gaza after official withdrawal in 2005 and Hamas retaliation leading up to the Gaza Massacre in 2008 and current war and panel analysis of the war through its third week. (more…)

(more…) – “Rationalizing Gaza: How They Do It” by Justin Raimondo – 05 Jan 09:

We all know the rationalization for Israel’s brutal invasion of the Gaza Strip. After all, it’s been reiterated endlessly over the airwaves by official and unofficial spokesmen for the Israeli government, on all channels, and with no rebuttal or skeptical perspective from Palestinians or, indeed, from anyone vaguely sympathetic to their plight. Their argument goes like this: if rockets were coming from Mexican territory and landing in San Diego, posing a threat to the life and safety of American citizens, we all know what would happen.

This is supposed to settle the question of the morality of the invasion, but it doesn’t. Because what we are seeing in this argument is a variation on the old cherry-picking technique of the neocons in the Bush administration, who utilized “talking points” that were very selective in their presentation of the facts to make the case for invading Iraq.

What the rationalizers leave out, of course, is the ongoing blockade of Gaza, imposed after Hamas took control in the wake of its overwhelming election victory – and an attempted (and partially successful) coup d’etat by the losers of that election, the Fatah organization of the late Yasser Arafat (now headed up by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas). The blockade itself was an act of war, by which the Israelis struck the first blow.… [read the full article] – “Orwell, Blinding Tribalism, Selective Terrorism, and Israel/Gaza” by Glenn Greenwald – 4 Jan 09:

Former McCain-Palin campaign spokesman and current Weekly Standard editor Michael Goldfarb notes that Israel, a couple of days ago, dropped a 2,000-pound bomb on a Gazan home which killed a top Hamas leader . . . in addition to 18 others, including his four wives and nine of his children. About the killing of those innocent civilians, Goldfarb writes (h/t John Cole via email):

“The fight against Islamic radicals always seems to come around to whether or not they can, in fact, be deterred, because it’s not clear that they are rational, at least not like us. But to wipe out a man’s entire family, it’s hard to imagine that doesn’t give his colleagues at least a moment’s pause. Perhaps it will make the leadership of Hamas rethink the wisdom of sparking an open confrontation with Israel under the current conditions.”

That, of course, is just a slightly less profane version of Marty Peretz’s chest-beating proclamation that the great value of the attack on Gaza is to teach those Arabs a lesson: “do not fuck with the Jews.”

There are few concepts more elastic and subject to exploitation than “Terrorism,” the all-purpose justifying and fear-mongering term. But if it means anything, it means exactly the mindset which Goldfarb is expressing: slaughtering innocent civilians in order to “send a message,” to “deter” political actors by making them fear that continuing on the same course will result in the deaths of civilians and — best of all, from the Terrorist’s perspective — even their own children and other family members.

To the Terrorist, by definition, that innocent civilians and even children are killed isn’t a regrettable cost of taking military action. It’s not a cost at all. It’s a benefit. It has strategic value. Goldfarb explicitly says this: “to wipe out a man’s entire family, it’s hard to imagine that doesn’t give his colleagues at least a moment’s pause.”

That, of course, is the very same logic that leads Hamas to send suicide bombers to slaughter Israeli teenagers in pizza parlors and on buses and to shoot rockets into their homes. It’s the logic that leads Al Qaeda to fly civilian-filled airplanes into civilian-filled office buildings. And it’s the logic that leads infinitely weak and deranged people like Goldfarb and Peretz to find value in the killing of innocent Palestinians, including — one might say, at least in Goldfarb’s case: especially — children.… [read the full article]

After 393 are reported dead and over 1,600 wounded, Israel rejects immediate, US included, globally endorsed cease-fire as a “band-aid” that is not “durable.”

As pro-war rallies continue across Israel, the Israeli government has announced that it will reject the 48-hour ceasefire proposed yesterday to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to the Gaza Strip. Labeling the truce as ‘unrealistic’, the attacks on the strip will continue unabated.

“There’s no such thing as a ‘humanitarian ceasefire’,” one aide to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert insisted. “Gaza is not undergoing a humanitarian crisis.” But the situation on the ground tells a different story; with hundreds dead and thousands wounded, hospitals are running short on space and supplies. Food was already in short supply before the attacks began, and the destruction of the smuggling tunnels which had been Gaza’s sole source of imports from the outside world since Israel began barring humanitarian shipments has only made matters worse.

On the other hand, Israel said it would allow 2,000 tonnes of food into the strip later today and the UN plans to renew food distribution tomorrow. How easily this will proceed with most civilians scared to leave their homes amid the continuing attacks remains to be seen. Israel will also allow dozens of Gazans to leave for treatment, but only the “chronically ill,” not the casualties of the ongoing war.

Israel is beginning to allow a “handful of reporters” into Gaza to cover the war.

In Gaza, which ‘not undergoing a humanitarian crisis,’ the UN estimates “a minimum of 25 percent of all those killed are civilians and it may well be far higher” (and this does not include civilian police officers) after what “Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told President Shimon Peres on Tuesday that the aerial phase of the operation is ‘the first of several’ phases of attack that have been approved” that has no timetable.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (left) responds (29:21):

Mahmoud Abbas told the Palestinians in a television address on Wednesday that Israel’s bombardment was “barbaric and criminal aggression”.“The most important obligation is to rally the forces, nationally and regionally, to end the barbaric and criminal Israeli aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip,” he said.

Abbas, who had been criticised for blaming rival faction Hamas for provoking the Israeli attacks, and accused of colluding with Israel over the operations on Gaza, said he “would not hesitate to put negotiations to an end if they come into conflict with our interests”.

“Peace does not mean humiliation or surrender,” he said in the recorded address. “Our people are still equipped with more options.”

al Jazeera English: “Iran Urges Arabs to Act on Gaza”:

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, has told the Arab League it should take action “quickly” to end the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Speaking on Wednesday as Arab ministers met in Cairo, Ahmadinejad warned that setting up committees and making speeches would not be an adequate response to the offensive that has killed nearly 400 Palestinians.

“If the Arab League does not want to do anything today, when does it want to act?” he told a rally in Zahedan in southeast Iran, the Reuters news agency reported.

Ahmadinejad did not suggest what action Arab leaders should take.

“Aren’t these oppressed Palestinians Arabs? So, when should the capacity of the Arab League be used? The Arab League should act quickly,” he said.

The Iranian leader also criticised the United Nations’ response to the assault on Gaza.

“To which nations does this UN belong? This security council is for the security of which part of the world?” he said.

Iran is just the latest to accuse Israel of genocide. An Israeli Ambassador has accused Iran for fueling Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

Without any sympathy for Pres. Ahmadinejad’s policies and tactics, we have not held back in our criticism of the UN Security Council, as I wrote when Israel was preparing for the Gaza Attacks:

Escalated violence between Israel and Hamas will put the US and the UN in a corner were Hamas soldiers to receive support from Syria, Lebanon, and Iran to counter Israel’s support by the West. This anticipated support has brought on Russia’s support for the Palestinians after diplomatic efforts by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Were Israel to strike Gaza, the UN Security Council would become an even faster growing house of conflicting interests.

Daily Kos

After Pres.-elect Obama announced his ‘carrot/stick’ policy in regards to Iran, I noted:

… two concerns of Mr. Obama are [Iran’s] funding of terrorist organizations [and] their threats against Israel are contrary to everything we believe in.

What Mr. Obama fails to mention is that:

From this angle, Iran’s nuclear compliance displays extraordinary restraint in a nuclear world. (Dare I say it!)

Given the recent sympathy for Israel’s attacks on Gaza, it’s impossible to not revisit this as the UN calls for violence to halt and an official calls the situation, “disastrous.”

Britain and US support for Israel’s attacks on Gaza is sold to the public as an attack on a terror group, Hamas, as public protests around the world from Yemen to Chicago rise up. Without sympathizing with the policies of Hamas and their violent tactics, were the tables turned and Israel were launching rockets on Gaza while Israelis are oppressed and the Palestinians in violation of international law regarding borders, which would be the ‘terror group’ in the media?

The question remains: why is Israel held to a different standard and why is this double standard accepted in life-death conditions? Why are people of a community attacked as if their State is an aggressor? Hamas is the influential party of the Palestinians in Gaza, but Fatah is still the ruling party of the nation and is condemning Hamas for not extending their truce with Israel.

I’m not grasping at straws of moral relativism here. This is the US legal definition of terrorism:

Section 2331. Definitions

As used in this chapter –

(1) the term “international terrorism” means activities that –
(A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that
are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of
any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed
within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State

(B) appear to be intended –
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by
intimidation or coercion
; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass
destruction, assassination, or kidnapping
; and

Israel’s human rights violations and Hamas’ rocket attacks fit this definition. Considering that Israel is a State in the UN breaking international law, those afflicted would be justified to defend themselves, but attacking civilians also fits this definition, whether it’s Hamas rockets or Israeli air strikes.

On LBC TV (Lebanon), Prof. Noam Chomsky explores this double standard of classifying terrorism back in 2006 from our “Noam Chomsky on Palestine-Israel” playlist (10:38):

For more on the Palestine-Israel conflict, Lebanon, Hamas, Hizbollah, and the Middle East, Robert Fisk’s lecture “War, Geopolitics, History: Conflict in the Middle East” is highly recommended.

Reuters reports nearly 290 dead in Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Fikr Shallpoot, a health worker and resident in Gaza, spoke to BBC News about attacks in Gazan residential areas that she witnessed there:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blames Hamas for not extending truce:

“We have warned of this grave danger,” [Abbbas] said in Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday.

“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.”

However, Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said he was “surprised” by Abbas’s claim.

“He downplayed the sufferings of our people in Gaza and belittled their pains, providing justification of the holocaust and war waged by Israel,” he said.

Outside of the political football between Fatah and Hamas, with Russia pleading with Israel to end attacks for aid to enter Gaza while Britain and the US refuse to make demands on Israel, there are 1.5 million Gazans in limbo with Egypt border guards opeing fire on those seeking refuge. Israel’s Newspeak assault seems to be in high gear.

Israel, vowed to continue attacks, is mobilizing tanks in preparation for a ground assault. Former Israeli UN Ambassador, Danny Gillerman, spoke to Al Jazeera English the UN called for all military actions in Gaza to end:

The Higher Follow Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel held a meeting today and left with this message:

  • Considering the Israeli aggression against Palestinians in Gaza an assault against Palestinian People everywhere and our duty is to resist it and break the siege.
  • Recognizing Israel and its political and security forces as a criminal state committing acts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity against our people in the Gaza Strip. This with the assurance that the current Israeli parliamentary election campaign is fueled by the Palestinian bloodshed.
  • Saluting the determination and will of Palestinian people in the face of the aggressive Israeli scheme to break their steadfastness and human dignity.
  • Condemning the international complicity with the official Israeli aggression, and considering its silence and complicity as partnership in the crime. the meeting also stressed the absolute rejection of holding the Palestinian people or the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) responsible for the situation and while exempting Israel from its total responsibility.
  • Calling upon the international community to take its legal and moral responsibility, to sanction Israel and boycott it as a state that pursues terrorism, war crimes and crimes against humanity with premeditation.
  • Condemning Arab Official complicity used by Israel to cover for its predefined aggression and condemning the general Arab weakness and calling them to shut down their embassies in Israel and boycott it. We call upon Egypt to open all crossings with Gaza and break its siege.
  • Condemning the complying Arab and Official political voices which held the Palestinian leadership in Gaza responsible for the Israeli aggression and calling the head of the Palestinian National Authority to immediately stop the negotiations with Israel used to further fuel the Palestinian split in the West Bank and in Gaza.
  • Assuring the call for national Palestinian unity and its total support of the Palestinian struggle and resistance in the face of Israeli aggression.
  • Paying tribute to the heroic steadfastness of our people and supporters in the Arab world and elsewhere and the masses in the homeland that stood in the face of the bloody aggression and supported the steadfastness in Gaza.
  • Calling on the masses of our people to exercise the highest degree of readiness to contribute, on individual and collective levels, in the national relief campaign, which includes the donation of medical supplies, food and blood donation in support of Gaza and in contribution to the breaking of the siege.
  • Calling on the masses of our people and supporters in the world to share the worry and to have more readiness to escalate the struggle in order to defeat the Israeli aggression and provide protection for our heroic Palestinian nation.