Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 06, 2008

Gaza - From Worst Towards Even Worse

There was a time when I thought Latuff's cartoons where over the top. Not so anymore. This one really catches the combined content of the two news items below.


Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip has created the worst humanitarian crisis since the Israeli occupation began in 1967, aid and rights groups said on Thursday.
Israel imposed restrictions on the flow of people and goods and virtually froze economic activity last June when Hamas Islamists seized control of Gaza.

It tightened the blockade in January, limiting supplies of fuel and other goods in what it described as a response to cross-border rocket fire by militants.
Gaza humanitarian crisis worst in 40 years-report, Reuters, March 6, 2008


Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai told Army Radio earlier that "the more Qassam (rocket) fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves."
Senior Israel defense minister warns Palestinians of shoah, Reuters, Feb. 29, 2008

The complete NGO report via Oxfam GB -  The Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Implosion (pdf).

It does not cover the daily attacks and killings in Gaza. Quite a few snippets of these are copied here in The Daily Palestinian. Take a look. If you browse through those keep in mind that 'militant' is simply the codeword for 'male of possibly military age'.

For mor on Gaza see also yesterdays piece: Bush/Dahlan Putsch against Abbas?

Posted by b on March 6, 2008 at 12:58 UTC | Permalink


William Pfaff: The Desperate Choices before Israel, the Palestinians, and the U.S.

The stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians, which implies collapse of the American policy commitment to a two-state solution of their conflict, is now all but complete.
The choice made by Israel’s Olmert governmwnt has been familiar one of trying to destroy all resistance -- and as in Lebanon (twice), and now again in Gaza, it is getting them nowhere.

The sheer desperation of the Israeli leadership at what may be called the trap they deliberately walked into, when they decided to take and keep the Palestinian territories in 1967, was made keenly evident February 29 when the vice minister of defense, Matan Vilnai, warned that the rockets being fired from Gaza could bring down a “shoah” on the Palestinians in retaliation. His press people hastily claimed mistranslation; the word in Hebrew does not, they said, mean in Israel what it means everywhere else.
Stalemates never last. There are alternatives. The Palestinians could throw themselves into what might be called the Final Intifada -- an act of collective nihilism. The Israelis could accept the bitter need to negotiate with Hamas.

Or the Israelis could go home. They could shut down the colonies, withdraw all their settlers and their troops, and go back behind their 1967 borders. The could even build a new wall on those borders. Then their future and permanence as a Jewish state could be assured. They might expect eventually to lose all, or most, of their enemies.

But this, today, remains what I referred to as the unthinkable solution.

Posted by: b | Mar 6 2008 14:05 utc | 1

Hmm - this will carry quite some weight. It is a big warning from the finance world to Bush and Olmert!!!

The Financial Times Editors(!) calls for: Ceasefire for Gaza

Israeli attempts to isolate Hamas after its 2006 election victory, stepped up since the Islamists took over Gaza last summer, have in practice become a siege that punishes 1.5m Gazans. That strengthens Hamas and gradually makes it impossible for Mr Abbas to treat with Israel. True, Israel is reacting to barrages of primitive rockets fired out of Gaza. But hundreds of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli bombardments, while the UN agency that has to feed more than three quarters of Gazans says the blockaded territory is being “intentionally reduced to a state of abject destitution”, encouraged by the international community.
Inflicting “collective punishment” on civilians is prohibited by international law.

The US, helped by the mediation of its Arab allies such as Egypt or Saudi Arabia, should seek an immediate ceasefire from both sides – and an end to Israel’s siege of Gaza.

The policy of isolating Hamas must end: if there is ever going to be a solution to this conflict, Hamas (as polls show two-thirds of Israelis recognise) has to be a part of it.

Hamas and Mr Abbas’s Fatah must mend their fences and restore a government of national unity ahead of new elections (as polls show Palestinians want).

Clearly, Hamas would have to accept a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza with Arab east Jerusalem as its capital. But only as a result of creating such a state should it have to recognise Israel.

Posted by: b | Mar 6 2008 17:31 utc | 2

Shoah, however you wish to define it, is a destructive response to a stalemate. A symptom.

What got Israel to this stalemate is a dreadful word and concept that no one in Israel will admit is at the core of Israeli policy.

Lebensraum. The magical right of Israel to expand its borders. Israel's manifest destiny.

Israel is committed to not only pursue an apartheid society, but to expand the territory of that society.

Posted by: Hobson | Mar 6 2008 19:50 utc | 3

Badger translates a report from a recent Israeli Security Cabinet meeting

The televised report cited high-level security sources as saying Barak intends to plan for the removal of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the northern Gaza Strip, namely from the region that the resistance uses for the launch of these rockets, and to move them toward Gaza City and to confine them there.
The reporter said that once [or if] the plan becomes operational, it would start immediately: In the first stage there would be a drop of leaflets advising residents to leave their homes, in addition to special radio announcements in Arabic directed to the residents, and in the event residents didn't obey the warnings, the occupation army would begin bombing the inhabited areas, in order to compel them to leave their homes and go to Gaza City.

The Council [of Ministers], which met yesterday after the departure of the American Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, stressed that they did not agree with previous army planning for [only] a partial end to the Qassam rockets. And the Council decided to target the leaders of Hamas, political and military alike, and to desroy every symbol of Hamas authority in the Gaza Strip.

Posted by: b | Mar 7 2008 9:34 utc | 4

Collective punishment - again:

Israel Imposes West Bank Curfew After Seminary Attack (Update2)

Israel imposed a curfew on the West Bank and restricted access to Muslims praying in Jerusalem's Old City after a Palestinian killed eight Israeli seminary students.
The restrictions on the movement of West Bank Palestinians went into effect at 1 a.m. today and will only be lifted with the approval of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the army said in an e- mailed statement.
The killer was a resident of Jabal Mukaber, an area inside the city's municipal boundaries, and had an Israeli identity card, Rosenfeld said by telephone.

So a guy from inside Israel kills some folks (possibly for personal reasons as he had worked in the place before) and Israel shuts down the West Bank.

Collective punishment ...

The other (intended) effect of course - no negotiations and a further degration of Abbas standing.

Posted by: b | Mar 7 2008 20:27 utc | 5

Maybe this fellow was a copycat on the tragic terror spree of Baruch Goldstein

Sometimes I think the human race is rapidly devolving into something obscene.

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Mar 8 2008 10:35 utc | 6

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