You force an escort 110 civilians into a building. You lock them in and then you bomb the building. Then for a few days you do not allow anybody around there.... About 50 died that way. This is what happened in Zeitoun. The bodycount is at almost 800; the kids killed more than 200 by now. Fortunately the Israeli death toll is just six. Yesterday a friend and colleague at an Italian online magazione called Nuvole to which I participate www.nuvole.it sent the technical description of the Kassam. Practically a rudimentary cylinder of iron filled with some explosive. Something better the European armies probably had already in World War 1. Hamas has probably about 2000 of those. No wonder that the deathtoll produced in years of use of these rokets is lower than the number of fatalities from car accidents in one saturday night....Compare: Israel has 875 fighting jets, and 3800 tanks plus an estmated 400 nuclear weapons. No wonder that Gaza is a carneage. I found pappe's article posted by Spano' as a comment to my yesterday's post very important. It has a political analysis, and a strategy both academic and political. I urge everyone to read it. Pappe's book on the history of zionist ethnic cleansing is a must-read for anybody interested to pierce the ideological veil... Of course it is too loaded by sacrosanct outrage to work as an analysis for purpose of writing a plaintiff's brief. I attach down here a very "balanced" reconstruction of the events that might do it!
No Military Solution In Gaza
On Dec. 27, 2008, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched a series of air strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. Israel's offensive came in response to rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza into Israel, terrorizing the inhabitants of nearby Israeli towns. By Dec. 29, "the biggest air assault on Gaza since 1967" had killed as many as 300 Palestinians. Rejecting calls for a cease-fire, Israeli government officials said Israel "would push ahead with its air, sea and ultimately ground operation," which one senior military official described as "making Hamas lose their will or lose their weapons." In addition to shutting down Hamas's ability to launch rocket and mortar attacks, Israel aimed to destroy the smuggling tunnels between Egypt and Gaza used by Hamas to resupply with weapons. On Jan. 3, IDF ground troops and tanks entered Gaza, "cutting the coastal territory into two and surrounding" Gaza City. Hamas remained defiant, continuing the rocket attacks, though in smaller numbers. Five days later, the Palestinian death toll topped 700 people, with the IDF deaths at nine. Yesterday, the U.N. aid agency halted work, saying its staff was at risk from Israeli forces fighting Hamas militants, after two drivers were killed. Emergency workers "rescued 100 trapped survivors and found between 40 and 50 corpses in a devastated residential block south of Gaza City that the Israeli military had kept off-limits to the International Committee of the Red Cross for four days." Today, both Israel and Hamas rejected a U.N.-proposed truce, which passed by 14 votes to zero, with the United States abstaining.THE END OF A SHAKY TRUCE: The new round of fighting came after the expiration of a shaky and frequently ignored six-month cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Under the terms of the the Egyptian-brokered agreement, Hamas was to halt attacks on Israeli border communities, and Israel was to end raids on Gaza and allow more goods and people through its border crossings, which Israel had sealed after Hamas took over the territory in June 2007, in a violent conflict against its rival Fatah. While the truce brought a drop in violence, neither side was entirely satisfied. A number of rockets had been intermittently fired into Israel, and Israel also carried out a number of incursions into Gaza. Palestinians said that "the truce didn't benefit Gaza, mainly because the crossings hadn't been opened, leading to widespread shortages of basic goods." The main sticking point on the opening of crossings is the question of who will man them. Israel, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority do not want the crossings controlled by Hamas. Israel unilaterally withdrew its settlements from Gaza in 2005, but maintained control over Gaza's border. Hamas obtained political power after successfully competing in elections in early 2006, though Israel and the United States refused to recognize Hamas's victory. The Hamas rocket attacks resumed in force in mid-December.
A HUMANITARIAN IMPLOSION: Even before the current round of fighting, the situation in Gaza was dire. In Nov. 2007, Oxfam International reported "an increasing risk to public health in Gaza as water and sanitation services begin to buckle under the strain of Israel's restrictions on fuel, vital maintenance goods and spare parts into Gaza." The situation for 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is worse now than it has ever been since the start of the Israeli military occupation in 1967. In March 2008, a coalition of humanitarian organizations released a report entitled The Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Implosion. The report stated that "the current situation in Gaza is man-made, completely avoidable and, with the necessary political will, can also be reversed." In a January 2008 interview with Middle East Progress, Nidal al-Mughrabi, Reuters senior correspondent in the Gaza Strip, said "the sanctions have led to more radicalism in the Strip. Hamas and other religious movements have used this environment and the pressure to their advantage. Instead of lobbying the people against Hamas, Israel, and the United States are moving the people behind Hamas." THE NEED FOR A LASTING RESOLUTION: There is a desperate need for a sustainable cease-fire agreement that provides both for Israeli security and takes significant steps toward ameliorating the condition of Palestinian civilians, possibly by re-opening Gaza crossings under international monitoring. As Center for American Progress Senior Fellows Mara Rudman and Brian Katulis presciently wrote in 2007, the strategy of "isolating Gaza puts Israel, Egypt, and the region at greater risk and ignores an international obligation to the 1.4 million people living in a small enclosed area of 360 square kilometers (25 miles long, six miles wide), who did not choose this fate, regardless of how they may have voted in the 2006 elections." The Middle East has changed in significant ways since 2000, but the events of last several weeks once again show the need for greater U.S. engagement, along with international community and regional partners, to support and empower Israelis and Palestinians to finally reach something more than just a temporary truce.
"The number of miners killed on the job in the United States fell to 51 in 2008, the fewest number of deaths since officials began keeping records nearly a century ago."
FLORIDA: State's response to the recession: "If you're poor, don't get sick."
ARIZONA: Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff contemplates a "surge" of civilian, and perhaps even military, law enforcement on the border with Mexico.
WISCONSIN: University of Wisconsin Hospital is proposing to open an abortion clinic.
THINK PROGRESS: President Bush: I liberated America's school children.
WONK ROOM: Paper finds global warming clobbers developing countries, but the Heritage Foundation looks for silver lining.
YGLESIAS: The costs of inaction on health care reform.
MEDIA MATTERS: Fox News's Brit Hume falsely claims that "everybody agrees...that the New Deal failed."
"It has not been defined in law."
-- National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell, 1/8/09, on waterboarding
"I don't think you have to have a lot of knowledge about the law to understand this technique violates Geneva Convention common article three, the War Crimes statutes, and many other statutes that are in place."
-- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), 10/31/07