Friday, January 9, 2009

A very dear friend is writing an excellent poem/song, to deal with the frustration and horror at what is happening in Gaza... and to hopefully move people to feel things they should feel at this disgusting display of human cruelty.

I am afraid I can't be as articulate. The frustration cripples the mind, and the outrageous and vicious statements made everyday to justify the slaughter of civilians is beyond comprehension.

Some lives are more precious than others, and it is so savagely clear in these bloody days.
The Casualties

More than 200 Palestinian children killed, so far.
3 United Nations Schools where civilians were finding refuge are hit, even though their coordinates were known.
More than 700 Palestinians killed, so far
Thousands injured
Medics targeted
The Gaza Community Mental Health Programme was bombed
UN Aid workers shot at
11 Israelis dead 8 of them soldiers, so far.
The Talking Points

Anyone who has heard the Israeli spokespeople in the media is bound to have realized that they have a set of talking points that they stick to no matter what question they are asked. Here are some responses and refutations of those arguments:

Palestine's Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood- Fom the Huffington Post

"Israel has tried to take the initiative in the propaganda war over Gaza but, in one important instance, its version has been seriously challenged". BBC
One of the talking points/sound bites is that Hamas broke the ceasefire two weeks before the war on Gaza:

Gaza truce broken as Israeli raid kills six Hamas gunmen The Guardian, NOV 5th 2008

"Hamas had respected the previously negotiated ceasefire except when Israel used the ceasefire as cover to make assassination raids against Hamas and other Palestinian leaders" Rabbi Michael Lerner

CNN video on Israel breaking the ceasefire

"Israel's military and political leadership took many aggressive steps during the ceasefire that escalated a crisis with Hamas" Foreign Policy in Focus
Another sound bite is that Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005 so the Palestinians have nothing to complain about...The Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem has this to say:

"Israel issued an order declaring the end of the military government in the Gaza Strip, and claimed that it was no longer responsible for ensuring the proper functioning of life there. However, Israel continued to control the air and sea space, movement between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (also via neighboring countries), the population registry, family unification, and the crossing of goods to and from Gaza . Also, residents of the Gaza Strip rely solely on Israel for its supply of fuel, electricity, and gas. Until 28 June 2006, an independent electric-power station operated in the Gaza Strip, producing about one-half of the electricity needed by the residents in the Strip. The station relied completely on fuel and gas from Israel. On 28 June, Israel bombed the electric-power station. Since then, residents of the Gaza Strip have relied completely on Israel for their electricity."
Another sound bite involves the idea that civilians are being avoided:

"Have we forgotten the 17,500 dead – almost all civilians, most of them children and women – in Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon; the 1,700 Palestinian civilian dead in the Sabra-Chatila massacre; the 1996 Qana massacre of 106 Lebanese civilian refugees, more than half of them children, at a UN base; the massacre of the Marwahin refugees who were ordered from their homes by the Israelis in 2006 then slaughtered by an Israeli helicopter crew; the 1,000 dead of that same 2006 bombardment and Lebanese invasion, almost all of them civilians?

What is amazing is that so many Western leaders, so many presidents and prime ministers and, I fear, so many editors and journalists, bought the old lie; that Israelis take such great care to avoid civilian casualties"
Robert Fisk. The Independent

"Israel's use of white phosphorus airburst shells over the densely populated Gaza Strip came under fresh criticism last night for endangering civilians."
The Guardian

"In a scathing statement, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) accused the Israeli army of failing to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded"

[The Israeli Foreign minister Tzipi] "Livni rejected on Thursday a French proposal for a 48-hour truce to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, saying there was no humanitarian crisis in Strip.
Livni said Israel had been careful to protect the civilian population and had kept the humanitarian situation in Gaza "completely as it should be".


And yet:

"The European Commission on Sunday called on Israel to respect international law and allow access to people "suffering and dying" in Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip." AFP

"I have never previously felt so despondent about Israel, so shamed by its actions, so despairing of any peace that might end the dominion of the dead in favor of opportunity for the living."
Roger Cohen, The International Herald Tribune

"Many kids have stopped eating. They are inactive, they barely talk, they cling to their parents all the time," said Sajy Elmaghinni, who works for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Gaza.

"Four exhausted children have been discovered cowering in a house next to the bodies of their mothers by staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross" The Guardian

"The major news outlets meekly accepted Israel's banning of journalists from entering Gaza as an excuse for downplaying collateral civilian casualties" The Nation
And then:

"Israel pushed ahead with its offensive in the Gaza Strip today, ignoring a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. " The Independent

In Images
Photos of the attacks:
The Huffington Post

The massacre of children in Gaza
News footage from french channels
The 19 month blockade of Gaza, an exchange between the two sides.
Clips from a film about life in Gaza: Occupation 101
UN Official outside Gaza Hospital
A Palestinian woman not allowed out of Gaza to get cancer treatment

"Al-Jazeera, based in Qatar, has four correspondents in Gaza and its bulletins are broadcasting graphic images that would never find their way on to western TV screens."
The Guardian
Here are the Jazeera English news channel clips on youtube.
The blockade/siege of Gaza that preceded the attack:

"All we had heard about conditions in Gaza – deprivation, a sense of despair, the lack of economic activity – had not prepared us for the stark reality which we saw."
Desmond Tutu after visiting Gaza during the blockade.

A UN report on the blockade/siege includes the following:
  • Only 23 out of 3,900 industrial enterprises are currently operational
  • 70% of agricultural land in Gaza are no longer being irrigated, leading to desertification
  • A lack of available cash in the Gaza Strip could lead to a collapse of the financial system
  • Half of Gaza City's population is receiving water only once a week for a few hours
  • Residents of Gaza City are without power for up to 16 hours each day
  • Quality of health services severely affected
Israel blocking food and medicine to Gaza during blockade- BBC

UNICEF photoessay

“It seems the international community is neglecting them, that somehow Palestinian children don’t deserve the protections guaranteed under the Geneva Convention and humanitarian law.
Science Daily, 2006

'Routine day' that made two teenagers a bloody statistic

Political cartoons about the blockade: 1, 2, 3


I leave you with Lama Al-Othman

فلنقم جنازاتنا... ولنقدم تعازينا لموت الإنسان فينا


fr7ty said...

السلام عليكم

موقع أكثر من رائع شكرا لكم

موضوع جميل جدا يستحق القراءه

يوتيوب فيديو فرحتي

منتديات نسائيه

Egyptian forum said...

بلوج مميز فعلا