Sunday, July 20, 2014

"Cutting the Grass" Again in Gaza


Horror on Gaza Beach
DEMOCRACY NOW! Had The Best Roundup here

Meanwhile, in the US, the Obama administration and the Congress have piled on. . .in support of the slaughter and to back Israel’s aims in the current hostilities.

Obama Endorses Israel’s Gaza Assault at White House “Iftar”
At the annual White House Iftar dinner commemorating the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, President Barack Obama endorsed Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip and defended government spying on Muslim-Americans. Alongside dozens of Muslim-American community activists and Muslim diplomats, the White House welcomed Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, an outspoken advocate of Israel's settlement enterprise who has claimed Muslim and Arab culture is endemically violent.  More

Senate passes resolution in support of Israel
The Senate passed a resolution expressing support for Israel on the same night the country launched a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip. Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) authored S.Res. 498, which reaffirms Senate support for Israel, condemns unprovoked rocket fire and calls on Hamas to stop all rocket attacks on Israel. “The United States Senate is in Israel’s camp,” Graham said on the Senate floor Thursday. Passage of the resolution came moments after Israel announced that it launched a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip, following a week of heavy rocket attacks from Hamas forces.  More

Senator Elizabeth Warren was anxious to avoid responding to a question about Gaza.

The House and Senate resolutions, which were undoubtedly written by AIPAC, make no mention of casualties in Gaza, call the rockets “an unprovoked attack”  and also demand that the Palestinian Authority dissolve its unity agreement with Hamas.

Gaza: this shameful injustice will only end if the cost of it rises
For the third time in five years, the world’s fourth largest military power has launched a full-scale armed onslaught on one of its most deprived and overcrowded territories. Since Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip began, just over a week ago, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed. Nearly 80% of the dead are civilians, over 20% of them children. Around 1,400 have been wounded and 1,255 Palestinian homes destroyed. So far, Palestinian fire has killed one Israeli on the other side of the barrier that makes blockaded Gaza the world’s largest open-air prison. But instead of demanding a halt to Israel’s campaign of collective punishment against what is still illegally occupied territory, the western powers have blamed the victims for fighting back. If it weren’t for Hamas’s rockets fired out of Gaza’s giant holding pen, they insist, all of this bloodletting would end.   More

We single Israel out because we in the west are shamefully complicit in its crimes
For its many supporters in the west, Israel is being unfairly singled out for criticism… Why pick on plucky Israel? What about the Chinas, Russias, Syrias, Saudi Arabias, Irans, Sudans and Burmas? Where are the protests against Isis, Boko Haram or the Pakistani Taliban? … Israel is “singled out” today, but by its friends and not just by its enemies. It has been singled out for unparalleled support – financial, military, diplomatic – by the western powers. It is indeed, to quote Ben-Ami, a “special case”. Which other country is in receipt of $3bn a year in US aid, despite maintaining a 47-year military occupation in violation of international law? Which other country has been allowed to develop and stockpile nuclear weapons in secret?   More

THE CURRENT FIGHTING IN SOME HISTORICAL CONTEXT

“CUTTING THE GRASS is a racist term used by the Israeli security establishment as a way to “manage” Palestinian resistance by periodically launching limited attacks on Gaza to degrade to ability of Hamas and other armed factions to confront the occupation of their land. It is a strategy for limiting, rather than ending the conflict.  Short VIDEO here

GAZA is the size of heavily urban Suffolk County – but at 1.8 million inhabitants almost three times as densely populated. With all its borders closed, there is literally nowhere for people to escape or hide from the bombing.

Compared to the intermittent firing of small-caliber mortars and mostly home-made rockets from Gaza, since 2006 there have been almost continuous Israeli attacks and assassinations against political and civilian leaders in Gaza.  There have been thousands killed in Gaza and tens of thousands wounded or displaced from their homes.  During the same period, the best estimate is that 27 Israelis have died since 2004 in rocket attacks launched from Gaza. (In 2012 alone, 263 Israelis died in traffic accidents).

Gaza continues to be legally occupied territory:
While Israel has argued that it ceased occupying Gaza in 2005 when it unilaterally redeployed its troops outside of Gaza and withdrew its settlers from Gaza, Gaza continues to be occupied in accordance with international law and in the views of the international community, including the U.S.[i], the EU, and the U.N.[ii]. Israel’s continued responsibility as the occupying power in Gaza results from several factors.  First, Israel continues to exert effective control over Gaza including control of the borders, airspace, waterways, population registry, currency, the movement of people, trade, electrical supply, water supply, and more. Second, Israel maintains and exerts a right to conduct regular military operations in Gaza, giving it effective military control over the territory. Under international law[iii], effective control is the key measures of occupation.  More

Since 2005, when Israel decided to remove its settlers and troops from inside Gaza, in order to maintain its siege from outside and strengthen its colonization of the West Bank, there have been almost continuous restrictions on the entry of food and other humanitarian necessities.  Israeli politicians joked, in the infamous words of Dov Weissglass, chief aide to former Israeli President Ariel Sharon: “the idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet but not to make them die of hunger… It's like an appointment with a dietician. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won't die…"

Israel’s Incremental Genocide in the Gaza Ghetto 
The present genocidal wave has, like all the previous ones, also a more immediate background. It has been born out of an attempt to foil the Palestinian decision to form a unity government [4] that even the United States could not object to… Ever since June 1967, Israel searched for a way to keep the territories it occupied that year without incorporating their indigenous Palestinian population into its rights-bearing citizenry. All the while it participated in a “peace process” charade to cover up or buy time for its unilateral colonization policies on the ground.  With the decades, Israel differentiated between areas it wished to control directly and those it would manage indirectly, with the aim in the long run of downsizing the Palestinian population to a minimum with, among other means, ethnic cleansing and economic and geographic strangulation.  More

Israel controls two out of three sides of Gaza on the land and its naval patrols maintain a sea blockade; Israel’s (and US) ally Egypt keeps the third land side mostly closed and in any case honors the agreement with Israel to limit Rafah access to foot traffic alone.  So all goods coming in and out of Gaza are controlled by Israel.

Compared to the intermittent firing of small-caliber mortars and mostly home-made rockets from Gaza, since 2006, there have been almost continuous Israeli attacks and assassinations against political and civilian leaders in Gaza, with concomitant “collateral damage” killing hundreds of others.  
Periodically, Israel launched heavier attacks resulting in even higher casualties, the majority civilian in all cases.  Notice the consistent and obscene Israeli terminology in naming its attacks:

June 2014 – Protective Edge: 265 killed and counting
November 2012 – Pillar of Defense: killing 168 Palestinians and destroying hundreds of homes
December 2008 – Cast Lead: More than 1,400 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, were killed and over 16,000 Gazans were permanently displaced from their homes which were destroyed during the attack. 
February 2008 – Warm Winter: killed 120 (34 children) and injured 269 (at least 63 children)
June 2006 – Summer Rains/Autumn Clouds: at least 351 Palestinians dead and 848 injured
February 2006 – Lightning Strike
September 2005 – First Rain
October 2004 – Days of Penitence: 130 killed, hundreds wounded
May, 2004 -- Operation Rainbow: at least 43 killed, hundreds wounded.

Whenever a temporary truce was negotiated (and scrupulously maintained by Hamas), the pattern has been for Israel to renege on the terms and break the ceasefire with fresh attacks when it deemed them useful.  And contrary to the Israeli claims that this was “to protect its citizens,” the pattern reveals that the most dangerous time for Israeli civilians is when Israel is launching an attack on Gaza.

Reigniting Violence: How Do Ceasefires End?
…we found that this pattern -- in which Israel is more likely than Palestine to kill first after a conflict pause -- becomes more pronounced for longer conflict pauses. Indeed, of the 25 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than a week, Israel unilaterally interrupted 24, or 96%, and it unilaterally interrupted 100% of the 14 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than 9 days… Thus, a systematic pattern does exist: it is overwhelmingly Israel, not Palestine, that kills first following a lull. Indeed, it is virtually always Israel that kills first after a lull lasting more than a week.   More

A Tale of Two Ceasefires
Egypt, acting as the United States normally does, worked out the details of its ceasefire idea primarily with Israel. The deal reflects the Israeli and Egyptian agenda: it mostly follows the formula of “quiet for quiet,” essentially bringing back the status quo ante of early June. It offers Hamas a vague promise of future negotiations to address the siege of the Gaza Strip. But this is hardly something Hamas will put stock in. The 2012 ceasefire agreement, which was negotiated by then-Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, a man much friendlier to Hamas than the current Egyptian leadership, also made such a promise and it never came to anything. Finally, Egypt says it is willing to open the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt more widely but only if Hamas allows Palestinian Authority security to police it instead of their own people.  It’s not hard to see why Hamas viewed that offer, and its exclusion from the talks, more like a call to surrender than a ceasefire…  Hamas recently confirmed its terms for a ceasefire: Israel should lift the siege it has imposed on the strip for the last seven years, and release all the prisoners it arrested last month during its sweep of the West Bank while the Netanyahu government was keeping the Israeli public and the world from immediately finding out that the three youths who were ostensibly being searching for were already dead. In exchange, Hamas would agree to a ceasefire.   More

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