i just got off the phone with sameh habeeb. we were talking about his upcoming interview on cnn at 3 am local time. our conversation was cut short because of the bombs raining on gaza city where he lives. though this is par for the course. every time we talk this happens. i can hear very loud explosions going on around him. it seems that the foreign ministry and an internal security building were the “targets.” there were over 75 bombs dropped today. sameh never showed up on cnn. i watched for an hour. now he is not answering his phone. i am worried that something has happened. the bombs just keep falling. they don’t stop.
we are entering day four now. i decided to turn on cnn. they seem to be showing the bombing. they seem to be very close to the bombs as they are loud and you can see it in the distance even in the night. i haven’t watched any western media in months. the language they use makes my skin crawl.
my blood continues to boil. i cannot take it anymore and i am so far away. a dear friend is now on her way to gaza on the free gaza boat. she is returning on her second trip to gaza since they began to break the siege. but this time could be different. the israeli terrorists are attacking gaza by sea as well and they could be attacked when they arrive in a few hours. part of me is worried; part of me wonders if they were attacked maybe then the united nations, the european union, the united states would do something? because of course those entities never care about palestinian lives. but these are largely europeans and americans on board. cynthia mckinney, who i voted for in the u.s. presidential election, is on board. and i love what she says she is going to gaza to do:
“There is a need for the people of the United States to understand that every piece of rubble that is on that strip of land is caused by US weapons,” said McKinney, a former US Congresswoman and presidential candidate for the Green Party in the 2008 US presidential election.
i’m wondering where human rights watch and amnesty international are in this?
richard falk was supposed to be here documenting israeli terrorist war crimes, but of course he was denied entry and deported. here is what he has to say about the besieged gaza:
The Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war.
Those violations include:
• Collective punishment: The entire 1.5 million people who live in the crowded Gaza Strip are being punished for the actions of a few militants.
• Targeting civilians: The airstrikes were aimed at civilian areas in one of the most crowded stretches of land in the world, certainly the most densely populated area of the Middle East.
• Disproportionate military response: The airstrikes have not only destroyed every police and security office of Gaza’s elected government, but have killed and injured hundreds of civilians; at least one strike reportedly hit groups of students attempting to find transportation home from the university.
Earlier Israeli actions, specifically the complete sealing off of entry and exit to and from the Gaza Strip, have led to severe shortages of medicine and fuel (as well as food), resulting in the inability of ambulances to respond to the injured, the inability of hospitals to adequately provide medicine or necessary equipment for the injured, and the inability of Gaza’s besieged doctors and other medical workers to sufficiently treat the victims.
ron paul, who also ran for president in the united states, but did not make it to the final stages of the election, had this to say about the zionist terrorist entity:
Paul: I don’t think there is such a thing as an independent Israel doing anything, because I think no matter what they do its our money, its our weapons, and their not going to do it without us approving it and if they get into trouble we’re going to bail them out, so there is no separation between the two.
yes, americans are 100% complicit in this war. i hear the american f16s flying overhead on their way to gaza or doing test runs or flying into lebanese airspace to terrorize lebanese people too. jennifer lowenstein makes the point of how the f16 is used as a terrorist weapon itself because it is tied to so many people’s numerous, past experiences with israeli terrorism:
The sound of F-16s flying overhead dropping bombs is not a sound one ever forgets. In other words, 750,000 children –or half the population of Gaza—have it ingrained in their memories for the rest of their lives. Another equally unacceptable percentage of this group will have had images burned into their minds’ eyes of the devastation and death wrought by these sounds as well, a factor that partially explains why more than 50 per cent of Gaza’s three-quarters of a million children suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: it isn’t easy to see piles of the dead or their blown apart body parts without some kind of reaction. Violent, action-packed Hollywood war and terror films may provide us with virtual reality, but when the severed jaw of a woman is lying at your feet only a few inches away from her bloody and disfigured head, or when the bare leg of a man is lying by itself in a room, the rest of the body blown outside the house, the illusory atmosphere of the virtual world is quickly replaced by the raw, heavy emotions that accompany real world sequences. This is when paralyzing fright grips you so firmly that your legs forget how to move; how to flee the gruesome nightmare scenarios. You can’t run away.
In the course of a few short hours American-made, Israeli-flown fighter jets had successfully blotted out the lives of more than 230 people and by the end of the weekend over 300, the rough equivalence of two fully packed IMAX theaters. At least 70 of the victims were civilians, a number of them young children. A mother in Rafah bent over the corpses of her three dead children screaming, unable to stop, horrified eye witness T., who wrote up the day’s events as if the formal documentation of an overpowering human event could serve as a form of catharsis.
yet the united states continues to promote terrorist logic, because of course the united states is also a state that practices terrorism, when speaking about gaza:
After being briefed on the security situation in the Middle East yesterday, President George Bush said that Hamas must end its attacks if there is to be a “durable” end to the violence.
The group had “shown its true colours as a terrorist organisation”, Mr Bush’s spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, told reporters in Crawford, Texas, where the president is on vacation. “The United States understands that Israel needs to take actions to defend itself.”
all that we can glean from the above statement is that the u.s. is complicit. the u.s. is equally responsible for these terrorist attacks on gaza because of bush’s stupidity, ignorance, and his desire to further perpetuate the fiction that the zionist terrorist entity is peddling around the world. so much of this propaganda has been about the zionist terrorists disproportionate response to the rocket attacks which have killed maybe 15 israeli terrorists since 2004. in 3 + days they have “retalitated” to use the terrorists language by massacring over 360 palestinians and injuring 1,650 many of whom will die as a result of those wounds that cannot be treated because of the blockade. tonight on al jazeera’s “inside story” some mofo asked robert fisk what should be done in “response” to the rocket attacks. fisk asked us to remember how the english responded to the irish. this is a useful lesson:
We hear the usual Israeli line. General Yaakov Amidror, the former head of the Israeli army’s “research and assessment division” announced that “no country in the world would allow its citizens to be made the target of rocket attacks without taking vigorous steps to defend them”. Quite so. But when the IRA were firing mortars over the border into Northern Ireland, when their guerrillas were crossing from the Republic to attack police stations and Protestants, did Britain unleash the RAF on the Irish Republic? Did the RAF bomb churches and tankers and police stations and zap 300 civilians to teach the Irish a lesson? No, it did not. Because the world would have seen it as criminal behaviour. We didn’t want to lower ourselves to the IRA’s level.
of course, while england is also complicit here, fisk’s point is importnat. and yet check this out: “hamas is looking for children to kill. we are different. we do not kill civilians.”–this is what tzipi livni just said on cnn. it really is shocking to hear such flagrant lies when you look at images of the dead babies like the ba’alousha family in jabaliya refugee camp who lost their five children this morning (see my earlier post)? really? the israeli terrorists don’t “target” children? don’t look for children to kill? how do you explain bombing schools? homes? read eman mohammed’s words from electronic intifada and you will see how it looks on the ground:
Where else but in Gaza are students killed in air strikes on their classrooms? Where else does a humanitarian disaster unfold not because an earthquake, a volcano, or any other kind of natural disaster struck, but because of governmental policy, and the cooperation of world powers?
From my desk in my university classroom we could see the smoke from Israel’s bombing and hear the most terrifying sound of non-stop explosions. Girls around me screamed in horror and I thought about my camera which I left back at home for fear that rain would damage it. It ended up being a sunny day and I regretted losing the opportunity to take photos, not for fame or for money, but to document what was happening to prove to people outside of Gaza that they are wrong to think we are the terrorists.
Some of my classmates ran out of the university, fearing their lives, but were killed by Israeli missiles as they fled.
When I called my friends abroad to ask them to make sense of what was going on in Gaza, after we were cut off electricity just as the raids began, none of them could give me logical answers.
Meanwhile, the madness continued. Children ran hysterically in the streets as all of Gaza was on fire — literally.
yes gaza is on fire. and at the same time if you listen to this ridiculous drivel from american and israeli terrorist propaganda you would think that it is somehow appropriate to blame the victims. they like to keep repeating that hamas broke the truce. as if saying it again and again will make it true (sort of like how they keep saying they are not targeting civilians all the while they do). here are the facts about this so you can see that it was the israeli terrorists who broke the truce:
Nov. 2: Israeli forces kill 4 Gazans in missile strike and incursion, blocking ambulances from wounded
Nov. 4 2008: Israel carries out various incursions in Gaza supported by missile strikes, killing one and wounding three, plus razing land; Israeli forces also kill six and wound five Hamas members, breaking “truce”;
and this war was not spontaneous either. this has been planned for months as i wrote earlier in a post below. here are other details about this:
Israeli media reports, by usually well-informed correspondents and analysts, alluded yesterday to six months of intelligence-gathering to pinpoint Hamas targets including bases, weapon silos, training camps and the homes of senior officials. The cabinet spent five hours discussing the plan in detail on December 19 and left the timing up to Ehud Olmert, the caretaker prime minister, and his defence minister Ehud Barak. Preparations involved disinformation and deception which kept Israel’s media in the dark. According to Ha’aretz, that also lulled Hamas into a sense of false security and allowed the initial aerial onslaught to achieve tactical surprise – and kill many of the 290 victims counted so far.
Friday’s decision to allow food, fuel and humanitarian supplies into besieged Gaza – ostensibly a gesture in the face of international pressure to relieve the ongoing blockade – was part of this. So was Thursday’s visit to Cairo by Tzipi Livni, Israel’s foreign minister, to brief Egyptian officials. The final decision was reportedly made on Friday morning.
in other words this is pre-meditated murder. if you want to understand this conflict in a more contextualized way you should read nir rosen’s piece in the guardian today:
Normative rules are determined by power relations. Those with power determine what is legal and illegal. They besiege the weak in legal prohibitions to prevent the weak from resisting. For the weak to resist is illegal by definition. Concepts like terrorism are invented and used normatively as if a neutral court had produced them, instead of the oppressors. The danger in this excessive use of legality actually undermines legality, diminishing the credibility of international institutions such as the United Nations. It becomes apparent that the powerful, those who make the rules, insist on legality merely to preserve the power relations that serve them or to maintain their occupation and colonialism.
Attacking civilians is the last, most desperate and basic method of resistance when confronting overwhelming odds and imminent eradication. The Palestinians do not attack Israeli civilians with the expectation that they will destroy Israel. The land of Palestine is being stolen day after day; the Palestinian people is being eradicated day after day. As a result, they respond in whatever way they can to apply pressure on Israel. Colonial powers use civilians strategically, settling them to claim land and dispossess the native population, be they Indians in North America or Palestinians in what is now Israel and the Occupied Territories. When the native population sees that there is an irreversible dynamic that is taking away their land and identity with the support of an overwhelming power, then they are forced to resort to whatever methods of resistance they can.
Not long ago, 19-year-old Qassem al-Mughrabi, a Palestinian man from Jerusalem drove his car into a group of soldiers at an intersection. “The terrorist”, as the Israeli newspaper Haaretz called him, was shot and killed. In two separate incidents last July, Palestinians from Jerusalem also used vehicles to attack Israelis. The attackers were not part of an organisation. Although those Palestinian men were also killed, senior Israeli officials called for their homes to be demolished. In a separate incident, Haaretz reported that a Palestinian woman blinded an Israeli soldier in one eye when she threw acid n his face. “The terrorist was arrested by security forces,” the paper said. An occupied citizen attacks an occupying soldier, and she is the terrorist?
In September, Bush spoke at the United Nations. No cause could justify the deliberate taking of human life, he said. Yet the US has killed thousands of civilians in airstrikes on populated areas. When you drop bombs on populated areas knowing there will be some “collateral” civilian damage, but accepting it as worth it, then it is deliberate. When you impose sanctions, as the US did on Saddam era Iraq, that kill hundreds of thousands, and then say their deaths were worth it, as secretary of state Albright did, then you are deliberately killing people for a political goal. When you seek to “shock and awe”, as president Bush did, when he bombed Iraq, you are engaging in terrorism.
Just as the traditional American cowboy film presented white Americans under siege, with Indians as the aggressors, which was the opposite of reality, so, too, have Palestinians become the aggressors and not the victims. Beginning in 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were deliberately cleansed and expelled from their homes, and hundreds of their villages were destroyed, and their land was settled by colonists, who went on to deny their very existence and wage a 60-year war against the remaining natives and the national liberation movements the Palestinians established around the world. Every day, more of Palestine is stolen, more Palestinians are killed. To call oneself an Israeli Zionist is to engage in the dispossession of entire people. It is not that, qua Palestinians, they have the right to use any means necessary, it is because they are weak. The weak have much less power than the strong, and can do much less damage. The Palestinians would not have ever bombed cafes or used home-made missiles if they had tanks and airplanes. It is only in the current context that their actions are justified, and there are obvious limits.
It is impossible to make a universal ethical claim or establish a Kantian principle justifying any act to resist colonialism or domination by overwhelming power. And there are other questions I have trouble answering. Can an Iraqi be justified in attacking the United States? After all, his country was attacked without provocation, and destroyed, with millions of refugees created, hundreds of thousands of dead. And this, after 12 years of bombings and sanctions, which killed many and destroyed the lives of many others.
I could argue that all Americans are benefiting from their country’s exploits without having to pay the price, and that, in today’s world, the imperial machine is not merely the military but a military-civilian network. And I could also say that Americans elected the Bush administration twice and elected representatives who did nothing to stop the war, and the American people themselves did nothing. From the perspective of an American, or an Israeli, or other powerful aggressors, if you are strong, everything you do is justifiable, and nothing the weak do is legitimate. It’s merely a question of what side you choose: the side of the strong or the side of the weak.
Israel and its allies in the west and in Arab regimes such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have managed to corrupt the PLO leadership, to suborn them with the promise of power at the expense of liberty for their people, creating a first – a liberation movement that collaborated with the occupier. Israeli elections are coming up and, as usual, these elections are accompanied by war to bolster the candidates. You cannot be prime minister of Israel without enough Arab blood on your hands. An Israeli general has threatened to set Gaza back decades, just as they threatened to set Lebanon back decades in 2006. As if strangling Gaza and denying its people fuel, power or food had not set it back decades already.
The democratically elected Hamas government was targeted for destruction from the day it won the elections in 2006. The world told the Palestinians that they cannot have democracy, as if the goal was to radicalise them further and as if that would not have a consequence. Israel claims it is targeting Hamas’s military forces. This is not true. It is targeting Palestinian police forces and killing them, including some such as the chief of police, Tawfiq Jaber, who was actually a former Fatah official who stayed on in his post after Hamas took control of Gaza. What will happen to a society with no security forces? What do the Israelis expect to happen when forces more radical than Hamas gain power?
A Zionist Israel is not a viable long-term project and Israeli settlements, land expropriation and separation barriers have long since made a two state solution impossible. There can be only one state in historic Palestine. In coming decades, Israelis will be confronted with two options. Will they peacefully transition towards an equal society, where Palestinians are given the same rights, à la post-apartheid South Africa? Or will they continue to view democracy as a threat? If so, one of the peoples will be forced to leave. Colonialism has only worked when most of the natives have been exterminated. But often, as in occupied Algeria, it is the settlers who flee. Eventually, the Palestinians will not be willing to compromise and seek one state for both people. Does the world want to further radicalise them?
Do not be deceived: the persistence of the Palestine problem is the main motive for every anti-American militant in the Arab world and beyond. But now the Bush administration has added Iraq and Afghanistan as additional grievances. America has lost its influence on the Arab masses, even if it can still apply pressure on Arab regimes. But reformists and elites in the Arab world want nothing to do with America.
A failed American administration departs, the promise of a Palestinian state a lie, as more Palestinians are murdered. A new president comes to power, but the people of the Middle East have too much bitter experience of US administrations to have any hope for change. President-elect Obama, Vice President-elect Biden and incoming secretary of state Hillary Clinton have not demonstrated that their view of the Middle East is at all different from previous administrations. As the world prepares to celebrate a new year, how long before it is once again made to feel the pain of those whose oppression it either ignores or supports?
so what to do? people keep emailing me, chatting with me asking what to do. we all feel impotent in the midst of such military superpowers who terrorize the rest of us. i say write, for one thing. write and speak and spend every moment of every day telling people about what is really happening in gaza. defeat this zionist propaganda, which is one of the mechanisms of its terrorist infrastructure. here are some specific actions you can take:
Please join us in writing to President Bush and Members of Congress, urging them to support an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas and an end to the economic blockade of Gaza by using the form below.
With already 300 dead and continued shelling of civilians in southern Israel, now is the time to issue a demand to world leaders that the spiralling violence that has characterized the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must come to an end.
Sign the petition below calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza – and for peace to be achieved between Israel and Palestine in 2009.
Petition to the UN Security Council, the European Union, the Arab League and the USA:
We urge you to act immediately to ensure a comprehensive ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, to protect civilians on all sides, and to address the growing humanitarian crisis. Only through robust international action and oversight can the bloodshed be stopped, the Gaza crossings safely re-opened and real progress made toward a wider peace in 2009.
3. Join WRITE for Justice, Human Rights and International Law in Palestine’s mailing list so you can be updated whenever an American newspaper has a story that needs to be debunked by writing response editorials and letters to the editor.
At WRITE!, our vision of success is a U.S. media that provides complete, honest, objective, balanced and responsible reporting on the Middle East on a consistent basis.
We believe that such a change will have a positive effect on official U.S. policy in the Middle East, and can ultimately result in the establishment of Peace and Justice for all the peoples of the Middle East. More about WRITE!
Make no mistake about it-Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip would not be possible without the jets, helicopters, ships, missiles, and fuel provided by the United States.
Ali Abunimah, of The Electronic Intifada, wrote, “Palestinians everywhere are asking for solidarity, real solidarity, in the form of sustained, determined political action.” In light of our country’s enabling role in Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip, it is the least we can do. Here’s how:
1. Attend a protest or vigil. We’ve compiled a list of more than 60 emergency protests taking place in 25 states and the District of Columbia, many of which are taking place today or tomorrow. Find one near you and bring as many people to it as you can. If you know of a protest that isn’t listed on our website, please send us all the logistical details and contact information by clicking here. More events are being posted all the time-check back frequently for the latest updates.
2. Contact the White House, the State Department, your Representative and Senators, and the Obama Transition Team to protest Israel’s war on Gaza and demand an immediate cease-fire.
White House: 202-456-1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org
State Department: 202-647-6575 or send an email by clicking here
Congress: 202-224-3121 or find contact info by clicking here
Obama Transition Team: send an email by clicking here
3. Make your voice heard in the media. Contact your local media by phoning into a talk show or writing a letter to the editor. To find contact info for your local media, click here.
4. Tell President-Elect Barack Obama that “We Need a Change in Israel/Palestine Policy.” Join more than 200 organizations in 38 states plus Washington, DC and abroad and thousands of individuals by endorsing this letter which will be published as a full-page ad on Inauguration Day. Let all your friends know by copying and pasting the graphic below into your email signature, blog, or website and by joining our Facebook group.
5. Sign up to organize people in your community to end U.S. military aid to Israel. We’ll send you an organizing packet complete with our brand new postcards featuring the icon below. If we’re going to change U.S. policy, we’ve got to go beyond agreeing among ourselves and educate and organize others as well. Sign up today and we’ll send you a package tomorrow by clicking here.
6. Join us in Washington, DC for Inauguration Day on January 20. Upwards of 4 million people are expected in Washington, DC for President-Elect Obama’s inauguration. This is a perfect time for us to reach out to and educate our fellow citizens about U.S. policy toward Palestine/Israel. If you plan to be in Washington for the inauguration and would like to help us distribute information and get signatures on postcards calling for a cut off of arms transfers to Israel, please click here.
7. Join us again in Washington, DC for a Grassroots Advocacy Training and Lobby Day on February 1-2. Interfaith Peace-Builders and the US Campaign are organizing this exciting two-day event, featuring interactive, skills-building workshops and the chance to meet with your Representative and Senators to discuss U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine. Spaces are filling up fast. For more details, and to register, please click here.
8. Forward this email to everyone you know and ask them to take action.