should it matter that there are no gas ovens in gaza?

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so there are no gas ovens in gaza. but really, does it matter. they are trapped in a concentration camp and they are being slaughtered by the minute. here is the definition from the oxford english dictionary of a concentration camp:

a place where large numbers of people, esp. political prisoners or members of persecuted minorities, are deliberately imprisoned in a relatively small area with inadequate facilities, sometimes to provide forced labor or to await mass execution.

this definition clearly applies to gaza. and the mass slaughter by israeli terrorist forces suggests that they are doing just what was done to them. even comedian rosanne barr is saying that they are behaving like nazis.

for the last 45 minutes israeli terrorists added to their siege of gaza fire by land. israeli terrorist media is egging on their terrorist forces. so while the israeli terrorist tanks have yet to invade gaza, they are now firing from the land border, as well as by sea and air. more leaflets landed today urging palestinians to flee. and where exactly shall 1.5 million palestinians flee? there is no airport and they are being bombarded by air. no ships have come to rescue them and they are being bombarded by sea. and all land borders are closed and now they are being bombarded by land. not a square inch of gaza is being spared. nowhere is safe. a few palestinians were allowed to leave if they had foreign passports and some foreigners left as well. but there are others who refused to leave, who are staying to witness, to stay with loved ones, to resist this terrorist bombardment.

ayman mohyeldin just reported on al jazeera that he received a weekly bulletin from the united nations that stated some grim facts:

80% can no longer support self and depend on aid
15 electrical transformers bombed so access to electricity
500 palestinians in rafah have been made refugees because their homes were destroyed and they are now staying in un shelters
some goods are trickling in, the vast majority of hospitals cannot cope: blood, food, medicine supplies are in acute in shortage

here is the latest al jazeera report on the week of israeli terrorism unleashed on gaza:

i’ve been watching protests on tv all day. al jazeera is the only channel on in the university cafeteria now. the mood is somber, as well it should be. people just watch in quiet. we are all shocked. we cannot believe how much worse it is getting. and when you look at all the people in the streets in cities across the world it is amazing that world leaders either remain silent or give their full support to israeli terrorism, like george bush and barack obama. the ever eloquent ali abunimah made an important point about obama’s complicity and silence in an editorial in the guardian yesterday; i am not quoting the whole thing, but you definitely should click the link to read the rest:

But as more than 2,400 Palestinians have been killed or injured – the majority civilians – since Israel began its savage bombardment of Gaza on 27 December, Obama has maintained his silence. “There is only one president at a time,” his spokesmen tell the media. This convenient excuse has not applied, say, to Obama’s detailed interventions on the economy, or his condemnation of the “coordinated attacks on innocent civilians” in Mumbai in November.

The Mumbai attacks were a clear-cut case of innocent people being slaughtered. The situation in the Middle East however is seen as more “complicated” and so polite opinion accepts Obama’s silence not as the approval for Israel’s actions that it certainly is, but as responsible statesmanship.

It ought not to be difficult to condemn Israel’s murder of civilians and bombing of civilian infrastructure including hundreds of private homes, universities, schools, mosques, civil police stations and ministries, and the building housing the only freely-elected Arab parliament.

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compare abunimah’s analysis with this satire by jerry ghenelli on what would happen if the israeli terrorists attacked the u.s.:

The government of Israel today launched a massive air assault on suspected terrorist targets along major coastal cities in the United States of America. In an operation termed “Friendly Enemy,” hundreds of Israeli F-16 fighter jets streaked across the Atlantic in precise formation and fired surgical air strikes at alleged terrorist strongholds in densely populated Muslim communities all along the northeast corridor of the United States. The American-made Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets then continued south, inflicting massive destruction in densely populated Muslim communities along many southeastern US states as well.

Reaction to the attacks on the US was swift. President Bush and President-Elect Obama both appealed for restraint, but stated emphatically, “Israel has the right to defend itself.”

President Bush, who took an oath to defend the US and to preserve, protect and defend it against all foreign and domestic enemies, stated that the War on Terror must be fought anywhere and everywhere in the world, even on US soil, if necessary. “Our close relationship with Israel, our steadfast ally in the War on Terror, requires extraordinary sacrifices by the American people and requires exceptions to both US and international law,” said Bush.

this sort of silence seems ludicrous, but of course this is precisely what americans complicit in the massacre in gaza are doing. they just don’t care because palestinians are dying. if americans were dying perhaps they would care, though not if those americans were in gaza helping palestinians (remember rachel corrie?). and, of course, there are others who are silent. in his article abunimah also lends his criticism to various complicit american journalist and legislators, but importantly he also lends his critique to american professors who have remained silent, complicit like all the rest:

Similarly, we can expect that the American university professors who have publicly opposed the academic boycott of Israel on grounds of protecting “academic freedom” will remain just as silent about Israel’s bombing of the Islamic University of Gaza as they have about Israel’s other attacks on Palestinian academic institutions.

indeed i have been writing to american professors in organizations like the american studies association over the past week who offer the same lame excuses about why they still refuse to call for a boycott of the terrorist state of israel: things like believing in dialogue and freedom of expression. since when did this become more important than human lives? and i really wonder if these were jews would they behave the same way. i think not. they would all get together and rally around bulls*&^ slogans like “never again” and talk about the nazi holocaust.

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david lloyd has an amazing article that historicizes and compares the warsaw ghetto in nazi germany to the gaza concentration camp that is currently besieged by american weapons and israeli terrorism. like the abumimah piece it is important to read the whole thing, but the crux of what i find significant is this:

The right of the Palestinian people to resist is as indubitable as the right of the Jews of Warsaw to resist the Nazis, or of the Polish or French people to fight against their occupation by the Nazis. Israel is not the West’s proxy in the so-called global war against terrorism. It is a state that itself inflicts terror, and does so with a force and brutality far exceeding anything available to the most violent of terrorist organizations. It is a state whose colonial aim, to occupy and to settle land historically occupied by another people in order to provide unlimited Lebensraum for its own ethnic group, is evidenced every day in the continuing expansion of the illegal settlements on the West Bank. It is an apartheid state, whose self-declared constitution as a “Jewish State for a Jewish People” should have no more international legitimacy than South Africa’s “white state for a white people” or Northern Ireland’s “Protestant State for a Protestant people”, both of which finally fell to a combination of military and civil resistance and international opprobrium.

It is long beyond time for Israel, now the exception in every respect among nations, to be held accountable to the norms of international law. It is time for Israel to be subjected to the same scrutiny as any other state that bases its polity on sectarianism and racism, that has established one set of laws for one ethnic group and another for the rest. It is time for Israel to by judged by the international law that everywhere condemns extended occupation, condemns collective punishment, war against civilians, population transfers or ethnic cleansing, dispossession of the occupied people and the settlement of their lands. It is time for us to name Israel what it is so long as it continues to pursue the most extreme of Zionist visions: a colonial, apartheid state with neither legitimacy nor a deserved place among the community of democratic nations.

It is time for us to cease the appeasement of Israel. Even the most ardent of appeasers of Nazi Germany never supplied Germany with arms or foreign aid, with fighter planes with which to bomb civilians, never labeled the resistance to Nazism “terrorism”, never actively participated in the German stranglehold on the ghettos where it confined its subject populations. “Constructive engagement” did not work with South Africa; numerous U.N. General Assembly resolutions that have expressed the virtually unanimous international condemnation of Israel’s occupation of Palestine and its wars against its neighbors have not worked. It is time for the truth about Israel to be disseminated, even against the most effective control of the western media by Israel’s lobbyists. It is time for all who care about justice and peace, for human rights, for the fate of the innocent and the oppressed, the stateless and the dispossessed, make our voices heard. Let it not be said that in their most extreme hour of need, the Palestinian people were abandoned by the world, as the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto were abandoned in 1943.

in yet another brilliant analysis israeli historian ilan pappe writes for electronic intifada a piece that calls for targeting the enemy–zionism and its constant history of genocide and ethnic cleansing–through boycott, divestment and sanctions as was the main effective tactic in south africa under apartheid. as with the other articles i’m quoting, this is essential reading so i encourage you to click on the link to read the entire piece:

Similarly, we may be able to find the popular, as distinct from the high brow academic, way of explaining clearly that Israel’s policy — in the last 60 years — stems from a racist hegemonic ideology called Zionism, shielded by endless layers of righteous fury. Despite the predictable accusation of anti-Semitism and what have you, it is time to associate in the public mind the Zionist ideology with the by now familiar historical landmarks of the land: the ethnic cleansing of 1948, the oppression of the Palestinians in Israel during the days of the military rule, the brutal occupation of the West Bank and now the massacre of Gaza. Very much as the Apartheid ideology explained the oppressive policies of the South African government, this ideology — in its most consensual and simplistic variety — allowed all the Israeli governments in the past and the present to dehumanize the Palestinians wherever they are and strive to destroy them. The means altered from period to period, from location to location, as did the narrative covering up these atrocities. But there is a clear pattern that cannot only be discussed in the academic ivory towers, but has to be part of the political discourse on the contemporary reality in Palestine today.

Some of us, namely those committed to justice and peace in Palestine, unwittingly evade this debate by focusing, and this is understandable, on the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) — the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Struggling against the criminal policies there is an urgent mission. But this should not convey the message that the powers that be in the West adopted gladly by a cue from Israel, that Palestine is only in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and that the Palestinians are only the people living in those territories. We should expand the representation of Palestine geographically and demographically by telling the historical narrative of the events in 1948 and ever since and demand equal human and civil rights to all the people who live, or used to live, in what today is Israel and the OPT.

By connecting the Zionist ideology and the policies of the past with the present atrocities, we will be able to provide a clear and logical explanation for the campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions. Challenging by nonviolent means a self-righteous ideological state that allows itself, aided by a mute world, to dispossess and destroy the indigenous people of Palestine, is a just and moral cause. It is also an effective way of galvanizing the public opinion not only against the present genocidal policies in Gaza, but hopefully one that would prevent future atrocities. But more importantly than anything else it will puncture the balloon of self-righteous fury that suffocates the Palestinians every times it inflates. It will help end the Western immunity to Israel’s impunity. Without that immunity, one hopes more and more people in Israel will begin to see the real nature of the crimes committed in their name and their fury would be directed against those who trapped them and the Palestinians in this unnecessary cycle of bloodshed and violence.

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another israeli professor, oren ben-dor contextualizes the siege of gaza in terms of the refugees living in gaza and their original villages that they have a right to return to. here is part of how he explains israeli terrorism in counterpunch:

Thus, what is in fact being “preserved” is the unwillingness, or rather the inability, of Israelis to question their own state’s apartheid foundation. The concealing mantra about Hamas’s rocket firing versus Israel’s legitimate self-defence cynically conscripts both the Palestinians of Gaza and the Israelis of Sderot. Shielding the Jewish state’s unwillingness to deal with colonial and racist Zionism is more important than all of them.

Accepting the right of Israel to securely exist as a Jewish state has now become the bench mark for political moderation. Obama is already singing the song. Egalitarian anti-Zionists who challenge that right readily fail the test. This anti-Zionist voice is inclusive and moderate. It insists that injustices to Palestinians stem from the very premise of statehood that Israel is based on. Injustices to Palestinians encompass the whole of historic Palestine in a way which cannot be partitioned so that they become visible only in the territories, including Gaza, which Israel occupied in 1967. Let us, then, break the idle chatter about self-defence that merely levels “criticisms” against Israel but by that legitimises it: the origin of the violence in Gaza is intimately linked to the manner the Israeli state came into being and to the continuing toleration of the apartheid premise at its very essence. Israel should not be “reformed” or “condemned” but replaced with a single egalitarian structure over all historic Palestine.

Israel needs a continuing cycle of violence. As long as this cycle is provoked through daily oppression, Israelis can sustain that haven in which they can unite behind their inability to examine their apartheid mentality. Violence maintains a zone in which that existential threat of old stifles any possibility for genuine empathy and egalitarian self-reflection. At the same time, violence is a necessary means for entrenching the purported legitimacy of what is claimed to be the only alternative to this violence. That alternative is no other than the “surprisingly” failing, “sane”, “reasonable” and “moderate” “peace process” towards two states, a process which aims to legitimise the apartheid state once and for all. The discourse has been hijacked in such a way that the urgent calls for the immediate cessation of violence resuscitate that non-starter, the essentially unjust two states project that will ensure the continuation of violence.

jennifer lowenstein also has a great piece on counterpunch detailing exactly why this massacre in gaza has nothing to do with hamas. here is what she says at its conclusion:

The destruction of Gaza has nothing to do with Hamas. Israel will accept no authority in the Palestinian territories that it does not ultimately control. Any individual, leader, faction or movement that fails to accede to Israel’s demands or that seeks genuine sovereignty and the equality of all nations in the region; any government or popular movement that demands the applicability of international humanitarian law and of the universal declaration of human rights for its own people will be unacceptable for the Jewish State. Those dreaming of one state must be forced to ask themselves what Israel would do to a population of 4 million Palestinians within its borders when it commits on a daily, if not hourly basis, crimes against their collective humanity while they live alongside its borders? What will suddenly make the raison d’etre, the self-proclaimed purpose of Israel’s reason for being change if the Palestinian territories are annexed to it outright?

The lifeblood of the Palestinian National Movement flows through the streets of Gaza today. Every drop that falls waters the soil of vengeance, bitterness and hatred not only in Palestine but across the Middle East and much of the world. We do have a choice over whether or not this should continue. Now is the time to make it.

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it is now nighttime in palestine. in the last few hours bombing has intensified. you can see huge explosions going off behind the journalists on al jazeera. israeli terrorists just bombed a mosque in beit lahia with american-made weapons and planes. it just happened so i don’t know the full scale, but it happened during prayer. the mosque was filled with men praying. 11 people killed so far, 22 critically injured. this is what said abdelwahed describes what night is like in gaza;

Its totally dark. More than 80% of the Gaza city is covered by utter darkness. One cannot see his finger in the dark! Meantime, outside, there are drones buzzing overhead, choppers roaming in the sky. Inside again, children are unwilling to go to bed despite their bed time! They are fearful of nightmares, bad dreams, bombing, explosions, and what not! The routine sounds of the air crafts has been going on for more than six days and nights. And when it suddenly disappears…

… BANG …

continuous bangs! … series of explosions. … other horrible explosions. … blasts … flames in the distance. … children jump up from their beds. Scared … frightened. … anxious … they do not know what to do! They want to hide anywhere, but there is nowhere to go too? It sounds like the bang was under their mattresses. What to do again? Just nothing but wait! How can you convince your child to wait? And to wait for what? Next, one hears ambulances sirens and fire brigades. Thus, one comes back to himself to realize that he is in Gaza and he is operating a small generator to write this message to the world in the new year 2009.

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fida qishta from rafah wrote a beautiful diary published in today’s guardian that chronicles her week of siege by israeli terrorists and then she asks:

A short message to the pilots in the Israeli F-16s: does it make you feel happy to kill Palestinian children and women? Do you feel it’s your duty? Killing every child and woman, man and teenager in Gaza? I don’t know what exactly you feel, what exactly you think, but please think of your mother and sister, your son and daughter.

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and in the midst of this bloodbath, life goes on in some ways, as my dear friend jen marlowe wrote today about her friend abeer who is about to have a baby:

Abeer was excited when I called her today.

“It’s my time, Jen!” she told me breathlessly. “The baby might come today or tomorrow-any moment now!”

Last time I saw Abeer, a year ago, she had shown me pictures of her fiancé, a teacher, and last time we spoke, months ago, she told me she was pregnant. But I had no idea how far along she was and that she was about to give birth now.

Now, of all times.

Abeer lives in the Gaza Strip. She has been waiting for her water to break the last four days as missiles rained down, killing over 380 Palestinians.

I wanted to express whole-hearted joy. This will be Abeer’s first child, her parents’ first grandchild. But I felt panic at the news. Gaza is enduring the bloodiest, most vicious attack in the over forty years of Israeli occupation. I couldn’t imagine Abeer, whom I’ve known since she was fifteen years old and visited many times in her cramped home in Khan Younes refugee camp, giving birth to the sound of explosions in the background.

Abeer expressed some trepidation herself. “I’m frightened,” she told me. “The situation in Gaza is really terrible. And bringing a child into the world is such a huge responsibility. How can I guarantee my baby’s safety?”

world protest continues. shelling continues. bombing continues. no one’s safety can be guaranteed, even a new baby. that is the point of terrorism: civilians are targeted. in mosques. in ambulances. in schools. in hospitals. on farms. in their homes. nowhere is safe. this is a concentration camp. for all you people who cry “never again,” why do you remain silent now? what will it take for you to do something? perhaps we should gather millions of jews in gaza and then perhaps someone would do something?

there are now 457 martyrs. 2,300 injured in 8 days.

for those who are still seeking to understand what is happening and sift through the american-israeli terrorist propaganda you can read this on if americans knew website (they also have many pamphlets and flyers related to other facts about palestine that you can download).

also there is a new petition from the faculty for israeli-palestinian peace, though this is a totally lame organization, it is yet one more way you can lend your voice of protest.

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