according to my oxford english dictionary cease-fire means:
a temporary suspension of fighting, typically one during which peace talks take place; a truce.
• an order or signal to stop fighting
yesterday, of course, the united nations security council voted for a “cease-fire.” 14 voted in favor of this. 0 voted against it. 1 abstained (u.s.) un sc resolution 1860 reads:
“Recalling all of its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003) and 1850 (2008),
“Stressing that the Gaza Strip constitutes an integral part of the territory occupied in 1967 and will be a part of the Palestinian state,
“Emphasising the importance of the safety and well-being of all civilians,
“Expressing grave concern at the escalation of violence and the deterioration of the situation, in particular the resulting heavy civilian casualties since the refusal to extend the period of calm; and emphasising that the Palestinian and Israeli civilian populations must be protected,
“Expressing grave concern also at the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza,
“Emphasising the need to ensure sustained and regular flow of goods and people through the Gaza crossings,
“Recognising the vital role played by UNRWA in providing humanitarian and economic assistance within Gaza,
“Recalling that a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved by peaceful means,
“Reaffirming the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders,
“1. Stresses the urgency of and calls for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza;
“2. Calls for the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment;
“3. Welcomes the initiatives aimed at creating and opening humanitarian corridors and other mechanisms for the sustained delivery of humanitarian aid;
“4. Calls on Member States to support international efforts to alleviate the humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza, including through urgently needed additional contributions to UNRWA and through the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee;
“5. Condemns all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism;
“6. Calls upon Member States to intensify efforts to provide arrangements and guarantees in Gaza in order to sustain a durable ceasefire and calm, including to prevent illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition and to ensure the sustained re‑opening of the crossing points on the basis of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access between the Palestinian Authority and Israel; and in this regard, welcomes the Egyptian initiative, and other regional and international efforts that are under way;
“7. Encourages tangible steps towards intra-Palestinian reconciliation including in support of mediation efforts of Egypt and the League of Arab States as expressed in the 26 November 2008 resolution, and consistent with Security Council resolution 1850 (2008 ) and other relevant resolutions;
“8. Calls for renewed and urgent efforts by the parties and the international community to achieve a comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognised borders, as envisaged in Security Council resolution 1850 (2008), and recalls also the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative;
“9. Welcomes the Quartet’s consideration, in consultation with the parties, of an international meeting in Moscow in 2009;
“10. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”
Statements before Vote
BERNARD KOUCHNER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of France, speaking in his national capacity, said the Council was meeting in the common cause of achieving a ceasefire. In Gaza, there was an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. He said he was moved and distressed by the plight of the victims and families on both sides. The immediate end to hostilities was something the European Union and President Nicolas Sarkozy had been committed to.
He said the draft called for the end to the firing of rockets, the end to the Israeli operations, the opening of the border crossings and an end to arms smuggling. Those parameters were something the President of France had brought up with the leaders of the region and President Hosni Mubarak had drawn up a proposal. That plan was the only way to peace. He expressed regret that it had not been possible to give a little more time to reconcile different views or to endorse the results of negotiations now under way. The message of hope needed to be heeded without delay and negotiation under way needed to achieve prompt results.
The Council then adopted resolution 1860 (2009) by a vote of 14 in favour with 1 abstention (United States).
there are many problems with this un resolution, number one being that there is no reference, of course, to the united nations’ role in creating this problem by going against its own charter and partitioning and colonizing palestine in the first place via un resolution 181. there is no reference to un resolution 194 codifying palestinians’ right of return, although un resolution 242, which is referred to, reaffirms that legal right for all palestinian refugees. like many un resolutions, palestinians and israeli terrorists are treated as equal entities, which they are not: palestinians are not equal to palestinians as they are colonized by israeli terrorists. moreover, this resolution names hamas and not palestinians as if all palestinians–indeed the world if you see the protests in the streets–are not behind the people of gaza. this war is against the people of gaza, not hamas. the resistance fighters in gaza cannot be reduced to hamas: dflp, al aqsa martyrs brigades, these are all resistance fighters from a wide range of ideological perspectives. in any case this un resolution once again shows the united nations’ impotence with respect to protecting the rights of palestinians to live in their land free from alien settler colonist terrorists or to return to their original villages. moreover, as could be expected israeli terrorists live according to their own rules and not only have not acted according to this agreement, during the voting i watched a split screen on al jazeera that showed the voting and speeches on one side of the screen and the increased intensity of the bombing on the other side. here is what the israeli terrorist regime had to say:
A few hours after the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1860 calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, the limited cabinet including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak convened Friday morning to decide whether Operation Cast Lead should be expanded, or if fire should be held.
Israel has shown a certain level of apathy to the resolution, and Hamas has also stated it is not bound by and will not accept the decision.
“Israel has acted, is acting, and will continue to act only according to its calculations, in the interest of the security of its citizens and its right to self defense,” Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said.
here is an account of what happened as the voting was taking place in new york city:
Al Jazeera’s Zeina Awad, reporting from the Israel-Gaza border, said air raids, tank shelling and gunfire had continued in the early hours of Friday, moments after the resolution had passed.
About half a dozen explosions were heard in Gaza as council members at the UN building in New York were extolling the virtues of the resolution that came after days of diplomatic wrangling.
And there was no sign that either Israel would stop its offensive in the Palestinian territory – now in its 14th day – or Hamas would stop its rocket attacks.
The Israeli military said air raids hit 50 targets in Gaza overnight.
israeli terrorist actions over the past 24 hours since un sc 1860 was passed is indicative of what happened in the last 72 hours of the july 2006 israeli terrorist invasion of lebanon when they littered the whole of south lebanon with american-made cluster bombs in violation of the u.s. arms export control act. it is worth taking another look at un sc 1701, which “ended” that summer’s war of colonial, expansionist violence by israeli terrorists; like un sc 1860 palestinians are forced into submission by this resolution just as lebanese were forced into submission via 1701.
here is the al jazeera footage of the united nations meeting approving the resolution:
it is worth remembering the last time there was a so-called “cease-fire” and who broke that “cease-fire” given that israeli terrorists like to repeat the lie that it was hamas. it was not:
On Nov. 4 — just when the ceasefire was most effective — the IDF carried out an attack against a house in Gaza in which six members of Hamas’s military wing were killed, including two commanders, and several more were wounded. The IDF explanation for the operation was that it had received intelligence that a tunnel was being dug near the Israeli security fence for the purpose of abducting Israeli soldiers.
Hamas officials asserted, however, that the tunnel was being dug for defensive purposes, not to capture IDF personnel, according to Pastor, and one IDF official confirmed that fact to him.
After that Israeli attack, the ceasefire completely fell apart, as Hamas began openly firing rockets into Israel, the IDF continued to carry out military operations inside Gaza, and the border crossings were “closed most of the time”, according to the ITIC account.
meanwhile israeli terrorists stepped up their attacks today on palestinians in gaza on a number of fronts as the number of murdered palestinians rose to 801. this is what “cease-fire” looks like to israeli terrorists:
By mid-afternoon the Israeli cabinet adjourned and announced that the operation in Gaza would be “widened.”
Director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Palestinian Health Ministry Muawiyah Hassanain said that the death toll over two weeks of the Israeli offensive in Gaza is 781 with more than 3,300 injured.
The latest victim to be identified was a woman, Nareman Abu Au’da, who was killed by the shrapnel of an artillery shell that hit her house in Beit Hanoun, in the north of the Gaza Strip. Medical officials identified her on Friday evening.
Three Family homes targeted
As the news of the Israeli rejection of the ceasefire came out shelling was reported in northern Gaza, which targeted the home of the Sa’id family, killing 42-year-old Fatima Sa’eed Sa’id, 25-year-old Sumeya , and 12-year-old Ata Jamil, in an air strike on the home in Al-Qarem in northern Gaza.
When strikes targeted the Abu Hasna home in Old Gaza City Friday morning one of the Abu Hasna boys was killed and several others killed. He was taken to the nearby Kamal Udwan hospital where he was identified as 15-year-old Muhammad Atef Abu Al-Husna and pronounced dead.
Seven Palestinians from the Salha family were killed by an Israeli tank shelling at 4am that leveled their home in the town of Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip. Among the dead were 60-year-old Mohammad Mubarak Saleh, his wife Halima Saleh. Another son was also injured.
Air raids level empty houses
Israeli airstrikes demolished ten homes overnight, including the residence of the chief of police in Gaza Abu Obeida Al-Jarrah, in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City.
Warplanes also destroyed the house of the head of Palestinian security in the southern city of Rafah, a man who is said to be affiliated to Hamas’ armed wing.
A police station in the Zaitoun neighborhood of Gaza was also demolished, along with the Ar-Rebat Mosque in Khan Younis and an office linked to Islamic Jihad.
Israeli Navy attacks central Gaza
In the town of Al-Zawaydah, in the central Gaza Strip, three were killed and seven injured by shelling from Israeli gunboats. The victims were taken to Al-Aqsa Hospital.
Tanks pushing across Khan Younis district
Also at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, nine corpses and 40 injured people arrived overnight, victims of an attempt by Israeli tanks to cut across the middle of the Gaza Strip to the sea. Israeli tanks have already cut across in one place farther north.
Among those killed in the central Gaza incursion is a member of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad. The movement said Jihad Abu Mudif died after being seriously wounded in fighting with Israeli troops near the city of Khan Younis.
and of course, americans are not only supplying the weapons to israeli terrorists: they are also supplying the manpower:
A small number of US civilians with the Corps have been providing technical advice to the Egyptians over a period of months, said Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary.
“There has been a concerted effort for some time by the Egyptians to go after some of these tunnels — detect them, block them, eliminate them — and I think the Army Corps of Engineers has provided some technical advice on how to do so,” Morrell said.
in addition to these terrorist activities listed above they attacked the media just like their american terrorist counterparts like to do in iraq:
The building was home to more than 20 local, national and international press offices.
No injuries were reported, but the already limited information coming out of Gaza, given Israel’s decision to bar international journalists from the area, will be further compromised.
there were chinese, turkish, arab, and iranian foreign journalists in that building. and rafah was razed today as this video footage from the guardian/international solidarity movement shows:
so israeli terrorism persists. but it would persist with or without a united resolution. it will persist with or without global protests, although there have been many all around the world from kenya to jordan:
perhaps as a result of some of this protesting–the likes of which we did not even see in the summer of 2006 when israeli terrorists were invading lebanon and gaza at the same time–there is some important movement with respect to boycott, divestment and sanctions. here is a sampling of some of those important developments:
A coalition of major humanitarian, human rights and development organizations called on the European Union today [7 January 2009] to immediately suspend any further enhancement of its relations with Israel, known as an “upgrade,” until it agrees to a comprehensive ceasefire and provides unimpeded humanitarian access. Both Israel’s offensive in Gaza and Hamas rocket attacks into Israel have caused unacceptable civilian casualties.
Ma’an learned that Laureate Mairead Maguire is insisting the UN establish an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel (ICTI), according to a letter sent to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and General Assembly President Father Miguel D’Escoto on Sunday.
Maguire called on UN leaders to add their voices “to the many calls from international jurists, human rights organizations and individuals” calling for trying Israel for “atrocities against the people of Gaza and Palestine.”
Dear Prime Minister Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister Cannon: We the undersigned  academics and educators express our condemnation of Israel’s attack on Gaza. With over 600 dead, including 100 children, we call on the Canadian government to demand an immediate cessation of Israeli hostilities.
As per the position of UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Palestine, Richard Falk, the attack constitutes a war crime in that it is completely disproportionate to the threat posed, and violates international humanitarian law on at least three grounds: Collective punishment, Targeting Civilians, Disproportionate military response.
We call on the Canadian government to implement sanctions against the Israeli government until it ceases its attack against the people of Gaza and fully complies with international law.
“We cannot remain silent about what is happening in Gaza. We had thought of drawing up a list of businessmen who have links with Tel Aviv because people do not know who they are,” Giancarlo Desiderati, a member of a small group of Italian traders who called for the boycott on its website, said.
At least 5,000 people protested outside the US embassy in Malaysia on Friday, and around 300 held a noisy protest outside the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur to urge Arab countries to cut off oil supplies to the US and boycott goods from Coca-Cola, Colgate and Starbucks.
Addressing the crowd, Mahathir Mohamed, a former prime minister, told Malaysians that they “will not die if they do not use the US goods” and urged those working for US companies such as fast-food giant McDonalds to quit their jobs.
“I hope Starbucks and McDonald’s employees will stop working there,” he said.
Munira Subasic, who lost her son and husband when Bosnian Serbs took over the eastern town of Srebrenica, said she felt solidarity with the Palestinian people.
“In 2009, Palestinian mothers are going through ordeals we experienced in 1995 and we are raising our voice because we know about pain and suffering. We know how it feels to lose a child or husband,” said Subasic.
Protesters said they felt they had to react to killings of more than 660 Palestinians and the suffering of refugees in the 13-day-old offensive launched by Israel.
Ambassador Ali al-Ayed was summoned to Amman by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry and was instructed by the government to remain in the Hashemite Kingdom.
A number of prominent South Africans have condemned the brutal attacks currently being perpetrated by the Israeli army in Gaza, and have called for diplomatic sanctions as a response. Among those who have voiced their condemnation are Eddie Makue, General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches; former government Minister Ronnie Kasrils; Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven; and University of Johannesburg academic Professor Steven Friedman.
and, finally, i quote naomi klein’s article from the nation telling us that now is FINALLY! the time to call for, participate in, push for boycott:
In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on “people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.” The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions–BDS for short–was born.
Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause, and talk of cease-fires is doing little to slow the momentum. Support is even emerging among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel. It calls for “the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions” and draws a clear parallel with the antiapartheid struggle. “The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves…. This international backing must stop.”
Yet many still can’t go there. The reasons are complex, emotional and understandable. And they simply aren’t good enough. Economic sanctions are the most effective tools in the nonviolent arsenal. Surrendering them verges on active complicity. Here are the top four objections to the BDS strategy, followed by counterarguments.
1. Punitive measures will alienate rather than persuade Israelis. The world has tried what used to be called “constructive engagement.” It has failed utterly. Since 2006 Israel has been steadily escalating its criminality: expanding settlements, launching an outrageous war against Lebanon and imposing collective punishment on Gaza through the brutal blockade. Despite this escalation, Israel has not faced punitive measures–quite the opposite. The weapons and $3 billion in annual aid that the US sends to Israel is only the beginning. Throughout this key period, Israel has enjoyed a dramatic improvement in its diplomatic, cultural and trade relations with a variety of other allies. For instance, in 2007 Israel became the first non-Latin American country to sign a free-trade deal with Mercosur. In the first nine months of 2008, Israeli exports to Canada went up 45 percent. A new trade deal with the European Union is set to double Israel’s exports of processed food. And on December 8, European ministers “upgraded” the EU-Israel Association Agreement, a reward long sought by Jerusalem.
It is in this context that Israeli leaders started their latest war: confident they would face no meaningful costs. It is remarkable that over seven days of wartime trading, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s flagship index actually went up 10.7 percent. When carrots don’t work, sticks are needed.
2. Israel is not South Africa. Of course it isn’t. The relevance of the South African model is that it proves that BDS tactics can be effective when weaker measures (protests, petitions, back-room lobbying) have failed. And there are indeed deeply distressing echoes: the color-coded IDs and travel permits, the bulldozed homes and forced displacement, the settler-only roads. Ronnie Kasrils, a prominent South African politician, said that the architecture of segregation that he saw in the West Bank and Gaza in 2007 was “infinitely worse than apartheid.”
3. Why single out Israel when the United States, Britain and other Western countries do the same things in Iraq and Afghanistan? Boycott is not a dogma; it is a tactic. The reason the BDS strategy should be tried against Israel is practical: in a country so small and trade-dependent, it could actually work.
4. Boycotts sever communication; we need more dialogue, not less. This one I’ll answer with a personal story. For eight years, my books have been published in Israel by a commercial house called Babel. But when I published The Shock Doctrine, I wanted to respect the boycott. On the advice of BDS activists, I contacted a small publisher called Andalus. Andalus is an activist press, deeply involved in the anti-occupation movement and the only Israeli publisher devoted exclusively to translating Arabic writing into Hebrew. We drafted a contract that guarantees that all proceeds go to Andalus’s work, and none to me. In other words, I am boycotting the Israeli economy but not Israelis.
Coming up with this plan required dozens of phone calls, e-mails and instant messages, stretching from Tel Aviv to Ramallah to Paris to Toronto to Gaza City. My point is this: as soon as you start implementing a boycott strategy, dialogue increases dramatically. And why wouldn’t it? Building a movement requires endless communicating, as many in the antiapartheid struggle well recall. The argument that supporting boycotts will cut us off from one another is particularly specious given the array of cheap information technologies at our fingertips. We are drowning in ways to rant at one another across national boundaries. No boycott can stop us.
Just about now, many a proud Zionist is gearing up for major point-scoring: don’t I know that many of those very high-tech toys come from Israeli research parks, world leaders in infotech? True enough, but not all of them. Several days into Israel’s Gaza assault, Richard Ramsey, the managing director of a British telecom company, sent an e-mail to the Israeli tech firm MobileMax. “As a result of the Israeli government action in the last few days we will no longer be in a position to consider doing business with yourself or any other Israeli company.”
When contacted by The Nation, Ramsey said his decision wasn’t political. “We can’t afford to lose any of our clients, so it was purely commercially defensive.”
It was this kind of cold business calculation that led many companies to pull out of South Africa two decades ago. And it’s precisely the kind of calculation that is our most realistic hope of bringing justice, so long denied, to Palestine.