Why the Gaza Calm Crashed

Israel gaza protest

Alistair Crooke, of the Conflicts Forum, has written three articles over the course of the ongoing massacre in Gaza, the best of which, Why the Gaza Calm Crashed, is included below. In it Crooke explains, more clearly than any other commentator, how the Israeli cease-fire was really designed to illegally collectively punish the Gazan people until they rejected, their democratically elected leadership, Hamas.

When Israel therefore offered a renewal of this “cease-fire” agreement, rejecting Hamas’ terms for lifting the blockade on the people of Gaza, Hamas had a difficult choice: continue a brutal siege collectively punishing 1.5 million Gazans, designed to oust Hamas themselves from power, or reject it. Cooke paints a nuanced and bleak picture of, US backed, Israeli aggression or what others call the “cease-fire.”

It’s worth noting that the world view, mentioned by Crooke, of “moderates” versus “extremists” is championed and promoted in the West by the Neocon Israel firsters and is designed to best serve Israel’s interests in the region.  You have to be pro-Israel, or exceptionally ignorant, or like Blair, possess both these qualities, to see the country as “moderate” in the first place.

Many have asked in the wake of Israel’s attack on Gaza, how Hamas, if it saw the consequences of ending the ceasefire — and Hamas did foresee the likelihood of disproportionate Israeli military action — nonetheless could have acquiesced to the inevitable bloodshed — bloodshed that an Israeli army, fixated on restoring its deterrence after its failed 2006 war with Hesballah, would visit on the citizens of Gaza. Some may read into this decision the cynicism of a movement that prioritises resistance; but to do so would be to misread how Hamas analyses their situation and understands the nature of resistance.

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LRB contributors react to events in Gaza

Contributors to the London Review of Books — the best publication out there — react to events in Gaza.

Tariq Ali

A few weeks before the assault on Gaza, the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army published alevelheaded document on ‘Hamas and Israel’, which argued that ‘Israel’s stance towards the democratically-elected Palestinian government headed by Hamas in 2006, and towards Palestinian national coherence – legal, territorial, political and economic – has been a major obstacle to substantive peacemaking.’ Whatever their reservations about the organisation, the authors of the paper detected signs that Hamas was considering a shift of position even before the blockade:

It is frequently stated that Israel or the United States cannot ‘meet’ with Hamas (although meeting is not illegal; materially aiding terrorism is, if proven) because the latter will not ‘recognise Israel’. In contrast, the PLO has ‘recognised’ Israel’s right to exist and agreed in principle to bargain for significantly less land than the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip, and it is not clear that Israel has ever agreed to accept a Palestinian state. The recognition of Israel did not bring an end to violence, as wings of various factions of the PLO did fight Israelis, especially at the height of the Second (al- Aqsa) Intifada. Recognition of Israel by Hamas, in the way that it is described in the Western media, cannot serve as a formula for peace. Hamas moderates have, however, signaled that it implicitly recognises Israel, and that even a tahdiya (calming, minor truce) or a hudna, a longer-term truce, obviously implies recognition. Khalid Mish’al states: ‘We are realists,’ and there is ‘an entity called Israel,’ but ‘realism does not mean that you have to recognise the legitimacy of the occupation.’ Continue reading “LRB contributors react to events in Gaza”

Chomsky on Gaza

An article on the lecture can be read here, the following audio is from Open Media Boston:

Cambridge, MA – Prof. Noam Chomsky spoke to a capacity crowd of over 200 people yesterday at the Chomsky on Gaza Public Forum at the Wong Auditorium at MIT. The event was sponsored by the MIT Center for International Studies and its Program on Human Rights and Justice.

Chomsky on Gaza (1:10:57):  OGG | MP3 | Video

Some Israeli military officials back an immediate Gaza cease-fire

According to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni the IDF offensive has been “serving the interest of the Palestinian people” but, as the Haaretz makes clear, it no longer serves Israel’s interests as defence officials back an immediate Gaza cease-fire. The military establishment has concluded that escalating the conflict by launching phase three would be unwise. They feel that Israel “achieved several days ago all that it possibly could in Gaza” and are even prepared to withdraw before they have a UN force on the Egyptian border (to block the smuggling of basic food and medicines among other things – infuriating when your trying to starve a defenceless population into submission).

One might ask, what have they achieved? They have committed, according to the UN President of the General Assembly, acts of genocide against the Palestinian people and have yet failed in their goals of eliminating Hamas, stopping the rockets, or even blocking the Palestinain supply route through Egypt.

In short, Israel’s attempt to militarily dominate the Palestinian people has been a complete failure. Will the massacre of Palestinians have helped Kadima and Labour defeat Likud in the election?  I have a sick feeling it will.  I’ve heard of blood for oil, now Israel has brought us blood for votes.

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Chronology: Which Side Violated the Ceasefire?

A much needed historical corrective by Howard Friel to the amnesia that seems to have engulfed much of mainstream media coverage of the war on Gaza:

Introduction

June 18, 2008

Israel has approved a ceasefire to end months of bitter clashes with the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed. Under the terms of the truce, which is set to begin Thursday (June 19), Israel will ease its blockade on the Gaza Strip. At the same time, talks to release an Israeli soldier [Gilad Shalit] held by Hamas would intensify, an Israeli official said. Hamas, which controls Gaza, says it is confident that all militants will abide by the truce [by not firing rockets into southern Israel]. The agreement is supposed to last six months. (Emphasis added) (“Israel Agrees to Gaza Ceasefire,” BBC, June 18, 2008)
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Hamas and the Arab world

Part 2 of an inteview with Eric Margolis.  View part 1: who or what is Hamas or watch the The Real News report on Israeli troops attacking Gaza city.

The following is a comment on the Real News website:

“Hamas asked for it? I found, the normally rational and intelligent Jay Walker falling short of my expectations. Even CNN reported that Israel broke the truce on several occasions, not to speak of the many month long blockade. So how exactly did Hamas ask for it? Numerous peaceful attempts to block the blockade by international peace activists were attempted, but like everything else it was hardly covered in the mainstream press. Yes, non-violent resistance is wonderful, but it requires a media whose reach is far and wide, something that the Palestinains have never had at their disposal. I’m also been surprised by how little the real news has covered the crisis in Gaza. I would have expected them to have had several of these types of interviews already. It is Day 19 of this genocide. And its remarkable how we can sit around and say, yeah Hamas asked for genocide. How exactly does one do that?” Husaini

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Finkelstein: Seeing Through the Lies

In The Facts About Hamas and the War on Gaza Norman Finkelstein lucidly demonstrates that Israeli rejectionists are blocking peace in the Middle East.  With his focus on the international consensus for a two state solution, and Hamas’ adoption of this position, it becomes obvious which agent is refusing to compromise in finding a resolution to the conflict.   While this is a useful argument in understanding the nature of the conflict it, conveniently for Israel, ignores the core injustice perpetrated against the Palestinians, namely the ethnic cleansing of 1948.  What makes the borders drawn in blood in 1948 any more legitimate than those drawn in 1967?  Or if that is too radical why not the borders drawn up by the UN partition plan?  What about that disputed territory?  A one state solution seems the only logical solution, and the main stumbling block to that is the ethnocentricity and racism of Zionism.

The record is fairly clear. You can find it on the Israeli website, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Israel broke the ceasefire by going into the Gaza and killing six or seven Palestinian militants. At that point—and now I’m quoting the official Israeli website—Hamas retaliated or, in retaliation for the Israeli attack, then launched the missiles.

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Greek govt under fire over U.S. arms to Israel

U.S. weapons destined for Israel have been blocked from passing through Greece due to opposition protest.

A Pentagon spokesman said on Tuesday the transport had been cancelled at the request of the Greek government. Reports of the shipment had provoked a media outcry in Greece, where Israel’s 18-day-old offensive in Gaza is deeply unpopular.

“I think the Greek government has some issue with the offloading of some of that shipment in their country and we are finding alternative means of getting that entire shipment to its proper destination in Israel,” said Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell.

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Israel’s Justifications are Unravelling

Israeli historian Mark LeVine raises some interesting points with, for example, the US Israel lobby getting a mention and a revealing statistic from a  joint Tel Aviv University-European University study stating “Israeli violence has been responsible for ending 79 per cent of all lulls in violence since the outbreak of the second intifada, compared with only 8 per cent for Hamas and other Palestinian factions. ”

One by one the justifications given by Israel for its latest war in Gaza are unravelling.

The argument that this is a purely defensive war, launched only after Hamas broke a six-month ceasefire has been challenged, not just by observers in the know such as Jimmy Carter, the former US president who helped facilitate the truce, but by centre-right Israeli intelligence think tanks.

The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, whose December 31 report titled “Six Months of the Lull Arrangement Intelligence Report,” confirmed that the June 19 truce was only “sporadically violated, and then not by Hamas but instead by … “rogue terrorist organisations”.
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