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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Zionism in Gaza’s Shattered Mirror

Friend of P U L S E  M. Shahid Alam shows that Zionism erased Palestinians from its narrative long before it embarked on its attempts to physically annihilate them. Gaza is merely the latest phase of this project.

At a time when Palestinian men, women and children, corralled in the ghetto of Gaza since 1948, are daily, hourly, relentlessly, being bombed from the air, land and sea, it is instructive to turn to some of the founding fathers of Zionism, and ask what they might have thought about this obscene consequence of their messianic vision.

In the writings of these founding fathers, the Palestinians rarely merit even a passing reference. You can pore through one of the earliest statements of the Zionist credo, Moses Hess’ Rome and Jerusalem, but you will find not a single reference to ‘Muslims’ or ‘Arabs.’ Twice, the word ‘Palestinian’ enters this venerated text; the first time, it appears in connection with the training of Jewish youth for the “life of a Palestinian farmer;’ and the second refers to the ‘Jerushalmi Palestinian Talmud Sanhedrin.’ Palestine always exists, inscribed on some divine tablet, as Israeli land; but there are no Palestinians.

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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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Israel’s Gaza Genocide

Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, president of the UN General Assembly, has made a name for himself speaking the truth in regard to Israel and in defence of the Palestinian people.  Now calling Israel’s actions in Gaza genocide.

Brockmann told the UN in New York: “The number of victims in Gaza is increasing by the day… The situation is untenable. It’s genocide.”

Judging by the UN definition of genocide, provided by Juan Cole, it is hard to disagree.

Contemporary international legal thinking on genocide does consider destroying the lifeways of a people to be in this category. Here is the UN definition:

‘ In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part . . . ‘

That what the Israeli government is doing is intended to destroy in part the Palestinians as an independent people seems to me incontestable.

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