An Attack too Close to Home

More from Safa Joudeh who describes the targeting of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Headquarters and the evacuation of her home.

We WON’T be victimized: An attack too close to home

La Repubblica, January 17th 2009

I thought I was dreaming, or still hearing explosions. After all I’d only been asleep for an hour and a half, and it wasn’t far fetched that the tanks may be firing from outside our front door. Wednesday night into Thursday morning had seen the most intense bombardment of Gaza city so far, and last I’d heard before drifting off was that the Israeli forces had advanced as far as the end of our streets, into the Tel al Hawa neighborhood. They’d already seized buildings there, so what’s to prevent them from making their way a little further in.
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Palestinian Resistance

This was written a couple of days ago so while things have progressed since then the essence still holds true, Safa Joudeh in Gaza:

The truth will come out
La Repubblica, January 15th 2008

“Common knowledge” is a term with subjective reference to the general information widely known within a particular environment/location. This information is readily available to people through direct exposure to, and everyday encounters with the forms in which it presents itself. In reference to my situation as a resident of Gaza for example, it’s common knowledge among the Gaza community that Israel is an occupying power that aims at undermining Palestinian self determination and autonomy. It’s also common knowledge that during this attack Israeli forces strike blindly while assuming political justifications that bare no relevance to the situation on the ground. Another piece of common knowledge is that the Palestinian resistance is not a group of crazed Hamas gorillas brandishing their M16 and launching rockets into southern Israel for the sake of maintaining their presence and authority over the people of Gaza.

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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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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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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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Prefering Death to Indignity

Holding Out in Gaza: Waiting for the Israelis‘. Safa Joudeh in Time reporting on the ongoing Nakba in Gaza:

As Israeli tanks push deeper and deeper into the Gaza Strip from the north, south and east each night, we feel certain that come morning, Phase 3 of the Israeli offensive will be upon us. Yet the Israeli military seems insistent upon teasing the population, playing a ruthless game of terror against those living in neighborhoods that are at the forefront of the incursions, which are heavily bombarded each night. Each afternoon, four families of relatives who live only five minutes away from us gather their blankets, clothes and valuables and arrive at our front door, fearing that this will be the night. Each morning they return to their homes, thankful that, so far, only minimal damage has been done to their houses during the night. Each morning the Israeli military retreat to their original posts, on the outskirts of the neighborhoods. So far.

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The Blood-Stained Monster Enters Gaza

gaza massacre

Uri Avnery with a really fantastic piece in Counterpunch. My one criticism is his conclusion that “in the end, this war is a crime against ourselves too, a crime against the State of Israel.” While it might be true, and I know his focus is the Israeli persepective, I still find it distasteful to conclude with the Israeli crime against Israel as opposed to the Israeli massacre against Gaza.

Nearly seventy ago, in the course of World War II, a heinous crime was committed in the city of Leningrad. For more than a thousand days, a gang of extremists called “the Red Army” held the millions of the town’s inhabitants hostage and provoked retaliation from the German Wehrmacht from inside the population centers. The Germans had no alternative but to bomb and shell the population and to impose a total blockade, which caused the death of hundreds of thousands.

Some time before that, a similar crime was committed in England. The Churchill gang hid among the population of London, misusing the millions of citizens as a human shield. The Germans were compelled to send their Luftwaffe and reluctantly reduce the city to ruins. They called it the Blitz.

This is the description that would now appear in the history books – if the Germans had won the war.

Absurd? No more than the daily descriptions in our media, which are being repeated ad nauseam: the Hamas terrorists use the inhabitants of Gaza as “hostages” and exploit the women and children as “human shields”, they leave us no alternative but to carry out massive bombardments, in which, to our deep sorrow, thousands of women, children and unarmed men are killed and injured.

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