We’ve blogged about how israel considers clothes a WMD and has blocked them from entering Gaza but now comes word the Israelis are blocking paper that will be used to print textbooks from entering Gaza as well. Now before you go off and think the textbooks will be about pigs and monkeys, a term I was called by an Israeli for insisting what’s happening in Gaza is “genocide”, you should know the textbooks that will be printed are human rights courses which are modeled on those developed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, with input from the human rights community in Gaza. They will be taught by specialist human rights teachers in every school, and human rights organizations in Gaza will evaluate the teachers’ performance. This should come as no surprise since the Israelis the biggest violators of human rights in the Middle East want to continue the myth that they are the victims.
First there was this regarding white phosphorous in Gaza
The Israeli military has denied using white phosphorus during the assault on Gaza, but aid agencies say they have no doubt it has been used.
“It is an absolute certainty,” said Marc Garlasco, a senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch. He had seen Israeli artillery fire white phosphorus shells at Gaza City, Garlasco said.
Israel initially claimed that it was not using white phosphorus. It later explained that shells being loaded for a howitzer, identified from photographs as phosphorus rounds, were empty “quiet” shells used for target marking.
The M825A1 rounds, which are the kind identified as being fired by Israeli forces, are made primarily for use as a smokescreen in a way that limits their effect as an incendiary weapon, experts say.
Then came images like this
and with them came this admission
After weeks of denying that it used white phosphorus in the heavily populated Gaza Strip, Israel finally admitted yesterday that the weapon was deployed in its offensive.
The army’s use of white phosphorus – which makes a distinctive shellburst of dozens of smoke trails – was reported first by The Times on January 5, when it was strenuously denied by the army. Now, in the face of mounting evidence and international outcry, Israel has been forced to backtrack on that initial denial. “Yes, phosphorus was used but not in any illegal manner,” Yigal Palmor, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told The Times. “Some practices could be illegal but we are going into that. The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) is holding an investigation concerning one specific incident.”
Palmor can even lie and backtrack in the same sound bite and seem convincing to the uninitiated. There will be no investigation of substance, of course, no charges will be forthcoming against ANYONE in the Israeli government, despite this because such talk has been making the rounds since 2006 when Israel decimated Lebanon during its homicidal rampage in that country.
Imagine how hard I laughed when I read,
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Friday that he wept upon hearing a Palestinian father calling for help live on television after his children were killed during Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip. “I cried when I saw this. Who didn’t? How could you not?,” Olmert told the Israeli newspaper Maariv in an interview..
because Israel has been dropping a new munition researched and developed in the US, called DIME, Dense Inert Metal Explosive, a LCD (“low collateral damage”) weapon developed to produce an unusually powerful blast within a relatively small area, spraying a superheated “micro-shrapnel” of powdered Heavy Metal Tungsten Alloy (HMTA). Scientific studies have found that HMTA is chemically toxic, damages the immune system, rapidly causes cancer, and attacks DNA (genotoxic). This produces the ultimate in collateral damage, altering the genetic makeup of people not initially killed in the blast and affecting generations of civilians. Perhaps, what happened to the children of the Palestinian doctor Olmert supposedly wept for was merciful, they died quickly but Olmert would have you believe he was concerned for the children. It’s the doctor who must worry for himself and any surviving members of his family for years to come. So, to put it mildly, Olmert is full of it and this weeping business is just another in a series of lies he/they made. You can tell when they lie, because their lips move.
The timing couldn’t be more accurate. We’ve pointed out how the Israelis are usually the first to kill after conflict pauses that last more than one week. In fact the empirical evidence says over 90% of the time the Israeli government acts provocatively to end truces with its Palestinian neighbors/prisoners but less than one week after announcing a unilateral truce the Israelis are at it again this time in the West Bank, kidnapping civilians from Jenin and Qaryut as well as shelling Gaza from naval boats off the coast. Both actions are nothing more than a provocation designed to get the Palestinians to respond in a way that will justify a disproportionate military response on the order of a week ago.
If that doesn’t work, the Israelis are quite content to sit back, tighten the screws on their already strangling blockade and let the Palestinians starve until they try to break the blockade, at which point they’ll return militarily.
“This war and the ceasefire have not brought about a lifting of the siege on Gaza. People might not be dying by gunfire, but they may still starve to death or succumb to easily treatable ailments. This brutal siege has crippled Gaza and most importantly the children”, he ( Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP) emphasised, referring on the siege policy that Israel has heavily imposed on the Gaza Strip for 14 months.
Of course the Israelis will say the blockade is to restrict the flow of arms to Hamas, but much needed supplies are being denied to the few remaining civilians of Gaza and the blockade has become a political tool to ratchet up pressure on Hamas or Gazans in general. The Israelis are offering the excuse that they want the people of Gaza to disavow their elected officials, but that’s not happening anytime soon.
“Hamas is now our army, the only ones fighting to defend the Palestinian people,” said Gaza resident Ahmed al-Sultan, standing outside the rubble of the north Gaza City home his family has lived in for 40 years. “I saw how they fight, their courage and their sacrifice, and so I’ve changed my opinion about them.”
After it won control in Gaza, Hamas sentenced Mr. Sultan to death. He won a reprieve through a connected relative. Today, he calls the Palestinian Authority leaders he once served, who are based in the West Bank, “donkeys” and says Hamas, his onetime nemesis, are “rightful defenders of the Palestinian people.”
Most nationalist movements are not motivated or moved by outside pressure while their country is occupied. The US tried it with Iraq after the first Gulf war, with little or no results, despite the thousands of deaths and the utter ruin of the Iraqi economy, and it’s really foolhardy to think Gazans will reject Hamas or vote them out of power. What the Israelis have done rather successfully is a play on the old divide and conquer philosophy, where they have pit one group of Palestinians against another. Hamas is a by product of this strategy and the Israelis will perpetuate the lie that Hamas doesn’t recognize the state of Israel as a a casus belli for any military action against Palestinians, prolonging the conflict, keeping the region unstable, while appealing for and getting massive military and economic aid from the US.
President Obama should know all this. The patterns are really very clear and well discernible. The Israelis can go on with this game of abuse and genocide as long as they are enabled by the US specifically and western powers generally. The pressure to change will have to come from the citizens of America and the west on their elected officials who are, for the moment anyway, in the back pocket of the Lobby.
My dear sisters and brothers I wanted to take this opportunity to send you a message from the sisters in Gaza. Please hear about our situation, and convey it to everyone who you know and do not know.
Our situation is dire but our eman is strong alhamdulillah, even though we have no water to speak of. When we do [have water] it is polluted, and we have no money to buy mineral water. When we obtain money, then those that sell it [the water] tell us that it is too dangerous for them to travel out to get new supplies. We have no gas, and have not had for the last four months. We cook the little food we have on real [wood] fires that we have learned to light.
Our men have lost all their jobs. They spend their days at home now. My husband can end up spending a day just going from place to place in search of the bare necessities, like water. He usually returns empty handed. There are no schools and no banks; hardly any hospitals are open. You are constantly aware that you risk your life when you go out and when you are indoors. We are under a curfew [imposed by the Israeli army-IDF] between 1-4pm. We can go out, they [IDF] say, in safety to get our supplies, but that is a lie. They have often used that opportunity to add more shuhada [martyrs] to their list.
We eat rice one day and bread one day. Meat and milk are luxuries. They are using chemical warfare upon the areas close to the borders.
All this and we are being told that people demonstrate all over the world. Masha Allah. The fact that you go to the embassies, leaving your homes, makes us truly feel that we are not alone in our struggle.
But you go home at night and lock your door. We cannot do that. I have to leave my home on the second floor every night and stay with my sister on the ground floor. Should there be an attack, it’s quicker to leave from the ground floor.
Yes we are tired. When we hear rockets and bombs and see planes that fly too close to our building, I scream with my young son, while my husband feels helpless.
In all this there is no one but Allah (swt) that can save us. But the ummah is asking, “where are the armies?”, “where is the victory?”
Don’t forget us because you are all that we have now. Your kind sadaqaat are not reaching us, and when they open the borders, it only reaches a few. Keep up the work of Allah and pray that the victory will come soon insha Allah.
Your sister Umm Taqi
Hat tip to MuslimMatters.org for this.
And then along comes this bit of news from the UN to underscore Umm Taqi’s letter.
ISRAEL deliberately blocked the United Nations from building up vital food supplies in Gaza that feed a million people daily before the launch of its war against Hamas, according to a senior UN official in Jerusalem.
In a scathing critique of Israeli actions leading up to the conflict, the UN’s chief humanitarian co-ordinator in Israel, the former Australian diplomat Maxwell Gaylard, accused Israel of failing to honour its commitments to open its border with Gaza during several months of truce from June 19 last year.
“The Israelis would not let us facilitate a regular and sufficient flow of supplies into the Strip,” Mr Gaylard said.
The chief spokesman for Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yigal Palmor, said the claims were “unqualified bullshit”.
“At no time was there a shortage of food in Gaza over the past three weeks,” Mr Palmor said.
Mr Gaylard, who is the UN Special Co-ordinator’s Office’s most senior representative in Israel, told the Herald that when Israel launched its surprise attack on Gaza on December 27, the UN’s warehouses in Gaza were nearly empty, with all food and equipment sitting in nearby port facilities. “The food was in Israel but we couldn’t get it in. This is before. The blockade was very tight.”
Finally when there was aid available this is what happened.
Israeli forces shelled areas deep inside Gaza City on Thursday, hitting the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and wounding at least three people among the hundreds taking shelter in the compound, UN officials and witnesses said.
Are these the best allies we, the United States, can come up with in the Middle East?
The Israelis have ceased being innovative in their slaughter of Palestinians and have become rather predictable instead. Perhaps they are that way because their methods have always worked; they have always gotten away with murder, literally, and yet maintained their status as the world’s ultimate victim. However that said, this latest atrocity among the many they have committed today is the one easiest to see develop and make a parody of.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the military fired artillery shells at the U.N. compound after Hamas militants opened fire from the location. Three people were wounded.
“It is absolutely true that we were attacked from that place, but the consequences are very sad and we apologize for it,” he said. “I don’t think it should have happened and I’m very sorry.”
Ging, who was in the compound at the time, dismissed the Israeli account as “nonsense.”
Israeli shells first hit the courtyard filled with refugees, then struck garages and the U.N.’s main warehouse, sending thousands of tons of food aid up in flames, Ging said. Later, fuel supplies went up in flames, sending a thick black plume of smoke into the air.
“It’s a total disaster for us,” Ging said, adding that the U.N. had warned the Israeli military that the compound was in peril from shelling that had begun overnight. U.N. officials say they have provided Israel with GPS coordinates of all U.N. installations in Gaza to prevent such attacks.
Of course the Israelis will cloud the issue about whether there were any militants, their location in regard to the UN compound, etc., etc., much like they did with the UN supported school which they shelled and killed scores of people last week. Perhaps the only saving grace between today’s shelling and that of a week ago is the absence of a large body count. The Israeli strategy is to kill civilians, but it’s also to terrorize them and to the extent that they can shell at will UN shelters where refugees are supposed to feel safe but aren’t means they’ve also accomplished a goal. So the absence of large numbers of dead aren’t a blow to their battle plans as long as they can make their enemy feel insecure.
It should be noted too that this attack took place while the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was in the region trying to negotiate a ceasefire. How’s that for an in your face moment brought to you by the IDF. There is no shame with this lawless regime, and recognizing that, false statements of regret are no more than crocodile tears.