Saturday, January 03, 2009

Israel pulls the trigger

Gaza burning
I awoke this morning to the news that Israeli ground troops launched an invasion into the Gaza Strip. The invasion is anticipated. Israeli troops have been massing around Gaza for days, while their air force has been pounding sites in the impoverished territory. There are reports of hundreds of civilian casualties, including 5 daughters in one family. Here's a snippet from a column posted on December 30, in Haaretz, an Israeli publication:
Our finest young men are attacking Gaza now. Good boys from good homes are doing bad things. Most of them are eloquent, impressive, self-confident, often even highly principled in their own eyes, and on Black Saturday dozens of them set out to bomb some of the targets in our 'target bank' for the Gaza Strip.

"They set out to bomb the graduation ceremony for young police officers who had found that rare Gaza commodity, a job, massacring them by the dozen. They bombed a mosque, killing five sisters of the Balousha family, the youngest of whom was 4. They bombed a police station, hitting a doctor nearby; she lies in a vegetative state in Shifa Hospital, which is bursting with wounded and dead. They bombed a university that we in Israel call the Palestinian Rafael, the equivalent of Israel's weapons developer, and destroyed student dormitories. They dropped hundreds of bombs out of blue skies free of all resistance.
--Gideon Levy, Haaretz
Pity those poor Palestinians. They've got the most ruthless army led by the most fanatical leadership bearing down on them with billions of dollars worth of US-supplied military equipment ($3 billion per year).

The attack is supposedly in response to rocket fire originating in Gaza and landing in Israeli territory. There have been three Israeli deaths in seven years as a result of this rocket fire; the ordnance is by all accounts primitive, and it is highly unlikely the Palestinians have real means of fighting the Israelis since the blockade Israel has imposed on Gaza prevents even humanitarian supplies from getting through.

To find a motive for this disproportionate response to a few Palestinian firecrackers, one need only look ahead to February 10, when Israel will hold its next elections. The contest is the traditional chaotic mess between the militaristic Likud party, led by Bibi Netanyahu, a vicious (some would say "deranged") right-winger, and the Labor party, Israel's so-called "moderate" wing, led by Defense Minister Ehud Barak. A third candidate, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, chairwoman of the Kadima party is also running. Up to now, the polls had favored Netanyahu. But since Barak has started bombing Gaza his numbers have gone up.

Ehud Barak's poll numbers are on the rise
The Palestinians have no friends in this fight. At least, no friends that can do anything about it. Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza, is viewed by the traditional (and traditionally corrupt) governments in Egypt and Saudi Arabia as being friendly to Iran. So Cairo and Riyadh have no interest in doing anything that might prolong Hamas' tenure. And the AIPAC deathgrip on American political apparatus is stifling.

Junior Bush sent Condi Rice out to vomit some nonsense full of condemnation of Hamas. She laid responsibility for civilian casualties on the Palestinians. Not a word about Israel, perhaps, showing a little restraint. Note that Condi has no plans to fly to the Middle East to try to smooth things out. And Junior himself remains on vacation in his Texas sh*thole. Just as well.

Defenseless Israeli troops
The American media is shockingly biased. Just this morning I saw a CNN anchor consulting "expert" Retired Brigadier General David Grange about the crisis. Grange went on and on about the dangers the Israeli troops are facing as they move into Gaza. Paraphrasing: "This is urban terrain. The Israelis will be at a distinct disadvantage." How, Dave? Are Israeli soldiers in danger of getting headaches if Gazans manage to bounce a few rocks off their steel helmets before being gunned down?

Grange went on. Again, paraphrasing: "And don't forget, Hamas will want to get television coverage of civilian casualties so as to bring international pressure against the Israelis. So Hamas will deliberately hide among the civilians, hoping for an Israeli attack." Yeah. That sounds like a great tactic. Can't you hear the Hamas fighters, now? "We get them to kill our kids and our friends and neighbors. Then, the cameras will come and the international community will issue some strongly-worded condemnations! Then we win!"

Barack Obama has been silent about the crisis up to now. And, frankly, I think that is best for all involved. If Obama were to condemn the attack, the Israelis might be spurred on to even more aggression in some kind of attempt to fulfill their blood-thirsty goals before Inauguration Day. If Obama condemns Hamas, he puts himself in a deep hole vis-a-vis relations with the Moslem world before he even steps into the Oval Office.

It's a mess, pure and simple. There may well be no solution. But I'm disgusted at how the cowards in Washington (and in Cairo, Riyadh, and everywhere else) are willing to let the Israeli blitzkrieg --and, yes, let's call it what it is-- roll over a defenseless people.


Ridwan said...

It is absolutely despicable that so many leaders and nations (including Muslim nations) are silent and complicit in this act of genocide.

Thank you for writing Dade!



Shus li said...

Fuckers. Now they're using white phosphorus on Gaza.