Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gaza Day 2

A Palestinian family reacts as they rush past a burning building after an Israeli missile strike in the Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008.

From Juan Cole:
Israel blames Hamas for primitive homemade rocket attacks on the nearby Israeli city of Sederot. In 2001-2008, these rockets killed about 15 Israelis and injured 433, and they have damaged property. In the same period, Gazan mortar attacks on Israel have killed 8 Israelis.

Since the Second Intifada broke out in 2000, Israelis have killed nearly 5000 Palestinians, nearly a thousand of them minors. Since fall of 2007, Israel has kept the 1.5 million Gazans under a blockade, interdicting food, fuel and medical supplies to one degree or another. Wreaking collective punishment on civilian populations such as hospital patients denied needed electricity is a crime of war.

The Israelis on Saturday killed 5% of all the Palestinians they have killed since the beginning of 2001! 230 people were slaughtered in a day, over 70 of them innocent civilians. In contrast, from the ceasefire Hamas announced in June, 2008 until Saturday, no Israelis had been killed by Hamas. The infliction of this sort of death toll is known in the law of war as a disproportionate response, and it is a war crime. (emphasis added)

A couple of points to be made. Attack by home made rockets on Israel by militants is criminal. However, these militants are not part of the armed forces of any nation. To destroy essentially police stations occupied by men who are in all likelihood not responsible for the rocket attacks is clearly a violation of the rules of War (as if anybody, including America, ever really abided by those rules.) Including civilians, especially children in the causalities is despicable. Attacking the Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza was particularly cruel since the rockets could not have been launched from there and this was clearly an attack on the civilian infrastructure.

All of this because America unconditionally supports Israel. It unconditionally supports Israel for domestic political reasons; possibly votes, but more likely money.

This is how I feel, from here:
The only peaceful means of achieving a lasting peace is for Western leaders to pull the plug on Israel until the regime conforms to international law and the will of the United Nations (without whose misguided generosity there would never have been a state of Israel), pulls back behind the 1967 border and strictly observes the principles of universal human rights.

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