G13 – President Hu cuts short visit, to return to China.

According to China Daily, President Hu will cut short his visit to the G13/G8 meeting in Italy. The official reason is the trouble or riots in Xinjiang. This is ominous. It means that President Hu feels that China will get nothing out of this meeting and there would be a beating about the ears over China’s human rights record. I cannot blame President Hu for not wanting to put up with this sort of nonsense.

While China has a way to go on human rights, a destabilised China would be far worse for us in Australia. We too have secret detention without trial, thank Prime Minsters John Howard and Kevin Rudd.

There is a certain three letter organisation that is infamous for funding and training people for the sorts of events like those that have occurred in Xinjiang. The Chinese are very suspiscious.

There are still 13 participants at L’Aquilia and as all those students of the Tarot will tell you 13 is the number of irreversible change of which Death is the most typical.

 

(My hundredth post is about 13.)

 

 


 

Four what?

Four What? (A poem)

Forty years of occupation
Four years of qassams
6400 rockets
1400 dead Palestinians
400 dead children, many under Four years
40 dead Israelis
48 dead Hamas fighters

四 – si

All at a cost of Four billion dollars
to buy Israel four more years.

 

 

Gaza graveyard

Gaza graveyard

It seemed possibly by a quirk of my memory that all the statistics related to the tragedy of Gaza to have some conection to the number Four. Four in Chinese popular culture is related to death.

Time to make Peace

As I move into the thirteenth year of regular web use, I found only a handful of sites I have continously read.  Haaretz is one of them. 

I would not normally do this because but I think this editorial is very important and should be echoed.

 

Haaretz Editorial 11 Jan 2009

A big shudder on the wing

By Haaretz Editorial

Around two weeks after the start of fighting in Gaza, there are only vague reports on Israel’s success in damaging Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure. On the other hand, statistics on the harm done to civilians accumulate. More than 800 Palestinians have been killed and around 3,000 have been wounded, an overwhelming majority of them from air strikes. According to UN figures, half of those killed are civilians, and half of the civilians killed are women and children. 

Alongside reports on the number of dead and injured are reports of doctors being denied entry, the inability of aid groups to reach refugees and give them food, and a serious shortage of medicine and supplies. Blame does not rest with the Israel Defense Forces for all these issues. Hamas and other Palestinian organizations deliberately fired at a food convoy heading to Gaza because it sought to enter the Strip through a different crossing than what Hamas had desired. Hamas also liquidates its adversaries at home and is not ready to adopt the Egyptian cease-fire initiative. But these cannot serve as a pretext for a cruel, all-out war against 1.5 million Palestinian civilians. 

Yesterday Israel announced, by dropping leaflets into densely populated areas in Gaza, that it plans to escalate its military operation. This stirs concerns that, similar to what occurred during the Second Lebanon War, the reason for going to war has been forgotten and replaced by an unrealistic desire to topple the Hamas regime in the Strip. If a few years ago the public cried out in protest over the bombing of a home in Gaza and the statement by former pilot and chief of staff Dan Halutz, who said he felt a “slight shudder on the wing” when he bombed a house, today it responds indifferently, even satisfactorily, to the harming of Palestinians. The lessons of previous wars, during which the IDF destroyed infrastructure targets and the homes of civilians but did not gain the quiet it had sought, have not been internalized. Israel’s justified rationale in acting against rocket launchers has been increasingly damaged over two weeks. The legitimacy and understanding extended to Israel melt away amid the pictures of killing and ruin. Accusations of war crimes are already being bandied about in Israel. This war needs to move immediately to the diplomatic track and agreements that will end the fantasies and delusions of both sides

On the same day Haaretz has reported that IDF has decided that the attack on the UN School where 42 people were allegedly was the result of a missfired mortar. Martars as a weapon are imprecise, they are not accurate, they are not supposed to be, because they are supposed to be cheap. Use of mortars of course makes a mockery of any claims that the IDF makes limiting civilian casualties. Originally the IDF claimed that militants were in the school, then they were near the school now it is a whoopsie.

Johnboy from Sydney said it better than I could –

Title of of response

    You apologists amaze me

Your ability to spin on a dime as the Official IDF Spokesmodel changes her story is simply breathtaking!

The first Big Lie:
OF COURSE we were aiming at that school!
OF COURSE we meant to hit it!
We were allowed to, because Hamas were in that school!!!!

Apologists [in unison]: The IDF has nothing to be ashamed of! The IDF were right to target that school! Hamas were there!

The Fallback Lie:
Ummmm, no, Hamas weren`t in that school.
We never said they were.
We never aimed at that school.
We never said we did.

Apologists [in unison]: Shit happens. The IDF never aimed at that school. Never ever ever ever.

FACT: Hamas was never *here*, but were *there*.
EXCUSE: Well, yeah, sure, I did start by saying that we were aiming *here*, but now I`m telling you we were always aiming *there*.

And if tomorrow we find that Hamas where in Location (C)?

Well, *that* was where the IDF was aiming, and we never said otherwise!!!

Proportionate response?

Haaretz 29/12/08

 

As the Israel Defense Forces pound Gaza, senior officials have launched an aggressive public relations campaign, in an attempt to gain international sympathy for Operation Cast Lead.  

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Saturday instructed the Foreign Ministry to take emergency measures to adapt Israel’s international public relations to the ongoing escalation in the Gaza Strip. 

Sunday, Livni and other officials gave interviews in English and Arabic to various international news stations. 

The Foreign Ministry is also looking to recruit speakers of other foreign languages, in particular, Italian, Spanish, and German, in order to expand Israel’s public relations campaign.
 

This is when the PR people will earn their pay.

The problem is that when googling the search terms Qassam rockets and deaths you find about 30 people have lost their lives in four years, as a result of various forces launching rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel. In other words about seven people per year were killed. The Israeli Air Force has managed to kill 310 people and wound over a thousand in 2 days.

To give some perspective about 400 people per year die on Israel’s roads.

It seems to me that the biggest effect that the Qassam rockets were having, was discouraging Aliyah and encouraging people to move to America exacebating the demographic problem.

Israels attack on Gaza of course makes certain former Army General politicians look tough. Tomorrow Gaza will still be there with another 500 martyrs to stir the populace. Meantime the tame Palestinian leaders look more and m0re like lackey running dogs. 

Currently the losers are the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Disaster at Gaza or Israel suppresses Qassem rocket attacks, 23 vs 280

From Haaretz 28 Dec 2008

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard also blamed Hamas for the breakdown in calm, saying: “Clearly, we are calling on Hamas and other militants to cease shelling southern Israel. Obviously they have broken the cease-fire and engaged in an act of aggression against Israel. Israel has responded. We are echoing the calls from around the world for parties to move back to a ceasefire.”

From the Sydney Morning Herald 28 Dec 2008

While the death toll was unfortunate, Israel were simply defending themselves, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies said.

“The loss of life in Gaza is deeply regrettable,” chief executive Vic Alhadeff said in a statement.

“It has arisen as a direct result of the fact that Iran-backed terrorists have fired 6,300 rockets and mortars into Israel from Gaza in the last three years and that Hamas has decided not to renew the ceasefire.

“Israel’s attack on Hamas … is therefore a basic right of self-defence to protect its civilians from relentless attack.”

Various Israeli Politicians have been threatening to do punish Gaza for Qassam missile attacks. The F16 bombing runs start. The usual predictable sound bites start up. Normally this strategy works. Hamas will be disrupted for about two years. The news cycle moves on. On Madge and Guy show, on Brangelina.

However this time it feels different. Thanks to the current Global financial crisis, Georgia, Iraq and Afghanistan, the moral high ground the West normally occupies has disappeared. 

Deaths from Qassam and Mortar attacks since June 2004
The Israel Project

23

Deaths from Sundays IAF attacks,  Haaretz 28 Dec 2008, IDF to mobilize 6,500 reservists for Gaza operation
280

Luckily for the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the member for Watson, Minister Tony Burke, the Australian Muslim community has not yet got their act together. Watson is supposed to be a safe seat but then so was Bennelong. Having said that, I would not like to be a worker in Tony Burke’s electorate office Monday 29 Dec 2008.

For non-Australians, Australia’s biggest mosque at Lakemba  is located in the electorate of Watson which is in south-west Sydney. Watson is home to a substantial community of Muslims. I should point out that Australia’s Islamic community is as fragmented as its Christian community.