Gaza, The case for Middle East Peace – WEF

 

It is rare that you can see history happening. The above webcast meeting does more to explain the cuurent situation than reading 10 000 articles. It is a first class primer on body language. It is over an hour long but  if you have not seen it watch it all the way through.

It begins with Secretary General Ban Ki Moon describing the situation now in Gaza. Then it goes on to Prime Minister Reecip Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, then there is Secretary General Amre Moussa of the League of Arab States and last but not least was President Shimon Peres of Israel.

I got the impression that PM Erdogan spoke from the heart. He discusses various things, interestingly he slips in a little detail about being kept waiting with his wife coming into Israel from having been in Ramallah. A lot of the details he describes how he has proposed and try to deliver aid to Gaza. The other hot button issue for Erdogan is the treatment of Hamas as a political party. Erdogan has been attacked for his Islamist views and threatened with life bans from Turkish politics because of it.  Erdogan’s bona fides are out there, he has helped Israel in the past and he is helping negotiations with Syria. 

Amri Moussa spoke in English like a true diplomat, this was the first time I have heard him speak and put his point of view across. He sort of warns Israel that they have to make peace this year or else. He made the telling quip that he knew that Peres would speak last and the longest.

Then comes President Shimon Peres. He sounded like he was at Jewish fund raiser, it was almost a rote speech. He pulled out the Hamas charter etc. He did not even try to apologise for keeping the Prime Minister waiting at the border. Peres does reveal the double standard, for Palestine, only Abbas is allowed to speak, but for Israel, Olmert needs the permission of  Knesset.

Erdogan trys for a rebuttal of Peres but is cut short. I do feel that Erdogan should have five minutes but the fix was in, the takeaway message was supposed to be that of Israel. With Erdogan’s walkout, everybody remembers him and then they want to know what he said. (All of this is immaterial in the age of the internet since the meeting can be intensely scrutinised. )

Israel, if you want repair relations with Erdogan then

  • Apologise for the wait
  • Do not keep any Turkish aid to Gaza waiting, expedite if necessary.
  • Release the women and children you hold as a gesture of good faith.

For any Pro-Israelis out there, at the end of the day Israel can do what it likes but time is against it. Don’t  blinded by the rhetoric, watch what your government actuallydoes and decide what you want for your children.

Spot the cheese-eating Surrender Monkeys

 

From the Brisbane Times

 

Israeli troops halted a diplomatic convoy carrying France’s consul general Alain Remy at the Erez crossing on Tuesday and held it for six hours as it left the Gaza Strip and returned to Jerusalem, the foreign ministry said.

“The convoy, which included other European diplomats, was subject to two warning shots from Israeli soldiers,” ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier told reporters.

Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner summoned Israeli Ambassador Daniel Shek “to protest this unacceptable incident and demand an explanation,” he said.

 

Cheese-eating Surrender Monkey?

Cheese-eating Surrender Monkey?

 

If Europe would like to hint to Israel about who has the power all they have to do announce an audit of money transfers to Israel over suspicion of money laundering in regard drug trafficking and hold them up for 3 months, after all this is what the Israelis have done to the Palestinians. According the CIA World book in regard to illicit drugs -” increasingly concerned about ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin abuse; drugs arrive in country from Lebanon and, increasingly, from Jordan; money-laundering center.”

Will this happen?

Prince Karel Schwartzenberg Zionist Prince

Prince Karel Schwartzenberg "Zionist Prince"

The current President of the EU Karel Schwarzenberg has been described as a “Friend of Israel, a Zionist Prince.” From Haaretz

Does Hamas only attack civilian sites?

From Debka.com, an Israeli website with disputed provenance.

Hamas wartime rockets missed US anti-Iranian missile radar near Beersheba

DEBKA-Net-Weekly Exclusive Report

January 26, 2009, 10:59 AM (GMT+02:00)

Advanced US X-band radar station installed in Negev  

Advanced US X-band radar station installed in Negev

Following orders from Tehran, the Palestinian Hamas used the cover of the 22-day Gaza conflict to aim rockets at the American Forward-Based X-band Transportable (FBX-T) anti-missile radar system lodged at Israel’s big Nevatim air base east of the Negev capital Beersheba, DEBKA-Net-Weekly disclosed last week. Destruction of the FBX-T, which was installed last November to intercept incoming Iranian Shehab-3 ballistic missiles, would have crowned Hamas’ offensive with success.

Jan. 18, two days before joining Israel’s unilateral ceasefire, Hamas tried to hit the American facility with a salvo of 3 Grad rockets. They missed their aim, landing on empty ground west of Beersheba, without triggering the city’s siren. The windy conditions that day may have spoiled their aim.

Our military sources reveal that the American X-band radar, which can track the path of any missile fired in the Middle East, worked hard during Operation Cast Lead, feeding the Israeli command with accurate advance information on the missiles and rockets aimed from Gaza at southern Israel and their trajectories.

It also tracked the rockets fired at Nahariya and Kiryat Shemona from Lebanon and kept watch for possible missile action from Syria and Iran.

But the American radar facility at Nevatim also kept Washington abreast of Israel’s aerial, naval and missile activity in the course of the conflict. It was the first time the US knew what was going on in an Israel-Arab battle arena without recourse to outside electronic tracking devices.

Hamas vs Likud

A hat-tip to “b” at Moon of Alabama.
It is not -Can Hamas be trusted?

It is can –

    Can Israel be trusted?

From the Likud party platform. hosted at the Israeli Knesset web site.

The Palestinians

Declaration of a State
A unilateral Palestinian declaration of the establishment of a Palestinian state will constitute a fundamental and substantive violation of the agreements with the State of Israel and the scuttling of the Oslo and Wye accords. The government will adopt immediate stringent measures in the event of such a declaration.

Settlements

The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.

Wait there is more

Self-Rule

The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.

The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel’s existence, security and national needs.

Kadima seems to look like Likud Lite. Is there any political party in Israel that has said it will give up  the (illegal) settlements in the West Bank?

 

Senator George Mitchell

Senator George Mitchell

 

 

 

So when President Obama sends Senator George Mitchell to negotiate, Senator MItchell is off to deal with one side that will not make any concessions. So unless Senator Mitchell can stop the check for Israel, he is going to fail. Of course George may simply be the polite negotiator. The next one that President Obama sends that is going to be the bad news.

On the Wrong Side of History -Uri Avnery

As somebody who was on the wrong side of history (Rhodesia) I have to recommend this article by Uri Avnery published by Counterpunch

Of all the beautiful phrases in Barack Obama’s inauguration speech, these are the words that stuck in my mind: “You are on the wrong side of history.”

He was talking about the tyrannical regimes of the world. But we, too, should ponder these words

In the last few days I have heard a lot of declarations from Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni, Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Olmert. And every time, these eight words came back to haunt me: “You are on the wrong side of history!”

Uri goes on to point out how President Obama is different to his predecessors and how his words are different –

The first signs are small. In his inaugural speech, Obama proclaimed that “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and nonbelievers.” Since when? Since when do the Muslims precede the Jews? What has happened to the “Judeo-Christian Heritage”?

Uri then points out how war is changing the politics of Israel, moving it to the right and identified the true political winner of the Gaza disaster.

Avigdor Lieberman

Avigdor Lieberman

The real victor of the war is a man who had no part in it at all: Avigdor Liberman. His party, which in any normal country would be called fascist, is steadily rising in the polls. Why? Liberman looks and sounds like an Israeli Mussolini, he is an unbridled Arab-hater, a man of the most brutal force. Compared to him, even Netanyahu looks like a softie. A large part of the young generation, nurtured on years of occupation, killing and destruction, after two atrocious wars, considers him a worthy leader.

Uri procedes to warn that the Israeli political leadership is getting out of synch with the people (including American jewry) of America and the rest of the world and reminds Israel that it cannot stand without the USA.

Then he ends

YES, WE ARE NOW on the wrong side of history.

Fortunately, there is also another Israel. It is not in the limelight, and its voice is heard only by those who listen out for it. This is a sane, rational Israel, with its face to the future, to progress and peace. In these coming elections, its voice will barely be heard, because all the old parties are standing with their two feet squarely in the world of yesterday.

But what has happened in the United States will have a profound influence on what happens in Israel. The huge majority of Israelis know that we cannot exist without close ties with the US. Obama is now the leader of the world, and we live in this world. When he promises to work “aggressively” for peace between us and the Palestinians, that is a marching order for us.

We want to be on the right side of history. That will take months or years, but I am sure that we shall get there. The time to start is now.

Please read the original article.

PS, Don’t shoot me. I am just quoting Uri Avnery in regard to Mr Lieberman. Google Mr Lieberman if you think Uri is being harsh and make your own judgement.

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!!!