Saturday, July 01, 2006
Israeli invasion of Gaza condemned by Israeli Newspaper
posted by: Frubious Bandersnatch at 8:33 AM
Although lacking in many details, this article in Haartz deserves some special attension. It emphasises how the Israeli states actions in Gaza are so disproportionate that large sections of the Israeli public cannot take them seriously.

By Destroying the central power station in Gaza, the State has committed a war crime of august proportions. An estimated 700,000 people will be without electricty for some months. In practicle terms this means alot more than the powering down of TV's and electronic home luxuries. The entire sewage system, water system and various other critical systems (hospitals?) will also cease to function as they depend upon electricty.

This is collective punnishment on a grand scale. Something which is in total contravention of international law. Gaza is already the worlds largest open air prison, with little hope for the future. Over the last few days, life in half of the prison has just become alot darker.

So what is behind such actions? Why would Israel treat the people of Gaza so badly if they have already decided that the territory is too over populated and too difficult to rule directly?

"It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism, colonialization, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands." -- Ariel Sharon, Agence France Presse, November 15, 1998.


Haaretz- The government is losing its reason

By Haaretz Editorial 06/30/06 "Haaretz" -- --

Bombing bridges that can be circumvented both by car and on foot; seizing an airport that has been in ruins for years; destroying a power station, plunging large parts of the Gaza Strip into darkness; distributing flyers suggesting that people be concerned about their fate; a menacing flight over Bashar Assad's palace; and arresting elected Hamas officials: The government wishes to convince us that all these actions are intended only to release the soldier Gilad Shalit.

But the greater the government's creativity in inventing tactics, the more it seems to reflect a loss of direction rather than an overall conception based on reason and common sense. On the face of it, Israel wishes to exert increasing pressure both on Hamas' political leadership and on the Palestinian public, in order to induce it to pressure its leadership to release the soldier. At the same time, the government claims that Syria - or at least Khaled Meshal, who is living in Syria - holds the key. If so, what is the point of pressuring the local Palestinian leadership, which did not know of the planned attack and which, when it found out, demanded that the kidnappers take good care of their victim and return him?

The tactic of pressuring civilians has been tried before, and more than once. The Lebanese, for example, are very familiar with the Israeli tactic of destroying power stations and infrastructure. Entire villages in south Lebanon have been terrorized, with the inhabitants fleeing in their thousands for Beirut. But what also happens under such extreme stress is that local divisions evaporate and a strong, united leadership is forged. In the end, Israel was forced both to negotiate with Hezbollah and to withdraw from Lebanon. Now, the government appears to be airing out its Lebanon catalogue of tactics and implementing it, as though nothing has been learned since then. One may assume that the results will be similar this time around as well. Israel also kidnapped people from Lebanon to serve as bargaining chips in dealings with the kidnappers of Israeli soldiers.

Now, it is trying out this tactic on Hamas politicians. As the prime minister said in a closed meeting: "They want prisoners released? We'll release these detainees in exchange for Shalit." By "these detainees," he was referring to elected Hamas officials. The prime minister is a graduate of a movement whose leaders were once exiled, only to return with their heads held high and in a stronger position than when they were deported. But he believes that with the Palestinians, things work differently.

As one who knows that all the Hamas activists deported by Yitzhak Rabin returned to leadership and command positions in the organization, Olmert should know that arresting leaders only strengthens them and their supporters. But this is not merely faulty reasoning; arresting people to use as bargaining chips is the act of a gang, not of a state. The government was caught up too quickly in a whirlwind of prestige mixed with fatigue. It must return to its senses at once, be satisfied with the threats it has made, free the detained Hamas politicians and open negotiations. The issue is a soldier who must be brought home, not changing the face of the Middle East.

© Copyright 2006 Haaretz. All rights reserved
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