Saturday, January 16, 2010

A second Gaza warr? The road and the occupation, The Protest

This Sunday, January 17, 2-4 PM
Demonstration for Gaza at Westwood Federal Building
Wilshire Bl. and Veteran Ave. WLA

LA Jews for Peace sponsored demonstration to remember the end of the Gaza
bombardment one year ago. It is important that as Jews and other
humanitarians we make it clear that we do not approve of the Gaza war.

ACTIONS: Ask your Representative to end Gaza suffering a year after the Gaza
bombardment there is still no relief for the 1.5 million people of Gaza.
Use American Friends Service Committee website

- - -

A second Gaza war around the corner?

Hasan Abu Nimah,
The Electronic Intifada, 13 January 2010

Israel is once again complaining that its "security" is being threatened by
new eruptions of violence along the border with Gaza. About two dozen Qassam
rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza in recent days. Although they fell in
(and may have been deliberately targeted at) open areas, causing no damage
or injuries, Israel took revenge with destructive air raids that did cause
damage and killed several people, including a 15-year-old boy.

Before asking who should stop first, one should recall who started the
latest ugly round of violence.

On 26 December, Israel carried out double attacks in the West Bank city of
Nablus and in Gaza, murdering three people in each place. In Nablus, Israeli
death squads carried out cold-blooded extrajudicial executions in revenge
for the killing of a West Bank settler several days before. According to the
wife of one of the Nablus victims, her husband was at home in his living
room, completely unarmed when the death squad burst in and shot him in the
face. Neither he nor the other victims of these state-sponsored terrorists
had been accused, tried or convicted of any crime in a court of law.

In Gaza, the three victims were reportedly workers scavenging near the
border fence to salvage building supplies from the rubble of previous

Since late December, Israeli attacks have killed more than a dozen
Palestinians, routine violence which is ignored by the "international
community" and for which Israel is never held accountable. On the contrary,
Israel's Western friends continue to justify this terrorism as

Israel's recent aggressions look ominously like the 4 November 2008 attack
on Gaza, which killed six persons and shattered the four-month-long truce
meticulously respected by Hamas. Predictably, Hamas and other factions
retaliated for that Israeli provocation and then Israel used their response
to justify its massacre of 1,400 people in Gaza this time last year.

It seems that whenever there is relative calm on the Gaza front, Israel is
keen to destroy it. Prior to the November 2008 attack, the Gaza situation,
despite the siege and the intense international pressure on Hamas, was
stable -- that was the last thing Israel wanted. And despite the truth that
Israel sabotaged the truce and then refused to renew it even though Hamas
wanted to, the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, some Arab states and
the so-called international community led by the United States blamed
Israel's attack on Gaza on Hamas rockets, and claimed that Hamas -- not
Israel -- had rejected renewing the truce.

When Israel ended "Operation Cast Lead" last year, it refused to enter into
a new formal truce with Hamas. Nevertheless, Hamas has observed a unilateral
ceasefire, only using force occasionally in retaliation for Israeli attacks,
say, on tunnels that bring vital supplies into Gaza from Egypt,
circumventing the siege. Moreover, Hamas -- in the face of much local
criticism -- has enforced the truce on other Palestinian factions.

Could Israel be following the same pattern again now with its escalating
violence against Gaza? Neither last year's war nor the tightening blockade
that has prevented any meaningful reconstruction have succeeded in their
clear but unstated goal of toppling Hamas.

Is Israel then preparing to do again what it does best: use wanton murder
and destruction to try to achieve its political goals?

It is hard to say, but this is an alarming possibility, especially as senior
Israeli officials have been dropping hints about preparations for a "second
Gaza war."

Israel, which does not act according to any normal or civilized standards,
could have several motives for this; not least, another "small war" could
give Israel a welcome distraction from the continuing diplomatic impasse or
any threat of a renewed American-led peace initiative, no matter how timid.

Up to this point, it looks like Israel has been in the diplomatic driver's
seat. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu easily dismissed US
President Barack Obama's initial demand for a freeze on construction of
Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. The Obama Administration not
only backed down, it also fully adopted Israeli positions and has been
continuously putting pressure on the moribund Palestinian Authority to
return to negotiations without "preconditions." (Of course "without
preconditions" means only that Israel is not obligated to meet any
conditions; Palestinians are always presented with lengthy lists of Israeli

But if this seems like a diplomatic victory for Israel, it may only be
temporary. If, as expected, the Palestinian Authority eventually succumbs to
pressure and returns to "negotiations," it will become instantly apparent
that, given Israeli intransigence and expansionism, there is absolutely
nothing to discuss and not even an infinitesimal prospect of any sort of
peace deal.

It is doubtful that the bankruptcy of the Israeli and American positions can
simply be covered up with more empty process, and expect the situation on
the ground to remain quiet and stable. Bringing the crisis closer, on its
own terms, and once again blaming Hamas, may be the "ideal" way out for

Hasan Abu Nimah is the former permanent representative of Jordan at the
United Nations. This essay first appeared in The Jordan Times and is
republished with the author's permission.


The spider, the road and the occupation

"Whatever the nature of the solution, from the Israeli point of view it
always entails the removal of Arabs from areas where Jews live."

"What does Israeli logic say about Route 443 and barring Palestinians from
using it for years, in the best traditions of apartheid? (Which is
flourishing here but which we are not permitted to call by that name.)"

By Yitzhak Laor
Haaretz: January 14, 2010

Even if the farce staged by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his
deputy Danny Ayalon to make the Turkish ambassador feel small is forgotten,
Route 443 is a better example of the wide gap between Israelis' self-image
and the value of Israel and its arguments in the eyes of the international
community. No propaganda campaign based on the cry "Gevalt, they're killing
us" can save the occupation from the understanding that this is not a
dispute about Jewish existence. Either way, Israel does not know how to
defend this existence without groaning that "the spider of the settlements
is proving burdensome, please help us handle it so we can continue settling
everywhere, including in East Jerusalem."

What does Israeli logic say about Route 443 and barring Palestinians from
using it for years, in the best traditions of apartheid? (Which is
flourishing here but which we are not permitted to call by that name.) Logic
dictates that we need this road because it shortens the distance to
Jerusalem and eases congestion on Highway 1. But because this efficient road
passes through occupied territory, and has done so for 42 years - a
temporary occupation, of course (here, in the script, the Supreme Court
justices call for a wink) - it endangers the lives of Israelis. This is
because the inhabitants of the occupied territory don't like the idea of
their land being used without their permission.

Therefore, for our convenience, we have to prevent Palestinian drivers from
using the road. Here, too, the Israeli argument ranges from arrogant fury,
as in "Who are you tell us how to defend the lives of our children?" to
"After all, we do want to see two states for two peoples, etc." And as
always, an examination of the argument reveals that what the Israelis call
security, even when they are speaking absolutely sincerely, is not security
but ownership of land cleansed of Arabs.

Even when security reasons were not used in the usual demagogic manner, the
removal of Arabs from territories inhabited by Israelis has always been
described as "security." Anyone who carefully reads the debates about the
military government in Arab-populated areas in the 1950s and '60s will see
that even in the most penetrating documents written in its defense, security
arguments are linked to preventing Arab farmers from entering the land in
question. (This is why the military government in Haifa, Jaffa, Acre, Ramle
and Lod, in which Jews were settled, was abolished quickly, and the Arabs
there bunched together in remote neighborhoods, whereas in the rural areas
the military government was retained until 1967.)

Whatever the nature of the solution, from the Israeli point of view it
always entails the removal of Arabs from areas where Jews live.

Over the years, Israelis have learned to see any territory in which there
are Arabs as endangering their security. To guard against them it is
permitted to remove them, or fence them in, or settle in their midst, and
then to protect the settlers from the danger to their security, namely the
Arabs around them. Thus the barbaric wall that runs "almost" along the Green
Line is perceived by Israelis as a security need; it's there to protect the
security of Hashmonaim C, Maccabim D, Modi'in Ilit or Beit El. And for their
convenience why should we care about the plight of the subjects of the
occupation in Bil'in, Na'alin or Bani Saleh?

As the moment of truth approaches, as Israel's role in Western politics
becomes less important, Israel and its leaders are depicted as a nuisance
when they maintain that this old land dispute is an issue of security. It's
not a matter of security, but of a desire for convenience, for more land,
more water. Our domestic consensus makes no sense to anyone outside Israel;
it's seen merely as a national inability to see the sand running out in the

This is how we have arrived at the ludicrous conduct of the Netanyahu-Barak
government toward the Palestinian Authority. The two-state solution was a
gift the Palestinians offered Israel in the spirit of what Israel has always
demanded: "You over there, we over here." But that's not what Israel really
wants. Because if you have already conceded that, why shouldn't you concede
more and more until you disappear completely behind the walls of your

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