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December, 2006


The Killing Continues In Gaza
By Karen Nakamura

Now that the Israeli's horrendous incursion into Lebanon has met with utter humiliation, its military persists in using Gaza as its whipping boy. What neither Israel nor the United States, for that matter, have come to grips with is that the international community is as disgusted with US/Israel shenanigans in the Middle East as the American people are disgusted with George Bush.
Since the end of June when a Jewish soldier was kidnapped, Israel has killed over 320 people in Gaza including 19 members of one family. Thousands more have been killed in Lebenon.

Neighborhoods are demolished with little regard for the kidnapped soldier. Childhood malnutrition is rampart. Around 710 Palestinians are in Israeli jails with no charges, held only because they might become terrorists.

Government offices are destroyed. Palestinian officials are kidnapped, imprisoned or assassinated. The Egypt and Gaza border has been open less than 20 days since June. Families are given fifteen minutes to get out of before their house is bombed to smithereens. Israel considers this warning compassionate behavior.

Palestinians are surrounding these houses en masse to impede their destruction. One more assault on the Geneva Conventions came, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, on November 3 when Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) killed two more members of PRCS medical teams, while they attempted to evacuate a victim of Israeli fire in the Beit Lahia area.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) that brings the total number of PRCS staff deaths to 15 since 2000. The Beit Hanoun Hospital continues under siege by Israeli tanks and armored vehicles, preventing both victims and ambulances from entering.

The PRCS is again calling on international organizations to force the Israeli army to respect the provisions of International Humanitarian Law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention related to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. However, Israel is so sure of American support for its apartheid policies Prime Minister Ehud Olmert remarked it didn't make any difference to Israel which party won the mid-term elections, because the American Congress across the board supports Israel.

Actually, that support needs more definition. The American people love the ideal of a long-suffering people making the desert bloom. With Israel's continuing turn towards violence, that ideal is no longer the truth of the situation.

Israeli politicians have chosen an unholy alliance to maintain their shaky hold on power. Rather than seeking reconciliation, Olmert and company allied with Minister for Strategic Threats, Avigdor Lieberman, a Russian-born, far-right lawmaker and his Israel Beitainu ("Israel is Our Home") Party. Lieberman, known as one of Israel's most divisive politicians, says Hamas leaders should be assassinated and Israel retake control of the Rafah crossing and the Philadelphi Route between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

However, Israel better look over its shoulder. The world is increasingly showing its frustration. The US and Australia were the only major members of the UN Security Council to vote against a resolution condemning Israel's murders in Beit Hanun. With no real solutions put forth by the US and tensions rising, the world is beginning to seriously deal with the reality that the core of unrest in the Middle East is Israel and its illegal, vicious occupation of Palestine and that the Palestinians are legally defending themselves.

Spain, France and Italy, with support from other Middle Eastern and EU countries are circulating a 5-point plan to be presented in December at a EU summit in Brussels. Spanish Deputy Prime Minister

Moratinos said in an interview with Ha'aretz newspaper that he had tried to assure Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni there was nothing in the plan "that Israel can reject." Livni, however, said Israel rejected the new peace initiative "out of hand," telling Moratinos it was "unacceptable for an initiative concerning Israel to be launched without coordination with Jerusalem." Moratinos returned. "We assume our responsibilities. I knew that in the beginning there will be a negative reaction but I have full confidence that the initiative will go through."

According to Ha'aretz, the Spanish plan seeks: "an immediate cease-fire, formation of a Palestinian unity government to gain international recognition, an exchange of prisoners, including the Israeli soldiers whose capture sparked the war in Lebanon and fighting in Gaza this summer, talks between the Palestinian president and Israel's prime minister and an international mission in Gaza to monitor the truce."

Rather than deploying a large international force such as UNIFIL in Lebanon, a "limited force of inspectors would be deployed to help establish and enforce a cease fire between Israel and Palestinian militants."

These points could mesh with the Arab League Peace Initiative presented in Beirut when Arafat was still alive. In that plan, the Arab nations promised neighborly relations with Israel as long as Israel stopped killing Palestinians and grabbing their land. Israel also dismissed that plan out of hand.

In yet another defensive move, the US vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli military incursions in the Gaza Strip and demanding Israeli troops pull out. The veto was condemned around the world. But the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly by 156 to 5 with 6 abstentions passed a resolution for an inquiry into the death of the nearly 20 family members in Beit Hanun.

On other fronts of diminishing support for Israel, the Daily Star reported November 4th that German forces aiding the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) reported Israeli warplanes had, in separate incidents, fired shots over a German helicopter and at an unarmed Germany ship off the Lebanese coast. These incidents came after repeated warnings from France.

The UN also formally complained about Israeli flyovers, saying Israel was "endangering the multinational peace mission in Lebanon by sending its fighter planes into Lebanese airspace." Germany originally refused to supply ground troops to UNIFIL to avoid any incident with Israeli troops that might stir up resentments over the Holocaust. Instead, it heads the UNIFIL naval arena with a force of eight ships and 1,000 personnel, patrolling for weapons smuggling and maintaining the cease-fire.

Interestingly, the confrontations came days after Germany assumed command in its first military movement in the Middle East since World War II.

The big question for the next Congress is, will Democrats continue averting their eyes from the Palestinian Holocaust or will they save Israel by demanding an end to the genocide? How Democrats can ignore Israeli's blatant subjugation of the Palestinians is a question that also needs investigation. Why are Democrats scared to confront an out-of-control Israeli government? If any country is acting against America's interest it has to be Israel.

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