Sunday, December 28, 2008

Israeli air strikes kill 200 and leave 700 injured.

The first thing to say about this is that it won't work. I know it won't work, you know it won't work, the Israelis know it won't work, the Palestinians know it won't work, the international community know it won't work. And yet the Israelis insist on doing it anyway.

A massive wave of Israeli air strikes, launched yesterday against Hamas in Gaza, has killed at least 227 people – the highest death toll in a single day in the territory since the end of the 1967 Six Day War.

Warplanes and combat helicopters launched their ferocious assault on the Islamic faction's security compounds and rocket launching pads in what Israel said was a response to about 470 Qassam missiles and mortars, launched from Hamas-controlled Gaza since a five-month ceasefire began to break down in November.

The sudden and unexpected strikes, the start of an operation which the Israeli Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, warned "won't be easy and won't be short", sent thick plumes of black smoke rising above Gaza City and triggered panic in some districts as parents frantically searched for children rushing home from school.

Hospitals rapidly filled up with as many as 700 wounded, and the chief of Hamas's police in Gaza, Tawfiq Jabber, was reported to be among the dead. More than a dozen bodies of uniformed officers from his force lay on the ground at Gaza City's main security compound shortly after the strikes.

This is happening because the Israelis go to the polls in about a months time. One Israeli has been killed by Palestinian rocket fire. The number of Palestinians killed is rising by the second. Two hundred and rising at the last count. Of course, the Israelis are targeting Hamas, but as many as a third of those killed are said to be civilians.

In a television interview with Fox News, Mr Barak, speaking from Tel Aviv, rejected calls by the UN and the EU for a truce. "For us to be asked to have a ceasefire with Hamas is like asking you to have a ceasefire with al-Qa'ida," he said. "It's something that we cannot really accept."

It's a typically "made for America" quote that Israeli politicians excel at. A ceasefire with al Qaeda is simply not possible nor are they the democratically elected leaders of anyone, unlike Hamas who were democratically elected to represent the Palestinian people.

It is no surprise that this is happening as Israel chooses it's next government. All Israeli politicians must at such times be seen as being tough on terror.

And the Israelis are engaging in the usual bogus arguments that any civilian casualties are the responsibility of Hamas who "choose to hide amongst the civilian population". One only has to consider how the international community would have reacted had the British decided to conduct air strikes on Belfast as a reaction to IRA bombings to see how utterly immoral this argument is.



The United Nations immediately called for a cessation of violence in the Gaza Strip, with the Palestinian spokesman calling Israel's action collective punishment.
"There is no justification for this whatsoever,"Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN observer, told reporters before the council began its closed-door consultations. "This collective punishment is inhumane, immoral and should be stopped immediately. There is no justification for punishing 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza because of the actions of a few."
This is undoubtedly an act of collective punishment designed to weaken Hamas and, hopefully, force the Palestinians to rise up and remove Hamas from power. It's never going to happen and we all know that. It's an utterly pointless orgy of violence designed to show the Israeli electorate that the government are "doing something" ahead of next months election. Indeed, if anything, it's going to worsen the situation with Khaled Meshal, a leader of Hamas now living in Syria, already calling for a third intifada.

I also wonder if the Israelis are aware that, with the inauguration of Barack Obama on the horizon, the days of George Bush's acquiescence in every Israeli action are coming to an end.

Israel have never known any US president to bend US policy to their will in the way that Bush did, and I am sure they are suspect about what an Obama presidency will offer them.

This is the final death knell of Bush's Road Map to Peace which was always a meaningless waste of time as Bush never dared to put even the slightest pressure on Israel to force them to the negotiating table.

I personally hope that Obama drags both parties by the scruff of their necks to the negotiating table and forces them to thrash out a two state solution. That's the only thing that is going to work and we all know this, which only makes this current orgy of violence all the more obscene.

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2 comments:

Steel Phoenix said...

We should take the opportunity of today's troubled economy to cut off Israel's allowance. They deliberately cut off the head of any sort of society that develops among Palestinians in an attempt to turn them into warring savages. Let them reap what they have sown. Their foreign policies are entirely selfish. When there is a problem, their fingers are always pointing elsewhere, never at their own mistakes. Those war machines they are using for this slaughter were given to them by us. The blood is on our hands too.

Kel said...

I couldn't agree more Steel Phoenix. It's time the US forced them to make peace. They've been avoiding it for forty bloody years. Enough is enough.