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America's Only Words on Gaza: A Ceasefire is in No One`s Interest.

Obama is still missing in action on Gaza. He has had plenty to say about what type of dog his kids might get, Georgia, Mumbai and the bailouts, but not one word on the hostilities in Gaza. I wonder why? Obama says we have but one president, but do we? That seems a bit of an overstatement.

For Bush hasn't been seen or heard from, either. The past week, he is keeping himself busy on the Crawford ranch, presumably clearing brush for his retirement in three weeks. No use giving up valuable ranch time for a crisis in the Middle East.

You remember Bush promised with great fanfare over a year ago at Annapolis, to work very hard to achieve a peace treaty in the Mid East, that he said would "end the blodshed" and usher in "a new era of peace", by the end of his term.

Well, George how is that work on that peace treaty going? You only have three more weeks; about as bad as his pronunciation of Israel`s and the PLO leaders' names, I would think.

Johndroe, his National Security spokesman, deputizing for him in Crawford, said: "We don't just want a ceasefire for the sake of a ceasefire, only for violence to start up immediately, or within the next few weeks. That serves no one's interest".

Well certainly, no one's interest who counts. Somehow you knew, he was referring to Israel.. not to the miserable Gaza refugees, who are enduring daily bombardment with absolutely nowhere to flee. So on with the shelling..and the February lsraeli elections. I wonder whose interest the continued bombing serves? Guess who wants to be the next PM?

Try Tzipi Livni,"there is no Gaza humanitarian crisis; therefore, there is no need of a humanitarian truce", Israeli foreign minister and the new leader of Olmert's centrist party, Kadima, and Ehud Barak, the hawkish defense minister and leader of the left-wing Labor Party.

One of the main arguments, always trotted out by those who support Israel's retaliatory actions is that 'We (Israel) don't target civilian targets', but what is levelling a four storey residential apartment building in a crowded block that besides having a Hamas official ...his wives, his nine now dead children and neighbors were living there?

Another argument offered, without fail, goes something like this; how would you like your neighbor terrorizing you by constantly lobbing rockets in your general direction, (even if he used to own your property, that you took from him)?

Nir Rosen talks about 'the logic of the colonial power' in these asymmetric conflicts in what Israel predictably calls 'their war against terror'. Rosen:

Terrorism is a normative term and not a descriptive concept. An empty word that means everything and nothing, it is used to describe what the Other does, not what we do. The powerful - whether Israel, America, Russia or China - will always describe their victims' struggle as terrorism, but the destruction of Chechnya, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the slow slaughter of the remaining Palestinians, the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan - with the tens of thousands of civilians it has killed ... these will never earn the title of terrorism, though civilians were the target and terrorising them was the purpose.

If you have an enormous army and 363 fighter airplanes and can drop a ton of explosives on a apartment building, killing as many civilians in one second, 20, as Hamas killed in seven years of terrorist attacks on Israel ... By definition, the IDF are acting in self -defense, with weapons supplied by the USA, only for defensive purposes, in aid of Israel, against the terrorists. It is Orwellian!

So on with 'the shock and awe' and the bloodshed and according to Johndroe, the only person speaking for America, "it serves no one`s interest (who counts) to have a ceasefire", and God bless America!


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Comments (20)

Chad:

A ceasefire doesn't serve in the best interest of the palestinians living in Gaza. Plainly and simply, they'd be better off if the IDF eliminated Hamas for them. Hamas is the group provoking the bombs, with the rocket attacks, bombings, kidnapping of soldiers, and total disregard for the civilians they are supposed to be protecting. Quassam rockets don't set themselves off, tunnels don't dig themselves, and suicide bombers aren't accidents. Fatah and Hamas/Hezbollah have been getting rich and pushing radical islam from the backs of the palestinians for 40-50 years now, isn't it time the palestinian people get a chance for someone to be in charge that actually worries about public utilities, education, transportation, job markets, and the ability to provide an independent government that actually cares about human lives.

Doubting Thomas:

"Hamas killed in seven years of terrorist attacks on Israel ..."

Seven years in which the Palestinians made it very clear just what they'd do to Israel if they could. Where they made it plain that if they had the same resources as Israel, there's no way they'd even attempt to co-exist, much less provide food, water, fuel and electricity during that period.

Their stated intent is to destroy Israel. They're trying their hardest to do so. They're violating the Geneva accords while doing so, and those don't take into account how effective or ineffective the attempts are - they're still randomly, deliberately, intentionally targeting civilians.

"what is levelling a four storey residential apartment building in a crowded block that besides having a Hamas official ...his wives, his nine now dead children and neighbors were living there?"

Destroying a valid military target - which was surrounded by hostages used to protect it. Sorry to be clinical about it, but the Geneva Accords require that civilians be protected when possible - it's not an overriding consideration.

Section 3, Articles 28 and 29 are clear on it.

Article 28 The presence of a protected person (ie - noncombatants)may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.

Article 29 The Party to the conflict in whose hands protected persons may be (ie Hamas) is responsible for the treatment accorded to them by its agents, irrespective of any individual responsibility which may be incurred.
And Article 34 -
Article 34 The taking of hostages is prohibited.

http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/92.htm

Of course, the Palestinians don't seem to be signatories to the Geneva Accords. But then, neither is Israel.

Now, the Palestinians bugged out to clear the battlefield for the 7-Day's war. Then they bitched because after Israel won, they weren't allowed to move back in like nothing ever happened. (Hey, just because someone misses when they try their damndest to kill you doesn't mean they're not good neighbors!) They were given room in Jordan, and tried to grab THAT country. They were kicked out - and WHO gave them land? Their other buddies in the ME?

The only state other than ISRAEL that allowed a large population of them in was Lebanon - how's that been working for the Lebanese?

You keep showing great sympathy to the Palestinians and Hamas. I really can't understand why such sympathy is warranted or deserved. They've done everything they can to make life as unpleasant as possible for themselves and everyone around them, don't regret what they've done, and would do even more if they could. Given a larger quantity of more effective rockets, would they stop their attempts? Given the chance, would they sue for peace? Given the opportunity, would they grow and turn away from their murderous course? They've resisted every attempt to broker peace in that area, fouled up every cease fire, done their damndest to be as bloody and barbaric as they could manage.

What indication do YOU have that they're seeking any peace other than the obliteration of Israel, Steve?

I had hopes when Arafat died. And Fatah seems to have turned a bit away from that. But Hamas? If anything, Arafat may have been a moderating influence - and that's bizzare to
consider in itself.

Allen:

Steve, ask yourself one question: Why is it that not one Arab country will take in the Palestine's?

The answer is real simple, they could care less about them. But a chance to De-power Israel is too good for them to pass up. Hamas brought this upon themselves. They won an election, and instead of working to fix problems, they are causing problems.

And why should Obama say anything? He isn't POTUS until noon of 1-20-2009. We only have one President at a time. If he makes a statement, and things change before he assumes office, it could come back to haunt him. Seems he is smarter than you.

And since you feel so sorry for those people who elected Hamas to office, why don't you go over there and fight for them. You know, just like the repugs and their Operation Yellow Elephant. I'm sure Hamas would love to have you as a token freedom fighter, right?

Doubting Thomas:
Charles Krauthammer - Moral Clarity in Gaza - washingtonpost.com

Israel is so scrupulous about civilian life that, risking the element of surprise, it contacts enemy noncombatants in advance to warn them of approaching danger. Hamas, which started this conflict with unrelenting rocket and mortar attacks on unarmed Israelis -- 6,464 launched from Gaza in the past three years -- deliberately places its weapons in and near the homes of its own people.

This has two purposes. First, counting on the moral scrupulousness of Israel, Hamas figures civilian proximity might help protect at least part of its arsenal. Second, knowing that Israelis have new precision weapons that may allow them to attack nonetheless, Hamas hopes that inevitable collateral damage -- or, if it is really fortunate, an errant Israeli bomb -- will kill large numbers of its own people for which, of course, the world will blame Israel.

For Hamas, the only thing more prized than dead Jews are dead Palestinians. The religion of Jew-murder and self-martyrdom is ubiquitous. And deeply perverse, such as the Hamas TV children's program in which an adorable live-action Palestinian Mickey Mouse is beaten to death by an Israeli (then replaced by his more militant cousin, Nahoul the Bee, who vows to continue on Mickey's path to martyrdom).


At war today in Gaza, one combatant is committed to causing the most civilian pain and suffering on both sides. The other combatant is committed to saving as many lives as possible -- also on both sides. It's a recurring theme. Israel gave similar warnings to Southern Lebanese villagers before attacking Hezbollah in the Lebanon war of 2006. The Israelis did this knowing it would lose for them the element of surprise and cost the lives of their own soldiers.

Just seems to me like you're backing the wrong horse, Steve. Maybe you've got good reasons for doing so - but they're sure not clear.

The residents of Gaza elected Hamas as their government over Fatah. It now appears that Fatah is supplying the IDF with targeting information on Hamas, so I find it helpful to think of all that's going on there as the middle-eastern version of the Minnesota ballot recount.

Found another box of ballots/rockets in the mosque on Falafel St. Are they valid ballots/rockets? Drop a bomb on the mosque, note the large secondary explosion. Yes! the ballots/rockets are valid! The recount continues as Hamas loses another batch of voters.

hermie:

Obama has been commenting on just about everything, except regarding Israel and Gaza. Why is that? Is it because he has no idea of how to address it?

Lee Ward:

Both sides are at fault for allowing the situation to deteriorate to this point. More carnage won't resolve the situation, but it's the only language they know.

Israeli is empowered by the carte blanche afforded to them by political parties in the U.S., both of whom court the favor of the Israeli lobby in the United States.

Hamas is enabled by the heavy-handed and obviously ineffective means employed by Israel.

It's up to the U.S. to lean on Israel for a resolution. We've supported the continuation of the on-going conflict by thwarting U.N. efforts to fix this.

It's time to broker a solution. The Bush administration had no incentive to fix this because the instability in the middle east played into the Republican game plane nicely.

Obama will fix this, and the Israelis know it. What we're seeing now is Israel digging in and establishing a position of strength from which to negotiate. Just my $0.02.

I wish the UN would accept Gaza as a new peacekeeping site and use international troops to disarm Hamas similar to the peace mission in Lebanon by Chinese and other UN soldiers. Anytime Israel acts on it's own for it's security it may politically strengthen the government at home, but it's terrible publicity worldwide and creates an anti-Israel backlash worldwide.

I'm also glad to have some intermittent Internet service as well today. My computer service and telephone service were both knocked out recently with the terrible record rainfall and now there's some snow again today as well. This has been one of the worst Winter seasons ever here in Portland, Oregon with wild weather.

Steve Crickmore:

Doubting Thomas, I`m trying to provide an alternative to the msm centrist/political establishment over-simplified way of looking at the conflict, reduced simply to the Hamas are terrorists, and Israel must react full stop. I'd probably be voicing a more pro-Israeli point of view if I was living, lets say in Damascus.

The Israeli position is well articulated in the US, and doesn't need me to pile on, that Palestianians have never been well served by their political leadership or the so-called moderate but autocratic Arab governments. That is an understatement. Jay Tea used to talk about this history, endlessly.

I'm not at all sympathetic to the Hamas 'Jim Jones-Jonestown' type/leadership, but I'm sympathetic to the Palestinian people stuck in Gaza, and recent opinion polls showed that Hamas only enjoyed 13% of the support of Gazans.

The Israeli defense department, the IDF, is blurring the distinction between civilian and miitary when it chooses its bombing targets.

While previous Israeli assaults on Gaza have pinpointed crews of Hamas rocket launchers and stores of weapons, the attacks that began Saturday have had broader aims than any before. Israeli military officials said yesterday that their target lists have expanded to include the vast support network the Islamist movement relies on to stay in power in the strip. The choice of targets suggests that Israel intends to weaken all the various facets of Hamas, rather than just its armed wing.

"There are many aspects of Hamas, and we are trying to hit the whole spectrum, because everything is connected and everything supports terrorism against Israel," said a senior Israeli military official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

According Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, independent Palestinian lawmaker and democracy activist's account on 'Democracy Now', the results of such thinking are pretty evident in the IDF..

orders to send in the bombers and warplanes to attack mosques, to attack universities. The Islamic University in Gaza is not a military site. It is a university with 18,000 students, 60 percent of them women. Last night, Israeli warplanes attacked a female dormitory in the Islamic University. This is what Israel is attacking.

Something is totally wrong if this is correct, when you start deliberately bombing a women's dormitory in a university. What will be next?

Doubting Thomas:

Steve:

As I've said before - ANY military use of ANY nominally 'protected' site makes it a valid military target. It doesn't matter what the site is for.

Fire a rocket from a hospital roof? It becomes a legitimate military target.

Fire a rocket from a mosque courtyard? It becomes a legitimate military target.

Fire a rocket from a dorm roof? It becomes a legitimate military target. It could be a men's dorm, women's dorm, a nursery or a nunnery - it doesn't matter. It was used for a military purpose, it becomes a military target. It's that simple.

And Hamas KNOWS this. They count on it.

"Israeli military officials said yesterday that their target lists have expanded to include the vast support network the Islamist movement relies on to stay in power in the strip." - That support network is a legitimate military target.

Stuff a half-dozen rockets in someone's living room - that turns it into a legitimate target. It doesn't matter that a half-dozen kids live there. Have a command post in an apartment bedroom - it's a legitimate military target, even if it puts every other family in the building at risk.

Blend your supply depots into the civilian population and you're holding the noncombatant civilian population hostage, and YOU (IE Hamas) are in the wrong. Israel is not in the wrong for going after it - Hamas is in the wrong because they're deliberately putting civilians at risk.

So 13% of the population supports Hamas. That doesn't matter.

Read that again - it doesn't matter.

Sure, it sucks to be the other 87% - THEY are held hostage by Hamas. And THEY have no recourse. THEY don't control the guns, THEY don't control the agenda, and Hamas knows quite well that they have no escape. They COUNT on there being no way for them to escape the conflict. They're hostages, plain and simple.

And the world will weep and cry over the poor pitiable Palestinians who happen to get shoved en masse BY HAMAS into danger, blaming Israel for any deaths.

"Palestianians have never been well served by their political leadership or the so-called moderate but autocratic Arab governments."

You got that right. Their leadership has been a bunch of brutal, inept, murderous thugs for the last 50 years. BUT - it's been their choice. Every cease fire that has been broken, every treaty they've ignored, every suicide bomber they've sent out - it's been a choice made by the Palestinians, and they've consistently chosen war over any attempts to create a peace.

They've made that choice over and over and over again, with full knowledge of their chances of success, and the consequences to the Palestinian people. They inculate hate into the curriculms, they teach their kids hate in the homes, they teach their children that martyrdom against Israel is the highest possible honor.

There's no call for the peacemaker, there's no call for children to learn how to create anything or build anything, the infrastructure could completely collapse from lack of maintenance, and they'd simply hate Israel all the more for letting it collapse. There is no desire for peace - aside from the destruction of Israel.

What will be next, you ask? You already know. Hamas will be 'beaten', the world will pressure Israel to back down. Hamas will continue to try hard to find ways to kill people in Israel.

And someday, they're going to get lucky. At which point it'll be treated as an isolated incident, not something to be viewed in a broader context and certainly not something to get worked up over.

The Israelis will mourn. The Palestinians will rejoice. Anger will build, and eventually Israel will go to war again.

Lather, rinse, repeat - there will be no change, and no chance for the Palestinian people unless they figure out how to change course.

Sorry to be so long-winded here...

BPG:

Why is it imperative for the U.S. to broker anything? Because we've tried to do it before? Let someone else take a hand in this - neither side has any interest in peace; the Israelis because they know its B.S., and Hamas because it interferes with their goal of destroying Israel.

After 60+ years, let them fight it out. If the Arab countries wanted to help, they would have done so by now.

Lee Ward:

The U.N. has tried to get involved and come up with a solution and the U.S. continues to block those efforts.

Our hand is in it, supporting Israel, and blocking efforts to come up with a solution.

BPG:

What efforts, Lee? What efforts? UN saying, "Israel stop." does not constitute an effort. The UN hasn't had any credibility in the Israel/Palestinian situation for years.

Lee Ward:

Well, this - for example --

The United States intervened when the UN Security Council called for an end to Israeli attacks against Gaza.

Washington used its veto powers on Sunday to block a resolution calling for an end to Israel's attack on Hamas in the Gaza strip.

It's hard to point to specific UN efforts because there is a long history of the US intervening and preventing the UN from brokering a peace.

Lee, the resolution basically calls for Israel to stop defending itself. Calling it a "peace effort" that the U.S. is "blocking" is laughable.

Lee Ward:

Its just the latest example, OM. The US has a history of vetoes against UN efforts to intervene in the carnage. The most recent veto is only one example.

BPG:

Lee,

Were you able to locate the wording of the resolution that the U.S. voted down? Based on Khalizad's response, it would appear that the resolution did not acknowledge Israel acting in self-defense. The U.S. has a history of defending Israel in the UN and the UNSC, since nobody else does.

Doubting Thomas:

Realistically, Lee - what's a UN resolution good for (aside from toilet paper) when it has no teeth? Unfortunately the UN's turned into a bad joke on ME issues, primarily because they apparently can't bear to even mention (much less blame) who actually started the mess THIS time - Hamas.

And what are they going to do, send in some Peacekeepers to serve as more human shields for Hamas? They've already got the Palestinian population as hostages, and don't hesitate to at all to put their women and children at risk. In any civilized society, they'd be the ones shoved OUT of harm's way - but instead they're kept close to the leaders, weapons dumps are put in schools, and everything is seemingly done to maximize the number of women and children killed.

Oh, I can understand their reasoning - dead women and children get much more media attention and sympathy than dead Hamas fighters, after all... and isn't it more important to portray your society as a victim, even if it's of your own self-inflicted wounds?

Lee Ward:

If the UN's efforts were just meaningless empty gestures it wouldn't be necessary to veto them, now would it?

Doubting Thomas:

Problem is, Lee, there's still people who believe that UN resolutions condeming the actions of Israel while not mentioning ANYTHING about Hamas are evenhanded and impartial.

At one point, I used to believe in the UN. And up until, oh, about the mid '60s, it was actually somewhat effective. But since then...

Shrug. The UN has no teeth. Why even bother to pretend it does?

It takes two sides to make peace. War can be waged unilaterally. Israel would coexist peacefully with Hamas - Hamas wants to obliterate Israel. If you're going to broker a peace, you need both sides to be willing to stick to the agreements.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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