Progressive Calendar 12.30.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2008 05:36:55 -0800 (PST)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   12.30.08

1. WAMM: Gasa massacre 12.30 1pm
2. IJAN: Gaza          12.30 1pm
3. AWC: Gaza           12.30 1pm
4. JVP: Gaza           12.30 1pm
5. CPUSA: Gaza         12.30 1pm
6. Palestine/CTV       12.30 5pm

7. Jennifer Loewenstein - Israel's attempted endgame in Gaza
8. Neve Gordon  - Violence and lies: what, exactly, is Israel's mission?
9. Joshua Frank - Obama: "No comment" on Gaza's dead
10. Salzman/Garcia - Exception from humanity: the war against Palestine
11. Norman Solomon - Overkill in Gaza: a hundred eyes for an eye
12. Dan Lieberman  - Gaza attacks, timid world leaders
13. Balousha/McCarthy - Death toll moves above 300

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From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Protest Gasa massacre 12.30 1pm

Tuesday, December 30, 1:00 p.m.
National Day of Action Protesting the Bombing of Gaza
Local Actions

1:00 a.m. Protest and Press Conference at Senator Amy Klobuchar's office.
BRING SIGNS!  Palestinians, Jewish speakers and allies together give their

10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. closing: Go to U.S. Senate and Congressional
 Senator Kloubuchar: 1200 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis
 Congressman Keith Ellison:  2100 Plymouth Ave. North, Minneapolis
 Senator Coleman:  2550 University Ave., St. Paul (Al Franken's HQ is
across street)
 Congresswoman Betty McCollum:  165 Western Ave. N., St. Paul (corner

Also: WAMM members and others are encouraged to go to Senator Coleman's
office at 4:30 p.m. or earlier (Al Franken's office is directly across the
street.)  BRING SIGNS!

Local protests and press conference sponsored locally by Women Against
Military Madness (WAMM), Coalition For Palestinian Rights, International
Jewish anti-Zionist Network of the Twin Cities (IJAN TC), Green Party of
Minnesota. National Day of Action called and/or sponsored, endorsed by
National Council of Arab Americans, the ANSWER Coalition, Muslim American
Society Freedom, Free Palestine Alliance, and Al-Aqswa, International
Palestine Right to Return Coalition, Jewish Voices for Peace, U.S.
Campaign to End the Occupation Project to show solidarity with the
Palestinian people in Gaza and to demand an immediate end to the murderous
attacks carried out by the Israeli military against the people of Gaza.

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From: IJAN Twin Cities < [at]>
Subject: IJAN Gaza 12.30 1pm


Contact:  Flo Razowsky
Phone:  612- 850-4942

Members of the Twin Cities Jewish Community Voice Outrage Over Latest
Israeli Military Action at Upcoming Demonstration

Minneapolis, MN December 30th 2008 - Hundreds will converge outside
Minnesota US Senator Amy Klobuchar's Minneapolis office, 1200 Washington
Avenue South, Suite 250, tomorrow from 10am to 5pm to protest Israeli
military's latest brutal strike against Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

At 1pm a press conference will be held, at which time members of the local
Jewish community and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)
will read the following statement:

"As of this writing, Israel's massacre of Palestinians in occupied Gaza
has killed nearly 300, and injured hundreds more - mostly civilians -
since Saturday, December 26th. Over a thousand tons of bombs have been
dropped on one of the most densely populated places in the world.
"Operation Cast Lead", coming after an 18-month siege on the Gaza Strip
that created electricity and water shortages and cut means for producing
basics such as daily bread, has exacerbated the humanitarian catastrophe
faced by Gaza's 1.5 million residents.

"Israel carried out these recent attacks with F16 fighter jets and
missiles provided by U.S. tax dollars. The state of Minnesota is
especially invested in Israel, holding Israeli bonds, while Governor
Pawlenty is meeting with Israeli trade representatives to further the
Minnesota-Israeli economic partnership. In light of this economic alliance
and the moral responsibility that comes along, we demand Governor Pawlenty
cut our trade and investment ties with Israel instead of financing this
humanitarian crisis.

 "As Jews in the Twin Cities, we stand with the world majority in the call
to immediately end Israel's current and devastating aggression in Gaza,
for Israel to be held accountable for it's actions, and for our fellow
Minnesotans and specifically Jews to join us. As Jews of conscience it is
our responsibility to decry these atrocities done in our name."

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From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: AWC: Gaza 12.30 1pm

National Day of Action for GAZA!

Tuesday, December 30 @ 10 am - 5pm @ Sen. Klobuchar's office (1200
Washington Ave. S.) & @ Rep. Ellison's office (2100 Plymouth Ave. N.) in

Please participate in demonstrations to protest the Israeli actions in
Gaza and the US' unconditional support of Israel.  The ANSWER Coalition,
Muslim American Society Freedom, Free Palestine Alliance, National Council
of Arab Americans, and Al-Awda, International Palestine Right to Return
Coalition are calling for Tuesday, December 30 to be a National Day of
Action to show solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza and to
demand an immediate end to the murderous attacks carried out by the
Israeli military against the people of Gaza.  There will be a press
conference at 1pm at Sen. Klobuchar's office.  These demonstrations are
organized locally by WAMM - Women Against Military Madness, Coalition For
Palestinian Rights, International Jewish anti-Zionist Network Twin Cities
(IJAN TC), Green Party of Minnesota.

For more info go to:

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From: "Stephanie Roth, Jewish Voice for Peace"
    <info [at]>
Subject: JVP: Gaza 12.30 1pm

Heartbreaking tragedy
Dear Supporter,
The news about the attacks in Gaza is beyond words. "Appalling" doesn't
even come close.

U.S.-supplied Israeli F-16 warplanes and Apache helicopters have fired
missiles and dropped over 100 tons of bombs on dozens of locations in the
Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip.  Over 300 people are dead and at least 1,400
more are injured. Many if not most of them are civilians.  Food and
medicine were already in short supply in Gaza and all medical facilities
have been completely overwhelmed by this onslaught. Access to Gaza has
been cut off by Israel.

This is the most violent and heartbreaking situation that has happened to
the Palestinians in recent history, and it must stop. In addition to
calling for protests at Israeli consulates and federal buildings, as well
as letters to the U.S. and Israeli governments, Jewish Voice for Peace
staff and members are already putting together an aggressive campaign
focused on Gaza. And, without a moment to waste, we call for an immediate
end to attacks on all civilians.

I am Stephanie Roth and I've been an activist with Jewish Voice for Peace
for many years, including serving on the board of directors. I've been
involved with social justice issues my entire adult life - both in my
professional life as an editor and fundraiser, and as a volunteer and
activist. There is no issue I find more important or compelling than my
work to end the Israeli Occupation. I am particularly saddened by this
weekend's tragedy, occurring just a week after the uplifting days when the
Shministim - the young Israeli conscientious objectors - caught the
world's attention with their courage to say no to violence on December 18.
I know that people in Gaza will stop dying when Israeli soldiers, like the
Shministim, have the courage to say NO. NO, we will not target civilians;
NO, we will not follow immoral orders; NO, we will not contribute to the
destruction of Palestinian society.

Together with the Shministim, and with the 1,000 Israelis in Tel Aviv and
thousands of others around the world who have already come out to protest
the Gaza onslaught, we say YES. YES, stepping up to speak for justice and
peace makes a difference; YES, we stand with the people of Gaza, of the
West Bank, of Sderot in Israel and the innocent civilians everywhere whose
lives are destroyed by cynical politicians and warmakers; YES, our voices
together are stronger than the voice of any one of us alone; and YES, we
are committed to the longterm goal of ending the Occupation and working
for justice, peace and life.

Jewish Voice for Peace's goal - MY goal - of ending the Occupation is a
long-term one.  Today, I will be giving the biggest gift I can to insure
that they have the resources for a swift and sustained response to this
most recent atrocity.

We are in this struggle for as long as it takes, and we need your help.
Please make the largest gift you can, today. Every gift is put right to
work, and every gift makes a difference.

"If not us, who? If not now, when?"

Go here to donate:
Stephanie Roth

P.S. I know that Jewish Voice for Peace will be asking for help in a
variety of ways over the next few days, weeks, months. Please, if you
believe in peace, if you believe in the Shministim, stay tuned and help
when you can. Thank you.

--------5 of 13--------

From: Erwin Marquit <marqu002 [at]>
Subject: CPUSA: Gaza 12.30 1pm


The Communist Party USA (CPUSA) emphatically condemns the continuing
Israeli air strikes in Gaza, which have left hundreds dead and over a
thousand wounded. The hundreds of Israeli air strikes have been carried
out with a total disregard for the safety of civilians and institutions
and are the latest phase in a campaign to blockade the economy of Gaza and
deny the people access to basic necessities. Israel's disproportionate
response to the resumption of the Hamas rocket firings into Israel after
the six-month ceasefire agreement expired, dramatically underscored the
Bush Administration's sidetracking of diplomatic efforts and negotiations.
In fact, the US government has provided the basis for Israel's military
action with continued military aid and supplies.

The Communist Party of Israel has suggested that the current Israeli
attacks are a demagogic move related to the current electoral campaign in
that country, as well as perhaps being intended to present the incoming
Obama administration with a fait accompli, making it more difficult for
Obama to adopt a new approach to the Israel-Palestine issue.

The CPUSA denounces the Bush administration for the verbal and material
support it is now rendering to the Israeli aggression. We condemn all
attacks on civilians whatever the cause or intention. We call on all
peace-minded people in the U.S. to demand an end to the Israeli
airstrikes, end threats of a ground assault into Palestine, along with an
end to Hamas rocket attacks, and to call on the incoming Obama
administration to make a radical change in US policy on the
Israel-Palestine issue, and to pressure the Israeli government to return
to honest negotiations toward a two-state solution.


1. Contact the White House to protest the attack and demand emergency
negotiations for an immediate cease-fire. Call 202-456-1111 or send an
email to comments [at]

2. Contact your Representative and Senators in Congress at 202-224-3121.

3. Call upon President-Elect Obama to pursue a new U.S. policy toward
Israel/Palestine and send a message at

4. Join one of the many local actions protesting the assault on Gaza.

On Sun, Dec 28, 2008 at 9:38 PM, Emile Schepers <international [at]>

"The Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA) emphatically condemns the Israeli
attacks in Gaza, which have left several hundred dead and unknown numbers
wounded.  The attacks have been carried out with a total disregard for the
safety of children, women, old people and other noncombatants and are the
latest phase in a brutal campaign to strangle the people of Gaza by
blockading them and denying them access to basic necessities.  The pretext
stated by the Israeli government, namely the resumption of the Hamas
rocket attacks, is far out of proportion to the damage being inflicted on
innocent people by the IDF bombing. What is more, the Israeli government
has telegraphed plans to continue the bombings and follow them up with
invasion by ground forces.

The Communist Party of Israel has suggested that the current Israeli
attacks are a demagogic move related to the current electoral campaign in
that country, as well as perhaps being intended to present the incoming
Obama administration with a fait accompli, making it more difficult for
Obama to adopt a new approach to the Israel-Palestine issue.  The CPUSA
denounces the Bush administration for the verbal and material support it
is now rendering to the Israeli agression.  We demand an immediate end to
the Israeli attacks, and we endorse the call of the Communist Party of
Israel for sanctions on that country and on its leaders.  We call on the
incoming Obama administration to make a radical change in US policy on the
Israel-Palestine issue, and to pressure the Israeli government to return
to honest negotiations toward a two-state solution.

--------6 of 13--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Palestine/CTV 12.30 5pm

Stylish St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on SPNN Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm,
midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am, after DemocracyNow!  All
households with basic cable may watch.

Tues, 12/30, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 12/31, 10am
"Ali Abunimah: Where Next for Palestine-Israel: Peace, Apartheid or
Democratic Inclusion? Part 1" Talk by Palestinian American author Abunimah
at the U of M in Oct. '07. (a still relevant repeat)

Tues, 1/6, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 1/7, 10am
"Ali Abunimah: Where Next for Palestine-Israel? Part 2"  Part 2 of talk by
Palestinian American author Abunimah at the U of M in Oct. '07. (a still
relevant repeat)

--------7 of 13--------

Before Our Very Eyes
Israel's Attempted Endgame in Gaza      [endgame = final solution -ed]
December 29, 2008

The intensity of the bombings on Saturday, which left over 230 people dead
and 800 wounded, many seriously, was what struck one witness, R., who
claimed never to have heard so many explosions so close together and for
such an uninterrupted period of time inside the Gaza Strip. One after
another, the explosions sounded, most of them near heavily populated
areas; and in one case only 30 meters away from his daughter's elementary

The bombings were timed to cause the maximum number of "enemy" casualties.
They occurred at approximately 11:20am on a bustling Saturday morning,
just as schools were changing shifts and many children were either leaving
for home or coming to afternoon classes; when offices were filled with
their employees, and streets busy with the late morning crowds out getting
lunch or on quick errands of one sort or another. The day before, Israel
had opened some of the crossings into Gaza to let in another trickle of
humanitarian aid. "See how generous we are to our enemy!" they exclaim
with straight faces to the international media. Each time Gaza reaches the
brink of starvation and ruin, they let in just enough food and supplies to
silence potential critics. Then the next round begins. It is hardly
surprising. After all, this policy was outlined publicly by Dov Weisglass
not so long ago when he promised that Israel would put Gaza on a punishing
"starvation diet" until it saw reason and evicted its democratically
elected government. Many people, including members of the Hamas
government, believed that reopening the crossings to international aid
signaled another brief lull in military activity, as it usually had, while
the IDF General staff prepared its next offensive. In this way were the
people and government of Gaza unprepared for the next day's slaughter

The deliberate ploy to strike at midday when the collective population of
Gaza had let down its guard for a few short hours had its intended effect.
One of the deadliest massacres in the history of Israel's occupation of
Palestine followed as  F-16 fighter jets, helicopter gun ships, tanks,
armored vehicles and pilot-less drones closed in on the Gaza Strip.  By
Monday morning over 300 people were dead and 1000 injured. Hospitals were
overflowing with the seriously wounded; the morgues with the dead for whom
they had insufficient refrigeration. Insufficient medical personnel,
equipment, supplies and services raised the likelihood of many more dying
in their overused beds waiting for the help and attention they would never
get. The taxi driver R. hailed to get him to his daughter's school as
quickly as possible after those first strikes had begun initially refused,
staring in shock as columns of smoke rose from brand new layers of debris.

The sound of F-16s flying overhead dropping bombs is not a sound one ever
forgets. In other words, 750,000 children  - or half the population of
Gaza - have it ingrained in their memories for the rest of their lives.
Another equally unacceptable percentage of this group will have had images
burned into their minds' eyes of the devastation and death wrought by
these sounds as well, a factor that partially explains why more than 50
per cent of Gaza's three-quarters of a million children suffer from Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder: it isn't easy to see piles of the dead or their
blown apart body parts without some kind of reaction. Violent,
action-packed Hollywood war and terror films may provide us with virtual
reality, but when the severed jaw of a woman is lying at your feet only a
few inches away from her bloody and disfigured head, or when the bare leg
of a man is lying by itself in a room, the rest of the body blown outside
the house, the illusory atmosphere of the virtual world is quickly
replaced by the raw, heavy emotions that accompany real world sequences.
This is when paralyzing fright grips you so firmly that your legs forget
how to move; how to flee the gruesome nightmare scenarios. You can't run

In the course of a few short hours American-made, Israeli-flown fighter
jets had successfully blotted out the lives of more than 230 people and by
the end of the weekend over 300, the rough equivalence of two fully packed
IMAX theaters. At least 70 of the victims were civilians, a number of them
young children. A mother in Rafah bent over the corpses of her three dead
children screaming, unable to stop, horrified eye witness T., who wrote up
the day's events as if the formal documentation of an overpowering human
event could serve as a form of catharsis.

Most of the dead were young men training to become police officers, or
newly on the job, because it is one of the only ways left to acquire paid
work today in the Gaza Strip. With the siege of Gaza and the subsequent
withering of its civil society and infrastructure, its industries, shops
and restaurants, banks and social services, came the skyrocketing
unemployment figures and the controlled collapse of an economy kept
"alive" by the slow drip of international humanitarian aid allowed in on
that generous whim of the occupation officer:  perhaps one more time so
that the wasting body of Gaza can take in another breath. Just the right
place to build a Dubai on the Mediterranean, an American journalist once
put it, just as the "disengagement" phase of the siege kicked in.

That same journalist and his buddies in the overseas Western press offices
will have been the first to confirm for you in today's "respectable" news
Israel's interpretation of the events, mentioning as if in a footnote to
the weekend's activities, Israel's recently announced Public Relations'
push intended to make any major military offensive into Gaza palatable to
the outside world by sucking the humanity out of the 230+ bodies before
they were even dead: the strikes on Gaza were taken as necessary "security
measures" after repeated attempts to maintain a "ceasefire" had failed
when "Hamas operatives" fired rockets into "civilian areas" in Israel.
This myth will be left unchallenged because there is too much power behind
it to jeopardize whole careers; and because it is much easier to accept
the fact that your government just backed the pre-meditated murder of over
200 terrorists  - and a few wannabes - than it is to realize that the
overwhelming number of dead were completely innocent; that they had died
for wanting a job, a paycheck and a sliver of dignity.

"HAMAS" - the word that, in this case, renders any action taken by the
other side, no matter how barbaric or sadistic, legitimate. Couple any
noun with the preceding adjective "Hamas" and it will be immediately
quarantined as if tainted by some infectious bacteria. This is how to
dehumanize a million and a half people overnight; how to render them
different from us and dangerous to us.  While it is true that a poll
showing what the average American knows about Hamas might be cause for
concern; a poll showing what the average elite-educated American knows
about Hamas would reveal immediately how effective voluntary
indoctrination in democratic societies has become and why those with the
power to stop crimes against humanity overnight refuse to do so even after
they understand that what they're doing is wrong.

>From the 7th floor of his high-rise apartment building looking out over
Gaza City on Saturday night, S. describes the view as "a sea of blackness.
The familiar twinkling of lights that defines the contours of a city after
dark is missing, as if the place itself had been erased from the earth.
Without electricity, without cooking gas or automobile fuel; without heat
to warm the winter-chilled flats across this stretch of land, or
generators to back up the hospitals and clinics; without supplies for
schools and universities, for personal and collective health and hygiene,
or for repairing any part of this broken down hovel of a strip; without
water to drink or cook with or bathe in, without reading lamps and,
lately, without the candles or other substitutes used for light, people
are making haste to adjust yet again to the latest set of conditions
imposed upon them as the US-backed siege of Gaza closes in on another
dying December day.

Their resilience is inspirational but painful. Tomorrow S. will head down
to Rafah, to the border city, where kerosene is still available albeit for
quadruple the normal price  - or more: A system of nearly 800 smuggling
tunnels running from Rafah, Gaza to Rafah, Egypt, controlled by a few
savvy black-marketeer families and up to now tacitly supported by Israel,
appears to be nearing collapse as well as everything else. Rumors of an
Israeli Air Force strike that would doom the last remaining big business
venture in the Strip have helped shut them down, even the ones licensed by
the Hamas government, which got its share of goods for the best prices as
the once-illegal smuggling industry turned for a brief period of time into
Gaza's only reliable all-purpose supply-line. On Sunday the rumors caved
in on the tunnels as bulldozers and bomber jets blasted them flat. Now the
supply line has been cut, the siege persists, the US condemns Hamas,
refusing to ask for Israeli restraint. In Rafah, the demise of the tunnels
- like the recently re-fortified border closure on the Egyptian side of
the Crossing - has an ominous finality about it that should give us pause
before we turn our faces away.

Major General Yoav Galant of the Israeli Southern Command declared
Saturday that an attack on the Hamas regime must "send Gaza decades into
the past" militarily and must cause the "maximum number of enemy
casualties" (Haaretz, 12/28/08; by Uri Blau, By "enemy" he means
"Palestinian" as the evidence overwhelmingly shows; and if Galant is to be
taken seriously according to his own perceptions of the "enemy" and of the
time frame within which an operation of this sort is possible, we have
reached a milestone in the history of the Palestinian National Movement
and in the life of Gaza that bodes ill for the dream of Palestine while
sharpening the regional fault lines that have crystallized beneath the
Rafah sands.

Jennifer Loewenstein is Associate Director of the Middle East Studies
Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She can be reached at
amadea311 [at]

--------8 of 13--------

Violence and Lies
What, Exactly, is Israel's Mission?
December 29, 2008

The first bombardment took three minutes and forty seconds. Sixty Israeli
F-16 fighter jets bombed fifty sites in Gaza, killing over two hundred
Palestinians, and wounding close to a thousand more.

A few hours after the deadly strike, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
convened a press conference in Tel-Aviv. With Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni
sitting on his right and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on his left, he
declared: "It may take time, and each and every one of us must be patient
so we can complete the mission".

But what exactly, one might ask, is Israel's mission?

Although Olmert did not say as much, the "mission" includes four distinct

The first is the destruction of Hamas, a totally unrealistic goal. Even
though the loss of hundreds of cadres and some key leaders will no doubt
hurt the organization, Hamas is a robust political movement with
widespread grassroots support, and it is unlikely to surrender or
capitulate to Israeli demands following a military assault. Ironically,
Israel's attempt to destroy Hamas using military force has always ended up
strengthening the organization, thus corroborating the notion that power
produces its own vulnerability.

The second objective has to do with Israel's upcoming elections. The
assault on Gaza is also being carried out to help Kadima and Labor defeat
Likud and its leader Benjamin Netanyhu, who is currently ahead in the
polls. It is not coincidental that Netanyahu's two main competitors, Livni
and Barak, were invited to the press conference - since, after the
assault, it will be more difficult for Netanyahu to characterize them as
"soft" on the Palestinians. Whether or not the devastation in Gaza will
help Livni defeat Netanyhu or help Barak gain votes in the February
elections is difficult to say, but the strategy of competing with a
warmonger like Netanyhu by beating the drums of war says a great deal
about all three major contenders.

The third objective involves the Israeli military. After its notable
humiliation in Lebanon during the summer of 2006, the IDF has been looking
for opportunities to reestablish its global standing. Last Spring it used
Syria as its laboratory and now it has decided to focus on Gaza.
Emphasizing the mere three minutes and forty seconds it took to bomb fifty
sites is just one the ways the Israeli military aims to restore its
international reputation.

Finally, Hamas and Fatah have not yet reached an agreement regarding how
to proceed when Mahmoud Abbas ends his official term as President of the
Palestinian National Authority on January 9th, 2009. One of the outcomes
of this assault is that Abbas will remain in power for a while longer
since Hamas will be unable to mobilize its supporters in order to force
him to resign.

What is clearly missing from this list of Israeli objectives is the
attempt to halt the firing of Qassam rockets into Israel's southern towns.
Unlike the objectives I mentioned, which are not discussed by government
officials, this one is presented by the government as the operation's
primary objective. Yet, the government is actively misleading the public,
since Israel could have put an end to the rockets a long time ago. Indeed,
there was relative quiet during the six-months truce with Hamas, a quiet
that was broken most often as a reaction to Israeli violence: that is,
following the extra-judicial execution of a militant or the imposition of
a total blockade which prevented basic goods, like food stuff and
medicine, from entering the Gaza Strip. Rather than continuing the truce,
the Israeli government has once again chosen to adopt strategies of
violence that are tragically akin to the one's deployed by Hamas, only the
Israeli ones are much more lethal.

If the Israeli government really cared about its citizens and the
country's long term ability to sustain itself in the Middle East, it would
abandon the use of violence and talk with its enemies.

Neve Gordon is the chair of the Department of Politics and Government,
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and is the author of Israel.s
Occupation, University of California Press, 2008. His website is

--------9 of 13--------

"No Comment" on Gaza's Dead
Obama and the "Special Relationship"
December 29, 2008

As President-Elect Barack Obama vacationed in Hawaii on December 26,
stopping off to watch a dolphin show with his family at Sea Life Park, an
Israeli air raid besieged the impoverished Gaza Strip, killing at least
285 people and injuring over 800 more.

It was the single deadliest attack on Gaza in over 20 years and Obama's
initial reaction on what could be his first real test as president was "no
comment". Meanwhile, Israel has readied itself for a land invasion,
amassing tanks along the border and calling up 6,500 reserve troops.

On Sunday's Face the Nation, Obama's Senior Adviser David Axelrod
explained to guest cost Chip Reid how an Obama administration would handle
the situation, even if it turns for the worst.

"Well, certainly, the president-elect recognizes the special relationship
between United States and Israel. It's an important bond, an important
relationship. He's going to honor it ... And obviously, this situation has
become even more complicated in the last couple of days and weeks. As
Hamas began its shelling, Israel responded. But it's something that he's
committed to".

Reiterating the rationale that Israel's bombing of Gaza was an act of
retaliation and not of agression, Axelrod, on behalf of the Obama
administration, continued to spread the same misinformation as President
Bush: that Hamas was the first to break the ceasefire agreement, which
ended over a week ago, and Israel was simply responding judiciously.

Aside from the fact that Israel's response was anything but judicious, the
idea that it was Hamas who broke the six-month truce is a complete

On the night of the U.S. election, Israel fired missiles on Gaza that were
aimed at closing down a tunnel operation they believed Hamas was building
in order to kidnap Israeli soldiers. The carnage left in the wake of
Israel's bombing of Gaza over the past six weeks has killed dozens of

"The escalation towards war could, and should, have been avoided.  It was
the State of Israel which broke the truce, in the 'ticking tunnel' raid
...  two months ago," the Israeli peace group Gush Shalom wrote in a press
release. "Since then, the army went on stoking the fires of escalation
with calculated raids and killings, whenever the shooting of missiles on
Israel decreased".

Over the last seven years only 17 Israeli citizens have been killed by
Palestinian rocket fire, which makes it extremely difficult for Israeli
politicians, which are in the midst of an election, to argue that their
response has been proportionate or defensible in any way.

The asymmetry of the conflict leaves an opening for harsh criticism from
the soon-to-be president Barack Obama. He has every right to oppose
Israel's belligerence. The international community and the majority of
public opinion are on his side. Certainly he knows Israel's
disproportionate response has inflicted insurmountable pain on
Palestinians as well as what the blockade has done by keeping vital
medical and other supplies from reaching Gaza, where hundreds have died as
a result of inadequate medical treatment.

While bombs fall on a suffocating Palestinian population and Israeli
forces prepare for a ground invasion, Obama is monitoring the situation
from afar after a talk with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other
Bush administration officials. This isn't leadership; it's a continuation
of a policy that has left Palestinians with little recourse, let alone
hope for lasting peace.

"The president-elect was in Sderot last July, in southern Israel, a town
that's taken the brunt of the Hamas attacks," David Axelrod told Chip Reid
on Face the Nation. "And he said then that, when bombs are raining down on
your citizens, there is an urge to respond and act and try and put an end
to that. So, you know, that's what he said then, and I think that's what
he believes".

If Axelrod is correct, and Barack Obama does indeed support the bloodshed
inflicted upon innocent Palestinians by the Israeli military, there should
be no celebrating during Inauguration Day 2009, only mass protest of a
Middle East foreign policy that must change in order to begin a legitimate
peace process in the region. [Amen -ed]

Joshua Frank is co-editor of Dissident Voice and author of Left Out! How
Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and
along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of the new book Red State Rebels:
Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland, published by AK Press in
June 2008. Check out the new Red State Rebels site at

--------10 of 13--------

Exception From Humanity
The War Against Palestine
December 29, 2008

The war against the Palestinians arises from the merging of the Zionist
view of Jewish exceptionalism with the view in the United States of
American exceptionalism, which have focused their common root ambitions
for domination and possession as a hostility to Islam, and this is the
leading crusade in the "clash of civilizations," proclaimed by
just-deceased Harvard historian Samuel P. Huntington, which is the war
against the world's poor and dark-skinned people, the war of conquest
carried out to enforce a rule of worldwide apartheid by a culturally
Euro-American, racially white, highly industrialized capitalist elite.

The Zionist view of Jewish exceptionalism is critically examined, and
demolished, in the book Overcoming Zionism, by Joel Kovel. This mind-set
boils down to 'any victimization of Jews we Zionists can remember,
historically, justifies all our aggression, persecution and even genocide
of Palestinians; we are, and will always be, the exceptional victims of
world history and so are forever blameless; to disagree is to be one with
our historical persecutors.' The Jewish religion is quite incidental to
the actual intent of the exceptionalism; Zionism is a criminal conspiracy
drawing participants through a Jewishness filter, in the same way the
Mafia exploits Sicilian heritage to filter its recruitment and promotion.

The operation of Zionist exceptionalism in Palestine mirrors that of the
white Christian exceptionalism Jews had suffered under for centuries, and
which was described in the book The Destruction Of The European Jews, by
Raul Hilberg. I (MG, Jr.) was made aware of the insights of the Kovel and
Hildberg books by Professor Emeritus (of physics) George Salzman. The
three stages of development of racial-religious labeled exceptionalism
are: conversion, expulsion and extermination. Hilberg summarizes "the
three successive goals of anti-Jewish administrators. The missionaries of
Christianity had said in effect: You have no right to live among us as
Jews. The secular rulers who followed had proclaimed: You have no right to
live among us. The Nazis at last decreed: You have no right to live".

The arc for European Jews between the years 400 and 1940 was first to be
pressured to convert to Christianity or face employment discrimination,
then from the 13th to the 16th century Jews resisting conversion were
expelled from many countries, and finally the Nazis devised industrialized
extermination. The arc for Palestinians seems to be compressed to a time
scale measured in decades rather than centuries. Conversion was never an
option, and many forms of exclusion were enforced from the first days of
the State of Israel (which, couldn't we see as just the earliest
Zionist-occupied section of Palestine?). Wars of territorial conquest
since 1967, and the continuing invasion of "unoccupied" territory by
"settlers" and their protective cavalry, the IDF - or land rushes into
Indian Reservations, as we knew them in the U.S. - bend the arc from
exclusion to extermination. In the logic of Zionist exceptionalism, there
is nowhere within the limits of their territorial vision where
Palestinians have "a right to exist." What other kind of mentality could
inflict modern aerial bombardment of essentially unarmed, corralled masses
of people? Our world remains at Guernica, the Stukas and Heinkels are now
F-16s and Lavi jets.

If the world does not rise up in unison to halt this slaughter in
Palestine, and the relentless and hypocritical land theft motivating it,
who could then blame the descendants of the victims - for there will be
children who survive to remember - if they are well satisfied with the
collapse of our own society in the future, and in fact help in its
destruction through some great catastrophe, which we may be too arrogant
and self-assured to envision now just like the self-satisfied elites of
the 1930s. Time and the pressure of increased impoundment always breach
dams, and resolve unnatural imbalances by a leveling flood. Time and the
unrelieved resentments of increasing world poverty will ultimately breach
our separation walls of control and drown our luxuriant indifference under
a leveling tsunami. This is not a biblical type of prediction, just a
matter of logic. If we, in the nations with the power to discipline the
Israeli Zionists - most especially the United States, do not act soon and
consistently thereafter for self-evident justice, we will pump up
oppositional energies to our national progress. If we continue to act like
conquerors apart from the rest of humanity, whom we view in purely
utilitarian terms - as slaves - we must inevitably drown under a Red Sea
of our own making.

Mere appeals in internet publications can do little, but in our
capitalist, hierarchical world, each person can act to a degree
commensurate with their level of political and financial power. And, the
best application of that agitation is to influence those above you to take
action commensurate with their power. Yes, this is the opposite of doing
what is good for your career by doing what is necessary to advance the
careers of your bosses. I leave to you the delicacy of striking a balance
between your particular career and your brotherly and sisterly duty to
humanity; but I will irritate you as I can, to choose the more rebellious
path, because ultimately career is a personal war against humanity and a
defilement of self-respect, which is exchanged for lucre and an illusion
of power. Rebel against exceptions to your sympathies. Rebel against
indifference to suffering.

There are many, many injustices and tragedies underway in our world, which
cry out for immediate attention, and no one can really rank them as to
deserving more or less help. Nevertheless, many currents of history have
been distilled into what we see today as the war against the Palestinians,
and it is keenly observed throughout the world. For this reason, we could
say that the fate of the Palestinians is the measure of the world's
conscience, and will mark our level of civilization in the pages of time.

Manuel Garcia, Jr. can be reached at mango [at]
George Salzman can be reached at george.salzman [at]

--------11 of 13--------

Overkill in Gaza
A Hundred Eyes for an Eye
December 29, 2008

Israelis and Arabs "feel that only force can assure justice," I. F. Stone
noted soon after the Six Day War in 1967. And he wrote: "A certain moral
imbecility marks all ethnocentric movements. The Others are always either
less than human, and thus their interests may be ignored, or more than
human and therefore so dangerous that it is right to destroy them".

The closing days of 2008 have heightened the Israeli government's stature
as a mighty practitioner of the moral imbecility that Stone described.

Israel's airstrikes "have killed at least 270 people so far, injured more
than 1,000, many of them seriously, and many remain buried under the
rubble so the death toll will likely rise," Phyllis Bennis of the
Institute for Policy Studies pointed out on Sunday, two days into Israel's
attack. "This catastrophic impact was known and inevitable, and far
outweighs any claim of self-defense or protection of Israeli civilians".
She mentioned that "the one Israeli killed by a Palestinian rocket attack
on Saturday after the Israeli assault began was the first such casualty in
more than a year".

Even if you set aside the magnitude of Israel's violations of the Geneva
conventions and the long terrible history of its methodical collective
punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza, consider the vastly
disproportionate carnage in the conflict.

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind," Gandhi said.

What about a hundred eyes for an eye?

It makes some of the world ill with rage. And it turns much of the United
States numb with silence. Routinely, the politicians and pundits of
Washington can't summon minimal decency in themselves or each other on the
subject of Israel and Palestinians.

While officialdom inside the Beltway seems frozen in fear of risking
"anti-Semitism" charges by actually standing up for the human rights of
Palestinian people, some progress at the grassroots has been noticeable.
It includes the growth of groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace, Tikkun,
and The Shalom Center, where activists have worked to refute the false
claims that American Jews are united behind Israeli policies.

At the epicenters of the conflict - where the belief that "only force can
assure justice" seems to be even stronger than when I. F. Stone wrote
about it 41 years ago - the conclusion has been drawn and redrawn so many
times that deadly repetition has become paralytic. While some Palestinian
"militants" have terrorized and murdered, the Israeli government has
terrorized and murdered on a much bigger scale, using a vast arsenal
largely financed by U.S. taxpayers.

>From afar, in the United States, it's too easy to shake our heads at the
lethal loss of moral vision. Don't they know that "an eye for an eye makes
the whole world blind"? But the cycle of violence is extremely
asymmetrical - while the U.S. government provides Israel with billions of
dollars and invaluable "diplomatic" support.

What's going on in Gaza right now is not just an eye for an eye. It's a
hundred eyes for an eye. And the current slaughter is not only an ongoing
Israeli war crime. It has an accomplice named Uncle Sam.

Norman Solomon is the author of Made Love, Got War.

--------12 of 13--------

A World Silent
World Leaders Respond Timidly to Israeli Attacks on Defenseless Gaza
by Dan Lieberman
December 29th, 2008
Dissident Voice

The tepid response of world leaders to Israel's ferocious attack on a
defenseless Gaza conveys a helpless feeling to all world citizens -
brutality rules and we are all vulnerable to attack. EU foreign policy
chief, Javier Solana, commented that "the EU is very concerned by the
events in Gaza". French President Nicolas Sarkozy was quoted as saying he
"strongly condemns the irresponsible provocations which led to this
situation as well as the disproportionate use of force".

Are world leaders totally ignorant of the events leading to the massive
destruction of Palestinian life? Are they unaware of Israel's provocations
and shrewd manipulation of the facts which allowed them to seem innocent
and carry out a plan to destroy the Palestinians? The facts are:

For two years Israel has illegally blockaded Gaza. BBC News (Heather
Sharp, Gaza Under Blockade, Nov. 11, 2008) states that the area's "1.5
million people have been relying on less than a quarter of the volume of
imported supplies they received in December 2005" and "virtually no
exports have been permitted". A totally paralyzed economy has tried to
exist with reduced fuel supplies, electrical outages and a lack of spare
parts. Intermittent hunger and severe physical and psychological damage
have been common. Include impacts on sewage treatment, waste collection,
water supplies and medical facilities.

Despite a truce between Hamas and Israel, the Israeli military continued
its attacks on West Bank Palestinians. Some of the provocations:

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, over the last two
weeks, from December 4th - 17th, two Palestinians, including a civilian
were killed by Israeli forces, ten Palestinian civilians were wounded by
Israeli gunfire and three others were wounded by Israeli settlers in the
West Bank. Four fighters with the Palestinian resistance, and an unarmed
woman were wounded by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip.1

Al Jazeera reports, Dec. 12, 2008, that Israeli forces, during the month,
invaded Salfit, Hebron, Bilin, and Khan Younis, injured four Palestinians,
and took 18 civilians into custody.

Settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron destroyed Palestinian property
and attacked Palestinians after Israel Defense Forces evicted them from a
building of disputed ownership. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other
Israeli figures branded the settler attacks as a "pogrom" against the

How did Hamas react to these provocations - quite normally.

In order to continue the truce, Hamas issued two responsible demands (1)
Israel halt its devastating economic blockade of Gaza, and (2) Israel
observe a truce in the West Bank as well as Gaza.

When Israel refused to meet these humanitarian demands, Hamas refused to
continue the truce, as it had promised and as Israel knew would happen.
Rocket fire by militants, not clearly identified with Hamas, sent mortars
and rockets into Israel. Despite the intensive barrage, not a single
Israeli was killed or wounded.

Note: Although any weapons fire against a civilian population is
unjustified, rockets are not guided missiles and these mortars are mostly
homemade devices that only propel a small explosive a short distance. No
mention has been made of the constitution of the barrages - the number of
mortars and the number of rockets.

So, world leaders, what do we note?

For two years the people in Gaza have been intermittently starved and left
destitute by Israeli actions. Israeli attacks on innocent Palestinians
continue. Despite no Israelis being harmed in the December rocket and
mortar barrages, Israel used the attacks as an excuse to devastate the
defenseless Palestinians.

Inaction of world leaders to Israel's scheme of using deadly provocation
(similar to continuing West Bank settlements) to invite retaliation, and
then using retaliation that actually did not cause casualties as an excuse
for more deadly actions is paralyzing. Equally paralyzing is the lack of
realization of the average American to the truth of the situation. If the
people of Arizona are a model of US citizen thinking on this issue then
the situation becomes more desperate. Take a peek at a forum of the
Arizona Daily Star, and be startled.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, considered a US ally in Beirut,
described the Israeli attacks as a "criminal operation" and "new massacres
to be added to its full record of massacres". If the United Nations,
European Union and the US administration cannot listen to the Middle East
region's leaders and prevent these atrocities against the Palestinian
people, what hope do the democratic and peace loving populations of the
world have when confronted with tyranny and aggression?

Dec. 19, IMEMC News [.]
Dan Lieberman is Editor of Alternative Insight, a monthly web based
newsletter. He is a writer of many published articles on the Middle East.
He can be reached at: dlieb10 [at]

--------13 of 13--------

Civilian Death Toll Rises After Second Day of Air Strikes
Death toll moves above 300. Calls for investigation after seven students
at UN college die in missile attacks
by Hazem Balousha in Gaza City, Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
Published on Monday, December 29, 2008 by The Guardian/UK
Common Dreams

To the doctors at the Shifa hospital in Gaza City it was another body on a
chaotically busy day. By early Saturday afternoon the morgue was already
overflowing so they laid out the corpse of 20-year-old Ali Abu Rabia on
the floor outside. One of the hospital staff pulled out a mobile phone
from his pocket, scrolled through the numbers, and called the young man's

Palestinians mourn over a body during the funeral of Ramzi Al Dheni and
Ahmed Hammad, at a mosque in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip,
Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008. The two were killed in an Israeli airstrike in
southern Gaza on Tuesday, dealing a new blow to efforts to restore a
cease-fire. The army said it attacked militants who fired mortar shells at
Israeli troops. Palestinian medical officials said the dead were
civilians, boys ages 16 and 17.(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)"I was at work.
Someone from the hospital called and said they had found my son," said
Marwan Abu Rabia, 44, a plumber. "I went straight to the hospital and
found him lying on the floor outside the morgue. There were too many
bodies. It looked like a massacre."

The hospital was so crowded staff held back relatives outside the building
and turned away the lightly injured. They struggled to treat the seriously
hurt, some of whom lay on beds in the corridors because of the congested

Palestinian officials said the death toll from Saturday's air strikes was
at least 280, with another 600 people injured. Most are thought to be
police or security officials, but among the casualties were many

Several more Palestinians were killed and injured yesterday, although the
Israeli air strikes were less extensive. One Israeli civilian was killed
on Saturday by a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza.

Ali Abu Rabia was a student at a UN vocational college for Palestinian
refugees in the Rimal district of Gaza City. He sat an exam on Saturday
morning, his father said, and after the first Israeli air strikes decided
to go home. He was standing in the street with others when an Israeli
missile struck, at around 1.30pm. Reportedly it had been aimed at a
policeman seen nearby with a walkie-talkie.

"It was a place full of students. It was not a military base. But in spite
of this they still attacked, all because of one policeman," said Ali's
father as he greeted mourners at a funeral tent at his home yesterday "Our
situation is very bad and the cause is Israel. The response has to be very
tough." He said he doubted there would be a peace agreement with Israel in
the coming years. "I don't believe they want an independent Palestinian
state," he said.

In that single air strike seven students were killed and another 20 were
injured. The Guardian has learned of several other civilians who were
killed and injured in the same strike on Saturday.

Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency, which
supports Palestinian refugees and feeds 750,000 Gazans, called for an
inquiry into the attack. "Grave question marks hang over this killing ...
There must be an investigation and the facts must get out. There must be

Another funeral tent was put up at a family home a few hundred metres
away. Nehru Rayes, 47, was presiding over a funeral for his two sons
Hisham, 25, a carpenter, and Alam, 18, who had been at school, and their
cousin Abdullah, 21, who ran an internet cafe. All three were killed in
the street, in the same air strike.

Rayes, a petrol station attendant, learned from the Shifa hospital that
all three were dead, and that two other relatives had been injured.
Representatives from the rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas had
come to his house offering, as usual, to help with the costs of the
funeral. He refused them both. "We've become like the homeless, begging
for electricity, cooking gas and food," he said.

He spoke of the "corruption" of the previous Fatah governments and then
said of the Hamas leaders: "They have everything they want: cooking gas,
generators, and they can move whenever they want. But the Palestinian
people are suffering."

Like many in Gaza yesterday, he spoke angrily of a desire for revenge
against Israel. "When they fight face to face with armed groups that's OK,
but when they attack civilians it's not acceptable," he said. "We need to
go back to a ceasefire, eventually, but it has to mean all the crossings
are open again and life returning to normal."

As he spoke another relative, Morad Rayes, 46, interrupted: "The
disagreement between Hamas and Fatah gave the Israelis the reason to
attack Gaza. All the ordinary people are suffering in this bad economic
situation. It's just those belonging to the factions who benefit. We are
facing a tough enemy. We have to be united."

Inside the Shifa hospital yesterday there were still relatives pouring
through the corridors, looking for the injured. Most of the wounded spoke
bitterly of their experience.

Mohammad Jahjouh, 21, lay on a hospital bed with cuts to his legs and
side. He was injured late on Saturday night when an Israeli missile struck
a mosque close to the hospital. "I thought I was dead but then I started
to move my hands and legs and I screamed for help," he said. He was
carried into the hospital. "It's unjust, unfair and aggression. After this
huge number of casualties it would be a sign of weakness for us to ask for
a ceasefire."

Gaza's streets were largely empty yesterday, with most shops closed and
queues only at local bakers where people were stocking up with supplies.

Mowaffaq Alami, 35, was close to the main security headquarters, the
Suraya, in Gaza on Saturday when it was attacked in the first round of
Israeli air strikes at around 11am. "People were walking through the
streets just like a normal day, children coming home from school.
Suddenly, without any warning, the bombing started. We didn't even see the
jets in the sky. That's why so many people were killed," he said. He said
the first round of attacks was over within a few minutes but left dozens

Alami lives in an apartment nearby and runs the Gaza office of One Voice,
an initiative that works to support a two-state solution to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "People are following the news, wondering
what's coming next," he said. "People are very worried there may be an
invasion. We used to plan our lives day by day. Now, it's hour by hour."

 2008 Guardian News and Media Limited


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