|Progressive Calendar 12.30.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|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 --------1 of 13-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Protest Gasa massacre 12.30 1pm Tuesday, December 30, 1:00 p.m. PROTEST GAZA MASACRE!!! National Day of Action Protesting the Bombing of Gaza Local Actions TUESDAY, DECEMBER 30 1:00 a.m. Protest and Press Conference at Senator Amy Klobuchar's office. BRING SIGNS! Palestinians, Jewish speakers and allies together give their response. 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. closing: Go to U.S. Senate and Congressional Offices BRING SIGNS! 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 Western) 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. --------2 of 13-------- From: IJAN Twin Cities <ijan.tc [at] gmail.com> Subject: IJAN Gaza 12.30 1pm INTERNATIONAL JEWISH ANTI-ZIONIST NETWORK IJAN-TWIN CITIES Ijan.tc [at] gmail.com www.ijsn.net 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." --------3 of 13-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> 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 Minneapolis 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: http://www.twincities.indymedia.org/2008/dec/protest-israeli-actions-gaza-tuesday --------4 of 13-------- From: "Stephanie Roth, Jewish Voice for Peace" <info [at] jewishvoiceforpeace.org> 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: https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/t/1849/shop/custom.jsp?donate_page_KEY=4394 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] umn.edu> Subject: CPUSA: Gaza 12.30 1pm CPUSA STATEMENT ON GAZA ATTACKS, URGENT 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. TAKE ACTION: 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] whitehouse.gov. 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 www.change.gov 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] cpusa.org> wrote: "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] riseup.net> 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] By JENNIFER LOEWENSTEIN CounterPunch 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 school. 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 away. 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] earthlink.net --------8 of 13-------- Violence and Lies What, Exactly, is Israel's Mission? By NEVE GORDON CounterPunch 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 objectives. 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 www.israelsoccupation.info --------9 of 13-------- "No Comment" on Gaza's Dead Obama and the "Special Relationship" By JOSHUA FRANK CounterPunch 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 fabrication. 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 Palestinians. "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 www.RedStateRebels.org --------10 of 13-------- Exception From Humanity The War Against Palestine By GEORGE SALZMAN and MANUEL GARCIA, Jr. CounterPunch 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] idiom.com. George Salzman can be reached at george.salzman [at] umb.edu. --------11 of 13-------- Overkill in Gaza A Hundred Eyes for an Eye By NORMAN SOLOMON CounterPunch 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 Palestinians. 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] gmail.com. --------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 father. 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 wards. 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 civilians. 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 accountability." 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 dead. 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 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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