By Ahmed Amr
“I lost my sister, my brother-in-law and five of my nieces and nephews this morning. I feel nothing now; I can’t find the right words. All I know that the attack wasn’t a mistake. Israel fired six shells, how can that be a mistake? Israel wants to push us from our homes, but we will stay. This is our land.” — Omar Thamena, 46, engineer
“A third of unarmed Palestinians killed during IDF operations in the Gaza Strip since the abduction of Gilad Shalit have been minors, according to a new report prepared by Physicians for Human Rights, to be published Wednesday. Between June 27 and October 28, 247 Palestinians, including 155 civilians (63 percent) were killed by the IDF. Among the civilians killed, 57 were minors. This figure does not include minors who were armed.” — Haaretz 8/11/2006
"We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population." – David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar
Come take a casual winter stroll under Israeli Autumn Clouds with the queen of birth pangs in a small town named the House of Kindness – Beit Hanoun. Pitch in a hand to bury the latest harvest of mutilated bodies – sixteen from the same clan. Gaze at Gaza then turn around and contemplate the devious smile on the Birmingham wretch from Foggy Bottom. Ponder the classical tune she will pound on her piano to celebrate the carnage.
Eighty dead. Hundreds wounded. Sewage and electricity lines destroyed. An eight-hundred-year old mosque and hundreds of family homes reduced to rubble. All for one Israeli soldier missing. A fair exchange for the queen of birth pangs. And who cares to mention the other 350 Palestinians who made early visits to their graves before the Olmert’s Autumn Clouds darkened the skies of Beit Hanoun.
It’s been going on all summer – background noise. Same old Israeli temper tantrums to earn Olmert his stripes as a war criminal. It’s an essential requirement when you serve as Prime Minister to a constituency as vile and racist as the Israeli public – a demographic that demands representation by a vicious Moldovian bigot like Lieberman – recently promoted to deputy Prime Minister of the Jewish supremacist state on the Mediterranean.
The world has hardly noticed the carnage in Gaza. Chalk it up to distraction of the Israeli ‘Summer Rain’ that poured down on Lebanon. It’s a body count thing. Lebanon was fast and furious. Twelve hundred dead and survivors left to wander around a devastated landscape littered with a million cluster bombs – ninety per cent planted on Olmert’s way out of his summer debacle. While Gaza endured the drip-drip agony of offering a few daily sacrificial lambs to the Israeli war gods, an entire country was being bombed to rubble in a thirty-three-day orgy of death and destruction to gain the release of two IDF combatants.
Of course, a prisoner exchange would have avoided all the nastiness in Lebanon. But the Israelis and Americans had loftier goals – to enforce United Nations resolutions and change the map of the Middle East – a place aching for Condi’s birth pangs. Tel Aviv’s sudden change of heart about the importance of implementing international edicts should be a welcome sign – except that the United States and Kofi Annan still insist that Israel retains a special dispensation to ignore a pile of UN resolutions that require it to stop illegal settlements, vacate occupied territory, dismantle apartheid walls and lighten up on slaughtering Arabs.
The two Israeli soldiers are now forgotten. They’ll get their freedom soon enough – in the same kind of prisoner exchange that Olmert and Condi refused to consider before snuffing out a thousand innocent Lebanese civilians.
Against this background, the IDF was going about the daily grind of murdering its internationally authorized daily quota of Palestinians. It has always been a question of pace. As long as Tel Aviv keeps its daily kill count in the single digits – no one really bothers to notice.
The systematic destruction of infrastructure has long been considered a side issue. Collective punishment is the law of the land in the occupied territories. Israel does it because Israel gets a license to do it from the great white father in Washington. Gaza has lived in darkness for an entire summer on account of the IDF’s malicious destruction of its power plants. The pitch-black nights are perfect cover for nightly raids by Israeli death squads.
But don’t fault Bush – every American administration has awarded Tel Aviv the same authority to ignore international law and commit war crimes. It’s a standard clause in the every ‘special relationship’ agreement signed between the United States and the Zionist State. Of course, the proponents of these policies – which include folks like the president and Condi – expect to witness the final days from lawn chairs in the comfort of their homes and Crawford ranches.
The vicious slaughter of Palestinians in Beit Hanoun is no accident. It’s simply the price that has to be paid to enforce a secret agreement called the Condi/Weisglass accords. The brilliant birth pang queen from Birmingham and her boss have already signed sealed and delivered a final solution to the Palestinian problem. It was all worked out with Sharon. Bush is the first president to commit himself to a Palestinian state. Why the man has already gone the extra mile and defined its boundaries – the perimeters of Gaza and the Apartheid wall.
It all comes down to enforcing the agreement with the help of a little coercion to bring the Palestinians to their senses. Beit Hanoun is just a sample of Israeli and American efforts to convince the folks in the West Bank and Gaza to accept the new realities and sign on the dotted align.
The siege to starve Gaza into submission is but another way to achieve the same goal. The reason Olmert refuses to negotiate is that the negotiations are over and done with. In fact, Israel and the United States are already in the process of implementing the two-year-old Condi/Weisglass accords. Pity the Palestinians for not getting an invitation to attend the American/Israeli ‘peace conference.’ Condi forgot to mail it out.
Oslo the Road Map and talk of United Nations resolutions are considered ancient history by the wizards in Washington and Tel Aviv. It’s all a ruse to give the Europeans, Egyptians and Saudis a little cover while Condi and Olmert go about the nasty business of enforcing a done deal.
-Ahmed Amr is the editor of NileMedia.com