By Dr. Elias Akleh
As usual, Israel, once again, demonstrated its blatant contempt to humanity and to all religions when its fourth most powerful army desecrated on Saturday December 27 the most Christian, Muslim and Jewish holiest religious holidays, and even their own supposed-to-be holy Sabbath, by spelling the blood of the weak, the hungry, the thirsty, the poor, the desolate, and the two-years besieged Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. So it’s merry Christmas, happy New Year, happy Hanukkha, and Shabat shalom.
Israel started what it called “operation cast lead” on Saturday by sending 60 F-16 fighter jets to drop 100 tons of explosives on Gazans, whose children, under the age of 18, comprise 50% of the population. The targets were, initially, police stations and academy and government buildings. Many of them were hit multiple times to inflict casualties among medical teams, civil service personnel, and regular citizens, who gathered to save the victims. Later the Israeli war planes targeted charity institutions, civilian homes, apartment tower buildings, educational institutions and Islamic mosques, seven of which were totally leveled to the ground. Up till today, Tuesday 30th, 400 Palestinians were murdered and 1057 others were wounded many with life-threatening wounds that may raise the death toll. Among the dead were police officers and cadets, school children who were just leaving schools when the attack started, whole family members, whose houses collapsed on them, and praying men and women in the mosques. Next two days the Israeli gun-boats lined up the shores of Gaza and targeted Gaza sea ports and every fishing boat they encountered including the humanitarian “Dignity” boat transporting medical equipment and dignitaries to Gaza.
The main goal of the Israeli aggression, according to Israeli military and political officials, is the total destruction and annihilation of terrorist Hamas; the democratically elected Palestinian government in Gaza.
After the Palestinians demonstrated to the whole world that they can exercise democracy by choosing their representatives through free and fair election that was internationally monitored and certified, the so-called democracy spreading Western countries and Israel did not like the results. The stunning victory of Hamas in the election and its popularity and control in Gaza Strip did not please Israel, the US, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his gang, and the so-called moderate Arab leaders.
The decision came down to destroy Hamas politically through political boycott, discredit, and imprisonment of its MPs, ministers and senior officials. When this failed it was decided to topple Hamas violently. But Hamas, preemptively, foiled Mohammad Dahlan’s, and his thugs, coup attempt. Then came the decision to isolate Hamas in Gaza, and to impose an economic blockade against the Strip hoping that starving Gazans would depose of Hamas themselves. But this also failed and served only to exalt Gazans and Hamas as heroes resisting occupation, to expose the collusion of some Arab regimes, especially Egyptian and Abbas’s PA in Ramallah, with Israel against their Palestinian Arab brothers, and to attract the sympathy of many nations in the West as well as in the Islamic World.
Israel, finally, resorted to brutal force to destroy Palestinian democracy and to finish off their elected representatives. So, as usual, Israelis played, again, their broken record of being the victims defending themselves. Israeli broken record claims that “No country would allow continuous rocketing of its civilian population without taking necessary actions to stop it”.
Israel claims the right of self-defense while denying this right to Palestinians. Israel is an aggressive occupying terrorist state since its inception in 1948. Its terrorist militias occupied the most fertile parts of Palestine, massacred thousands of Palestinians, usurped their land, evicted hundreds of thousands out of their own homes and country, totally destroyed their towns and built Israeli colonial cities in their places. In 1967 Israel occupied the rest of Palestine, and continued its terror against Palestinians. It broke all international laws and every article in the Fourth Geneva Convention. It violated all the human rights, and ignored all UN resolutions regarding Palestinian rights of return to home land and of self-determination. Since 1948 Israel violated all cease fire agreements, threw against the wall all Arab peace initiatives and answered them with even more war crimes and terror, more murder and destruction, more Palestinian eviction and land usurpation, with economic siege and starvation of Gaza to actuate a pre-meditative holocaust against 1.5 million people, and lately aerial and naval bombardment. Israel used all kinds of methods, including weapons, hunger and thirst, razing of fertile land, destruction of crops and all means of livelihood, poison and chemical and biological weapons, eviction into the desert, and economic blockade among many others, to cause direct and indirect deaths to Palestinians.
Israel has shown, throughout its short history, that the only language it understands and deals with is ultimate brutal force, criminal violence and savage terrorism. It had left Palestinians no choice to defend themselves other than the use of violence in the face of such Zionist barbarity.
Israel’s aggressive colonial terror, especially its blatant violations of international laws, forfeits all of its rights for self-defense. Palestinians have been the victims since 1948 and they have the legitimate and moral right to defend themselves by any and every means against the Israeli terror. Such rights are protected by international laws and standards of every country.
The primary purpose of planting Zionist Israeli state in the heart of the Arab World is to use it as a military tool to wipe off any Middle Eastern group, who resists all types and forms of Western colonization, and fights for real democracy, freedom, and unity of all Arab countries into one all-inclusive united Arab state.
Israel’s attack against Hamas in Gaza is very similar to its attack against Hezbollah in Lebanon in July 2006 when Israel launched its state terrorist aggression against Lebanon under Western and some “moderate” Arab leaders’ complicit directives, approval, and support. Most prominent was the American support for Israeli terror when the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice claimed that the war against Lebanon would usher “the birth of new Middle East”. The Bush administration has also given its blessings to Israel to “defend” itself against Hamas “terrorist” organization.
In 2006 the US formed an aerial bridge to supply Israel with military equipments, spare parts, and bombs (including cluster bombs) to continue its war against Lebanon. Today Israel is using GPS-guided bunker-buster GBU-39 American made missiles in its aggression against Gaza (See Jerusalem Post Dec 29th issue). The Congress had approved the sale of 1,000 of these missiles to Israel last September.
Between the years of 2001 – 2006 the US shipped to Israel more than $200 million worth of spare parts for their fleet of F-16 fighter planes, and more than $100 million worth of helicopter spare parts for their Apaches. In 2007 the US contracted Raytheon to ship to Israel $1.3 billion worth of TOW, Hellfire and bunker buster missiles. In 2008 the US gave Israel 186 million gallons of the JP-8 aviation jet fuel and signed a contract to give Israeli navy $1.9 billion worth of combat ships. The US is also the unconditional champion defender of Israel in the international arena regardless of its crimes. Israeli state terror in the whole Middle Eastern region could not have happened without the American tax dollars the successive administrations had spent on rather than on the welfare of tax paying American citizens.
The approval and complicity of the “moderate” Arab leaders to the Israeli attacks against Hamas was hinted to by Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni in her Monday 29th speech to the Knesset. Last Thursday Livni traveled to Egypt informing its government of Israel’s intentions of attacking Hamas, and from the Egyptian podium she fired her threats to Hamas while Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abul-Gheit stood next to her silently.
The position of the Egyptian government has become increasingly apathetic towards the Palestinian cause since Sadat’s visit to Israel in 1977. Lately, thanks to the annual $2 billion USAID that go mainly into the pockets of President Mubarak and his official entourage, the Egyptian government has become an active partner in the Israeli siege against the Palestinian Hamas government in Gaza.
Egypt refused to open its border (Rafah Crossing) with Gaza citing unreasonable justifications. It had turned back all food and medical help donated by Arab humanitarian organizations including Egyptians to help Gaza. Despite the enthusiastic rhetoric and promises of Egyptian officials to provide humanitarian help, Egyptian border police opened fire at Palestinians seeking refuge near the Egyptian border from Israeli attacks.
Egyptian government, not the public, has been treating Gaza residents as a hostile entity. They had forgotten that Gaza was once part of Egypt, that the majority of Gazans carry Egyptian travel documents, and that Gaza was Egypt’s front defense line against Israeli aggressions in the past.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies had opposed the elected Hamas government since day one. Abbas boycotted it, tried to topple it, and eventually illegally declared it dissolved, and appointed a replacement puppet government. He sent his security forces to every town in the West Bank to arrest and to kidnap all Hamas supporters and activists and jailed them. Abbas, himself, sabotaged every attempt of reconciliation with Hamas and forming a unity government. He became a partner to Israel in its blockade against Gaza residents. He joined the Israelis in discrediting, criminalizing, and belittling Hamas. He provided Israel with intelligence information about Hamas so the Israeli army could, in its latest aggression, destroy Hamas. Abbas has sent orders to his elite security forces, training in Jordan, to get ready to move in Gaza to control it after Israel finishes off Hamas.
There was a call for an urgently needed Arab summit to deal with the latest Israeli attack. Yet this was sabotaged by Egyptian officials who insisted on having a meeting of Arab foreign ministers first to determine if such a summit is really needed. Initially this meeting was scheduled on Wednesday, but then was pushed back to Friday January 2nd, too late for any help for Gaza. This delay will give the Israelis enough time to destroy the whole Gaza Strip. Arab summits, so far, have been sabotaged by “moderate” leaders to produce only verbal condemnation.
Some Arab leaders are willing to offer Palestine and its residents as a sacrifice in the hope that Israeli expansion might be contained within the Palestinian borders and would not spill into their states. They fail to understand that Israeli terror had already reached many Arab countries such as Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria, and the Israeli corruption had spread into Jordan, Egypt and some Gulf States. The Israeli colonial expansion is targeting every Arab state in the Middle Eastern region without any exception. Today it is the Palestinians; tomorrow it is the rest of the Arabs; and next is the rest of the world.
-Dr. Elias Akleh is an Arab writer of Palestinian descent, born in the town of Beit-Jala. Currently he lives in the US. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.