End the Gaza Siege

By Stephen Lendman

Millions worldwide demand it. So does the Arab League, according to an Al Jazeera June 13 report quoting Amr Moussa, Arab League secretary-general, saying: "This blockade….must be lifted and must be broken and the Arab League decision is very clear in this regard."

On June 13, Moussa commented after visiting Gaza for talks with Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, Haaretz reporting he’s the highest Arab official to do so since Hamas’ 2006 election, after which an Israeli/West embargo followed, then the June 2007 siege.

Moussa entered through Rafah after Egypt reopened it following the Freedom Flotilla massacre, saying it will continue indefinitely.

According to Haaretz: "Palestinian and Arab League officials said (his) visit (aimed to give) momentum to reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah."

Hamas Health Minister Basim Naeem said it indicated that "the boycott between Gaza and the Arab nation was broken, (and that the trip would) be the start of a practical plan to lift the blockade….once and for all, in a complete and comprehensive way."

Mousa said he didn’t come to support one political faction over the other, but to meet Palestinians and end their suffering, conditions in what UNRWA Commissioner General, Filippo Grandi, calls the "largest open-air prison in the world."

An outrageously different view came from New York Times writer Ethan Bronner in his June 11 article, headlined "Gaza Through Fresh Eyes," saying: "For some, it’s the relative modernity….For others, it’s the endless beaches with children whooping it up. But for nearly everyone who visits Gaza, often with worry of danger and hostility, what’s surprising is the fact that daily life, while troubled, often has the staggering quality of the very ordinary."

Human rights activists and 1.5 million Gazans know otherwise – decades of occupation misery, worsened by the humanitarian crisis under siege, what none of them call "ordinary," what no legitimate journalist would ever say. None report for the major media, specializing in disinformation and "junk food news," why Project Censored highlights a "truth emergency," especially about Occupied Palestine or Israeli criticism, censored and not allowed.

Mahmoud Abbas Wants It Both Ways

On June 10, Haaretz quoted him contradicting himself in two separate reports, first saying (after meeting with Obama at the White House) he’s against lifting the siege because it would bolster Hamas, then reversing himself, saying:

The Palestinians’ main demand is "to end the blockade on Gaza," adding he believes that "the entire world stands with us….I don’t have a passport or nationality. I want my grandson to live a normal life. This week I spoke by phone with one of Hamas’ leaders. Elections will be part of the reconciliation" process, one he’s used his position to subvert as a willing Israeli-Washington agent against his own people.

After Israel’s June 2007 siege, Tel Aviv and Washington armed him to control the West Bank, supplant Hamas in Gaza, and act as Israel’s enforcer. As a result, suspect everything he says about reconciliation after years of confrontational opposition. His roots aside, he’s no Palestinian friend. He’s a quisling president, a duplicitous self-serving liar, in office months beyond his term, refusing to step down or call elections until "we (Fatah and Hamas) sign an agreement," then he’ll "immediately" set a date, he says, what he’s avoided so far without authority.

ICRC Condemns the Gaza Siege

Saying it violates Fourth Geneva on June 14, the ICRC harshly criticized Israel’s siege for causing "acute hardships," saying:

"The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law."

ICRC’s Gaza health coordinator, Eileen Daly, said "The state of (its) healthcare system….has never been worse."

The organization’s West Asia head, Beatrice Megevand-Roggo, explained the siege "is having a devastating impact on the 1.5 million people living in Gaza," adding that Israel’s security concerns aside, "Palestinians (have a) right to live normal, dignified lives," what Israel willfully denies them.

ICRC also condemned the Flotilla massacre and Israel’s preventing Gaza’s economic development.

Resisting the Occupation and Siege

Activists worldwide demand it, including the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), committed to "nonviolen(ce), direct-action methods and principles." Co-founded by Huwaida Arraf and Adam Shapiro in August 2001:

"ISM aims to support and strengthen the Palestinian popular resistance by providing the Palestinian people with two resources, international solidarity and an international voice with which to nonviolently resist an overwhelming military occupation force."

Words alone won’t work, only popular direct action – steadfast, redoubtable, international, and strengthened by growing numbers worldwide in a nonviolent struggle for "freedom, self-determination and human rights," demanding the major media report it accurately, spreading the word on their own, and offering hope to a beleaguered, long-suffering people.

"The belief that non-violent direct action can successfully challenge (Israel’s) apartheid is a cornerstone of our philosophy and message – we see, we hear and we are with you," committed to liberation, peace and self-determination, asking others to join them.

The Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM) is ISM’s student arm, "an umbrella group of Palestine-related groups, primarily on campuses, across North America." Its aims include support for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), Palestinian self-determination, the Right of Return, and ending US aid to Israel, most for its military to wage war on the region and Palestine, funded with US taxpayer dollars.

Dark Forces Against ISM and PSM

Stop the ISM.com is one, a pro-Israeli front group, calling them terrorists like the PLO under Arafat, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Hamas, and others like them – resistance groups struggling for liberation, not bogusly labeled terrorists.

The group calls Huwaida Arraf and Adam Shapiro "two of the most disgusting human beings who would condone murder while claiming they are ‘peace activists.’ "

Accusing them of "wish(ing) to see Israel destroyed," it labels Shapiro a product of his "dyed-in-the-wool Stalinist parents….raised on a steady diet of Israel hatred at home."

Acting as ISM "spokewoman," Arraf is accused of "control(ling) propaganda media reports….endorsing and assisting Palestinian terrorists in their anti-Israeli endeavors…organiz(ing) demonstrations around the West Bank, (and) frequently lectur(ing) and recruit(ing) in the United States at fundraisers and at anti-Semitic, anti-Israel conclaves."

The group also says ISM activists "serve as human shields for armed Palestinian terrorists, (act as) couriers for terrorists, and smuggl(e) explosives and bomb-making materials into Israel for the PLO," the same type propaganda Israel and Washington generate, dutifully echoed in major Western media reports.

Stop the ISM.com calls the "totalitarian Arab world’s educational system (a) cesspool of hate brought to American culture and shores via our colleges and universities," saying ISM uses them to "recruit every anti-American pervert and malcontent it can find….in solidarity to destroy Israel and in the long run America too."

They also attack the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), a former US senator, attorney general, Oakland mayor, Edward Said, and two current congresspersons among its founding advisors – a dedicated organization providing aid to regional families, including food, medicine, medical supplies, clothes, books, school supplies, and toys, part of its charitable work, including scholarships for Palestinian students.

Stop the ISM.com calls them a "terrorist-supporting enterprise….claim(ing) to be raising money for ‘charity’ or children, then sen(t) to America’s and Israel’s enemies to protract the War on Terror….MECA collects and launders money for pro-PLO and (other) groups all over the USA by taking in checks made out to ‘ISM-USA.’ "

Sadly, many people believe it and support the group’s extremists, its site not naming them, apparently out of shame. They also ignore horrific conditions in Gaza, a frequent topic this writer addresses accurately in articles and on air.

On June 14, the Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement provided a snapshot of a "paralyzed economy" under siege:

— before imposed, over 4,000 items entered Gaza freely;

— after recent Israeli softening, only 114, hundreds of basic ones prohibited;

— "a large Israeli (or Western) supermarket carries 10,000 – 15,000 items;

— among ones Israel bans are vinegar, toys, cocoa, chewing gum, paper and musical instruments, and hundreds more common ones;

— before closure, about 10,400 truckloads of goods monthly entered freely, now down to about 2,300 carrying fewer goods;

— before closure, 70 trucks a day carried Gazan exports; since June 2007, only 259 left the Strip, less than earlier exports in four days;

— daily, about 30,000 trucks enter Manhattan for a population slightly larger than Gaza;

— for lack of power, 80 million liters of raw or partially treated sewage are dumped daily into the Mediteranean;

— over 90% of Gaza’s aquifer water is polluted;

— Israel, admittedly, conducts "economic warfare" against Gaza;

— as a result, 80% of the population is aid-dependent under conditions of extreme poverty, unemployment, depravation, and no wonder, given Israel’s extremist government headed by a very unstable man.

Netanyahu on the Couch, Out-of-Control

On June 8, author and dissident historian Michael K. Smith headlined a Legalienation News Bureau article, "Psychiatrist of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Commits Suicide," explaining:

"Moshe Yatom, a prominent Israeli psychiatrist who successfully cured the most extreme forms of mental illness (schizophrenia) throughout a distinguished career, was found dead at his home in Tel Aviv yesterday from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. A suicide note at his side explained that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who ha(d) been his patient for the last nine years, had ‘sucked the life right out of me.’ I can’t take it anymore," he wrote and continued in Orwellian doublespeak, saying:

"Robbery is redemption, apartheid is freedom, peace activists are terrorists, murder is self-defense, piracy is legality, Palestinians are Jordanians, annexation is liberation, there’s no end to his contradictions. Freud promised rationality would reign in the instinctual passions, but he never met Bibi Netanyahu. This guy would say Gandhi invented brass knuckles."

Yatom very likely was overwhelmed by his "waterfall of lies, self-serving rationalizations, (and) a black hole of self-contradiction(s)," causing him to become depressed. A series of strokes followed – the first after Netanyahu said the 9/11 attacks "were good," the second when he compared Iran to Nazi Germany, and the third after he called its nuclear program "a flying gas chamber, (and that all Jews) lived permanently in Auschwitz."

Elaborating in a diary, Yatom explained the emotional toll it took failing to change such extremism, saying:

"The alibi is always the same with him. The Jews are on the verge of annihilation at the hands of the racist goyim and the only way to save the day is to carry out one final massacre."

Below is an except from Yatom’s unfinished book on Netanyahu from a chapter titled, "Psychotic on Steroids:"

"Monday, March 8. Bibi came by at three for his afternoon session. At four he refused to leave and claimed my house was actually his. Then he locked me in the basement overnight while he lavishly entertained his friends upstairs. When I tried to escape, he called me a terrorist and put me in shackles. I begged for mercy, but he said he could hardly grant it to someone who didn’t even exist."

Throughout its history, Israel has been belligerent, lawless, and out-of-control, reigning terror on Palestine and the region. Under Netanyahu, the danger is global, given its nuclear and missile delivery system capability, and stated intention to use them if threatened, now under an extremist, very unstable leader if Yatom’s analysis is accurate. If he and Obama escalate regional or global war, the Flotilla massacre, by comparison, will look inconsequential.

A Final Comment

On June 14, Reuters headined, "Who’s who on Israel’s committee on the Gaza flotilla raid," exposing it as a Washington-endorsed sham, not acknowledged in the report.

Called an Independent Public Commission, Netanyahu said it will demonstrate clearly "to the entire world that the state of Israel acts according to law, transparently and with full responsibility."

In his released statement, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs endorsed the announcement as an "important step forward," saying "the structure and terms of reference of Israel’s proposed independent public commission can meet the standard of a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation."

The administration was silent after the May 31 massacre, only saying it regretted the loss of life, its usual boilerplate cover for Israeli belligerence, partnered with our own globally.

Former Israeli Supreme Court Justice, Jacob Turkel, will head it, described as a conservative jurist with little experience in inquiry commissions, but a great deal handling military court appeals always ruling for Israel, virtually never for victimized Palestinian plaintiffs.

Amos Horev is Israel’s other member, an 86-year old retired major general and prominent military-industrial complex figure, active in its nuclear and high technology programs.

Two non-voting foreign observers are:

David Trimble, head of Northern Ireland’s Ulster Unionist Party, First Minister of the Good Friday Agreement’s power-sharing government, and current Conservative Party life peer, a man Sean McPhilemy discussed in his book titled, "The Committee," explaining:

He was involved (on a sinister level) in the unionist ferment, aligned with a tightly organized group of (Ulster’s) most powerful Protestant businessmen and professionals, along with with loyalist death squads and Royal Ulster Constabulary killers (RUC), until the Police Service of Northern Ireland replaced it in 2001. Together, they murdered republicans and others considered a threat to union with Britain under Protestant Northern Ireland rule, often killing people for being Catholic.

For this, he won the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize, given to war criminals, not peacemakers, past winners including Henry Kissinger, four Israeli warlord prime ministers, and Barack Obama, at the same time he escalated war in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, and threatens more in other regions.

General Ken Watkin (ret.) is the other observer, former head of Canada’s military judiciary and legal advisor to a Canadian military/civilian board of inquiry investigation into the Canadian Airborne Regiment Battle Group’s early 1990s Somalia atrocities, its resolution absolving high-ranking officers and top government officials, the ones always most guilty.

Like past Israeli and Washington commissions, whitewash is assured this time, the bogus investigation to produce lies, distortion, omissions, false conclusions, and exoneration of cold-blooded murder, ordered by top government and military officials who’ll walk away scot- free, no matter that world public opinion knows it and acknowledges their guilt, but they have no voting authority. With it, justice would finally be served, what can’t come a moment too soon.

– Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

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