Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Source of rockets 

We are told that "Hamas" has been attacking Israel. The following is a description of the actuality of the "Hamas" that is the supposed "enemy" of the state of Israel:

“It is an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe that each day poses the entire 1.5 million Gazans to an unspeakable ordeal, to a struggle to survive in terms of their health,” Falk [Richard Falk, former Princeton professor, rapporteur to the U.N. on Gaza, recently imprisoned for 24 hours an expelled from Israel] has said of the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza. “This is an increasingly precarious condition. A recent study reports that 46 percent of all Gazan children suffer from acute anemia. There are reports that the sonic booms associated with Israeli overflights have caused widespread deafness, especially among children. Gazan children need thousands of hearing aids. Malnutrition is extremely high in a number of different dimensions and affects 75 percent of Gazans. There are widespread mental disorders, especially among young people without the will to live..."

Before the air assaults, Gaza spent 12 hours a day without power, which can be a death sentence to the severely ill in hospitals. Most of Gaza is now without power. There are few drugs and little medicine, including no cancer or cystic fibrosis medication. Hospitals have generators but often lack fuel. Medical equipment, including one of Gaza’s three CT scanners, has been destroyed by power surges and fluctuations. Medical staff cannot control the temperature of incubators for newborns. And Israel has revoked most exit visas, meaning some of those who need specialized care, including cancer patients and those in need of kidney dialysis, have died. Of the 230 Gazans estimated to have died last year because they were denied proper medical care, several spent their final hours at Israeli crossing points where they were refused entry into Israel. The statistics gathered on children—half of Gaza’s population is under the age of 17—are increasingly grim. About 45 percent of children in Gaza have iron deficiency from a lack of fruit and vegetables, and 18 percent have stunted growth.

“It is macabre,” Falk said of the blockade. “I don’t know of anything that exactly fits this situation. People have been referring to the Warsaw ghetto as the nearest analog in modern times.”

“There is no structure of an occupation that endured for decades and involved this kind of oppressive circumstances,” the rapporteur added. “The magnitude, the deliberateness, the violations of international humanitarian law, the impact on the health, lives and survival and the overall conditions warrant the characterization of a crime against humanity. This occupation is the direct intention by the Israeli military and civilian authorities. They are responsible and should be held accountable.”

More from Chris Hedges.

UPDATE: Important information from Bernard at Tiny Revolution:

The military operation in Gaza is the brainchild of Israel's defense minister Ehud Barak. He is trying to become Prime Minister again but he is facing three major obstacles along the way: one is the head of Kadima, Tzipi Livni, the second is Bibi Netanyahu...

Barak's road to the PM's office runs through Gaza. He's prepared this assault for months. The truce (the "tahdiya" or "calm") was fairly effective. It was violated unilaterally by Israel on Nov 4th, a day when, if you remember, Americans were a bit distracted. The chart below (h/t) shows how the number of rocket attacks against Israel went down but not how the siege of Gaza was tightened. [The chart shows that the Qassam attacks went from about 200/mo. to about 5/mo. for all July, August, September, and October -- even as the blockade of Gaza was tightening.]

What Israel negotiated with Hamas was this -- oh sorry, I forgot that Israel does not negotiate with terrorists. I meant to say what Israel got Egypt to tell Hamas it agreed to was this: No Qassams, openings of border crossings (Sufa, Karni, Rafah): that was the deal in June. The blockade of Gaza was not eased. On the contrary. On Nov 5th, Israel sealed Gaza completely. The tahdiya was dead.


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