The War is Still On

The year 2009 began with a terrorist war waged against the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1400—mostly women and children—wounding more than 5,300 and displacing 50,800 of Gaza’s residents.



By Ahmad Sabri (PALESTINE)

Published: Tue 29 Dec 2009, 9:57 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:50 AM

The Gaza war is an eye-opener to many. It furnished further evidence of Israel’s aggression and defiance of international laws. It also proved — yet again — the then US administration’s bias and full support to the occupation despite the deliberate attacks on civilians, mosques, schools, hospitals, and even UN buildings, not to mention what Israel did to the most important democratic institution of Palestine: the Palestinian Legislative Council. They destroyed it.

Some might state that the US government wasn’t aware of all these details during the war. But even if that was true, what about now after many Israeli soldiers have confessed to their crimes and to their deliberate killing of civilians? What about now — after some Israeli soldiers designed T-shirts with images of dead Palestinian babies, weeping mothers, and gun’s bulls-eye on a pregnant Palestinian woman together with the slogan “1 shot, 2 kills”?

What about now — after UN’s Goldstone Report proved the use of Palestinians as human shields? After the report proved reckless usage of white phosphorus, the intentional use of force against civilian targets including homes, hospitals, mosques, funerals, schools, governmental buildings, sewage facilities (unleashing 20,000 cubic meters of raw sewage), farms (bulldozers squashed 31,000 live hens in one of them). Also bombed were Gaza’s main prison, its only working flour factory and many more. Why, after all of these facts, did Obama’s administration pay Israel $7,000,000 per day in military aid during a very difficult year for the US economy?

However, that is not the end of the debate. Why didn’t the US support stop—or at least decrease—before the war when the Israeli deputy defence minister threatened Gaza with something bigger than the Holocaust of Hitler? Or when the UN’s Human Rights Council monitor called for the protection of “a civilian population being collectively punished by policies that amount to a crime against humanity”? Why wasn’t the US support affected in any way before the war when all the indications were pointing at the coming massacre? The massacre has ended but not the war. The Israeli attacks are still being launched against Gaza and the West Bank, the siege of Gaza is still collectively punishing 1.5 million citizens. This siege has led to another massacre: At least 366 patients have died due to lack of medication and/or the absence of electricity that run the machines that keep them alive. Hunger, poverty, pollution, unemployment, homelessness and disease are all results of this siege.

In 2009, there has been a lot of diplomatic activities in the Arab world calling on Israel to respond to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative that directs Israel to implement all UN resolutions regarding the Israeli withdrawal to the June 4, 1967 borders, the return of the refugees (4.25 million according to the UN) in return for complete normalisation of relations between Israel and the Arab states. Such attempts completely disregarded the political realities of today. Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman said that the Arab Peace Initiative is “a formula of destruction to Israel” and he “will not accept any peace talks that include the right to return” while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated “Jerusalem is the unified eternal capital of Israel” and that he won’t “withdraw from the Golan Heights.” He also considered the dismantling of the Israeli settlements in Gaza in 2005 “a mistake that we shall never repeat” in the West Bank, meaning that there is no intention to end the occupation of the occupied territory.

After months of diplomatic efforts, Israel has only announced a partial freeze of settlements in the West Bank (excluding Jerusalem) for only a few months. Twenty days later, the Israeli government approved a $350,000,000 plan to support existing settlements. Those settlements are the nightmare of the West Bank, along with hundreds of road blocks, check points and the apartheid wall which was declared “illegal” and “breaches international law” by the International Court of Justice at The Hague in 2004. Netanyahu proclaimed that the wall “will remain in place and will not be dismantled”. This statement was very bad, but a worse one came from Shaul Mofaz, former minister of defence who said, “The wall will be the borders of the Palestinian state”.

What Israel has now, we are told, is an extreme right-wing government, but the previous one wasn’t any different. It launched a war on Lebanon and a war on Gaza. It too was against Israel withdrawing to the borders that existed on June 4, 1967. It was against the refugees right of return, which are the two pillars of the Arab peace initiative.

While the year is coming to an end, hundreds of activists from all over the world will join the Gaza freedom march, which is one of many honorable siege-breaking movements. Unlike the march, most of these movements came from the sea, some of them succeeded, while others were pirated by Israel. Funny enough, in 2008 Shlomo Dror, a Defence Ministry spokesman described a ship that carried aid to Gaza in simple words: “This is some kind of pirate ship”! So what happened in 2009 shows yet again that there is no alternative to fighting the apartheid Israel and resisting its occupation and racism in all forms. Any other method will be just a waste of time and effort.

Ahmad Sabri is a Saudi activist and political science graduate. For comments, write to opinion@khaleejtimes.com


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