05 January, 2009

No Humanitarian Crisis In Gaza, Please Move Along

So sez Israeli President Shimon Peres:

One of the key parts of Israel's well-planned media narrative in Gaza is that they are carefully targeting attacks and that there is no humanitarian crisis there which isn't attributable to the mis-management of the elected Hamas government. President Shimon Peres repeated the claim this Sunday on ABC News "This Week with George Stephanopoulos".


And even today, by the way, one of the passages is open, because there is no shortage of basic needs in Gaza. We take care that medical equipment and food and fuel will arrive to Gaza, even today.

Mkay. Let's see what folks who aren't currently engaged in bombing the ever-loving shit out of the Gaza Strip have to say:

International aid agencies on Friday accused Israel of playing down the scale of the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza after Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni claimed that “there is no humanitarian crisis in the [Gaza] Strip and therefore there is no need for a humanitarian truce”.

They warned that Gaza was running out of food supplies and medicines, and people were having to live without electricity and water as the system had collapsed after seven days of continuous Israeli bombardment.

This does not sound like "no shortage of basic needs" to me.

Let's take a look at the situation. The population of Gaza stands at about 1,481,080, according to the most recent census. Oh, I'm sorry - make that 1,480,580, give or take - we need to subtract the over 500 Gazans killed so far.

So, nearly 1.5 million people. Israel dropped leaflets telling the civilians to flee the bombs - very humanitarian of them, I'm sure. Probably plenty of places women, children and other sundry non-combatants can go for safety. Let's have a look:

Lessee... 1.5 million people, 139 square miles. That's only about ten-and-a-half thousand people per square mile. Bound to be gobs of room. Plenty of places that are an oasis of peace, I'm sure.

Well, but it's not as if the Israelis have launched any kind of indiscriminate carpetbombing campaign or anything. No, they're using humanitarian weapons, bound to be.
I've spoken to a couple of ex-military folk and they've confirmed that pictures coming out of Gaza by AFP news service show white phosphorous rounds exploding over and setting fires in urban civilian areas. Meanwhile Haaretz has confirmed that cluster munitions are also being used by the IDF but says they're being used over "open areas". Gaza is a lot smaller than Rhode Island and cluster bombs have a pattern as big as a football field so your definition of "open areas" may vary from the IDF's.
Well, but, you know, open areas. Even cluster bombs are bound to be civilian-safe if we're talking open areas. Right?

Nobody knows what kind of shell it was that hit Gaza City's main vegetable market yesterday morning: the explosives were falling so thick and fast that it could have come from an Israeli naval vessel, an F16 fighter-bomber, an Apache helicopter gunship, an unmanned drone, an artillery cannon or a tank.

The results, however, were unmistakable. With Gaza's ambulance service stretched far beyond its normal capacity, the first mangled bodies arrived in private cars as locals scrambled to save the lives of the shoppers caught up in the carnage. The first to be carried in was a boy, his face masked in blood from a head wound, as medics hurried him into the overcrowded emergency rooms. The next car delivered a girl, perhaps 12 or 13 years old, her entrails blown out through a hole in her back by shrapnel.

[snip] Medics said five people were killed in the market bombing and 40 wounded. Israel said it had no knowledge of a market being hit. At the same time, victims from other areas of the bombarded city were streaming in, including two elderly women in housecoats.
Yes, but, in the end, it's for a good cause. They're teaching Hamas a lesson.

Heavy fighting continues today after thousands of Israeli ground troops moved into Gaza last night. More than 500 Palestinians have been killed and 2400 wounded since airstrikes began last week. But that has not stopped Hamas from firing rockets into Israel killing four and injuring more than 70 Israelis. [...]

Peres added, "They are now beginning to feel the weight of their mistakes." But the Israeli president said the government of Israel has no intention of occupying Gaza.

"We don't intend to occupy Gaza or crush Hamas but crush terror," Peres said, "Hamas needs a real and serious lesson. They are now getting it."

As for what this "lesson" might be, and how/whether it will serve anyone's interests, this remains unclear.

Would Israel have invaded Gaza for nothing? Of course it'll serve someone's interests!

A number of writers have noted the possibility of Hamas being politically strengthened by Israel’s bombing of Gaza, just as Hezbollah were strengthened by Israel’s 2006 bombing of Lebanon. This would obviously be a bad outcome, but it’s important to understand that it would not be the worst. A much worse outcome would be that the bombings weaken Hamas while strengthening Salafist elements in Gaza, who consider Hamas a bunch of timid, half-stepping sellouts.

Salafism is a strict, puritanical interpretation of Islam, of which Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda are extreme exponents. One of the many tragic consequences of the Iraq war is that, not only did it contribute to the rising popularity of this radical doctrine in the Middle East, it provided an environment for radicalized Muslims to come and train alongside their radical brethren in the latest guerrilla tactics against the world’s best military. They took very seriously President Bush’s invitation to “bring it on,” managing to turn Iraq into a killing field for several years before their Iraqi allies turned against them.

Many of these fighters are now filtering back into the region, bringing their hardened ideology and training with them. Michael Scheuer, the CIA’s former point man on bin Laden, has been examining the penetration of the Levant by extremist factions facilitated by the war in Iraq. Scheuer recently reported that “the bleed-through from Iraq also is having some impact in the Palestinian territories — especially Gaza — and in Israel.”


In July, Der Speigel ran a story on the competition between Hamas and Salafist elements in Gaza:

Abu Mustafa says, he and his comrades in arms realize they need to be patient. There’s a long way to go before they can begin their struggle for global influence. First, they have to take care of an enemy closer to home: Hamas.

So far, Hamas has done what it can to keep the Salafis under control. They know the ultra-radicals are just waiting to take over Hamas’ position of leadership. “They are traitors,” Abu Mustafa says of Hamas. “Compared to us, they are Islamism lite.” […]

The group’s greatest sin, says Abu Mustafa… is its effort to bring Islam and democracy together. “Hamas represents an American style of Islam. They have tried to curry favor.” Which is not such a bad thing for Abu Mustafa and his Salafis. “Hamas is like a block of ice in the sun,” he says. “Every minute they get smaller — and we get larger.”

See? No humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and a war that will totally crush Hamas, just as Israel wanted. Everything's going perfectly well. In fact, I imagine Shimon Peres already has one of these ordered up.

And these fucktards wonder why sane people distrust them so.

1 comment:

Cujo359 said...

Based on images I've found on the Internet, it appears that Getty Images picture is of white phosphorus. It's nasty stuff, burning so hot that it can't be extinguished by water.