Shatila camp, Beirut
No sooner had the latest ceasefire announced on 8/1/14 for 8 a.m. local time, planned to extend for 72 hours began, than it collapsed.
This according to the Gaza health ministry which reported this morning that more than 30 Palestinians were killed and dozens were injured in an Israeli attack near the southern town of Rafah.
If a genuine ceasefire does go into effect, the pause will allow both sides’ fighters to regroup and re-arm.
But what of the civilian population of substantially destroyed Gaza? Presumably many will try to visit their bombed homes to retrieve some belongings as we have seen in Syria and Iraq, and many will try finding a place to hide such an UNWRA school. Others may simply stay in their homes or and wait to die.
For the invading Zionist forces, they are insured of plenty of munitions during and after any ceasefire because the Obama Administration is supporting Israel’s aggression in the Gaza Strip by allowing it to tap local US arms stockpiles. They will be able to resupply themselves with 40mm grenades and 120mm mortar round stocks that the Pentagon claims “need to be refreshed”. This according to Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary who rejected out of hand this week’s Amnesty International’s demand that “the US government immediately end its ongoing arms deliveries to Israel which are providing the tools to commit further serious violations of international law in Gaza.” Earlier, the US Senate, by a vote of 100 to 0, passed a resolution drafted by AIPAC expressing support for Israel’s attack on Gaza and saying not a word about Palestinian deaths. The Resolution reads in part: “The United States Senate reaffirms American support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel.”
Separately, US politicians were working in Congress to provide millions of dollars in additional funding for Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile shield. The US Senate Appropriations Committee added $225m for Iron Dome to a spending bill intended mainly to provide money to handle an influx of thousands of Central American children across the US-Mexico border.
One Congressional staffer emailed this observer that “It is not that Iron Dome is all that effective, it fails 75% of the time, but Congress is under pressure to be seen as supporting Israel and we’ve got to be seen doing something before we adjourn for five weeks.” As a sop to AIPAC, on 7/31/14, the White House announced that it “strongly opposes” a Republican-crafted emergency spending bill, in part because it contains no funds for an Israeli missile defense system and other necessities. The Senate earlier in the day began debating a $3.5 billion supplemental spending measure that would send $225 million in emergency dollars to Israel for its Iron Dome missile defense program. The White House voiced its opposition to the House version claiming it “does not include funding for the Department of Defense to support the government of Israel’s request for critical defense needs.”
On 7/31/14, Mr. Brian Wood, Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International, reminded Rear Admiral Kirby whose comment is noted above, that, “It is deeply cynical for the White House to condemn the deaths and injuries of Palestinians, including children, and humanitarian workers, when it knows full well that the Israeli military responsible for such attacks are armed to the teeth with weapons and equipment bankrolled by US taxpayers.”
Despite all the American governments’ current display of massive support for Israel, survival of the apartheid regime is not at all assured. Specifically, Europe, South America, and parts of Asia’s skyrocketing antipathy towards Israel are more than just bluster. Israelis are correct in thinking that they can no longer count on public opinion in Europe or even, to a lesser extent, on the American public. The latter is increasingly pressuring their Zionist bought politicians, admittedly still on a modest scale that they cannot stay in office much longer as Israel continues its descent more deeply into a pariah state as an outcast in international society. A recent Gallup poll found a majority of Americans less than 30 years of age believe Israel’s actions in Gaza unjustified and criminal. This is because younger Americans have grown up witnessing a US armed and propped up Israel brutally occupying the West Bank and killing Palestinians while invading Lebanon many times, killing more than 30,000 over between 1948 and 2006.
In aggregate, Americans still see Israel favorably but in smaller numbers while more are viewing Israel as illegitimate and as a 19th century colonial enterprise with no legitimate place in a civilized international society. “Delegitimisation”, says Einat Wilf, a former Israeli parliamentarian and one of the authors of a three-year, as-yet-unpublished study of the topic at the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) in Jerusalem, is becoming “a strategic threat”.
As Robert Fisk pointed out this week, “Gaza, which is being so graphically covered by journalists that our masters and our media are suffering a new experience: not fear of being called anti-Semitic, but fear of their own television viewers and readers – ordinary folk so outraged by the war crimes committed against the women and children of Gaza that they are demanding to know why, even now, television moguls and politicians are refusing to treat their own people like moral, decent, intelligent human beings.”
From Antwerp to Warsaw, demonstrators’ placards have ranged from criticism of Israeli policy (“1,2,3,4, Occupation No More”) to condemning Israel itself (“5,6,7,8, Israel is a Terror State”). A growing percentage of the world’s population is coming to the conclusion that the regime occupying Palestine is a mistake and that history must be corrected. As the Economist recently reported, France, which has Europe’s largest Jewish and Arab populations, is experiencing tensions which may be no surprise given their large numbers. But its extent—attacks on synagogues, raids on Jewish shops—has been shocking nonetheless. Even in Oslo, the Jewish museum closed its doors.
Specifically, Europe, South America, and parts of Asia’s skyrocketing antipathy towards Israel are more than just bluster. Israelis are correct in thinking that they can no longer count on public opinion in Europe or even, to a lesser extent, on the American public. The latter increasingly are pressuring their Zionist bought politicians to stop funding the Apartheid regime or they cannot stay in office much longer as Israel descends more deeply into a pariah state, an outcast in international society.
Frankly, it comes as no great surprise then that many Jews feel that the world is against them and believes that criticism of Zionist apartheid Israel is just a mask for antipathy towards Jews. In this they are very wrong. Let them visit the Middle East, in peace, and they will learn quickly that the rejection here is not at all about Jews, but only about Zionism as a fascist, racist creed. What people of good will reject in the Middle East as elsewhere, is an antiquated movement that promotes a chosen people’s right to steal the land of others concept while ethnically cleansing Palestine’s indigenous population. A movement that encourages chants among school children of “Death to Arabs” and whose settler population increasing organizes ‘fun-days’ events including watching Zionist forces slaughter Arab children in Gaza and teachers giving out balloons and ice cream during the entertainment and leading the children in singing hate filled songs
International public opinion matters. And much of it relating to the carnage being inflicted by those illegally occupying Palestine is right. The international public is increasingly aware that what is happening in Palestine today is not really about Hamas. It is not about rockets. It is not about “human shields” or terrorism or tunnels. It is about Israel’s permanent control over Palestinian land and Palestinian lives. It is about an unswerving, decades-long Israeli policy of denying Palestine self-determination, freedom, and sovereignty.
Having created a huge open-air prison in Gaza, on the West Bank, PM Netanyahu now claims that Israel cannot relinquish security control of the West Bank for fear of Islamist attack. Meaning that the Zionist occupiers intend to consolidate their illegal occupation, thus withdrawing all hope from Palestinians.
This region and increasing the global community is planning for a post-Zionist Middle East and how best to achieve it without further suffering. The Zionist regime can stop the slaughter in Gaza and withdraw from Palestinian lands through agreement with international norms and UN Resolutions, or, sooner or later it will very likely cease to exist.
Franklin Lamb is a visiting Professor of International Law at the Faculty of Law, Damascus University and volunteers with the Sabra-Shatila Scholarship Program (sssp-lb.com).