Monday, December 29, 2008

Is the State of Israel Committing Crimes Against Humanity?

The latest seige on Gaza is just of course the latest seige. Just as the seige in southern Lebanon was a ruse to allow Israel to try and crush Hezbollah, so is this to crush the Palestinian authority, i.e. Hamas and in my opinion the entire two-state solution. This has nothing to do with Hamas, but for a nation committing war crimes engaging in apartheid against another nation while we sit by and watch and participate in calling Israel the "moral" authority in the Middle East. Israel is as "moral" with Palestinians as America has been with the sovereign nation of Iraq. This is not a war, this is a bludgeoning of people, a death blow to people without any rights whatsoever outside of being supplied with arms from the outside Arab world. This is not a war, this is an invasion, much like if the United States were to invade Pine Ridge.

I thought it would be interesting to do a little research since we are subjected to American and on this issue Israeli propaganda via the news. Chris Hedges asked The U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory his opinion, former Princeton University law professor Richard Falk who has called for the International Criminal Court of the United Nations to investigate this situation. He describes what is going in Gaza as this: 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.

Over 50 percent of Gazan children under the age of 12 have been found to have no will to live.” Gaza now spends 12 hours a day without power, which can be a death sentence to the severely ill in hospitals. 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.

Hedges also says: Israel’s siege of Gaza, largely unseen by the outside world because of Jerusalem’s refusal to allow humanitarian aid workers, reporters and photographers access to Gaza, rivals the most egregious crimes carried out at the height of apartheid by the South African regime. It comes close to the horrors visited on Sarajevo by the Bosnian Serbs. It has disturbing echoes of the Nazi ghettos of Lodz and Warsaw.

Former Princeton University Professor Richard Falk calls what Israel is doing against the 1.5 million Palestinians a Crime Against Humanity. Falk, while condemning the rocket attacks by the militant group Hamas, which he points out are also criminal violations of international law, goes on to say that “such Palestinian behavior does not legalize Israel’s imposition of a collective punishment of a life and health-threatening character on the people of Gaza, and should not distract the U.N. or international society from discharging their fundamental moral and legal duty to render protection to the Palestinian people.”

The point of this seige is obvious, to break the back of Hamas that is elected as the Palestinian government. But, Hamas as repeatedly proposed long term truces and "offered to negotiate a permanent truce." During the last cease-fire, established through Egyptian intermediaries in July, Hamas upheld the truce although Israel refused to ease the blockade. It was Israel that, on Nov. 4, initiated an armed attack that violated the truce and killed six Palestinians.

Hamas then resumed rocket attacks on Israel, in which there have been no Israeli casualties. Falk explains the rocket attacks are "a crime of survival." They must resist or accept whatever conditions are imposed upon them. What is more Israel continues to expand the settlements in the West Bank, a clear violation of many U.N. resolutions and a violation of the boundaries imposed long ago. It is done to thwart the two-state solution because the Israeli government (I say Israeli government because the Israeli people want a two-state solution by a clear majority) does not want it. Who knows what elements in Israeli society control what part of the government, but they clearly do and they are hell bent on crushing Gaza as we know it. There is now evidence that Israel would like to push the Gaza strip upon the Egyptians, which Egypt is now allowing Palestinians to move freely there for medical care and other necessities since conditions are so bad there.

What are we to do? Does Israel want this done before Obama takes over? I saw David Axelrod on television yesterday and he refused to comment. Does he think differently? I seriously doubt it, but I hope so. This cannot go on any longer. There are now at least 315 dead Palestinians and 1400 injured. No Israeli casualties have been reported thus far, though Hamas is beginning to step up the rhetoric and call for more suicide bombings.

This is the pinnacle of what "political communication" would call a lack of empathy. How anyone could support this raid on Gaza (seemingly many who did not support the Iraqi invasion) is mind boggling. It is almost as if people feel Palestinians are not people at all, but animals. People who deserve their plight. Muslims (though not all Palestinians are Muslims). This is apartheid. And it is bordering on crimes against humanity.

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