Following Gaza from Afar

Posted by Kevin Rennie

Though Gaza is a long way from Australia, there have been many reactions to the catastrophe unfolding there. Many Australians have been using their blogs to post links that help to provide both information and analysis of what’s happening that is not always covered in the mainstream media.

Planet IRF has been posting AlJazeeraEnglish videos. He re-titled ‘Sderot residents live on the edge 30 Dec 08’ as Sympathy for victims…

They are presented without comment. The Al Jazera summary on YouTube is:

Israel insists that as long as Hamas rockets keep falling on the southern part of the country, it must continue striking Gaza.
And as Hoda Abdel Hamid reports, residents in Sderot – which lies near the Gaza border – say they support those attacks, even if it means taking civilian lives.

US military aid underpins Gaza offensive – 31 Dec 08‘ is The constant flow of terror funds …

The Al Jazera summary:

Israel receives billions of dollars in military aid from the US each year, much of it spent on American weaponry which US law says must only be used in self-defence.

But experts say there is little chance of cuts in aid to Israel despite its military operation in Gaza.

Al Jazeera’s Nick Spicer reports.

Ana blogs at Whenua Fenua Enua Vanua, (Revolutionary Anti Colonialism & Anti Capitalism in the Pacific). As well as linking to Al Jazeera, she has included a lengthy piece from Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah. He took up the growing pessimism that anything can be done to improve the situation:

On top of the intense anger and sadness so many people feel at Israel’s renewed mass killings in Gaza is a sense of frustration that there seem to be so few ways to channel it into a political response that can change the course of events, end the suffering, and bring justice.

But there are ways, and this is a moment to focus on them. Already I have received notices of demonstrations and solidarity actions being planned in cities all over the world. That is important. But what will happen after the demonstrations disperse and the anger dies down? Will we continue to let Palestinians in Gaza die in silence?

Palestinians everywhere are asking for solidarity, real solidarity, in the form of sustained, determined political action. The Gaza-based One Democratic State Group reaffirmed this today as it “called upon all civil society organizations and freedom loving people to act immediately in any possible way to put pressure on their governments to end diplomatic ties with Apartheid Israel and institute sanctions against it.”

The global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement for Palestine (http://www.bdsmovement.net/) provides the framework for this. Now is the time to channel our raw emotions into a long-term commitment to make sure we do not wake up to “another Gaza” ever again.
Free Palestine

Antony Loewenstein, well known blogger and author of My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution. His mix of anti-zionism and jewish background have made him a controversial voice in Australia. He frequently posts items from a wide range of sources such as this one from Ynet News, the online Israeli news service:

Dozens of Israelis received text messages from Hamas Thursday morning, stammeringly warning them that the offensive in Gaza will only bring about massive rocket fire on Israel.

The message read: “Rockets on all cities, shelters not protect, Qassam rocket, Hamas.” A source in Hamas military wing confirmed the new tactic, adding that Hamas wants to warn the Israeli public against a future escalation in Gaza. Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) Spokesman Abu Abir said that the Palestinian organizations have a few surprises in store for the Israelis, and not just military-wise.

From rockets to texting

The latest post points to a new source of citizen journalism in Israel:

Israeli human rights group have launched a blog to document the abuses during the current violence in Gaza. 

Bypassing the old timers

This group’s purpose:

In light of the fighting in Gaza and in Southern Israel, Israeli human rights groups are sending out ongoing updates about the impact on civilians. Our aim is to inform the Israeli public of events that are not being covered by the media. Each group is posting the information at its disposal, which is necessarily limited and cannot be taken as a comprehensive picture of the human rights violations currently taking place. Since the fieldworkers cannot access most locations at present, much of the information is being conveyed over the phone. The data has been verified to our best ability under the circumstances. 

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68 Responses

  1. Antony (no relation) linked to this article in his blog.

    If Hamas Did Not Exist, By JENNIFER LOEWENSTEIN

    …Israel, with the unconditional and approving support of the United States, has made it dramatically clear to the entire world over and over and over again, repeating in action after action that it will accept no viable Palestinian state next to its borders. What will it take for the rest of us to hear?…

  2. Excellent piece Kittylitter. I concur.

  3. I wonder if those organized demonstrations would be necessary if Isreal stopped its current offensive and allowed its population to fire rockets at random into Palestine? After all, I’m not aware of demonstrations having taken place that expressed horror at the firing of rockets by Palestinians into Israel.

    It’s interesting to note that Palestine remains a mendicant nation even though it has received more aid than any other country. “Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the international community has shown unprecedented generosity toward Palestinians, donating approximately $5 billion to the Palestinian Authority. The World Bank noted recently that ‘donor disbursements to the Palestinians currently amount to approximately $1 billion per year or $310 per person ― one of the highest per capita rates in the history of foreign assistance.’ (By comparison, the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II provided $68 per year, in today’s dollars, to Europeans.)

  4. Here’s another (historical) piece on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, Kittylitter.

    If Americans Knew

    If for some reason the link does not open up, simply google:

    ifamericansknew.org

  5. Since 1973, Israel has cost the United States about $1.6 trillion. If divided by today’s population, that is more than $5,700 per person.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/1209/p16s01-wmgn.html

    Better read this as well, the author is Jewish.
    Gaza: The Logic of Colonial Power
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article21588.htm

    December 30, 2008 “The Guardian” — – Israel’s decision to launch its devastating attack on Gaza on a Saturday was a “stroke of brilliance”, the country’s biggest selling paper Yediot Aharonot crowed: “the element of surprise increased the number of people who were killed”. The daily Ma’ariv agreed: “We left them in shock and awe”.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article21572.htm

    My, my, more shock and awe from a US backed Middle Eastern CouCountry. Who would have guessed it?

  6. Sorry if there are typo’s, still can’t find the glasses.

  7. Thanks for that OB, some interesting stats on the front page.
    Overview Statistics

    Stephan
    Palestine remains a mendicant nation even though it has received more aid than any other country.

    Mendicant? A beggar nation? Now why would that be – could it be because the closures and curfews are severely limiting movements of people and merchandise. The witholding and controlling of food and medicines, intimidation from extremist settlers, collective punishment policies, withholding Palestinian tax and customs revenues and the witholding of foreign aid, has had a devestating impact upon the lives and livlihoods of palestinians.

    In 2004, Israel was the second largest recipient of US foreign aid (second only to iraq, but Israel comes in first on a per capita basis)

    …Israel receives about $3 billion in direct foreign assistance from the US each year, which is roughly one-fifth of America’s entire foreign aid budget. This US taxpayer funding equates to a direct subsidy of about $500 per capita.

    This largesse is especially striking when one realizes that Israel is now a wealthy industrial state with a per capita income roughly equal to South Korea or Spain.” source –If Americans Knew

    A Conservative Estimate of Total Direct U.S. Aid to Israel: Almost $114 Billion!

  8. 3. Stephan | January 3, 2009 at 12:08 am

    That is just a fraction of the aid given to Israel by America and then add that of aid given by Jews around the world and the Palestinian aid is meagre in comparison.

    Also because of Israel’s oppression and suppression of development and investment in Palestine, the Palestinians are impoverished and absolutely need this aid to live. Aid Israel uses to further oppress the Palestinians as it is Israel that deems what aid is allowed to be delivered and when that aid is delivered.

    As to the rocket situation. Gaza was blockaded for nearly two years. All attempts at investment and development in Gaza were curtailed by the Israelis and at the end of the six month truce the Israeli side was that basically things would continue just as they had for the previous two years unless the Palestinians got rid of Hamas (who were making things better in Gaza just as they had in the West Bank) and installed an Israeli puppet authority answerable only to the Israelis.

    The Israelis framed their side in such a way they knew it would be unacceptable to the Palestinians and the Hamas framed their side knowing it would be unacceptable to the Israelis. So the end result is that as usual Israel decides to collectively punish and entire people for not yielding to Israel.

    Please also remember where Hamas came from and who formed them, and remember this is not the first Palestinian group formed in this way so as to destabilise and divide the Palestinians.

  9. Stephen,

    This is from the World Bank link in the same article you “lifted” your comment from:

    This crisis has resulted from restrictions on the movement of Palestinian people and goods, or ‘closures’, which the Government of Israel regards as essential to protecting its citizens from attacks by militants. Without major changes in this closure regime, however, the Palestinian economy will not revive, poverty and alienation will deepen.

    Stephan’s Link.

    World Bank Link.

  10. That’s very interesting kittylitter. Aid flows from the USA to both Israel and Palestine. Can you inform the debate about the amount of aid Saudi Arabia or Iran sends to Israel?

  11. And Stephan can you inform the debate about the amount of aid that Israel sends to Arab countries? What a strawman argument that is.

    Also America sends one fifth of its total foreign aid budget to Israel whilst as a tokenism it gives the merest fraction of that to the Palestinians. Some US entrepreneurs and investors have attempted to independently aid the Palestinians but Israel has always curtailed this aid and has even gone as far as to destroy developments nearing completion, especially higher education infrastructure. It appears Israel does not want the Palestinians to advance and prefers them to remain impoverished, whilst being an advanced and economically viable nation with a relatively high living standard it takes in massive amounts of aid totally disproportionate to that given to its poor neighbours.

  12. Can you inform the debate about the amount of aid Saudi Arabia or Iran sends to Israel?

    Not really, mostly ‘cos I’m not interested in looking for it, maybe you could do so if you want it.

  13. kittlylitter, I have no doubt that aid to Israel from the USA is in the vicinity of $114 billion dollars. If you said it was more I wouldn’t challenge it. I wonder if it has something to do with Israel being a USA ally?

  14. ‘All bets are off ‘says it all

    All bets are off
    http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/all-bets-are-off/2009/01/02/1230681746021.html
    Bloodshed pushes moderates on both sides of Israel-Palestine divide into unions with hardliners.

    The psychology of war is also much like positional bargaining – each side takes a position that is in direct conflict with that of the opposing party and when it reaches a point where each party has locked in to a position where backing down is not an option ‘warlike behaviour intensifies’

    DO Israel have a right to go on the offensive in order to stop Hamas’s offensive? Of course they do. And now that so many civilians have been killed by Israel’s offensive do Hamas have the right to retaliate? In their minds they do, and let’s face it Hamas are Islamic militants who bitterly resent Israel. And around it goes.

  15. John

    And more from that same article:

    Muli Peleg, a professor of political communication at Tel Aviv University and a research fellow at the Stanford centre for conflict resolution and negotiation in California, says the next step will be a troop invasion. “You can never really win a decisive victory only by air force. So, unfortunately, there is going to be a tedious, painful ground campaign,” Peleg says.

    That will put Israel in a bind. “Should we stop before accomplishing our goals? If we do that, why did we begin it in the first place? We must continue to justify our involvement so far,” he says.

    And this is the point that we have been trying to make to sparta over at the other thread. What is the objective of the IDF? Do they really think they are going to topple Hamas with this action, or even stop the missiles?

  16. Israel a US ally???

    More like the other way around!!!

    http://www.rense.com/general27/jlobby.htm

  17. We are also a US ally but don’t get US$114 billion, not do any of its other allies. And if it were purely military aid then maybe OK depending on the circumstances, but why are they also getting huge chunks of US humanitarian aid in various packets, more than the most impoverished nations on the planet?

  18. Joni,

    “And this is the point that we have been trying to make to sparta over at the other thread. What is the objective of the IDF? Do they really think they are going to topple Hamas with this action, or even stop the missiles?”

    What would you have the Israeli’s do then Joni? Cannot the same be said of Hamas continuing to violate cease fire after cease fire? What was their aim or goal then by launching rockets into Israel unabated for the past 6 months during this latest lull? Bring more misery to their people? The point I have been trying to get across to you and others. How’s Hamas not responsible for this latest round of suffering?

  19. You’re right Adrian, we live in fear that NZ covets large slabs of Oz so USA aid is our only lifeline.

    Adrian, I accept what you say about blockades and the lack of development in Palestine. But I wonder if a large firm like Micro$haft, invited by Israel to set up a plant in Tel Aviv, said ‘no thanks, our workers might spend more time in the bomb shelter trying to avoid qassam rockets than they would on the assembly line’ or ‘ no thanks, our workers might get blown up by a suicide bomber while waiting for a bus’. Do you know of any large firms rushing to set up shop in Israel? Big Blue perhaps? Maybe the Top 10 companies rated by Fortune 500?
    I wonder if the blockade is in place because besides bags of flour and bags of sugar passing through the checkpoints Israel detected some qassam rockets and component parts? How many Palestinians sit down to a family meal of ma’luba, coffee and qassam rocket component parts? We are told that the border crossing should be open at all times for vital supplies. I don’t think qassam rockets come under the heading of ‘vital supplies’ or ‘humanitarian supplies’.

    It’s not surprising that Israel negotiates deals that suit Israel. Let the current oil price act as an allegory. The price of oil is going down which makes OPEC members unhappy. It impacts on the earnings of OPEC members. What do OPEC members do? They reduce production, limit supply, which keeps the price up. Why do they do it? Because they can; they hold the whip hand. Who does it suit? Not the poor people in Africa. Not the poor people in Tierra del Fuego. It suits OPEC members. What does OPEC say to those poor countries? PHUK YOU! And so it is with Israel. Any requests to smuggle qassam rockets are surely to be met with a PHUK YOU from Israel. They negotiate deals that further the interests of Israel because Israel holds the whip hand.

    Put yourself in the Israelis shoes; are you going to cede territory and grant concessions that place your citizens in danger? I don’t think so.

    And Adrian, don’t you think it’s a bit late to be mentioning strawman arguments? Finally Adrian, you may think you’re a master of charientism but it’s wasted on me. You’ll have to try harder. And don’t worry if it becomes a little heated or pointed because I don’t go running to the mods.

  20. The question of Hamas’ responsibility for the latest bloodshed is an open one. They seem to mimic the Israeli hardliners who just don’t want peace or a 2 State solution at all. On the other hand the ongoing blockade of Gaza during the ceasefire was a humanitarian disaster that should not have been tolerated by the world community.

    Incidentally, where’s Tony Blair?

  21. renniek,

    “The question of Hamas’ responsibility for the latest bloodshed is an open one.”

    How so?

  22. Can someone I am taking a break from read Tony’s interesting report?

  23. 22.

    What report???

    Tony has not posted on this thread.

  24. 19. Stephan | January 3, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Many large companies set up in Israel during the height of the suicide bombings, so I just don’t know what you’re on about. I lived in Tel Aviv and worked in Ashdod for a short period and here is a photo I took of a cafe that had blown up by a suicide bomber next to where I was staying in Tel Aviv. Many people died there. The pub down the road I drank at had a collection jar for the victims of suicide bombers and I always dropped money into it when I went for a drink or feed.

    And Israel doesn’t cede territory, it takes it at a whim, which is basically the main cause of the whole mess as it currently stands.

    And I haven’t a clue what you were on about in the last paragraph, sorry.

    —————–
    PS. Note the Aussie flag in the top right of the photo in the window of the building next door. This is the reason I took the photo. I later found out the story of the Aussie flag but it’s much too long to iterate it here.

  25. Damn I can never get the hrefs to images to work…

    Here’s a direct link to my picture:

    http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u216/ecko93/forumvids/Tel-Aviv_2005-06_001ac.jpg

  26. Bloody hell what’s up with the links or am I having a finger trouble day.

    Tel Aviv – Cafe destroyed by suicide bomber

  27. Also a very telling map:

    Four Maps

    And it continues to become whiter to this day as the green disappears.

  28. Joni@15 I know that if I’d witnessed the death of loved ones or people around me as a result of hostile action from another country (regardless of the politics of right and wrong) my instinct would be to retaliate. And forgiveness isn’t something that will come easy (if at all) between Israel and Palestine.

    The same principle applies to Iraq and other war-torn countries. We take comfort in watching from afar yet fail to understand what it would be really like to walk in another’s shoes. Its a vicious cycle with little hope of turning around into a more peaceful and virtuous cycle.

    Between Iraq and a hard place
    http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/geoffelliott/index.php/theaustralian/comments/between_iraq_and_a_hard_place/
    John McPhilbin
    Wed 06 Dec 06 (04:30pm)

    History, combined with a little knowledge of Middle Eastern culture and ethnic tensions, as well as a basic understanding of the adverse consequences of social and political breakdowns under hostile conditions, seems to have been all but ignored.

    We Westerners also find it hard to comprehend parents encouraging their children to be suicide bombers, or civilians willingly forming human shields around militants to prevent attacks (which has been the case recently in Palestine). Our problem is that we tend to underestimate the resolve of people who live in the war-torn Middle East.

    Why on earth would someone strap a bomb to themselves and detonate it in crowded places, or drive a vehicle laden with explosives into military checkpoints? With an estimated 150,000 civilians killed since the invasion it’s not hard to see why this may be happening.

    Life is cheap, that is the lesson they have learned.”

  29. Trauma induced genocide?

  30. Scaper@29 Trauma induced genocide? I never thought of it that way, but yes, it would seem so. You’d be surprised the effects of long-term trauma have on people.

    I was also wondering where Iran may figure in this conflict. They allegedly figured into the Israeli/Lebanon conflict via Hezballah militants.

    Nuclear fear drives Israel’s hard line
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24867840-601,00.html
    ISRAEL has taken out its most senior Hamas scalp, Nizar Rayan, dispensing with efforts to avoid civilian casualties to kill him at home with family, as its bombardment of the Gaza Strip entered a seventh day.

    Israeli warplanes yesterday pounded about 20 targets, including a mosque in Gaza, as Hamas ordered a “day of wrath” against Israel over the killing of Rayan, who died with his four wives and 11 of his children.

    Officials warned Hamas had acquired dozens of Iranian-made Fajr-3 missiles, raising fears the nuclear warheads at Dimona, 30km east of Beersheba, had fallen within the Islamic militants’ sights.

    With Israeli tanks and troops massed for a threatened ground offensive around Gaza and no ceasefire in sight, the army allowed foreigners to leave the battered enclave – another sign of an imminent incursion as the Palestinian death toll reached 425. Answering the call from Hamas, thousands of Palestinians last night poured into the streets in Ramallah in the West Bank, and rock-throwing youths faced off with Israeli police in Jerusalem after Hamas called for marches to follow Friday prayers. Thousands of Israeli security personnel were on alert after Hamas called for “massive marches” following the main weekly Muslim prayers, starting off from the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem and from all mosques in the West Bank. Hamas also warned it could resume suicide bombings for the first time in Israel since 2005.

  31. “Also a very telling map”Adrian

    On e thing that strikes me about this issue is to wonder about, for all of those with an opinion, how many distant observers (myself included, no patronisation intended) have studied the geographical boundaries involved? including the disputed borders & the fluctuating settlements & illegal encroachments on what is a (now fenced off & marginalised) tiny pocket of land.
    To me it looks like a c#$t of a place to live, I mean the area of “Israel proper” & it’s contested arid surrounds, nothing aesthetically pleasing about it. The connection to the land must be spiritual, it has nothing else but blood & pride going for it. As an unashamed atheist I find the entire hotbed a ridiculous point of conflict, religion (all religion) has a lot to answer for.
    There ain’t even gold in them thar hills, just thousands of years of animosity.

  32. Ah but there maybe (black) gold in them thar hills.

    Is Israel sitting on enormous oil reserve?

  33. “Ah but there maybe (black) gold in them thar hills.”

    I know nothing of this, but were it to be true it would surely thicken the broth.

  34. Just about to leave for the protest in Sydney for Gaza. Will have a video up later tonight I hope.

  35. 21 Sparta Phoenix:

    “The question of Hamas’ responsibility for the latest bloodshed is an open one.”

    How so?

    Sorry for the slow reply. Suggest visiting Debunking Hasbara for some thoughts about this Q.

  36. Here’s a couple of my disgusting video’s to watch:

    Israel Drops 100 Tons Of Bombs In Gaza City
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article21546.htm

    Gaza’s Reality
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15693.htm

  37. Rennie,

    The guys at your link aren’t being honest. They accuse Israel of breaking the ceasefire because:

    After several months, in which hardly any Qassam rockets were launched, an army unit was sent into the Strip “in order to destroy a tunnel that came close to the border fence”.

    “Hardly any” rockets is not breaking the ceasefire, in their opinion.

  38. Trauma induced genocide!

  39. Wounded Palestinians lay near Reuters news agency reporter Fadel Shaana’s car after it was hit by an Israeli missile on April 16, 2008 in the central Gaza Strip. The Israeli air strike killed a Palestinian cameraman working for the Reuters news service and two other civilians.

    Of course they don’t target easily identified media vehicles and media in broad daylight. If Israel is so much in the right why do they always ban open and free media coverage of their actions or allow unrestricted media access to Palestinian areas (which proves the Palestinians are oppressed when even their freedom of the press is controlled by Israel).

    Also why is it only Israel that refuses to allow a peacekeeping force or neutral observers, something the Palestinians have been asking for decades? So the supposed guilty and evil Palestinians call for a neutral force (and have even asked for an all American military force not a part of the UN), but the innocent victim Israel always refuses it and won’t allow its actions to be observed or reported on by anyone outside their propaganda department.

    On some occasions when independent reporters and/or activists (including Israelis) have gotten to film or take pictures of Israeli actions they get accidentally killed or injured by the IDF.

  40. “***UPDATE*** 11:40PM The U.S. has blocked a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza strip:

    The United States late Saturday blocked approval of a U.N. Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel and expressing concern at the escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas. ”

    Anyone surprised?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/03/israel-invades-gaza-info_n_155008.html

  41. “Anyone surprised?”

    I’d be much more surprised if’n they DIDN’T do their usual running interference; they have solid form on this.

  42. Only mature people are allowed to watch this…cough cough:

    N’

  43. Tony @37, please consider removing that post. It is not very helpful if facts enter the debate. Thank you.

    S.

  44. N’, that is one f@cked up Utoob clip dude! Doesn’t look very precise or discriminate does it!?
    No doubt they were all Hamas supporters or their children, so cest la vie.

    Stephan, snidely suggesting that only the pro_Israel side of the debate is aware of the totality of the situation is willfully ignorant & misconceived. That others draw different conclusions to yours doesn’t invalidate the sum of their derivatives.

  45. Nasking @ 42

    Awful. Israel is definitely right on target there. Lots of very small children are obviously Hamas members. Maybe they join before they learn to walk and talk?

    Nature 5 @ 40

    It’s no wonder Israel blocks media coverage. How typical of the US to block the UN Security Council.

    I’m biting my tongue here. Disgusting indeed.

  46. Posted : Sun, 04 Jan 2009 05:51:22 GMT

    New York – The United Nations Security Council was again unable to reach a resolution on the Mideast conflict late Saturday, hours after Israeli troops launched a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip. The hastily arranged meeting, called by Arab countries, lasted nearly four hours behind closed doors.

    Jean-Maurice Ripert, French ambassador to the UN and current holder of the Security Council’s rotating chairmanship, said there was a strong consensus among the 15 member countries to issue an opinion on the conflict. The overwhelming majority would demand an immediate ceasefire from all sides, he said.

    US Ambassador Alejandro Wolff said that it would damage the Security Council’s credibility to make demands that go ignored. He said that Israel as a member of the world community should not be equated with a terrorist organization like Hamas, the Palestinian militant movement that controls the Gaza Strip.

    Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Authority’s envoy to the UN, had earlier demanded that the Security Council compel Israel to begin an immediate ceasefire and to withdraw ground forces to previous positions outside the territory.

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Saturday that he was “deeply concerned” by the start of the Israeli ground incursion. He said that the escalation would only make it harder for efforts to halt the conflict – by the Mideast Quartet, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and others – to succeed.
    http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/248819,security-council-fails-to-reach-gaza-resolution–summary.html

    Mr Ban Ki-Moon has borrowed Kofi Annan’s “concerned” meter.

    Mr Ban Ki-Moon, phone your office. Hamas has been firing rockets since it entered a cease fire. Below is a list of dates when rockets, mortars, and other actions were launched by Hamas or groups that fall under its control:

    #”A cease-fire was agreed upon by both sides to begin on June 19, 2008, however, Palestinian militant organization continued to attack Israeli civilian areas.

    June 19, 2008
    Through Egyptian mediation Israel and Hamas agreed to a six month cease-fire on June 17th that went into effect on June 19, 2008 at 6:00 AM.[48]

    June 20, 2008 June 23, 2008 June 24, 2008 June 26, 2008 June 27, 2008 June 28, 2008 June 30, 2008 July 2, 2008

    There were no rocket or mortar attacks so Israel reopens the four Gaza crossings on Wednesday July 2. Since a truce began June 19, Israel has closed the passages a total of six days in retaliation for rocket attacks.[59]

    July 3, 2008 July 7, 2008 July 8, 2008

    After two mortar attacks from Gaza at the Sufa crossing, one fell just inside Gaza and the other at the crossing. Israel closed all the crossing. After an Egyptian request they reopened the crossings. Hours after the crossings opened at noon, militants fired another shell into Israel, causing no casualties or damage, the Israeli military said. Israel kept the crossings open. No Palestinian group immediately claimed responsibility.

    July 10, 2008 July 12, 2008
    A rocket lands in an open area in Sha’ar Hanegev regional council. Nobody claims responsibility for the attack.[63]

    July 13, 2008 July 25, 2008 July 29, 2008 July 31, 2008 August 1-31st (7 rockets)

    September 1-30th
    The month of September represented a considerable lull in the number of rocket and mortar attacks. In this month 3 rockets and 2 mortars were fired from Gaza into Israel. They caused no injuries or deaths.[70]

    October 11th

    November 6th
    Israel attacks a 250 meter tunnel going from Gaza and under its border. The tunnel is to designed to capture additional Israeli soldiers and hold them hostage. Six Gaza fighters are killed and four Israeli special forces wounded. Hamas responds by firing 30 Qassam rockets at Israel. The truce agreed to five months ago is starting to founder.[72] Between October 29th and November 6th 48 rockets and 21 mortars were fired from Gaza into Israel.[73] Then, between November 5th and November 12th, 22 rockets and 9 mortars were fired into Israel.[74]

    November 12-19th November 21st November 22-23rd November 24-25th November 26-27th December 3rd December 6-7th December 12th December 16th December 17th December 18th December 19th

    The cease fire agreement ends. During the six month cease fire 329 rockets and mortar shells were fired. For the six months prior to the truce 2278 rockets and mortars were fired into Israel.[86]#”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rocket_and_mortar_attacks_in_Israel_in_2008

    When is a cease fire not a cease fire? When one of the parties to the agreement is Hamas.

  47. Stephan,

    So tell me, was the blockade on Gaza lifted as per the Israeli part of the ceasefire agreement?

  48. And just to clarify, I believe that both sides broke the ceasefire, but I still think that the actions of the IDF will not solve anything. In fact – it will only strengthen Hamas (who you will remember were supported by Israel as a counter to the PLO).

  49. joni, I’d say the dates of June the 19th and June the 20th answer you first question.

    But your second post is incorrect. We have been told, factually I might add, that Israel broke the cease fire in November when they destroyed a tunnel complex. Apparently, rocket fire from Gaza on June the 20th isn’t counted as a breach of the cease fire.

  50. No Stephan, how about the part that Israel did not meet their part of the ceasefire in lifting the embargo on Gaza. The blockade was never fully lifted.

    You may try to view just one side as being wrong in this, but I see that both sides are guilty.

  51. Stephan at the heart of the current situation is the ‘disproportionate’ response.

    Imagine if Britain had bombed Dublin because the IRA blew up ‘whatever’. If you can’t see that the response is ‘disproportionate’ then you have a problem. Tis in the realm of the bombimg of Dresden. Simply, over the top. Executed because they could..

    At the micro level, a citizen is entitled to defend themselves when their home is being invaded – entitled to use reasonable force – but they are not entitled to kill the invader, his/her relatives, neighbours, friends or even acquaintances.

    That’s what’s happening there. Pathetic!

  52. “how about the part that Israel did not meet their part of the ceasefire in lifting the embargo on Gaza. The blockade was never fully lifted.”joni

    Best not to speculate that the tunnels wouldn’t be necessary without the embargo, afterall they are purely for smuggling jewkilling weapons & never ever the luxuries or (more pertinently) the necessities lacking in Gaza due to its’ strangulation brought about by electing an unfavourable (to the outside) government.

  53. N5, it’s a bit late to be worried about the rules.

    Military objectives are limited to “those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.” Although every instance of indiscriminate attack violates the law of armed conflict, it is equally the case where attacking a military target may cause collateral damage to civilians or civilian objects. If the harm to civilians is proportionate to the military advantage expected, the attack, other things being equal, is a legal act of war. If the harm is “excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated,” the attack is prohibited, whether or not indiscriminate. (Concrete means perceivable by the senses; direct means having no intervening factor.)

    Types of Indiscriminate Attack

    1. An attack that is not targeted at military objectives. (Damage to civilian property that is actually intended is known as wanton destruction, especially if it is wide-scale.)

    2. Use of weapons that are not able to be properly targeted.
    http://www.crimesofwar.org/thebook/indiscriminate-attack.html

    Like I said, the rule book has been tossed out of the window.As the above indicates Israel may be in breach of the rules and the same goes for Hamas. Israel could be accused of indiscriminate attacks and Hamas could be accused of firing unguided rockets or mortars.

    I think there’s another piece that says that military establishments should not be housed in or near civilian houses or buildings. Hamas might be in breach of that as well.

  54. “N5, it’s a bit late to be worried about the rules.”

    Certainly it is in your mind. And that says heaps about you. Ever pondered that?

    You seem intent on defending the indefensible. You play word games – adopt legalistic arguments – assume a deontological stance – while any number of Gaza residents die.

    Address the issue of ‘disproportionate response’. Either it is or it isn’t? How say you? I am sure that others are watching. A chance to be credible?

  55. My, someone reminds me so much of SMFS.

  56. Credible!!!! Don’t yank my chain. Didn’t you post about the cease fire being shattered by a tunnel attack yet there was hardly a let up in the firing of qassam rockets and mortars?

    Credible!!!!! You must be in self-parody mode.

  57. Stephan@56

    A neat sidestep.

  58. Ironically, the brave Hamas resistance is now transforming into a LEGEND. Like the Spartans at Thermopylae…or the resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto.

    THE LIGHT has abandoned Israel…& so many sane Israelis have been ignored in the process.

    But such is the way when THE FEW are willing to MANUFACTURE events in order to retain power & privilege. And kowtow to the words that flow from the past of their BANKRUPT mentors.
    N’

  59. All the while that Israel continues to kill innocents, especially women and children, they create the next generation of Hamas (it will be under a different name but still the same) and Israel to divide the Palestinians will create a new group it believes to be under its control only to have them turn against them in a decade or so,

    And so it goes on until Israel has taken all of the land and the Palestinians have been mostly expelled and subjugated.

  60. And as Paul McGeough details in the SMH, the reasons and objectives for the IDF offensive are now changing:

    First it was against the rocket sites, now it is about dismantling Hamas.

    Changing reasons and objectives? Remind you of something?

  61. “Changing reasons and objectives? Remind you of something?”

    Yea, it’s called warfare…….

  62. Wait – I though the OO article was saying it was political?

  63. Nasking at 42

    It seems your “mature people only” video may not be all it’s claimed to be:

    The video was not taken on January 1st 2009. It was not taken in a civilian market, and it was not the result of an IDF air strike.

    This video is from September 23rd 2005, and was taken in the Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. A Hamas pick-up truck carrying Qassam rockets detonated by mistake during a Hamas rally, leaving at least 15 killed and dozens more injured.

  64. And who released that information Tony, the new Israeli Ministry for Information?

    Until independent news services and observers are allowed by Israel to investigate these things I would not believe any side. Remember Israel is still stating it blew up a truck loading rockets when on the ground pictures show clearly it was oxygen bottles from a legitimate business.

  65. Why don’t you read the linked comment Adrian. The guy provides some pretty compelling evidence.

    Not only that, the person who uploaded the video even admits he was “deceived”.

  66. I did. The video is from 2005 but my point is that there is nothing to prove it was not Israel that caused the explosion, only that they deny it and Fatah claims it was a Hamas accident.

    There is nothing to show what caused the explosion.

    TW9zc2Fk makes a lot of assumptions as well, like you can see an aircraft and missile that is attacking. That shows their ignorance.

  67. My main point is that you cannot believe what comes from either side in this, and with Israel controlling all the current media then anything that comes from them must be treated as suspect. I never take at face value anything Hamas or any previous Palestinian group states is the truth either, which is why I’m saying there needs to be independent observers in Gaza. But it is not the Palestinians who are refusing to allow this, it is Israel, which is something they have always done.

    I have never understood, for an authority that says it is so completely justified and is doing everything right like not targeting civilians, why they so vehemently and continuously refuse to allow independent reporting on them supposedly doing the right thing?

    And if they are being so honest and open as they always claim why have they got such a large propaganda machine and a new Ministry of Information.

  68. “It seems your “mature people only” video may not be all it’s claimed to be”

    Tony of South Yarra, I just read this, been too busy lately to return to previous posts. If the origins of the vid are as you say then i offer my apologies to those who followed the link. I will be more careful regarding offering links to that site from now on.

    Still, i’m sure the families of the 220+ Palestinian children killed in the conflict so far would not be so hard on me. And I don’t remember earning a penny for offering up BOGUS EVIDENCE & incidents…unlike Anne Coulter & Dick Cheney & Sean Hannitty.

    Still, I fcked up (maybe)…it’s heartening to know that sleuths such as yerself are on the case…the more war-mongering of the Israelis certainly need all the help they can get:

    http://www.opednews.com/populum/diarypage.php?did=11543

    AND SO THE BLACK HOLE THAT IS THE LEVANT CONTINUES TO SUCK

    N’

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