March 2, 2011 at 3:10 pm 2 comments

Continued from: A mockery of human rights – 1




Excerpts from his book “How to avoid Armageddon”

Available through Amazon

Click:  www.amazon.com   type: how to avoid armageddon


In the three and a half years following Israel’s complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, a total of over 5,800 mortars and rockets were fired at Israeli towns and villages from Gaza. Initially all locally-made, inaccurate and with a range of only four kilometers, the rockets did not cause devastating damage to life and property. A few dozen people were killed. But these attacks terrorized the Jewish population. At any moment the sirens would go off and the population would have 15 seconds to find cover. Over the years the rockets became far more effective, with larger payloads and greatly increased range. More sophisticated Grad missiles with a range of 40 kilometers, able to reach some of Israel’s bigger southern cities, were being smuggled into Gaza from Iran.

Most Israelis couldn’t understand why the Gazans continued attacking Israel after its complete withdrawal, and in fact increasing the attacks ten-fold. After all, for over thirty years before the peace process – that had begun to get under way in 1994 and which was to lead to the end of Israeli rule and occupation over them – the mostly refugee population in Gaza had vastly improved their standard of living year by year, finding employment in Israeli farms, factories and construction sites. All that was needed to continue this upward economic spiral and even acquire full national independence, was to maintain peace and quiet with the Israelis. Ironically, the peace process, instead of fostering more amicable relations with their Israeli neighbors, had led to far more violence and hatred towards the Israelis than ever before.

With this huge escalation of violence, Israel naturally retaliated. A blockade was imposed on Gaza. (Actually it was a partial blockade because Israel allowed over 70 trucks of basic supplies into Gaza every day). The electricity supply from Israel (which provides half of Gaza’s needs was lowered from time to time). So were fuel supplies. Gaza’s airport and harbor were also blockaded.

The blockade was meant primarily to prevent the flow of materials into Gaza that could be used to manufacture rockets and build bunkers, as well as a means to deter Gazan militants and indicate to the Gazan population that their radical Hamas government was causing them unnecessary hardship. But on all accounts, it seems that Israel’s intentions were thwarted. The rockets kept pounding Israel’s towns and villages; the Gazans were building formidable bunkers and connecting tunnels under houses, and Israel’s citizens kept demanding effective action from their government. “Let the Army do its job!” was a common call. In other words, enable the Israeli Army to deliver a blow to the Gazans that would get them to stop the missile attacks.

Eventually, on December 27, 2008, the Israel Air Force launched a wave of airstrikes throughout the entire Gaza Strip, targeting military positions, police stations and government and public buildings. There was also huge damage to homes. Hamas responded by intensifying its missile attacks, hitting civilian targets and for the first time, reaching major southern Israeli cities Beersheba and Ashdod. An Israeli ground invasion began on January 3, 2009.

In this uneven confrontation close to a million people in Israel within a 40-kilometer radius of the Gazan missiles spent the whole period of three weeks heeding sirens every time a rocket barrage was launched, rushing into their shelters or searching for cover behind a tree or a wall if they happened to be outdoors. Hundreds of homes, shops, factories and schools were damaged, many severely. Ten Israeli combat troops and three civilians and were killed and dozens wounded.

But in grossly disproportional comparison, by the end of the war between 1,200 and 1,440 Gazan combatants and civilians had been killed. The damage to buildings and infrastructure was colossal. It was probably the most dreadful three weeks in Gaza’s entire history and the reconstruction to buildings and infrastructure will take years, while the physical and psychological rehabilitation for many Gazans will probably never be complete.

The terrible images of death and destruction appearing on television screens all over the world clearly suggested that Israel acted outrageously, its fighter planes and helicopter gun-boats firing at will on the seemingly helpless Gazan population. The devastation and obvious misery of the Gazans was gut-wrenching to observe. Even Israelis, angry with the Gazans after the years of seemingly illogical attacks and provocations, were nevertheless appalled.

But what was seldom shown on the TV screens around the world, or reported in the press, were the methods of the Gazan fighters, who typically, often fired their missiles from courtyards between houses, or from rooftops of public buildings; ammunition was stored in schools and mosques; there were many cases where children were used to accompany Arab combatants from position to position, knowing that Israeli soldiers are forbidden to fire when there is a clear indication that civilians are involved. Also not seen by the horrified world, were the thousands of booby traps placed within homes, schools and alleyways, causing significant destruction to their own homes as the Israeli troops waged their battle to ferret out their terrorist enemy. What was seldom if ever shown, were the hundreds of tunnels under private homes, enabling the Gazan fighters to evade being caught by the advancing Israelis, while at the same time trying to entrap them. The war ended on January 18, when Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire. The Gazan leadership, in hiding, some in the basements of hospitals, did not surrender. Was it due to bravery on their part or cynical disregard for the safety and welfare of their people that they were willing to let Israel continue destroying Gaza? Or was it due to boundless hatred? Israeli troops withdrew completely from the entire Gaza Strip on January 21, 2009. It was like Jenin 2002, but on a far larger scale – in terms of the intensity of the battle and the anger voiced against Israel around the world.

Before the end of the war the executive committee of Organization of Islamic Conference called on the United Nations Human Rights Council (H.R.C.) to send a fact-finding mission to Gaza. On January 12, the H.R.C. adopted Resolution S-9/1, deciding among other things: “To dispatch an urgent, independent international fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying Power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the current aggression, and calls upon Israel not to obstruct the process of investigation and to fully cooperate with the mission.”

The resolution explicitly limited the mission to investigating Israel alone, without relating to the thousands of attacks against Israeli citizens, launched by the militant groups in Gaza. Former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson was asked to head the Mission, but significantly, this frequently unsympathetic critic of Israel refused to accept the position, calling its mandate one-sided and guided not by human rights but by politics. Judge Richard Goldstone initially refused this appointment for the same reason, calling the mandate “biased” and “uneven-handed.” Following Goldstone’s objection, the mandate was informally widened on April 3rd to cover activities by Palestinian militants as well.

To order the book click: www.amazon.com  type: how to avoid Armageddon


Entry filed under: Blogroll, dangeous lies and halftruths, How to avoid Armageddon, Solutions for Palestine, United Nations. Tags: , , , , , , , , .


2 Comments Add your own

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


%d bloggers like this: