Sunday, January 11, 2009

Is the Bloodbath Over Yet? Who Are You Gonna Believe? The Press or Your Lying Eyes?

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Everyone apologizing for Bush and Cheney's past behavior as they bow off the international (but never the national) stage are working overtime to make us think that all their actions (and especially the illegal ones) are the result of their "just wanting to keep us safe." Nice try. I'm sure no one (like the old Roverer himself) could have thought that one up alone. Poor them. Poor us. So, the U.S. didn't have another 9/11 (but we didn't really need one as the first one was more than sufficient to achieve their aims), but someone is having one now in Gaza, aren't they? And as one commenter said recently at one of the sites aptly covering the Gaza mayhem - makes you wonder what's happening in Iraq and Afghanistan that we aren't getting even a hint about now what with the news so focused on the "morally just" (for the Israelis) bloodbath in Gaza? Click here for more: Linglong Thought Exchange: Turn on the megaphones And just who is supplying all those nifty missiles to those bloody, starving people? Juan Cole, one of the best reporters anywhere on these issues, addresses the long term implications of all these clever moves (emphasis marks were added and some editing was necessary - Ed.):
In 1996, Israeli jets bombed a UN building where civilians had taken refuge at Cana/ Qana in south Lebanon, killing 102 persons; in the place where Jesus is said to have made water into wine, Israeli bombs wrought a different sort of transformation. In the distant, picturesque port of Hamburg, a young graduate student studying traditional architecture of Aleppo saw footage like this on the news [graphic]. He was consumed with anguish and the desire for revenge. As soon as operation Grapes of Wrath had begun the week before, he had written out a martyrdom will, indicating his willingness to die avenging the victims, killed in that operation - with airplanes and bombs that were a free gift from the United States. His name was Muhammad Atta. Five years later he piloted American Airlines 11 into the World Trade Center.
Could this be not only the way Israel "solves" the Gaza problem (and finalizes the stealing of the natural gas off their coast), but also the way to do the Cheney/Bush junta one final big favor and avert the public glance from the other ongoing wars until after the inauguration festivities? And who else benefits? Don't you just hate it when someone messes up your party? (Did I hear off in the distance the echo of the phrase "all-out war all the time?") I've about lost my last hope for change from the "new" guys.
The invasion was mapped out months ago, right down to the bullet points that were passed out to friends in the media. Nothing was left to chance. That said, the public relations campaign was on full display over the weekend when Israeli ground troops and armored divisions swept into Gaza unopposed. CNN had a coterie of ardent Zionists on hand to justify the invasion in a carefully scripted analysis of developments. Retired Brigadier Gen. David Grange accompanied the blatantly pro-Israel Wolf Blitzer saying that the IDF had been "lured" into Gaza by Hamas so that Hamas could execute its plan for "urban warfare." Utter nonsense. Grange implied that the subsequent slaughter of civilians was the work of Hamas, not Israel. Even by CNN's abysmal standards, this is a new low.
And they thought Bush wasn't smart.
In a rare moment of honesty, the New York Times divulged the real motive behind the bombardment and invasion of Gaza. In Ethan Bronner's article, "Israel Weighs Goal: Ending Hamas Rule, Rocket fire or Both," Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon said, "We need to reach a situation in which we do not allow Hamas to govern. That is the most important thing. If the war ends in a draw, as expected, and Israel refrains from reoccupying Gaza, Hamas will gain diplomatic recognition. . . . No matter what you call it, Hamas will obtain legitimacy.” According to the Times: "In addition, any truce would probably include an increase in commercial traffic from Israel and Egypt into Gaza, which is Hamas’ central demand: to end the economic boycott and border closing it has been facing. To build up the Gaza economy under Hamas, Israeli leaders say, would be to build up Hamas. Yet withholding the commerce would continue to leave 1.5 million Gazans living in despair." If Israel wants to prevent Hamas from "obtaining legitimacy," then the real objective of the invasion is to either severely undermine or topple the regime. All the talk about the qassam rockets and the so-called "Hamas infrastructure," (the new phrase that is supposed to indicate a threat to Israeli security) is merely a diversion. What really worries Israel is the prospect that Obama will "sit down with his enemies" - as he promised during the presidential campaign - and conduct talks with Hamas. That would put the ball in Israel's court and force them to make concessions. But Israel does not want to make concessions. They would rather start a war and change the facts on the ground so they can head-off any attempt by Obama to restart peace process. Just days ago, Obama advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, said in a televised interview, that the last eight years proves that resolving the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is critical to US interests in the region. He added that the recent fighting shows that the two parties cannot achieve peace without US involvement. Brzezinski's comments suggest that, at the very least, the Obama camp is considering low-level (secret?) talks with Hamas representatives. Every day that Hamas abstains from violence; its legitimacy as a political party grows and the prospect of direct negotiations becomes more likely. This is Israel's worst nightmare, not because Hamas constitutes a real threat to Israeli security, but because Israel wants to install its own puppet regime and unilaterally impose its own terms for a final settlement. Neither Ehud Olmert or any of the candidates for prime minister have any intention of getting bogged down in another 8 years of fruitless banter like Oslo where plans for settlement expansion had to be concealed behind an elaborate public relations smokescreen. No way. The Israeli leadership would rather skip the pretense altogether and pursue their territorial aims openly as they have under Bush. And the goal is the same as always; to integrate the occupied territories into Greater Israel and leave the Palestinians trapped in bantustans. Negotiations just make that harder. Ariel Sharon's senior advisor, Dov Weisglass, clarified Israel's position three years ago when he admitted, "The disengagement [from Gaza] is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians. . . this whole package that is called the Palestinian state has been removed from our agenda indefinitely." "Formaldehyde;" that says it all. The point of the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza was to silence critics and to make it appear as though the Palestinians had achieved some type of statehood. It was a complete sham. Sharon believed that disengagement would stop foreign leaders from badgering him to sit down with the Palestinians and work out a mutually-acceptable agreement. He never expected that elections would throw a wrench in his plans and raise the credibility of Hamas to the extent that it has today. In the last two years, Hamas hasn't launched one suicide mission in Israel, which shows that it has abandoned the armed struggle and can be trusted to negotiate on its people's behalf. That scares Israel, which is why they initiated hostilities. Now, they need to seal the deal by either removing Hamas before Obama is sworn in or face pressure from the new administration for dialogue. Meanwhile, Israeli troop movements indicate that a plan may be in place to divide Gaza into three parts, thus making it impossible for Hamas to rule. The UK Guardian confirms that the invasion was really about regime change not rockets or Hamas infrastructure. . . . Dan Gillerman, Israel's ambassador to the UN until a few months ago, was brought in by the Foreign Ministry to help lead the diplomatic and PR campaign. He said that the diplomatic and political groundwork has been under way for months. "This was something that was planned long ahead," he said. "I was recruited by the foreign minister to coordinate Israel's efforts and I have never seen all parts of a very complex machinery - whether it is the Foreign Ministry, the Defence Ministry, the prime minister's office, the police or the army - work in such coordination, being effective in sending out the message." In briefings in Jerusalem and London, Brussels and New York, the same core messages were repeated: that Israel had no choice but to attack in response to the barrage of Hamas rockets; that the coming attack would be on "the infrastructure of terror" in Gaza and the targets principally Hamas fighters; that civilians would die, but it was because Hamas hides its fighters and weapons factories among ordinary people.
Read more about the scam here. Glenn Greenwald tells us clearly that shamelessly "Both Parties Cheerlead Still More Loudly for Israel's 'War.'"
World concern over, and opposition to, the Israeli war in Gaza is rapidly mounting: International pressure intensified sharply on Israel on Thursday, the 13th day of its Gaza assault, after the United Nations suspended food aid deliveries, the International Committee of the Red Cross accused the Israelis of knowingly blocking assistance to the injured, and a top Vatican official defended comments in which he compared Gaza to a concentration camp. The Israelis have deliberately made it impossible to know the full extent of the carnage and humanitarian disasters because they continue to prevent journalists from entering Gaza even in the face of a now week-old Israeli Supreme Court order compelling them to do so. According to Palestinian sources, there are now 700 dead Palestinians - at least 200 of them children - and well over 1,000 wounded. Those numbers are not seriously doubted by anyone. By comparison, a total of 10 Israelis have died - 10 - almost all of them by "friendly fire." The unusually worded Red Cross condemnation of Israel was prompted by its discovery, after finally being allowed into Gaza, of starving Palestinian children laying next to corpses, with ambulances blocked for days by the IDF. Even with the relative "restraint" Israel is excercising (the damage it could cause is obviously much greater), this is not so much of a war as it is a completely one-sided massacre. As a result, much of the world is urging an end to the war and acting to forge a cease-fire -- except the United States. Here, blind and unequivocal support for the Israeli attack is actually increasing almost as fast as the Palestinian body count piles up. Apparently, it isn't enough that we supply the very bombs being dropped on the Palestinians and use our U.N. veto power to prevent any U.N. action to stop the war or even to urge its cessation. The U.S. Congress wants to involve the U.S. further still in Israel's war. This afternoon, the Democratic-led U.S. Senate did just that by enacting - via a cowardly voice vote - a completely one-sided, non-binding resolution that expresses unequivocal support for the Israeli war, and heaps all the blame for the conflict on Hamas and none of it on Israel. Harry Reid - who jointly sponsored the Resolution with GOP Leader Mitch McConnell - proudly proclaimed: "When we pass this resolution, the United States Senate will strengthen our historic bond with the state of Israel." On its website, AIPAC is already patting the U.S. Senate on its head for "for conveying America's unequivocal and steadfast support for Israel's right to self-defense." . . . ThinkProgress noted yesterday that Democrats took the lead in drafting the Resolution because they did not want to be "out-hawked by the Republicans," though it's hardly unusual for Democrats to march in lockstep with Republicans on Israel more than any other issue. It's hard to overstate how one-sided this resolution is. It "expresses vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders." Why should the U.S. maintain an "unwavering commitment to the welfare" of a foreign country? It "lays blame both for the breaking of the 'calm' and for subsequent civilian casualties in Gaza precisely where blame belongs, that is, on Hamas." It repeatedly mentions the various sins of Hamas - from rockets to suicide attacks - but does not mention a single syllable of criticism for Israel. In the world of the U.S. Congress, neither the 4-decade occupation of Palestinian land nor the devastating blockade of Gaza nor the ongoing expansion of Israeli settlements even exist. That may not be mentioned. Whatever the motives, for America to blindly support Israel's self-destructive and unjustified behavior does not serve Israeli interests and -- most importantly -- does not serve America's. Blind support isn't "friendship," nor is enabling someone else's destructive behavior. It's subservience. And few things are as harmful or as unjust as the cowardly, lockstep behavior of both major American political parties when it comes to Israel. . . . This righteous fury is a constant phenomenon in the Israeli, and before that Zionist, dispossession of Palestine. Every act whether it was ethnic cleansing, occupation, massacre or destruction was always portrayed as morally just and as a pure act of self-defense reluctantly perpetrated by Israel in its war against the worst kind of human beings. In his excellent volume The Returns of Zionism: Myths, Politics and Scholarship in Israel, Gabi Piterberg explores the ideological origins and historical progression of this righteous fury. Today in Israel, from Left to Right, from Likud to Kadima, from the academia to the media, one can hear this righteous fury of a state that is more busy than any other state in the world in destroying and dispossessing an indigenous population. It is crucial to explore the ideological origins of this attitude and derive the necessary political conclusions from its prevalence. This righteous fury shields the society and politicians in Israel from any external rebuke or criticism. But far worse, it is translated always into destructive policies against the Palestinians. With no internal mechanism of criticism and no external pressure, every Palestinian becomes a potential target of this fury. Given the firepower of the Jewish state it can inevitably only end in more massive killings, massacres and ethnic cleansing. The self-righteousness is a powerful act of self-denial and justification. It explains why the Israeli Jewish society would not be moved by words of wisdom, logical persuasion or diplomatic dialogue. And if one does not want to endorse violence as the means of opposing it, there is only one way forward: challenging head-on this righteousness as an evil ideology meant to cover human atrocities. Another name for this ideology is Zionism and an international rebuke for Zionism, not just for particular Israeli policies, is the only way of countering this self-righteousness ("Israel's Righteous Fury and its Victims in Gaza" Ilan Pappe). It wouldn't make a bit of difference if Hamas surrendered tomorrow and handed over all its weapons to Israel, because the problem isn't Hamas; it's Zionism, the deeply-flawed ideology which leads to bombing children in their homes while clinging to victimhood. Ideas have consequences. Gaza proves it.
Read the rest of Glenn's fine essay here. On a related note, MediaBloodHound has the details on the very interesting story of how the Associated Press (AP) caused to vanish into thin air the tough questioning by its reporter of the U.S. State Department regarding Gaza. Suzan ______________________________


Juan Moment said...

Thanx for your kind words and link to LTE, much appreciated.

And few things are as harmful or as unjust as the cowardly, lockstep behavior of both major American political parties when it comes to Israel.

Not just when it comes to Israel, on pretty much every issue. Two finger puppets on the one hand, distracting us while the other hand is stealing from under our noses. A shame really. I read somewhere else a comment putting it picturesquely: our sanctimonious politicians just sit by nodding their heads together in agreement like a pack of Bobble-headed dolls riding in the back seat of an Israel tank.

What conclusions are being drawn? Once we’ve woken up to this sham, what corrective actions are taken as to rectify the problem? Who is the problem?

Let’s not forget that this current attack was as predictable as that of a funnel-web spider, we knew that Israel would attack again, it always does. What also everyone knew was that the politicians running in the last election would be sitting here today with their nodding heads agreeing to the mayhem in Palestine. And still, despite being aware of this, the masses chose them as their representatives. Which, by my deduction, means the electorate is at fault. It has the power to change things but doesn’t.

Our complacent and spineless governments exist because we put them there in the first place, don't do jack shit about their shocking performances, re-elect them even, letting one generation of war criminals after another walk scot-free. Sad but true, the blame lies with us, for believing in and thus enabling our heartless system.

The public discourse is impregnated with petty issues, Spears & Hilton etc, but leading upfront in the parade of most trivial matters, the Democrat v. Republican charade. Almost the entire civic bandwidth devoted to politics is taken up by discussions on the minuscule differences between two parties, fully falling for the con. Instead we could be thinking, discussing, formulating alternative forms of government and wealth distribution, much to the despair of our incestuous elites.

We need to connect by the millions, unite our purpose, realise that by protesting for workers rights one is essentially opposing the same dark forces animal rights protesters try to fight. The war mongers behind the Iraq invasion and the oil magnates who willingly destroy nature reserves for cheap profits - the same group of shady oligarchs and their minions. But hey, listen to me carrying on. From following your writings I can tell that you are well aware of the writing on the wall.

Anyways, thanx again for being who you are.

Strength & Light to you sister.


Suzan said...

Thank you, Juan,

I'm ready for that entirely new start. I'm thinking we've got two committed volunteers (at least) covering two entirely different parts of the world. It's gotta mean something good is a a-brewing.

Let's get organized!


We need to connect by the millions, unite our purpose, realise that by protesting for workers rights one is essentially opposing the same dark forces animal rights protesters try to fight. The war mongers behind the Iraq invasion and the oil magnates who willingly destroy nature reserves for cheap profits - the same group of shady oligarchs and their minions. But hey, listen to me carrying on. From following your writings I can tell that you are well aware of the writing on the wall.