Tag Archives: israel

Gaza: stop the bombing, start the healing

Thank goodness for Robert Fisk. He reminds us that it was Israel that broke the ceasefire with Hamas. I know I know it’s childish to always look for blame, when what’s needed is a solution. But this seems to define public discourse on this topic and act as justification for the continued massacre of Palestinians in Gaza. (I think Deborah Orr’s item is a better examination of the current crisis in Gaza – see: There wouldn’t have been Gaza rockets without the blockade)

Fisk’s item points out that the IDF has gone totally overboard:

Yes, Israelis deserve security. Twenty Israelis dead in 10 years around Gaza is a grim figure indeed. But 600 Palestinians dead in just over a week, thousands over the years since 1948 – when the Israeli massacre at Deir Yassin helped to kick-start the flight of Palestinians from that part of Palestine that was to become Israel – is on a quite different scale. This recalls not a normal Middle East bloodletting but an atrocity on the level of the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

Hamas (and Fatah before them) are liberation movements that were… uh… hard to love. They seem tactically not very adept. It’s beyond me why would you do anything to provoke an enemy infinitely stronger and utterly uninhibited in the use of that strength.

But on the other hand I don’t honestly know how else they would react when the IDF just bombs at random, ceasefire or no. No doubt the families of the ten Palestinians killed in the two November attacks would have wanted their government to do something in retribution.

Israel has no compunction around targeting civilians and neither does Hamas. Indeed when you lack the tanks, artillery, helicopters, fighter jets of the IDF, what other kinds of targets could you actually hit? It’s just when the IDF does it, hundreds die.

I do think it’s incumbent on Israel to unilaterally stop their assault. They started it this time.

I also think the Israeli government is to blame for driving Gaza’s population into the arms of Hamas. The balance of power favours Israel and Israel uses its power to bully, humiliate and destroy Fatah. You get the neighbours you deserve, it’s often said. So it shouldn’t be a shock that a frustrated and desperate Gaza population voted for retribution-promising Hamas over reconciliation-promising Fatah.

I don’t actually know – once you take everyone’s fingers off their respective triggers – how you climb down from these parapets of hell and create peace. If past efforts are any indication, they’ll probably be imperfect, favour the powerful over the powerless, and still be unsatisfactory to the zealots.

I hope someone has the strength and a firm enough conviction in the art of the possible to give it a go. The brutality and violence of the images coming from Gaza are of the sort I hope to never have to see again.

Human Rights Watch refutes Israeli line on Hezbollah ‘human shields’

The Globe is reporting the release of a Human Rights Watch report on Israel’s invasion of Lebanon last summer.

The report, which for launching random rocket attacks against Israel, says in the vast majority of the cases it researched, it could find “no evidence of Hezbollah military presence, weaponry or any other military objective that would have justified the strike”.

So what to conclude? Both sides bad? Maybe, but look at the casualty figures. The Globe puts the death toll in Lebanon at over 1,000 people. In contrast, Hezbollah killed 159 people, including 40 soldiers.

That’s a ration of six to one Lebanese to Israeli deaths. Compared to the Palestinian Intifada’s ratio of about 100 to one, I suppose six to one might actually qualify as a Hezbollah victory, but it should, at the very least bring the Israeli government some widespread condemnation.

I’ll be somewhere among the middle of the pack in the race among the conspiracy theorists to predict it won’t.

If I lived in southern Lebanon, I might vote for Hezbollah, but I don’t so I see them as inept hotheads who take a legitimate cause and turn it into senseless bloodshed, mostly their own.

But on balance, I’d say the Israeli government has a whole lot more to answer for.

Israel and Hizbollah to talk prisoner swap

A Turkish news website is reporting that Hizbollah has agreed to discuss a prisoner swap – their two civilians, a doctor and his son, for the two Israeli soldiers. This was what started this mess. Why is the western media ignoring this (the Globe, CBC, canada.com and what not are all focussed on all that generous aid the US is sending to Lebanon).

I guess they’re too focussed on their efforts to publicize Condoleeza Rice’s so-called ceasefire proposal (the one where Israel gets to occupy parts of southern Lebanon and Hizbollah has to disarm entirely).

They’ll set it up for the next chapter which will begin with Hizbollah rejecting the US proposal and end with more missiles and shells raining down on Lebanon, killing more women and children.

That too, though is Hizbollah’s fault because of course they’re using the entire population of Lebanon as “human shields”.

Is someone going to talk about stopping Israel?

I am really glad that people in Lebanon on Canadian (and other non-Lebanese) passports are getting out. It sounds like quite an experience. I now feel intimately familiar with it. But ah… how bout maybe talking about putting an end to the invasion that people are fleeing?

Eight Montréalers are among the more than 300 civilians that the Israeli Defence Forces have killed so far.( That outstrips Hizbollah’s body count by about 15 to one. So my denunciation of their rocket attacks on Haifa is about that much less.)

IDF tanks are amassing on the Lebanese border, Koffi Annan is denouncing Israeli aggression but it looks like Israel’s second invasion of Lebanon is going to happen.

And now Stephen Harper is joining George Bush in providing ideological cover for an act of aggression that will set prospects for peace in the middle east back 30 years.

And yet the web and the TV are full of accounts of boat voyages of the lucky ones – people who will escape the carnage – and what a tough time they had sailing to Cyprus.

I am sure it wasn’t the Love Boat, as one person mentionned, but when are the journalists going to go in and talk to people who are still in Lebanon, dodging shells. I’m sure it’s not Fantasy Island.

Israel’s funders need to pull the plug, and its cheerleaders need to put the pom poms away and talk ceasefire.