Wright from Washington City
January 1, 2009


Death and more death in Gaza



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Funny how murder and hypocrisy go hand in hand. Take the Israeli siege of Gaza.

Siege is an ancient and cruel weapon. It consists simply of surrounding a population — until recently, usually a walled city or castle — and not allowing anything in or out. Typically the siege ends when the inhabitants begin to die of starvation, thirst, or disease, and decide to surrender.

Sieges are mentioned in the Old Testament: the siege of the Canaanite city of Jericho was won by the Israelite general Joshua in only seven days by supernatural means. The siege of Troy is another ancient example, as is the Roman siege of the Jewish Zealots at Masada. Medieval armies used immense catapults and, later, cannon to batter stone walls; tunnels to undermine them (thus giving rise to the military term "mine" — when gunpowder became available it was exploded in the mines underneath the walls); and disease-infected corpses flung into the besieged city or castle to hurry things along.

More recent sieges include Lincoln's sieges of Vicksburg and Petersburg during the War of Northern Aggression, the particularly brutal German siege of Leningrad in the Second World War, and the Clinton regime's siege-massacre of the Branch Davidians at Waco. And we mustn't forget the Bush Jong-il regime's siege of Fallujah in 2004, in which Imperial storm troopers prevented thousands of civilians from fleeing the city, which was then pulverized by air strikes and artillery fire. It remains one of the most horrifying and shameful episodes of the Empire's ongoing persecution of the Iraqis.

By their very nature sieges are a very nasty business. Unless the target is a purely military one, which is usually not the case, it is innocent civilians, especially children, who suffer the most from them. For that reason, sieges are frowned upon in international law and in civilized society. The Geneva Conventions allow sieges, or blockades as they are called when carried out by naval forces, only in limited circumstances, to prevent harm to civilian populations. Those restrictions are routinely flouted by right-thinking rulers such as our own, who often use modified siege tactics called "sanctions" to brutalize populations who have committed the unpardonable sin of living under uncooperative dictators.

The "sanctions" imposed on the Iraqi people by Bush Il-sung and Clinton (through the agency of the United Nations) are an outstanding example of such outrages. The Empire said they were designed to encourage Saddam Hussein to pay reparations for his invasion of Kuwait and, later, to disclose the whereabouts of his non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Their actual — and, I believe, desired — effect was to destroy what had been a relatively prosperous and advanced Arab economy, reducing its members to penury, malnutrition, and often death. Even items that were supposed to be allowed under the rules of the sanctions, such as medical supplies and nutritional items for infants, were kept out on the specious grounds that they had military utility. The result was possibly a million deaths, of which at least half were children. [1]

And now the Judeo-Nazi regime of Israel is laying siege to the people of Gaza, who are guilty of the crime of voting for the wrong party.

In parliamentary elections held in January 2006, Hamas won a surprise victory in the occupied territories of Palestine against the massively corrupt and increasingly unpopular Fatah party. Unfortunately, the regimes of Israel and the United State did not look upon that development with equanimity, even though they had hailed what they called the "free" elections as heralding the arrival of "democracy" for the benighted Palestinians. Hamas was prevented from taking power, because it was labeled a "terrorist organization." That was despite the fact that Hamas had unilaterally initiated a truce two years before, a truce that they had broken only once or twice, each time in response to Israeli provocation. [2]

As I've pointed out before, whenever affairs begin to tend toward some kind of compromise or accommodation on the part of the Palestinians, the Israeli regime moves to provoke Palestinian outrage. In the case of the Hamas truce, the Israelis hit an apartment building in Gaza, killing 15 people and wounding 145, hours after Hamas and its allies agreed among themselves to consider a unilateral cease-fire. There are numerous other examples.

The reason for Israel's behavior is simple: the regime doesn't want peace. It wants the Palestinians out so it can take the land. It can't simply massacre them all, or drive them out wholesale, because of the undesirable effects that would have on its image as the perpetual victim of Arab aggression, and the possible negative consequences for its gravy train of funds from the United State. So it makes life as hard as it can for the despised Arabs.

True to form, in June 2006 the Israelis initiated hostilities by shelling a beach in Gaza, ripping to shreds eight Palestinian civilians having a picnic in their bathing suits. Hamas reacted by firing a large number of primitive artillery rockets, made by hand from scrap metal, into Israel, and by raiding a military outpost in Israel and kidnapping an Israeli soldier. The Israelis then raised the stakes by kidnapping eight Hamas cabinet members and 56 other officials.

Meanwhile, an attempt by Hamas to placate the "international community" by cooking up a grand coalition government with the discredited Fatah broke down, and Hamas forcibly established its rule in Gaza, with the overwhelming support of the population. The Israelis gleefully seized upon the opportunity to inflict further hardship on the people there, having prepared the ground first by removing the small number of Israeli settlements. Gaza was put under a vicious siege, with only "humanitarian aid" — in reality just enough food to keep the desperate population from starving to death en masse — allowed in. With the enthusiastic help of the Empire, the Egyptian state was coerced into closing its common border with Gaza as well.

And there things remained for nearly three years: the Gazan people suffering unimaginable hardship, cut off from all commerce, living in stinking squalor with no sanitation, dying like animals in hospitals devoid of the most basic necessities. And all because they voted wrong. So much for "democracy."

The response from the Gazans has been pitiful, to say the least. Some rockets are fired from time to time into Israel. They usually have no effect at all, besides creating noise, although occasionally one hits something and causes some damage. It should be pointed out that it is not clear who is responsible for the rockets — Hamas has probably been involved with at least some of them, but it is no great trick to make one, and there are other factions running around in Gaza, too, over which the Hamas leadership has little or no control.

The Israeli answer to desperate attempts on the part of Hamas to reach an agreement are breathtaking in their hypocrisy. The siege will not be lifted, they pompously intone, until all rocket attacks stop. If just one is fired, the people will keep starving. Obviously, that has not had the effect we're supposed to believe was intended: rocket attacks keep happening, and just for good measure the Israelis once in a while stage an attack to shake things up and keep the people good and angry. The Hamas government does not have the resources to stop all the rocketing, a state of affairs that suits the Israelis just fine.

Then, in late December, the Israeli generals decided to liven things up. They launched one of their patented rampages, hitting numerous targets in Gaza with bombs and artillery, including TV stations and police stations, clearly with the intent of causing massive loss of life. (It may seem strange to target policemen when you are calling on them to hunt down and stop the people who are firing rockets, but there you are.)

It's funny. If Saddam Hussein or the Serbs had carried out such a shockingly brutal policy against an enemy as pitiful and helpless, the righteous outcry by all bien-pensant governments, pundits, TV talking heads, and other parasites would have been deafening. You wouldn't have been able to turn on the telescreen or open a newspaper without being bombarded by exhortations to stop the barbarity. Senators would have bloviated with such passion they would have seemed almost sincere. Movie stars and pop singers would have staged fund-raisers and concerts. Bumper stickers and sloganized T-shirts would have proliferated.

But for this? Nothing. The people of Gaza are lost. They have nothing to look forward to but suffering, death, and eventual dispossession of even the little they have now. As they starve and sicken, the "civilized" world looks on with contempt. May God help them.

January 1, 2009

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1. Moreover, we must not overlook the thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths and unnumbered grisly stillbirths and fetal deformations caused by poisoning from the thousands of uranium-cored projectiles fired by Imperial forces in Iraq during the first Gulf War in 1991.

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2. There is no question that Hamas is a terrorist organization, if one strictly interprets the term as applying to organizations that attack civilians. Hamas has claimed responsibility for suicide bombings against Israelis and other attacks. Crime is crime, but those crimes should be viewed in the light of the far more numerous attacks against Palestinian civilians by the Israeli regime, the Israeli policy of land theft and retail genocide against the Palestinians, and the fact that Hamas does not have the resources to fight the Israeli military, one of the most powerful in the world. (See my commentaries "Israel is committing retail genocide" and "Israel is committing retail genocide, Part II," as well as my TLD articles "Why did they do it?" [September 2001] and "The new Nazis" [August 2006].) Also, there is the inconvenient fact of the unilateral Hamas truce, which Hamas stuck to until provoked by the Israelis.

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