Friday, June 5, 2009

Did You Know

Did you know? I didn’t. Of course, there is little reason for either of us to know. It was covered up by our media, ignored by our politicians and justified by our loudest TV prophets. It’s almost as if it did not even happen. Or if it did, it is of so little consequence that it was hardly worth mentioning at all.

But, I ask again, did you know that last January, Israel struck a convoy on the road just north of Port Sudan and killed 119 people. It was announced by the Sudan media, but not a word in the US press. Israel claimed that those killed were smugglers. At first, the US was blamed, but eventually Israel admitted that they had killed all those Sudanese people as a “warning to Iran.”[1]

Israel acts like a cornered animal, snapping out in any direction which it considers might be a threat. Egypt in 1967, Iraq in 1981, Lebanon in 1982, Syria in 2007, Lebanon again in 2007, Gaza in 2008, Sudan in 2009.

Also, did you know that suddenly, last month, Israel warns Gazans that they will be shot if they come close to the border fence which Israel erected on the Palestinian side.

"Israeli aircraft dropped exploding boxes full of leaflets across Gaza Strip today, littering the tiny enclave with threats to shoot any Gazans who come within 300 meters of the border fence…
The Israeli military has shot multiple Gaza citizens since the end of its invasion of the strip, including several farmers whose fields were close to the border. The warning is raising concern that civilians will be in greater danger in up coming days.
In the densely populated strip, many residents live less than 300 meters from the border fence. One of the residence wondered if 'the Israelis expect these people to start migrating yet again and flee like during the war.' Blocking off 300 meters across the entire border would actually make a considerable portion of the strip into a no-man’s land, but for the enclaves 1.5 million inhabitants, it is just business as usual in their ever shrinking home."

Most repulsive of all, have you heard of the latest goal of Avigdor Leiberman (no kin to Joe Leiberman but a brother against the Palestinians). Israel’s government has moved so right-winged that an Avigdor Leiberman was the biggest winner in this year’s election, giving him enormous swing power.

According to Fareed Zakaria:

“Leiberman and his issues have moved to center stage. As fiercely as he denounces the Palestinian militants of Hamas and Hizbullah, his No. 1 target is Israel’s Arab minority, which he has called a worst threat than Hamas. He proposes the effective expulsion of several hundred thousand Arab citizens by unilaterally redesignating some northern Israeli towns as parts of the Palestinian West Bank. Another group of several hundred thousand could expect to be stripped of citizenship for failing to meet requirements such as loyalty oaths…
The New Republic’s Martin Peretz, a passionate Zionist and critic of the peace movement, calls Leiberman a ‘neo-fascist…a certified gangster…”

Expulsion of Israeli Arab citizens is more than a goal, it’s a plan. Leiberman, who is now Israel’s Foreign Minister, has prepared a bill requiring an oath of loyalty to the “current government as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state.”[4] Think about that for a minute. Of course, Israel has a right to force its citizens to respect its laws, but to require Palestinians to swear allegiance to the Zionism that massacre their parents, took their homes and usurped their culture, is expecting too much. Loyalty is a trap leading to the expulsion of 20 percent of its citizens.

In the meantime, America looks the other way. And why should it matter that we know about these kinds of things. I believe it’s important because unless Israel backs off and stops attacking its neighbors, there will be no peace for Israel…or the U.S. Are we again being dragged into a war that we cannot win, nor afford? We cannot pay for our own ”snappings” in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now we are barking at Iran.

We should know, at least, that if we get pulled into a war with Iran, it may very well destroy Israel and bankrupt the U.S. Israel’s atrocity is a luxury we can no longer afford. Besides that, it is wrong.

Thomas Are
June 6, 2009

[1] Israeli Air Strike on Sudan Convoy in January Killed 119. DM Insist Attack Still Under Investigation, by James Ditz, May 25, 2009.
[2] Jason Ditz, Israel Warns Gazans will be Shot if They Come Close to Border.,
[3] Fareed Zakaria, Israel’s Biggest Danger, NEWSWEEK, February 23, 2009, p 41.
[4] Jason Ditz, Israeli FM’s Party to Introduce Loyalty Oath Bill,, 5/25/2009.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Controlling Hatred

Even though The New York Times did report on January 27 that hundreds of trucks carrying clothing, baby food, rice, juice, sugar and flour donated from around the world “sat in the hot sun, going nowhere” at the border,[1] I have given up expecting the Times to hold Israel responsible for its role in the Middle East turmoil.

For example, reflecting on the recent visits of Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas to the White House, the Times, in its top billing editorial last week, laid out a litany of “must dos” for Abbas if he is to maintain his presidency of the Palestinians. The Times even threw in a “must” for Obama and one for the Arab leaders. What was missing was a single “must” for Mr. Netanyahu:

"When Mr. Netanyahu visited the White House last week, Mr. Obama publicly pressed the Israeli leader to freeze settlements and commit to a two-state solution. Now he has set markers for Mr. Abbas, urging him to make greater efforts to rein in militants and halt incitement against Israel. We hope he will do the same for leading Arab states."[2]

I think it is somewhat disingenuous to write, “He (Abbas) must redouble efforts to halt the constant spewing of hatred against Israel in schools, mosques and media.” How can Abbas or any other leader of an occupied people halt the anger of those victimized by a calculated and brutal imperialism?

I am amazed that the Times did not address the causes of such “hatred,” including the ever expanding settlements, mostly occupied by lawless zealots who without impunity harass, steal from and sometimes shoot those whose lands they have occupied. How can the Times, as a responsible reporter of news, turn its back on the continued demolition of homes and the uprooting of olive trees? Add in, the humiliation inflicted by 600 military check points, the assassinations and imprisonment of Palestinian leaders and a wall separating farmers from their fields, kids from their schools and the sick and injured from hospitals, and who among us would not be enraged?

Just one “must” directed toward Israel would do more to diminish the level of hatred than all the punishment measures inflicted upon the Palestinians, many of whom have somehow managed to control their rage and actually seek peace with Israel.

Thomas Are
June 1, 2009

[1] Cited in The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Rachelle Marshall, Israel Changes Leaders but Not its Goal: No Palestinian State, April 2009, p.8.
[2] The New York Times, May 30, 2009, Editorial, Mr. Obama and Mr. Abbas, p. A16.