Gaza Under Siege

By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS

Berkeley–January 27th–There have been deep divisions within the Arab world over the Gaza crisis.  As one commentator put it,”The people are more [politically] developed than their governments.”  Israelis and the Americans are in effect opening the way for Syrian hegemony over the Arabic-speaking lands.  At the same time the fissures between Fatah and Hamas will have to be solved so that aid may be delivered to the Gazans. This, so far has failed to take place in any great degree – mainly due to Fatah’s position, and the fact that Hamas took revenge upon Fatah supporters on the Shred along the Mediterranean under the cover of David’s onslaught.

In Europe a vicious split has arisen between Muslims and Jews.  France, particularly, where the largest numbers of both communities reside within Europa, has been undergoing the most intense social disruption.

Breaking the terms of their ceasefire, Israel has bombed the tunnels at the Egyptian border twice so far, and for all practical purposes blockading supplies from entering the Strip.  Also, against the terms of the original truce, the border crossings have still not been re-opened.  More recently, the Israel Defense Force’s Air wing has made a major strike upon the civilian population to which the Hamas military has responded with primitive rockets into southern Israel.  Under the concealment of their offensive to the south, Judah has been undertaking massive house demolitions on the West Bank.  The truce has been crumbling apart. 

Curiously, your reporter was assaulted as I presented my press credentials as I came to cover this story.  The police were called, and when I showed them my press card identifying myself as a correspondent for the Muslim Observer, I was asked to leave as a potential terrorist! [Sic.] Fortunately, some of the excellent presenters at the program below knew me, and it was worked out.

Amongst the scholar-activists who spoke were Behara Doumani, Judith Butler, George Besharat and Hatem Bazian.  Judith Butler began with “Gaza has been under a ruthless siege since 2006.”  She pointed out only part of the mini-republic’s army belonged to their armed department.  The political party Hamas governs Gaza through democratic consent.  Others of that Islamist grouping are in the Administration or within civil society itself.  Thus, it is not easy to identify combatants from civilians.  Deaths of children from the IDF (Israel Defense Force) bombings compared to Hamas’ rockets were twenty-four to one.  Israel, notably, broke the initial truce twenty-four times.  Ms. Butler stated it is Israeli racism that has established their version of  “civil and human rights” that denote their prerogatives upon the land.

George Besharat, a lawyer and a professor of the law — who has controversially spoken out for the rights of Palestinians — to the point that right-wing Zionist groups have pressured his Institution (Hastings Law School within the University of California) to revoke his tenure.  Professor Basarat stated this evening that there were serious violations of International Law in the assault upon Gaza, and in no uncertain terms War crimes had occurred.   Hamas’ actions were defensive, and in no way gave Tel Aviv the entitlement for their aggression.  The IDF (Israel Defense Force) violated the Fourth Article of the Geneva Convention by using overwhelming force on a defenseless population.  The previous blockade on the territory infringed upon Article 34 of that Agreement.  The attack upon civilians also defies the accepted Rules of War, too.  Further, targeting civilian infrastructure is illegal by Global Treaty.  There was massive misuse of disallowed weaponry – such as “White Phosphorous” by Intercontinental Accord.  80% of the 1.5 million Gazans were ethnically cleansed from what is now southern Israel.  None of them has been granted the right of return.

This was manifestly an immensely illegitimate aggression!  There was not an unprovoked armed attack by the Gazans under International Law, for “Israel broke the [initial] truce deliberately.”

Succinctly, the 2006 War against Hezbollah was a public relations disaster, (and the first War Israel actually lost.  To understand Gaza, one must have a grasp of the upcoming Tel Aviv election and the change in Washington.)  The truce between the Gazans and West Jerusalem would have held if the IDF opened the blockaded borders, and, if Israel restrained from attacking the Gazan people disproportionately.

Internationally, the Palestinians are undergoing an unwarranted persecution from a legal perspective.  They are enduring a prosecution from a plaintiff possessing impunity from having to possess a reasonable presentation.  In short, as Doctor Besharat, Esq. concludes, “Israel is a danger to all of us!”

The next to offer his comments was Beshara Doumani who stressed that there was a slow and silent killing of Palestinian society.  Gaza is only the latest in a long list of examples.  The Palestinian State is a mere fraction of the much larger Arab “State” to which it belongs.  The British Metropolis (Imperialist Center) decided to crave Palestine out of the Arabic Provinces of the (Former) Ottoman Empire after the First World War to form the Mandate of Palestine.  Then, after the Second World War in 1948, the British authorization had become fragmented.  During the 1950s Israel became a hegemon over the Palestinians.  Both Tel Aviv and the District of Columbia recognized the state of affairs (because it was to their advantage).

Gaza was a political “earthquake!”  Many now feel a two-State solution is not possible because of the pattern of land confiscation.  Each Israeli military checkpoint is in essence a crevice between “districts” within the Palestinian Nation.

Tel Aviv’ sole martial backer is the United States while Ramallah has not an amenable ally although Barack Obama is a clean break from George W. Bush and his first call from the Oval Office was to the West Bank.  Yet, as Doumani puts it, “The Palestinians will have to clean up our own house!” 

As for the Jewish Nation, there will probably be no quick change there.  West Jerusalem is merely trying to shun the indigenous people of the soil onto their neighbors — principally Egypt and Jordan.

The final speaker for the evening who was the “fire-brand” Hatem Bazian who put the onus right upon the institution from which he was talking — the University of California at Berkeley.  “We have to put an end to the University’s relationship to the Occupation… [We have to] end our purchase of Israeli bonds for our pension funds!”  We have to have a sisterhood relationship with the Gazans.  We should go to rebuild (that which was indirectly destroyed by us).  He accentuate that Christian (as well as Islamic) communities of faith should meet with Gazans. 

Despite the Oslo Accords, the offensive was planned six months before it was executed.  The Gazan elections — that [the Former U.S.] President Jimmy Carter observed — were the fairest he had ever seen, but they did not come out in the way Israel and the U.S.A. desired.  “George [W. Bush] had failed [too] greatly!”  Oddly, Tel Aviv and D.C. have empowered the Palestinians while”America’s agendas in the Middle East have failed.”  The next anticipated victim will be Iran.  “It’s our oil not theirs [the U.S.’]…The United States buys the oil [from us], and resells it to pay for it [for themselves].”

We must progress beyond the Shia/Sunni divide although “Merely survival is good enough for [Lebanon’s] Hezbollah…Arabs and Muslims are now just emerging from Colonialism,” and Israel is the last Colonial structure in the Middle East.

In conclusion, today the International actors are attempting to piece together a permanent truce, but Israel has broken it several times within the past fortnight. The prospects for the future are bleak.


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