Friday, October 01, 2004

Good Ole Gaza

Good Ole Gaza
October 01, 2004

Yesterday the Gaza Strip witnessed one of the most vicious and
intense Israeli military campaigns in months. For the first time in
four years of Palestinian civil uprising, the Israeli army reached
the heart of the over densely populated Jabalya refugee camp.
This latest Israeli incursion comes supposedly as a response or
retaliation, to a Qassam rocket attack by Hamas, which killed 2
children and injured 10 in the southern Israeli town of Sderot and a
scorched earth policy which is part of Israel's plan for
Gaza `disengagement.' With Israel's `natural right to defend
herself,' the Israeli army undertook one of its most concentrated
and systematic campaigns of killing innocent Palestinian civilians
while at the same time, demolishing many homes and general
infrastructure in Gaza.

According to news sources, since Wednesday's incursion, 42
Palestinians have been killed and 140 people injured, who are said
to be in very critical condition, 57 homes have been completely
demolished, and one power transmitter was destroyed in the centre of
Jabalya camp as well as, the outer walls of a UN school.

The primitive, homemade Qassam rockets have proven to be a great
annoyance for the Israeli military, illegal Israeli settlements
within Gaza, and neighboring Israeli towns and villages. Using these
simple rocket attacks as a pretext, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon ordered his Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to "Take every
necessary step to stop the firing of Qassams". In immediate
response, Mofaz consulted with his Chief of Staff General Moshe
Ya'alon, and told the Israeli Public Radio that "the army is
considering temporarily re-occupying the Palestinian territory and
could mobilize reserve troops". Under this operation codenamed `days
of penitence', Gaza could become the venue of a large scale campaign
of killings and massacres similar to the tragedy that took place in
the Jenin refugee camp two and a half years ago.

Israeli troops have repeatedly entered northern Gaza in an attempt
stop Qassam rockets from reaching Israeli settlements and nearby
towns and villages, but have failed so far. It is unclear how this
latest operation will seek to halt the Qassam rockets, and the
Palestinian resistance at large. With Gaza becoming a virtual
disaster zone, the Israeli Government can not seem to comprehend
that its incursions in Gaza will only fuel the anger and tension
among Gazans, while achieving no security goals whatsoever for

If security is not Israel's primal intention, the question arises,
how Israel's miserable conduct can be justified, with respects to
human rights and the complete disregard for human life. Quite
simply, apart from Israel having sadistic obsessions with Gaza and
its inhabitants, Israel's policies of continued and repeated war
crimes in Gaza go hand in hand with PM Sharon's proposed Unilateral
Disengagement Plan. This plan seeks to evacuate all settlers by
2005, while creating as much collateral damage as possible prior to
handing over the territory back to Palestinians. Former Gaza
Security Chief, Mohammed Dahlan, who is seen as a key player in
running Gaza after an Israeli withdrawal, said in a statement that
the Israeli operation "will result in a bloodbath on both sides
because the Palestinian people cannot remain silent in the face of
this aggression".

How much more damage and killing does the Israeli army need to
commit before the International community, through the mechanics of
the United Nations Security Council, issues a Chapter 7 resolution
which progressively pressures Israel into full compliance with
legally binding resolutions, or face sanctions and eventually the
threat of military action through a world alliance?

The UK Foreign Minster Jack Straw described the Middle East conflict
as the greatest challenge to international order and went on to
say "As for Israel – the targeted killings have to end, the
settlement building in the West Bank must stop as must the routing
of the `security barrier' onto Palestinian land". UN Secretary
General Kofi Annan also commented on the recent developments in Gaza
by expressing grave concern at the escalation of violence
and "especially mourns the death and injuries of children".
According to Al Mezan, a Palestinian human rights organization,
after four years of the Intifada, the excessive use of force by
Israel has brought the death toll in Gaza to 1,621 Palestinians, 179
of whom were killed by extra-judicial assassinations. The Israeli
military also targeted 5,897 homes, 221 public facilities, 67
schools, 30 places of worship and 18 NGO offices, in addition to 477
commercial businesses and 248 industrial facilities.

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