Friday, July 07, 2006

Round and round we go, take your partner dosy d'oh!

As was inevitable, Israel's latest incursion into Gaza has turned into a bloody mess with 21 Palestinians dead from yesterday's fighting -- all of them militants, naturally -- and one Israeli soldier dead. Now, I forget, why is Israel going back into Gaza? Oh right, to rescue the Gilad Shalit the missing soldier. Because the Israelis were so concerned for Shalit's well-being, they initially waited several days to see if a diplomatic solution could be found, which necessarily meant negotiating with Hamas -- but who they don't talk to because they're a terrorist organization.

But then, before the haggling could even begin, the Israelis started taking out civilian infrastructure like the only power plant in Gaza, bombing the Islamic University, repeatedly hitting Gaza's interior ministry building, arresting a third of the members of the democratically elected Hamas government, and waging psychological warfare on the population of Gaza with round the clock sonic booms. What Israel sees as a "restrained" operation, the rest of the world sees as war crimes. The government of Switzerland, not exactly known for their anti-Israel stance, came out this week and said Israel was violating international law. Yesterday, the UN Human Rights Council voted 29-11, with five abstentions, to condemn Israel's attack on civilians.

Even the FT, not typically an anti-Israel paper, wrote in an editorial that the Israel's strategy was "mindless." The paper writes that this situation requires "forceful diplomatic intervention" and that the "response of the US and its allies, calling for 'restraint' is mutedly inadequate."

The editorial goes on: "Consider, for a moment, what would have happened if, in reaction to the IRA seizing a soldier, the British government had: invaded Northern Ireland; punished its people by destroying its electricity supply, transport links and government offices; shelled Belfast and Derry from land, sea and air; cratered the Falls Road; used the Royal Air force to buzz offices of the Taoiseach in Dublin; and arrested every Republican it could lay its hands on. There would rightly have been an international outcry -- and so there should be in this case."

So where is it? Where's the US calling for its biggest recipient of foreign aide to tone it down? Tony Snow said this week that Israel should ensure that, "innocent civilians are not harmed" and "avoid the unnecessary destruction of property and infrastructure." It's a little too late for that, but keep in mind Snow says what's really important is that the Palestinians are, "complicit in perpetrating violence. The hostage taking and the attacks by Hamas last weekend have precipitated the current events in Gaza." [AP] Of course, what he didn't mention was that on the 25th of June, four days before Shalit was abducted, Israeli commandos launched a lighting raid into Gaza and kidnapped -- sorry, "arrested" -- two Hamas militants.

Around that time also Israel conducted another one of their patented extra judicial assassinations killing Jamal Abu Samadhana, a local militia leader, and before that killed 8 civilians in an artillery barrage on the Gaza beach near Beit Layiha. In the two weeks leading up to the kidnapping of Shalit, Israeli accidentally killed 11 other civilians including young children in several bungled attempts to kill Hamas fighters.

But this is all about the Palestinians and their terrorist government which, incidentally, was right on the cusp of backing down on Abu Mazen's demand that Hamas at least implicitly recognize Israel and let him negotiate based on the two-state solution. This is all "irrelevant" the Israelis say now, because some splinter group took one Israeli soldier.

Well, it's all over for the Palestinian people, all of them, who are now doomed to suffer because they had the audacity to exercise their democratic right to vote, which George W. Bush insisted on them doing


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