The tepid response of world leaders to Israel's ferocious attack on a defenseless Gaza conveys a helpless feeling to all world citizens – brutality rules and we are all vulnerable to attack. EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, commented that "the EU is very concerned by the events in Gaza." French President Nicolas Sarkozy was quoted as saying he "strongly condemns the irresponsible provocations which led to this situation as well as the disproportionate use of force."
Are world leaders totally ignorant of the events leading to the massive destruction of Palestinian life? Are they unaware of Israel's provocations and shrewd deceptions which allowed them to seem innocent and carry out a plan to destroy the Palestinians?
For two years Israel has illegally blockaded Gaza. BBC News (Heather Sharp, Gaza Under Blockade, Nov. 11, 2008) states that the area's "1.5 million people have been relying on less than a quarter of the volume of imported supplies they received in December 2005" and "virtually no exports have been permitted."
A totally paralyzed economy has tried to exist with reduced fuel supplies, electrical outages and a lack of spare parts. Intermittent hunger and severe physical and psychological damage have been common. Include impacts on sewage treatment, waste collection, water supplies and medical facilities. Despite a truce between Hamas and Israel, the Israel military continued its attacks on West Bank Palestinians.
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, over the last two weeks, from December 4th - 17th, two Palestinians, including a civilian were killed by Israeli forces, ten Palestinian civilians were wounded by Israeli gunfire and three others were wounded by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. Four fighters with the Palestinian resistance, and an unarmed woman were wounded by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip.
Dec. 19, IMEMC News
Al Jazeera reports, Dec. 12, 2008, that Israeli forces, during the month, invaded Salfit, Hebron, Bilin, and Khan Younis (Gaza), injured four Palestinians, and took 18 civilians into custody.
Settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron destroyed Palestinian property and attacked Palestinians after Israel Defense Forces evicted them from a building of disputed ownership. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other Israeli figures branded the settler attacks as a "pogrom" against the Palestinians.
How did Hamas react to these provocations – quite sensible. In order to continue the truce, Hamas issued two responsible demands (1) Israel halt its devastating economic blockade of Gaza, and (2) Israel observe a truce in the West Bank as well as Gaza. When Israel refused to meet these humanitarian demands, Hamas refused to continue the truce, as it had promised and as Israel knew would happen. Rocket fire by militants, not clearly identified with Hamas, sent mortars and rockets into Israel. Despite the intensive barrage, not a single Israeli was killed or wounded.
Note: Although any weapons fired against a civilian population is unjustified, rockets are not guided missiles and these mortars are mostly homemade devices that only propel a small explosive and have limited range. No mention has been made of the constitution of the barrages - the number of mortars and the number of rockets.
So, world leaders, what do we know? For two years the people in Gaza have been intermittently starved and left destitute by Israel actions. Israeli attacks on innocent Palestinians continue. Despite no Israelis being harmed in the December rocket and mortar barrages, Israel used the attacks as an excuse to devastate the defenseless Palestinians.
And what else do we know? Israel has planned this action for six months and waited for a suitable time to activate it.
IAF strike followed months of planning, by Barak Ravid
Ha'aretz, December 28, 2008
Long-term planning, meticulous intelligence-gathering, secret discussions, visual deception tactics and disinformation preceded operation "Cast Lead" which the Israel Air Force launched yesterday in Gaza to take out Hamas targets in the Strip.
The disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.
Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas. According to the sources, Barak maintained that although the lull would allow Hamas to prepare for a showdown with Israel, the Israeli army needed time to prepare, as well.
Inaction of world leaders to Israel's scheme of using deadly provocation (similar to continuing West Bank settlements) to invite retaliation, and then using retaliation that actually did not cause casualties as an excuse for more deadly actions is distressing.
Equally distressing is the lack of realization of the average American to the truth of the situation. If the people of Arizona are a model of US citizen thinking on this issue then the situation becomes more desperate. Take a peek at a forum of the Arizona Daily Star,http://regulus2.azstarnet.com/comments/index.php?id=273507 and be startled.
Lebanon's Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, considered a US ally in Beirut, described the Israeli attacks as a "criminal operation" and "new massacres to be added to its full record of massacres." If the United Nations, European Union and the US administration cannot listen to the Middle East region's leaders and prevent these atrocities against the Palestinian people, what hope do the democratic and peace loving populations of the world have when confronted with tyranny and aggression?
Dan Lieberman is editor of Alternative Insight, a monthly web based newsletter.
Dan's many articles on the Middle East conflicts have circulated on websites and media throughout the world. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org