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Protest the Invasion of Gaza

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Message Stanley Heller
The Israeli Army is once again inside Gaza supposedly hunting for a "kidnapped" soldier. Jenin-like resistance and war crimes are a great possibility. The IDF has already blown up Gaza Strip bridges and destroyed a major power plant cutting off electricty to 700,000 people. Half the elected government of the Palestinian Authority has been thrown in prison, a measure that according to the Israeli press was planned weeks ago (Ha'aretz 6/26/06). Obviously all this is not being done on behalf of one soldier. As Israeli peace activist Uri Averny writes the aim of the operation is "to destroy the elected Palestinian government ...and bring the Palestinian population to its knees".

We should all oppose and speak out against attacks on civilians, but the Palestinian attack on the Kerem Shalom tank base was not an act of terrorism. Palestinian fighters attacked a military base that had been shelling Gaza relentlessly. In the past few months over 5,000 shells have been fired at Gaza. On June 9th Huda Ghaliya lost five brothers and sisters and her father when an Israeli warship shelled a family at an outing on a beach in Gaza. That was terrorism.

Kidnapping? On the day before the commando raid the Israeli army raided Gaza and took away Mustafa and Osama Muamar. Nobody in the West raised a peep. Nor does anyone talk about the thousands of people locked up in Israeli prisons without charges. The Israelis have a nice name for it, "administrative detention". In Tel Aviv there must be a Department of Euphemism that employs sadists to dream up harmless phrases to disguise revolting crimes.

It is often remarked that the captured Israeli soldier is so very young, around 20. Well, what about the much younger Palestinians in Israeli dungeons? According to Ha'aretz there are 313 Palestinians under the age of 18 in Israeli prisons. Youth, kids, children. Not that Ha'aretz is any beacon of reason. Read their writers in this "New York Times of Israel" and see how one after another they demand blood from the "terrorists".

Not too many months ago many on the Left were singing the praises of Amir Peretz, the "peace" candidate of the Labour Party. Well, Peretz made his "peace" right after the election, peace with the Sharonist-Olmert government. He became Defense Minister. And nothing changed, not the shelling, not the assassinations, not the lies. Peretz most infamous statement was his flat out denial that Huda Ghaliya's family was shredded by an Israeli shell. He blamed Hamas!

On June 27th in an interview Peretz told Yedioth Aharonot, "Upon leaving the area [Gaza], Israel announced before the world that it would respond in the harshest manner possible to any attack against it originating in evacuated areas, and we have complete legitimacy to do so." (see A total lie. It's a war crime to react to an attack in the "harshest manner possible". There are limits. There is international law.

Does the Israeli government have an alternative in the face of the Palestinian Qassem rockets? Of course it does. Cease fire and negotiate with Palestinians over prisoner release.

As Naom Shalit, the captured soldier's father stated Wednesday, "The emphasis here is on an intelligent, rather than impassioned, operation. We would like no additional injuries, not among IDF troops and certainly not among innocent civilians on both sides, Israeli and Palestinian. This is of the utmost importance to us."
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Stanley Heller is host of "The Struggle" a weekly TV news program seen on public access stations in the northeast and at He is chair of the Middle East Crisis Committee.
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