Thursday, January 8, 2009

more stuff people probably don't want to hear about

I need to clean out my tabs, and, oh look, all of them happen to be stories about Israel/Gaza from the last few days.

Here's an article from the Washington Post:

Near sundown, Israel dropped leaflets on northern Gaza warning residents to evacuate their homes, as witnesses reported heavy movement of troops and tanks massed on the border. The leaflets read: "Area resident, as a result of the acts undertaken by terror activists in your area against Israel, the IDF is forced to respond immediately and operate in this area. For your own safety, you are asked to leave the area immediately."

It was unclear where the residents were supposed to go; Gaza is tiny, and no part of the strip, home to 1.5 million people, has been spared from attack. Border crossings have been sealed for everyone except 220 foreigners and a small number of Palestinians in need of immediate medical help.

Yes, "leave the area immediately", but we're bombing everywhere and we're not letting anyone leave. Recall that the strip is about 1/4 the size of the average Texas county. And when you hear the Israelis talking about how the "militants" are hiding themselves and their weapons in areas densely populated with civilians, take note that the entire place is a densely populated civilian area.

And then here's a gut-wrenching account from an A.P. reporter inside Gaza. He lives there. His home has been destroyed, along with most of the rest of the scenery of his life. And he's one of the few people reporting directly on the carnage, because Israel -- in defiance of their own supreme court -- is refusing to allow foreign journalists into the war zone. Here is some background on this reporter, well worth reading.

And an AP story reporting the the U.N. has discontinued aid shipments because their delivery vehicles are being attacked by Israeli troops, resulting in at least two aid workers' deaths.

"We've been coordinating with them (Israeli forces) and yet our staff continue to be hit and killed," said a U.N. spokesman, Chris Gunness, announcing the suspension. The U.N. is the largest aid provider in Gaza... The U.N. provides food aid to around 750,000 Gaza residents.


In Geneva, the international Red Cross said it would restrict its aid operations to Gaza City for at least one day after one of its convoys came under Israeli fire at the Netzarim crossing during the pause in fighting Thursday.


During a three-hour pause in the fighting to allow in food and fuel and let medics collect the dead, nearly three dozen bodies were found beneath the rubble of bombed out buildings in Gaza City.

Many of the dead were in the same neighborhood where the international Red Cross said rescuers discovered young children too weak to stand who had stayed by their dead mothers. The aid group accused Israel of an "unacceptable" delay in allowing workers to reach the area.

Relations between Israel and humanitarian organizations have grown increasingly tense as civilian casualties have mounted.

The United Nations demanded an inquiry this week after Israeli shells killed nearly 40 Palestinians near a U.N. school filled with Gazans.

And what is the U.S. thinking on this situation? Well, here's a gem from IHT:

Libya, the only Arab member of the [U.N. security] council, had circulated a draft statement expressing "serious concern at the escalation of the situation in Gaza, in particular, after the launching of the Israeli ground offensive" and urged all parties "to observe an immediate cease-fire."

But diplomats said the United States refused to back the Libyan-drafted text and killed the initiative, since council statements must be passed unanimously. Later the United States refused to back a watered-down call for a truce, the diplomats said.

Later reports clarified that Britain and France, usually lockstep votes in support of U.S. positions on these types of issues, were in this case in favor of these draft resolutions, making the U.S. the only member of the 15 member security council to oppose the measures. Why?

See also this story in a U.K. paper. Headline: "Bush gives Israel diplomatic support over Gaza offensive." Subhead: "President George W Bush, in his last fortnight in office, is providing Israel with the diplomatic support the country needs to continue its offensive in the Gaza Strip." It's just great that we're still allowing this asshat to direct U.S. policy on these matters. But again: Why?


chupacabra said...

5000+ rockets from Hamas in two years. Israel should be lauded for their patience to this point and even handed restraint when they finally acted.

Gleemonex said...

Religion. Can there be any doubt, now, of its destructive power?

HHL said...

chupacabra: I doubt it was those dead kids who were firing the rockets.