Goldstone report is gathering dust in the UN shelf.
Israel remains arrogant and lawless as ever.
Palestinian sufferings continue unabated.
Three years ago between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009 Israel unleashed its latest carnage on the starving Palestinians in Gaza.
Gaza is a small beach side strip of around 365 sq miles by the Mediterranean Sea. Sandwiched between Egypt and Israel this territory of about 1.6 million Palestinians is one of the most densely populated in the world. Most of the inhabitants are refugees who were chased out at gun point by Jewish terror gangs, such as Irgun and Hagana and their lands grabbed to set up the Jewish state of Israel in 1948.
During the June 1967 Israeli war of aggression Gaza was brought under Israeli occupation. Since then the people there were subjected to untold oppressions, cruelties and miseries besides daily killings, arbitrary arrest and torture.
Unable to face the fierce Palestinian opposition, Israel withdrew its forces from Gaza in 2005 after 38 years and handed over control of the Rafah border, Gaza's sole contact with the outside world, to Egypt while Palestinian forces, monitored by European Union officials, too were stationed.
Almost four decades of systematic Israeli oppression and repeated border closures have driven Gazans to poverty and inevitably around 80 percent of them depend on food aid without which they would die in a matter of days.
In a spotless democratic election, held in January 2006 under the supervision of former US President Jimmy Carter who described it as free and fair, Hamas was elected with an overwhelming majority.
However Israel, it’s US and European supporters and Arab collaborators wanted Hamas crushed at any cost as they did not want democracy in the Middle East.
They wanted to install pliant Palestine Authority in power .Israel, backed by US and Europe stopped all donations and cut off the flow of all money to starve Palestine into submission. The Arab regimes too joined this financial blockade knowing very well the misery they were causing to the Palestinians who needed this money to keep body and soul together.
In the midst Israel, under the guise of trying to free a captured soldier, bombed Gaza Strip in June 2006 with its F-16 fighter planes, helicopter gunships and artillery fire from tanks and turned Gaza into a virtual slaughter house. Within days roads, bridges, power plants, water supply, universities, schools, hospitals, play grounds, mosques and even tombs and ministry buildings were bombed and destroyed causing untold misery to the people already starving. In an unprecedented lawlessness, and the violation of international law, Israel started mafia-style abduction of Hamas cabinet ministers, mayors and parliamentarians.
As usual there was deafening international silence in Washington, London, Paris, Moscow and Arab capitals while Egypt joined Israel in closing the border and virtually sealing and cutting off Gaza from the rest of the world.
Since June 2007, 90 percent of Gaza's local industries too were forced to shut down, leaving 70,000 laborers jobless. There was no fuel to keep the plant running because Israel imposed a complete lock-down with no movement in or out of the Gaza Strip for people, or any kind of shipments in of vital food, fuel supplies and medicines. It was a slow death. Palestinians in Gaza and even in the West Bank were made virtual prisoners in their own homes and in a dire economic situation while Israel continued its air strikes. This was a grave war crime and in fact after World War II German leaders were sentenced to death for lesser crimes.
This situation continued for 20 long months until 17 January 2008 when Israel imposed a complete blockade and shut down Gaza’s only power plant plunging the entire territory into chaos.They were only allowed to breathe the air which Israel could not blockade.
People started queuing for bread, but there was no bread as it cannot be made without electricity. Connections with the outside world started fading as mobile phones and laptops ran out of battery power. There was no water because the pumps needed electricity. People could not go to work because there was no fuel for cars and buses. Hospitals with generators ran out of fuel to power them, halting all surgery procedures. In desperation, Palestinians tried to enter Egypt through the Rafah crossing, but the Egyptian border guards drove them out. Over 1000 Palestinians went out to the streets begging the world to end this cruel enforced starvation to death.
Princeton academic Richard Falk described Israel’s siege as a” prelude to a genocide” while John Dugard, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories said it was serious violations of international law. However who cares? Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery said “The message of Jews, the US and Europe to Palestinian is that you will reach the brink of hunger, and even beyond, if you do not surrender. You must remove the Hamas government and elect candidates approved by Israel and the US. You must be satisfied with a Palestinian state consisting of several enclaves, each of which will be utterly dependent on the tender mercies of Israel’
It was on these starving Palestinians in Gaza, once again Israeli unleashed its military might on 27 December 2009 using US supplied latest of bunker buster missiles, F16 bombers and other latest of destructive weapons.
There were numerous reports disclosing that this Israeli attack on Gaza was planned for six long months by representatives of Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Palestine Authority in Amman to eliminate Hamas and install Palestine Authority in power. London-based daily al-Quds al-Arabi reported on Sunday 28 December 2008 that Egypt collaborated with Israel to deal a blow to Hamas and pro Zionist Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman deceived Hamas into believing that Israel would not launch an attack on the Gaza Strip in the near future.
Even while the Palestinians were bombed to smithereens Hosni Mubarak refused to open its border crossing providing ample time for Israelis to roast and toast Palestinian men, women, children and the aged. Thus Instead of saving the Palestinians, there emerged reports that Saudi Arabia and Egypt, two most important heavy weights in the region, tried to delay the Arab summit to provide Israel enough time to destroy Hamas. There were also reports that Saudi King Abdulla has reportedly told President George Bush during a telephone conversation that he would not ask Israel to stop bombing Palestinians in Gaza.
During the 22 days of its carnage Israel killed, 1,334 Palestinians ,one-third of them children ,injured 5,450 , one-third of them children, displaced 100,000 , made homeless 50,000 ,destroyed 4,100 residential homes and buildings ,damaged 17,000 damaged (together accounting for 14 percent of all buildings in Gaza),destroyed 29 educational institutions ,destroyed or damaged 92 mosques, destroyed 1500 shops, factories and other commercial facilities,20 ambulances, ruined 35-60% of agricultural land and caused an estimated damage of $1.9 billion in total estimated damages.
Israel using banned phosphorous weapons on Gaza. Do these tears melt the hearts of champions of human rights in Washington, London and Paris? TWO-
Who cares for these massacres and tears?
This is perhaps Israel’s 60th massacre of Palestinians since the Jews migrated to Palestine since 1930s.
The United Nations appointed a fact finding mission headed by Judge Goldstone to probe into the war. Goldstone was regarded as one of the world’s most widely respected jurists, with an impeccable record of wisdom, honesty and integrity. He was also a devout Jew and has long been known as a fervent defender of Israel’s right to peace and security.
Goldstone report, released in September 2009, concluded that “Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity”.
Since then Goldstone has been subjected to extreme pressure and blackmail to retract the report? These pressures culminated when he wrote in the Washington Post retracting his report. He wrote that “if I had known then, what I know now, the Report would have been a different document,’
One commentator said it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Judge Goldstone wrote his op-ed as a direct result of the pressure put upon him by Israel – pressure that made him a pariah within his own community and which affected also his family. And it also wouldn’t surprise me if the Mossad was involved in this pressure to break Goldstone and make him retract his findings. Poor Goldstone now wants to make amends with his vile tormentors and is even willing to serve as a propaganda mouthpiece for this criminal regime. Bottom line, I feel sorry for Goldstone, but I don’t buy his cop-out for a single minute. The facts speak louder than any op-ed: 3 weeks, nearly 1400 dead, of these more than 300 women and children. Case closed.
Israeli born Jew Gilda Atman said; I tend to agree that Goldstone’s U Turn was surely inevitable: the history of Jewish animosity towards dissidents has long been firmly established, and in the last two years Goldstone and his family were subject to enormous pressure and social exclusion. It is more than likely that Goldstone was torn apart by it all. But the time has surely come to admit that we have reached the point of no return: we have to free our intellectual, spiritual and ethical life from any trace of Zionist ideology, from people who may have Zionist views or may have even been affiliated with Zionist philosophy. I believe that ethical discourse should move beyond any form of Judeo centric ‘ethical zigzagging”.
Three years later today plight of the Palestinians in Gaza remains unchanged and their misery continues. Israel remains arrogant and lawless. Champions of human rights in Washington, London, and Paris remain fully behind Israel and the so called brothers in the Middle East have no time for the Palestinians? Ends
Latheef Farook is a senior journalist who, after working for almost ten years in the Ceylon Daily News and the Ceylon Observer, led a group of journalist to Dubai in 1979 to launch Gulf News. He returned home after a quarter century working in the Gulf and now based in Colombo. His e mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org