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It's time to talk about Gaza

For the sake of both the residents of Israel’s south and the Palestinians, we must speak about Gaza as a place with real people, rather than as a science experiment.

Over the past few years, the Israeli public discussion has reduced conditions in Gaza to one of two situations: either it’s the place where rockets are fired from, or it’s the place where rockets are momentarily not being fired from.

Responses to the rocket fire are determined accordingly: attack with vigor or hold back; refrain from entering the Strip or recreate the “achievements” of Operation Cast Lead; allow building materials or don’t; escalate or refrain. Gaza is a kind of scientific experiment where Israel tries to reach the perfect degree of “deterrence” or “restraint” in order to maintain “quiet.”

Palestinian workers salvage building materials near Erez Crossing at the northern border between Gaza and Israel, Beit Hanoun, February 18, 2014. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Palestinian workers salvage building materials near Erez Crossing at the northern border between Gaza and Israel, Beit Hanoun, February 18, 2014. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Now, we are once more in a period of escalation. Once more “code red” alarms tear the residents of Sderot and the rest of the area near the border from their beds in the middle of the night and threaten them during the day. Rockets fall on homes and factories, and normal life comes to a complete halt. Once more, the Israel Air Force bombs the Strip and prevents its residents from a full night’s rest. Only a month ago did the IAF kill seven-year-old Abed Awar. But who even remembers that? It’s likely that the current round won’t end in a ground operation, and things will return to normal. Until next time.

As Jack Khoury reported today in Haaretz, Hamas is not interested in an escalation and denies responsibility for the kidnapping. Despite the army’s major raid on the party’s institutions in the West Bank, the arrest of hundreds of its members and the bombings in Gaza – Hamas has signaled to Israel that it wants to restore calm. In the current political situation, with its recent agreement to enter into the Palestinian technocratic government (and with no ability to work outside that government due to hostility from Egypt and a lack of support from the Arab world), it cannot allow itself to take a different stance. But Netanyahu insists on painting Hamas into a corner.

Female Israeli anti-occupation activists protest the siege on Gaza at the Erez Crossing on International Women's Day. (photo: Activestills)

Female Israeli anti-occupation activists protest the siege on Gaza at the Erez Crossing on International Women’s Day. (photo: Activestills)

We must speak about Gaza in a wider context. We must remember that Israel undertook to treat the West Bank and Gaza as one territorial entity under the Oslo framework. We must remember that if a Palestinian state is to ever come into existence, it will be established in the West Bank and Gaza. And even if not, Gaza is not going anywhere. We must remember that the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are part of the same nation, and that over 1.5 million people have lived under blockade in the largest open-air prison in the world for nearly a decade.

For the sake of the residents of Israel’s south, for the sake of everyone involved – if we want a permanent calm, we must speak about Gaza as a place with real people, rather than as a science experiment.

Read this article in Hebrew on Local Call.

Related:
In escalations of violence, Gazans pay the price
Israeli right: Take measures against Palestinians following murders
The three truths the U.S. needs to accept about Gaza

 

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    1. Bar

      We must remember that the Gazans keep shooting rockets at Israel.

      We must remember that when Israel lets construction materials in, it finds them in massive and long tunnels into Israeli territory instead of inside new buildings and schools.

      We must remember that the Gaza government’s rhetoric is genocidal.

      We must remember that even the Egyptians, a country that has always been at the forefront of pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel activism and that is one of the Palestinians’ staunchest allies in the Arab world, refuses to open its border to the Gazan Palestinians.

      And finally, we must remember that even if, somehow, the Palestinians can get their act together and make the two territories one (which means that when the PA takes over Gaza, it takes over not in name only), they then have to act in good faith during peace negotiations. Two Israeli PMs offered to include Gaza in the new Palestinian state that would come to be if peace became a reality…so let’s all hope the Palestinians can get the Gazan government to stop threatening and attacking Israel and Israelis, renounce their violent goals regarding Israel and Jews and agree to come to a compromise.

      Fat chance.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Kolumn9

      Gaza is a territory from which Israel has fully withdrawn and from which rockets are randomly shot at Israeli towns. That is all that we must remember about Gaza. The real people that live there are just as real as the people that live in Kigali, Rabat and Lusaka and we must remember about them equally as much, and we do.

      Reply to Comment
    3. shachalnur

      The Algerian football team,who participated very succesfully in the World Cup in Brazil,donated their prize money ($9 million) to Gaza.

      “They need it more than us” ,according to Slimani,player and star attacker of the Algerian football team.

      The image of the Jewish State of Shame is beyond repair,and even Jews are getting the picture.

      The sooner this potentially genocidal/suicidal sect folds ,the better for all ,Jews and non-Jews,in the world.

      Reply to Comment
      • Victor

        Don’t worry, the Jews have long ago gotten the picture of Algeria, the country that offered citizenship to the Muslims and children of Muslim fathers, meaning that the entire Jewish community, which predated even the coming of Islam to Algeria, was excluded from citizenship and had to leave. That’s why of the former community of more than 100,000, you now find virtually no Jews in Algeria.

        Now, instead of giving money to Syrian refugees, who actually need immediate help, or even Abbas’s PA (which still holds the fig leaf of acceptability), the team allegedly (hasn’t been confirmed, it seems), has decided to give money to one place, from which rockets are lobbed directly at civilians.

        Reply to Comment
        • Reza Lustig

          Yes, how dare they donate money to residents of a city that are blockaded and have trouble getting basic supplies in. They voted for HAMAS!

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Liar!

            “(…). Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law”.

            Source: The United Nations, September 2011.

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Lightbown

            You just cannot get the hang of references can you Ms Eis? In case you had not noticed the United Nations is rather a large organisation producing producing rather a lot of documents. How about you give us a full reference for this quote (if you can)?

            Lazy shit.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            You see, Mr. Lightbown, my post contains enough info re the primary source of the info contained therein. If you are too dumb to find said source, then you should ask nicely, and I mean NICELY. That’s how gentlemen behave. I have neither the civility nor the patience to deal with little street thugs like yourself. Until you ask NICELY you ain’t getting anything from me, ok?

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Lightbown

            Exactly Ginge, you didn’t know where it came from and had to be helped out.

            Your quote is actually from the summary and if you had ever read the report you would find it says on page 38

            “67. This part of our report presents our conclusions on the facts, circumstances and
            context of the incident under review by the Panel. These conclusions have been reached
            against the backdrop of the exposition of the principles of public international law set out
            in the Appendix prepared by the Chair and Vice-Chair. Yet we must stress we are not
            asked to determine the legality or otherwise of the events. The Panel is not a court; its
            report is not an adjudication. WHAT WE EXPRESS ARE OUR VIEWS ON WHAT TOOK PLACE”. (My emphasis)

            In other words, what you are claiming to be a UN statement is merely the personal opinions of Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Alvaro Uribe expressed in their report to the UN Secretary-General. Sure they are both lawyers, but neither has any expertise on international maritime law.

            That opinion, which was widely criticised (even in Israel), contradicts the UNHRC Fact-Finding Mission report by three distinguished jurists “assisted by external specialists in forensic pathology,
            military issues, firearms, the law of the sea and international humanitarian law” (para. 3).

            Among their conclusions they state in para 263 “Israel seeks to justify the blockade on security grounds. The State of Israel is
            entitled to peace and security like any other. The firing of rockets and other munitions
            of war into Israeli territory from Gaza constitutes serious violations of international
            law and of international humanitarian law. But any action in response which
            constitutes collective punishment of the civilian population in Gaza is not lawful in
            any circumstances.”

            This opinion happens to conform with that of the ICRC which declared in 2010 “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law .” http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/update/palestine-update-140610.htm

            (Palmer never gave any reason why it chose to perversely contradict these two eminent opinions which had been published previously.)

            By the way, who were you calling a liar?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            1. There is no dispute my source and Gil’s source are different sources containing the same UN report.
            2. There is no dispute that my quote is cut, copied and pasted from the UN report.
            3. There is no dispute that said UN report was compiled on behalf of the UN by experts appointed by the UN pursuant to a UN-mandate, the relevant provisions of International law and after thorough investigations on the ground.
            My advice to you is this: ‘learn to recognize`quickly when a battle is lost, lick your wounds and move on, lest you embarrass- and bring more shame onto yourself (as you are doing now disputing the indisputable, sounding childish, etc.)

            Reply to Comment
          • GilGamesh

            that’s good advice Rich. You should take it. You asked for a reference and got it. Now you are moving the goal posts. Face it the quote is from a UN Report on the incident. Your post from the body of the report in no way changes the finding as stated in the summary and as the authors states it is backed up by “the principles of public international law set out
            in the Appendix prepared by the Chair and Vice-Chair. “

            Reply to Comment
          • GilGamesh

            that’s good advice Rich. You should take it. You asked for a reference and got it. Now you are moving the goal posts. Face it the quote is from a UN Report on the incident. Your post from the body of the report in no way changes the finding as stated in the summary and as the authors states it is backed up by “the principles of public international law set out
            in the Appendix prepared by the Chair and Vice-Chair. ”
            Oh and go and check the link you posted it contains none of the quotes you posted. Pretty funny considering your complaint about getting the hang of references.

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Lightbown

            The link given was to a document by the International Committee of the Red Cross which opens perfectly well for me from this page. I have quoted the third paragraph in its entirety.

            Time to see an optician Gil. An apology would not be out of place either.

            It was perhaps remiss of me to leave out the link to the Hudson-Phillips report although I did not attempt to disguise where it came from. So here is the link (to which I have already quoted the paragraphs so you can try out your new glasses on those references too). http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/15session/A.HRC.15.21_en.pdf

            Having got the reference that Ginge should have originally supplied (she did not even name the report) it is my prerogative to comment on its relevance without being shouted down. I also consider it appropriate to point out that attributing it to ‘The United Nations’ is misleading (deliberately so, I suspect) when it is the merely the personal opinion of two lawyers with minimal expertise in that field (one of whom has strong links to Israel – a clear conflict of interest which should have barred his selection). The Hudson-Phillips report was officially adopted by the UN Human Rights Council. Palmer’s report has only been adopted by habarists, since there was no chance the US would get it through the Security Council or the General Assembly.

            The crux of this argument, which you guys are desperately trying to avoid, is that no official body of the UN has ever declared the Gaza blockade to be legal, although the UNHRC has endorsed a report which has said the opposite: i.e. it is unlawful. More importantly, in the absence of a ruling from the ICC or ICJ, we have the opinion of the ICRC, which those of us with the ability to read English can find on the link I previously gave.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            It seems, Mr. Lightbown, you are hard of hearing and will continue to embarrass yourself by talking about issues (of legal academic nature) you have no understanding of and mixing and convoluting politics with law. Unlike the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Secretariat is an Organ of the UN and is neither less important than the UNGA, UNSC and other organs of the UN nor subordinate to any of them. The Secretary-General is the head of the UN Secretariat. The Palmer report is titled: Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Inquiry (see also the 2nd and 3rd para. of the report) and bears the insignia of the UN. Its findings and conclusions need not be endorsed by the UNGA in order for it to become a UN-report. This is the current state of the legal science and the more you dispute it, the more you make a fool of yourself!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Nata bene: “(see also the 2nd and 3rd para. of the summary of the report)” was meant.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Additionally, the Palmer report dates way later than the hastily compiled and politically motivated Hudson-Phillips report and took into account (a) the findings and the conclusions-, the factual and legal errors and omissions of the Hudson-Philips report, (b) the findings and conclusions of the thorough, well researched and intellectually imposing report of the Turkel Commission, (c) the findings and conclusions of the Turkish report, (d) conclusions and finding of experts appointed by the UNSG, (e) reports compiled by other International Orgs on International Humanitarian law and Naval Blockade during international armed conflict, etc. From the point of view of legal doctrine, the Palmer report effectively derogates the Hudson-Philips report via analogous application of the principle of ‘lex posterior derogat legi priori’. This is settled law, i.e. there is no room for dispute – unless you want to continue to embarrass yourself.

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Lightbown

            SECOND POSTING (FIST ONE DISAPPEARED INTO THE ETHER)

            You ought to read beyond the summary of the report sometime.

            Now please supply sources for the following statements of yours (which are not supported by the Palmer report)
            1) Palmer took into account the Hudson-Phillips report
            2) Palmer took into account conclusions and finding of experts appointed by the UNSG
            3) Palmer took into account ‘reports compiled by other International Orgs on International Humanitarian law and Naval Blockade during international armed conflict, etc.’

            Regarding the claim ‘the Palmer report effectively derogates the Hudson-Philips report via analogous application of the principle of ‘lex posterior derogat legi priori’’ – That’s total rubbish they are both merely legal opinions.
            On Palmer and Uribe’s credentials Richard Falk had this to say
            ‘Geoffrey Palmer, the Chair of the Panel, although a respected public figure, being the former Prime Minister of New Zealand and an environmental law professor, was not particularly knowledgeable about either the international law of the sea or the law of war. And incredibly, the only other independent member of the Panel was Alvaro Uribe, the former President of Colombia, with no professional credentials relevant to the issues under consideration, and notorious both for his horrible human rights record while holding office and forging intimate ties with Israel by way of arms purchases and diplomatic cooperation that was acknowledged by ‘The Light Unto The Nations’ award given by the American Jewish Committee that should have been sufficient by itself to cast doubt on his suitability for this appointment.’
            To sum up, neither Palmer nor Uribe had expertise or experience in the international law of the sea or the law of war and contrary to what you claim that had no assistance from anyone that did have expertise.

            Turkel’s whitewash I have thoroughly dissected and exposed elsewhere. http://australiansforpalestine.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/A-Critique-of-Errors-and-Omissions-in-the-Report-of-the-Commission-for-Examining-the-Maritime-Incident-of-May-31.pdf

            Reply to Comment
          • GilGamesh

            Why should I apologize Rich you posted 4 quotes only 1 (the last one) appeared in the link you provided. If anyone is owed an apology it is Ginger by you. Or is providing only 1 reference for multiple sources “getting the hang” of how references are provided?

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Lightbown

            No comments on the blockade being unlawful then Gil?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            1. There is no dispute that all the members of the S-G’s Panel Of Inquiry are experts in their relevant fields and were all appointed by the S-G. These experts and their own assistants reviewed thousands of materials on Int. law, legal science and literature (see the hundreds of footnots), testimonies of 93 individuals provided by Turkey (see footnote 1) and testimonies of Israeli officials incl. the Israeli PM, top echelon of the IDF and IDF-commandos involved in the operation (p. 7), etc. Additionally the Panel members could direct the Israeli and Turkish officials to carry out more investigations and report the results therof to them. The conclusions and findings of these experts resulted to the Palmer report. So far so good? Fine. Now:
            2. There is also no dispute that the Palmer report was compiled at least more than one year after the Hudson-Philip report;
            3. There is equally no dispute that the Hudson-Philip report rested on reports compiled by several NGOs, incl. the ICRC;
            4. There is further no dispute that an essential part of the material underlying the findings and conclusions of the Palmer report is information supplied by both the Israeli and the Turkish governments.
            5. There is finally no dispute that the Hudson-Philips report and the reports of several NGOs on which said Hudson-Philips report rested, form integral parts of the information supplied by Turkey and Israel to the Palmer Panel (see, inter alia, footnotes: 278, 274, etc. and p. 105 of the Palmer report) and that the Palmer Panel relied heavily on said information supplied by the parties.
            The above answers your 1-4 questions. You see, Mr. Lightbown, your problem is that you don’t know how to navigate reports and figure out the essential pillars thereof. Everything has to be spelled out for you like a baby. I am not extremely patient and I won’t babysit you. You cry waay too much.

            Reply to Comment
          • GilGamesh

            Huh? First of all Rich let’s remember how our discussion started. You implied that Ginger was fabricating quotes from the UN. You were proved wrong and yet remained unrepentant. Secondly you yourself posted quotes which I correctly pointed out, you didn’t source, in spite of your extreme intolerance of posts you disagree with that do the same. Once again you remained unrepentant. Thirdly as for your claim that the blockade was illegal clearly the experts disagree, but the few words you cite don’t specifically say the blockade is illegal only that collective punishment is.

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Lightbown

            You are looking at the trivia and missing the point Gil.

            Ginge’s quote, which was not correctly sourced, was attributed to the UN when in fact it is the personal opinion (as they themselves state unequivocally) of a couple of Mickey Mouse experts appointed to report back to the Secretary-General. It should have been cited for what it was without the pretence that the UN has declared the blockade legal (or the wishful thinking later expressed that this is ‘settled law’). The UN (not the UNSC, the UNGA, the UN Secretariat nor any other UN organisation) has never declared the blockade to be legal.

            The fact that the quote was from the Palmer Commission should have been made quite clear at the outset. It wasn’t, and I suggest that was deliberate.

            Your complaint about my sourcing is based on my not providing a link to the Hudson-Phillips report, although I did state where my quotes were from (with paragraphs). I have admitted the link should have been provided, although there was never any doubt where I was quoting from, there was no subterfuge, and the source was named. The other link to the ICRC opens and my quote is an exact quote, although you have tried, incorrectly, to pretend that is not the case.

            Your third point above is false. The quote from Hudson-Phillips which I gave (and to which I subsequently provided the link) ends by saying ‘is not lawful in any circumstances’. These are the words of a Fact-Finding Mission chaired by a former judge of the International Criminal Court and I cannot see how you can misconstrue them to say, as you have here, that they ‘don’t specifically say the blockade is illegal’. In fact they could not be more explicit, unless you are suggesting that ‘not lawful’ is significantly different from ‘illegal’.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            “Ginge’s quote, which was not correctly sourced, was attributed to the UN when in fact it is the personal opinion (as they themselves state unequivocally) of a couple of Mickey Mouse experts appointed to report back to the Secretary-General. (…)The UN (not the UNSC, the UNGA, the UN Secretariat nor any other UN organisation) has never declared the blockade to be legal”.

            The more you repeat this claim, the more you expose your limitations. The Palmer-report is no less a UN-report than the Hudson-Philips report. Now, either both are UN-reports or both are not. I have explained to you why the Palmer report need not be adopted by the UNGA, i.e. the UNSG and the UNGA are both organs of the UN while the UN human rights council is a subsidiary organ of the UNGA). Lastly, I will urge you to refrain from politics and qualifications such as “Mickey Mouse experts”, etc. Not only does that not contribute anything to the discussion, it convolutes and confuses the issues. Furthermore, there is a lot of bad news that could be brought forward against Mr. Hudson-Philips. I have refrained from doing that because I know where such discussions will ordinarily lead to. I urge you to do the same and discuss the law and the law alone.

            (something wrong with the channel: either the posts don’t show up at all or they show up at the wrong place!)

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            “Regarding the claim ‘the Palmer report effectively derogates the Hudson-Philips report via analogous application of the principle of ‘lex posterior derogat legi priori’’ – That’s total rubbish they are both merely legal opinions”.

            You see, Mr. Lightbown, this comment is quite interesting, because it shows that you have noooo idea of whatsoever of the legal issue being discussed there. That’s amusing. Do you happen to know which methods of legal interpretations there are and, as such, the role the word “analogous” plays in the sentence you disagree? Anyways, as said, the more you talk and argue, the more you reveal you limits and that I consider a gain.

            (re-post. the last posts are not showing-up. So I modified this one to see what happens)

            Reply to Comment
          • GilGamesh

            first of all Richard as Ginger already pointed out “Palmer-report is no less a UN-report than the Hudson-Philips report” If anything Palmer has more validity for reasons that were already explained to you.
            As for “‘is not lawful in any circumstances’” clearly refers to collective punishment which is why it is the sentence talking about collective punishment. I don’t know if you have a problem with how the English language is constructed or if you are being purposely obtuse. Face it Rich you have lost this round on all accounts.

            Reply to Comment
        • Baladi Akka 1948

          Bullshit ! The Jews of Algeria had become French citizens since the Décret Crémieux in 1870, the FLN (Front de Libération National) addressed the Jewish population on various occasions during the war against French colonialism, demanding them to choose their side, they apparently did, most left with their new French compatriots in 1962, but 15.000-20.000 Jews stayed in Algeria after independance and became Algerian citizens (cf. Benjamin Stora, best French historian on the topic, himself a Jew born in Constantine: “Les Trois Exils: Juifs d’Algérie”

          By the way, the rumours about the Algerian national team donating their prize money to Gaza is a hoax !
          But look at this, that flag next to the Algerian, when Algeria plays, there is always Palestinian flags too http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LO7mPW10t0

          Reply to Comment
          • GilGamesh

            Stora’s family fled Algeria during the civil war. He was never a citizen. The Algerian Nationality Code, Law no. 63-69 of Mar. 27, 1963, section 34 would have made it impossible, as it required a citizen to have a Muslim father and paternal grandfather

            Reply to Comment
    4. Ginger Eis

      The Heart Breaking Story Of Gaza told by kids. You need not be a rocket scientist to figure out what the problem is. Watch! And Weep!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJyx4ZYAir0

      Reply to Comment
    5. andrew r

      What we need to remember above all is that the Palestinians of Gaza are mainly refugees from the Galilee and Jaffa who fled during 1948. The territory is a ghetto like the Pale of Settlement so they can be segregated from Israel.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        And your point is exactly what, Mr. Andrew R.? Anyways, here is your “ghetto”:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73-vgyBQNcU

        Now, imagine what Gaza could have- resp. could still become if it is not being ruled by a murderous gang of very primitive Muslim-thugs who are more interested in fighting Jihad and destroying Israel than in nation building and making the lives of the people better. Yet, misguided hypocrites like yourself continue to burry their heads in the sand and blame Jews for everything. It’s much easier and natural to always blame them Jews, no?

        Reply to Comment
    6. Ginger Eis

      “Ginge’s quote, which was not correctly sourced, was attributed to the UN when in fact it is the personal opinion (as they themselves state unequivocally) of a couple of Mickey Mouse experts appointed to report back to the Secretary-General. (…)The UN (not the UNSC, the UNGA, the UN Secretariat nor any other UN organisation) has never declared the blockade to be legal”.

      The more you repeat this nonsense, the more you expose your limitations. The Palmer-report is no less a UN-report than the Hudson-Philips report. Now, either both are UN-reports or both are not. I have explained to you why the Palmer report need not be adopted by the UNGA, i.e. the UNSG and the UNGA are both organs of the UN while the UN human rights council is a subsidiary organ of the UNGA). Lastly, I will urge you to refrain from politics and qualifications such as “Mickey Mouse experts”, etc. Not only does that not contribute anything to the discussion, it convolutes and confuses the issues. Furthermore, there is a lot of bad news that could be brought forward against Mr. Hudson-Philips. I have refrained from doing that because I know where such discussions will ordinarily lead to. I urge you to do the same and discuss the law and the law alone.

      Reply to Comment
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