Sunday, September 14, 2014

The israelis mow the grass in Gaza;again

The Israelis mow the grass in Gaza; again.
Nicholas Fourikis PhD

“Israel must actively defend all its borders by itself, including the security envelope in the Jordan Valley and West Bank. And, Israel will act to mow the grass as frequently as necessary to degrade enemy military capabilities and keep Israel’s rivals off-balance.”
Benjamin Netanyahu.The Jerusalem Post, 13 Aug 2014

Military cemeteries in every corner of the world are silent testimony to the failure of national leaders to sanctify human life.
Yitzhak Rabin, 1994 Nobel Peace Prize lecture

1 - Introduction

Yitzhak Rabin played a leading role in the signing of the Oslo Accords, which created the Palestinian National Authority and granted it partial control over parts of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Prior to the signing of the accords, Rabin received a letter from PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) chairman Yassir Arafat renouncing violence and officially recognising Israel, and on the same day, 9 September 1993, Rabin sent Arafat a letter officially recognising the PLO.
            After the historical handshake with Yassir Arafat, at the South Lawn of the White House on September 13, 1993, Rabin said on behalf of the Israeli people, "We who have fought against you, the Palestinians, we say to you today, in a loud and a clear voice, enough of blood and tears ... enough!1a"
Rabin’s words resonated with the nations of the world who witnessed several wars between the Israelis and the Palestinians
In 1994, Israel granted the right of self-governance to Gaza through the Palestinian Authority; and Yitzhak Rabin, Yasir Arafat and Shimon Peres received the Nobel Prize for Peace.           
            In accepting the Nobel Prize, Rabin declared, “military cemeteries in every corner of the world are silent testimony to the failure of national leaders to sanctify human life1a.”
The Accords however greatly divided the Israeli society, with some seeing Rabin as a hero for advancing the cause of peace and some seeing him as a traitor for giving away land they viewed as rightfully belonging to Israel.
And on the evening of 4 November 1995, Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a radical right-wing Orthodox Jew who opposed the signing of the Oslo Accords.
          From that fateful moment, the dream of a two state solution in Palestine steadily receded and on the 8th of July 2014, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip1 – also known as the largest open air prison where the Israelis and the Egyptians are the prison-wardens.
And five days later, the Israeli military reported that more than 1,300 Israeli airstrikes had taken place on Gaza, while more than 800 rockets had been fired from Gaza into Israel1
Here is a preliminary account of the casualties and of the destruction caused by airplane / tank raids during the 2014 incursion1 at the time of writing – Mid August 2014; as the incursion continues, the number of casualties given here should be considered as minimal.
1,904 Palestinians are killed.
{73% civilians (35% women and children)}
9,800 Palestinians injured.    
     520,000 Palestinians are displaced.
      10,800 homes are totally destroyed or severely damaged.
      33,100 homes are damaged but are still inhabitable.
26 health facilities are damaged.
1.5 million Gazans have limited or no access to water supplies. 

On the Israeli side the losses are:

64 soldiers and 2 civilians killed.

Regrettably we are destined to witness casualties and destruction caused by this incursion into Gaza comparable to the casualties and destructions caused by the First and Second Intifada – uprising / resistance / rebellion – that took place during the period (1987-1991) and (2000- 2005) respectively.
The reasons for the latest incursion into Gaza and the previous incursions vary but we are indebted to Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s current PM, for sharing with the world his vision of recent Middle-East developments and the real reason for the three incursions into Gaza. Moreover he gave the world every indication that future incursions are on the cards.
“Israel’s protracted conflict with Hamas in Gaza, the feebleness and fecklessness of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank,” Netanyahu stated2, “and the gains made by radical Islamists in Arab civil wars raging across the region call for a reassessment of Israel’s strategic posture.”
And he continued:
“For the past two decades, Israeli policy has been based on the twin pillars of pretentious Peres-ian optimism: that a ‘New Middle East’ was dawning based on peaceful economic cooperation, and that the establishment of a full-fledged Palestinian state alongside Israel would guarantee security for Israel. Both conceptions have collapsed. They were illusions2.”
          On the reasons for the frequent incursions into Gaza, Netanyahu was candid.
Israel must actively defend all its borders by itself, including the security envelope in the Jordan Valley and West Bank. And, Israel will act to mow the grass as frequently as necessary to degrade enemy military capabilities and keep Israel’s rivals off-balance2.”
And just in case any reader missed the Israeli government intent the journalist, D.M. Weinberg, iterated2.
          “To be forthright, Israel should make it clear that such offensives will have to be repeated again and again. Keeping the enemy off balance and reducing its capabilities (“mowing the grass”) requires the intermittent use of force. Israel is not looking for a diplomatic solution with Hamas; it is waging a war of attrition.”
        From the foregoing declarations of intent, it is clear the “new Israeli strategic posture” is not new and that Israel espoused the same strategic posture since 1994 when it granted the Gaza Strip the right of self-government. I.e. the IDF killed Palestinian civilians as well as combatants indiscriminately and demolished considerable infrastructures during the two intifadas and during the current incursion. Regrettably that is the meaning of “mowing the grass.”
          Parallel to the armed confrontations between Israel and the Palestinians the combatants engage in PR wars for the hearts and minds of the international community, with particular focus on the American public. We shall briefly review the PR wars in section 4.   
2 – The social landscape of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict

Away from the armed Israeli-Palestinian conflict it is important to delineate the prevailing social landscape in the region. Here we are indebted to the Palestinian depicted in Picture1 who brilliantly summarized the feelings of a typical Palestinian living in the occupied territories2a.


Picture 1- A succinct summary of the Palestinian plight 2a

And Prof Noam Chomsky offered us a complementary description of Israel’s recurring attacks on the Palestinians in Gaza2b.


As the Gaza strip is the largest open air prison in the world Mouin Rabbani, reports another dimension of Israeli cruelty3.
In 2006 Weissglass was just as frank about Israel’s policy towards Gaza’s 1.8 million inhabitants3. ‘The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.’ He was not speaking metaphorically: it later emerged that the Israeli defence ministry had conducted detailed research on how to translate his vision into reality, and arrived at a figure of 2279 calories per person per day – some 8 per cent less than a previous calculation because the research team had originally neglected to account for ‘culture and experience’ in determining nutritional ‘red lines’3.”
        Dr Kevin Barrett4 shared with the world several glimpses into Israel’s social fabric.
(i)                Every time Israel embarks on a new round of wholesale slaughter in Gaza, polls show that more than 90% of Israelis support the butchery.
(ii)             When the IDF starts dropping cluster bombs, white phosphorous, DIME (Dense Inert Metal Explosive) munitions and other horrendous weapons on Gaza, crowds of Israelis pack the hilltops to barbecue meat, drink alcohol and cheer as they watch Palestinian children being blown to bits.
(iii)           According to Israeli blogger Elizabeth Tsurkov, the mobs’ favorite chant is: ‘Tomorrow there is no school in Gaza, they don’t have any children left.’
(iv)           While they enjoy slaughtering children and their mothers, Israelis take special relish in killing pregnant women. A T-shirt popular in the Israeli army shows a pregnant woman with a target on her belly. The legend reads: ‘One shot two kills.’
(v)             Killing children is the de facto official policy of the Israeli military. In his article “Gaza Diary”, Chris Hedges wrote about Israeli soldiers who hunt Palestinian children for sport:
“Yesterday at this spot the Israelis shot eight young men, six of whom were under the age of eighteen. One was twelve. This afternoon they kill an eleven-year-old boy, Ali Murad, and seriously wound four more, three of whom are under eighteen. Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered—death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights and watched them crumple onto the pavement in Sarajevo—but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.”
(vi)           In his book Goliath, Max Blumenthal – a young Jewish American from an influential family discusses the wildly popular Israeli best-seller Torat Ha’Melech, which advocates the wholesale murder of non-Jews.
Torat Ha’Melech is not a marginalized radical screed; on the contrary, it is an authoritative guide for Israel soldiers. And its authors are two of Israel’s leading Rabbis, Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur.

Picture 2 - Palestinians mourn for a relative in the

morgue of the Shifa hospital in Gaza City on July 12, 2014.

In considering what can be done by the international community, Dr Barrett puts forward the following proposals4. “The international community needs to completely ostracize Israel, indict its leaders for war crimes, and use the combined diplomatic and military force of the world’s nations to peacefully dismantle the genocidal Zionist entity. But that cannot happen until the Zionists’ death-grip on the West’s media, finance and politics is broken once and for all.”

3 -World Reaction to Israel’s mowing of grass Policy.
World reaction to the Gaza incursion and to Israel’s policy of “mowing the grass” was swift and negative in the International Press and the Internet. Israel’s supporters however tried hard to limit the damage to Israel’s standing.
Tayyip Erdogan the PM of Turkey stated, “Israel surpasses Hitler in Barbarism5.”  And at a political rally in the Black Sea city of Ordu, Erdogan told supporters.
"(Israelis) have no conscience, no honour, no pride. Those who condemn Hitler day and night have surpassed Hitler in barbarism5."  He also accused the United States of defending Israel's "disproportionate" tactics, and bemoaned the failure of the Muslim world to take a stronger stance5.
The Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff told the Folha de S. Paulo  newspaper6 “I think what’s happening in the Gaza Strip is dangerous. I don’t think it’s genocide, but I think it’s a massacre.”
Representatives of Chile, currently a member of the U.N. Security Council, stated that the Israeli government6 “does not respect the fundamental norms of international humanitarian law.”
Uruguayan President José Mujica condemned the attacks in a weekly radio show6. “The loss of perspective in the response is undermining Israel’s prestige and, I think, sullies the marvellous history of the Jewish people. Hatred and revenge do not work to build civilization,” he said.
Bolivia’s Evo Morales went further, saying6, “Israel does not guarantee the principle of respect for life and the basic right to live in harmony and peace in the international community,” adding that “Israel was passing onto the list of terrorist states.”
Lastly, at a recent meeting the regional bloc Mercosur issued a statement condemning6 “the disproportionate use of force on the part of the Israeli armed forces in the Gaza Strip, force which has almost exclusively affected civilians, including many women and children, while criticizing Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians.” Mercosur urged “an immediate lifting of the blockade that is affecting the Gaza population, so that the free movement of people, food, medicine and humanitarian aid can flow freely in and out, both by land and sea and an immediate and durable cease-fire.”
On the 30th of July 2014 the “U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon7 directly accused Israel of shelling a U.N.-protected shelter housing more than 3,000 Palestinians in Gaza as part of what he said was an "outrageous" and "unjustifiable" strike that left at least 16 civilians dead and lent urgency to the need for an "immediate, unconditional cease-fire.
Rihanna has come under fire for writing “#FreePalestine” on her Twitter account before deleting the post eight minutes later8. Her post published on Tuesday morning, was retweeted 7,000 times in this short space of time, according to NY MAG. She faced an explosive reaction from her followers, who questioned her decision to publicly support Palestinians in the Gaza Strip conflict.
Zayn Malik of the British boy band One Direction was the latest bold-face name to voice his concern when he posted “#FreePalestine” on his Twitter account Sunday. His message had been retweeted 230,000 times, and favourited almost as often, among his 13 million followers worldwide9.
 Dance-pop songstress Selena Gomez caused a stir with an image on her Instagram account that began: “It’s About Humanity. Pray for Gaza.” Her post generated 654,000 likes — but got the racy TMZ.com gossip website asking if the 21-year-old was “pro-humanity or pro-Hamas ...9
“Omri Casspi9, one of Israel’s supporters, the first National Basketball Association (NBA) player born in Israel, put his feelings in capital letters.
‘600 missiles been fired from GAZA by Hamas in the last 4 days. NUMBERS DONT LIE. STOP LYING (sic),’ he tweeted in a July 13 tweet that is still in place.
          The issue of how destructive the Qassam rockets used by the Palestinians arise naturally. Does a Qassam rocket have the destructive power of a V2 for instance? Hardly, as the following parameters indicate:

Range and weight of the V2 rocket10                             320 km and 12,500 kg 
Range and weight of the Qassam (1/3) rockets11            12 / 16km and 35/50 kg

            Any loss of life is regrettable but the destructive power of the Qassam rocket is relatively small; more precisely Palestinian rockets, which include the Qassam, alongside others such as the Grad rocket, have been used to kill 22 Israeli citizens and one Thai national during the period between the year 2000 and January 9, 200911.               

CNN has pulled the reporter, Diana Magnay, out of her post covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after she tweeted that Israelis who cheered every time bombs exploded in Gaza, were “scum”12. Moreover they threatened her, she alleged.
The reporter eventually deleted the tweet, but not before it had been retweeted more than 200 times. A CNN spokeswoman said Magnay has been assigned to Moscow12.

The US condemned the shelling of the UN school in Gaza but restocked Israeli ammunition13. The US is also to send $47M in humanitarian aid to Gaza Strip14. According to a State Department breakdown of the aid, nearly a third of the money — $15 million — will go to the United Nations’ refugee mission in Gaza14.
          For Jewish Israelis, and Palestinians living inside Israel, opposing the war is a dangerous act. With 86 percent of Israelis opposing the ceasefire, the overwhelming public attitude leaves anti-war activists in a precarious position15.
          The historian and social activist Ilan Papé16 and Miko Pelet17, the son of the Israeli general, Mattityahu Peled, are two activists among many outside Israel who consistently express humanitarian views and oppose Israel’s apartheid policies. Professor Noam Chomsky and Dr Kevin Barrett are also trustworthy humanitarian activists.

          We have seen the Zionists’ death-grip on the West’s media, finance and politics4,8,9 and 12. Estimates of the size of the Israeli nuclear arsenal18 vary between 75 and 400 nuclear warheads. Furthermore it is estimated that the Israel nuclear deterrent force has the ability to deliver them by intermediate-range ballistic missile, intercontinental ballistic missile, aircraft, and submarine-launched cruise missile

4 – The PR Wars between Israel and the Arabs

The most famous and visible lobby group is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC and other lobby groups influence American public policy in a variety of ways such as through education, responding to criticism of Israel, and putting forth arguments in support of Israel. The Israel lobby is known for its success in encouraging U.S. lawmakers to support the policies that it supports19.

Reference [20] lists the many Arab lobbies based in the US that support Arab causes. These lobbies are however funded by Arab countries.


5 - Arab-Israeli Peace projects

"We who have fought against you, the Palestinians, we say to you today, in a loud and a clear voice, enough of blood and tears1a                                                                                                         Yitzhak Rabin

 Tragically the present Israeli leadership does not espouse Rabin’s view that resonates with most world humanists. Moreover we can expect periodic incursions of the IDF into Gaza to mow the lawn, if the present leadership remains in power.

      The Palestinian and Israeli citizens are however too wise to await the coming of another Rabin to lead Israel once more. They know that deep down education is the key to the peaceful coexistence of both peoples and reference [21] lists the many Arab-Israeli Peace projects that promote understanding between all residents of Palestine and reject the outdated and harmful stereotypes about each other.
             Hand in Hand is a network of bilingual (Hebrew-Arabic) schools in which Jewish and Arab children study together21. It was founded in 1997 by two Israelis, one Arab and one Jewish, with the philosophy of breaking negative stereotypes, cultivating mutual respect and understanding, and providing a dynamic example that Jews and Arabs can study, work and live together in peace. 


Two Hand in Hand teachers21


Ala Khatib, a co-principal, said21,"never mind what is going on outside, whether it's bombing in Gaza or if it's suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, you can't stop school. You have to go to school, you have to face the other side, you have to say good morning, and you have to talk."
The historian and social activist Ilan Papé16 and Miko Pelet17, the son of the Israeli general, Mattityahu Peled, are two activists among many outside Israel who consistently express humanitarian views and oppose Israel’s apartheid policies. Professor Noam Chomsky and Dr Kevin Barrett are also trustworthy and eloquent humanitarian activists.

6 - Concluding Remarks
Wise Israeli and Palestinians actively promote education among all citizens of Palestine because they believe that education can transform the minds of people who prefer wars, mistrust and destruction.  The pious hope is that in such a spiritual environment a new Rabin will emerge. 
                I would like to conclude this short contribution by iterating Yitzhak Rabin’s observation, Military cemeteries in every corner of the world are silent testimony to the failure of national leaders to sanctify human life.
I’m sure Rabin provides the inspiration to forward looking Israelis and Palestinians who believe the two peoples can live and prosper in Palestine, the Terra Sancta for Moslems and Jews.


6 - References

1a- Yitzhak Rabin.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yitzhak_Rabin.
1 – 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Israel–Gaza_conflict

2 D M Weinberg.  “KNOW COMMENT: Mowing the grass in Gaza – and beyond.” The Jerusalem Post, 13 Aug 2014.
2a - Mariamsabzi on Twitter: You take my water, burn my olive tree ...
twitter.com/Mariamirani/status/490186200808845312
2b – Professor Noam Chomsky (Jew): “It is Not a War. It is Murder”!  The socioecohistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/professor-noam-chomsky-jew-it-is-not-a-war-it-is-murder-the-genocide-of-palestinians-by-zionist-israel. 15 Jul 2014. by John Glaser, November 18, 2012, http://antiwar.com/blog. 
3 –Mouin Rabbani. “Israel mows the lawn.” London Review of Books. Vol 36, No15- 31July 2014. P 8-10.
4 - Kevin Barrett. “Child-killing sociopaths of Israel.”
www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/07/29/373194/childkilling-sociopaths-of-israel. 29 Jul 2014.
5 – G Solaker and J Hogg. Reuters. “Turkish PM Erdogan says Israel 'surpasses Hitler in barbarism.' July 20, 2014.”
6 – Laura Carlsen. Aljazeera. “Why Latin American Leaders are standing up to Israel.” america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/8/latin-america-israelgazahumanrights.html.
7 – Colum Lynch. “U.N. Chief: Israel Responsible for ‘Reprehensible’ School attack.” The Foreign Policy Group.
thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/07/30/ban_ki_moon_blasts_israel_over_deadly_strike_on_un_shelter. 30 Jul 2014
8 – Sufi Rahimi.Rihanna criticised for publishing then deleting #FreePalestine tweet.” The Telegraph.  16 Jul 2014.
9 – News.com.au. “Rihanna, One Direction’s Zayn Malik, and Selena Gomez among celebrities to anger fans with political tweets.” July 30, 2014.
10 – V-2 rocket - Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-2_rocket 
11 - Qassam rocket - Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qassam_rocket .
12 – RT Question More. “CNN boots reporter from Israel-Gaza conflict after 'scum' tweet.” July 18, 2014.
13 – P Lewis and H Sherwood. “US condemns shelling of UN school in Gaza but restocks Israeli ammunition.” www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/30/us-firm-condemnation-shelling-un-school-gaza. 31 Jul 2014
14 – Pamela Geller. Atlas shrugs. “Obama to send $47 million to Gaza jihadists.” July 21, 2014
pamelageller.com/2014/07/obama-send-47-million-gaza-jihadists.html.
15 – Dan Cohen. “Israel's Anti-War Activists Feel Increasingly Threatened.” VICE News. August 15, 2014 
news.vice.com/article/israels-anti-war-activists-feel-increasingly-threatened
16 – Ilan Pappé - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilan_Pappé  
17 – Miko Pelet.
Miko Peled - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miko_Peled
18 - Nuclear weapons and Israel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_and_Israel   
19 - Israel lobby in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_lobby_in_the_United_States 
20 - Arab lobby in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_lobby_in_the_United_States
21 - Arab-Israeli peace projects - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab-Israeli_peace_projects. 






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