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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A ceasfire but not at any price.


Israeli bombardment continues with destruction of five mosques as international pressure for ceasefire grows.


Smoke rises from  Shejaiya during an Israeli military operation in  of Gaza





As the Israeli bombardment of Gaza moves into its third week, the leaders of the Western world scurry off to Cairo, Qatar, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, in an attempt to bring about a ceasefire between the Palestinians in Gaza and the invading Israeli forces. This is against a background of the most vicious, indiscriminate and constant bombardment and killing of civilians in the area, currently in excess of 500 killed and more than 100 of those children. I have never witnessed, in all the history of Israeli incursions into Gaza, such ferocity and indiscriminate bombardment from Israeli tanks, warships, aircraft and infantry, used against the civilian population and schools, homes, civilian infrastructure and hospitals. 




 President Obama has sent John Kerry to the Middle East to join United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in an attempt to broker some sort of arrangement between the parties for a ceasefire. In the meanwhile the aggression of the Israelis against the Palestinians continues unabated and in fact has been seen over the past 24 hours to be intensifying in its ferocity.It is difficult to see how those Western leaders who have consistently supported Israel in its aggression in Gaza, using the well worn phrases, “Israel has the right to defend itself, and “We support Israel,” can have any credibility in creating the conditions which could bring an end to the fighting. In previous conflicts in the area, any resulting ceasefire has always been to revert to the situation as it was prior to the fighting. At no time have the Palestinians been given any option but complete and abject surrender to the invading forces. The leaders in the West have always taken the view that Israel can do no wrong and that any fighting is always the fault of the Palestinians. The blockade of Gaza, by land sea and air has remained in place, the occupation of Palestinian land by Israeli forces has continued and become even more oppressive. The indications are, that this time, there will be no return to the status quo.

Historically, the obsession with appeasement to Tel Aviv in response to Israeli aggression in Gaza and other theatres in the Middle East, has been met with only half-hearted condemnation, calls for restraint, mock sympathy for the civilians caught in the hostilities and American use of their veto at the United Nations, of any resolution critical of Israel. At the present time it is perhaps only with the growing feeling of indignation and the growing anger of the public, that governments in the West have been moved to take any action at all. In the current round of diplomatic activity, we have already seen a less than honest attempt by Al Sisi in Egypt, to offer essentially what was no more than a reiteration of the 2012 ceasefire following the “Cast lead” operation, which had been brokered by President Mohammed Morrsi before he was overthrown in a coup, organised in conjunction with Tel Aviv and Washington. It does not go unnoticed that the borders between Egypt and Gaza have been closed since Al-Sisi seized power and only recently humanitarian, medical and other essential supplies were prevented from entering Gaza, by Egyptian security forces. How can the leader of any state, when being so clearly in the pay of the United States and Israel, be taken as an honest broker when trying to secure a ceasefire in Gaza?


"President" Al Sisi



The credentials of the other leaders of the Western world, are also questionable when they have consistently supported the excesses of Israel in the occupied territories, in the aggression against Palestinians and now in Gaza. Western leaders have for years either by accident or more probably design, betrayed the Palestinians and allowed a situation to persist which has resulted in the blockade of Gaza, preventing the free movement of people between countries, restricting fishermen from operating outside a 3 km fishing limit, the prevention of essential supplies including medicines, building materials, food and many other materials deemed by the Israelis to be useful in the manufacture of weapons.

The people in Gaza have endured three weeks of intense bombardment resulting in the destruction of schools hospitals and homes, the complete disruption of electricity and water supplies, and incessant threat and terrorism from Israel, but the West has been reluctant to criticise Israel other than to issue half-hearted platitudes calling for restraint, which is, even then qualified, to include “restraint” from Palestinian civilians being bombed shelled and killed by Israeli forces.

Any ceasefire being brought about within the next few days or weeks, must include provisions for the immediate and unconditional ending of the blockade and an Israeli commitment to lift the occupation of Palestinian lands within a short specified time. This will undoubtedly be difficult if not impossible for Israel to understand. The Western Nations have the obligation to humanity to impress upon Tel Aviv, that Israeli hatred of the Palestinian people and their repeated policy of resorting to force to impress their will and determination to annex more land is no longer acceptable. No doubt the pro-Israeli lobby in the capitals of nations around the world, will see this as an anti-Semitic move which will weaken Israel at the expense of those nations who are currently hostile to Tel Aviv and its actions. However it is difficult to see how the leadership in the West can do what is right, rather than persist with the present unqualified support for Israel. It is perhaps only the populations of the world which can impress upon their governments, that continued Israeli aggression against Gaza and the occupied Palestinian Territories is no longer acceptable.

No matter how much Tel Aviv, Washington, London or other capitals of Europe, supported by the vast sections of Western media, may wish it were otherwise, ordinary people throughout the world are recognising that Israel has become, over the past 68 years, a nation which through the acquiescence and support of the West, is now a threat to its neighbours and probably the rest of the world.

Failing a settlement which includes the provision for the lifting of the blockade and the ending of the occupation, then the lives of those hundreds of people women and children lost in the current conflict and the lives of all those others in previous conflicts in the area would have been in vain and we may expect that within a couple of years or even a few months, the same cycle of aggression and resistance will be repeated. No reasonable person should expect or demand Gaza or anywhere else, to submit to unconditional surrender and complete capitulation.