From The Times Online:
Tzipi Livini, the Israeil Foreign Minister, seated, left, and Condoleezza Rice, sign an agreement intended to ensure that Hamas militants will not be able to rearm if the Jewish state accepts a ceasefire in Gaza
|January 17, 2009|
Gaza war 'in final act' as ceasefire looms
"Israel is expected to announce a unilateral ceasefire tonight that will end its three-week war in Gaza.
Officials said that the Israeli Security Cabinet will be asked to approve the surprise move after Israel secured commitments from Egypt and the US to stop Hamas re-arming by smuggling weapons into Gaza.
If the Cabinet agrees, Israeli troops will halt Operation Cast Lead — but if Hamas continues to fire rockets into southern Israel they will resume the action.
[Hamas] "rejected the ceasefire demands yesterday, insisting that Israel should withdraw its troops immediately, open Gaza’s borders and lift the blockade it imposed after Hamas seized [sic] power there in 2007."
So, who does the 'unilateral' pertain to in this deal?
Hamas, the so called raison d'etre of this slaughter of Palestinians (who are not represented or signing the agreement?) doesn't agree to a ceasefire signed by Israel, the US and Egypt which essentially states that Israel will commence a ceasefire if Hamas does. So, in other words does that mean that Israel, the US and Egypt agree to a unilateral ceasefire by Hamas? Im confused!!
Well, maybe there is something here.
|"Under the ceasefire plan, those [Palestinian] issues would be discussed at a later date."|
|The plan would allow Israel to stop fighting before Barack Obama’s inauguration on Tuesday, and avoid direct dealings with Hamas, which it regards as a terrorist group.|
UPDATE: Now I really don't get it. I'm back to being confused again.
The article posted in the first comment below says this:
|"Israeli negotiator Amos Gilad returned to Cairo to discuss terms of an Egyptian-sponsored "peace" deal, which Hamas agreed on Wednesday." [Which is a day before Ismail Haniyeh's message to the west was published, which I posted 'here].|
"In Washington, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Livni signed an agreement "committing the United States to measures to stop Hamas re-arming itself." Israel said it will mean the US and NATO taking responsibility for monitoring shipments into Gaza.
In her Newsweek interview, Livni boasted that Israel's offensive was supported by the Middle East bourgeoisie.
"I don't want to embarrass anybody, but I know I represent their interests as well. It is no longer the Israeli-Palestinian or the Jewish-Arab conflict, but it is a conflict between moderates and extremists. This is the way this region is now divided."
So, let me try again!!
Hamas may or may not have agreed to a ceasefire deal (I'm still checking that one) without being involved in the negotiations. Israel can resume the action any time it says Hamas is still firing rockets. It is no longer just Israel's problem or responsibility. The conflict is now between moderates and extremists (ie. terrorists or anyone we/they don't like or who we/they want to attack or steal land from.). The whole mess has now been dropped into the lap of the US, NATO and Egypt who will police the Gaza ghetto at the Rafah crossing. Sweet deal for Israel, don't you think?
And while I'm at it...
Israel (who is the number one recipient of US foreign aid and who attacked and invaded Gaza) is signing a 'ceasefire deal??' with the US (who has supplied Israel with the arms to fight this 'war' and 100% supports their actions) and with Egypt (who is the second biggest recipient of US foreign aid which insures they will they will do everything Israel tells them to). Yet, Hamas, the democratically elected government of the Gazan Palestinians (who were attacked by Israel and receive zero foreign aid from the US) was not involved in any of the 'ceasefire' negotiations and did not sign it. Does that make any f***ing sense to anyone?
I've been tied up with life's demand these past couple of days so I haven't I had a lot of time to post or comment but wanted to add a quick post on the latest events in Gaza.
Al Jazeera and Maan news agency are reporting that IDF forces are advancing into Gaza city. In some of the heaviest attacks since the war began Israel targeted, hospitals, news stations, Mosques, stores, schools, apartment buildings and homes. People are said to be fleeing into the streets, many in their night clothes, ahead of the advancing force. The IDF forces were reported to be shooting at everyone and using white phosphorus laced missiles on the residential areas. Ambulance services and hospitals are overwhelmed with the dead and injured.
"Dr Bashar Murad, the head of emergency services at Al-Quds Hospital, told Ma’an that three Israeli missiles hit the hospital, two of them containing white phosphorus. Shrapnel from the bombs was scattered in the hospital but no one was injured. Fire has engulfed the hospital’s administration building, a storehouse, and a pharmacy.
Murad said that up to 600 people had fled Tel Al-Hawa and areas around the hospital.
Meanwhile, UN's relief agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, says Israeli shells struck their headquarters in Gaza City, injuring three workers. The compound includes the UNRWA offices, warehouses and a school. As many as 700 Palestinians had taken refuge in the compound, which is still on fire.
The United Nations is claiming that shells were laced with the controversial chemical weapon, white phosphorus.
Separately, Israeli forces attacked a media compound home to the Reuters news agency, NBC, and a number of Arab networks in Gaza City late on Thursday morning. Two journalists working for Abu Dhabi television were injured when at least one Israeli shell struck the building."
|"Three hospitals and a UN compound have been bombed by Israel as troops continue to advance into the densely-populated Gaza City.
Around 500 people were sheltering in the Al-Quds hospital in the city's southwestern Tal Al-Hawa district when it was bombed by Israeli jets and set ablaze on Thursday morning.
Hospital officials said the fire was sparked by a "phosphorus shell".
Around 700 Palestinians were sheltering in the UN complex at the time of the strikes which left two civilians and three staff members injured.
"They are phosphorus fires so they are extremely difficult to put out because, if you put water on, it will just generate toxic fumes and do nothing to stop the burning," he said.
You can watch Al Jazeera English (as well as many other stations) live for free from Livestation at the link below.
Israel violates US Law
with Cynthia McKinney and Chris Hedges
|Joe Whatshisname braves the flying pipes in Sderot and schools international reporters on patriotism|
With camera in hand, Joe Whatshisname, the tax dodging, unlicensed plumber's helper from Toledo Ohio, arrived in Sderot, Israel on Sunday on his first assignment as a correspondent for PJTV and Pajamas Media. He got to experience a red alert for an incoming flying pipe first hand and reported from a house where one landed on Sunday. According to the Jerusalem post, Joe wondered why Israel had waited so long to act. "I know if I were a citizen here, I'd be damned upset. The people of Sderot can't do normal things day to day, like get soap in their eyes in the shower...". "I'm sure they're taking quick showers," he said, "I know I would." Haaretz.com reported that the rookie war correspondent said, "I have a thousand questions, but I can't think of one right now."
Joe is scheduled to be in Sderot for ten days to 'get out Israel's side of the story'. It was not clear from the reports if Israel's massive, one sided propoganda campaign was in need of his help.
There is no doubt Joe will be joining the ever growing crowd of tourists and local 'looky loos' (according to Al Jazeera- TV News Now) lining the hilltops of the town. Empire Burlesque's, Chris Floyd reported on a gang of them that drove down from Jerusalem to catch a birds eye view of the action.
The Jerusalem post's, Shelley Paz says that Joe is angry with the foreign reporters' coverage of the conflict and accused them of giving information to the enemy. He told the journalists that gathered around him, "You should be ashamed of yourselves". "It makes me sick to see the way you behave - you should be patriotic, protect your family and children, not report like you have been doing for the past two weeks since this war has started," he said. Joe didn't mention to which country the foreign reporters should direct their patriotic feelings or how their reporting on the story was stopping them from protecting their families.
Since the start of the War on Gaza two weeks ago, 4 Israeli citizens have been killed by Qassam rockets fired from inside Gaza. Eight IDF soldiers have been killed, four due to friendly fire. 876 Palestinians have been killed, roughly half of them civilians including many children. More than 3600 have been injured and there are reports of victims with severe burn injuries consistent with the use of white phosphorus. The IDF is now advancing into Gaza's most densely populated areas. Al Jazeera reported that the advance into the cities was phase three of the Israeli campaign and there is a phase four planned but no one seems to know what that is.
"According to Israeli news reports, Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak disagree over how the war should end, and the three have argued in recent days over whether Israel should seek a cease-fire with Hamas or unilaterally declare victory. http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2009/01/12/israel_a...
In a Dec 31, 2008 report, Haretz TV reported that Hamas had 3000 rockets at the beginning of the conflict but was down to 2000 rockets. They didn't report on how they obtained these figures. Al Jazeera TV News Now has shown live coverage of rockets being launched from IDF held territory. It is not clear to me how Hamas was able to accomplish this. I have tried to find a link for this but I can't seem to find any archived footage of Al Jazeera coverage.
UPDATE: As of Jan 12, 2009
13 Israeli's killed
895 Palestinians killed, 4100 injured
If you subtract the 4 Israelis killed due to friendly fire that is roughly a 100 to 1 kill ratio.
Thanks to Bob for reminding me of this awesome song by Canadian musician Bruce Cockburn.
This song was written after his 1983 visit to Guatemalan refugee camps in Mexico following the military torture campaign of dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. It is eerily appropriate to the ongoing slaughter in Gaza - not much has changed. How sad, how very, very sad.
This is a live version from the Montreal Jazz Festival.
If I Had A Rocket Launcher
Here comes the helicopter -- second time today
Everybody scatters and hopes it goes away
How many kids they've murdered only God can say
If I had a rocket launcher...I'd make somebody pay
I don't believe in guarded borders and I don't believe in hate
I don't believe in generals or their stinking torture states
And when I talk with the survivors of things too sickening to relate
If I had a rocket launcher...I would retaliate
On the Rio Lacantun, one hundred thousand wait
To fall down from starvation -- or some less humane fate
Cry for guatemala, with a corpse in every gate
If I had a rocket launcher...I would not hesitate
I want to raise every voice -- at least I've got to try
Every time I think about it water rises to my eyes.
Situation desperate, echoes of the victims cry
If I had a rocket launcher...
If I had a rocket launcher...
If I had a rocket launcher...Some son of a bitch would die
I wish we had journalists in NA that would conduct interviews like this! Make sure you watch the second half when he questions Engel about his support of Israel's actions in Gaza. Engel doesn't know what disproportionate force means (??!!) and Rattansi presses him for a definition.
Al Jazeera's Shihab Rattansi speaks to two congressman with very different views on the Gaza crisis.
Dennis Kucinich, Democratic member of the US House of Representatives and former presidential hopeful on why he feels Israel is violating international law with its invasion of Gaza. And secondly Eliot Engel, US congressman from New York, on why he supports the Israeli invasion of Gaza.