Soldiers to Statesmen? Another Look at Israel’s Assault on Gaza
By Ashahed M. Muhammad
Gaza is under attack from the land and sea while Israeli troops and tanks prepare for what appears to be a ground incursion. At the time of this writing, the fourth day of Israeli assault codenamed “Operation Cast Lead” has begun. Worldwide in places like Iran, Australia, Lebanon thousands are protesting and in London thousands marched on the Israeli embassy there.
Much has happened very quickly and for some, a little background may be needed.
In Gaza, there was already a shortage of medical supplies due to 18-month old Israeli and U.S. backed embargo (sanctions) which immediately followed the Democratic elections on January 25, 2006, in which the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas won 76 seats of the 132-seat Palestinian Legislative Council. Israel and the Bush Administration did not like the results of the election—which by all accounts was considered by international observers to be free and fair—and therefore, decided to initiate a blockade in hopes of weakening the resolve of the Palestinian people, and punishing those who voted for Hamas. Hamas was not even given the chance to establish rule in the territory that they were elected to govern. From day one, they were challenged internally and externally.
Even though there was a lack of food, medicine, electricity, clean water and other basic elements of daily living, the Palestinian people continued to resist, thwarting efforts to destabilize the elected Hamas-led government and failing to cause its overthrow. Keep in mind, there were already severe restrictions on travel for the Palestinians. Many Palestinian women lose their babies or die themselves waiting to cross into areas where they can obtain medical treatment.
The Annapolis conference in November of 2007 consisting of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, GWB (Guns, War and Bloodshed a.k.a George W. Bush) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was largely seen as a failure, and as stated earlier, the travel restrictions and sanctions failed to achieve the desired effect. It appears as if the green light has been given to use lethal force in an all out tactical assault aimed at completely eliminating the Palestinian people. At the time of this writing, 350 Palestinians have been killed and 1,500 have been wounded. Now, with hundreds already killed, thousands injured, days filled with F-16 air strikes and nights with machine gunfire from Apache military helicopters, the world blames the victims of violence for the violence.
There are many differing viewpoints and a volatile mixture of ideas and attitudes in this region characterized by unpredictability and conflict since Israel’s creation in 1948.
There is a very small parcel of land with 1.5 million people living on top of each other in small homes. It is nearly impossible to avoid civilian deaths if firing missiles from the air. While former Mossad agent, current Israeli Foreign Minister, and prospective Israeli Prime Minister Tzipi Livni insists that only “military” locations are being targeted as she makes the media rounds as leader of Israel’s public relations offensive, the death toll continues to rise.
According to eyewitness Sharon Lock of the International Solidarity Movement, children were on the way home from school when bombing began and they were terrified. Many children watched their friends being wounded by the “targeted strikes” of the Israeli Defense Force. Ms. Lock said even the “best equipped” hospitals in Gaza were already suffering as a result of the Israeli blockade and therefore, unable to even take care of the day to day sick. Now, as hundreds are being killed and injured, an already terrible humanitarian crisis has instantly become worse, while the world watches.
But do they really know what they are watching? Do you? If you are relying on the corporate controlled media machine to deliver the truth then it is safe to say that you are still searching for it.
There are several free options if you would like to get more balanced coverage in your elusive search for the truth. One option is to go to www.livestation.com and download the application. After downloading, you will be able to watch English language Al-Jazeera, or listen to BBC and other stations to get a more balanced view of the realties in Gaza and the Israeli massacre. Additionally, you can check PressTV, which is based in Tehran at www.PressTV.com and watch it live. You also can go to LinkTV.com which provides feeds from many news channels across the Middle East. The left-leaning DemocracyNow! is always a good option at www.democracynow.org. Remarkably, even Israeli based news found at the Jerusalem Post or Ha’aretz Daily websites are unable to bury the truth of the devastation and chaos caused by the air strikes.
While listening to Al-Jazeera, I heard Franklin Lamb of the group Americans for a Just Peace in the Middle East and he said that Israeli Defense Forces vs. whatever resistance that could be mounted by the Palestinians were like a “pea-shooter versus a howitzer” in this “conflict.” He and others have accused Israel of being in violation of International Law, and until they are brought to the bar of justice, they say, no peace can be expected. Collective punishment of any nation can be considered a War Crime. Failing to provide healthcare, food and water, not just during wartime, but in general can be considered a War Crime.
A very important historical reference for readers who are interested is the The Sharpeville Massacre in March of 1960. When we look back on this Israeli aggression, you will see that many of the elements are the same, it remains to be seen if the resulting action will be the same.
In my forthcoming book “The Black Principle: Prepare to Rule” I have written a chapter titled “From Soldiers to Statesmen.” I mention this for the following reason. Over the next few days, you will hear an oft-repeated mantra that the members of Hamas are “thugs”, “killers” and “terrorists.” I don’t personally know any members of Hamas, but here are some important facts to consider: the African National Congress (ANC) was once considered a terrorist group. It’s most famous and recognized leader, Nelson Mandela is considered a humanitarian and one of the most admired and revered men on the planet. He was jailed for 28 years by the wicked Apartheid government in South Africa as a result of his leadership in what they considered a “terrorist” organization.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization was considered a terrorist organization, then one day in September of 1993, we witnessed the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat standing on the front lawn of the White House shaking hands with then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin under the watchful eye of then U.S. President Bill Clinton. Shortly thereafter, in 1994, Arafat received the Nobel Peace Prize along with Rabin and Shimon Peres who was at that time Israel’s Foreign Minister. On Nov. 4 1995, Mr. Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a right-wing Jewish settler. Mr. Peres is currently Israel’s President.
In fact, many of Israel’s key figures such as Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Barak all killed many in service to their nation.
Ironically, Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary organization operating in what was at the time, the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, became the core of the Israel Defense Forces. It is considered by many to be a terrorist group. Lehi, also known as the Stern Gang, was an armed underground Zionist group with the goal of forcibly evicting the British authorities from Palestine with the future goal of allowing unrestricted immigration of Jews and the formation of a Jewish state. This group carried out many assassinations and covert operations. David Ben-Gurion, the architect of the Jewish State of Israel was called "The Armed Prophet."
Many key government officials—statesmen if you will—started out as solders and were designated by those who wanted to remain in power as “terrorists.”
In your leisure, look into the various aspects of the history of The Irish Republican Army and Sinn Fein.
In this situation, is a “soldiers to statesmen” transformation possible?
As I bring this particular writing to a close, and as the almost inevitable Israeli ground campaign begins, ask yourself the following questions: Was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas aware of these plans, or just powerless to stop Israel from using their weapons of war to kill Palestinian people? Does the aggression have anything to do with the political aspirations of Tzipi Livni?
Remember, in the cause is the solution, and when analyzing the reasons why decisions are made, who stands to benefit the most by the outcome?
(Ashahed M. Muhammad is the Executive Director of the Truth Establishment Institute and the Assistant Editor of The Final Call Newspaper. He maintains a blog at http://ashahed.blogs.finalcall.com)