March 11, 2012
Imagine living years under deplorable isolated siege conditions. Imagine also enduring regular Israeli land, sea and air attacks.
Gazan resistance groups launch Grad missiles, home-made rockets, and mortar shells in self-defense. Israel calls them "unprovoked" attacks. Palestinian freedom fighters vow to continue their liberating struggle. Under international law, it's their right, and for them a duty.
The latest Israeli attacks came Friday and Saturday. Expect more to follow. Deaths so far number at least 15. Over two dozen others were injured, some seriously, according to Gaza medical services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya. Israel falsely claimed only militants and weapons manufacturing sites were struck.
Israel often launches strikes to provoke responses. Hamas was maliciously blamed for initiating attacks. Israel's blame game targets victims. Aggression's called self-defense. Freedom fighters are called terrorists. World leaders don't intervene to stop cold-blooded IDF murder.
Four members of one family were killed. Israel treats civilians like combatants. Crimes of war and against humanity are committed regularly.
This time in response, Popular Resistance Committees member Abu Mojahid declared an end of truce and vowed revenge.
The latest incident began when Israeli air strikes killed Zuhir al-Qaisi, Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) secretary-general. PRC member Mahmoud Hanani was also killed. Both men died when two IDF missiles struck their car.
Hanani was released last October as part of the Shalit prisoner swap deal. Israel spuriously claimed al-Qaisi masterminded an August 2011 attack killing eight Israelis, a 2008 incident claiming two more, and planned another on Israel's border with Gaza.
Unilaterally maintaining truce for months, Hamas' interior ministry called Israel's "Zionist escalation an unjustified crime. It comes as part of the destabilization of a stable security situation in the Gaza Strip. We hold the international community fully responsible for the attacks."
It added that Palestinians have the right to self-defense against Israeli aggression. International law permits it.
A PA statement condemned Israel's attacks for "escalat(ing) the circle of violence in the region."
Al-Qassam Brigades officials "mourn(ed) the martyr Zuhir al-Qaisi and martyr Mahmud Hanani and (said) their blood will not be wasted. The enemy's crime will be a curse on him."
US Weapons Killing Palestinians
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is a "national coalition of more than 380 groups." They work together "to end US support for Israel's occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem."
On March 6, its policy paper titled, "US Military Aid to Israel" explained that weapons and munitions supplied kill Palestinian civilians.
National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner said "U.S. military aid to Israel is a policy that is running on autopilot and must be reconsidered."
"U.S. weapons provided to Israel at taxpayer expense make the U.S. complicit in Israel's human rights abuses of Palestinians living under Israel's 44-year military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip and defeat U.S. foreign policy objectives of halting Israeli settlement expansion, ending Israeli military occupation, and establishing a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace."
Israel gets more US aid than all other nations combined. Through 2008, it exceeds $100 billion based on official figures. In fact, they way understate true amounts supplied.
What Israel wants it gets. Included are state-of-the art weapons, munitions and technology, as well as direct financial aid for Israel's defense industry, emergency supplemental appropriations, and much more.
Regular increases provide more, despite planned deficit reducing budget cuts. Israel's not affected. Supplying its killing machine takes precedence. As a result, thousands of innocent Palestinian men, women and children suffer and die. It's the American way.
The Campaign's report said evidence shows Israel commits human rights abuses with US weapons. Supplying them violates US laws. They include the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) and 1976 Arms Export Control Act (AECA).
AECA permits military related sales only for defense or internal security. FAA prohibits aiding governments that engage:
"in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, and the security of person, unless such assistance will directly benefit the needy people in such country."
The Leahy Law in the 2001 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act (Sec. 8092 of PL 106-259) states:
"None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to support any training program involving a unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of Defense has received credible information from the Department of State that a member of such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights, unless all necessary corrective steps have been taken."
The 2001 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act prohibits funding foreign security forces that commit gross human rights violations unless its government "is taking effective measures to bring the responsible members of the security forces unit to justice."
Israel commits appalling human rights abuses. Washington rewards its crimes. Regular pledges assure whatever more Israel wants, even when US interests are harmed. At issue is generating instability, violence and wars to advance America's imperium along with Israel's regional aims.
As a result, Palestinians and Arabs throughout the Middle East suffer and die. No end of conflict looks imminent. Nothing so far is able to stop both countries and NATO partners from ravaging North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. US taxpayers pick up the tab.
Daily West Bank Israeli Crimes
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) documents them in weekly reports. Its most recent one replicates most others. In the week ending March 8, Israeli forces conducted 71 lawless incursions in West Bank communities and another in Gaza.
Forty Palestinian civilians were arrested, including 13 children. Peaceful protests are attacked violently. Dozens are injured. At times, deaths occur. Settlers assault Palestinians and destroy their property with impunity.
In mid-February, Gaza's health minister, Dr. Bassem Naim, declared a state of emergency caused by acute power and fuel shortages. On March 8, a health ministry press release added a pharmaceutical crisis. Hundreds of vital medications are running out. Lives are at stake.
The ministry appealed to international relief and health organizations for help. Israel supplies little or none. So far, solutions for recurring crises remain elusive. For patients in dire need of care, they're running out of time and luck.
Israel suffocates 1.7 million Gazans ruthlessly. Incursions, bombings, and other forms of violence compound harsh conditions. Those most vulnerable suffer most.
A Final Comment
On March 10, Gaza City crowds joined mourners burying their dead. They include freedom fighters Israel killed. Families paid their last respects. They viewed covered bodies torn to pieces. They chanted slogans wanting retaliation. Getting it won't bring back loved ones.
Palestinians throughout the Territories lose theirs regularly. Some die. Others are abused and imprisoned lawlessly.
After nearly 45 years of occupation, their liberating struggle continues. They won't ever stop working for it, nor should supporters weaken in their resolve to help.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.