Hindsight and Options: Israel vs. The Gaza Peace Flotilla

An article by Yossi Sarid over on, entitled Seven idiots in the cabinet, makes a well-stated commentary on the recent deadly encounter between Israeli forces and floating peace flotilla. In his piece, he states

Had we simply let the flotilla reach Gaza - an option that was proposed - a cry of victory would indeed have erupted from the other side, but it would have died out in a day or two. But the Israel of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Barak, of ministers Moshe Ya'alon and Benny Begin, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and Eli Yishai and even Dan Meridor, is vying with Hamas and Hezbollah over who can produce the most resounding demonstrations of strength - which amount to nothing but humiliating evidence of weakness.

There's more, and over the fold I'll share the thought that I had with regard to a possible alternative course of action. It won't undo the current mess, but perhaps it could provide a viable option toward preventing future ones.

Flotilla Attack Blowback - Israel Sows Wind, Reaps Whirlwind


"It should be known that we will not stay silent and unresponsive in the face of this inhuman state terror," Turkish PM, Erdoğan.

From Ankara:

Gaza Views, First hand report of conditions in Gaza -- Part IV

This is the final post of the four part series by Felice Gelman who writes about her recent trip to Gaza under the pen name rosahill. Here are links to the first three posts from her diary. Here are links to the first three posts, Part I, Part II,  Part III.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Detailed Account of the Impact of Israel's Attack

Our meeting with the Palestinian Center for Human Rights is the best orientation to the impact of the Israeli attack. PCHR meticulously documents everything, and deals quite fearlessly with both internal and external violations of human rights.

PCHR estimates that, during the Israeli attacks, 2,500 tons of explosives were dropped on Gaza. That equals 3 kilos of explosives per meter. (They have a massive display of weapons fragments in their office, with all too many bearing indications that they were made in the USA).

Gaza Views, First hand report of conditions in Gaza -- Part III

About Me

Felice Gelman

I am a member of the Wespac Middle East Committee and part of a group of four delegations under the umbrella of CODEPINK invited to Gaza by the UN Relief and Works Agency. This trip is a follow-on to a March CODEPINK Gaza trip which I participated in

Rafah -- Survival Strategies for Palestinians

The first morning in Gaza, we returned from Gaza City to Rafah to spend time at the Lifemakers Center – the children’s center Fida Qishta and her sister Faten founded. Our drivers took the coastal road – a real treat. Absolutely no traffic, beautiful seascapes most of the way. Even here, however, there was plenty of evidence of destruction… the occasional large home destroyed, factories, workshops, and farm buildings flattened. Also, near Deir Balah, you cross a bridge over Gaza’s open sewer (the parts for the sewage treatment plant have been held at the border forever). Raw sewage must be pumped untreated into the sea, polluting all the coastal waters.

Gaza Views II,

This is the second in a series of commentaries.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mind Games at the Border and then, finally in Gaza

We were in high spirits when we arrived at the Gaza border post. The Canadians, who had put in four arduous days at the border, went thru first, then the 38 students. We called Faten to tell her we arrived, but it took about 15 minutes for our taxis to come. That was just enough time for the border officials to realize that, in their excitment, they had forgotten to do all their forms and procedures for the others. The full searchlight of security shone full upon us, albeit very politely. Forms to fill out, need to wait for a security escort, and, finally, the border health official saying he would send a doctor to our hotel to "examine" us. We drove from Rafah to Gaza City with a police escort, horns blaring, that did not stop at any intersection. This was more than a little embarrassing! Fortunately, they seemed to have lost interest in us after the first day. When the public health doctor arrived at Marna House, our hotel, to "examine" us a few days later, we got by with an interesting discussion about public health in Gaza -- no stethoscope ever appeared!

World News Sunday


Obama to Forge a Greater Role on Health Care  By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG Published: June 6, 2009

WASHINGTON — After months of insisting he would leave the details to Congress, President Obama has concluded that he must exert greater control over the health care debate and is preparing an intense push for legislation that will include speeches, town-hall-style meetings and much deeper engagement with lawmakers, senior White House officials say. Mindful of the failures of former President Bill Clinton, whose intricate proposal for universal care collapsed on Capitol Hill 15 years ago, Mr. Obama until now had charted a different course, setting forth broad principles and concentrating on bringing disparate factions — doctors, insurers, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, labor unions — to the negotiating table.


Tunnel fraud leaves Gazans on verge of financial ruin

  For years, a network of underground smugglers' routes from Egypt to the Gaza Strip has supplied a besieged population with everything from cement to cattle. But now a series of major scams has destroyed the dreams of desperate investors who saw the tunnels as a path out of poverty Peter Bradshaw in Gaza City The Observer, Sunday 7 June 2009 Jawad Tawfiq, a 52-year-old Gazan actor and director, was dubious at first, but his nephew insisted. If they could scrape together enough money, the nephew said, large profits could be made from investing in the tunnels that snake beneath the Egyptian border. "They were liars," Tawfiq said bitterly last week. "They took my money to put in their own pockets. And we are being offered a fraction of what we gave them." At first the tunnels emerged as smuggling routes; then they became the vital lifeline for a Gaza under economic siege by Israel. But many people who invested in the tunnels now see them quite differently - as a source of ruination. The tunnel schemes were advertised as opportunities for doubling and trebling money by unscrupulous figures linked to powerful businessmen in Gaza and, allegedly, to senior officials in Hamas, but have instead led to huge losses for ordinary residents of the Strip.


President Ahmadinejad's future could be bound up with the fortunes of the national soccer team Ian Black in Tehran

Gaza Views: A Report on the Situation in Gaza


This is a report by Felice Gelman of a trip that she took to Gaza last month that was organized by Code Pink. She was part of a delegation from the Wespac Middle East Committee. It is posted with her permission. More reports and pictures can be  foundon her site.



The Destruction

Chatting with Chomsky

A friend, jeeidunno, has been doing a little bit of part time volunteer radio reporting and has been running a series of interesting interviews. Here is a Noam Chomsky Radio Interview from February 20, 2009, that is about 15 minutes long and in two parts. I think you will enjoy it because he asks great questions and gives the people he talks to plenty of time to answer. Something that you may no longer be used to from our sound bite media. Grab yourself a cup of java and enjoy:

"Noam Chomsky discusses the Israeli Elections, the War on Gaza, Hamas, US Policy, Obama and Activism."

Part I:

Part II is below the fold.

Gaza's Eyes to Cry With

 "Leave them nothing but their eyes to cry with."

-- Attributed to a Union colonel of the Civil War serving as an adviser to the Prussian General Staff during the Franco-Prussian War.

The United Nations has called for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza strip. Pope Benedict XVI has also called for a ceasefire, and senior Vatican official Cardinal Renato Martino describes Gaza as "a big concentration camp."

The Senate has passed a resolution endorsing Israel's invasion of Gaza and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) says the U.S. "must continue to stand strongly with its friend and democratic ally."

There you have the difference between the U.N., the Catholic Church and the U.S. Congress; the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) doesn't own the U.N. or the Catholic Church.

The Unchosen People

Thanks to investigative journalist Gareth Porter we know that in January 2006, when Hamas won a 56 percent majority in the Palestinian parliamentary election, the Bush administration initiated actions to overturn the election results. It coerced the UN, the European Union and Russia into demanding that Hamas "disarm" before a political solution could be reached between Palestine and Israel.

This is a signal characteristic of administration's behavior in foreign affairs: require the target to cede its bargaining chips as a precondition of negotiations. In the case of Iran, the "offer they must refuse" is the demand that they give up their UN guaranteed "inalienable right" to peaceful nuclear development. The administration gave Hamas an ultimatum to bare its throat to an armed and U.S. backed Israel, a move that would have been suicidal. Given the overwhelming preponderance of the Israelis' actions and rhetoric over the past three years, I see no way to avoid the conclusion that they consider genocide of a defenseless adversary to be a perfectly legitimate course of action.

And it looks like they can get away with it for at least as long as George W. Bush is in office.

The Entry of the Sunni Mujahideen

Michael Scheuer has an interesting series of articles at the Asian Times from the The Jamestown Foundation. A window in the coming Blowback, that has already reared it's ugly head in many places and is stoked by throwing intense flames onto the already started fire?

The latest report is called MUJAHIDEEN BLEED-THROUGH, Part 4 with a subtitle "Palestine and Israel: The ring of terror tightens"

Open Thread: Brezhinsky Speaks Out; Bagojevich Makes His Move

In an interview this morning, Zbigniew Brzezinski condemned the Israeli assault on Gaza. While admitting that missiles fired at Israel over the past months were a provocation by Hamas, he said that there had been no Israeli's killed and that the Israeli response has been disproportionate with more than 400 Palestinians killed so far. While laying blame on the Israeli government, he strongly condemned the Bush Administration for failing to seriously engage in the peace process but instead giving Israel unqualified support.