Emergency after Emergency
 
by G.S.  <george.salzman@umb.edu    22 January 2008

this page is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2008-01-22P.htm
narrow version at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2008-01-22.htm

Oaxaca, Tuesday 22 January 2008
Friends,
      Although I don’t believe we, the world’s peoples, are in a position to immediately stop the ongoing murder of Palestinians by the Jewish state of Israel, we must find a way to bring this genocidal policy to a halt as soon as we possibly can. I had not intended to again send messages to my entire e-mail list, but the urgency of the situation impells me to share my rage and sense of impotence in this crisis with you. I am sending you part of a lengthy e-mail from Enrique Ferro <ferro.enrique@gmail.com>. This makes the fascism here in Oaxaca feel absolutely benign by comparison.
George
a Press Statement
from the Gaza Community Mental Health Center (GCMHC)

“Tightened Siege on Gaza Reaches Unprecedented Levels
and Endangers the Life of 1.5 Million Civilians”

     Israel has imposed a severe siege on the Gaza Strip since Hamas' winning of the parliamentary elections in January, 2006. Furthermore, Israel has tightened this siege following Hamas military domination over the Gaza Strip in June, 2007 when Israel declared that the Gaza Strip is an enemy entity.

     Two weeks ago, Israel has tightened the siege and embargo imposed on the Gaza Strip reaching unprecedented levels. This action included various sanctions such as: cut-off fuel and electricity provisions to Gaza as well as all other energy resources. Israel has also imposed strict closure on all Gaza Strip border crossings, preventing movement of civilians including patients' for medical services. Such procedures led to entire shut-down of the sole energy producing station in the Gaza Strip, two days ago. As a consequence, Gaza is drowning in darkness whereas electricity from all homes, industrial, and health facilities in the Gaza Strip was cut-off entirely.

     The electricity cut-off, therefore, has paralyzed all aspects of life in the Gaza Strip as water supply couldn't reach the homes of Palestinians; elevators in the high-rise towers have not functioned properly; and household electrical instruments have been shut down completely. Nonetheless, what is more critical is the water and sewage systems are about to shut down in addition to electricity generators in major hospitals and sanitation vehicles. All such matters warn of a humanitarian, health and environmental crisis.

     Due to the denial of deliveries of vital supplies of food, fuel and humanitarian aids to the Gaza Strip, there has been a crisis in obtaining necessary food supplies for the people in Gaza. This situation added to the already existing crisis due to the fact that 85% of the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip depends mainly on the humanitarian aids for securing their basic needs of survival. Furthermore, the stoppage of electricity and fuel as well as flour cut-off have caused even more paralysis in the bakeries in the Gaza Strip, thus preventing the Palestinians from receiving their necessary needs of bread.

     All forms and consequences of the siege imposed by Israel aggravate the Palestinians' sufferings in Gaza Strip, coinciding with the economic crisis and high rate of poverty and unemployment. The new procedures of siege have led to significant rise of burdens on the Palestinian civilians and families, as well as an emergence of a new wave of feelings of panic, anger, suppression and helplessness. As a result, the psychological sufferings of people are intensifying in the presence of the economic hardships.

     Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) is gravely concerned over the continuation of the tightened siege and isolating Gaza from the outside world. Further, GCMHP warns against the critical humanitarian, health and mental ramifications of this siege on the civilians which threaten their life and significantly deepen their suffering. Such consequences are becoming more apparent as reports warning of the death of patients in intensive care units and deterioration of the health conditions of chronic disease patients including cancer and kidney failure.

     In this critical time, GCMHP calls upon the international community, human rights organizations and all peace activists around the world to hold their moral and legal responsibilities to end the Israeli inhumane siege and its repercussions that reach the levels of war crimes. Additionally, GCMHP demands the international community not to remain silent towards the Israeli crimes and to immediately intervene and pressure Israel to end its siege and collective punishment imposed on the Gaza Strip that threatens the life of 1.5 million innocent civilians.


Ilan Pappe on Israeli policy in Gaza: it’s genocide

http://www.ilanpappe.org/Articles/Israeli%20Recipe%20for%202008.html

The Israeli Recipe For 2008: Genocide in Gaza, Ethnic Cleansing in the West Bank

From the June 23, 2007 issue of The Indypendent, the newspaper of the New York City Independant Media Center, at http://www.indypendent.org/2007/06/22/the-israeli-recipe-for-2008-genocide
-in-gaza-ethnic-cleansing-in-the-west-bank/

‘Genocide’ is the only appropriate way to describe what
the Israeli army is doing in the Gaza Strip.

      Not long ago, I claimed that Israel is employing genocidal policies in the Gaza Strip. I hesitated before using this very charged term and yet decided to adopt it. The responses I received indicated unease in using such a term. I rethought the term for a while, but concluded with even stronger conviction: it is the only appropriate way to describe what the Israeli army is doing in the Gaza Strip.

      On Dec. 28, 2006, the Israeli human rights organization B'tzelem published its annual report on Israeli atrocities in the occupied territories. In 2006, Israeli forces killed 660 citizens , triple the number of the previous year (around 200). Most of the dead are from the Gaza Strip, where Israeli forces demolished almost 300 houses and have slain entire families . Since 2000, almost 4,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, half of them children, and more than 20,000 wounded.

      The point is not just about escalating intentional killings but the strategy. Annexation

      Israeli policy makers are facing two very different realities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In the former, they are finishing construction of their eastern border. Their internal ideological debate is over, and their master plan for annexing half of the West Bank is gaining speed.

      The last phase was delayed due to the promises made by Israel, under the Road Map, not to build new settlements. Israel found two ways of circumventing this. First, it defined a third of the West Bank as Greater Jerusalem, which allowed it to build towns and community centers within this new annexed area. Second, it expanded old settlements to such proportions that there was no need to build new ones.

Creeping Transfer
      The settlements, army bases, roads and the wall will allow Israel to annex almost half of the West Bank by 2010. Within these territories, Israeli authorities will continue to implement creeping transfer policies against the considerable number of Palestinians who remain.

      There is no rush. As far as the Israeli are concerned they have the upper hand there; the daily abusive and dehumanizing combination of army and bureaucracy effectively adds to the dispossession process.

      All governing parties from Labor to Kadima accept Ariel Sharon’s strategic thinking that this policy is far better than the one offered by the blunt “transferists” or ethnic cleansers, such as Avigdor Liberman. In the Gaza Strip there is no clear Israeli strategy, but there is a daily experiment with one. The Israelis see the Strip as a distinct geo-political entity from the West Bank. Hamas controls Gaza, while Mahmoud Abbas seems to run the fragmented West Bank with Israeli and American blessing.

      There is no land in the Strip that Israel covets and there is no hinterland, like Jordan, to which the Palestinians can be expelled.

      Ethnic cleansing is ineffective here. The earlier strategy in the Strip was ghettoizing the Palestinians there, but this is not working. The Jews know it best from their history. In the past, the next stage against such communities was even more barbaric. It is difficult to tell what does the future hold for the Gaza community: ghettoized, quarantined, unwanted and demonized.

Throwing Away the Key
      Creating the prison and throwing the key to the sea, as South African law professor John Dugard has put it, was an option the Palestinians in the Strip reacted against with force in September 2005. Determined to show that they were still part of the West Bank and Palestine, they launched the first significant number of missiles into the Western Negev. The shelling was a response to an Israeli campaign of massive arrests of Hamas and Jihad people in the Tul Karim area.

      Israel responded with operation "First Rain." Supersonic flights were flown over Gaza to terrorize the entire population, succeeded by heavy bombardment of vast areas from the sea, sky and land. The logic, the Israeli army explained, was to weaken the community's support for the rocket launchers. As was expected, by the Israelis as well, the operation only increased the support for the rocket launchers.

      The real purpose was experimental. The Israeli generals wished to know how such operations would be received at home, in the region and in the world. And it seems the answer was "very well;" no one took interest in the scores of dead and hundreds of wounded Palestinians.

      Following operations were modeled on First Rain. The difference was more firepower, more casualties and more collateral damage and, as expected, more Qassam missiles in response. Accompanying measures ensured full imprisonment of Gazans through boycott and blockade, with which the European Union is shamefully collaborating.

      The capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006 was irrelevant in the general scheme, but it provided an opportunity for the Israelis to escalate even more. After all, there was no strategy that followed the decision of Sharon to remove 8,000 settlers from Gaza whose presence complicated "punitive" missions. Since then, the "punitive" actions continue and have become a strategy.

      First Rain was replaced by "Summer Rains." In a country where there is no rain in the summer, one can expect only showers of F-16 bombs and artillery shells hitting the people of the Strip.

      Summer Rains brought a novel component: the land invasion into parts of the Gaza Strip. This enabled the army to kill citizens and present it as an inevitable result of heavy fighting within densely populated areas and not of Israeli policies.

Summer Rains, autumn Clouds
      When the summer was over came the even more efficient "Autumn Clouds:" beginning on Nov. 1, 2006, the Israelis killed 70 civilians in less than 48 hours. By the end of that month, almost 200 were killed, half of them children and women.

      Some of the activity was parallelled the Israeli attacks on Lebanon, making it easier to complete the operations without much external attention, let alone criticism. From First Rain to Autumn Cloudsthere is escalation in every parameter. The first is erasing the distinction between "civilian" and "non-civilian" targets: the population is the main target for the army's operation. Second is the escalation in the means: employment of every possible killing machine the Israeli army possesses. Third is escalation in the number of casualties: with each future operation, a much larger number of people are likely to be killed and wounded. Finally, and most importantly, the operations have become a strategy — the way Israel intends to solve the problem of the Gaza Strip.

      A creeping transfer in the West Bank and a measured genocidal policy in the Gaza strip are the two strategies Israel employs today. From an electoral point of view the policy in Gaza is problematic, as it does not reap any tangible results; the West Bank under Mahmoud Abbas is yielding to Israeli pressure and there is no significant force that arrests the Israeli strategy of annexation and dispossession.

Gaza Fights Back
      But the Strip continues to fire back. This would enable the Israeli army to initiate larger genocidal operations in the future, but there is also the great danger that, as in 1948, the army would demand a more drastic and systematic "punitive" action against the besieged people of the Gaza Strip. Ironically, the Israeli killing machine has rested lately. Its generals are content that the internal killing in the Strip does the job for them.

      They watch satisfied the emerging civil war in the Strip that Israel foments and encourages. The responsibility of ending the fighting lies of course with the Palestinian groups themselves, but U.S. and Israeli interference, the continued imprisonment, the starvation and strangulation of the Strip all make such an internal peace process very difficult.

Cutting Israel's Oxygen
      What unfolds in Gaza is a battleground between America's and Israel's local proxies most unintentional but who dance to Israel's tune nonetheless — and those who oppose their plans. The opposition that took over Gaza did it in a way that one finds very hard to condone or cheer.

      Once fighting there subsides, the Israeli Summer Rains will fall down again on the people in the Strip, wreaking havoc and death. There is no other way of stopping Israel than that of boycott, divestments and sanctions. The only soft point of this killing machine is its oxygen lines to "western" civilization and public opinion. It is still possible to puncture them and make it at least more difficult for the Israelis to implement their future strategy of eliminating the Palestinian people either by cleansing them in the West Bank or genocide in the Gaza Strip.

Dr. Ilan Pappé is an Israeli historian and author of numerous books, including
The Modern Middle East and The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

2. The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, Bank Yisra'el, Rich vs. Poor, Israelis and Palestinians, at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2008-01-19.htm .

3. Watch for a new Oaxacan Pro-Palestinians Solidarity Group. At the moment, the listserv host says, “ Due to technical difficulties, Riseup is not currently accepting new lists. We hope to begin again shortly.” This has persisted for several days. As soon as possible I will test the statement below to see whether the proposed name of the group, which includes a non-English letter, is acceptable. The statement (with the tentative group name) is also available at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2008-01-16.rtf . I will let you know when the new group listserv is open for subscriptions.

4. Israel’s abominations in savaging the Palestinians must somehow be ended. A note yesterday from Mazin Qumsiyeh contained the following:
“Yesterday in Connecticut, we had the honor to hear from the father, mother, and sister of 10-year-old Abir Aramin who was murdered by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in occupied Anata, Jerusalem, Palestine. We also heard from Israeli refusenik Yonatan Shapira. Abir’s father Bassam Aramin was jailed in Israel starting at age 17. When released he and Yonatan cofounded Combatants for Peace which combined Israelis and Palestinians who now advocate nonviolence and justice. He and others continued with the group even after his daughter was murdered in front of her school and while walking with other classmates, friends, as well as her sister (who gave us a heart-wrenching account of what happened and who spoke movingly about how Palestinian Children want to live like other children).”
Qumsiyeh’s listserv is invaluable. http://qumsiyeh.org http://justicewheels.org . You can subscribe by sending an e-mail (no message is necessary) to wheelsofjustice-subscribe@lists.riseup.net

5. New group tentative statement.

English version below
      Estamos formando un grupo nuevo de solidaridad para apoyar la lucha de los palestinos por libertad, derechos humanos, dignidad y justícia. Se llama “oaxaca-pro-palestinians-group” Si leyeras la lógica (abajo) y estuviras de acuerdo con la intención del grupo, puedes afiliarte con un correo electrónica (un mensaje no es necesario) a Si después quisieras anular tu suscripción sólo necescitarías enviar un c.e. (un mensaje no es necesario) a

La lógica
      La intención de este grupo es mantenerse a flote en solidaridad con los pueblos palestinos. Su lucha contra la conquista es similar a la de los oaxaqueños, que son en gran parte indígenas. Las dos son opuestas a la deshumanización y marginalización cultural. Cada grupo enfrenta la represión militar despiadada por el régimen en el poder. Los ya ricos buscan más engrandecimiento expropiando el terreno para explotar los recursos naturales y el trabajo de los empobrecidos. Muchos de los pueblos indígenas (los indios en Oaxaca, los palestinos en Israel/Palestina) están forzados a emigrar porque no pueden sobrevivir económicamente en sus comunidades de origen. En los dos lugares las luchas de las poblaciones indígenas son las luchas para una civilización verdadera, contra las fuerzas del capitalismo global.
      Este grupo de solidaridad consta por lo general de los pueblos de origen de Oaxaca que viven aquí o fuera de Oaxaca, y ‘gringos’ que viven aquí o que han visitado Oaxaca y sienten una afinidad con muchos de los valores tradicionales que aún están vivos entre muchos oaxaqueños indígenas. Ademas de los que nacieron o vivieron aquí y no quieren la destrucción de las comunidades y las culturas indígenas, otros son bienvenidos si ellos están de acuerdo con la intención y el espíritu que anima al grupo. Los anuncios, etc. serán generalmente en español y/o inglés.

English

      We are forming a new solidarity group to help the struggle of the Palestinians for liberty, human rights, dignity and justice. Its name is “Pro-palestinos grupo oaxaqueño solidario.” If you read the rationale (beloe) and are in agreement with the purpose of the group, you can join by sending an e-mail (no message is necessary) to
If later you wish to cancel your subscription all that is needed is to send an e-mail (no message necessary) to

Rationale
      The purpose of this group is to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian peoples. Their struggle against conquest is similar to that of the largely indigenous peoples of Oaxaca. Both are opposing dehumanization and economic and cultural marginalization. Each faces ruthless military repression by the ruling regime. The already wealthy seek further aggrandizement by expropriation of territory and by exploiting the natural resources and the labor of the impoverished. Many indigenous peoples (Indians in Oaxaca, Palestinians in Israel/Palestine) are forced to migrate because they cannot survive economically in their native communities. In both arenas the struggle of the indigenous populations is a struggle for a true civilization, against the destructive forces of global capitalism.
      This solidarity group consists mainly of people who are native Oaxaqueños living here or elsewhere, and ‘gringos’ who live here or who have visited Oaxaca and feel a strong affinity for many of the traditional values still alive among many indigenous Oaxaqueños. In addition to those who were born or lived here and who don't want the indigenous communities and cultures destroyed, others are welcome if they agree with the purpose and the animating spirit of the group. Postings to the group will usually be in English and/or Spanish.

George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>
Maria Trinidad Tapia <trinidadtapia@hotmail.com>
Faisal J. Abdala <obladi_15@hotmail.com>


All comments and criticisms are welcome.  <george.salzman@umb.edu>

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