Business as Usual

Thursday, November 9, 2006 2:58 AM

Forget the midterm elections in America. The real news, the news which matters and lasts, is taking place in the Gaza Strip, on the coast of the Mediterranean, far away from American news cameras. (See below.)

Tel Aviv can get away with murder and with repeated war crimes inside and outside Palestine because politicians elected in the U.S. look the other way and keep sending Tel Aviv billions of dollars each and every year. The point has been reached where it really does not matter who is elected to the U.S. Congress or who is fired from the Cabinet in the Executive Branch. At the end of the day, it will be the same foreign policy and the same confidence game as before, all of which enables Israel's atrocities, its never-ending occupation, and fuels the "war on terror" by creating more terrorists. Meanwhile, Europe continues to stand by and do nothing but issue empty, mealy-mouthed protests, as evidenced by those in The Guardian below.

The "Israel Lobby" has mandated the “Special Relationship” through its control of both American political parties. I know this personally from talking to major Democratic insiders, money raisers, who are my friends. "The Lobby" owned the Democratic Party going back a few decades at least, through the end of the Clinton Administration. It still owns the Democrats. That is why G.W. Bush went out of his way to pander to Ariel Sharon from the start, after the extremely close 2000 election. Karl Rove's strategy for Bush was simple: steal or at least peal off significant segments of the "Israel Lobby" support from the Democrats--meaning the money, votes and influence which "The Lobby" has at its disposal. I believe this is the actual explanation for Bush's seemingly insane Middle East policies.

The situation looks insane to us, from the outside. However, it all makes all the sense in the world from the inside, once you follow the money and the influence. The wholesale appointment of "neocons" in the Administration and the invasion of Iraq were both part of the same program to place the Israel Lobby on the side of the Republicans. It worked.

Gaza killings The blood of innocents

Leader || Thursday November 9, 2006 || The Guardian [London]

Israel enjoys overwhelming military superiority over its Palestinian enemies, but there was no military or indeed any other logic to yesterday's killing of 18 people, at least 14 of them members of one sleeping family, in the northern Gaza Strip. International and regional reactions to the carnage were grimly predictable. The US called on Israel to exercise "restraint", noting its "regret" at civilian casualties and the launch of an inquiry into how a residential area had come under artillery fire. The EU said it was "appalled". The Palestinian movement Hamas called for swift retaliation. Islamic Jihad promised suicide bombings. Sadly, only the latter statements carried much conviction.

Fifty other Palestinians killed in the preceding week of Israeli operations in the area included civilians as well as fighters who have been provocatively firing home-made Qassam rockets across the border. Yesterday's victims were all civilians and mostly women and children. Their deaths will fan the flames of a conflagration in danger of getting out of control.

Experience suggests that even if the Beit Hanoun slaughter turns out to have been accidental, and Palestinians were to accept that, it will still be remembered as an Israeli atrocity. Israel's critics acknowledge that it has the right to defend itself - and it can only be by chance that rockets launched from Gaza since the August 2005 withdrawal have caused only damage and injuries and no Israeli fatalities. But Israel's actions, as in Lebanon this summer, have ignored the obligation to act in proportion to the threat, to avoid civilian casualties, and comply with international humanitarian law, which includes the personal responsibility of commanders for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Louise Arbour, the UN human rights commissioner, should formally remind the Israeli government of those principles when she visits Gaza and Jerusalem shortly.

This violence is not only a terrible reminder of the dangers of deadlock in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. It also deepens the crisis further by bringing an unnecessary suspension of talks between Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas on the formation of a national unity government, needed to prompt the US and EU to ease their sanctions and end the debilitating siege of more than a million Gazans. It is hard too in this atmosphere to see progress in negotiations on the release of an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas. It bears repeating that there are no military solutions to this conflict. Those who ignore that will always end up staining their hands with the blood of innocents.

© Guardian News and Media Limited 2006