Richard Falk: Understanding the Gaza Catastrophe

Understanding the Gaza Catastrophe

For eighteen months the entire 1.5 million people of Gaza experienced a punishing blockade imposed by Israel, and a variety of traumatizing challenges to the normalcy of daily life. A flicker of hope emerged some six months ago when an Egyptian arranged truce produced an effective ceasefire that cut Israeli casualties to zero despite the cross-border periodic firing of homemade rockets that fell harmlessly on nearby Israeli territory, and undoubtedly caused anxiety in the border town of Sderot. During the ceasefire the Hamas leadership in Gaza repeatedly offered to extend the truce, even proposing a ten-year period and claimed a receptivity to a political solution based on acceptance of Israel's 1967 borders. Israel ignored these diplomatic initiatives, and failed to carry out its side of the ceasefire agreement that involved some easing of the blockade that had been restricting the entry to Gaza of food, medicine, and fuel to a trickle.

Israel also refused exit permits to students with foreign fellowship awards and to Gazan journalists and respected NGO representatives. At the same time, it made it increasingly difficult for journalists to enter, and I was myself expelled from Israel a couple of weeks ago when I tried to enter to carry out my UN job of monitoring respect for human rights in occupied Palestine, that is, in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as Gaza. Clearly, prior to the current crisis, Israel used its authority to prevent credible observers from giving accurate and truthful accounts of the dire humanitarian situation that had been already documented as producing severe declines in the physical condition and mental health of the Gazan population, especially noting malnutrition among children and the absence of treatment facilities for those suffering from a variety of diseases. The Israeli attacks were directed against a society already in grave condition after a blockade maintained during the prior 18 months.

As always in relation to the underlying conflict, some facts bearing on this latest crisis are murky and contested, although the American public in particular gets 99% of its information filtered through an exceedingly pro-Israeli media lens. Hamas is blamed for the breakdown of the truce by its supposed unwillingness to renew it, and by the alleged increased incidence of rocket attacks. But the reality is more clouded. There was no substantial rocket fire from Gaza during the ceasefire until Israel launched an attack last November 4th directed at what it claimed were Palestinian militants in Gaza, killing several Palestinians. It was at this point that rocket fire from Gaza intensified. Also, it was Hamas that on numerous public occasions called for extending the truce, with its calls never acknowledged, much less acted upon, by Israeli officialdom. Beyond this, attributing all the rockets to Hamas is not convincing either. A variety of independent militia groups operate in Gaza, some such as the Fatah-backed al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade are anti-Hamas, and may even be sending rockets to provoke or justify Israeli retaliation. It is well confirmed that when US-supported Fatah controlled Gaza's governing structure it was unable to stop rocket attacks despite a concerted effort to do so.

What this background suggests strongly is that Israel launched its devastating attacks, starting on December 27, not simply to stop the rockets or in retaliation, but also for a series of unacknowledged reasons. It was evident for several weeks prior to the Israeli attacks that the Israeli military and political leaders were preparing the public for large-scale military operations against the Hamas. The timing of the attacks seemed prompted by a series of considerations: most of all, the interest of political contenders, the Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, in demonstrating their toughness prior to national elections scheduled for February, but now possibly postponed until military operations cease. Such Israeli shows of force have been a feature of past Israeli election campaigns, and on this occasion especially, the current government was being successfully challenged by Israel's notoriously militarist politician, Benjamin Netanyahu, for its supposed failures to uphold security. Reinforcing these electoral motivations was the little concealed pressure from the Israeli military commanders to seize the opportunity in Gaza to erase the memories of their failure to destroy Hezbollah in the devastating Lebanon War of 2006 that both tarnished Israel's reputation as a military power and led to widespread international condemnation of Israel for the heavy bombardment of undefended Lebanese villages, disproportionate force, and extensive use of cluster bombs against heavily populated areas.

Respected and conservative Israeli commentators go further. For instance, the prominent historian, Benny Morris writing in the New York Times a few days ago, relates the campaign in Gaza to a deeper set of forebodings in Israel that he compares to the dark mood of the public that preceded the 1967 War when Israelis felt deeply threatened by Arab mobilizations on their borders. Morris insists that despite Israeli prosperity of recent years, and relative security, several factors have led Israel to act boldly in Gaza: the perceived continuing refusal of the Arab world to accept the existence of Israel as an established reality; the inflammatory threats voiced by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad together with Iran's supposed push to acquire nuclear weapons, the fading memory of the Holocaust combined with growing sympathy in the West with the Palestinian plight, and the radicalization of political movements on Israel's borders in the form of Hezbollah and Hamas. In effect, Morris argues that Israel is trying via the crushing of Hamas in Gaza to send a wider message to the region that it will stop at nothing to uphold its claims of sovereignty and security.

There are two conclusions that emerge: the people of Gaza are being severely victimized for reasons remote from the rockets and border security concerns, but seemingly to improve election prospects of current leaders now facing defeat, and to warn others in the region that Israel will use overwhelming force whenever its interests are at stake.

That such a human catastrophe can happen with minimal outside interference also shows the weakness of international law and the United Nations, as well as the geopolitical priorities of the important players. The passive support of the United States government for whatever Israel does is again the critical factor, as it was in 2006 when it launched its aggressive war against Lebanon. What is less evident is that the main Arab neighbors, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, with their extreme hostility toward Hamas that is viewed as backed by Iran, their main regional rival, were also willing to stand aside while Gaza was being so brutally attacked, with some Arab diplomats even blaming the attacks on Palestinian disunity or on the refusal of Hamas to accept the leadership of Mamoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority.

The people of Gaza are victims of geopolitics at its inhumane worst: producing what Israel itself calls a 'total war' against an essentially defenseless society that lacks any defensive military capability whatsoever and is completely vulnerable to Israeli attacks mounted by F-16 bombers and Apache helicopters. What this also means is that the flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, as set forth in the Geneva Conventions, is quietly set aside while the carnage continues and the bodies pile up. It additionally means that the UN is once more revealed to be impotent when its main members deprive it of the political will to protect a people subject to unlawful uses of force on a large scale. Finally, this means that the public can shriek and march all over the world, but that the killing will go on as if nothing is happening. The picture being painted day by day in Gaza is one that begs for renewed commitment to international law and the authority of the UN Charter, starting here in the United States, especially with a new leadership that promised its citizens change, including a less militarist approach to diplomatic leadership.


See Falk's recent 9/11 article;

"9/11: More Than Meets The Eye"

What could justifiy this?

....................... AK84151733 by pinkturtle2
GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP - JANUARY 01: A wounded Palestinian child screams as she arrives
They hate us for our freedoms?.............No they hate us for the same reason we would hate them if they did this to our children.

I am not sure this is the link.Try this one.

Gaza. It's terrorism. It's slaughter. Crime can be reported

Gaza. It's terrorism. It's slaughter. Crime can be reported - 2/01/09

In the days of the atrocious massacre in Gaza, horror inevitably focuses on the images and the voices of the victims. They are tiny fragments that don’t help complete the picture of the tragedy yet. It’s hard to understand and reflect while such a disaster is underway. Yet, we are required to, in order to reconstruct the facts and the context...



The irony is that Israel, only a few generations from the holocaust, is creating ghettos within it's own borders.

Which borders? Are it's own?

Pre 1947? 1968? The current ones? Now that's the rub isn't it. The real problem is that Israel's leaders want land that belongs to others based upon the hebrew bible. So hard to find a peace among brothers in the east.

Gaza like Warsaw?

Gaza reminds me of the Warsaw ghetto, in that it is prison like, urban, and desperate. How is it that the victims become the oppressors? The Berlin Wall falls, and the world sees new ones erected along borders, including our own. When does the world learn from the past rather than repeat the awful mistakes?

The IAF, bullies of the clear blue skies

The IAF, bullies of the clear blue skies

Our finest young men are attacking Gaza now. Good boys from good homes are doing bad things. Most of them are eloquent, impressive, self-confident, often even highly principled in their own eyes, and on Black Saturday dozens of them set out to bomb some of the targets in our "target bank" for the Gaza Strip...


This is really tough

This is really tough information to process. Working for the truth seems all the more important.

U.S Media Has Done A Terrible Job Covering Hamas - Israel

Audio-sync problems with this one, but it's worth watching nonetheless;

What would Ghandi do?

How was British Occupation of the Indian sub-continent dealt with?

Violence begets Violence.

Perhaps Hamas etc can learn the principles of non-violence.

Call me crazy but it has worked before.

Ask the Civil Rights Movement Leaders.

Martin Luther King.

Mohandas K. Ghandi.

Pls see: Principles of Non-Violence

Arun Gandhi

Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, heeded his grandfather's charge to "plant seeds in the minds of people, in hopes that they will germinate," when he founded the Gandhi Institute in Memphis, TN, in order to spread the seeds of peace.......

......Arun Gandhi provides in this speech a number of other remembrances about his grandfather, as well as his plans for the Gandhi Institute going forward. Among the most vivid stories he relates is about the six blind men and the elephant. Mahatma Gandhi described six blind men positioned around an elephant and asked to describe it. One felt its leg and said it was like a pole. One felt its trunk and said it was like a snake. One felt its side and said it was like a wall. Arun notes that none of the blind men were absolutely wrong and none of the blind men were absolutely right. Arrogance, Mahatma taught, arises in the belief that one possesses the whole truth. The scriptures of all religions, he believed, reveal some of the truths of this world. "Share each other's experiences," he advised, and if you want to live peacefully, be respectful of all religions.

Six Principles of Non-Violence by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Principle One: Non-violence is a way of life for courageous people.

It is active non-violent resistance to evil. It is aggressive spiritually, mentally and emotionally. It is always persuading the opponent of righteousness of your cause.

Principle Two: Non-violence seeks to win friendship and understanding.

The end result of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation.

The purpose of nonviolence is the creation of the Beloved Community.

Principle Three: Non-violence seeks to defeat injustice, not people.

Non-violence recognizes that evildoers are also victims, and not evil people.

The non-violent resister seeks to defeat evil, not people.

Principle Four: Non-violence holds that suffering educates and reforms.

Non-violence accepts suffering without retaliation. Non-violence accepts violence if necessary, but will never inflict it.

Non-violence willingly accepts the consequences of its acts.

Unearned suffering is redemptive and has tremendous educational and transforming possibilities.

Suffering has the power to convert the enemy when reason fails.

Principle Five: Non-violence chooses love instead of hate.

Non-violence resists violence of the spirit as well as the body.

Non-violent love is spontaneous, unmotivated, unselfish and creative.

Non-violent love gives willingly, knowing that the return might be hostility.

Non-violent love is active, not passive.

Non-violent love is unending in its ability to forgive in order to restore community.

Non-violent love does not sink to the level of the hater.
Love for the enemy is how we demonstrate love for ourselves.

Love restores community and resists injustice.

Non-violence recognizes the fact that all life is interrelated.

Principle Six: Non-violence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.

The non-violent resister has deep faith that justice will eventually win.

Non-violence believes that God is a God of justice.

The CONSTITUTION is NOT going to "collapse" into pulverized dust no matter how much thermate/explosives or planes they throw at it

This is good

This is good constitutional911 and the Palestinians need to be fed with more, like intense and effective boycotts here in the US. We fuel what goes on in Gaza by supporting current US policy towards the Palestinians, which means letting Israel do whatever it wants, including genocidal attacks, of which they have a mountain full.

Economic pressure needs to be brought here in the US. Ghandi's movement, remember, involved massive boycotts and work stoppages...that is what brought the British Raj to its knees. The problems in Gaza and elsewhere in tortured Palestine, will move to healing when the US population realizes that it is the one holding the key to peace.

Thanks John

Here is a story......

One day, a little girl was walking along the beach when she came upon a starfish that was dying in the sun. She picked it up, threw it back into the ocean, and continued her stroll along the seashore.

She came upon another starfish, and another, and she continued to throw them back into the ocean until she realized that the entire shore was covered with washed-up starfish.

A little boy encountered the girl, who one-by-one was throwing each starfish back into the ocean, and asked "Why are you wasting your time saving these starfish? You will never be able to save them all.” The little girl replied, "Well, I may not be able to save them all, but I can save this one."

And with that she threw another starfish back into the ocean. The boy, at first confused by the girl’s relentless motivation to save the starfish, then decided to join the little girl by throwing each fish back into the ocean.

Then many children decided to join in and help..........

Every 911 Truther is in a similar position.....

We have to take the trouble to pickup that starfish and throw it back into the Ocean of Truth and Justice

The CONSTITUTION is NOT going to "collapse" into pulverized dust no matter how much thermate/explosives or planes they throw at it

King was killed.

Gandhi was killed.

The Indian revolt succeeded mostly because they made India ungovernable. Can the people of Gaza do likewise? Unlikely. They are not self-sufficient. They have been cut off from essential goods and medicine. They are in a large open prison slowly being starved by a ruthless, criminal army. The situations are not comparable.

Self defense is a legitimate right under international law. Unfortunately, the Gazans do not stand a chance to defend themselves from the Zionist genocidal forces, armed and sponsored by the criminal DC duopoly.

Moral legitimacy is non-existent in Tel Aviv and DC. All they have is raw power. That may soon fade away with their looted, raped and pillaged economies.

70 Disturbing Facts About 9/11

John Doraemi publishes Crimes of the State Blog

johndoraemi --at--


Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?

Jewish editor sacked for

Jewish editor sacked for publishing article

This article was sent to Debbie Ducro, a American-Jewish journalist with the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle. She published it, and was fired the next day.

Quest for justice

By Judith Stone

I am a Jew. I was a participant in the Rally for the Right of Return to Palestine. It was the right thing to do.

I've heard about the European holocaust against the Jews since I was a small child. I've visited the memorials in Washington, DC and Jerusalem dedicated to Jewish lives lost and I've cried at the recognition to what level of atrocity mankind is capable of sinking.

Where are the Jews of conscience? No righteous malice can be held against the survivors of Hitler's holocaust. These fragments of humanity were in no position to make choices beyond that of personal survival. We must not forget that being a survivor or a co-religionist of the victims of the European Holocaust does not grant dispensation from abiding by the rules of humanity.

"Never again" as a motto, rings hollow when it means "never again to us alone." My generation was raised being led to believe that the biblical land was a vast desert inhabited by a handful of impoverished Palestinians living with their camels and eking out a living in the sand. The arrival of the Jews was touted as a tremendous benefit to these desert dwellers. Golda Meir even assured us that there "is no Palestinian problem".

We know now this picture wasn't as it was painted. Palestine was a land filled with people who called it home. There were thriving towns and villages, schools and hospitals. There were Jews, Christians and Muslims.

In fact, prior to the occupation, Jews represented a mere seven per cent of the population and owned three per cent of the land.

Taking the blinders off for a moment, I see a second atrocity perpetuated by the very people who should be exquisitely sensitive to the suffering of others. These people knew what it felt like to be ordered out of your home at gun point and forced to march into the night to unknown destinations or face execution on the spot. The people who displaced the Palestinians knew first hand what it means to watch your home in flames, to surrender everything dear to your heart at a moment's notice. Bulldozers levelled hundreds of villages, along with the remains of the village inhabitants, the old and the young. This was nothing new to the world.

Poland is a vast graveyard of the Jews of Europe. Israel is the final resting place of the massacred Palestinian people. A short distance from the memorial to the Jewish children lost to the holocaust in Europe there is a levelled parking lot. Under this parking lot is what's left of a once flourishing village and the bodies of men, women and children whose only crime was taking up needed space and not leaving graciously. This particular burial marker reads: "Public Parking".

I've talked with Palestinians. I have yet to meet a Palestinian who hasn't lost a member of their family to the Israeli Shoah, nor a Palestinian who cannot name a relative or friend languishing under inhumane conditions in an Israeli prison. Time and time again, Israel is cited for human rights violations to no avail. On a recent trip to Israel, I visited the refugee camps inhabited by a people who have waited 52 years in these 'temporary' camps to go home. Every Palestinian grandparent can tell you the name of their village, their street, and where the olive trees were planted. Their grandchildren may never have been home, but they can tell you where their great-grandfather lies buried and where the village well stood. The press has fostered the portrait of the Palestinian terrorist. But the victims who rose up against human indignity in the Warsaw Ghetto are called heroes. Those who lost their lives are called martyrs. The Palestinian who tosses a rock in desperation is a terrorist.

Two years ago I drove through Palestine and watched intricate sprinkler systems watering lush green lawns of Zionist settlers in their new condominium complexes, surrounded by armed guards and barbed wire in the midst of a Palestinian community where there was not adequate water to drink and the surrounding fields were sandy and dry. University professor Moshe Zimmerman reported in the Jerusalem Post (30 April, 1995), "The [Jewish] children of Hebron are just like Hitler's youth."

We Jews are suing for restitution, lost wages, compensation for homes, land, slave labour and back wages in Europe. Am I a traitor of a Jew for supporting the right of return of the Palestinian refugees to their birthplace and compensation for what was taken that cannot be returned?

The Jewish dead cannot be brought back to life and neither can the Palestinian massacred be resurrected. David Ben Gurion said, "Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves...politically, we are the aggressors and they defend themselves...The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country...".

Palestine is a land that has been occupied and emptied of its people. Its cultural and physical landmarks have been obliterated and replaced by tidy Hebrew signs. The history of a people was the first thing eradicated by the occupiers. The history of the indigenous people has been all but eradicated as though they never existed. And all this has been hailed by the world as a miraculous act of God. We must recognise that Israel's existence is not even a question of legality so much as it is an illegal fait accompli realised through the use of force while supported by the Western powers. The UN missions directed at Israel in attempting to correct its violations of have thus far been futile.

In Hertzl's 'The Jewish State' the father of Zionism said: "We must investigate and take possession of the new Jewish country by means of every modern expedient." I guess I agree with Ehud Barak (3 June 1998) when he said, "If I were a Palestinian, I'd also join a terror group." I'd go a step further perhaps. Rather than throwing little stones in desperation, I'd hurtle a boulder.

Hopefully, somewhere deep inside, every Jew of conscience knows that this was no war; that this was not G-d's restitution of the holy land to it's rightful owners. We know that a human atrocity was and continues to be perpetuated against an innocent people who couldn't come up with the arms and money to defend themselves against the western powers bent upon their demise as a people.

We cannot continue to say, "But what were we to do?" Zionism is not synonymous with Judaism. I wholly support the rally of the right of return of the Palestinian people. here.


Pls also see :


New Yorkers brave the cold this week at Herald Square in support of the people of Gaza……

The CONSTITUTION is NOT going to "collapse" into pulverized dust no matter how much thermate/explosives or planes they throw at it

Rabbi Feldman:

On Friday, Jan. 2, 2009, Human Rights activists staged a demonstration and march, in Washington, D.C., in solidarity with the beleaguered Palestinian people of Israeli-Occupied Gaza. The rally began at the Israeli Embassy. One of the speakers was Orthodox Rabbi Dovid Feldman. He is associated with "Jews United Against Zionism," and is a member of "Neturei Karta International." For background, please see, In his remarks, Rabbi Feldman was sharply critical of the ideology of Zionism. He labeled it an "illegitimate political movement". For a related video on the demonstration at the Israeli Embassy,

Roseanne Barr: Israel is a 'Nazi state'

Roseanne Barr: Israel is a 'Nazi state'


Former television star Roseanne Barr has denounced Israel's military campaign against Hamas in Gaza, labeling Israel a "Nazi state."

A screen shot of Roseanne Barr's personal blog.

In a post on her personal blog, which appears at her Web site, Roseanne World, the comedienne, who is Jewish, wrote on December 30 that she had planned to travel with pro-Palestinian activists on a protest boat sailing from Cyprus to Gaza.

After an encounter with an Israel Navy vessel, the boat was turned back and sailed into a Lebanese port on Tuesday.

"I said Israel will attack any boat carrying doctors and medical supplies," Barr wrote on her blog, adding that, "Israel is a NAZI state. The Jewish Soul is being tortured in Israel."

The Emmy-award winning actress, who has courted controversy in the past, also condemned Israel's counter-terror operation against Hamas, asserting that, "The destruction of the Jews in Israel has been assured with this inhuman attack on civilians in Gaza."

In her post, Barr likened Hamas to "street gangs" in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts, saying that Israel's military campaign is the "equivalent to Los Angeles attacking and launching war on the people of Watts to kill 'the Bloods' and 'the Crips.'"

Barr's comments were revealed by the Newsbusters Web site, which is a project of the conservative media watchdog group, the Media Research Center.

The CONSTITUTION is NOT going to "collapse" into pulverized dust no matter how much thermate/explosives or planes they throw at it

Graphic footage of Israeli bomb aftermath in Gaza

Caution: VERY graphic. Apparently this happened earlier today.

Israeli ground troops enter Gaza

The US has become a criminal

The US has become a criminal state. Israel has become a criminal state. This is the era of criminal states. Pressure from without and bloodless coups from within, are the only ways to dislodge these two international hateful, murderous bully regimes.

Live Video Coverage Of Israel's Attack On Gaza

Al Jazeera English Live Video Coverage Of Israel's Attack On Ga

Al Jazeera English

Live Video Coverage Of Israel's Attack On Gaza

Live Stream:

For Criminal Leaders - Here is something interesting

Bush chuckers target shoe discount

A Chinese shop is giving discounts to customers who hit an image of George Bush by throwing shoes.

Customers hitting zones A-D can receive a discount from 20% to 50% off at the store in Wenzhou.

The activity, with a slogan "Hitting for world fame and good fortune", was so popular among shoppers that the store had to call police to maintain order.

During the first 30 minutes of the special promotion they sold 64 pairs of shoes and earned more £1,000. Several hundred pairs of shoes were sold on the second day.

"We were inspired by the shoe throwing incident in Iraq and hoped customers can get some entertainment while shopping," said the shop owner.

The CONSTITUTION is NOT going to "collapse" into pulverized dust no matter how much thermate/explosives or planes they throw at it