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Home arrow Blog arrow June 2007 arrow June 17, 2007

June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

But, all I can think of is WHAT A MESS in Gaza!

And as always it is the innocent, the poor, the ill and the least who suffer the most distress.

Today, a news clip, a few excerpts from a scalding oped by Robert Fisk and another

Hard hitting OPED that addresses the fact that only dialogue that respects the will of the people and their resistance to occupation and colonization can ever lead to cleaning up the mess that is Gaza.

In clean up position, a plea from an Anglican Bishop for the innocent, the poor, the ill and the least in Gaza...


1. The following is excerpted from:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070616/ap_on_re_mi_ea/israel_palestinians

A U.S. diplomat says he expects a crippling embargo to be lifted once the Palestinian president appoints a government without the Islamic militants.

But the money is unlikely to reach Gaza, now controlled by Hamas and cut off from the world...

In Gaza, panicked residents stocked up, fearing growing shortages of food, fuel and other staples as the crossings of the fenced-in strip with Israel and Egypt remained closed. Hundreds of other Gazans rushed to the border crossing with Israel to try to escape Hamas rule, but found gates locked. Israeli troops briefly fired warning shots...Across Gaza, Hamas cemented control. Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who has ignored Abbas' order firing him, replaced Fatah security commanders with his own men, and Hamas gunmen rounded up their opponents' weapons...

In Gaza, Deputy Parliament Speaker Ahmed Bahar of Hamas called Abbas' attempt to form an emergency government illegal...In the showdown, much of the international community, including the U.S., the European Union and moderate Arab states, is backing Abbas. Declarations of support were likely to be followed soon by a resumption of foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority.

It is not clear yet whether the international funds would reach Gaza, since it was the Hamas victory in legislative elections that led to the embargo 15 months ago...The boycott, which has crippled the Palestinian economy, continued even after Fatah joined Hamas in a coalition in March.



2. The FULL Fisk Article:
http://news.independent.co.uk/fisk/article2663199.ece
 
 
Published on Saturday, June 16, 2007
Welcome to 'Palestine'
by Robert Fisk

How troublesome the Muslims of the Middle East are. First, we demand that the Palestinians embrace democracy and then they elect the wrong party - Hamas - and then Hamas wins a mini-civil war and presides over the Gaza Strip. And we Westerners still want to negotiate with the
discredited President, Mahmoud Abbas. Today "Palestine" - and let's keep those quotation marks in place - has two prime ministers. Welcome to the Middle East.

Who can we negotiate with? To whom do we talk? Well of course, we should have talked to Hamas months ago. But we didn't like the democratically elected government of the Palestinian people. They were supposed to have voted for Fatah and its corrupt leadership. But they voted for Hamas, which declines to recognise Israel or abide by the totally discredited Oslo agreement.

No one asked - on our side - which particular Israel Hamas was supposed to recognise. The Israel of 1948? The Israel of the post-1967 borders? The Israel which builds - and goes on building - vast settlements for Jews and Jews only on Arab land, gobbling up even more of the 22 per cent of "Palestine" still left to negotiate over ?

And so today, we are supposed to talk to our faithful policeman, Mr Abbas, the "moderate" (as the BBC, CNN and Fox News refer to him) Palestinian leader, a man who wrote a 600-page book about Oslo without once mentioning the word "occupation", who always referred to Israeli "redeployment" rather than "withdrawal", a "leader" we can trust because he wears a tie and goes to the White House and says all the right things. The Palestinians didn't vote for Hamas because they wanted an Islamic republic - which is how Hamas's bloody victory will be represented - but because they were tired of the corruption of Mr Abbas's Fatah and the rotten nature of the "Palestinian Authority".

...Palestinians wanted an end to corruption - the cancer of the Arab world - and so they voted for Hamas and thus we, the all-wise, all-good West, decided to sanction them and starve them and bully them for exercising their free vote. Maybe we should offer "Palestine" EU membership if it would be gracious enough to vote for the right people?

...Now Gaza belongs to Hamas, what will our own elected leaders do?

...So what will we do? Support the reoccupation of Gaza perhaps? Certainly we will not criticise Israel. And we shall go on giving our affection to the kings and princes and unlovely presidents of the Middle East until the whole place blows up in our faces and then we shall say - as we are already saying of the Iraqis - that they don't deserve our sacrifice and our love.


THE GAZA DOSSIER. 06.16.2007

By Ben White
Special to PalestineChronicle.com

The events in Gaza this week, which represented the dramatic climax of months of tense bouts of fighting between Hamas and Fatah, were painful to watch. Those who stand in solidarity with the Palestinians, like the thousands who marched in London last weekend, need not be shy about speaking out, despite the pressures of the cynical, smug analysis that laughs at Palestinian 'self-rule' and says 'I told you so'. Responsibility for the current crisis is shared amongst most of the protagonists.
 
Fatah's leaders should reflect that they are now reaping what some party members have sown. Elements within the party are indeed guilty of the charge of 'collaboration' with the Israeli occupation, as well as with US designs. This has not just been in recent times, since the Palestine Legislative Council (PLC) elections, but has a history dating back to the pre-Oslo negotiations, through to the plutocratic Palestinian Authority and the days when Arafat's men would detain and torture Hamas activists. Many of the Hamas members who now pose for the cameras in the captured Fatah operation centers may have been tortured in the very same buildings.
 
But it is Israel, as the occupying power, that has primary responsibility for creating the conditions in which Palestinians have turned on each other. The Gaza Strip is a prison, where the prisoners are hungry, unemployed, and brutalized from 40 years of occupation. Israel's military onslaughts of the Second Intifada – which killed thousands and demolished tens of thousands of homes – have left its inhabitants mentally scarred, bereaved, angry, and reduced to the level of penned in animals .
 
Israel, however, has been assisted by the US and EU, who, in imposing sanctions on the occupied have pushed the region towards its current predicament – to the shame of American and European leaders and their political class. Incredible that in the last few weeks, newspaper leaders have denounced in the strongest terms the decision to merely debate boycotting Israel, yet uttered mealy-mouthed concern (or nothing at all) about this collective punishment.
 
Since the PLC elections, carried out democratically and transparently, the legitimate Palestinian government has been subjected to boycott, sanction and threats, and the US and EU have done everything in their power to undermine and destabilize the representatives of the Palestinian people. Sanctioning the occupied has made an economy already stunted by years of Israeli colonization and siege, a disaster-zone. This is not rocket science; it was highlighted from the beginning by charities, NGOs and the few politicians willing to stand out from the consensus.
 
Moreover, together with Israel, the US has been openly working to arm Fatah for a coup against Hamas, moves that the latter – who had been elected on the basis of their resistance to Israeli occupation and their track record of humanitarian commitment to the people – were not going to sit by and idly watch. This came only after the attempt to starve the Palestinians into submission appeared not to be working. This context is strangely (or perhaps not so strangely) missing from most mainstream media coverage, despite the basic facts being widely in the public domain.

However, while Hamas themselves feel understandably justified in taking the action they have done in the Gaza Strip – under siege, and threatened with the prospect of a US-Israel sponsored Fatah coup – it is perfectly appropriate to question their strategy of the last week. Hamas has extended their logic of force that emerged in the context of fighting Israel into the internal arena, but it is a short-term perspective that will be difficult to sustain. Even as they look at a defeated Fatah movement, the Hamas leadership faces difficult questions about how Gaza will now be ruled, how it will relate to the rest of Occupied Palestine, and how they can best serve the desperate population in the Gaza Strip.
 
Let us be clear though, that despite shared responsibility, most of the blame must lie squarely with Israel, the US and EU, for creating in Gaza conditions in which Hamas felt like they had little choice but to act, and where their program can seem so attractive. Starving and imprisoning a population, destabilizing a democratically-elected government; these are the actions of gangsters and thugs, not peacemakers or statesmen.
 
And now? It is obviously a defeat for US/Israeli designs in the sense that the attempts to destroy Hamas through a Fatah have failed. Israel is already trying to take advantage by introducing the idea of a 'two state' Palestine, a division of the West Bank and Gaza Strip that Israeli policy has already created (not to mention the fragmentation within the West Bank and Occupied Jerusalem).

Hamas is already calling for dialogue with Abbas, while the latter talks of emergency rule and elections. Dialogue is the only way forward for the Palestinians, but dialogue based on some fundamentals; respecting the will of the people, resistance to occupation and colonization, and a break from the collaborating political class of Oslo. The US, Britain and the EU, meanwhile, must be forced to stop their blood-stained interference in the Middle East, policies that have led to a 'crescent of death and destruction', from Iraq, to Lebanon and Palestine. That is the real threat.

- A regular contributor to PalestineChronicle.com, Ben White is a freelance journalist specializing in Palestine/Israel. His website is at www.benwhite.org.uk and he can be contacted directly at
 
 


4. From the Bishop
 
 Salaam and peace in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and warm greetings from Jerusalem . I hope this finds you well.

We need to come to you once again to ask for your much needed prayers and support for Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza . The hospital is trying its best to function efficiently in the midst of war.

Abbas' Fatah movement and rival faction Hamas have been waging bloody warfare in the Gaza Strip as Hamas moved in to seize control; at least 80 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of this week.

The severe battle between Hamas and Fatah is fought out everywhere, on roofs, in the streets, in every corner. Nobody is safe, including health workers and ambulances.

Yesterday, June 14th, was one of the worst days ever. In one day alone, Al Ahli Arab Hospital received 76 severely injured cases. The hospital had to open an extra ward, in order to receive all the patients. Further patients were referred to Al Ahli from a neighboring hospital that had been attacked. As a result, the Al Ahli is running out of medicine, drugs, and blood.

We urgently need your support! Please, help us to raise:

1-       US$ 30,000 for medicine and medical supplies (for three months),

2-       US$ 15,000 for extra emergency staff (for three months),

3-       US$ 15,000 for food aid and commodities (for three months).

Al Ahli staff work 20 hour shifts but thank God have been able to manage everything in a very professional way. The hospital continues to treat the poor and needy and those hurt in the crossfire of war irrespective of their faith and political affiliation.

Yesterday, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas declared a state of emergency and dismantled the Palestinian unity government in response to Hamas' near-takeover of Gaza . He intends to call for the deployment of a multi-national force in Gaza , and plans to appoint an independent politician as the new Palestinian prime minister, to replace Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas. Hamas issued a statement saying it rejected Abbas' decrees, and people fear that Abbas' decision to fire the prime minister will complicate matters.

There are also great fears that the fighting between Hamas and Fatah is carried from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank , where Hamas is weak. There were already some sporadic clashes in some West Bank areas early yesterday.

Today, Ismail Haniyeh called for an end to looting of abandoned Fatah assets in Gaza and proposed reconciliation talks with Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Yet, the situation is still very tense and unpredictable and may get worse rather than better.

Please, help Al Ahli Arab Hospital with your financial support. Please, pray for the two factions to stop this bloody fighting. And please pray for the safety of Al Ahli staff, their families and the many innocent victims in Gaza .

Yours sincerely in the Lord,

Bishop Suheil Dawani and Suhaila Tarazi

 Funds in response to Bishop Suheil's appeal should be  marked Gaza Emergency Appeal and sent to:


 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem

P.O. Box 2040
Orange , CA 92859


Money will be wired directly to the Ahli Arab Episcopal Hospital in Gaza.

   
 
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