Saturday, March 1, 2008

Israel threatens Gaza with a "holocaust", kills 32

The Palestinians faced the wrath of Israel again last week, enduring days of air strikes that took the lives of 32 people, half of which were civilians.

Tens of thousands marched the streets of Gaza to protest Israel's repeated brutality and indiscriminate bombing, but again their voices were shouted in vain. Regardless of the banners and emotional chanting, not much will change in the international community. Support - or a deliberate blind eye - for Israel will remain constant, but should that irritate us? Are we surprised when Condoleezza Rice calls on the Palestinians to stop firing their ineffective, backyard-made rockets instead of calling on Israel from halting its state-of-the-art air force strikes? No, and we shouldn't be aggravated by it.

The West threw their lot with Israel in 1948 and haven't changed their stance since. It isn't the West we ought to vent our frustration, but to our inept Arab leaders who watch on the sidelines as Israel continues to violate every human right convention on this planet in its treatment of the Palestinians and Lebanon.

The conventions of global geo-politics should be well understood by all in the Middle East, for it is our region where the global chess game is often played. Israel is a member of the Western alliance. It just so happens that this menace is placed on our doorsteps. Our expatriots have tried tirelessly for 60 years to alert the Western public of the real scenario in the Middle East. Let's not kid ourselves, nor waste our time. If we want to see an end to atrocities in Palestine and Lebanon, we have to turn the heat on our own leaders, sitting in their high golden chairs, while the masses scrounge for their daily bread. We have to decide where we stand in the world.

We have lost our self-respect.

Gaza is truly a sad story, a story we can only lament on the sidelines as 1.5million struggle to meet the daily ends, and where scores of civilians lose their life. Is there a solution for Gaza and the Palestinians? There's none in sight. There is nothing to keep Israel in check. We can only lament.

From the US campaign to End the Israeli Occupation:

Since Wednesday, Israel has killed at least 30 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including five children under the age of 16 playing soccer and a six month-old child (Ha'aretz).

Israel's Deputy Defense Minister threatened Palestinians with genocide, calling for an even "bigger holocaust" against residents of the Gaza Strip (Telegraph).

Israel killed almost all of these Palestinians in air strikes most likely with its arsenal of fighter jets-Boeing F-15's and Lockheed F-16's-and attack helicopters-Boeing Apaches and Cobra Bells-paid for by U.S. taxpayers through annual military aid to Israel. Almost all of Israel's air-to-surface missiles, which would have been used in these attacks, are produced by U.S. corporations such as Hughes, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Lockheed Martin and paid for by U.S. tax dollars. The US Campaign opposes all attacks on civilians.

Is this how you want your tax dollars spent-to kill children playing soccer and to carry out threats of genocide?

President Bush has requested $2.55 billion in military aid for Israel in his proposed FY2009 budget. That's a 9% increase in military aid to Israel above and beyond actual spending in 2007. The budget request is the first installment of a ten-year Memorandum of Understanding signed between the United States and Israel in August 2007 to increase military aid by 25% over the next decade, totaling $30 billion.

The United States should be cutting off military aid to Israel for its human rights abuses and violations of the U.S. Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts, not increasing it.

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