Israelis protest against attacks on Gaza

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“The war belongs to (Israeli PM Ehud) Olmert, the victims belong to us”: Israelis protest against the attacks on Gaza in Tel Aviv

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Israelis protest: “End the massacre in Gaza!” Photos by the Israeli peace group Gush Shalom

It is not just Arabs and many anti-war folks outside Israel who are protesting against the attacks on Gaza, which have now killed over 400 people, many of them civilians and police officers. Jewish Israelis too have protested in the heart of Tel Aviv against the attacks on Gaza. Another demonstration is scheduled this Saturday evening in Tel Aviv.

This report from the Israeli peace group Gush Shalom. “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies! Our demand: A full truce and the lifting of the siege on Gaza NOW!” said Gush Shalom, in publicising the protest:

No organisation called for the demonstration – but more than a thousand men and women gathered spontaneously in order to protest in front of the Ministry of Defense in Tel-Aviv, only a few hours after the murderous Air Force attack on the Gaza strip started.

They were members of the diverse peace organizations, from “Gush Shalom” and the “Women’s Coalition for Peace” to the “Anarchists Against the Wall” and Hadash. The police, apparently afraid that the protesters would storm the building in which the Minister and the Army High Command were conducting the war, took special precautions: the elite police commando unit was backed by mounted police. Reserves were hidden in side streets. At the beginning of the demonstration, some of the police confronted the crowd with loaded and pointed guns.

“Barak, Barak, Minister of Defence – How many children have you murdered today?” shouted the protesters, whose slogans were backed up by drums. They were especially incensed by the Meretz Party statement the day before, which justified an attack on Gaza, and shouted: “Meretz, Meretz Party – Again for a War?”

Another group, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, has written a letter to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, pointing out breaches in the previous ceasefire:

Claiming that this is an action to stop rocket fire is a wholly unpersuasive argument…. The Israeli government steadily sought to break down the ceasefire, not just in Gaza since early November, but also in the West Bank. Israeli forces have carried out an average of 33 incursions, 42 arrests or detentions, 12 woundings and 0.84 killings a week in the West Bank during the ceasefire.  The tactic has been to continue attacking Hamas and other militants in the West Bank, provoking responses in Gaza, and to use the responses as the pretext for the massive attacks of the last 24 hours.

On 23rd December Hamas offered to renew the ceasefire if Israel would undertake to open border crossings for supplies of aid and fuel, and halt incursions. For those of us appalled at the collective punishment involved in the ongoing siege, and concerned that Israelis should not fear death or injury from Qassam rockets, that seems a truly reasonable response.

For Israel to reject it bespeaks a bankrupt body politic especially since the army and the politicians are acting against the wishes of the Israeli public.  It is after all the civilians on both sides who will bear the brunt of this dangerous folly.

Meanwhile, The UK Guardian’s award-winning journalist Seumas Milne reports on the context leading up to the attacks on Gaza. “The issue is of course not just the vast disparity in weapons and power, but that one side is the occupier, the other the occupied”:

… Hamas and the Palestinians of Gaza are held responsible for what has been visited upon them. How could any government not respond with overwhelming force to the constant firing of rockets into its territory, the Israelis demand, echoed by western governments and media.

But that is to turn reality on its head. Like the West Bank, the Gaza Strip has been – and continues to be – illegally occupied by Israel since 1967. Despite the withdrawal of troops and settlements three years ago, Israel maintains complete control of the territory by sea, air and land. And since Hamas won the Palestinian elections in 2006, Israel has punished its 1.5 million people with an inhuman blockade of essential supplies, backed by the US and the European Union.

Like any occupied people, the Palestinians have the right to resist, whether they choose to exercise it or not. But there is no right of defence for an illegal occupation – there is an obligation to withdraw comprehensively. During the last seven years, 14 Israelis have been killed by mostly homemade rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, while more than 5,000 Palestinians were killed by Israel with some of the most advanced US-supplied armaments in the world. And while no rockets are fired from the West Bank, 45 Palestinians have died there at Israel’s hands this year alone. The issue is of course not just the vast disparity in weapons and power, but that one side is the occupier, the other the occupied.

Hamas is likewise blamed for last month’s breakdown of the six-month tahdi’a, or lull. But, in a weary reprise of past ceasefires, it was in fact sunk by Israel’s assassination of six Hamas fighters in Gaza on 5 November and its refusal to lift its siege of the embattled territory as expected under an Egyptian-brokered deal. The truth is that Israel and its western sponsors have set their face against an accommodation with the Palestinians’ democratic choice and have instead thrown their political weight, cash and arms behind a sustained attempt to overthrow it.

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MJC

To these people who blame Hamas I would like to ask why should anyone live with a cruel blockade which prevents essential supplies entering their country ?What right have Israel to stop the palestinians from leaving and entering their own country (what little there is left of it ) Why should Israel be allowed every conceivable weapon of mass destruction which they are more than happy to use but Palestinians not ? The unfairness of this argument is mind boggling and I cant fathom how anyone can have such an unreasonable point of view .The Palestinians have every right to… Read more »

dennis lim

To those idiots calling for boycot of us products…this is the same stupid mentality of mental hamas. Leaders who call for boycot are rich and well off end result of boycott..KFC franchise owned by rich malaysian will close poor workers mostly muslim banglas and malays will be jobless..same goes for macdonalds etc etc. Boycott American goods?? What American goods?? Anyway all these goods already bought by Malaysian companies who will rugi in the end….this is the same mentality as Hamas whose leaders order firing of rockets into israel from the saftey of their hideout and let the people of palestine… Read more »

hutchrun

I see. That means it’s okay if Israel nukes Gaza? – drachen

Are they?

wits0

Exclusive: Disproportionate, Huh?
http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.2168/pub_detail.asp

Hamas and Its Liberal Supporters are Responsible for the Current Crisis
http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/01/hamas_and_its_liberal_supporte.html

Angry Citizen

Election is coming soon to israel, these zionist politicians wanted to drum up support by going to war against those hapless arabs same like local politicians who instigated divisive and sensitive issues prior to election. Damn these irresponsible politicians whether they are in malaysia or israel and rot in hell forever!

bow

USA , UK and Arab government will not be very happy to see the war between both end any time soon, that is why resupply of rocket and munitions are on the way into Israel and Gaza now, sit tight and enjoy!

madtrix

Proportionality is for Israel to rocket Gaza indiscriminately as Hamas is doing to Israel. That perhaps is the only way to get a durable ceasefire.

Drachen

“Second, proportionality is not measured by the number of civilians actually killed, but rather by the risk posed. This is illustrated by what happened on Tuesday, when a Hamas rocket hit a kindergarten in Beersheba, though no students were there at the time. Under international law, Israel is not required to allow Hamas to play Russian roulette with its children’s lives.”

I see. That means it’s okay if Israel nukes Gaza?

vsp

This madness has gone on for decades even before anyone of you here were born. To tell you the truth, both sides of the divide do not want the war to end so as to protect their own agendas. The Arab side loves to have a bogeyman, the Israelist, so as to deflect any protential trouble or rebellion from their own subjects. If the Israelist is no more the super bogeyman, the whole Middle East will go up in flames. One despot will attack another despot and so on. Believe me, there are many despots in the Middle East. It’s… Read more »

hutchrun

The claim that Israel has violated the principle of proportionality – by killing more Hamas terrorists than the number of Israeli civilians killed by Hamas rockets – is absurd. First, there is no legal equivalence between the deliberate killing of innocent civilians and the deliberate killings of Hamas combatants. Under the laws of war, any number of combatants can be killed to prevent the killing of even one innocent civilian. Second, proportionality is not measured by the number of civilians actually killed, but rather by the risk posed. This is illustrated by what happened on Tuesday, when a Hamas rocket… Read more »

hutchrun

Google Gaza and you will be met with many references to “concentration camp”. Click on any of those references and you will invariably be treated to long dissertations comparing Gaza to the Third Reichs infamous concentration camps and ghettos. If, you however click on the links offering photos or videos, you will be treated to an entirely different picture of daily life in Gaza. For example, British journalist and peace activist Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of former British premier Tony Blair was photographed at a Gaza grocery store in Sept 2008. Readers may remember when she went to Gaza aboard a… Read more »

hutchrun

“Is 4 deaths a justification for killing 400 people, most of whom are not involved with the rockets?” – Drachen Charles Krauthammer in Friday’s Washington Post: Some geopolitical conflicts are morally complicated. The Israel-Gaza war is not. It possesses a moral clarity not only rare but excruciating. Israel is so scrupulous about civilian life that, risking the element of surprise, it contacts enemy noncombatants in advance to warn them of approaching danger. Hamas, which started this conflict with unrelenting rocket and mortar attacks on unarmed Israelis — 6,464 launched from Gaza in the past three years — deliberately places its… Read more »

jeff

I can understand why Israelis soldiers had to do what they are doing now, they have to do whatever necessary to protect civilians population in Israel. It is just one of the equation that can deter Hamas from continue firing rockets into Israel.

hutchrun

I think the reason for someone being so anti Israel has very little to do with the perceived rights and wrongs of the Arab World – Israel conflict (it is not an Israeli-Palestinian conflict by the way since from 1949 – 67 the West Bank, Gaza and Old Jerusalem were in Arab hands)and I do not think that in his heart of hearts he has an affinity for Islamofascism. The reason why he feels the way he does is that he hates the society that has spawned him and and society or ideology that is anti Western is A-OK with… Read more »

hutchrun

Ariel an “armed enclave”? When has Avnery last been there, I wonder. For that matter, I also wonder why Ilan Pappe insists on continuing to work for the Haifa University, thus violating his own boycott. The again, he has never been accused of honesty before. The only one from “the other side”, who is still capable of making any kind of sense seems to be Sari Nusseibeh: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1114395823246 “Al-Quds University in eastern Jerusalem also came out against the academic boycott of Israel. “We are informed by the principle that we should seek to win Israelis over to our side, not… Read more »

hutchrun

“The UK Guardian’s award-winning journalist Seumas Milne..” Seumas Milne (born 1958) is a British journalist and writer based in London. A columnist and associate editor at The Guardian newspaper, he is author of a best-selling book about the 1984-5 British miners’ strike, The Enemy Within. The younger son of the former BBC Director General Alasdair Milne..He was joint winner of the 1999 “What the Papers Say” Scoop of the Year award. And here is what BBC chief Mark Thompson warns of ‘over-cautious’ Islam coverage: Mark Thompson, the Director General of the BBC, tonight warned broadcasters against becoming overly-cautious in their… Read more »

hutchrun

Photos by the Israeli peace group Gush Shalom [founded by Uri Avnery] In 1941, Avnery wrote a pro-Nazi article in the Paris journal “Shem”, whose contents were later revealed by the Hebrew University Orientalist Prof. Yehoshua Porat in his book “Shelach V’At B’yado”, page 182. Herr Avnery was also fond of using the concept of “Hebrew Blood” in a racial sense, in the same way as Hitler spoke of German Aryan Blood. In those days he was anti-Marxist, although today has no problem with associating himself with Stalinists. Back then he repeatedly expressed admiration for the great job Hitler was… Read more »

Drachen

There are what 4 Israeli deaths so far? How does that compare with deaths from car accidents in Israel? How many Israelis died during military training? Is 4 deaths a justification for killing 400 people, most of whom are not involved with the rockets? Of is it just a culling exercise to keep the Palestinian population down?

jeff

War is a dirty business, wise man avoid it at all costs. Both sides suffer heavy civilian casualty , thank to Hamas militants and Israelis soldiers indiscriminate killing.

Israeli Uncensored News

Those protesters are “Israelis” in the sense Bonnie and Clyde are “Americans.” Normal Israelis demonstrate in thousands to support the IDF operation which ends the Palestinian fire on Israeli towns.

johanssm / khun Pana

Everybody wants to have peace. But it is their leaders or governments of both side that stir troubles. I can say it is identical as for Malaysia. We have leaders who digs religion and racial issues on daily basis just because by stirring up issues they gets to stay in power.

warandpeace

When u poked a mad dog, do expect your butt to be bitten. Don’t cry over it like spilled milk. The victim of this stupid war brought this tragedy to themself. Peace on earth. (Advice: Don’t throw stone at your neighbour’s dog, it could bite you the next it saw you.)

anak_perelih

Hamzah and Fee, Even Zohan would like to protest against attack on Gaza… go and watch Don’t Mess With Zohan….

anak_perelih

Hamzah and Fee… please read the last 2 paragraphs…. and it it was said by jewish Israeli… Ketua liga Arab angry with Hamas… because they afraid HAMAS will be an inspirations for democratic movement in Monarchic / dictatorship Arab countries…. as well as for their role of being US lackeys…

Fee

A blogger friend apparently found that the Arab leaders also unhappy with Hamas for aggravating the Israelis.

It’s interesting that its all about ‘BENEFIT’.

http://masammanis.wordpress.com/2009/01/02/ketua-ketua-liga-arab-marah-kat-hamas/