Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Challenge - Summarize and Analyze the Cycle of Violence in Gaza - Part 2

Today is Day 14,288 of the Maintenance of the Immoral (and Illegal) West Bank Settlements and almost the 40th anniversary of the start of the immoral (and illegal) occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Rabbi Akiva - “ ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ (Leviticus 19:18 - this is the major principle of the Torah.”

The Challenge - Summarize and Analyze the Cycle of Violence in Gaza - Part 2
Here is My Summary and Analysis of May 16 - May 20

(I have copied the text from the last message in small print and annotated throughout with my comments italicized and bolded.)

Again, for 11 days I have read the headlines and the articles about what is happening in Gaza. They all describe violence by Hamas, Fatah and the government of Israel. Rather than being conflicted about even reading about this, I thought I would challenge myself to summarize and analyze the cycle of violence. What I did first was to cut and paste excerpts from each article (primarily those from the Boston Globe) and compile them into one file. That file appears below. What I challenge you to do is to read the entire 11 day chronology and write your own summary and analysis. I am in the process of doing the same thing and will post mine when I am not prepared to agonize over it any more (note that I did not say "when it is completed"). I encourage you to do the same.

May 16, 2007 GAZA CITY -- Eight bodies sprawled face down in a cornfield, next to an overturned jeep, signaled a new phase in Gaza's increasingly brutal civil strife. After the initial attack, Hamas fired on Fatah reinforcements rushing to the scene, including the jeep that overturned. All eight men were killed, hospital officials said. Fatah security men also came under fire as they tried to move the bodies away from the overturned jeep. Two Israeli helicopter gunships and three tanks moved toward the area, and Hamas fighters quickly withdrew. At one point, a major in the Palestinian Presidential Guard was killed by Israeli Army fire as he tried to leave the crossing, security officials said.

Why did Israeli gunships enter Gaza? Does the Government of Israel(“GOI”) plan to be a peacemaker? If so, why is there no mention of a proposal to meet from the GOI?

Before sundown, Hamas said it fired rockets at Sderot, an Israeli town near Gaza. Residents counted more than 20 rockets. One rocket hit a house, seriously wounding an Israeli woman. It was the first time in three weeks that Hamas has claimed responsibility for a rocket barrage.

Doesn’t it appear that the Israeli gunships enter Gaza AFTER the rockets were fired at Sderot rather than BEFORE? Did the GOI have intelligence that the response to an attack of Hamas would be a rocket attack on Sderot?

Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz summoned army commanders for late-night consultations. Earlier, defense officials said Israel would not be dragged into the fighting.

Then why did the GOI get dragged into the fighting?

However, Israel closed Karni, the only route for cargo into Gaza. The closure means Gaza will soon run out of fuel for its power plant and electricity to most of the strip could be shut down by today, said Abdel Karim Abdeen, head of the Palestinian Energy Authority.

What justification is there for the collective punishment of ALL the Palestinians living in Gaza for the acts of the militants? Couldn’t this mean the death of those with illness who rely on electric power to run their medical equipment?

May 17, 2007 SDEROT, Israel -- Schools closed and residents huddled in bomb shelters or fled in buses yesterday as another barrage of rockets struck this Israeli border town, the target of thousands of Palestinian attacks since 2001. Late in the day, a homemade rocket hit an electrical transformer in southern Israel, the army said, knocking out power to the 24,000 residents of Sderot.

Power was lost to 24,000 residents of Sderot while power has been lost to over one million Palestinians?

More than 20 rockets were fired on the town yesterday, wounding two people. The attacks came a day after rockets injured five residents and destroyed several homes -- along with any remnant of a sense of security here. Hamas' decision to rocket Sderot this week appeared to be an attempt to draw Israel into Palestinian infighting as a way of uniting warring factions. Dozens of Palestinians have died since Sunday in a surge of violence between the rival Hamas and Fatah movements. Mayor Eli Moyal said more than 4,500 Qassam rockets have landed in the working-class town since 2001, killing seven residents and wounding dozens. A recent poll indicated about half the residents would leave if they could.

In 6 years,there have been 4500 Qassam rockets fired into Sderot, seven people have been killed and dozens have been wounded.

"The anxiety level with the kids is unimaginable," said Tami Sagie, head of psychological services in Sderot. which includes a community of Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia. Yesterday, dozens of Sderot residents crammed into buses provided by a Russian-Israeli billionaire to leave the battered town. However, what most residents want is for Israel to strike back hard at the Palestinians -- most of the rockets that hit Sderot come from the Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, just 1.5 miles away. The evacuations drew fire from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. "I oppose population evacuations," he said. "These are the exact pictures that Hamas has been waiting for, and I am not prepared to grant any victory to terrorism." Olmert is under increasing pressure to launch a major operation in Gaza, from which Israeli troops withdrew in September 2005. Security officials said the army favors an immediate, large-scale ground offensive in Gaza while the Shin Bet security service favors a more measured response.

The GOI solution to the firing of rockets into Sderot includes leaving the population of Sderot there and doing one of the following –a large scale ground offensive or a measured response. What relevance is it that many of the residents of Sderot are immigrants from Ethiopia? Did they forget to mention the option of negotiating a fair and just settlement?

May 17, 2007 GAZA CITY -- Gunfire and explosions raged across Gaza City yesterday, killing at least 21 people in the most widespread fighting in nearly a year of clashes between the rival Fatah and Hamas movements.The infighting threatened to destroy a fragile unity government established in March and pushed Palestinians ever closer to all-out civil war. Hamas militants beat a female Fatah lawmaker and her two children before setting fire to her apartment. Hamas also targeted Israel, firing barrages of homemade rockets for a second day, seriously wounding one person and knocking out power in the southern Israeli town of Sderot, officials said . Israel staged two air strikes on Hamas targets, reportedly killing five people. "Israel cannot continue to restrain itself when its citizens are being hit and therefore decided on a severe and serious response," Olmert's office said.

Israel has now begun to strike “back’ or is it “forth”? The justification NOW is that its citizens are now under attack.

Forty-five people have died, most of them Fatah men, and dozens have been wounded. During the week, the attacks have grown increasingly brazen. Hamas gunmen fatally shot six bodyguards early yesterday during an assassination attempt on a top Fatah security official. The commander, Rashid Abu Shbak, wasn't home during the assault and his family escaped harm. Hamas militiamen also set fire to an 11-story apartment building inhabited by several Fatah officials. Frightened residents huddled in darkened homes after electricity to some neighborhoods was cut off by a downed power line. Buildings were pocked with bullet holes and windows were shattered by explosions.

What terrible violence by Hamas and Fatah!! What does the GOI propose to do to end this battle between these two Palestinian factions?

"What is happening in Gaza endangers not only the unity government, but the Palestinian social fabric, the Palestinian cause, and the Palestinian strategy as a whole," said Saeb Erekat, a top aide to the Palestinian president. Exiled Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk blamed the violence on the cutoff of international aid to the Palestinian Authority. "The international community and Arab countries shoulder part of the responsibility for the current events, due to their attitudes toward the national unity government," Abu Marzouk told The Associated Press. Hamas agreed to form the unity government with Fatah in the hope that the international community would end sanctions imposed on the previous Hamas-led government for Hamas's refusal to renounce violence and accept the existence of Israel. Abbas, Fatah's moderate leader, is respected in the West but has been unable to lift the boycott.

Oh yeh!! I almost forgot. The Palestinian people voted for Hamas in a free democratic election … and then began the boycott by the US (the country that is trying to spread democracy around the world) and Israel as well as other European countries. To what extent is the violence between Fatah and Hamas due to the pressure Hamas was under to form a coalition government?

A nurse traveling in an ambulance was hit in the head by a bullet when she was caught in cross-fire, hospital officials said. Her family said she was brain-dead and on a respirator. Yesterday afternoon a group of about 200 Palestinians marched through central Gaza City waving Palestinian flags and demanding an end to the fighting. Israeli ambulances stationed at the Gaza-Israel border transferred four Palestinian children who were badly injured to a hospital in southern Israel, according to Israeli rescue services.

May 19, 2007 JERUSALEM -- Israeli aircraft pounded border posts, headquarters buildings, and cars across the northern Gaza Strip yesterday, killing at least eight people, as Hamas gunmen confronted their armed rivals from the Fatah party in the streets. Hamas officials accused Israel and Fatah of working in tandem against Hamas,.In a statement issued late yesterday, Hamas contended that the Preventive Security Service, a branch controlled by Fatah, was collaborating with "multiple foreign governments."

Is this the answer? Is this how the GOI plans to bring about peace in the region? More assassinations

Since Sunday, nearly 50 Hamas and Fatah gunmen have died in Gaza as a result of factional fighting. In addition, at least 20 Palestinians, all of them apparently Hamas gunmen, have been killed in Israeli airstrikes this week.

May 20, 2007 GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip --Israel's air force fired a missile at a house in Gaza City late Sunday, killing at least eight people, residents and hospital officials said. The strike followed a decision to step up attacks against Islamic militants in response to rocket fire from Gaza. The attack on the house was the deadliest airstrike since Israel started reprisals Tuesday for the rocket barrages. The house belonged to Hamas lawmaker Khalil al-Haya, who was not at home. He was one of the Hamas representatives in cease-fire talks with Fatah and was attending an Egyptian-sponsored truce meeting just before the strike, residents said. The missile hit a room used as a meeting place for the extended family, relatives said. Hospital officials said eight people were killed and 13 injured.All the dead and wounded were relatives and neighbors, al-Haya's wife said. Hamas said two of the dead were militants. Israeli air attacks on militant targets earlier in the day killed another three Palestinians

Another path to peace? More assassinations without due process. Isn’t it extraordinary(and despicable) that in Israel where capital punishment is banned for all citizens except for convicted Nazi war criminals, Palestinians across the green line do not have to be arrested, tried and convicted but can be summarily executed whether they are rocket launchers, suspected militants, Hamas officials, or innocent women and children.

Is that true that al Haya was attending a cease fire talk with Fatah and attending an Egyptian sponsored truce meeting? Was the reason for assassinating his family and friends to put an end to the truce talks with Fatah to insure that the civil war continues?


Deuteronomy 16:20 – “Justice, justice shall you pursue that you may live and inherit the land which God gave you” and the footnote in the 1980 Hertz Edition “(T)here is international justice, which demands respect for the personality of every national group, and proclaims that no people can of right be robbed of its national life or territory, its language or spiritual heritage.

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