Sacramento–Several weeks ago I reported on (former) Congresswoman Cynthia McKinneyâ€™s rousing description, which she delivered here at the Salim Center in Californiaâ€™s capital city, on how she successfully — after two previous attempts â€“ â€œranâ€ the Israeli blockade into Gaza. Equally, as inspiring was the Senior Lecturer from the University of California, the Palestinian-American firebrand Hatem Bazian, on the history of the struggle and the aftermath now a year later on the smaller Palestinian country sandwiched between (West) Jerusalem and Cairo.
Just today as your reporter writes it is being relayed that Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) had submitted their rejoinder to the U.N. (United Nationsâ€™) Report of â€œallegedâ€ atrocities. The Hamas government in Gaza City itself said it did not commit any War crimes because of the overriding preponderance of their casualties (over 1400 and a decimated infrastructure) in comparison which attested to the violation of the International Law of Proportionality governing the conduct of Warfare; therefore, they have not submitted their justification defense for their self-defense.
With such a morbidity rate it is clear that Tel Aviv meant to kill and maim innocent civilian lives. Any rockets that the Arabs shot up were infused into the battlefield as a feeble attempt at self-defense, and not to destroy human life (which, in fact, rarely hit Jewish citizens).
The lead author of the 575-page Report of the United Nationsâ€™ Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, Judge Richard Goldstone — who gained fame for his fairness and courage as a Constitutional Judge in his native South Africa helping to end Apartheid and to set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission during Nelson Mandelaâ€™s Presidency in the multi-racial government of his native South Africa, and, of recent — in this his later career — he has served in executive judicial capacities on several of the more high-profile War Crime International Tribunals, and his latest service, on the circumstances of Gaza of which Report is commonly referred to under his name, the Judge stated the root of the violence in Gaza â€œâ€¦is [the Israeli] occupation.â€
Mr. Bazian illustrated the extent of occupation in his talk: U.N. Resolution 242 (November 22, 1967) instructed Israel to withdraw from the territory they had gained in the 1967 War. The infamous Jewish Settlements in the (Israeli) Occupied (Palestinian) Territories are immensely illegal under International Law, but they have only increased since the Oslo Accords (of 1993) which agreement was meant to end the Hebrew expansion into Arab land. In fact, Settler Colonialism has expanded their presence on Palestinian soil since then. Palestinian borders and the sea lanes are controlled by the Hebrews. The citizens of Gaza are in a penitentiary! Further, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) claims the right of â€œhot pursuitâ€ under their interpretations of its necessity. (That is, they claim an extra-legal prerogative in the determination for its implementation.)
(George W.) Bush demanded the 2006 elections which Hamas won evenhandedly according to the international observers â€“ including (former U.S.) President Jimmy Carter!
The culpability and corruption of Fatah, the Palestinian-controlled party in the West Bank cannot be denied either. Egypt would not sell the occupation Army cement, but Ramallah smoothed it over, and the Apartheid walls have resulted; stealing the Palestinian natural resources and driving the indigenous Arabs — mainly Islamic but, also, Christian â€“ from their lands.
Palestine is not permitted to have an abiding militia but merely a police force. Also, irregular guerillas operated outside International approbation protect and resist the oppressors. On the other hand, the Hebrew forces are the fifth largest in the world with a nuclear arsenal to match.
While Washington has gifted Tel Aviv our most sophisticated weaponry, the homespun Qassam rockets possessed by the Palestinians are most primitive. The military balance is ridiculous! Yet, â€œWe are blamed for [our] resistance!â€
The fact is that Israel broke the ceasefire (as your correspondent has documented previously on these pages). â€œWe [Americans] have to change our frame of reference!â€ The Jewish State is a criminal in the context of global edicts. According to Dr. Bazian, irregular soldiers are not considered in the same framework under International norms. (This is a debatable legal point, and that is why Goldstone accused the Gazan Administration of War criminality which, in turn, their officials denied based on the proportionality employed against them.) â€œThe IDF didnâ€™t make distinctions between combatant and non-combatant.â€ Thus, under conflict directive the counterattack can only be relative to the primary aggression, (and this absolved the Gazan Palestinian Arabs, for their counter-offensive upon Sderot and Ashkelon for Israel violated the Law of Proportionality against the citizenship on the Strip).
Succinctly, Hamas and the Gazan people they represented did not constitute a security threat at all. The Hebrew government assaulted this miniscule State because they did not wish an Islamist-dominated country on their Southern border, and, again, in Hatemâ€™s view, the Jewish Labor Party-led government had to make up face for their very real lose to Hezbollah in 2006 north in the Galilee.
A majority of military observers agree that the Gazan War was a defeat for the Israeli Defense Forces; for they failed to create the â€œregime changeâ€ they had hoped to do because the native stakeholders in this ancient land of the Philistines did not rise up against their democratically elected representatives.
We as a nation have to take responsibility for our part in the carnage!
Now, 92% of the surviving children are suffering post-traumatic stress syndrome. The medical infrastructure has further, been destroyed!
Up on the West Bank, the Hebrew State has set up 462 checkpoints.
As Americans, we must see that all Israelâ€™s weaponry came with the stamp of â€œMade in America.â€
While back in Gaza itself; there is 44% unemployment a 96% of the foreign consulates that were there have had to close. External aid that has already been pledged has been denied delivery by the blockade enforced by Israel and Egypt.
The Goldstone Report conservatively attests to War and, possibly, Crimes against Humanity instigated by the Israeli Army. It has been referred to the General Assembly for further discussion and hopefully action.
There will be an educational Conference on Palestine in San Anselmo (Calif.) in Marin County just north of San Francisco on March 5th-6th at the First Presbyterian Church there (415) 456-3713 where Dr. Hatem Bazian is scheduled to give one of the workshops. Also, there will be two Conferences in Honolulu and Seattle this month. Information on those gatherings can be gathered directly from Sabeel North America at (503) 653-6625.
Professor Bazian concluded his Sacramento speech by exclaiming â€œPalestine wants to be freeâ€¦ [America] needs to speak out!â€