On the Israeli offensive in Gaza, and The Grand Chessboard:
- 1) Setting The Stage.
2) Political Status of Gaza.
3) The Humanitarian Situation in Gaza.
4) The Significance of Palestine.
5) The Implications of the Most Recent Events.
The Gaza Strip is “one of the most densely populated tracts of land in the world,” is home to approximately 1.5 million Palestinians, “about 33% of whom live in United Nations-funded refugee camps.”
“Gaza has the highest birthrate in the Middle East, and, according to some sources, Jabalia refugee camp is the most densely populated place on earth – 65,000 people in two square kilometers.”
“It borders Egypt on the south-west and Israel on the north and east. It is about 41 kilometers (25 mi) long, and between 6 and 12 kilometers (4–7.5 mi) wide, with a total area of 360 square kilometers (139 sq mi). The area is not recognized internationally as part of any sovereign country but is claimed by the Palestinian National Authority as part of the Palestinian territories.”
click map to enlarge – source
“Israel, which governed the Gaza Strip from 1967-2005, still controls the strip’s airspace, territorial water, and offshore maritime access, as well as its side of the Gaza-Israeli border. This continued control has allowed the Israeli state, which opposes Hamas, to control the Gazan inflow and outflow of multiple types of resources, including food.”
Hamas, which was “founded in 1987 by Islamic activists in Gaza to offer Palestinians an alternative to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO),” was swept to election victory in January 2006. This meant that Hamas was now one of the most important democratically elected governments in the Muslim world.
“From the day Hamas won the general elections in 2006 it offered Fatah (the opposition party) the chance of joining forces and forming a unity government. It tried to engage the international community to explain its platform for peace. It … consistently offered a 10-year cease-fire with the Israelis to try to create an atmosphere of calm… Hamas even adhered to a unilateral cease-fire for 18 months in an effort to normalize the situation on the ground.”
Unfortunately, none of these points were recognized in the press coverage following the 2006 elections which had an unprecedented 77% voter turnout.
On the contrary, in 2008 it was revealed that the Bush administration had “embarked on a secret project for the armed overthrow of the Islamist government in Gaza.” This Gaza Bombshell indicated that the escalation in hostilities between Israel and Palestine was a direct result of the United States starting the “bloody civil war in Gaza”. The cost to US taxpayers for this covert operation was astronomical, relative to 2006 standards. “A state department memo put the cost for salaries, training and weapons at $1.27bn (£640m) over five years.”
In 2006, former US President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Jimmy Carter, accused Israel of creating an apartheid system in the West Bank and Gaza in his book ‘Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.’
In his book, Jimmy Carter wrote:
“Israel’s continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land.”
Carter criticized Israel for building what he described as an imprisonment wall through the West Bank. He accused “Israel of strangling the residents of Gaza where the poverty rate has reached 70 percent and where the malnutrition rate mirrors countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
Carter was also critical of Washington’s role. He wrote:
“The United States is squandering international prestige and goodwill and intensifying global anti-American terrorism by unofficially condoning or abetting the Israeli confiscation and colonization of Palestinian territories.”
In March 2008, a report by a consortium of British aid agencies said “the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is the worst in forty years.” The report blamed Israel for the crisis, but Israeli officials said Hamas militants were to blame.
“Eight British aid organizations say the humanitarian situation in Gaza has deteriorated to the worst point in 40 years and that it will likely get worse unless Israel eases its blockade of the territory.
“According to the report, more than one million people or 80 percent of Gaza’s population is now dependent on food aid and that Gaza’s power, water and sewage systems have collapsed.”
Approximately two weeks ago, on 15 December 2008, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported on the impact of the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip (PDF):
“Following the resumption of violence on 4 November 2008, Israel has intensified to an unprecedented level the blockade on the Gaza Strip, imposed in June 2007. The 18 – month long blockade has created a profound human dignity crisis, leading to a widespread erosion of livelihoods and a significant deterioration in infrastructure and essential services. The consequences for the Palestinian population are profound, pervasive and difficult to reverse.
“The daily lives of most of 1.5 million Gazans are increasingly consumed by completing the most basic tasks, such as collecting and storing clean water, and searching for food, fuel and other essential supplies. Many have reported a growing sense of being trapped, physically, intellectually and emotionally.”
The majority of the world considers this to be Apartheid, some would even argue Genocidal, and if you would like to know why then please review some of the key points outlined by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs report which are listed below. It is extremely important to keep in mind that even though this information is not widely known in the West, it is, or it soon will be, common knowledge to the 1.5 billion Muslims that inhabit this planet.
Simply put, every single war that the United States is involved in, in the Muslim world, is directly related to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. These wars are a direct result of the justified perception by 1.5 billion Muslims, as well as the majority of the world, that the United States has a double standard in which, all atrocities committed by Israel will be supported, while any attempt by Palestinians to defend themselves will be condemned.
If you believe this to be an exaggeration, than I highly recommend reviewing the List of United Nations resolutions concerning Israel that the United States has vetoed, including the most recent UN Security Council resolution that was vetoed by the United States over the weekend – the resolution that was going to condemn Israel for killing more than 320 people and wounding an additional thousand in just two days of air strikes.
Israel’s air strikes on Gaza over the weekend have been “one of the bloodiest 24 hours for Palestinians in 60 years of conflict with the Jewish state.” They have come after months of the most devastating blockade that any nation has ever imposed on a population (see above).
What Israel has done with the full support of the United States will most likely never be forgiven by the majority of the world, not just the 1.5 billion Muslims that inhabit this planet with us.
click to enlarge – source
Israel, a nuclear country, considered to be one of the most powerful militaries in the world, just conducted air strikes in “one of the most densely populated tracts of land in the world,” which is home to about 1.5 million Palestinians, “about 33% of whom live in United Nations-funded refugee camps.” They just conducted air strikes in a place where even the sister-in-law of former British prime minister Tony Blair has called a “concentration camp” and a “humanitarian crisis on the scale of Darfur.”
Considering that the Israeli government is still in power, I can only assume that the citizens of Israel will stand idly by and allow their government representatives to continue to commit war crimes. Why the people responsible for promising the citizens of Israel war without end have not been arrested is beyond my understanding, for that matter, why their counterparts in the United States have not been arrested is even more perplexing to me.
The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria, and the uprisings in every other Muslim country in the world is directly and indirectly related to the Israeli-Palestinian question. Every major conflict in the Middle East, Asia and Africa is related to the Israeli occupation and brutalization of the Palestinian people.
One can only guess as to what the final cost of the last two days will be, but one thing is for certain, these most recent events will only lead to more wars.
We will most likely not be able to remain oblivious to the consequences of our apathy for much longer, and we can definitely assume that the cost to the US taxpayer in support of Israel will well surpass the $3 Trillion that has already been spent.