by Stephen Lendman
When will Israel decide enough's enough? When will enough dead Palestinian men, women, children, infants, and elderly satisfy Netanyahu's blood lust? He'll have to explain.
Death and injury totals keep rising. Perhaps hundreds already perished. Those injured approach 1,000. Many are in serious condition. Some won't survive. Others are maimed for life.
Israel's aggression reflects ruthless state terror. It bears repeating. Civilians are deliberately targeted. It's longstanding Israeli policy. They're treated like combatants. So are women and children.
Rogue governments operate this way. They're contemptuous of humanity. They perpetuate human suffering. They mock fundamental rights they should respect. They kill with impunity. They don't give a damn who lives or dies.
Haaretz columnist Amira Hass once lived in Gaza. She knows firsthand what goes on. She said Gaza's dead include "farmers, water sellers and the girl next door."
Most Gazans killed are civilians. Only six of the 34 Palestinians killed in the past two days were fighters.
Around 80% of Al Shifa Hospital victims are children. On November 19, "the IAF fired warning rockets at an empty home in the Zeitun neighborhood."
"The building exploded about a minute later, trapping members of the neighboring Abu Zur family inside their home and killing a 5-year-old boy, Mahmad Iyad Fuad Abu Zur, along with two men and a woman: Ahad Hamdi Samil Katati, 38; Sahar Fadi Assad Abu Zur, 21; and Nasma Halmi Salam Abu Zur, also 21."
"Twenty-eight family members were injured in the attack and 20 homes were partly damaged."
Hundreds of buildings have been destroyed or damaged. Four Gazan farmers were killed.
"On Sunday afternoon, the IAF fired two missiles on a vehicle distributing purified water to the Beit Lahia area, killing the driver, Suhail Ashur Mohammed Hamada, 42, and his 10-year-old son."
"An estimated 95 percent of the water in Gaza is not fit to drink, forcing residents to buy purified water or receive it from their municipality."
A 10-year old boy and his father were killed. They "were trying to fix a pipe on the roof of their home…."
Dozens of reports read like this. Everyone in Gaza is at risk. Israel made it a shooting gallery. Palestinians are as vulnerable as fish in a barrel. No one's sure who'll survive another day or perish. Israel doesn't care. Killing is done vengefully and for sport.
On November 20, Israel National News headlined "Report: Cabinet Meets on Egyptian Ceasefire Proposal," saying:
Discussions convened late Monday night. No details were provided. Israel gave Hamas a 36-hour ultimatum.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's rhetoric belies his policy. He's done nothing for beleaguered Gazans. UN Human Rights Council policy shows what side it supports.
Through her spokesperson, Rupert Colville, High Commissioner Navi Pillay contemptuously said:
She's following the unfolding situation in Gaza and southern Israel "with considerable alarm."
"She is appalled that once again civilians are losing their lives, including three Israeli citizens killed in their apartment by one of the hundreds of rockets fired over the past week, as well as several Palestinian children, including a baby, and also a pregnant woman and some other civilians killed in Gaza."
She equated three Israeli deaths and a handful of injuries with hundreds of affected Palestinians. The great majority are civilians. Most are women and children.
She ignored the appalling reality on the ground. She said nothing about Israeli responsibility or the right of Palestinians to defend themselves against naked aggression.
She shamed herself. She shows who she supports and opposes. She embarrassed herself further through her spokesman, saying:
"The High Commissioner has repeatedly and unequivocally condemned the indiscriminate firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, and is deeply concerned both by the recent major upsurge in the number of rocket attacks, and that they are now being aimed at a major city, such as Tel Aviv."
Self-defense is legitimate. Pillay knows it. She condemns what she should support. She failed to point fingers the right way. She mocks human rights. She disgraces the position she holds.
US media say three Navy amphibious warships were ordered to the Eastern Mediterranean. On board are 2,500 marines. They're positioned near Israel's coast. If needed, they'll evacuate US citizens.
If it occurs, it'll be a first. Marines would come ashore to help. Mossad-connected DEBKAfile (DF) said positioning three US warships suggests Washington isn't sure truce talks will succeed.
It "sees the situation surrounding the Gaza Strip in a far different light, more like a situation holding the threat of a general conflagration beyond the confines of the Israel-Hamas contest in Gaza."
Without elaboration, Voice of Russia quoted Egypt's Masri al-Yaum newspaper saying:
"The aggression against Gaza will end today (Tuesday). With concessions and capitulations." A separate report said resistance groups reject Israeli truce terms.
They want conflict ended and not resumed. They want targeted killings stopped. They also want Israel's blockade lifted. No further information is available so far.
Russia wants Security Council action on Gaza. UN envoy Vitaly Churkin accused Washington of blocking UN action. America won't permit anti-Israeli statements or resolutions. It's longstanding policy.
Meanwhile, bombing and shelling continues. Maan News said another 21 Palestinians died Tuesday. Family homes are targeted. Children and passers by are killed.
Farmer Akram Marouf was on his land working. He posed no threat. A missile struck and killed him.
Gazan civil defense officials appealed to Arab neighbors for urgently needed supplies. Essential ones are being exhausted.
Maan's report said an Egyptian intelligence source said "there is still no breakthrough and Egypt is working to find middle ground."
A later report said both sides agreed to halt hostilities at 10PM GMT. Midnight local time.
Alleged terms include halting assassinations, stopping rocket fire, easing border crossings, and having Egypt act as ceasefire guarantor.
It remains to be seen what follows. Israeli guarantees aren't worth the paper they're written on. Don't expect this time to be different.
Netanyahu's comment revealed Israeli duplicity. He said "we will not hesitate to do what is necessary to defend our people."
In other words, Israel will enforce occupation harshness, continue targeted assassinations after agreeing not to, bomb and shell at will, accost fishermen at sea, kill farmers in their fields, shoot children for target practice, and maintain Gaza's siege.
What Gazans hoped for was lost. It's hard imagining what they'll get in return for giving Israel what it wanted.
Negotiating with Israel is futile. It yields nothing. Hamas failed to hold firm. Fundamental issues were at stake. They're too vital to be sacrificed. Doing so assures continued conflict.
The moment of truth arrived. It was lost. Long-denied justice once again was sacrificed for momentary conflict cessation and terms sure to be violated. Israel will do what it pleases. Gazans will keep suffering. Conflict will continue unresolved.
Late on Tuesday, nine Arab ministers, led by Egypt's foreign minister, came to Gaza. Showing up falls far short of real support. It bears repeating.
Arab leaders won't do what's effective. Israel only responds to smack downs. Diplomatic and economic ones are key. Recall envoys. Expel Israeli ones. Suspend trade. Play the oil card. Stop supplying Israel.
Suspend relations entirely. Act decisively. Words are hollow. These type measures work. Odds are none will be used. Palestinians remain largely isolated on their own. It's been that way for decades. Expect nothing to change now.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) called for an international investigation on escalating Israeli aggression. Evidence shows crimes of war and against humanity are committed daily.
"the direct targeting of civilians and civilian objects, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, and a failure to take all feasible precautions in attack and in the choice of methods and means of warfare."
"Customary international law clearly requires that these suspected war crimes be investigated and that, if appropriate, individual suspects must be prosecuted."
"It is imperative that suspected violations of international humanitarian law (the law of armed conflict) and international human rights law be investigated by an independent and impartial international body of experts."
"This is essential in order to: secure victims legitimate and internationally protected right to a remedy; and to ensure accountability and restore the rule of law."
"For too long, the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory has been characterized by systematic violations of international law, and impunity for those violations. It is innocent civilians who have been forced to pay the horrific price."
What clearer proof than days of relentless Israeli terror-bombing and shelling. Mostly civilians are targeted. Human suffering is extreme. Stopping it and holding those responsible is essential.
"Any investigation must be independent and impartial, and composed of international experts in international humanitarian law, international human rights law, international criminal law, as well as military experts."
"It is essential that this body have the mandate to recommend international criminal prosecutions as appropriate."
It's high time international law was enforced. Otherwise it's mocked and meaningless.
Israel's gotten away with murder far too long. How many more Palestinian deaths are tolerable before authorities able to act say no more?
"The international community must intervene in order to restore the rule of law, and to take active steps to protect the civilian population, the so-called 'protected persons' of international law."
A Final Comment
Naked Israeli aggression shows Israel won't stop unless punished diplomatically and economically. The Global BDS Movement for Freedom, Justice and Equality lists five ways ordinary people can effectively support Gaza.
(1) Boycott Israeli goods and services. Export profits bolster its economy. They also fund its war machine. Tell others what you're doing. Urge retailer support.
(2) Join a BDS campaign or start a new one. Groups and initiatives of any size and type help. US campaigners pressured pension funds effectively to divest from Caterpillar and other companies.
Giant Catepillar bulldozers demolish Palestinian homes. It's complicit in Israeli crimes. So are other Western companies. Act against them effectively. Strike back so it hurts.
(3) Organize BDS protests. "Demonstrations, banner drops, and flash mobs" raise awareness. Target individual products like Ahava cosmetics. It profits by stealing Palestinian resources.
In Occupied Palestine, virtually everything mined helps Israel, its settlements, and predatory companies. Mining fees, levies, royalties, and profits flow straight to Israeli coffers and corporate bottom lines. Palestinians are denied what's rightfully theirs.
(4) Urge organizations with which you're affiliated to boycott Israel.
"Trade unions, student unions, faith groups and other organizations all over the world have passed BDS-related resolutions calling for divesting from companies profiting from Israel's occupation."
Keep the momentum going. Get others to act responsibly.
(5) Pressure elected officials to impose a weapons and munitions embargo on Israel. Military ties feed its war machine. Occupation harshness and wars continue. Palestinians suffer and die.
Hit Israel where it hurts. Support BDS measures. Act for right over might. It's long past time this pariah state was brought to heel.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.