06 January 2009

Gaza Update - Evening 6th January

- You can donate to Islamic Relief's emergency efforts here. Their initial fundraising target of $3 million was met. However, due to the ongoing crisis and severe need of further funds, the Appeal has been raised to $10 Million.

- Mainstream media reports continue to portray that Israel is just as under threat as Gaza. During the six-month ceasefire by Hamas, Israel did not open crossings to Gaza. They did not extend the truce to the West Bank. Israel proceeded to tighten the siege of Gaza, repeatedly cutting electricity and water supplies. Hundreds of hospital patients died as "collateral damage" of this siege. At the height of the 2nd Intifada, 1000 Palestinians were killed, with 400 Israelis dying. Now, we have a situation where 500 Palestinians can be killed, and a dozen Israeli civilians die, plus 3-4 more IDF troops killed by friendly fire, and this can be portrayed as an equal battle.

- Patrick Scott's comment (#7) (he's referred to the 3rd Jan demo in London):

"I was on the march from Trafalgar Square to the Israeli embassy which in my estimation was at least 90% Muslim, the marchers were relatively young and included quite a few families with children. The 'traditional' left was grossly underrepresented on the march. Maybe this was because many left activists simply simply saw this as just another march and simply adjourned to the pub after the rally at Trafalgar Square. Not good enough under the circumstances."

- Haaretz:

"While the Palestinian Authority is busy trying to score divisive political points by condemning Hamas and cracking down on solidarity demonstrations in the West Bank, outrage and despair prevail among Palestinians. Palestinian youth clashed with soldiers at checkpoints across the West Bank and mass demonstrations were held in PA-controlled Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah and Nablus, calling for unified resistance to Israeli violence. There were also sporadic riots in East Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the PA has been doing everything in its power to stand in the way of Palestinian community action. But there is a general will to resist and there is popular sentiment among Palestinians that President Mahmoud Abbas is a collaborator with Israel who has achieved little for them."

"A colleague from Ni'lin summed up the possibility of an infant Intifada blooming against the will of the PA, saying: "You see that we have no problem confronting the fourth largest army in the world, you think we're really that concerned about the PA."

- Robert Fisk talks about the possiblity of UN peacekeepers:

"The Palestinians have been trying to internationalise their conflict with the Israelis ever since Yasser Arafat pleaded for UN forces to protect the Palestinians after the failure of the Oslo agreement. Always the Israelis have refused ... which "frontier" would the UN then patrol? The UN border of the 1940s, the pre-1967 ceasefire lines – in which a pre-annexed East Jerusalem belonged to the Arabs – or the post-1967 border in which Israel claimed "annexed" Jerusalem, or the massive walled "frontier" which now bites deeply into yet more Palestinian territory – illegally in international law? And would the UN also have to "observe" the equally illegal Jewish settlements built on Arab land within the West Bank ... The UN could place some international troops around Gaza. But it would only be a matter of time before they would be required around the West Bank. That would be a Palestinian dream – and, for those Israelis who wish to continue their expansion into Palestinian land – a nightmare."

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