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- "PILLAR OF DEFENSE" - A MURDEROUS FRAUD. Will the truce last? (Nov. 2012)
- Winning an election but losing one’s soul (June 2012)
- FINKELSTEIN: Traitor or Pragmatist? Palestinians at a crucial juncture (April 2, 2012) External link
- No Justification for War or Sanctions on Iran (March 15, 2012)

Will the truce last?
By Gulamhusein A. Abba, Nov. 23, 2012

On Wednesday, November 12, Israel deliberately provoked Hamas by breaking a two day long truce, carrying out some 20 airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, the heaviest barrage on the Palestinian territory in four years, and, for good measure, to make sure the provocation worked, assassinating Gaza's supreme military commander Ahmed Jabari.

It killed him even though it was he that was mainly responsible for arranging the release of Shalit, even though his interest in entering into a long-term truce agreement had been communicated to Israeli authorities.

When Gaza expectedly responded with a fresh barrage of rockets, Israel used that as an excuse to continue its murderous attack on Gaza and launched its Operation Pillar of Defense.

It pummeled Gaza - again, barely four years after it infamous Operation Cast Lead - for eight straight days, day and night, launching well over 1500 deadly airstrikes, shelling targets from tanks and gunboats, killing 161 Palestinians, including a large number of innocent men, women, children and even babies, wiping out families, injuring at least 840, flattening residential buildings, Hamas leader's headquarters, police stations, several other infrastructures, targeting and damaging dozens more, including a hospital and the international media center.

Then, on Wednesday , November 21, under intense international pressure, Israel signed with Hamas a truce agreement.

The agreement provides, for Hamas: an end to Israeli airstrikes and assassinations of Hamas militants wanted by Israel. For Israel the agreement provides a halt to rocket fire from Gaza and attempts at cross-border incursions into Israeli territory from Gaza and especially from the Sinai area.

However, the agreement left the door open to a possible ground incursion of Gaza at a later date.

People all over the world heaved a sigh of relief. Gazans celebrated by firing guns into the air, dancing in the streets, distributing sweets and waving Hamas flags.

It is to be hoped that the truce will last. Unfortunately all indications are that violence will flare up once again, perhaps sooner than what we wish.

To begin with, already there are differences as to what the agreement provides, especially with reference to the opening of checkpoints.

According an Associated Press report on November 22, the agreement provides for Israel "discussing easing an Israeli blockade constricting the Gaza Strip." Khaled Mashal, Gazan leader in exile, insists that "the document provides for the opening of all crossings."

According to a copy of the agreement obtained by AP, the agreement provides, after a 24 hour cooling off period, for "opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents' free movement."

Under the Israeli blockade, Israel continues to restrict the movement of certain goods through Israeli controlled crossings. There is a near complete ban on exports, limited movement of people leaving the territory and limits on construction materials that Israel says could be put to military use.

The agreement is vague on what restrictions Israel would lift.

There is also the question of Gaza's southern passenger terminal on the Egyptian border, not to mention whether Israel will have the right to continue intercepting and seizing, in international waters, aid flotillas headed for Gaza or limiting Gazans from fishing in their own waters outside or even within the three mile water rights, as it now does.

On any of these points a difference can be interpreted as a rejection/violation of the truce agreement and violence can restart.

But these are details.

The main point to note is that, notwithstanding claims to the contrary, Operation Pillar of Defense was NOT a response to the recent escalation of rocket firing by Hamas. The rockets being fired from Gaza has very little to do with Israel's repeated deadly military operations against Gaza.

Consider this. During the present conflict, Hamas rockets killed five Israelis, injured not more than a couple of dozen people and partially damaged two buildings. Hardly figures to invite a massive military operation that lasted eight days, killed 161 Palestinians and inflicted unimaginable misery and destruction on the Gazans.

The reasons for Israeli operations go beyond the rocket firing activities of Hamas. Israel's reasons and objectives go much, much deeper.

Put simply, behind it all is Israel's objective to have all of Palestine. It wants to establish Eretz Yisrael on all of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, complete with biblical Judea and Samara.

Israeli leaders have long maintained that Jordan is the homeland of the Palestinians and Palestine, all of it, is the God given homeland of the Jews.

Several Israeli leaders have openly stated that their aim is to make life so miserable for the Palestinians that they will eventually flee to neighboring countries.

To ensure that Palestinians never have the ability to stand up against or challenge Israel, Israel is committed to preventing any arms coming into Gaza (even as shiploads of arms keep flowing into Israel from the USA and other countries!), preventing Gazans from manufacturing any such arms, even primitive rockets, and destroying from time to time any rocket making facility that Gazans may put up, as also destroying periodically all stockpile of such arms that Gazans may accumulate.

Another goal of Israel's repeated attacks on Gaza is to cowe the Gazans and beat them into submission.

None of Israel's military operations has succeeded in weakening Hamas. After every Israeli military operation, the Gazans, though suffering huge human and material loss, have emerged stronger.

Operation Pillar of Defense has made them stronger than ever. Arab leaders, taking a lesson from the Arab Spring, and sensitive to the sentiments of their people about Israel and Palestine, for the first time came together to try and save Gaza from further death and destruction. World leaders, including UN chief Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton, Turkey's foreign minister, a delegation of Arab foreign ministers, Khaled Mashaal, the top Hamas leader in exile - all of them converged on the region.

The UN Security Council held closed door consultations at the request of Russia. A resolution would have emerged but for the feet dragging by one of the members.

In addition, the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is an offshoot, is now in power in Egypt and Tunisia and Hamas is also getting support from Quatar and Turkey.

The political situation has changed dramatically.

As to the spirit of Gazans, it is best illustrated by a message given by a 13 year old girl from Gaza who sustained shrapnel injuries throughout her upper body, with some pieces still in embedded in her chest. Here is her message: "I say, we are children. There is nothing that is our fault to have to face this. They (the Israelis) are occupying us and I will say, as Abu Omar said, 'If you're a mountain, the wind won't shake you.' We're not afraid. We'll stay strong."

Trying to beat the Gazans into submission apart, the Israeli attacks ion Gaza are, as pointed out by Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, a continuation of Israel's "policies of war, illegal occupation of Palestine, siege of Gaza, carrying on building illegal settlements and confiscating Palestinian land", not to mention transferring a large number of its citizens onto occupied West Bank, bulldozing Palestinian homes and razing Palestinian villages.

This is a legacy of Israel's policy of dispossession that precedes the creation of Israel.

With Hamas having become stronger than ever, more defiant than ever, instead of docilely submitting to Israel, and with Israel's goal of eliminating all rocket manufacturing facilities and stockpiles of rockets in Gaza not having been accomplished, and with the truce eliminating any further attempts by Israel to strike Gaza again, the indications are, given Israel's history in this regard, that Israel will, as soon as it can, create another incident to provoke Hamas once more into retaliating and use that retaliation as an excuse, once more, to mount a better planned and more massive attack that will inflict massive destruction in a short time, before the world starts putting pressure on Israel once again to agree to a ceasefire.

The words of Israeli President in a recent CNN interview are ominous. He let it slip that "You don't negotiate with terrorists. You strike'" Perhaps even more ominous is what Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "I know there are citizens that expected a wider military operation and it could be that it will be needed. But at this time, the right thing for the state of Israel is to take this opportunity to reach a lasting cease fire." (emphasis added)

Winning an election but losing one’s soul
June 2012
By Gulamhusein A. Abba

Just as Lyndon B. Johnson’s efforts to establish the Great Society and his War on Poverty were lost on the streets of Hanoi, so also Obama’s quest for justice, his efforts to reduce the killing federal deficit and his war to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor in this country are all being lost on the streets of Kandahar and Jerusalem.

Millions in USA are saying to themselves in their heart, though they hesitate to utter it with their lips, “For God’s sake Mr.President, end the senseless, unwinnable war in Afghanistan, and end it now. Leave the corrupt Karzai to his own fate. Why on earth are you committing the cream of our country to death and life-shattering injuries for two more years after having already decided on departing from Afghanistan ? What will be gained?”

Obama, who showed so much promise before and immediately after his election to be the President of USA, and from whom the people expected so much, is being used by powerful forces. He either does not know that he is being so used or has sold his soul to the war hawks and the Jewish lobby merely to retain the golden throne and all that goes with it.

He should know that the continuation of the war in Afghanistan, his paying obeisance to AIPAC and Netanyahu and assuring continued and unconditional support to Israel may win him the coming election but these policies are inflicting incalculable harm on this country.

If he does not have the courage to end these destructive policies or knows that, with realities of government being what they are in this country, he cannot do what he would ike to in these matters, he should at least have the courage of his convictions to say, as LBJ did, “I will not seek or accept the nomination of my party for the Presidency”.

He will soon find that it is better not to have blood on his hands and guilt on his conscience than sit on the throne for four more years.

As for the voters, true their choice is limited to only bad or worse. Choosing the lesser evil is never the answer. They need to send a strong message that they will not support anyone who who puts his own personal interests before the long term good of the country.

The voters in the coming historic election have a third choice. Give their support to neither Obama nor Romney. Just don’t vote, and, by this simple act, send a clear message to both the parties and to all future contenders for the throne in Washington.

No Justification for War or Sanctions on Iran

March 15, 2012
By Gulamhusein A. Abba

This article also appears on:

The hysteria over Iran's nuclear capabilities having reached such a stage as to call for immediate bombing of its nuclear facilities - this hysteria is deliberately and insidiously being whipped up by Israel to achieve its own ends. It has been itching to bomb Iran ever since Iraq was neutered, leaving Iran the only country in the region that can be expected to stand up to Israel.

The main purpose of his latest visit to the White House was to get Obama's backing for his plan. He did not get the green signal he sought. But Obama allowed him to get away with this statement"... Above and beyond that there are two principles you reiterated yesterday that Israel must have the ability always to defend itself, by itself against any threat and that, when it comes to Israel's security, Israel has a right, a sovereign right, to make its own decisions…. Israel must reserve the right to defend itself…..my supreme responsibility as Prime Minister of Israel is to ensure that Israel remains the master of its fate."

True Obama could not possibly have denied that. However he could and should have reminded Netanyahu that Israel, in exercising that right, must always remember that Israel, as any other nation, has a duty not to take any action that can result in grave harm to the world as a whole, especially if that action is unwarranted and unnecessary and is being maliciously or mistakenly being taken under cover of "defending Israel", and that if, in spite of being advised against it, Israel goes ahead and takes such action, Israel cannot expect and will not get any support from the US. In fact, if Israel is preparing to take any such action, other countries that will be adversely affected have a right to take any action that may be required to prevent such an action.

By remaining silent at Netanyahu's enunciation of Israel's right, Obama missed the opportunity to make the US position forcefully clear to Israel and to Americans.

While Obama did not give Netanyahu the green signal to go ahead with his bombing plan and seemed to back away from it, saying that there was still a window of opportunity for a diplomatic solution, he seems to have succumbed to Israel's pressure, saying recently that the window had narrowed!

A brief look at relevant facts will show that there is no call for bombing Iran because of its progress on its nuclear energy program.

Iran has repeated again and again that it has no intention of acquiring a nuclear arsenal and that its nuclear program is meant only for civil, not military purposes.

The New York Times, no friend of Iran, reported on February 24 that though Iran had accelerated its uranium enrichment program, "American intelligence analysts continue to believe that there is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb. Recent assessments by American spy agencies are broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program years earlier, according to current and former American officials. The officials said that assessment was largely reaffirmed in a 2010 National Intelligence Estimate and that it remains the consensus view of America's 16 intelligence agencies". (emphasis added)

According to a report by Time's journalists James Risen and Mark Mazetti, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in his January 31 Senate testimony stated explicitly that there was no evidence that Iran had made a decision on making a concerted push to build a weapon.

Other top Obama administration officials, including CIA Director David Petraeus, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey share Clapper's assessment.

Even if it is assumed that Iran was bent on acquiring nuclear weapons, the question arises whether bombing its nuclear facilities is the only way to stop it and if so, is it necessary to take that action at this stage? The answer to the last question hinges on how close is Iran to having a nuclear weapon.

Estimates on this have differed wildly in the past and continue to do so even now.

According to US Secretary of Defense, Iran is a year away from a nuclear bomb. In 1984 Senator Alan Cranston said Iran was seven years away. In 1992 Benjamin Netanyahu, who was then a member of Israeli parliament, said 3 to 5 years. That same year then Israeli Defense Minister (now Israeli President) Shimon Peres said Iran would have nukes by 1999. In 1995 "senior U.S. and Israeli officials" speculated Iran would have nuclear weapons in five years.

Meir Dagan, who recently retired as Israel's Mossad spy agency, has said that Iran would not be able to produce a nuclear weapon until 2015 and that Israel should not hasten to attack Iran but should do so "only when the sword is upon the neck". He later added that Israel's attacking Iran would be a "stupid idea".

President Obama himself, who has access to intelligence reports, initially stated that "there is a window of opportunity" to try and solve the issue through diplomacy, indicating that in his opinion Iran is now close to acquiring a nuclear bomb.

Besides, as late as January 2012, Gill Tudor, spokeswoman for the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that "The IAEA can confirm that all nuclear material in the facility remains under the Agency's containment and surveillance".

Early in January of this year Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said: "Are they [Iranians] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they're trying to develop a nuclear capability. And that's what concerns us."

Iran has agreed to open up for inspection by IAEA, Parchin, the military facility southeast of Tehran where the U.N. nuclear watchdog suspected that development work relevant to nuclear weapons may have taken place.

Iran offered to return to talks on resolving the dispute over its uranium enriching program and, according to the European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the United States, China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain had accepted the offer and had voiced backing for efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the long-running row.

So, there is no evidence that Iran is preparing to acquire nuclear weapons. All that exists is a suspicion that Iran so intends, and, because of this suspicion, we are trying to compel Iran to abandon efforts to advance its nuclear program meant for civil and peaceful purposes, specially to meet its energy needs so that its industry can grow. Even though Iran does not violate any international requirement by continuing to advance its nuclear capability. Indeed, we are preparing to go to war with Iran on this!

In view of all the above, clearly not only is there no justification for going to war now with Iran on the question of its nuclear program but there is no justification even for continuing any sanctions on it on that account, much less imposing new "crippling" sanctions.

We the people must rise up and demand that we do not go to war with Iran on this. Unless we do this we will find ourselves in another unnecessary and costly war. And this time it will be ugly.