Tuesday, January 6, 2009

No Place Safe

I doing my rounds and I wasn’t surprised when I came across a BBC news article titled “Strike on Gaza school 'kills 30.”

It seems it’s always the schools that get attacked.

(John Ging, the head of the UN relief and works agency in Gaza, has said the region is 'on the cusp of catastrophe'.)

At least 30 people were killed and 55 injured when Israeli artillery shells landed outside a United Nations-run school in Gaza, UN officials have said.

A number of children were among those who died when the al-Fakhura school in the Jabaliya refugee camp took a direct hit, doctors at nearby hospitals said.
Israel said its soldiers had come under fire from militants inside the school. Earlier, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned of a "full-blown humanitarian crisis" in Gaza.

Speaking on the 11th day of the Israeli assault, a senior ICRC official, Pierre Kraehenbuhl, said life in Gaza had become intolerable.

Palestinian medical sources say up to 600 people have been killed since the attacks began, and Mr Kraehenbuhl said much more needed to be done to protect civilians.

Some 70 Palestinians and five Israeli soldiers were killed on Tuesday. One soldier was killed in an exchange of fire with militants in Gaza City, while four others were killed by shellfire from their own tanks earlier in the day, Israeli military officials said.

Israel says its offensive is stopping militants firing rockets, but at least five hit southern Israel on Tuesday, with one reaching the town of Gedera, about 40km (25 miles) from Gaza, and injuring a baby.

Three Israeli civilians and one soldier have been killed by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip since the offensive began 10 days ago.

Information about what is happening inside Gaza is limited as Israel has barred foreign reporters from entering.

I don’t understand how one infant being injured justifies the bombing of more children or why people are always surprised when persecuted mistreated people fight back. You cannot just wall up a million and a half people and expect gratefulness, especially when 80% of the inhabitants are unable to support themselves and completely dependent on humanitarian assistance.

And I don’t know about you, but whenever foreign reporters are “barred,” I tend to get a little cynical.

Another thing bothering me, Obama’s silence. I know there is “only one president at a time,” but I am a little ashamed that Obama hasn’t even offered his condolences to the civilian casualities woman and children being butchered in UN sanctioned refugee camps. You would think that a person trying so hard to give America a better image would have something to say.

Seems not.

Some interesting quotes about his silence (because “no comment” doesn’t count):

"The man who, in 20 days' time, will become the most powerful man in the world has said nothing. Mr. Obama's silence is in keeping with his insistence that the US 'has only one president at a time.' But it is also a measure of just how intractable is the Middle East crisis that will face the incoming administration, and – many in the region believe – a sign his policies there will be less different from those of the departing Bush team than once expected." - The Independent, U.K.

-"The truce Hamas had meticulously upheld was shattered when Israel attacked Gaza, killing six Palestinians, as The Guardian reported on 5 November. A blatant disregard for the facts, it seems, will not leave the White House with George W. Bush on 20 January. Axelrod also recalled Obama's visit to Israel last July when he ignored Palestinians and visited the Israeli town of Sderot. There, Obama declared: 'If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.' This should not surprise anyone. Despite pervasive wishful thinking that Obama would abandon America's pro-Israel bias, his approach has been almost indistinguishable from the Bush administration's." - Electronic Intifada

-"President-elect Barack Obama is getting whacked by the left for declining to comment on Israel's onslaught on Gaza, but his prudent silence is just as discomfiting to the Israeli government and its allies here in the United States. They wanted a ringing endorsement of their bombardment." - The First Post, U.K.

-"President-elect Barack Obama and Secretary of State-to-be Hillary Clinton were shamefully silent in the first hours after the attack. Bush's reaction, and the non-reaction by Obama and Clinton, underscores the point that Hanan Ashrawi made on Saturday. 'Israel has gotten used to not being held accountable and to being a country that is above the law,' said the Palestinian legislator and human rights activist. She called the bombings a 'massacre.'" -- The Progressive

-"But some fear that the US president-elect's reluctance to speak out on the Gaza raids could be sending its own message. 'Silence sounds like complicity,' Mark Perry, the Washington Director of the Conflicts Forum group, told Al Jazeera. 'Obama has said that Israel has the right to defend itself from rocket attacks but my question to him is 'does he believe that Palestinians also have the right of self-defense?'" AlJazeera.net

-"Former London mayor Ken Livingstone and rights activist Bianca Jagger joined campaigners who have staged a week of rallies, culminating in a demonstration Saturday which will include a symbolic shoe protest outside Downing Street. 'I would like to make an appeal to president elect Obama to speak up,' said Jagger. 'People throughout the world were hopeful when he was elected and we must appeal to him to ask for the immediate cessation of the bombardment of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.'" - AFP

-"This was the time for President Elect Barack Obama to make a strong statement. He has not said anything; he has failed his first test as incoming president abysmally. ...Obama has made several statements on the economy, and has even already devised a $750 billion stimulus of his own, in addition to all the programs that have been announced by the Bush Administration. Now when it comes to a vicious and disproportionate attack by Israel that has already claimed the lives of many children and women, the President Elect is not permitted to say a word because of some sort of protocol? What kind of nonsense is this?" - Black Star News

-"Obama and his aides should be openly counseling the Bush administration to use every diplomatic avenue to promote a ceasefire and, above all, to urge against an Israeli invasion and occupation of Gaza. Unfortunately, the president-elect is doing nothing of the sort. Some may imagine that this disengaged approach confirms Obama as a true 'friend of Israel.'" - The Nation

-"Obama has massive political capital, and could have injected himself into the crisis before it happened. He did so during the beginning of the economic meltdown, and could have lent his credibility to a situation that has spiralled dangerously out of control. Obama has stated that 'There is only one President at a time', abdicating responsibility and essentially passing the buck." - Huffington Post

I also found an amazing post at Taking Steps titled Schoolyard on Fire and am picking up two books at the library about the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict.

Because I just don't have enough reasons to be pissed at the world. lol

1 comment:

  1. First of all, lol at your last sentence! And I completely agree. I read an article today that put the Palestinian casualties at 600. 600! And apparently Obama did break his silence a little today, saying he was concerned at the civilian casualites but not elaborating and falling back on the "there's only one president at a time" cliche. This is getting ridiculous.


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