UN office in Ramallah closed by protests about Palestinian prisoners

The UN office in Ramallah has been closed this morning by protesters angry about the UN’s inaction on the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, particularly those held for “security” reasons under Administrative Detention procedures. Some 125 Administrative Detainees are now on the 41st day of a hunger strike to protest Administrative Detention and the conditions under which they’re being held.

A photo — Tweeted by Ahmad this morning, and posted here.

Ahmad @ANimer – .@UN office in #Ramallah is closed
#PalHunger #UNClosed pic.twitter.com/0iGCIk9vV4

UN office in Ramallah closed in Ramallah by protesters angry about lack of support to prisoners
UN office in Ramallah closed in Ramallah by protesters angry about lack of support to prisoners

The image was also Tweeted here by Diana Alzeer @ManaraRam
Outside the #UN building sprayed by activists today! UN = UNFAIR/ UNHELPFUL. UN offices are shut down today! #??_???? pic.twitter.com/ViNXZl7NbR

There was headway being made against Administrative Detention in 2012, but momentum was lost due to lack of support from some Palestinian activists who disputed its relative importance [affecting only approximately 200 people, by contrast with the 5,100 or so being held under other military court rules.

Haaretz newspaper has published an editorial here calling for a “review” of how Israel uses Administrative Detention. It’s subhead says: “Israel must…stop using it wholesale to perpetuate the occupation”.

Continue reading “UN office in Ramallah closed by protests about Palestinian prisoners”

NYTimes correction on E-1 — do they have it right now, or not?

The New York Times has today issued a correction to an earlier story on E-1 [published on 2 December here]:
An article on Dec. 2 about Israel’s decision to move forward with planning and zoning for settlements in an area east of Jerusalem known as E1 described imprecisely the effect of such development on access to the cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem from Jerusalem, and on the West Bank. Development of E1 would limit access to Ramallah and Bethlehem, leaving narrow corridors far from the Old City and downtown Jerusalem; it would not completely cut off those cities from Jerusalem. It would also create a large block of Israeli settlements in the center of the West Bank; it would not divide the West Bank in two. And because of an editing error, the article referred incompletely to the possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state. Critics see E1 as a threat to the meaningful contiguity of such a state because it would leave some Palestinian areas connected by roads with few exits or by circuitous routes; the proposed development would not technically make a contiguous Palestinian state impossible.  This correction was published in the NYTimes print edition today [though this correction is dated 7 December and was earlier posted online on 10 December], and is posted here.]

[UPDATE: CAMERA has taken credit here for pushing the NYTimes to issue this + another correction {concerning a story published on 30 November here}…Hat tip to Max Blumenthal {who on Twitter called the latest correction “absurd”}:
@MaxBlumenthal — Right-wing pro-Israel media monitoring front CAMERA takes credit for absurd NY Times “correction” on E1 settlements: http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=35&x_article=2357 … ]

Well, does the NYTimes have it right, now? No.

First of all, cutting to the crux, E-1 development by itself would probably not “technically make a contiguous Palestinian state impossible”, no.

But it would make movement for Palestinians so difficult that they would stay at home most of the time.

Maybe providing a massive, frequent, comfortable and convenient and inexpensive helicopter service between the north and the south and the east of the West Bank would solve the problem, but that’s not going to happen — and why would anyone want kind of a solution?

In any case, the real problem is that any of the proposed solutions [roads, tunnels, bridges — but not helicopters, not really, as we’re not talking about Brasilia] are dependent on Israeli happiness and good will at all times.

One incident could and would result in the cutting off of movement for hours or for months + years.

The NYTimes correction says almost dismissively, as if it is of little or no importance, that only “some Palestinian areas” would be affected. So, we shouldn’t care about that? It’s not supposed to matter?

What Palestinians want is freedom, dignity, independence, and real self-rule in their own state — it cannot be argued that Palestinians have had any kind of real self-rule since the signing of the Oslo Accords, which were supposed to be a transition to self-rule, in September 1993.

Palestinians want and deserve a return to some zone of comfort in their daily lives which has not existed for many years, particularly since the start of the Second Intifada at the end of September 2000.

And, as American presidents have said, they deserve dignity, and dignified lives.

Akiva Eldar, in a piece published in Al-Monitor, reminds us that although the Levy report might argue that the West Bank is not occupied [but instead disputed, and apparently therefore up for Israel to grab], this is not the view of most of the outside world.

Eldar was writing about what he viewed as a rather limp reaction by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Netanyahu’s E-1 announcement [which Eldar call “agreeing to disagree”]: “Presumably, when she said at the press conference that Israel was a sovereign state and therefore Germany could not impose its position on the settlements, Merkel did not mean to say that Israel was the sovereign in the West Bank. Israel itself does not claim ownership over Area E1. The proposed plan was submitted for the approval of the planning and construction committee of the Civil Administration in the occupied territories and not to the parallel committee in Jerusalem. Even according to Israel’s official position, the question of sovereignty over these areas, as well as over the rest of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, remains controversial. Furthermore, in 2003 Netanyahu was a cabinet member in then-prime minister Ariel Sharon’s government, which signed an international commitment to abstain from taking such actions. The road map hatched out by the the Quartet, which consisted of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations and submitted to Israel and the Palestinians explicitly stated that Israel had to completely discontinue all construction in the territories”. This is posted here.

Continue reading “NYTimes correction on E-1 — do they have it right now, or not?”

E-1 — oh yeah, it's a big deal

Here is a graphic published by Haaretz showing the E-1 area to the east of Israel’s “Greater Jerusalem Municipality”:

Haaretz graphic of E-1 - published 4 December 2012 <a href=
Haaretz graphic of E-1 - published on 4 December 2012 - click to enlarge

So, if there actually were an agreement that Anata + Abu Dis would go to Palestine, you can see what E-1 would do to that…

UPDATE: Daniel Seidemann has published another good graphic showing the E-1 in context, posted here.  But there is one settlement missing – Anatot – on the western edge of E-1, not far from Hizmah and Pisgat Zeev.

Here’s what Chemi Shalev, author of the Haaretz Q+A on “What is area E-1, anyway?”, posted here, which this graphic illustrates, wrote:

“In 2004, the Housing Ministry began massive earthworks in the area. The Palestinian Authority complained to the Bush Administration. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, who was the liaison with the Prime Minister’s Bureau, asked for clarifications. Dov Weissglas, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s envoy, promised that Israel would not build in E-1. And indeed, in 2005 the plans were frozen, and have remained so ever since”.

…[Under Rabin] in 1994, the government started the initial planning of the area.

Shaev explained what was done — despite the period of “clarifications” — by the Housing Ministry in that period [and some since]:

Q. What did they build there?
A. The Housing Ministry prepared, with an investment of millions of shekels, the infrastructure for putting up residential buildings in the southern neighborhood. This included a cloverleaf interchange over Highway 1, a three-lane highway in each direction, excavation in the rock in order to flatten the hill, preparation for sewage infrastructures and the like.

In another Q+A, Shalev explains what seems to be a contradiction:
Q. How did they start building if there are no building permits?
A. From 2003-2005 the Housing Ministry, under the leadership of Minister Effie Eitam, did massive illegal building in a number of places. E-1 was only one of them.

Shalev also took issue with the claim [advanced by Camera.org + The Israel Project, as we reported here yesterday] that Israel’s contiguity of from Jerusalem to Maale Adumum would be disrupted if E-1 were not developed [with Israeli settlements]:

Q. Another argument the right is raising is that this is essential for creating contiguity between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim.
A. False. There is no possibility of creating contiguity between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim because even if E-1 is built, a belt made up by the Arab towns of Anata, Al Zaiyim and Azariya will stand in between.

And, as with everything related to Palestinians — whose consent is never needed for Israel to act unilaterally as it wants — Shalev notes:

“There are also enclaves of Palestinian land in the area, but the plan does not relate to them”.

In fact, it seems that they will be displaced, including the Jahalin Bedouin who have already been displaced in 1948 + 1967, without any care for what happens to them… no nice settlement-style houses with public facilities will be constructed for them…

[One minor point of correction to Shalev’s Q+A:   The way it’s written, you could read his third Q+A to mean that Mitzpe Yeriho is part of the E-1 area.  But, it seems that particular answer was a general description of the E area, as Mitzpe Yeriho  which was originally a kind of civil defense avant-guard front line settlement, is built on a hilltop overlooking the Palestinian city of Jericho [which will become a surrounded enclave if the Israeli plans are realized]… But Mitzpe Yeriho also overlooks a large swath of the Jordanian border just north of the Dead Sea.  In other words, Mitzpe Yeriho, one of many Israeli settlemets of all kinds in the Jordan Valley, is much further east than the E-1 area.]

UPDATE: Isabel Kershner reported some Israeli reaction in the New York Times: “ ‘Bibi had to do something’ in response to the United Nations vote, said Prof. Shmuel Sandler of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan Universiy, referring to the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, by his nickname, ‘first because he is Bibi and second because of the elections’.” [Netanyahu has called general elections for 22 January.]  This NYTimes story also reported that Mark Heller, foreign policy analyst at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, in Tel Aviv, said that “the top-level people making decisions here in recent years are completely insular and out of touch with the rest of the world, especially regarding the Palestinians and the settlements … Self-righteousness may be good for domestic politics, but it is not a policy’.”   Kershner also noted in her report, posted here, that “A press officer for United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement on Sunday that construction in E1 ‘would represent an almost fatal blow to remaining chances of securing a two-state solution’.”

Reuters Bureau Chief in Jerusalem Crispin Balmer wrote that “Israelis have already named the prospective settlement Mevasseret Adumim – Tidings of Adumim. Maale Adumim itself means Red Heights – a reference to the surrounding mountains that glow at sunset. Preparation for building started long ago and a sealed-off bridge stands ready to link Maale Adumim with its projected sister settlement, while a major road intersection swings up into E1 from the highway that heads down to the nearby Dead Sea…Israeli authorities drew up plans in 2006 to move the Arab Bedouin to another site. They have yet to act on it, but rights groups say the project is specifically designed to clear the way for E1 development”. But, Balmer noted, the general director of the municipality of Maale Adumim, Eli Har Nir, told him that “‘The media are telling lies about this conflict all the time … You can’t even see Jerusalem from here. There is still six kilometers of open land that does not belong to E1 or to Maale Adumim’, he said, arguing that this space could be used to build roads for Palestinians”. This is published here.

 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

UPDATE More on E-1 [and various boasts and then assurances] from Twitter over several days —

Sunday 2 December 2012

Aluf Benn @alufbenn — BB will probably not build E1 for now, merely push the project through approval channels

Dan Williams @DanWilliams — “Today we are building and will continue to build in Jerusalem and in all the places on the map of Israeli strategic interests” – @Netanyahu

@DanWilliams — There’ll be no Palestinian state without an accord recognising the Jewish state and guaranteeing its security needs – @Netanyahu statement

Amir Mizroch @Amirmizroch — If US and UK can’t stop Abbas going to UNGA what their chance of stopping settlement construction @sheikhNB @DanWilliams

Peter Beinart @PeterBeinart – For the American Jewish establishment, 138 countries voting to upgrade Palestine is “unilateral” but settling E1 is not

Monday 3  December 2012

Barak Ravid @BarakRavid — White House: U.S. calls on Israel to reconsider settlement plan in E-1 – http://bit.ly/Vr594d

@BarakRavid — State Department: We have made clear to the Israeli government that promoting E1 plan is contrary to U.S. policy

@BarakRavid — State Department: building in the E-1 area is particularly sensitive

4 or  5 December 2012

@DanielSeidemann — @yaacovlozowick Is it it be possible to locate documents in State Archives about the origin of the name E-1. The name isn’t controversial.

@yaacovlozowick — @DanielSeidemann Were looking. Sometime around 1994, I assume?

@DanielSeidemann — @yaacovlozowick State Archives should find that planning of E-1 began in ’93-4, but the name was given to area by Min. of Constr. in ’70s

Thursday 13 December 2012:

@Marianhouk — [ On E-1 ] RT @jacobkornbluh “@BarakRavid @PeterBeinart did anyone condemn Rabin for approving the plans back then?”

@DanielSeidemann — @Marianhouk @BarakRavid @PeterBeinart E-1 planning began under Rabin, but he quietly agreed with Clinton: E1 would be negotiated, not built

@DanielSeidemann — @Marianhouk @BarakRavid @PeterBeinart Rabin was as good as his word: no steps were taken for the statutory approval of E-1 under Rabin.

Michael Pitkowsky @mpitkowsky — @DanielSeidemann @Marianhouk @BarakRavid @PeterBeinart See this doc from Pal Papers r.e. E1 and alleged Isr promise http://bit.ly/Twljnj

Excerpt from this Palestine Papers document, posted on the Al-Jazeera website here: “Saeb Erekat: We gave Barack Obama a file that gave him all the details on this issue, on E1, on Ma’ale Adumim, etc. Hilary Clinton told us that E1 wasn’t going to happen but to be quiet. She got something from the Israelis”.

@DanielSeidemann — @mpitkowsky @Marianhouk @BarakRavid @PeterBeinart  Thanks! , My reliable US sources say: Bibi told us “no action will be taken on E1”.

Yes, after UNGA vote, Palestinians do now have rising expectations

Yes indeed, it’s clearer each day since Thursday’s vote in UNGA, Palestinians do now have rising expectations…

This is something that Israeli Ambassador Ron  Prosor had warned of, in his address at the UNGA  in New York, just before the vote last Thursday that he by then had no hope of averting.

Posters hung on lamp posts in the city center [in English + Arabic] which say: “Warning: this is Palestinian land.  Occupation forces must leave”.

Palestinian TV has gone all out to remind viewers, over and over, that Palestine is now a state.

PLO Chief Mahmoud Abbas returned to an organized hero’s welcome in the Ramallah Muqata’a today, after travelling to the UNHQ in New York for the General Assembly vote that gave Palestine state status  [albeit still non-member in the UN].

The photo below was taken inside the Muqata’a by French journalist Emilie Baujard, and Tweeted here.

Mahmoud Abbas given a hero's welcome at Ramallah Muqata'a after returning from UN vote
Photo of poster held by Palestinian waiting in Ramallah Muqata'a to welcome Mahmoud Abbas as a hero after UNGA vote in New York

Abbas’ first words were: “Yes, yes, we are now a state”…
He ended by citing these words: “hold your held up, you’re Palestinian!”

After the Israeli announcements last week of expediting procedures to begin building in the E-1 area, as well as another 3,000 settlement units in the “Greater Jerusalem Municipality”, and then today’s announcement that some 460 million NIS [new Israeli shekels = $121 million US dollars] in Palestinian VAT + Customs Tax fees collected at Israeli ports would  now be withheld and instead diverted to pay outstanding PA electricity bills of some $200 million dollars, there apparently is still more to come.

Barak Ravid tucked the following revelation down at the bottom of his Haaretz article, published here, on strong European protests being made about the settlement announcements: “a source in the Prime Minister’s Office said that Israel is planning to take more steps against the Palestinian Authority. ‘The Palestinians will soon come to understand that they made a mistake when they took unilateral action and breached their treaties with Israel’, the source at the PMO said”.

Continue reading “Yes, after UNGA vote, Palestinians do now have rising expectations”

More settlements announced on the day after the UN vote to upgrade Palestine's status to state

On the day after the UN vote to upgrade the status of Palestine to state, the Israeli government responded by pulling out, from the drawer, plans to build thousands of more settlement units.

The most controversial is the announced plan to build in the E-1 area between Maale Adumin and Hizme.

Israeli police station in E-1 - Condoleezza Rice was told it would take a long time to build
Israeli police station in E-1 - Condoleezza Rice was told it would take a long time to build - photo via Ir Amim

Israeli-American lawyer and Jerusalem expert Daniel Seidemann has just called this, on Twitter, the “weaponization” of the “settlement offensive”.

@DanielSeidemann – E-1 will signal the end of 2-state solution. E-1 can’t be built today – it requires further statutory planning, which will take 6-9 months

@DanielSeidemann
  – The report today indicates intent to complete E-1 planning now, leading to construction in 6-9 months.

Reuters reported here that “The decision was made on Thursday when it became clear that the U.N. General Assembly was set to upgrade the Palestinians’ status in the world body, making them a ‘non-member state’, as opposed to an ‘entity’, boosting their diplomatic clout…An Israeli official had earlier conceded that this represented a ‘total failure of diplomacy’ and warned there would be consequences – which were swift in coming.  Plans to put up thousands of new settler homes in the wake of the Palestinian upgrade were always likely, but the prospect of building in an area known as E-1, which lies near Jerusalem and bisects much of the West Bank, is seen by some as a potential game changer”.

@DanielSeidemann – We learned that source of Israeli press reports on 3000 new E Jersusalem & WB settlement units, E-1 is Mark Regev, PM’s office spokesperson

While this is a response came less than 24 hours after the Palestinian move at the UN General Assembly, it also comes about a week after internal elections within Netanyahu’s Likud Party now ruling in Israel, in which all the top spots went to settlers and their far-right supporters.   A few weeks earlier, also in preparation for Israel’s general elections now set for January 22, Netanyahu forged an alliance to run on a joint list with  Avigdor Lieberman of the Yisrael Beitenu party, currently Foreign Minister, who is now being treated as Netanyahu’s most essential partner and right-hand man.

UPDATE: UN Secretary-General BAN Ki-Moon issued a statement on 2 December [a Sunday, but still two full days after the Netanyahu cabinet decision in reaction to the UN General Assembly vote on the state status of Palestine] which is posted here and which said:

“It was with grave concern and disappointment that the Secretary-General learned of Israel’s announcement of 3,000 new settlement units in East Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank. This would include reported planning in the so-called E-1 envelope, which risks completely cutting off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank.   Settlements are illegal under international law and, should the E-1 settlement be constructed, it would represent an almost fatal blow to remaining chances of securing a two-state solution…In the interests of peace, any plans for E-1 must be rescinded”.

In the statement, the UN Secretary-General also repeated [a ho-hum verb, less alarmist than the rest of the statement issued on Sunday] “his call on all concerned to resume negotiations and intensify efforts towards a comprehensive, just and lasting peace and urges the parties to refrain from provocative actions”.

Continue reading “More settlements announced on the day after the UN vote to upgrade Palestine's status to state”

The day after the UNGA voted to give Palestine status of state

The day after the vote in the UN’s General Assembly, the sky is blue + cloudless, sun is shining, everything glistens  It is Friday, so it is quiet.

On Palestine Television, the Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Awqaf  [Islamic Trusts, Mahmoud Habbash, gave the Friday prayer sermon in a mosque in Al-Bireh, next to Ramallah, that was shown on Palestine TV: he was happy about the UN vote.

The PA Minister of Awqaf [he is a former member of Hamas] said that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas had followed pathway indicated by long line of martyrs [including Hamas co-founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin + Fatah co-founder Yasser Arafat].

He said:  West Bank, Gaza. Fateh, Hamas. Palestine is above all this, bigger, more important.

Now that the borders of Palestine are outlined and recognized by the UNGA, he said, the question is: why did the settlers decide to live here?  Why in this spot on earth?  Eventually, he asserted, the settlers will leave, they won’t stay here forever.  But, he said, the settler-terrorists — those who have attacked Palestinians and/or their property, must go.

Reaction seemed mixed in the all-male congregation at the Friday prayer sermon given by the PA’s Minister of Awqaf.  Some men looked at floor; some stared intently, unblinkingly, at the speaker. One old man wearing a kuffiyeh on his head, wiped away tears.

Judging from the Friday prayer sermon given by the PA Min of Awqaf, a more proprietary attitude may appear: “We will be masters on our land”…

Hanan Ashrawi, the public face of the push behind yesterday’s UNGA vote, said on Palestine TV [was it a re-play from last night?], explaining the effect of the UNGA vote: “We are now a state”.   She did not waiver in her optimism, despite the polite and well-mannered scepticism of the program host about the lack of prospects for any reach change.

Continue reading “The day after the UNGA voted to give Palestine status of state”

The UN votes on Palestine upgrade to state [even if only as non-member observer]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, undeterred, is about to ask the UN General Assembly to adopt a resolution upgrading the status of Palestine to [non-member observer] state.

Mahmoud Abbas in the UN about to enter the General Assembly hall for the vote to upgrade status of Palestine to state - 29 November 2012
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas heading towards the UN General Assembly hall for the vote on status of Palestine

Photo Tweeted by Widad Franco — #AbuMazen entering #UN General Assembly Hall pic.twitter.com/vbv0BzIp
Mahmoud Abbas is in the center, head down, surrounded by UN + other bodyguards. His older surviving son, Yasser Abbas, is the first figure in the right of the photo, leading the way into the UN General Assembly hall.

It was a world-wide live news top story.  The UN General Assembly meeting was called to order at 3:40 pm in New York [10:40 in Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Gaza].

At the request of the [60] co-sponsors of the draft resolution on the status of Palestine at the UN, the Assembly agreed to move directly to take action.  The representative of Sudan, chairman of the Arab group in the UNGA, called on member states “to join in making history”, and said the draft resolution, once adopted,  would be a historic decision: “We are asking the GA to accord to Palestine non-member observer state status”.

When Mahmoud Abbas was introduced, he received sustained supportive and sometimes standing applause — a recognition of his decision to forge ahead to achieve the self-determination of the Palestinian people, despite advice, opposition, and threats.

Continue reading “The UN votes on Palestine upgrade to state [even if only as non-member observer]”

Israel's strategy is collapsing, media say, as support grows for today's UNGA vote upgrading Palestine status to state

Israel’s score-keeping media is reporting that Israel’s strategy is collapsing, with announcements of growing international support, hours ahead of the expected vote later today in the UN General Assembly on a draft resolution that will upgrade the status of Palestine to [non-member observer] state.

Reuters’ Noah Browning Tweeted [@sheikhnb] today” “My take: world map of #Palestine #UNbid votes. Yes in green, No red, Abstain grey. Most undecided will likely abstain pic.twitter.com/va7UPqTO” … The graphic he prepared is posted here.

In Ramallah, a long-disappointed population is warily beginning to celebrate.

Child joins PLO celebrations organized in Ramallah ahead of UN vote on upgrading Palestine status to state - photo by Jihan Abdallah

One of the many thousands of children released early from school today to celebrate upcoming UNGA vote to upgrade Palestine status to State – photo taken in Ramallah’s Yasser Arafat square by Jihan Abdalla [Tweeted by @JihanAbdalla and posted here.

PLO Executive Member Hanan Ashrawi, who discussed the move with journalists in Ramallah yesterday, has written an op-ed entitled, “Supporting Palestine at the UN today is a vote for peace in the Middle East”, which is published today in The Guardian, here. In it, she said that this is, indeed, a unilateral story, but not one that resembles the unilateral scenario that Israel has been warning against, no.

Instead, Ashrawi wrote: “It is a story in which one side makes proposals for nothing in return; one side makes agreements that the other side breaks; and one side keeps commitments that the other side ignores…one side wants to negotiate a permanent solution and the other wants permanent negotiations”.

Continue reading “Israel's strategy is collapsing, media say, as support grows for today's UNGA vote upgrading Palestine status to state”

Reflections on the Gaza war [Operation Pillar of Clouds]: Giora Eiland says Gaza is a de facto independent state, so its "national infrastructure" could have been hit harder [to deter Hamas]

This man’s remarks deserve a separate entry all to themselves.

Giora Eiland, a retired Major-General in the Israeli Defense Forces, and former head of Israel’s National Security Council, has written a piece published by YNet, here, in which he attempts to justify attacks on what he called “national infrastructure targets” – in Gaza, in this case.

Eiland — apparently trying to amend longstanding principles of international war — wrote that that national infrastructure targets should be considered more military than civilian targets. “Such targets, which include government buildings, fuel caches, communication centers, bridges and the power system, are legitimate in the event of a military conflict between two countries, and this was the exact situation between us and Hamas”.

Eiland’s new argument depends on seeing Gaza as a state. As he wrote today, “Israel is not fighting terror organizations but a state. Gaza became a de facto independent state in as early as 2007, and that’s a good thing. Israel is always better off facing a political entity which serves as a clear address, both for deterrence purposes and for an agreement, than a situation in which the government is formally in the hands of one body but the ability to use fire is in the hands of others”.

By this line of argument, the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority is not a “clear address”, as the IDF rules the West Bank.

Eiland continues: “Because Gaza is a state which initiated ongoing rocket fire on Israel, in a military conflict the right thing to do is to hit all the targets serving the rival regime and allowing it to continue controlling and conducting a war against us“.

Therefore, Eiland writes, “The operation can and should be expanded against the state of Gaza, yet not necessarily through a ground offensive but by causing much greater damage to the infrastructure there”.

“Had there been an ongoing shortage of water and fuel in Gaza, had the power system been seriously damage, had the landline communication system gone out of order, had the roads connecting the different parts of the Strip been
destroyed, and had the government buildings and police stations been destructed, we could have estimated with greater confidence that deterrence had been achieved. This is an important lesson ahead of the next war, and as important in regards to Lebanon. If we conduct the ‘Third Lebanon War’ exclusively against Hezbollah’s military targets, we may lose it”.

Eiland’s argument ignores the Israeli Supreme Court ruling in late January 2008 saying that because Israel has a “historical responsibility” for Gaza, the Israeli military must ensure that it does not cause a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. [The Supreme Court, however, did not define “humanitarian crisis”…]

There it is: the reason to attack “national infrastructure” is to ensure winning a war. The justification is created separately, by merely inventing a new category in which targets, it will be argued, are not civilian [but maybe “dual-use? A lot of mileage can be gotten by trotting out a “dual use” justification.]

Eiland writes: “Hamas is the establishment in the state of Gaza … [and] we missed an opportunity to extensively damage Hamas’ ruling abilities, guaranteeing even greater deterrence, which was the main goal of the operation”.

Reflections on the Gaza war [Operation Pillar of Clouds]: Sara Roy [Boston.com] + Rashid Khalidi [NPR]+ Eyal Weizmann [LRB] + a JPost editorial

Sara Roy, a economist who’s done extensive work on Gaza over years, now senior research scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University, wrote an article entitled “Where’s our humanity for Gaza”, which is published here on Boston.com. In it, she reports that:

“The Gaza Strip is now in its 46th year of occupation, 22nd year of closure, and sixth year of intensified closure. The resulting normalization of the occupation assumes a dangerous form in the Gaza Strip, whose status as an occupied territory has ceased to matter in the West; the attention has shifted — after Hamas’s 2006 electoral victory and 2007 takeover of the territory — to Gaza’s containment and punishment, rendering illegitimate any notion of human rights or freedom for Palestinians. The Israeli government has referred to its siege policy as a form of ‘economic warfare’ … which was achieved through an Israeli-imposed blockade that ended all normal trade”.

Continue reading “Reflections on the Gaza war [Operation Pillar of Clouds]: Sara Roy [Boston.com] + Rashid Khalidi [NPR]+ Eyal Weizmann [LRB] + a JPost editorial”