Thursday, January 15, 2009

Haaretz : Gaza - over 1000 dead, one third children

All the following four news items are from today's Israeli paper Haaretz. The Israeli paper Haaretz. What an embarrassment it is to compare its coverage and analysis to that of the sorry mealy-mouthed apologetics coming from our Canadian media and politicians.

Gideon Levy : The IDF has no mercy for the children in Gaza nursery schools
"About a third of those killed in Gaza have been children ... out of the 1,000 total killed as of Wednesday. Around 1,550 of the 4,500 wounded have also been children according to figures from the UN, which says the number of children killed has tripled since the ground operation began.
But the horrifying proportion of this war, a third of the dead being children, has not been seen in recent memory. About half of Gaza's residents are under 15.

The public's shocking indifference to these figures is incomprehensible. A thousand propagandists and apologists cannot excuse this criminal killing.
They did not die because they were used as human shields or because they worked for Hamas. They were killed because the IDF bombed, shelled or fired at them, their families or their apartment buildings. That is why the blood of Gaza's children is on our hands, not on Hamas' hands, and we will never be able to escape that responsibility."

Israel Foreign Ministry preparing for 'day after' IDF leaves Gaza
"The Foreign Ministry has created a special task force to prepare for the aftermath of the Israel Defense Forces' Gaza operation. The team will submit proposals for two of the army's main concerns - Iran and Hamas taking control of Gaza's postwar reconstruction, and the harm the offensive might cause to Israel's image abroad.

The ministry hopes to avoid a situation similar to the one in southern Lebanon after the 2006 Second Lebanon War. There, Iran sent hundreds of millions of dollars to Hezbollah to transfer to families whose homes had been destroyed, burnishing the militant group's reputation among the population.
Israeli officials believe after the fighting stops and foreign journalists are allowed entry into the territory that negative sentiment toward Israel will only grow as the full picture of destruction emerges.

The task force's preliminary recommendations highlight the need for Israel to project two kinds of messages abroad. The Arab world must receive a deterrent message indicating Israel will not accept a reality in which its civilians have to endure rocket fire.
The Western world, however, must be presented with the message that despite the scale of destruction rained on Gaza, Israel is a democratic state with a similar worldview to countries in Europe and the United States.

Still, Foreign Ministry officials are convinced that these public relations efforts will not suffice to restore Israel's image and will need to be backed up by diplomatic progress with the Palestinians."

U.S. may cut $1 billion in loan guarantees to Israel over West Bank settlements
"The United States administration plans to cut about $1 billion from the balance of its loan guarantees to Israel because of its investments in the settlements.
Israel has used about $4.4 billion of the $9 billion in loan guarantees extended by the U.S. in 2003.
The loan guarantees arrangement specifies that the U.S. will reduce the guarantees by the amount the Israeli government spends on settlements in the West Bank. The U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv monitors that spending and the administration informs Jerusalem of the amount it is holding back from the guarantees."

ANALYSIS / Egypt's Gaza truce plan is mostly bad for Hamas
"After 19 days of fighting and more than 1,000 Palestinian fatalities, the first significant signs that Hamas is breaking could be seen Wednesday night. Hamas representatives to talks with Egypt announced an agreement in principle on Wednesday to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal.

The Egyptian proposal is mostly bad for Hamas. It doesn't let the organization bring the Palestinian public any political achievement that would justify the blood that has been spilled, and even forces on it the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza, in the form of its renewed presence at the Rafah crossing (as a condition for its reopening).

Once the cease-fire is reached, the IDF will withdraw from the positions it captured in Gaza, and only then will the two sides begin to discuss the opening of border crossings and removal of the blockade, which was the reason Hamas gave for waging war.

Hamas representatives did say on Wednesday night they had not yet accepted the Egyptian proposal, but in the same breath they said it was the only proposal on the table."

And from the Jerusalem Post :
Israeli groups: Probe IDF 'war crimes'
A forum of Israeli human rights organizations on Wednesday called on the country's political and military leadership to launch a domestic probe into "suspected war crimes" committed during Operation Cast Lead.
Text of their letter here.

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