Israel Attacks: Discussion with Author Joel Kovel and Guild Attorney Audrey Bomse
Last week Israel launched what has been described as one of the bloodiest attacks on Palestinians in Gaza since 1948. Protesters demonstrated worldwide as Israeli air strikes continued. Nearly 400 Palestinians have been killed and thousands injured from the bombing campaign. Targets of the strike include a Hamas building and an Islamic university. Gaza is approximately 146 square miles with a population density of 1.5 million, 2/3 of whom are refugees. Israel Lets Palestinians Flee; UN Warns of Crisis.
Guest – Author Joel Kovel, politician, academic, and eco-socialist. He has lectured in psychiatry, anthropology, political science and communication studies. He has published many books including the controversial Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine.
Guest – Audrey Bomse, a Lawyers Guild attorney working with the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group. Audrey has used her 25 years of civil rights legal experience to help establish training programs for attorneys representing prisoners in Israeli military courts and to produce ground_breaking public documents, such as a report published in conjunction with the Mandela Institute for Human Rights on the status of Palestinian prisoners. Audrey was also recently detained at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport for 4 days.
- The Israeli invasion has been going on for 110 years.
- People have been mystified because of the power of the propaganda system.
- Zionism predates it Israel nearly 50 years, and is the driving force to remove non-Jewish from historic Palestine.
- The logic of the force of Zionism, moves back to the early settlers who were not armed, and relied on devious means and foreign powers. = Terror Strategy
- Balfour Declaration – To gather patrons for Israel. The US is the mega-patron.
- In 1937 when there was a great Arab uprising, the Peel Commission decided on partitioning the state into Arab/Muslim and Jewish/Zionist.
- There was consternation because the Zionists wanted the whole thing. Ben Gurion at the time, said don’t worry, once we get a state, we will continue the process of acquiring the whole thing.
- Ilan Pappe, author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
- Unless you see it as a long range project, you’re going to be lost, with the notions of let’s have a cease fire or let the sides get together, negotiate.
- You can’t conceive that the Israelis will negotiate in good faith once you realize how embedded this drive to eliminate everything non-jewish from Palestine.
- So eventually, you have a concentration of a million and a half people in this very small part of southwestern Israel.
- Then you have a democratically elected Hamas, elected because it was militant, it wouldn’t go along.
- These 1.5 million people are now led by a group of people that can’t be bought off.
- The U.S. not only provide Israel with the F16s, helicopters and cluster bombs, but also impunity.
- This impunity includes the media, Hollywood, and universities.
- A great conservative political philosopher said, “in a society, power consists of the capacity to give names and enforce definitions.”
- Encouraging, boycott, divestment and sanction. Human Rights organizations release dependence on Israeli based funding. Human Rights groups do not condemn the occupation.
- The apparatus is woven through the society, not that it can’t be dealt with, but it must be dealt with in the manner of which it exists.
- Since the Hamas election in August 2007, there’s been a closure that’s getting tighter, first when Hamas took over,with the support of the quartet, the UN, the US, the EU and Russia.
- They started cutting travel in and out of Gaza, and cutting the basic necessities out of Gaza.
- This type of abuse was permitted by the world community.
- Special Rappateur Richard Falk called the abuse a crime against humanity.
- I see the cease fire as ending in November, not December. When Israel provoked a Hamas reaction.
- Israel investigated tunnels out of Gaza during cease fire, killed 6 Hamas militants.
- Hamas reacted with a flurry of rockets sent in to Israel. By the December 9 cease fire,
- More rockets came from Gaza and Israel was able to portray itself as the victim.
- I’m not supporting sending rockets into civilian areas, this is the inevitable situation Gaza is placed in.
- They have to accept the circumstances or resist in anyway they can, which they do, and Israel uses that as an excuse to escalate, which they’re doing now.
- I was involved with the Free Gaza Movement on the boat to Gaza, before the recent attacks. We brought in 5 tons of medical supplies and Palestinian doctors.
- Very limited food, no milk available, there’s just enough food brought in to prevent massive starvation and widespread disease. I want to emphasize that this is a man-made catastrophe, its the consequence of a political policy.
Zahir Janmohamed, Advocacy Director with Amnesty International USA of the Middle East has posted a powerful article on the Amnesty International USA blog, where he’s documented the tremendous humanitarian catastrophe that the Israeli blockade has caused for the people in Gaza.
- Price of food: Palestinian families in Gaza spend 37 percent of their income on food in 2004, in 2007, households spent 62 percent on food.
- Prices of wheat rose 34 percent in a period of 2 months in 2008.
- Richard Falk called the Gaza occupation a crime against humanity before the bombings.
- In my mind the assault on Gaza was going on all of 2007 and 2008. Hospitals don’t have electricity, students dropping out of school because there are no textbooks.
- For Israel to commit these attacks on this population at this time, it’s like attacking New Orleans during Katrina’s aftermath.
- Gaza is basically a prison. They eat and move based on factors outside of their control.
- Amnesty Report of March 2008 – Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Implosion.
- International law stipulates that these attacks be done so that civilian targets are severely avoided.
- This is not possible in Gaza. To my mind, Israel broke the cease fire agreement, in early December, there were tons of supplies headed to Gaza from Libya that were blocked.
- Number of Israelis killed by rocket fire in 2008 . . 11 , Nearly 400 Palestinians killed in seconds.
- Israel has sort of carte blanche by the international community. Israel: If you test us, we’ll engage in collective punishment.
- US supplies bunker buster bombs, approved by Congress in September 2008
- The US policy on Israel is whatever Israel wants to do it can do.
Guest – Zahir Janmohamed, Advocacy Director with Amnesty International USA of the Middle East. Zahir is also the associate editor of altmuslim since 2004, works as the advocacy director for Middle East Programs at Amnesty International USA, and is the co-founder of the Qunoot Foundation, a Washington DC non-profit that seeks to promote socio-political education within the Muslim community.