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Mark Steel: Terror leaves all in tears
November 23, 2012
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The people of Palestine have already lost countless of their loved ones in the Israeli bombings on Gaza.  Their wounds are still unhealed. Every time they come under an Israeli attack, they lose their homes and possessions and bury their sons. The international community must feel the severity of the grave conflict and stem the crisis. The Gulf Today Political Team takes a close look at the world’s media posturing on the issue.
 
To start with, why do the news channels ask Tony Blair for his advice on conflict in the Middle East? It’s like asking Gary Glitter for advice on what to do about Jimmy Savile. But somehow it fits with the rest of the coverage. A report on Tuesday morning began with the sentence: “Rockets have continued to be fired from both sides...” Then, to illustrate this, we saw a demolished building in Gaza in which 11 people had perished, and a woman in Israel standing next to her car with a smashed windscreen. Which goes to show everyone’s suffering, what with four generations of a family getting wiped out on one side, and a woman having to ring Autoglass on the other. Honestly, they’re all as bad as each other.

The following days, a spokesman for Israel will be on the news channels saying: “No other country would put up with this. We have citizens worried about losing no claims bonuses. If we don’t flatten their cities, what will we have to put up with next? Broken wing mirrors? Dents in passenger doors? Have you tried getting body repairs in Tel Aviv at short notice? So we have no choice but to destroy a hospital.”

Then we’ll see the funeral for the Palestinians, followed by the car owner wailing “O my beautiful laminated darling” as her windscreen gets tipped into a bin.

The reason so many get killed, says Benjamin Netanyahu, is that Hamas “hides behind civilians.” Because it’s the duty of anyone who gets assassinated to make sure they’re in a clear, open space at all times so the cruise missile aimed at them doesn’t bump into anyone else. That’s basic health and safety, that is.

But Hamas have become even more cunning in this conflict, because the commander the Israelis were aiming at in the building in which those 11 civilians were killed wasn’t there at all. At least if he’d bothered to be where the Israelis thought he was, the civilians would have died for a reason. Now, because he had the cheek to not hide behind civilians, they’ve been killed for nothing. There’s no end to their devilish methods is there?

Human shelter

But some Israelis are working for a solution. For example ex-prime minister Ariel Sharon’s son, Gilad, wrote in The Jerusalem Post: “To accomplish victory, you need to achieve what the other side can’t bear. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima — the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too. There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing.”

Even if they did drop a nuclear bomb, Netanyahu would say: “The reason so many were killed is Hamas hid Gaza behind its civilians. If they’d moved Gaza to somewhere safe like Greenland, the population would hardly notice a thing, but, as usual, Hamas cared only about propaganda.”

Then The Jerusalem Post would report: “We’ve done Gaza a huge favour. Now none of their vehicles can move, so they’re spared the misery of trying to repair a broken windscreen.”

The Independent

Independent Palestine the only solution

By Theo Usherwood  and Tim Sculthorpe

Time is running out for the two-state solution between Israel and Palestine, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said as he called for an end to the violence in the region.

Hague said that while Hamas was principally responsible for the start of recent hostilities between Gaza and Israel, he urged President Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to be restrained in its response.

Speaking in the Commons, Hague warned the “window” for a negotiated two-state solution between Gaza and Israel would soon be closed.

He said: “There is no military resolution to the crisis in Gaza or to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Peace becomes harder to achieve with each confrontation, each loss of life.

“The only way to give the Palestinian people the state that they need and deserve, and the Israeli people the security and peace they are entitled to, is through a negotiated two-state solution and time for this is now running out.

“This requires Israelis and Palestinians to return to negotiations, Israel to stop illegal settlement building, Palestinian factions to reconcile with each other and the international community, led by the United States, and supported by European nations to make a huge effort to push the peace process forward urgently.”

Hague said Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, must not continue to pursue observer status at the United Nations as it would make it much harder for a return to negotiations and could have “very serious consequences.”

Hague added: “Our collective goal must be a two-state solution, based on 1967 borders with agreed landswaps, Jerusalem as the capital of both states and a just settlement for refugees.

“So while we support Palestinian aspirations and understand the pressures on President Abbas, we urge him to lead the Palestinians in to negotiations and not to risk paralysing the process.

“But we also urge Israel equally to restart negotiations before the window for a two-state solution closes all together.”

The Independent

 Israel bombs four generations
By Kim Sengupta

The bodies of the two children were carried cradled to the graves, tiny bodies shrouded in green cloth bearing revolutionary as well as Holy Book’s inscriptions; personal grief cannot be separated from political symbolism in this grim conflict. People stood and wept. Among them a man with a loudhailer shouted “Do children fire rockets?” The crowd roared back “No, they are the innocents.”

Four generations of the Dalloo family had been wiped out by the missiles which tore through their home, collapsing the three-storey building on itself, leaving little chance for those inside to survive. Of the nine who died, Amina Matar Muzanar was the eldest at 83, and Ibrahim Mohammed, two years old, was the youngest.

These were collateral damage of the type the Israeli military says it is trying so hard to avoid as it pounds Gaza day after day.

The attack on the Dalloo home was also targeting a militant leader, say the Israelis. The Vice-Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon announced at a press conference in occupied Jerusalem this week that the “chief of Hamas’s rocket unit” had been eliminated. The man was named as Yahya Abayah, who it is claimed had been directing the salvoes which had been hitting the Jewish state for weeks and was living at the house.

But there is no one of that name in the Dalloo family and Yahya Abayah is not among the dead. The next explanation from Tel Aviv was that the rocket chief was hiding in the house. Yoav Mordechai, the chief spokesman for the Israeli Army, stated later that although he was unaware of the outcome of the operation, “there were civilians harmed by this.”

Losing loved ones

Two Israeli newspapers, Haaretz and Maariv, reported that the army had fired at the wrong house. The army said it was launching an investigation into what happened. Brigadier-General Asaf Agmon, a former air force officer, stated that mistakes can happen when intelligence is faulty or an aircraft misfires.

Jamal Dalloo, the head of the family, sat on a plastic chair this week next to what had been their home, as mourners came to offer their condolences, embracing him, whispering words of comfort into his ears. Digging continued nearby into the rubble for his 16-year-old girl, Yara, who was still missing. Among the confirmed dead were his wife, son and daughter-in-law, a sister and four grandchildren.

sheer helplessness

“What they are saying, the Israelis, are lies, they can pretend all they like” said Mr  Dalloo, his eyes red with crying. “There were no senior Hamas people in our house; no one was hiding there. They killed Mohammed, he was my son. He was an ordinary policeman; he was not involved in firing rockets or anything like that.

“I have had to bury so many members of my family, my grandchildren. What words can I say about that? I can ask why they did this, but there will be no answer. They do not care about peoples’ lives.”

Hatem Al  Dalloo, another member of the family, added: “Not only was no one of that name living here, we haven’t even heard of such a person. This is rubbish, just an excuse because they have killed so many people who were all civilians.”

There were other families in mourning in Gaza this week. Ahed Kitai was killed as he tried to move his neighbours to safety following a missile strike early in the morning. His wife, who is pregnant, sat in a huddle with her six children, crying. A cousin, Haitham Abu Zour, lost his wife in the same attack. “I thought my children were also dead; we couldn’t find them. But Allah be praised, at least they are alive.”

Abdurrahman Fayez, a teacher, lost his 16-year-old brother, Abdelrashid, in the first day of Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defence. “I used to think we were so lucky not to have anyone die in my family the last time they attacked this place. But this time…

“Now we just wait. How many have we lost so far, a hundred? There will be more, we know that. And why is this taking place? Because the Israelis are having an election soon and their leaders want to look tough.”

The Independent

Israel bombs four generations

By Kim Sengupta

The bodies of the two children were carried cradled to the graves, tiny bodies shrouded in green cloth bearing revolutionary as well as Holy Book’s inscriptions; personal grief cannot be separated from political symbolism in this grim conflict. People stood and wept. Among them a man with a loudhailer shouted “Do children fire rockets?” The crowd roared back “No, they are the innocents.”

Four generations of the Dalloo family had been wiped out by the missiles which tore through their home, collapsing the three-storey building on itself, leaving little chance for those inside to survive. Of the nine who died, Amina Matar Muzanar was the eldest at 83, and Ibrahim Mohammed, two years old, was the youngest.

These were collateral damage of the type the Israeli military says it is trying so hard to avoid as it pounds Gaza day after day.

The attack on the Dalloo home was also targeting a militant leader, say the Israelis. The Vice-Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon announced at a press conference in occupied Jerusalem this week that the “chief of Hamas’s rocket unit” had been eliminated. The man was named as Yahya Abayah, who it is claimed had been directing the salvoes which had been hitting the Jewish state for weeks and was living at the house.

But there is no one of that name in the Dalloo family and Yahya Abayah is not among the dead. The next explanation from Tel Aviv was that the rocket chief was hiding in the house. Yoav Mordechai, the chief spokesman for the Israeli Army, stated later that although he was unaware of the outcome of the operation, “there were civilians harmed by this.”

Losing loved ones

Two Israeli newspapers, Haaretz and Maariv, reported that the army had fired at the wrong house. The army said it was launching an investigation into what happened. Brigadier-General Asaf Agmon, a former air force officer, stated that mistakes can happen when intelligence is faulty or an aircraft misfires.

Jamal Dalloo, the head of the family, sat on a plastic chair this week next to what had been their home, as mourners came to offer their condolences, embracing him, whispering words of comfort into his ears. Digging continued nearby into the rubble for his 16-year-old girl, Yara, who was still missing. Among the confirmed dead were his wife, son and daughter-in-law, a sister and four grandchildren.

Sheer helplessness

“What they are saying, the Israelis, are lies, they can pretend all they like” said Mr  Dalloo, his eyes red with crying. “There were no senior Hamas people in our house; no one was hiding there. They killed Mohammed, he was my son. He was an ordinary policeman; he was not involved in firing rockets or anything like that.

“I have had to bury so many members of my family, my grandchildren. What words can I say about that? I can ask why they did this, but there will be no answer. They do not care about peoples’ lives.”

Hatem Al  Dalloo, another member of the family, added: “Not only was no one of that name living here, we haven’t even heard of such a person. This is rubbish, just an excuse because they have killed so many people who were all civilians.”

There were other families in mourning in Gaza this week. Ahed Kitai was killed as he tried to move his neighbours to safety following a missile strike early in the morning. His wife, who is pregnant, sat in a huddle with her six children, crying. A cousin, Haitham Abu Zour, lost his wife in the same attack. “I thought my children were also dead; we couldn’t find them. But Allah be praised, at least they are alive.”

Abdurrahman Fayez, a teacher, lost his 16-year-old brother, Abdelrashid, in the first day of Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defence. “I used to think we were so lucky not to have anyone die in my family the last time they attacked this place. But this time…

“Now we just wait. How many have we lost so far, a hundred? There will be more, we know that. And why is this taking place? Because the Israelis are having an election soon and their leaders want to look tough.”

The Independent

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