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Thursday, April 14, 2016

No Hillary, it's Israel not Hamas that violates ceasefires

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In order to get anywhere in the Israel - Palestine debate, there is one thing that must be made clear.

This is not a normal conflict.

Typically when imagery is called to mind of one side "raining down rockets" on the other, the casual reader tends to visualize a traditional somewhat symmetrical conflict. Complete with opposing armies.

Not the struggle of a people under occupation.

We can split hairs about Geneva Four all day long, but those protections are in place to guard against prolonged occupation. If the occupying power is responsible for not only the health and well being of populations - in this case, the roughly 4 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza - and uncontroversially disallowed to annex land and transfer populations, long term occupation would be highly avoided.

Which is precisely the point.

So despite Hillary Clinton's wife-beater-shielding assertion that Israel "does not want this" and the Palestinians and their leaders "incite violence" by playing the aggressor, the record seems to indicate the contrary. With no-one to play the arbiter, Israel can fire into Gaza without accountability, provoke a response and then claim self-defense after using disproportionate force. That is the history.

Because the Palestinians are accountable to Israel and Israel can decimate with impunity using the most powerful state of the art weaponry in the region as explained by Yousef Munayyer, Executive Director of The Jerusalem Fund.

Munayyer's organization tracked all Israeli ceasefire violations SINCE Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state,  negotiated the end of the 2012 Gaza slaughter known as "Pillar of Defense":

From the 2012 ceasefire Israel violated the [Clinton brokered] agreement 120 times in one year. More importantly, in an analysis of the New York Times' coverage, 87 of these violation were not covered at all. The ones that were, alleged the offensives were made in self-defense.
So how have these cease-fire dynamics been covered? We’ve tracked New York Times coverage of the cease-fire during this period. The New York Times is representative of the mainstream and extremely important for shaping public discourse on events and thus an important window into broader mainstream coverage. The Times also has multiple reporters covering these events including a bureau in Jerusalem and a correspondent in Gaza. Finally, we simply can’t track everything so the Times, with its easily searchable history, is an effective example to use.
Of the nearly 120 Israeli cease-fire violations during this period the New York Times reported on 17 of them. Additionally, most of these stories (eleven) came either during the first week of the cease-fire, when the issue was still fresh in readers’ minds, or since the escalation on December 20th. That means for the bulk of this period, during which Israel committed 87 cease-fire violations and causing some 91 Palestinian casualties over nearly a one year period there were only six stories on the topic. This represents a systematic failure to cover Israeli cease-fire violations.
Israel says it wants Hamas to control projectile fire from other factions and yet it persistently violates the truce putting Hamas in a position of having to defend Israel’s violations. By targeting groups other than Hamas and by expecting Hamas to crack down on their responses, Israel is playing a dangerous and deadly game of divide and conquer in Gaza that will likely lead to the unraveling of the cease-fire. Once again, Israel has proven security is not its aim, subjugation is. 
One more consideration. As if drone assassinations of Hamas leaders and mass incarceration without charge of hundreds of Gazans at will without consequence, both Gaza and the West Bank are to be considered "one" Palestine.
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In fact, the Bill Clinton brokered disastrous Oslo Accords - in which Arafat was manipulated into signing away almost everything but the deed, which he refused to do - stipulated the two areas were to be geographicaly connected.

This vision died when Israel build it's famous "apartheid wall" separating the west bank from Gaza and West Jerusalem from East Jerusalem and settlements have quadrupled since 1993.

Still, the concern remains. With land expropriation and home demolition in the west bank on the rise, a military response from Gaza is warranted under international right of self-defense. What happens to one half of Palestine happens to all of Palestine.

But continued settlement expansion - now complete with some 500,000 specially protected Jews in the West Bank - somehow went unchallenged in the New York debate as they have gone unchallenged by the United States.
Click for "Trigger Happy in the West Bank"

When we look at causal factors in this ongoing destructive conflict, we must not ignore Israeli impunity, whether raiding or bombing Gaza or defying international law by continuing illegal settlement building on land set aside for a free Palestine, as a continued source of instigation.

Clearly Clinton's 2012 negotiated ceasefire between Hamas and Israel - will go down as yet one more success for Israeli foreign policy, one more colossal blunder for US credibility.

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