Israel left Gaza in 2005 after a 38-year occupation, but still controls the border crossings, blockaded for months in an effort to pressure militants to halt their fire. Islamic Hamas militants seized control of Gaza in June 2007, after routing security forces loyal to Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
THE END OF THE CEASE FIRE
Dec. 19, 2008
Hamas originally said that Israel violated the ceasefire terms by not opening Gaza crossings to goods and supplies, which Israel said it upheld all of its commitments of the Egyptian-brokered arrangements. Back in November, the main border with Israel and Gaza had been closed because a rocket was fired at Israel from Gaza.
Thus, six days ago, Hamas began to fire rockets back over into Israel, ending a six-month cease fire that expired last Friday. Hamas declared last Friday that it would not continue the truce. As a result on last Friday Palestinians fired 10 rockets and 23 mortar shells from Gaza into Israel, causing some property damage, but no casualties. Meanwhile, an Israeli airstrike against a Palestinian rocket squad killed a militant.
Dec. 23, 2008
Israeli Prime Minister Edud Olmert had warmed Hamas to stop firing rockets or pay a heavy price. “I will not hesitate to use Israel’s might to strike Hamas and [Islamic] Jihad,” he told Al Arabiya television, an Arab broadcaster widely watched in Gaza.
Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu called for tough military steps against Hamas. He added: “In the long-term, we will have to topple the Hamas regime. In the short-term… there are a wide range of possibilities from doing nothing to doing everything, meaning to conquer Gaza.”
Yossi Alpher, a leading analyst stated, “We want Hamas to disappear, but we can’t make them disappear. We’ve tried economic warfare, ceasefire, and limited military responses with a price tag. A fully-fledged invasion hasn’t been tried because the costs are too high, there is no exit strategy, there could be heavy casualties, there could be [negative] international focus, and there is no guarantee it will stamp out Hamas.”
Meanwhile, Hamas agreed to a “cease fire” that was brokered by Egypt. Egypt had been putting pressure on Hamas to renew the “truce” and got a 24-hour “cease fire” out of Hamas. Even with the cease fire, Hamas managed to “only” send across three rockets and one mortar shell. Israel agreed on this day to ease the blockade, although the rocket attacks had slowed down, but not stopped. And the rockets increased back after a short time, with Hamas not keeping their word however, Israel did keep their word on the blockades.
Dec. 24, 2008
The day before Christmas, Hamas bombarded southern Israel with dozens of mortars and rockets. Hamas said the bombardment came in retaliation for the deaths of three fighters in a clash with Israeli troops late Tuesday. Israel said the militants were planting explosives along the Gaza border fence. About 80 rockets and mortars pelted southern Israel by the afternoon. Although there were no injuries, a home and other structures were damaged. A rocket slammed directly into a house seconds after a father rushed his children from the living room into a bomb shelter.
One of the mortar shells landed at Israel’s passenger crossing with Gaza just as a group of Palestinian Christians was going through on their way to the West Bank town of Bethlehem for Christmas celebrations.
Dec. 25, 2008
Israel moved closer to invading Gaza on this day, saying it had wrapped up preparations for a broad offensive after Palestinian militants fired about 100 rockets and mortar shells across the border in two days. Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made a direct appeal to Gaza’s people to pressure their leaders to stop the barrages. By nightfall, three rockets and 15 mortar shells had exploded in Israel. Olmert issued his appeal in a rare interview with the Arabic language satellite channel al-Arabiya, saying Israel would not hesitate to respond with force if the attacks continued. “I am telling them now, it may be the last minute, I’m telling them stop it. We are stronger,” he said.
Dec. 26, 2008
Then on Dec 26th, Israel reopened three vital border crossings with Gaza, and allowed trucks carrying humanitarian aid, including fuel, food and medicine to enter the strip after Hamas said that Israel violated the cease-fire terms, by not opening Gaza crossings to goods and supplies. Israeli Cabinet Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said the humanitarian shipments were intended to be a message to the people of Gaza that they are not Israel’s enemy. “We are sending them a message that the Hamas leadership has turned them into a punching bag for everyone,” he told Israel Radio. “It is a leadership that has turned school yards into rocket launching pads. This is a leadership that does not care that the blood of its people will run in the streets.”
Even after the border crossings were open on this day, Hamas continued to rain down on southern Israeli cities. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said, “Enough is enough. … When there’s shooting, there’s a response. Any state would react that way.”
Meanwhile back in Gaza, a resident Abu-Aslli said, “We are not afraid of these invasions and people in Gaza are steadfast and they offer 10,000 of great sacrifices. Even if only one person remains alive, we will protect our land, our holy places and our refugees, and this siege will not scare us because we are a great nation and capable of facing this siege even if there is one person left from us.”
Dec. 27, 2008
ISRAEL BOMBS THE GAZA STRIP
Israel retaliated in response to the almost daily rocket and mortar fire by Gaza militant, which intensified after Hamas ended a six-month ceasefire a week ago. Those attacks including some 300 rockets and mortars, caused a few injuries but due to political pressure and an upcoming election on February 10th, Israel said “enough”.
Israeli warplanes pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip today with more than 100 tons of bombs in an operation dubbed “Solid Lead,” (actually the translation is “the poured lead”) targeting "terrorist infrastructure”. The operation began by carrying out intensive airstrikes on Hamas police installations, militant training camps, rocket-manufacturing facilities and weapons warehouses all over the Gaza strip. Witnesses also reported seeing Israeli planes bombing sites along Gaza’s border with Egypt. Palestinians use hundreds of tunnels under the border to bring in everything from goods to weapons, making them prime Israeli targets.
Israel said that the airstrike was the first stage of a large-scale military operation against the Hamas movement that has been ruling the Gaza Strip after it routed President Mahmoud Abbas’ security forces last year.
Reports vary on the number of people killed, some as low as 120 with others as high as 230. Hamas estimated that at least 100 members of its security forces had been killed.
The number wounded varies from 400 up to 750. Smoke billows over Gaza City after Israel bombed more than 40 security compounds, including two where Hamas was hosting graduation ceremonies for new recruits. It is being called the highest one-day death toll in 60 years of Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video from AlJazeera
I“ am safe, and yet I feel like a walking dead person. Everything around me shows it.”
“During the bombing I opened all the windows in my apartment to avoid them imploding as a result of the vacuum shocks sweeping through Gaza City after each enormous bang.”
“Mobile phones did not work, because of electricity outages and the flood of attempted calls. I flipped the electricity generator on so that we could watch the news.” …”However, this was impossible. Israeli surveillance drones flew overhead, scrambling the reception. All I could do was step outside, where I found crowds of frantic people, lines of rising smoke and the smell of charred buildings and bodies that lay around targeted sites nearby.”
T”he family I am staying with has moved into the internal corridor of their home to shelter from the bombing. The windows nearly blew out just five minutes ago as a massive explosion rocked the house. Apache’s are hovering above us, whilst F16s sear overhead.”
“Sires are wailing on the streets outside. Regular power cuts that plunge the city into blackness every night and tonight is no exception.”
“There was blood on a broken plastic yellow slide, and a crippled, dead donkey with an upturned vegetable cart beside it. Aubergines and splattered blood covered the ground.” “An elderly man with a white kuffiyeh around his head threw his hands down to his blood drenched trousers, ‘Look! Look at this! Shame no all governments, shame on Israel, look how they kill us, they are killing us and what does the world do? Where is the world, where are they, we are being killed here, hell upon them!’”
“Behind a small tile and brick building, a man was sitting against the wall, his legs were bloodies. He couldn’t get up and was sitting, visibly in pain and shock, trying to adjust himself, orientate himself.”
“The police station was a wreck, a mess of criss-crossed piles of concrete – broken floors upon floors.”
“We walked on, hurriedly, eyes skyward at four apache helicopters – their trigger mechanism supplied by the UK’s Brighton-Based EDM Technologies. They were dropping smoky bright flares – a defense against any attempt at Palestinian missile retaliation.
“Arriving at the police station, we saw the remains of a life at work smashed short.” “A crater around 20 feet in diameter was filled with pulverised walls and floors and a motorbike, tossed on its’ side…”
Raw video taken from the streets.
At a hospital in Rafah, a large town on the border of Israel and Gaza, friends and relatives dragged their loved ones into wards and demanded treatment for them. Men, women and children lined up outside the hospital, waiting for the attention of a doctor.
Hospitals in Gaza City also struggled to cope with the large number of injured, piling three children on a single bed while a constant stream of wounded arrived in cars and vans.
Inside Shifa Hospital, overwhelmed hospital staff seemed unable to help. One doctor said: “We are treating people on the floor, in the corridors. We have no more space. We don’t know who to treat first.”
Outside the front of the hospital, scores of dead bodies were laid out waiting for family members to identify them. For many it is an impossible task, as many corpses were dismembered and some were headless.
Health officials appealed for outside help. “We lack everything, medical equipment, anesthesia, bandages, fuel for ambulance vehicles, medicine, everything,” cried Muawiyah Hassanein, head of Gaza’s ambulance and emergency department. “What happened was unexpected and our hospitals were neither ready nor prepared to receive such huge numbers of casualties.”
AP raw Video
“There is a time for calm and a time for fighting, and now the time has come to fight,” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a televised statement. He also ruled out a new truce with Hamas, telling the U.S. Fox news network: “For us to be asked to have a ceasefire with Hamas is like asking you to have a ceasefire with al Qaeda. It’s something we cannot really accept.” When asked whether Israel would follow up the air strikes with a ground offensive, Barak said, “If boots on the ground will be needed, they will be there.” “Our intention is to totally change the rules of the game,” he said. “There is a time for truce, and there is a time for fighting. Now is the time for fighting,” he has also said.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the goal was “to bring about a fundamental improvement in the security situation of the residents of the southern part of the country.” He added, “It could take some time.” He has also said, “Israel has done all it could to preserve the ceasefire with Hamas, but our desire for quiet was met with terror.”
HAMAS AND PALESTINIAN OPINION
Hamas has vowed to revenge with rocket attacks and suicide bombings. Just an hour after the Israeli airstrike, militants in Gaza bombed southern Israeli towns with rockets, killing one Israeli woman.
Abu Ubaida, Hamas armed wing spokesman, threatened to unleash “hell” on Israel, saying the Islamist group would “teach the enemy a lesson they will never forget.” Hamas said it was considering a new suicide bombing campaign.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the Israeli air campaign was “criminal” and urged world powers to intervene.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said “Palestine has never seen an uglier massacre” accusing Israel for committing “awful massacres against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.”
Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, said in a statement that the Islamic movement “will not surrender,” adding the Palestinian people and Hamas “would keep their resistance against the Zionist enemy.”
In Damascus, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal called for a new Palestinian peoples’ uprising against Israel. “We will not leave our land, we will not raise white flags and will will not kneel except before God,” Haniyeh said. “Even if you kill thousands of us, you would never kill our pride and our resolve.” “I call upon you to carry out a third intifada [uprising],” Meshaal said on Al-Jazeera TV. He had called for two Intifada against both Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). “I call for a military Intifada against the Zionist enemy as well as a peaceful Intifada internally,” a reference to Hamas’s power struggle with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas whose government is based in the West Bank.
Hamas has vowed revenge including suicide bomb attacks in the “cafes and streets” of Israel, as Israeli air strikes continued late into the night. Israel said the offensive would continue as long as necessary and suggested it may also involve land forces.
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY OPINION
Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah said Saturday that they were prepared to assume control over the Gaza Strip if Israel succeeds in overthrowing the Hamas government. “Yes, we are fully prepared to return to the Gaza Strip,” a top PA official has said. “We believe the people there are fed up with Hamas and want to see a new government.” Another PA official said Fatah had instructed all its members in the Gaza Strip to be prepared for the possibility of returning to power. “We have enough men in the Gaza Strip who are ready to fill the vacuum,” he said. “But of course all this depends on whether Israel manages to get rid of the Hamas regime.”
Fourteen Palestinian human rights organizations banded together to warn the world of the consequences of Israel’s current attack on Gaza, stressing Israel’s violation of human and internationally recognized rights. The Human Rights organizations said the decision represented a “criminal intention of deliberately causing mass casualties and destruction in addition to intimidating civilians.” They urged the signatory countries on the Geneva Fourth Convention to hold an urgent meeting to discuss ways and procedures that might make Israel to respect this convention and implement it in the Palestinian territories. They also said a tribunal should be convened to charge Israel with war crimes.
The fourteen organizations are: Al-Haq, Al-Damir, Ad-Dair for Prisoners and Human Rights, Al-Mizan for Human Rights, Defense for Children International, Insan Center for Democracy adn Human Rights, The Independent Organization for Human Rights, The Al-Quds Center for Legal Assistance, The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judicial System, Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies, Women’s Center for Legal Assistance and Guidance, Women Studies Center and PNGO.
The United States is Israel’s strongest ally and the Bush administration has taken the position that Israel has the right to defend itself.
The White House called for the cease-fire to be restored, yet in another report the White House did not call for an end to the Israeli attacked, but urged it to avoid civilian casualties.
White House National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said it was “completely unacceptable” for Hamas, which controls Gaza, to launch attacks on Israel after the six-month truce. “These people are nothing but thugs, so Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas that indiscriminately kill their own people.” “They need to stop. We have said in the past that they have a choice to make. You can’t have one foot in politics and one foot in terror.” When asked if the U.S. would back a continuation of the retaliatory strikes by Israel, Johndroe said, “The U.S. doesn’t want to see any more violence. I think what we’ve got to see is Hamas stop firing rockets into Israel. That’s what precipitated this.” Johndroe said the U.S. was concerned that humanitarian needs were being met in Gaza. He urged Israel to avoid striking civilians, but he refrained from commenting specifically on positions that had been hit on the ground. “I know they are targeting security and Hamas headquarters facilities. We urge them [Israel] to avoid civilian casualties.” “The message from the United States is that Hamas is a terrorist organization that is firing rockets into Israel and they fired them onto their own people as well. Hamas has done nothing for the people of Gaza.”
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued the following statement, “The United States strongly condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence in Gaza.” She also stated, “The ceasefire should be restored immediately.”
Obama’s comment on the situation? None, he did not comment on the Israeli air strikes as he’s on “vacation” in Hawaii. His national security spokesman, Brooke Anderson, said the president-elect was “closely monitoring global events, including the situation in Gaza, but there is only one president at a time.”
AROUND THE WORLD OPINION
The UN of course, and the European Union called for an immediate halt to all violence.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has condemned Israel’s ‘Massacre’ in Gaza. “Despite the public ‘green light’ given to the Israeli military b y the Bush administration, American Muslims join our fellow citizens who respect international law and the sanctity of human life in repudiating this massacre carried out using U.S. taxpayer-funded weapons.” “We therefore call on President-elect Obama to demonstrate his commitment to change our nations’ one-sided Mideast policy by speaking out now in favor of peace and justice for all parties to this decades-long conflict.” “We also call on world leaders to take direct action to end Israel’s counterproductive and wildly disproportionate attacks and to end the humanitarian siege of Gaza, which led to the recent breakdown of the ceasefire.” [Interesting how they forget that Israel opened three major crossings, yet Hamas continued to send rockets to Israel.]
Egypt has summoned the Israeli ambassador to express condemnation and opened its border with Gaza to allow ambulances to drive out some of the wounded. However, not a single Gazan turned up at Rafah crossing. Hospitals stated the only way they could take up Egypts offer was if Egypt sent helicopters woudl the majority of serious cases be able to accept the offer.
Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit stated, “Today everybody has to stand by the Palestinian people’s side and stop this blind military action,” calling on Israel to immediately halt its attacks. However, he also blamed Hamas for ignoring warnings that Israel would attack if rocket fire from Gaza didn’t cease.
Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir called for a united Arab stand against the ongoing Israeli aggressions on the Gaza Strip. On al-Jazeera TV, al-Bashir called for an urgent Arab summit meeting including the Arab Leagyue and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, hoping that strong statements would come out of the meeting to condemn the Israeli action. Al-Bashi also urged the Arab countries to review their relations with the United States. It also called on the UN Security Council and the world society to shoulder their responsibility and exert pressure on Israel to stop the aggressions and lift its blockade against the Palestinian people.
The ruling Sudanese National Congress Party led by al-Bashir also issued a statement, denouncing that the Israeli aggressions using the American weapons has demonstrated the savagery and barbarianism of the military mechanism of Israel. It called on the international community, specially the Arab and Islamic world and their governments to stand on the side of the Palestinian people to confront the Israeli aggressions and to provide them with material and moral supports.
In Lebanon, 4,000 protestors marched through Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp in the southern part of the country, condemning the attacks in general, and Egypt in particular. “Hosni Mubarak, you agent of the Americans, you traitor!” they shouted. They also called on Hizbullah to attack Israel. Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Fuad Saniora, described the Israeli attacks as a “criminal operation” and “new massacres to be added to its full record of massacres.”
Hizbullah called the attacks, “an Israeli war crime and a genocide that requires immediate action from the international community and its institutions, especially the United Nations and the Security Council, because their suspicious silence is a clear collusion with this aggression.”
MORE ON THE WAY – SECOND WAVE
Israel is not stopping on the airstrikes. A second wave was directed at squads who fired about 180 rockets and mortars at Israeli border communities. In an attack early Sunday, Palestinians said Israel aircraft bombed a mosque near Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, destroying it. The Israeli army said the mosque was a base for terrorist activities.
Three more Palestinian militants were killed on Saturday night in two separate airstrikes on eastern Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia. A Hamas security spokesman also said that Israeli warplanes launched missiles at a group of Palestinian fighters east of Gaza City, killing two of them, while another airstrike on Beit Lahia town in northern Gaza Strip killed one. One of the two airstrikes targeted a metal workshop, which Israel said it is used in manufacturing makeshift rockets, and the other airstrike targeted Asda’a Media and Communication center that belongs to Hamas.
Hundreds of Israeli infantry and armored corps troops headed for the Gaza border in preparation for a possible ground invasion, military officers said, speaking on condition of anonymity under army guidelines.
More than 30 years ago, American political philosopher Michael Walzer wrote: “First oppression is made into an excuse for terrorism, and then terrorism is made into an excuse for oppression.” It is a good description of the Israel-Palestine problem there.
I’m not endorsing anyone on their actions, but I can’t help but wonder why when Hamas ended a six-month cease fire and began sending rockets and mortars over to Israel it was okay, and not a big deal. I mean Hamas has been sending rockets from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel since 2005, and it was okay. However, when Israel basically took an attitude of ‘we’re not gonna go through this again’, its so wrong and reminds me of high-school days. When someone was picked on constantly by a bully, nothing is done. Yet when the bullied retaliates, and basically kicks the bully’s butt, then the bullied gets in trouble for his actions saying “its better to turn your cheek and walk away, that makes you a better person.” So I guess its okay that Hamas broke a cease fire and continues to kill Israelis, but when Israeli retaliates, its wrong… instead of pointing a finger back at Hamas saying “knock it off.”
Israel should make it a priority to keep civilian casualties at a minimum however, it’s a little difficult when Hamas decides to build offices adjacent to schools. But then again, Hamas didn’t seem to care about civilian casualties, now did them, when they were sending rockets into Israel or bombing schools. And if those who are on the Gaza Strip don’t care for Hamas, then why are they there? Aren’t they supporters and endorse Hamas then? And thus they approve of Hamas sending rockets into Israel and killing innocent victims?
I mean come on, Hamas chooses to put police stations near schools and hospitals just because only those spots were available? No, they chose those locations because there is a high civilian count around them. And also, they use mosques to hide weapons. But when Israel destroys these locations, it’s Israel’s bad doing. It’s all part of the game to use these locations for Hamas. “You won’t bomb us because of the women, children and civilians nearby,” but yet continue to send rockets across the border to Israel civilian targets. Then when Gasa is bombed, Israel is the monster.
But ultimately Hamas is not going to disappear. Israel is not going to disappear. Muslims are not going to disappear. Jewish are not going to disappear. There are 1.3 million people on the Gaza Strip, they are not going to disappear. It does not matter how hard either side tries, I mean, they’ve been in a religious war since basically the beginning of time, along with the entire Middle East. And all of this war and killing and threats of death to enforce their agenda in the name of God.
And let me give you this question to ponder. Hamas has said what Israel is doing is genocide, yet if Hamas had a nuclear weapon, do you think they wouldn’t send it over to Israel?
There are no sides to this that are right or wrong. It’s a way of life for these people. What kind of life do both of these countries provide for their citizens. A generator at hand, not running for cover when your area is being bombed. Or having a bomb shelter because of the fear of daily bombings? Or just walking out your door and being killed, just because you are on the wrong side of a boundary. We as American’s can’t even relate to this lifestyle. And what is sad, is that Hamas and Israel allow their citizens to be subject to such lifestyle as normal life. I mean seriously, what do Hamas do, go “Its a Saturday night and I’m bored, lets go fire some rockets at Israel for fun. What do you say, you up for it?”
Or you can just fill in the blanks for a reality check:
The ________________ were wrong to bomb the ________________, because the _______________ were there first. If the ____________ had better leaders, then (Israelis and Palestinians) that region would have a better chance at peace. If only the ______________ would realize their decisions have caused more harm than good, then the ________________ may react differently in the future. If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always done. And isn’t insanity doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, but always resulting in the same thing?
But both will ask for world wide support in what they are doing, and personally, I think the entire world should keep their nose out of the Hamas and Israeli argument. It is between them, and them alone. Is it right that this is happening? No, but was it right that Hamas sent rockets over to Israel for years, killing innocent people, and nothing was done? Israel got tired and said enough. You want to play, fine, lets go, and its being condemned. Sorry, turn about is fair play. And the US’s current stance is the best one to take.
What Obama’s opinion on this situation will be very interesting. Obama has over the past taken the sides of Israel, saying they have a right to defend themselves, and that he will not negotiate with Hamas. Of course months back, in an infamous video and commercial comparing Obama and Hilliary Clintons views, Obama stated he would meet with terrorists.
In January of 2008, Obama went out of his way to take Israel’s side in a letter to U.N. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, urging the United States not allow a resolution condemning Israel’s illegal collective punishment of the Palestinians to pass unless it acknowledged Palestinian rocket attacks, which Israel’s latest closure was a response to. “Israel is forced to do this,” Obama wrote.
Back in February of 2008, the Obama Camp stated, “Barack Obama’s longstanding support for Israel’s security is rooted in his belief that no civilians should have to live with the threat of terrorism. In Gaza, Hamas continues to fire rockets indiscriminately at Israel civilians every day, and that’s why it is long past time that Hamas renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.”
In March, 2008 Obama defended Israel’s right to self-defense and expressed “admiration and support” for its commitment to negotiations with the Palestinians.
In April, 2008 Ahmed Yousef, Hamas adviser in a WABC Radio Interview stated on Obama, “We like Mr. Obama and we hope that he will win the election and do believe that he is like John Kennedy a great man and great principles'”
In June 2008, Obama reaffirmed his support for Israel and said Jerusalem should remain Israel’s “undivided” capital. He also said he would push for a negotiated settlement to the conflict if he was elected President. Obama also reiterated that he will not negotiate with Hamas.
Then there is July 2008 when Obama gave a speech in Sderot, Israel when he gave an indication on his views of the Israel-Palestine conflict. “I don’t think any country would find it acceptable to have missiles raining down on the heads of their citizens.” “The first job of any nation state is to protect its citizens. And so I can assure you that if – I don’t even care if I was a politician. If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect the Israelis to do the same thing.”
“In terms of negotiations with Hamas, it is very hard to negotiate with a group that is not representative of a nation state, does not recognize your right to exist, has consistently used terror as a weapon, and is deeply influenced by other countries. I think that Hamas leadership will have to make a decision at some point as to whether it is a serious political party seeking to represent the aspirations of the Palestinian people. And, as a consequence, willing to recognize Israel’s right to exist and renounce violence as a tool to achieve its aims. Or whether it wants to continue to operate as a terrorist organization. Until that point, it’s hard for Israel, I think, to negotiate with a country that – or with a group that doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist.”
Obama also had to say on the matter, “I continue to say that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel. And I have said that before and I will say it again. And I also have said it is important that we don't’ simply slice the city in half. But I’ve also said that that’s a final status issue. That’s an issue that has to be dealt with with the parties involved, the Palestinians and the Israelis. And it’s not the job of the United States to dictate the form in which that will take, but rather to support the efforts that are being made right now to resolve these very difficult issues that have a long history.”
“When Israel invaded Lebanon, in response to the kidnapping of Israel’s soldiers, I was one of the first people to state that Israel had an unequivocal right to defend itself and to rescue soldiers that had been captured. And that is what any country would do. On vote after vote I have demonstrated my support of the state of Israel.”
I wonder exactly how much influence that speech had on what the Israelis have decided to do. And obviously Obama believes that Israel has a right to defend itself, yet the UN the EU and just about every Arab, Palestinian and Muslim country and organization has denounced what Israel has done. It will be very interesting as to what he has to say.
But right now, Obama’s stance is “there is only one President at a time”, although in the past Obama has always had an opinion on everything… interesting that he’s “mum” now. Maybe he’s trying to remember everything he’s said in the past year or so.
And Obama gets handed another crisis in addition to the worsening economy, a worsening recession, high unemployment, increased homeless, increased poverty, the Wall-Street bailouts, the auto bailout, the stimulus package, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and an unstable situation in Pakistan. Lets hope the man, who has absolutely no Washington experience, can handle it all.. time will tell. Oh wait.. he’s on holiday in Hawaii……. The man can comment on everything else, but here’s another test for him.. and he’s speechless.
- “In photos: ‘Israel Attacks Gaza’, M&G, 27DEC08 (18 pictures)
- “Israel kills over 200 in Gaza air strikes”, Reuters, 27DEC08
- “U.S. blames Hamas for ceasefire break with Israel”, Retuers, 27DEC08
- “Hamas’ Haneya: Israel commits a massacre against Gaza”, China View, 27DEC08
- “Sudan’s president calls for united Arab stand against Israeli aggression on Gaza”, China View, 28(27)DEC08
- “Fresh Israeli airstrikes on Gaza Strip kill three”, China View, 28(27)DEC08
- “Sudan condemns Israeli air strikes on Gaza”, China View, 28DEC08
- “Death toll rises as Hamas vows revenge”, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 28(27)7DEC08
- “US urges Hamas to cease rocket attacks on Israel”, AP, 27DEC08
- “Israeli Assault on Hamas Kills More Than 200”, ABC News, 27DEC08
- “Israel attacks Gaza City: ‘It is war, look at the smoke, look at the bodies’, The Scottsman, 28(27)DEC08
- “Egypt: Hamas ‘ignored warnings,’ but now Israel must stop ‘this blind military action’, The Jerusalem Post, 28(27)DEC08
- “PA ‘ready’ to take Gaza if Hamas ousted”, The Jerusalem Post, 28(27)DEC08
- “Israel attacks Gaza, more than 140 reported killed”, The Independent, 27DEC08
- “Livni and Netanyahu vow to oust Hamas after Gaza rocket strikes”, The Independent, 22DEC08
- “Dozens of Militant Rockets, Mortars Barrage Israel”, AP via ABC News, 24DEC08
- “Israel Strikes Gaza Day After Truce Expires”, AP via ABC News, 20DEC08
- “Israel Sends Aid to Gaza Amid Invasion Fears”, ABC News, 26DEC08
- “Israel Set for Gaza Invasion After Rocket Barrage”, ABC News, 25DEC08
- “CAIR Condemns Israeli ‘Massacre’ in Gaza”, Free Republic, 27DEC08
- “Not one Gaza at Rafah crossing”, Ma’an News Agency, 27DEC08
- “Gaza City hospital a gruesome scene,” Ma’an News Agency, 27DEC08
- “Palestinian Human Rights groups call for urgent action”, Ma’an News Agency, 27DEC08