Comment by Khalid Amayreh in Occupied E. Jerusalem
For the past few weeks, I made strenuous efforts to reach a dignified ceasefire in the Gaza Strip in coordination with some peace-minded Jews. Our goal was to save lives and prevent further escalation, and give the starved and thoroughly-tormented people of Gaza a respite from daily killings and bombings by the Israeli occupation army.
Our efforts bore some fruit, and the Palestinian authorities in Gaza assured us of their willingness to reciprocate any genuine Israeli measure toward lifting the harsh blockade and putting an end to daily Israeli atrocities which have killed and maimed thousands of Palestinians, the vast bulk of whom are innocent civilians.
Even the western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) regime in Ramallah voiced a certain readiness to get involved and accept a prospective balanced agreement that would restore a semblance of calm and normality of life to the Gaza Strip.
Some PA officials expressed a few reservations about our proposed truce in Gaza, which can and should be extended to the West Bank. However, these reservations stemmed not from any real objections to the draft ceasefire agreement itself but rather from a certain feeling that the draft agreement didn’t accord the Ramallah leadership a prominent role.
Well, I have no objection to according PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas a leading role in negotiating a balanced ceasefire that would save lives.
Non the less, what I have seen is that the ball is not in the Palestinian court, but squarely in the Israeli court.
Again the Palestinian authorities, in both Gaza and Ramallah, are willing and ready to stop, even immediately, all attacks on Israel provided Israeli reciprocity.
Last week, I personally challenged the Israeli government to prove to Israeli public and to the world at large that the problem lied in the firing of the Qassam projectiles, not in the criminal blockade and daily hideous crimes perpetrated by a nuclear power against a tormented and helpless people who can hardly find the means to feed their starving children.
I still challenge the Israeli government to accept a truce in Gaza. The ball is in your court.
Yes, I understand that Israel is worried that a ceasefire with Hamas would imply a certain recognition of the Islamic movement. Well, Hamas is not really begging for an Israeli recognition. It is Israel that needs Muslims’ recognition, and as long as it behaves in manifestly criminal manner, it won’t get it.
Israel is a huge military power and what the Israeli army has been doing is similar to what the Gestapo was doing in Europe during WWII. I am saying this because when the Israeli army kills a hundred or two hundred Palestinians for each and every Israeli killed by Palestinians, one can’t really speak of clashes and war. In plain English, this is a massacre.
In light, Israel could easily stop the killings and relax the harsh siege for one or two weeks in order to test Palestinian compliance.
Today, Israeli leaders are running out of pretexts and excuses and lies and red herring.
On Thursday, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni claimed during a joint press conference with her visiting Romanian counterpart, Adrian Cioroianu., that Israeli atrocities and sanctions were a reaction to the firing of the Qassam projectiles by Palestinians onto Israel.
Last week, Livni organized a PR tour for dozens of foreign diplomats to the northern edge of the Gaza Strip, ostensibly in preparation of another Nazi-like blitz into Gaza that could leave hundreds or thousands of mostly innocent Palestinians dead and maimed.
There, Livni asked the diplomats in typical Israeli prevarication : “would you tolerate a situation where your population centers are bombarded with rockets on a daily basis.”
Of course, Livni wouldn’t tell the diplomats why the Palestinians were firing these mostly innocuous projectiles onto Israel.
She wouldn’t tell them that Israel was carrying out a virtual genocide against these helpless Gazans, forcing some desperate Palestinians to resort to some desperate measures aimed at deterring Israel from exceeding the monthly quota of deaths the only “democracy in the Middle East” is inflicting on these helpless Palestinians.
Finally, the EU and other countries, should watch Israeli behavior very closely. The reason for that is that Israel is awaiting impatiently the opportune time to gang up on Gaza and commit crimes against humanity there.
Stopping the Qassams would be the declared pretext, but And the real goal is to give the Israeli army and public a psychological rehabilitation from the botched war with Hizbullah 20 months ago. Well, can’t Israelis get rehabilitated without shedding Palestinian blood?
Another possible motive is to try to decapitate Hamas in one full swoop in order to eliminate the last-remaining credible opposition to the liquidation of the Palestinian cause.
In any case, this would be wishful thinking. Assassinations, after all, have always failed to coerce a people into submission.