The Flotilla to Gaza attacked

I don’t have enough time to comment at length on the attack on the flotilla. It’s appalling and disgusting – but it also shows how brazen Israel is becoming in its flagrant contempt for the rest of the world. Israel used to shoot and cry, and bother with its cynical hasbara campaigns. Now, Israel just openly shows its contempt for international opinion. It detained and expelled the UN representative Richard Falk. It refused entry to Chomsky, the Spanish clown, Norman Finkelstein and so on. During the onslaught on Gaza, it refused to allow foreign media in. There are public campaigns to defund NGOs that document human rights violations, in a public atmosphere of public hysteria against them.

We can go on and on. It’s not that this is new. In the 50s, Ben-Gurion used to say Um Shmum (read Avi Shlaim’s Iron Wall). But back then, they had people like Abba Eban to lie carefully about how Israel yearned for peace and so on.  Today, Israel blames the victims in the most absurd and contemptible way possible.

“We couldn’t allow the opening of a corridor of smuggling arms and terrorists,” said Ayalon.

That’s the deputy foreign minister. The flotilla was actually bringing things like medical supplies and concrete. Because Israel hasn’t let either in, including after the massacre.

Let’s just quote a few things from the Goldstone Report

997. Two further cases investigated by the Mission also exemplify the deliberate demolition of residential housing

1004. These figures confirm that a first phase of extensive destruction of housing for the “operational necessity” of the advancing Israeli forces in these areas was followed by a period of relative idleness on the part of the Israeli bulldozers and explosives engineers. But during the last three days, aware of their imminent withdrawal, the Israeli armed forces engaged in another wave of systematic destruction of civilian buildings.

1012. the destruction of the only cement-packaging plant in Gaza. The Mission also interviewed its owner, Mr. Atta Abu Jubbah.520 According to the reconstruction of the events, the Israeli armed forces began striking the plant from the air, damaging it significantly. Later ground forces — equipped with bulldozers and tanks — moved in and used mines and explosives to destroy the silo that used to contain 4,000 tons of cement. Helicopters launched rockets to destroy the main manufacturing line and fired holes into the cement containers. Bulldozers were used to destroy the factory walls. Over four days the factory was systematically destroyed. …

a civil engineer who inspected the site and confirmed that certain aspects of the destruction could have been achieved only by placing explosives inside the building. The silo had not been entirely destroyed in the aerial attacks, so explosives were attached to its supporting columns.

1014. The owner is one of fewer than 100 businessmen who are in possession of the Businessman Card issued by Israel. The Mission notes that the plant was not destroyed during the aerial phase but was systematically reduced to rubble in a concerted effort over several days at the end of the military operations.

1015. The destruction of Mr. Atta Abu Jubbah’s plant forms part of what appears to have been a very deliberate strategy of attacking the construction industry. …systematic and total destruction of the Abu Eida factories for ready-mix concrete. They were established in 1993. Nineteen of the 27 concrete factories were reported to have been destroyed, representing 85 per cent of the productive capacity.

1237. Changes in diet patterns are likely to prejudice the long-term health and nutrition of the population. According to the WHO office in Gaza, there are indications of chronic micronutrient deficiencies among the population, in particular among children. Among  the most worrying indicators is the high prevalence of stunting among 6- to 16-year-old children (7.2 per cent), while the prevalence of thinness among that group was 3.4 per cent for 2008 (the WHO standard is 5 per cent). Levels of anaemia are alarming: 66 per cent on average among 9- to 12-month-old babies (the rate being higher for girls (69 per cent)). On average, 35 per cent of pregnant women suffer from anaemia.614

1240… It was reported that the military operations caused food insecurity to increase and affect up to 75 per cent of the population

1255. Medical facilities and personnel were targeted during the fighting. Seventeen health personnel were killed and 26 injured. In total, 29 ambulances were damaged or destroyed by bombs or crushed by armoured vehicles, while 48 per cent of Gaza’s 122 health facilities were either directly or indirectly hit by shelling. Medical relief and rescue were in many cases also intentionally hindered.

1309…. a policy of collective punishment of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

1344. The Mission is concerned by the declarations referred to above, made by various Israeli officials, who have indicated the intention of maintaining the blockade of the Gaza Strip until the release of Gilad Shalit. The Mission is of the opinion that this would constitute collective punishment of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

OVERALL PATTERN: SUMMARY

1878. The continuum is evident most immediately with the policy of blockade that preceded the operations and that in the Mission’s view amounts to collective punishment intentionally inflicted by the Government of Israel on the people of the Gaza Strip.

1242. Figures about the overall damage to residential housing vary according to the source andtime of the measurement as well as the methodology. The human rights NGO Al Mezan reports that a total 11,135 homes were partially or fully destroyed.619 According to the human rightsNGO Al-Dameer-Gaza, 2,011 civilian and cultural premises were destroyed, of which 1,404 were houses that were completely demolished and 453 were partially destroyed or damaged.620 A UNDP survey immediately after the end of military operations reported 3,354 houses completely destroyed and 11,112 partially damaged.621 The destruction was more serious in the north, where65 per cent of houses were completely destroyed. As a result of the destruction, more than 600 tons of rubble had to be removed, with the consequent costs and potential impact on the environment and public health.

1245. The impact of the destruction of housing is aggravated by the substantial destruction of the Gaza construction industry during the military operations. The Mission also noted reports regarding the destruction of 19 producing plants (representing 85 per cent of the production capacity of the Gaza factories of ready-mix concrete). External supplies of concrete and other building materials into Gaza are entirely controlled by Israel, which has banned imports of cement into Gaza.

UPDATE

Also, I want to find time to write about it: there is apparently now an Australian majority support for banning the burka. This is disturbing.

UPDATE 2

Oh and I watched QnA. Maxine McKew is such an apparatchik. Watching her defend Rudd propaganda – an alleged one time journalist – really was incredible.

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