The quality of this report is undoubtedly diminished by the absence of first-hand observations of the pre-existing humanitarian situation existing in Gaza, which was to be the objective of a mission undertaken by the Special Rapporteur to gather information for use in making a report to the regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) scheduled for March, 2009. This mission was aborted when the Special Rapporteur was denied entry to Israel on 14 December 2008, detained for some 15 hours in a holding cell at Ben Gurion Airport, and expelled on the next day. Such treatment of a UN expert on mission would seem to raise serious issues for the Organization as a whole, bearing on the duties of a member state to cooperate, and to deal with those carrying out UN work with appropriate dignity. It is to be hoped that the government of Israel can be persuaded to reconsider its policy of exclusion that has hampered the work of this mandate.
To paraphrase a comment about the British government’s management of the British Army in World War I, lions seem to be led by donkeys. If Israel has a credible ceasefire plan that could really secure Gaza, it is not apparent. If Israel has a plan that could credibly destroy and replace Hamas, it is not apparent. If Israel has any plan to help the Gazans and move them back towards peace, it is not apparent. If Israel has any plan to use US or other friendly influence productively, it not apparent.
As we have seen all too clearly from US mistakes, any leader can take a tough stand and claim that tactical gains are a meaningful victory. If this is all that Olmert, Livni, and Barak have for an answer, then they have disgraced themselves and damaged their country and their friends. If there is more, it is time to make such goals public and demonstrate how they can be achieved. The question is not whether the IDF learned the tactical lessons of the fighting in 2006. It is whether Israel’s top political leadership has even minimal competence to lead them.
Thirty-three Palestinians, including a pregnant woman, were killed in Gaza on Sunday, Palestinian medical sources said. That brings the total killed to 898 and 3,695 injured in Gaza since the start of fighting December 27, the sources said.
Forty-five percent of the dead were women and children, the sources said.
In addition to Palestinians injured, two Egyptian children and two Egyptian police officers were also wounded by shrapnel from an Israeli air strike during an operation targeting tunnels and other infrastructure used by Hamas.
There is no sign that this is a successful or effective operation for Israel. In fact, there is no clear sign of what their goal is, so defining success is impossible.It looks like some bad people are dying, far too many innocent people are dying, and yet even if one believes the humanitarian cost and loss of innocent life could be justified by achieving some greater good, such a good does not exist in this case. This should never have been started. It’s way past time that it ended.
It should go without saying that by taking this position I completely endorse every terrorist act ever conceived or carried out by any member of Hamas or any other Palestinian person. It’s the only possible explanation for calling on Israel to stop blowing shit up.
Oh, and journalism FAIL (from 1:19 is pure gold):