A Raging Ceasefire

After the June 1st discothéque bombing in Tel Aviv, the world braced for punishment of the “usual suspects” and their families. Since Israel decided not to obliterate Palestinians in one swift blow, news reporters and US officials tripped over themselves praising the “restraint” of the poor little Jewish State.

On June 3rd, Secretary Colin Powell said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he was encouraged by Sharon’s measured response. That day Israeli settlers killed two Palestinians, confiscated 29 dunums of Palestinian farm land, and rampaged through Hebron.

The next day, US department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters “we appreciate the measured response that they’ve (Israel) taken.” That day, Israel shelled 21 homes in Gaza, wounded 22 Palestinians, obliterated a home in Nablus, bulldozed more land and dug trenches in Gaza.

The day after that, President Bush told journalists at the White House that “we believe enough progress has been made on the ceasefireé” On that day, Israel shelled more homes in Nablus and Gaza. They shot at Beirzeit students on their way to the university and injured six Palestinians.

Not a single day has gone by without Israeli fire and terror. In fact, on day one of Israel’s so called “unilateral ceasefire,” May 22nd, Israel shot two children in Gaza. One was four years old, the other fifteen. Also that day, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians in their cars while soldiers took over a Palestinian family’s home to set up a military outpost in Gaza.

On the day that Dore Gold, advisor to Sharon, told Agence France Presse that Arafat gets a “failing grade on his performance” in the ceasefire, Israelis beat one Palestinian to death, injured three in Ramallah, two in Hebron and leveled more agricultural land in Gaza.

I tried to tally the numbers myself by going through the human rights reports and marking down the number of deaths, injuries etc since the ceasefire. I gave up half way through after counting 25 dead, an alarming number of whom were children, and two who died when Israeli soldiers obstructed their medical care. Hundreds have been wounded, most of them with live fire in less than two months.

Sharon told the world on June 24th that “Israel is showing restraint, but people cannot accept it.” That day, Israel assassinated a Palestinian activist in a phone booth explosion, injuring a 2-year-old girl and her 4-year-old brother nearby. They also severely beat two Palestinians and injured a 38-year-old worker.

The ugly list goes on. Over the past two days, Israel has leveled at least 30 Palestinian homes. Most of the owners are refugees who spent their life savings to build a modest home, usually for a large family with aging parents and young children. They are rarely given notice of the demolition. They must stand back, husbands, wives, children, neighbors and watch the teeth of Israeli bulldozers rip through their bedrooms, and topple their furniture, toys, diaries, and, as in the case of one young boy, their school books.

These people are already refugees living in the most deplorable conditions. Their original homes are occupied by Jews or confiscated by Israel. Now they are homeless once again courtesy of the Jewish State.

This is the state that “will not negotiate under fire and under terror.” Knight Ridder reported Ariel Sharon saying that on June 27th and on that date, two Palestinian workers were shot with live ammunition near Nablus. For an incomplete list of daily terror by the State of Israel, visit www.electronicintifada.net/chronology

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Congress is in the process of approving a multi-billion aid package to Israel for this year and at the same time advocating economic punishment of the Palestinians. As if that isn’t enough, Congressman Robert E. Andrews, from New Jersey, drafted a House Resolution that would put US monitors in the territories to report on Palestinian “terrorism,” and work out compensation for victims (i.e., more land for Israel). There was no mention of Israeli aggression or Palestinian victims in Andrew’s bill.

Ariel Sharon must be laughing his head off traveling back and forth to the Twinkie store.