Sunday, January 18, 2009

'Hamas is not going away'

Hamas announces cease-fire in Gaza, gives IDF week to leave

Paul Woodward, War in Context: Hamas has succeeded in turning the tables on Israel... If they start pulling out right away they will appear to be complying with Hamas' terms. If they drag their feet and as a consequence rocket fire resumes, they will appear to have squandered an opportunity to end the fighting... The underlying message is the message that Israel and its allies have thus far been extraordinarily obstinate in refusing to learn: Hamas is not going away.  They can either be fought or engaged but those who still cling to the fantasy of Hamas' annihilation are nursing a destructive delusion.

White flags ignored and houses bulldozed with families inside
Fida Qishta and Peter Beaumont, The Observer: Israel stands accused of perpetrating a series of war crimes during a sustained 12-hour assault on a village in southern Gaza last week in which 14 people died. In testimony collected from residents of the village of Khuza'a by the Observer, it is claimed that Israeli soldiers entering the village:
* attempted to bulldoze houses with civilians inside;
* killed civilians trying to escape under protection of white flags;
* opened fire on an ambulance attempting to reach the wounded;
* used indiscriminate force in a civilian area and fired white phosphorus shells.
If the allegations are upheld, all the incidents would constitute breaches of the Geneva conventions.

AFP: Israel is readying a new offensive -- the battle for public opinion once there is a full account of the destruction and civilian deaths in the battered enclave... The government has begun assembling 'incriminating' information on the many buildings hit during the offensive to prove they were legitimate targets... Official figures show that around 4,000 residential buildings, 51 government buildings and 20 mosques have been levelled... The extensive list also catalogues damage to roads, schools, the electricity grid and the water network... 

Israel's battle over the perception of the war will be a global one, with at least six ministers fanning out to different countries... 'Israel will also show that it warned civilians before carrying out strikes... by phone or by dropping leaflets.'... The measures were mostly ineffective in the densely-populated area whose borders have been closed by Israel and Egypt... Christopher Gunness, a spokesman for the UN refugee agency said... 'There is no place to flee.'
Image source here.