Robin Yassin-Kassab

Another Massacre

with 12 comments

News is coming in that Israeli shells have killed 19 Palestinian civilians, most of them children, as they slept this morning, Wednesday 8th November. This follows a week-long attack on the Gaza town of Beit Hanun in which 60 Palestinians were killed. Many of those were civilians too, but most were young men carrying guns. I must say that I don’t consider young men fighting to liberate their land as equal to occupation troops, who seem to me to be fair military targets. All Beit Hanun men aged between 16 and 45 have been rounded up and taken off to join the Israeli gulag. There are already nearly 10,000 Palestinian prisoners (or hostages – that’s what the Western media would call them if they were Israelis) in Israeli jails.

This week a 700-year-old mosque was destroyed in Beit Hanun. Destruction of Palestinian heritage, of the environment, of sewage and irrigation systems, and of residential buildings, continues unabated. None of this is new to Gaza. Most of the population are refugees from the lands stolen in 1948, from the villages of central Palestine that were ethnically cleansed and bulldozed then. The Gazan refugee camps have witnessed sporadic massacres ever since.

More have been killed in the past week than in the London tube bombings. Gaza is now worse than any pre-Nazi Jewish ghetto in Europe, and perhaps as bad as a Nazi-era ghetto. It’s closed from the land and sea – when fishermen try to fish they are shot at by Israeli boats. There are continual sonic booms from the air, which smash windows and traumatise children. The power is still intermittent at best – the only power station was bombed a few months ago. Even without major incursions, the average number of Gazans murdered by Israel since the summer has been eight a day. I don’t notice expressions of horror from the ‘international community.’ I don’t notice Bush or Blair frothing about ‘civilisation’ and ‘barbarism.’ In fact the ‘international community’ – meaning the US and the EU and the client Arab regimes – is directly participating in the throttling of Gaza by imposing extreme sanctions on the already impoverished Palestinian territories because the Palestinians voted for a resistance government. Most of the weaponry used to murder in Gaza is American built and supplied. Bush describes Israeli killing sprees as ‘self-defence.’ After all, one Israeli soldier was killed this week, and the crap Qassam rockets have killed 8 people over the last six years.

Is anybody still surprised when Arabs and Muslims scorn official Western bleatings about law for the farce that they are? Is anybody surprised that many Muslims believe this kind of violence must be met by violence?

There is plenty that needs to be negotiated between Israelis and Arabs, such as the future of the millions of refugees who live in camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and how European Jews can be integrated peacefully into the region while keeping their cultural and religious rights intact. Whether there will be a Palestinian state or a unitary state, and what kind of unitary state, needs to be negotiated. But on the brute fact of the brutal occupation, there is nothing to negotiate. The occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is every bit as unlawful and criminal as Saddam’s occupation of Kuwait. If this occupation was imposed on Western Europeans or Americans for even a day there would be an outcry. There must be (but won’t be) an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces, and an immediate end to the siege.

The slogan says, No Justice No Peace. This is not a threat but a statement of what is obvious and inevitable. Oppression breeds hatred, and reaction. Of course, the people in charge, in every country, are far more interested in in conquest and wealth than in peace and justice. There has to be change from below. Real change. Swapping Democrat for Republican imperialists won’t make any difference.

Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

November 8, 2006 at 11:50 am

Posted in Palestine

Tagged with ,

12 Responses

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  1. Qunfuz what is happening here is extremely dangerous. I really think that the situation is so urgent that if the arabs and other pro-palestinian countries do not do anything about it this might be the end of any prospect of a just solution in palestine.

    The palestinian cause is being liquidated! What are we doing?

    This is exactly what I thought when I heard the news.


    November 9, 2006 at 2:39 pm

  2. Indeed, swapping one set of imperialists for another will not make one iota of difference to the Palestinians. The Arab world is sadly in a comatose state with the corrupt rulers more interested in preserving their “kursi” and propping up their children to continue oppression and setup “e-democracy” and other such drivel. Neither the West nor the East will help, nor should we want them to. The resources, the will and capability are all with the people, we just need to strip that illusion away that we are helpless..we are not helpless…we just need to WAKE UP!


    November 9, 2006 at 5:03 pm

  3. Wassim, I totally agree.

    People should learn that they can take their destiny into their own hands.

    There is nothing in the world as a strong dictatorship. The strongest dictator in the world would fall after a month of general strikes.

    Lebanese resistance and Iraqis have showed great examples of this. They have completely changed the middle east and the whole world by counting on themselves only.

    I really admire these two examples because I hope people will look at them and see that they can make a difference on their own.

    Not with American and not with Russian or chinese help. Just do it by yourselves.


    November 9, 2006 at 8:17 pm

  4. Qunfuz

    Great post and a powerful illustration of the injustices that have been inflicted on the Palestinians for decades.

    You don’t really want to blame Western media for practically ignoring or downplaying what has been happening in Gaza. It is down to us, Arabs, to find better ways of engaging with the media or develop our own local media networks in the rest of the world. Aljazeera English is probably a good start. Israel (both as a concept and a real entity) has been winning the international media war year after year since the begining of the twentieth century

    Philip I

    November 10, 2006 at 2:07 pm

  5. Philippe I am really not sure Israel is winning the media war.

    My experience in Europe is that many people are aware that there is huge bias and hypocrisy in western media when it comes to Israel.

    Of course most arab media are ridiculous but some western public opinion is not at all naive.


    November 11, 2006 at 10:39 pm

  6. Qunfuz,

    Thank you for the detailed description of the Palestinian situation. You truly depicted the suffering of these people with pictorial accuracy and emotional depth.

    I’m inspired by your example. I’m creating a website of the Palestinian situation and the Arab perspective on the “war on terror”. I will add a link to your post.

    I too believe that we should all raise our voices. First to show the truth that is distorted by the media, and second to put pressure on Western governments to stop commiting these crimes on our name.

    Many blessings,



    November 11, 2006 at 10:41 pm

  7. “Gaza is now worse than any pre-Nazi Jewish ghetto in Europe, and perhaps as bad as a Nazi-era ghetto”

    Either you don’t know anything about the Nazi-era ghettos,
    or more likely you don’t know anything about Gaza.

    Sorry, I have to say it — I’m just pretending here — or maybe you take me for an idiot, like all those Guardian readers.
    You are of course spreading intentional propaganda concluding with a call for “balance of terror” — that’s fine — I respect your militant (if self-destructive) motives.

    I’ll try to answer to you, just so that there is something else than yes-men in your talkback.
    That is of course if you are man or woman enough not to censor it – which you did to my recent posts.

    The situation in Gaza is very grave, but your exaggeration needs a reality check.

    Have you actually been to Gaza lately?

    I’ll tell you what the world sees – it sees, as Louse Arbour said “massive human rights abuses” – which I agree are present (this include anything from hampered movement, through destruction of property, up to horrible civilian deaths as the 19 that died)

    Now, for anyone that has been to conflict zones — this is
    all very normal for low intensity or asymmetrical conflicts.
    Certainly it is normal in Afganistan where Taliban is fighting half the European countries.

    So if they charge Israel with Nazi like war crimes as you describe them, they could be liable themselves when they unintentionally kill 20 civilians (which of course they already did on many occasions)

    Nothing in Gaza resembles even remotely Nazi like war crimes.
    Not even Serb style Srebrenica ones.
    And certainly not Jinjaweed style 200,000 dead in 2 years.

    Maybe someone will be charged with war crimes — Sharon was in Israel — and found guilty of not preventing a war crime.

    The media coverage of 400 dead Palestinians in (a large number of them militants by AP Arab reporter accounts) is actually the best covered conflict in the world.
    There is 3-4 reporters in Gaza per every person that died.
    Every child that dies gets to be seen on screens somewhere.
    There would have to be and army of 800,000 reporters in Sudan to have the same effect.

    Now your ilk is never going to say anything
    about Darfour.

    What is happening in Iraq right now is a resistance?
    Resistance is to kill more civilians in a month more than Israel — the Satan — has killed in
    6 years of Intifada.

    Now be a man or a woman you pretend to be and post this.

    If you don’t I’ll know exactly who you are.


    November 22, 2006 at 1:49 pm

  8. Anonymous, I have not censored any of your comments. All of them have been published in full. (where you posted them, after the Hizbullah piece). I will publish any comment that seeks to calmly debate without falling into insult, outright lies or racial abuse. You are on the edge here, with your insulting tone and strange claims that I have censored you, but you are still within the boundary, so I have published you.

    I have not accused Israel of running Nazi-like concentration camps. I have said that Gaza is nearly as bad as a Nazi-era ghetto, and I stick to that.

    A frequent tactic of Zionists is to say ‘we’re not as bad as Pol Pot, so why are you complaining? anti-semite!’ It’s a bit like me saying the Holocaust was not as bad as the African slave trade, so shut up about the holocaust.

    I agree with you entirely that NATO forces have no business being in Afghanistan and are committing huge crimes there. (If that is really what you mean to say). Sudan is a complex but bloody mess. The Sudanese government is a criminal government. As for Iraq, yes, there is real resistance, from Sunni as well as Shia, mixed up with a bloody and ugly civil war. I plan to get round to a couple of posts on the Iraq situation when I have time.


    November 22, 2006 at 2:27 pm

  9. “falling into insult, outright lies or racial abuse”

    So which one is it in my case? Let me please correct my behavior.

    Correct me if I am wrong, Did I bring Holocaust first or did you with Nazi-era Ghettos in your articles?

    You could have brought any one of the other atrocities over the course of human history.

    Now about those Nazi-era Ghettos – Virtually all of their residents ended up in
    They were dying by hundreds of starvation at any given day or were worked to death. Is this the case in Gaza?
    Do you know why?

    Again you are calling
    names: Zionist tactic — anti-semitism.

    You are bringing those words not me…

    I don’t know whether you are an anti-semite, but nothing you stated in
    your articles points that you are.

    I was just trying to explain why your own rhetoric is simply factually using metaphors that are incorrect, leading you to wrong conclusions — Somehow the world is going to all of a sudden “see” the Nazi-era Ghettos where people are dying by their hundreds.

    And at the end I read my post again — “Concentration Camp” is nowhere to be seen.
    You are escalating the rhetoric — not me.

    Are you Jewish by any chance? Why this imagery?


    November 22, 2006 at 3:14 pm

  10. I told you why you are on the verge of not being published: your insulting tone (it’s becoming increasingly hysterical, Alex) and your accusations that I have been censoring your comments. This is simply not true. I wonder why you make these accusations.

    I didn’t use metaphors (which can’t ever be described as ‘incorrect’), but analogies. I know you didnt mention concentration camps. I was clarifying. Gaza not as bad as a concentration camp, but is as bad as a ghetto. Alright, it’s a loose analogy. But people are malnourished in Gaza. Life is unbearable there.

    As for using the previous sufferings of world Jewry when talking about Palestine, I think it is entirely valid, not only because zionists talk about the sufferings of world jewry all the time. (It would be better, I think, if Arabs and Muslims knew more about the previous sufferings of the Jews. I try to do my bit here and tell Arabs about European anti-semitism. I think that increases future chances of peace and also helps to understand the enemy.) But the key point is, Israel wouldnt exist but for the sufferings of world Jewry. European Jews wouldn’t have been interested in moving to the dusty backward middle east if they were doing fine in Europe. The orthodox wouldnt have abandoned their trad interps of return to Israel being brought about by the Messiah if they’d been happily studying Torah in Prague and Berlin. The Jews were ‘a people without a land’ – not citizens of Russia, Germany etc. That’s the whole deal about Israel, as you know. The only good argument for the Israeli state is the previous sufferings of world Jewry. If the jews had been happily integrated in Europe the idea of kicking out the palestinians would have made as much sense as the idea of the English kicking out the inhabitanbts of Saxony. So the ironies about the palestinians now being treated in some ways analagously to the jews in Europe are good and useful ironies, I think, which show up the failures of the whole zionist project. Two wrongs dont make a right sort of thing. Ultimately i blame the Europeans (and Americans) for it much more than i do the Jews, who made a very understandable mistake given the circumstances. But a fatal mistake. once you dispossess a people, you have to keep oppressing them with more and more violence. Until you change your logic.


    November 22, 2006 at 3:28 pm

  11. Now people here seem to be discussing ways of Palestinian resistance.

    May I suggest the best way — although I know you will question my motive —
    I too dream of peace — and it will come as a surprise to many so do many Israelis.

    Now my idea is this: Palestinians need to settle internal differences.
    Abass/Hamas government need to form a unity government, so that EU/US/Arab world can help them.
    From the diplomatic standpoint they need to accept previous agreements, just like Israel needs to do their part of the agreements.

    Haled Mashal received $50 million US from Iran and is sitting comfortably in Damascus, just like all the other Arab and Iranian leaders and pulls the strings, while his own people suffer!

    Now if your real goal is not revenge or restoring pride, but peace in a 2-state solution, you would see that this is the only way.
    Otherwise if Qassams continue flying, Israel will always have a reason to continue.
    From a diplomatic standpoint the EU/US cannot accept an entity (Hamas govt.) that doesn’t recognize a sovereign nation like Israel.
    This would open a Pandora box everywhere in the world. All agreements
    in the world between states would turn void!


    November 22, 2006 at 3:36 pm

  12. I am sorry if I might have accused you wrongly
    of not posting my previous messages in a different thread — I am sure I pressed the button.
    It was around 4 hours ago.

    But, maybe I mistyped the real-person verification
    for anonymous posts, or maybe I misspelled an ‘l’ for
    ‘1’ or something, and then didn’t notice that I made a mistake.

    If you are making a correct analogy that Palestinians
    are like Jews in terms of a “people without a land”,
    I agree with you and I would not like to
    go into the historical fact finding of how exactly did
    they lose the land. I would argue that that is more
    of selfish Arab leader’s fault than Israel’s fault.
    For example, I am sure you know the history of modern
    Jordanian monarchy — and who the rulers there really are
    (A Saudi family given land by the British that was
    previously promised to Palestinians as well Trans-Jordan + West Bank).
    Or the history of Egyptian occupied Gaza before 1967 which was
    also supposed to be Palestinian land…

    And then I am sure you know what happened on
    Black September.

    However, your analogy with Nazi-era anything is simply

    Wondering of Jews in hostile lands as “people without a land”
    is good, but if you are trying to convince people
    of Nazi era persecution connections, it simply wont work
    and anyone can dispute it.

    This is not only because of the magnitude of crimes involved,
    but also because it simply has too few parallels…

    I am sorry I don’t have any more time to chat today, maybe tomorrow — It has been very interesting!



    November 22, 2006 at 4:24 pm

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