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GAZA: Horror Of War

  • January 1st, 2009
  • Posted by EUEditor

israel-target-1109.jpgThe new year began in the Middle East with apprehension over a likely move by Israeli’s ground forces into the Gaza strip; outside parties in the EU and elsewhere able to offer mostly just words, appealing for a ceasefire.


Casualty estimates put the number of dead in Israel’s air-strikes, targeting the ruling Hamas movement in Gaza, at nearly 400.

The arguments are a test of disingenuousness.

Israeli spokespersons insist the air strikes are precision attacks on political targets, aimed to avoid civilian casualties; they suggest some of the figures may be coming from the “propaganda mill” on the other side.

There’s counter-cynicism over the impact of the bombings, ordered in retaliation against Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli towns, on public opinion in Israel.

“The assault on Gaza, planned over six months and executed with perfect timing, was designed largely, as Neve Gordon has rightly observed, to help the incumbent parties triumph in the forthcoming Israeli elections, ” said the left-of centre London commentator, Tariq Ali.

“The dead Palestinians are little more than election fodder in a cynical contest between the right and the far right in Israel. Washington and its EU allies, perfectly aware that Gaza was about to be assaulted, as in the case of Lebanon in 2006, sit back and watch.”


A resolution put by Arab states to an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, had not been put to a vote when the meeting adjourned on New Year’s Eve.

It mentioned the Hamas rocket attacks in the context of a “deteriorating situation in Southern Israel” and condemned “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by Israel.”

Foreign Ministers of the European Union, at Brussels, despatched a field mission to assist with humanitarian relief in Gaza – supply of food, urgently needed medical aid and fuel.

The EU has called for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and intensified efforts under international peace plans, particularly proposals backed by the Arab League last November.

“There is no military solution to the Israeli – Palestinian conflict, in Gaza or elsewhere”, it declared.

Continued diplomatic efforts would be made by the EU as part of the negotiating “Quartet” on the Middle East, with Russia, the United Nations and the United States.

The Australian government has registered “strong support” for an earlier Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire; the government registered also the right of Israel to self-defence against attack by missiles being fired from within Gaza.


European Council, “Statement by the European Union on the situation in the Middle East”, Brussels, 30.12.08.… (1.1.09).

Tariq Ali, “From the ashes of Gaza”, The Guardian, London, 30.12.08., (1.1.09).

ABC Australia, “UN meeting on Gaza ends without resolution”, 1.1.09., (1.1.09).


Targeted building complex in Gaza, described by Israel as Hamas trainging camp; IDF picture.