There are rumors that the Israeli government may declare a unilateral cease fire Saturday. They had better. Because if they ruin the Obama inauguration by splashing the bloody bodies of dead Palestinian children all over the press during the next few days, no Americans, even the most pro-Israeli, are going to forgive them. The war has left 1,140 Palestinians dead, over 300 children, and over 5,000 wounded including many women and children, as well as 13 Israelis (4 of them civilians killed by rocket fire). We pay for these wars, we provide the fighter jets, bombs, and tanks. And we don’t want our money used for this sanguinary purpose in the first place; we have enough to be guilty about all on our own. And we especially don’t want to hear a peep from over there while we swear in our first African-American president.
On Friday, tens of thousands of Egyptians protested the continued war on Gaza. Crowds in Baghdad gathered to donate humanitarian aid to Gaza. There were demonstrations, as well, in a number of other countries.
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Wholesale food distributors in Jordan, the UK and the Scandinavian countries are quietly imposing an informal boycott on Israeli fruit, according to Ynetnews, in response to the war on Gaza. My guess is that if the Apartheid situation in the Occupied Territories becomes formalized, such boycotts will spread.
Israel pursued its attacks on Friday and on Saturday morning, killing 55 Palestinians, including a houseful of girls, daughters and a niece of a physician working in Israel who was being interviewed on Israeli television when the news reached him. AFP writes:
‘ At least 55 Palestinians were killed on Friday, including at least 10 people who died when a tank shell slammed into their house in Gaza City during a funeral wake, according to Palestinian medics . . . In the Jabaliya refugee camp in the north of the territory, three daughters and a niece of a Palestinian doctor working in Israel were killed in an Israeli air strike. “They were girls, only girls. I want to know why they have they killed them. Who gave the order to fire?” the children’s sobbing father Ezzedine Abu Eish said on Israeli television. Palestinian militants meanwhile fired over 20 rockets and mortar rounds into southern Israel on Friday, wounding five people, the Israeli military said. Over 700 such projectiles have been fired since the start of the war.’
The father of the dead little girls, Dr. Izz el-Deen Aboul Aish, appears to have been a sort of an Arab “Dr. Sanjay Gupta” who came on Israeli television frequently. He was about to do an interview on Israeli television when the word reached him of the atrocity against his family. His wife had earlier died of cancer, so his children were all he had left. He commuted to Tel Aviv from Gaza and told the girls to sleep near the stone walls to stay safe in his absence.
The Israeli anchors put his anguished lamentations on the air for over 3 minutes, which I take to be their own little protest against Olmert’s Butcher Shop. The physician is heard repeatedly crying out, “Ya Rabb, ya Allah” (O Lord, O God!) as the image of the mangles small bodies invades his mind.
Hamas leaders left Gaza for Cairo to nail down an Egyptian peace proposal. Note that Israel is essentially negotiating with Hamas, if only via intermediaries.
Aljazeera English also reports on the aftermath of Israeli strikes on another civilian neighborhood.
UK Member of Parliament Gerald Kaufman’s eloquent denunciation of the Olmert government for war crimes is now available at YouTube: