Israel Detains Palestinian Ministers

Israel Detains Palestinian Ministers
Knocks out Electricity to Half of Gazans

Half of the Palestinians in Gaza, who were already living pretty miserable lives after decades of marginalization and brutalization by the Israelis, were left without electricity yesterday.

Palestinian officials like Saeb Erekat rejected the idea that knocking out electricity for hundreds of thousands of people is targeting a “terrorist infrastructure.” In fact, destroying electricity generation capability interferes with water purification. Palestinian children will die because of this, from drinking unpurified water. And what crime did Palestinian toddlers commit, to be murdered in this way?

The Israelis escalated the crisis by detaining Hamas government ministers. The likelihood is that the captors of the Israeli soldier are freelancers. This wasn’t something plotted out by the Haniyeh government, which, in fact, recently granted a huge concession on the issue of potentially recognizing Israel.

PM Ismail Haniyeh called for the United Nations Security Council to intervene.

The ministers detained are members of a freely and democratically elected government. I can’t imagine under what legal authority the Israelis have arrested them. But everyone in the Middle East can see exactly what “elections” and “democracy” amount to. Bush’s promises have never seemed so hollow.

Secretary-General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, called for the US to get involved as an honest broker. Well, I suppose miracles do happen.

I am upset about the renewed crisis in Palestine because it is an emotional issue and will spill over into Sunni Arab Iraq. It is likely that pro-Palestinian Sunni guerrillas will kill some US troops specifically to avenge the people of Gaza. This is one reason I am complaining about the massively disproportional character of the Israeli response. It has the potential of further endangering American lives in the region.

And, it is counter-productive. The Israelis can’t get back their soldier by destroying electricity plants in Gaza. They can’t get more security by depriving Palestinians of security.

PS Jeff Morley at WaPo does a fine piece on the beach bombing background to the current round of violence.

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