12:00 AM, February 02, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 02, 2009

The Gaza Horror Show

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Forrest Cookson

Selective destruction.Photo: AFP

Now is the time for President Obama to face the truth about Palestine and Israel. But what is this truth?
The Israeli government has no intention of enabling the Palestinians to have their own state. Their claim that this is their intention should be seen as long running theatre to pacify the West. A small child can see through this, hence we conclude the Western governments must be witting players in this theatre. It is time for President Obama to close this play and insist the Israeli government stop pretending, and accept a Palestine state.
The Israeli government continues to increase the number of Jewish settlers living in the West Bank. The Obama administration must insist on a "no new settlers" policy starting from today, an agreed method of counting settlers, and for Israel to roll back a significant number of settlers within one year. It is an action the Israelis do not want to take; but without such action one cannot believe that the Israeli people are prepared to accept a Palestinian state.
The state of Israeli is engaged in the destruction of the Palestinians: to drive them out or to kill them.
To drive the Palestinians out the strategy is to reduce their standard of living and increase their poverty; this has been regularly documented by the World Bank. GDP is declining and unemployment is increasing. The real physical welfare of the Palestinian people is desperate and a direct result of Israeli actions. Talented Palestinians are leaving to take up careers elsewhere. Living and working in Palestine is a life spent in a hell made and maintained by the state of Israel. Despite the compelling evidence The Western nations refuse to acknowledge the true condition of the Palestinians.
To kill the Palestinians the strategy is to use occasional spurts of violence, while creating insecurity and uncertainty everywhere. The latest incursion is only the most dramatic. Death also comes to the minds of children through malnutrition, mental instability, and destruction of the education system. All of these are causes of a shorter life span. The Israelis are expert at establishing and supporting these means of ruining the lives of Palestinians.
To stop this tragedy President Obama must: (1) Compile and publish regularly legitimate statistics on condition in Gaza and the West Bank. (2) Work with the UN, World Bank and EU to deliver proper services along with employment opportunities. The Israeli wall must be torn down to enable the economy to function.
To gain an excuse for the application of violence the Israel state covertly supports Hamas. This support includes: secret funding through third parties that pose as Hamas supporters, and forbearance in completely blocking the flow of arms into Gaza enabling a trickle of guns, rocket components and ammunition to reach Hamas.
The objective of the Israelis is to drive the Palestinians to support Hamas, the only group seriously standing up to Israel. Hamas resistance provides justification for Israeli's repressive policy. Israel attacks on Hamas always fall short of complete destruction as the Israelis want Hamas to continue. To achieve this Hamas must be allowed to have some success, but not too much. Fatah, the other major Palestinian movement is losing support as Palestinian public opinion shifts to the "brave Hamas warriors." The outcome is the Israeli state continues to repress the people in Gaza.
Americans are afraid to speak out against Israel. The Israel lobby will seek retribution against any who undertake to explain the truth about Palestine. The tragedy of Gaza will slip from the headlines, but the shameful imbalance of coverage of newspaper like the New York Times and the major US television networks will continue. While bleating about violence around the world the residents of Gaza gain scant attention from American media. We can only hope that a more transparent policy by President Obama will improve the media coverage of the Palestinians plight.
The Israelis scream and shout about the need to attack Iran's nuclear weapons facilities and then settles for incursions into Palestine as a compromise. The same approach will be used with the Obama administration. Will Obama continue to endorse this abuse of Palestinians as a "compromise" to the refusal to attack Iran?
The Arab states care nothing for the Palestinians. The Arab citizens are angry, bitter and want action. But their governments are content to issue angry words and to do nothing. What, after all, can they do? Better to stay quiet. The Arab citizens seethe with frustration, but, unwilling to act together to achieve real results, are ineffective.
We will see the Obama administration running around trying to improve the situation. The Israelis will say: "Sure we will send $100 of food and medicine to Gaza residents, give us $1,000 for our trouble." Israeli policy towards the Palestinians is extortion, they say to the rest of the world: give us money and we will stop. Of course they take the money but they do not stop the abuse.
Can the Israeli state be trusted? Absolutely not. In their dealings with the United States they have deliberately attacked the US Navy [USS Liberty] and carried out intelligence operations against the United States despite repeated assurances this was not being done. The objectives of the Israeli state remain taking more and more land in the West Bank and pushing Palestinians out of Palestine.
Can anything be done? Probably not. The only path out of this mess is determined leadership by the United States to develop the economies of the West Bank and Gaza, with Hamas violence stopping, withdrawal of some settlers and immediate progress towards a Palestinian state. The Israeli government cannot dodge such an aggressive stand from the US.

Forrest Cookson is an economist.

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