Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Israelis not good at this apartheid/genocide stuff

Wow, no wonder Jimmy Carter is saying things he doesn't really mean. Here he has a book about the apartheid regime of Israel, and then the Palestinians go and start doing things to each other that the Israelis wouldn't even dream of doing.

In fact, I'm beginning to think that the Israelis don't really have their hearts in this "annihilate the Palestinians" stuff. Look at these eyewitness accounts by actual Gazan Palestinians:

"May God burn all of them," cursed Amar Hamada, 27, a young Fatah security service agent who was pulled out of a car by Hamas gunmen.

After whipping him with the butt of a Kalashnikov, they took him prisoner overnight, broke his arms with a hammer and fired multiple shots at his legs from point-blank range.

He is now being treated under special permit in Ashkelon's Barzalai Hospital, where patients too seriously injured for Gaza's Shifa Hospital can be transferred with Israeli security clearance.

Crying with pain, one of his arms is in a heavy plaster cast while the other is swathed in bandages. His legs, too, are bandaged from hip to toe and blood oozes from under the gauze.

Down the hall, Mohammed Bazat waits anxiously outside an operating theatre for news of his son. He was working for Mr Abbas's security chief, Rashid Abu Shbak, when the chief's home was attacked by Hamas fighters armed with rocket-propelled grenades. Five guards were killed in the raid.

"All of them will make a deal, God willing - Hamas and Fatah, and also Israel," said Mr Bazhat, whose wife and 10 other children wait in Gaza as he sits by his son's bed during the day and is escorted by Israeli security to a hotel at night.

"If they all continue to act the same way, there will never be peace," he said. "I am worried to return to Gaza - but I must. There is nowhere else to go, so we will stay there. There is no nation that will rescue us."

What the hell? Treating them in Israeli hospitals? Sounds like the Hamas folks are much better at oppressing Palestinians than the Israelis are.

And the Israelis might also take some lessons from the Lebanese Army on how to deal with Palestinian militants operating in dense urban areas. The Israelis were accused of a massacre in their 2002 battle against Palestinian militants in Jenin, but the Israelis actually sent soldiers and armor into the Jenin refugee camps to fight at close range -- more dangerous to Israeli forces but less dangerous to civilian non-combatants. No such concerns slow down the Lebanese Army in its operations against Fatah al-Islam in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in northern Lebanon:

Some of the 11,000 refugees who escaped from Nahr al-Bared reported that the militants had threatened to shoot those who left, effectively using the camp’s civilians as a human shield to prevent an all-out assault.

But Elias Murr, the Lebanese defence minister, insisted that the militant group, which has been linked to al-Qa’eda, must surrender or face an army onslaught.

“We won’t negotiate with terrorists,” he said. This afternoon, a stream of ambulances which had been helping Nahr al-Bared’s under-resourced clinics and evacuating the most seriously injured withdrew.

“I have put more than 20 people in the back of the ambulance to evacuate them,” said Mazen Fakih, who described increasingly desperate scenes inside the camp.

“One of the women I brought out said that Fatah al-Islam had promised to shoot anyone who leaves.”

He said that “tens” of bodies from the first days of fighting between the militants and the army, which started at the weekend, still littered the streets and scrubland within the camp.

Last night the military standoff continued at the camp, about 60 miles north of capital Beirut. But doctors fear that if it descends into all-out fighting, as is widely expected, trapped civilians will bear the brunt of the violence.

The Lebanese army has already faced accusations of indiscriminately using tank shells and artillery in the first days of combat.

“Most injured civilians who have made it out have shrapnel wounds,” said Dr Abdel Aziz Bekai, at the nearby Safad hospital.

“Those wounds are from the Lebanese army bombs and artillery. “But many others have bullet wounds. They were hit by snipers. We don’t know which side the snipers were fighting for,” he said.

“Even the victims don’t know. They are just stuck in the middle.”

Maybe Jimmy Carter needs to have a word with the Israelis. Their refusal to live down to his characterization of their behavior is really making him look bad.

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