Rice Lies; A hundred children and aid workers die
I suppose we should be grateful that, for once, the US government has been shamed into not vetoing a UN security council resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (while continuing to arm and fund Israel's offensives).
Listening to bare-faced lies from the soon to be -ex US Secretary of State riles me though - especially when those lies have become accepted widely as truth through mere repetition and are being used to try to justify the targeting of civilians, ambulance crews and UN aid workers in a campaign to overthrow an elected
government by force.
Condoleezza Rice told the UN Security Council yesterday that Hamas is a ‘terrorist organisation’ which came to power in Gaza “in a military coup…18 months ago.” (0) That’s a lie.
Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Authority’s legislature in elections judged free and fair by EU observers in January(1), (2),(3),(4). That makes Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas the democratically elected Palestinian Prime Minister. Hamas are involved in terrorism but remain the elected government just as President Bush and Ehud Olmert remain the elected heads of their governments despite their involvement in war crimes killing civilians.
Sanctions imposed on the entire Palestinian authority by the US, EU, Israel, Russia, China and Arab dictatorships to force Hamas out of office led to civil war between Hamas and Fatah. These governments even vetoed a coalition government formed by Hamas and Fatah in June 2007 (5), (6).
Then the US, Israel and Egypt organised an attempted military coup against Hamas by Fatah forces armed, trained and funded by them. This coup attempt succeeded in the West Bank but was defeated in Gaza (7), (8), (9), (10).
The situation is similar to the one in Nicaragua in the 80s and 90s when the Reagan and Bush senior administrations denounced the Sandinistas, who overthrew the dictator Somoza before winning fair elections, as “terrorists” while sanctioning Nicaragua and funding a campaign of rape, murder, torture and bombings by Contra “freedom fighters”.
Fatah’s leadership are as corrupt as Somoza was.
The toll of the latest attempt to overthrow the elected Palestinian government by sanctions and force includes 101 children dead and 1,000 wounded according to UNoCHA and UN aid workers are being shot by Israeli forces along with ambulance crews, but no doubt we’ll hear that’s entirely Hamas’ fault and nothing to do with the Israeli forces that killed them (11), (12), (13).
(0) = US Department of State 08 Jan 2009, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice ‘Remarks at the UN Security Council Session on the Situation in the Middle East’,
(3rd sentence of 5th paragraph reads ‘Eighteen months ago, Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in a coup’)
(1) = Associated Press 26 Jan 2006 , ‘Hamas Wins Landslide 76 Seats’, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2006/01/26/international/i094327S41.DTL&feed=rss.news
(2) = House of Commons Library Research Paper 06/17 ; 15 Mar 2006 , ‘The Palestinian Parliamentary Election and the rise of Hamas’, http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/rp2006/rp06-017.pdf (see Section C, page 12 ‘Conduct of the Elections’ – also note the paper mistakenly gives the date of the elections as January 2005 – this must be a typo – the parliamentary elections were a year later)
(3) = Political Risk Monitor – Special Coverage - The January 2006 Palestinian Elections , ‘Palestinian elections: MEPs hail success of democratic process but urge Hamas to take the path of peace’, http://www.politicalriskmonitor.com/hamas/electobserv.shtml
(4) = Europa (EU) News Service 27 Jan 2006 ‘Palestinian elections: MEPs hail success of democratic process but urge Hamas to take the path of peace’, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/expert/infopress_page/030-4661-026-01-04-903-20060124IPR04643-26-01-2006-2006-false/default_en.htm
(5) = BBC News 9 Feb 2007 , ‘Palestinian rivals in unity deal’, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6344297.stm
(6) = NPR 18 Mar 2007, ‘Israel Rejects Palestinians' Unity Deal’, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=8983689
(7) = Haaretz (Israel) 28 Dec 2006 , ‘Israeli defense official: Fatah arms transfer bolsters forces of peace’, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/806603.html
(8) = Christian Science Monitor 25 May 2007, ‘Israel, US, and Egypt back Fatah's fight against Hamas’, http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0525/p07s02-wome.html
(9) = Guardian 26 Jun 2007, ‘A thankless task with four bosses and no office’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,2111447,00.html
(10) = Israel Today 18 Jun 2007, ‘Bush to replace arms Fatah surrendered to Hamas’, http://www.israeltoday.co.il/default.aspx?tabid=178&nid=13150
(11) = UNoCHA 07 Jan 2009 ‘SITUATION REPORT FROM THE HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR 7 January 2009, 1700 hours’, http://www.ochaopt.org/gazacrisis/admin/output/files/ocha_opt_gaza_humanitarian_situation_report_2009_01_07_english.pdf ,
Last sentence of 3rd paragraph reads “At least 101 children have been killed, almost one thousand injured and tens of thousands traumatized.”
(12) = Oxfam 4 Jan 2009 ‘Gaza: Oxfam supported health worker killed, ambulance destroyed’,
(13) = AP 08 Jan 2009 ‘UN curbs Gaza aid after trucks hit by Israeli fire’,
9th paragraph reads “"We've been coordinating with them (Israeli forces) and yet our staff continue to be hit and killed," said a U.N. spokesman, Chris Gunness, announcing the suspension. The U.N. is the largest aid provider in Gaza.”