As world leaders called on Saturday for an end to the Middle East violence, the Bush administration issued blistering criticism of Hamas, saying the group had provoked Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza by firing rockets into southern Israel.
Gordon D. Johndroe, a White House spokesman, said that Hamas, the group that controls Gaza, was responsible for the outbreak of violence and called its rocket attacks ”completely unacceptable. These people are nothing but thugs,” he said. “Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas.”There is irony in the Bush administration, the administration that has claimed the right to invade anywhere and kill anyone, that tortured people in the name of protecting freedom, that invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and has attacked targets inside Pakistan, and which threatened to invade Iran, talking about "thugs."
Regardless of the Bush administration's characterization of the Hamas party, Hamas has demonstrated in democratic elections that it represents the people of Gaza. In fact, until 12/19 there was a cease fire on Hamas's part that was nearly complete, but the Israelis did not respond by lifting its blockade of Gaza, a blockade which makes it nearly impossible for the people there to meet there most basic needs.
The US administration's policy of one-sided political, economic, and military support for the Israelis denies the underlying justice of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. It must be noted that no Israelis died due to Hamas rocket fire during the truce period. Israel killed and wounded over 800 people in their bombings yesterday. This is disproportionate response.
As reported in the International Herald Tribune,
Though Israel had been threatening to end its policy of restraint that saw only limited strikes against rocket launchers and squads in recent days, the timing of the raid came as a surprise to Gazans. It came in mid-morning, when official buildings and security compounds were filled with personnel and children were at school, and not, as many had anticipated, at night.
The people that were killed in the Israeli bombings were not "terrorists", they were human beings. As the Tribune reports, the dead included construction workers, traffic police, and children.
At Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, scores of dead bodies were laid out in front of the morgue waiting for family members to identify them. Many were dismembered.
Inside the hospital, relatives carried a five-month old baby who had suffered a serious head wound from shrapnel. Overwhelmed, the hospital staff seemed unable to offer help.
At the Gaza City police station, at least 15 traffic police who had been training in a courtyard were killed on the spot.
Tamer Kahrouf, 24, a civilian who had been working on a construction site in Jabaliya, north of Gaza City, said he saw his two brothers and uncle killed before his eyes when the Israeli planes bombed a security post nearby. Kharouf was wounded and bleeding from the head.
Women were wailing as they searched for their relatives among the dead. Sawsan Al-Ajab, 50, was looking for two sons, aged 32 and 24, who both worked at the Gaza police station.
The Palestinians have been displaced, had their homes and land seized, endure a wall built by Israel that separates families and prevents Palestinians from getting to work in Israel, have been enduring a blockade and ongoing attacks by Israel for generations now.
All US economic and military support for Israel must be ended immediately, and a negotiated peace that respects the Palestinians right to self-determination implemented on the basis of the appropriate United Nations resolutions.