Political Cartoons Of Israel And Gaza War

Some of the best political cartoons from the recent past concerning a sickening situation.

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Israel Is Killing Innocents

There comes a time when the endless comments that war is a messy business and innocents die no longer can be allowed to be used as a response to needless carnage taking place in the Middle East.  If my counting is correct this is day 19 of the latest fighting in the Israeli-Palestinian blood-letting, and reports are coming in that 1,000 people have died in Gaza.  The vast majority of them are not the militants, but instead innocent civilians.  Of that number a crushing percentage are truly innocent children.

The bloodshed on the news is just staggering, and while both sides have reason for blame to placed at their feet there is more of the shame and condemnation to be carried by Israel.

While there is no justification for the missiles fired into Israel there is also no way to condone the Israeli land grabs and power tactics that have waged for decades against those who also call this place home.  An economic blockade of Gaze was never going to result in anything positive for Israel.  The Jewish state needs to be mindful that the world does care for the underdogs who fight for rights no matter where they reside.

While there needs to be tough judgment against Hamas for the way they conduct their brand of warfare it also needs to be plainly stated the Israel is playing the aggressor here as they are prone to do and overreact with the result of killing civilians in numbers that must not be allowed to continue.

The report that most stunned me–and there are so many–was of a family of 25 who was hosting a Hamas fighter for dinner as they observed the break in the Ramadan fast.  All were killed when Israel unleashed a missile strike.  There is no civilized nation with real morals that mean something other than as a talking point who would unleash the military in this fashion.  It simply does not make sense in any humane sense, and in a military/political context only stokes the anger and resentment that creates more problems for Israel in the long run.

Israel is out of joint over the inclusion of Hamas into the unity government that needed to be a step in the ownership of responsibility within the Palestinian government.    Israel does not like those who they have crapped on to form a united front and so worked to turn the killing of the three teenagers several weeks ago into the pretext of a military strike that could achieve their purpose.

And now there are 1,000 deaths in Gaza.

Israel conducting themselves in the fashion we have again seen over the past 19 days makes one thing sure.  There will be more young minds that watch the buildings explode and fall in Gaza and the funerals take place every day and who will turn their attention to retribution.

And who can blame them?

Simple Question About Gaza

As of Friday there were 300 deaths in Gaza. 3/4ths of those were civilians and of that number 1/4th of those were children. Once again lack of proportionally from Israel is clear for all to see. Is it any wonder why there is hate in this region?

Not A Surprise: Israeli Forces Violated International Law

Though the latest news did not make the front pages of the newspapers it nonetheless is news that needs to be made known.

On June 1, 2010 I wrote the following.

One thing is clear, and that is all should condemn Israel for violating international law…again.  The mere fact that this bloody exercise by Israel took place on international waters should not only shock the world, but open the eyes of those who claim to not know why poor little Israel is always picked on in the world.  Killing those who bring humanitarian aid is what we expect of the lowest thugs in the world.    That is exactly what the world witnessed!

The United Nations has now finished their investigation and Israel does not come out looking good.

A report released in Geneva by three United Nations-appointed human rights experts said Wednesday that Israeli forces violated international law when they raided a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May, killing nine activists. The United Nations Human Rights Council’s fact-finding mission concluded that Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza was unlawful because of the humanitarian crisis there, and that the military raid on the flotilla was brutal and disproportionate.

Israel Works Against Itself

The Economist sums it up perfectly.

Israel’s desire to stop the flotilla reaching Gaza was understandable, given its determination to maintain the blockade. Yet the Israelis also had a responsibility to conduct the operation safely. The campaigners knew that either way they would win. If they had got through, it would have been a triumphant breaching of the blockade. If forcibly stopped, with their cargo of medical equipment and humanitarian aid, they would be portrayed as victims—even if some, as the Israelis contend, brought clubs, knives and poles. As it was, disastrous planning by Israel’s soldiers led to a needless loss of life.

For anyone who cares about Israel, this tragedy should be the starting point for deeper questions—about the blockade, about the Jewish state’s increasing loneliness and the route to peace. A policy of trying to imprison the Palestinians has left their jailer strangely besieged.

The blockade of Gaza is cruel and has failed. The Gazans have suffered sorely but have not been starved into submission. Hamas has not been throttled and overthrown, as Israeli governments (and many others) have wished. Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier taken hostage, has not been freed. Weapons and missiles can still be smuggled in through tunnels from Egypt.

Just as bad, from Israel’s point of view, it helps feed antipathy towards Israel, not just in the Arab and Muslim worlds, but in Europe too. Israel once had warm relations with a ring of non-Arab countries in the vicinity, including Iran and Turkey. The deterioration of Israel’s relations with Turkey, whose citizens were among the nine dead, is depriving Israel of a rare Muslim ally and mediator. It is startling how, in its bungled effort to isolate Gaza, democratic Israel has come off worse than Hamas, which used to send suicide-bombers into restaurants.

Israel is a regional hub of science, business and culture. Despite its harsh treatment of Palestinians in the land it occupies, it remains a vibrant democracy. But its loneliness, partly self-inflicted, is making it a worse place, not just for the Palestinians but also for its own people. If only it can replenish its stock of idealism and common sense before it is too late.

International Force Might Change Israeli Policy In Gaza

Israel is about to blink.

Israel’s leadership is considering changing its Gaza policy amid mounting international pressure, as it emerged Thursday that an American citizen was among the dead and another was injured in a deadly raid on an aid mission this week.

The review comes as condemnations grow on the blockade—including a new push for a change in Gaza policy by the U.S.—after nine activists died in the confrontation Monday. The policy may be changed in an effort to allow aid to reach the territory’s citizens more easily, according to Israeli officials.

Israeli officials also suggested Thursday that Israel is considering allowing a foreign official to sit in on an Israeli probe of the incident as an observer—a move that could ease some of the diplomatic fallout. Israeli officials ruled out an international investigation, which some capitals have called for.

The concessions emerged as Israel’s already-strained relations with Turkey—once its closest ally in the region—frayed further. “The relations between Israel and Turkey will never be the same again,” President Abdullah Gul said.

Pressure threatened to rise after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed Furkan Dogan, a 19-year-old dual citizen of the U.S. and Turkey, was one of at least nine killed when a flotilla of ships carrying supplies and activists to Gaza tried to run the blockade.

“Protecting the welfare of American citizens is a fundamental responsibility of our government and one that we take very seriously,” she told reporters. “We are in constant contact with the Israeli government attempting to obtain more information about our citizens.”

State Department officials visited the morgue where Mr. Dogan’s body was being held, said spokesman P.J. Crowley, and confirmed that he had been killed by multiple gunshot wounds.  (So much for the paint pellet guns…..!)

Israel Needs To End Gaza Blockade, World Agrees

How to back-track from a PR disaster, let alone a moral quagmire, is one that faces Israel in light of the events over this week in international waters off Gaza.  A deadly premeditated attack on an aid flotilla was the latest evidence of a policy designed by Israel to ‘deal’ with Gaza that instead has only inflamed the world community, and alienated the Jewish state from just about everyone.  The fact that Gaza has faced a blockade for years, and wears the face of the dire hardships resulting from that policy, is not lost on the global community.  Israel can bluster all it wants about defensive needs, but the facts still abound as to why a port of entry for Gaza is required, and what happens when goods and services are deprived to those living there.   Since taking Gaza by military force in 1967 there has only been conflict and crisis in the region. 

A 2008 study showed that hospitals are suffering from power cuts of up to 12 hours a day, and the water and sewage systems were close to collapse, with 40-50 million liters of sewage pouring into the sea daily.  It also stated that  more than 1.1 million people, about 80 percent of Gaza’s residents, are now dependent on food aid, as opposed to 63 percent in 2006, unemployment is close to 40 percent and close to 70 percent of the 110,000 workers employed in the private sector have lost their jobs.

There is just no common sense to the blockade.

Israel usually allows 81 items into Gaza, a list which is subject to revision on a near-daily basis. It is riddled with contradictions: Zaatar, a mix of dried spices, is allowed into the territory; coriander and cumin are not. Chick peas are allowed, while tahini was barred until March 2010.

“Luxury goods,” things like chocolate, are prohibited altogether.

So are most construction materials, though Israel has relaxed this prohibition slightly over the last few weeks. The United Nations refugee agency has resorted to constructing houses out of mud because other building material are unavailable.

And those products allowed to enter Gaza are permitted only in modest quantities. In January 2007, Gaza received more than 10,000 truckloads of goods each month; by January 2009, that number was down to roughly 3,000. 

Israel may think this is the way to shape good foreign policy,  but the global community is saying no in louder and more direct ways.

But the world powers have grown increasingly disillusioned with the blockade, saying that it has created far too much suffering in Gaza and serves as a symbol not only of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians but of how the West is seen in relation to the Palestinians.

“Gaza has become the symbol in the Arab world of the Israeli treatment of Palestinians, and we have to change that,” the senior American official said. “We need to remove the impulse for the flotillas. The Israelis also realize this is not sustainable.”

At a meeting of the Quartet a year ago in Italy, for example, the group asserted that the current situation was not sustainable and called for the unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian aid within Gaza, as well as the reopening of crossing points.

But Obama administration officials made it clear that the deaths had given a new urgency to changing the policy.

Israel’s Bloody Massacre On Aid Flotilla Demands International Investigation

One thing is clear, and that is all should condemn Israel for violating international law…again.  The mere fact that this bloody exercise by Israel took place on international waters should not only shock the world, but open the eyes of those who claim to not know why poor little Israel is always picked on in the world.  Killing those who bring humanitarian aid is what we expect of the lowest thugs in the world.    That is exactly what the world witnessed!

What took place on Monday was nothing short of unconscionable.  In light of the wretched conditions in Gaza does Israel think they improved the plight of the people there?  Does Israel think their own self-image with the slaughter of  nine civilians from an aid flotilla was enhanced by this offensive action?  Does Israel not know that this now only underscores what so many of us have championed for years; that being the ending of Israel’s embargo against Palestinians living in Gaza?

There is no credible reason for the actions taken by Israel on Monday.  Some of the apologists will spin and weave this into somehow being the Palestinian’s fault.  That is the old saw that no longer plays to the world as it once did, given the policies and attitudes of Israel.  But at the same time these same pretenders will not call for a true international investigation into how such a bizarre and needless tragedy could have occurred in the first place.  That of course would place the Israeli government front and center with the world demanding accountability.  We know Israel’s apologists could never allow that to happen!

But that is exactly what needs to take place. 

Not only should a complete top-to-bottom investigation take place but there also must be full prosecution of those responsible for the raid and compensation for the victims.  Anything short of that allows for Israel to spill blood, smirk, and walk away.