Monday, May 21, 2007

Out of Pandora’s Box

“According to the myth, Pandora opened a container jar (pithos) releasing all the evils of mankind— greed, vanity, slander, envy, pining— leaving only hope inside once she had closed it again.”I hate the expression “out of the box.” It has always struck me as being pretentious and all too often directed to things that in their effects can be dangerous and destructive. Perhaps I have Pandora’s myth buried away somewhere in consciousness.

But following up on Jimmy Carter’s denunciation of Bush and Blair:

Carter Criticizes Bush and Blair on War in Iraq
Former President Jimmy Carter called George W. Bush’s
presidency “the worst in history” in international

the news from the Middle East could not be more deadly. Killing is expected to escalate in Afghanistan — perhaps spilling over into the destabilization of Pakistan with its nuclear capacities. Both Lebanon and Gaza are tormented with rival factions killing each other and the Israelis doing the same with Palestinians there and in the West Bank.

One scarcely wants to follow the news now with approximate 5 American military a day being blown away and an indefinite number more suffering those lifetime debilitating injuries of which we have been hearing.

Need it be pointed out that the neocons have pushed Bush who has drawn in Blair into launching something worst than a culture war on the Middle East and elsewhere. How often must be defend Muslims to keep Sikhs (NonMuslim) from getting caught in the crossfire?

Lest we forget each targeted rocket attack from on high is almost always going to kill innocents as well as those rightly or wrongly targeted for assassination. The Israelis could not have done a better job of generating hatred against themselves by killing off the family of a Hamas political leader through bombing him home from which he was absent:

JERUSALEM, May 20 — The Israeli Air Force struck the home of a Hamas Parliament member in Gaza on Sunday night, killing eight people, Palestinian hospital officials said. The Parliament member, Khalil al-Hayya, was not in the house at the time.

Fanning the flames in Gaza
The US is arming Fatah in the hope of defeating Hamas. Meanwhile, everyone suffers.
by Laila El-Haddad

May 20, 2007
The Guardian

No ever seems quite sure how or why the spates of violence begin in Gaza, but a few days on, it becomes irrelevant anyway.

Firefights including heavy arms and mortars continue to rage all around Gaza city, all while Israeli gunships pounded east and north of the city, which has been transformed to a ghost town. Even the most foolhardy opted to stay indoors, and all but a lone convenience store closed. Masked Fatah and Hamas gunmen patrolled every street corner, and took positions on every major high-rise tower, keeping residents, schoolchildren, and university students penned indoors as battles swirled around them.

Fatah called for a general strike, and has taken to shooting into the air to scare people off the streets, stopping cars at self-imposed checkpoints, and detaining men with beards, in response to what they say was a deadly Hamas ambush of the presidential guard (Hamas has denied involvement saying their military forces were there re-enforcing their defenses on the border for fear of a possible Israeli attack, and hospital sources say the shrapnel is Israeli, not Palestinian, in origin). Israel has claimed responsibility for the death of at least two of the Fatah guards. But by that point, it didn’t matter anymore. The revenge machine was already in high-gear. In some locations, angry Palestinians reportedly pelted rocks at jeeps belonging to the presidential guard.

Many here are referring to the on-again-off-again battles as a new “Nakba”, one that has coincided with the day Palestinians mark as their original “catastrophe”-when the state of Israel was declared on 78% of historic Palestine. Tuesday marked the 59th anniversary. “Our Nakba has become two Nakbas,” young protesters chanted in unison on the city streets this morning.

Palestinians are not pleased about the ever-worsening violence which is threatening to unravel the recently negotiated unity government, but there is little they can do about it besides watching things unfold to their inescapably grim conclusion, they say.

But the news that really upset many here was word of the Israeli government briefly opening the Rafah crossing with Egypt, which it has shut down 50% of the year to average residents here, to allow US-funded, Jordanian-trained, Fatah reinforcements (450 members of the elite Badr Brigade) inside.

The fact is, Gaza is not combusting spontaneously.

To quote Alistair Crooke, “the US is not only not interested in dealing with Hamas, it is working to ensure its failure” – a policy promoted and openly acknowledged by the American deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams.

In his meetings with a group of Palestinian businessmen last January, Abrams said the US had to support Fatah with guns, ammunition and training, so that they could fight Hamas for control of the Palestinian government. And just over a week ago, a 16-page secret American document was leaked to a Jordanian newspaper outlining an action plan for undermining and replacing the Palestinian national-unity government. The document outlines steps for building up Abbas and his security forces, leading to the dissolution of the parliament, a strengthening of US allies in Fatah in the lead-up to new elections.

Events have unfolded according to plan, with not so much as a peep or word of protest from the major world governments.

It has become a city decaying, debilitated, and on the verge of implosion; its people exposed to the most violent form of subjugation, collectively sentenced to a life in prison by global power colluding to unwind the very fabric of their society, punishing them where no crime existed.

The US has allocated as much as $84 million to this end, directly funding president Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah strongman Mohammad Dahlan and their security forces, which are often one and the same as the Fatah militias engaged in bitter battles with Hamas and even firing missiles at Israel.

That doesn’t change the bitter resentment in the streets over what has unfolded, and the utter cynicism associated with it.

“I’m just saying, what are they fighting over – the trash burning in the streets?” remarked one shopkeeper, in reference to the piles of accumulated trash gathering as a result of a week-long municipality protest.

“We all know what’s going to happen next,” he continued. “Government officials will convene with the military commanders, and ask them to show restraint. The gunmen will withdraw from the streets. And for a few more weeks, things will be calm again. We’re in a maelstrom and I can’t really see a way out. Gaza is burning. And the world is watching.”

Laila El-Haddad is the young mother from Gaza who has just returned there and whose blogs can be discovered at:

Zena from Beirut has stopped her blogs: with a despairing final post following upon the vast destruction of her Lebanon:

And so it goes. Ed Kent

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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