Thursday, January 8, 2009

Gaza Miscellany

I was very relieved to see that the In Gaza blogger is ok and posting again. Lots of photos today, including several from a home across the street from the bombed school. Nine family members died there. They were making bread.

She also posted photos of the cemetery where they were burying victims of the school bombing. The cemetery is overflowing, and all that mark these shallow, hand-dug graves are small mounds of sand and a couple of cement blocks.


I was trying to get a handle on just how big the Gaza strip is, so I did a little Wiki research and discovered that the whole thing is only half the area of the City of Toronto and also about half the population - therefore, about the same population density.


There was a fascinating interview on CTV today with Omer Goldman. She is the 19 year-old daughter of a former Mossad deputy chief, and is one of thousands of young Israelis who refuse to serve in their country's military because of Israel's actions against the Palestinians.

In the interview, she speaks of a demonstration in which over 10,000 Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv in protest this week. The whole event was ignored by the media and protesters were derided, harassed and imprisoned by the government who just want them to shut up and go away.


And finally, Jimmy Carter (bless 'im) wrote a thoughtful and balanced piece on the situation, based not only on his long experience with the region during his presidency, but on his more recent involvement as an observer through his Carter Foundation.

Here, he tells his version of how the six-month ceasefire began and ended:

After about a month, the Egyptians and Hamas informed us that all military action by both sides and all rocket firing would stop on June 19, for a period of six months, and that humanitarian supplies would be restored to the normal level that had existed before Israel's withdrawal in 2005 (about 700 trucks daily).

We were unable to confirm this in Jerusalem because of Israel's unwillingness to admit to any negotiations with Hamas, but rocket firing was soon stopped and there was an increase in supplies of food, water, medicine and fuel. Yet the increase was to an average of about 20 percent of normal levels. And this fragile truce was partially broken on Nov. 4, when Israel launched an attack in Gaza to destroy a defensive tunnel being dug by Hamas inside the wall that encloses Gaza.

On another visit to Syria in mid-December, I made an effort for the impending six-month deadline to be extended. It was clear that the preeminent issue was opening the crossings into Gaza. Representatives from the Carter Center visited Jerusalem, met with Israeli officials and asked if this was possible in exchange for a cessation of rocket fire. The Israeli government informally proposed that 15 percent of normal supplies might be possible if Hamas first stopped all rocket fire for 48 hours. This was unacceptable to Hamas, and hostilities erupted.

Did you get all that, Jason?


  1. Jennifer,

    Thankyou for all that info. I also did not know about the demonstration in Tel Aviv.

    It's odious that most nations are on the Israeli "side" in this. Approval to "shoot fish in a barrel". Sickening. And all of us who can see it as it really is are just labelled anti-Semitic. The slaughter of human beings anywhere is an abomination.

  2. I heard that interview on "The Current" too. I was so impressed. Even when pressed by Tremonti (yada yada Hamas yada yada Hamas), she held firm and said she didn't like Hamas but that that wasn't the issue. She did not like the inhumanity of occupation.

    A link and excerpt of an article about the Tel Aviv demonstrations:

    Saturday 03/01/09
    Preparing to start: hoisting the big Gush Shalom transparent

    At the same time as Ehud Barak was ordering the army to start the bloody ground offensive against Gaza, some ten thousand protesters from all over Israel marched in Tel-Aviv in a massive demonstration against the war. All four lanes of Ibn Gvirol St., one of the city's main throughfares, were packed full of demonstrators who marched the two kilometres from the Rabin Square to the Cinemateque, chanting and waving banners all the way.

    “One does not build an election campaign over the dead bodies of children!” shouted the protesters in Hebrew rhymes. “Orphans and widows are not election propaganda!”, “Olmert, Livni and Barak – war is no game!”’ “All cabinet ministers are war criminals!!” Barak, Barak, don’t worry – we shall meet you in The Hague!”, “Enough, enough – speak with Hamas!”...

    Meanwhile, Amnesty Canada has drafted a letter to Lawrence Cannon, urging the Canadian government to act. You can sign here:

  3. "I was trying to get a handle on just how big the Gaza strip is, so I did a little Wiki research and discovered that the whole thing is only half the area of the City of Toronto and also about half the population - therefore, about the same population density."

    Factor in the geography of the area, walls, barbed wire and rubble and the many areas that were officially designated 'no go areas' by the IDF even before the latest round of fighting - so many farmers faced being gunned down if they attempted to work their fields for instance. It ends up being quite a bit higher population density if you do.