Placing the latest Israel/Gaza violence into perspective...
Robert Fisk (h/t mattthebastard):
Ever since 1948, we've been hearing this balderdash from the Israelis -- just as Arab nationalists and then Arab Islamists have been peddling their own lies: that the Zionist "death wagon" will be overthrown, that all Jerusalem will be "liberated." And always Mr Bush Snr or Mr Clinton or Mr Bush Jnr or Mr Blair or Mr Brown have called upon both sides to exercise "restraint" -- as if the Palestinians and the Israelis both have F-18s and Merkava tanks and field artillery. Hamas's home-made rockets have killed just 20 Israelis in eight years, but a day-long blitz by Israeli aircraft that kills almost 300 Palestinians is just par for the course.
This is the highest level of Palestinian fatalities and casualties in four decades of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The escalation of violence comes at a time when the civilian population already faces a daily struggle for survival due to the Israeli blockade which has prevented even food and medicines from entering Gaza.
So this latest Israeli hissy fit bout of violence may be unprecedented (since 1948, at least). And speaking of the Israelis blockading aid, the Guardian reports...
Israel accused of ramming Gaza aid ship
The Free Gaza Movement said its vessel, the Dignity, was intercepted by several Israeli vessels as it was heading to the Gaza Strip, which has been under Israeli aerial bombardment since Saturday.
One gunboat rammed the Dignity on the port bow side, causing heavy damage, although no one was hurt, the group said.
"[The Dignity] is taking on water and appears to have engine problems," the movement said on its website. "When attacked, the Dignity was clearly in international waters, 90 miles off the coast of Gaza.
As for the origins of this current crisis, it's tough to know where to begin... But, as OpenLeft points out, some blame should be given to the Bush administration since it was them who helped bring Hamas into power (ironically enough):
Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war. The plan was for forces led by Dahlan, and armed with new weapons supplied at America's behest, to give Fatah the muscle it needed to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power. (The State Department declined to comment.)
But the secret plan backfired, resulting in a further setback for American foreign policy under Bush. Instead of driving its enemies out of power, the U.S.-backed Fatah fighters inadvertently provoked Hamas to seize total control of Gaza.
But, as we all know, the real question is how many anti-Arab, pro-death trolls will this post rake in? Fuck talking about reality! Meanwhile, the bodycount mounts... And Arab leaders still don't know what the hell to do. (Well, except for the Egyptians, who seem content with shooting at Gazans at the border and not opening up their hospitals to them. Classy.) But to be fair, Bush doesn't know what to do either -- he won't even cut his vacation short because of the crisis. Which is also classy.