Surgically precise.

Earlier yesterday Ehud ­Olmert, Israel's prime minister, called the air campaign just "the first of several" phases of military operations. A proposal to call up 6,500 reservists has been approved and tanks have been ­massing near the Gaza border in case a land ­invasion is authorised.

Mark Regev, Olmert's spokesman, said there was no "quick fix" to end the crisis. Israel, he said, had enough international "understanding" to carry on as long as its attacks to stop Hamas rocket fire were "surgically precise" and it co-operated with attempts to deliver humanitarian relief. The absence of pressure from Washington is clearly an important factor, while Israel appears to rule out the EU playing a significant role.

"No senior envoy is on the way to Israel to stop the fighting," said Aluf Benn, the Haaretz diplomatic correspondent. "The Bush White House is very pleased with the blow struck against Hamas."

The above is lifted from an article in The Guardian newspaper.

A key phrase for me is "surgically precise". Consider that when you look at photographs such as this:

30 December: Palestinians bury the body of four-year-old Lama Hamdan at the Beit Hanoun cemetery in the northern Gaza Strip

Photograph: Mohammed Salem/Reuters

So my congratulations to the military precision of the Israeli attacks on Gaza. It seems that with all that technology their firepower is about as precise as the rockets the Palestinians are firing into Israel.

The time for ending this conflict is long overdue.

For some excellent commentary on recent events check out the essays and articles over at znet (take a break and brew some coffee before perusing this site..) and also the writing by my favourite middle east correspondent Robert Fisk, whose conclusion to a recent article went like this:

If Israel indefinitely continues its billion dollar blitz on Gaza – and we all know who is paying for that – there will, at some stage, be an individual massacre; a school will be hit, a hospital or a pre-natal clinic or just an apartment packed with civilians. In other words, another Qana. At which point, a familiar story will be told; that Hamas destroyed the school/hospital/pre-natal clinic, that the journalists who report on the slaughter are anti-Semitic, that Israel is under threat, etc. We may even get the same disingenuous parallel with a disastrous RAF raid in the Second World War which both Menachem Begin and Benjamin Netanayahu have used over the past quarter century to justify the killing of civilians.

And Hamas – which never had the courage to admit it killed two Palestinian girls with one of its own rockets last week – will cynically make profit from the grief with announcements of war crimes and "genocide".

At which point, the deeply despised and lame old UN donkey will be clip-clopped onto the scene to rescue the Israeli army and Hamas from this disgusting little war. Of course, saner minds may call all this off before the inevitable disaster. But I doubt it.


Stan B. said...

One wants so desperately to say something, anything profound about such a poignant image- an image that should, in truth, have the very power to halt the madness that created it.

gabriele said...

Great Robert Fisk.

gabriele said...

more from Fisk, on the way the american press tells the story:

"That is why Gaza exists: because the Palestinians who lived in Ashkelon and the fields around it – Askalaan in Arabic – were dispossessed from their lands in 1948 when Israel was created and ended up on the beaches of Gaza. They – or their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren – are among the one and a half million Palestinian refugees crammed into the cesspool of Gaza, 80 per cent of whose families once lived in what is now Israel. This, historically, is the real story: most of the people of Gaza don't come from Gaza.

But watching the news shows, you'd think that history began yesterday, that a bunch of bearded anti-Semitic Islamist lunatics suddenly popped up in the slums of Gaza – a rubbish dump of destitute people of no origin – and began firing missiles into peace-loving, democratic Israel, only to meet with the righteous vengeance of the Israeli air force. The fact that the five sisters killed in Jabalya camp had grandparents who came from the very land whose more recent owners have now bombed them to death simply does not appear in the story."