I haven't posted anything on the events in Gaza, because I don't know where to start. But I'll say this. Kofi Annan's appeal to both sides "to pull back from the brink for the sake of all civilians in the region" warms the heart. I'm glad he's keeping busy with bold condemnations during his last months as Secretary General. Both sides, huh? At the time of Annan's statement, not a single Israeli civilian had endured a scrape (the first Israeli civilian was wounded today by a Qassam fired from Gaza, on day 14 of this episode).
The European Union accused Israel of using "disproportionate" force and of making a humanitarian crisis worse. Well, yes. Abu Mazen said something ineffectual and hollow about ending this aggression, for the sake of his mediation efforts. Nice try. Does a lap dog who get the cold shoulder from his masters warrant any respect? He gets no love from the Israelis in exchange for his loyalty, only weapons to fight his own people; maybe an icey pat on the back for the cameras. Poor, poor Abu Mazen. Yes, let's talk peace for a moment, so that you can feel less marginal. He is as pre-scripted as they come. The whole conflict is, and I dare say that works in favor of Israel. Abu Mazen condemns the "aggression, as if to say, "you're embarassing me by exposing how weak I am". The UN calls for "both parties" to practice "restraint". Do it for the children! They should replace Kofi Annan with Michael Jackson. He can elaborate convincingly on the innocence of children. And the Israelis promise to employ "extreme measures" that will make every Palestinian man, woman and child wish they were never born. Or something to that effect.
The Israeli military establishment must not be very good at math. They invaded Gaza with a few thousand troops and tanks to liberate one soldier, who is being held in humane conditions. (Noone disputes that. He's all they've got as a barganing chip.) They lose another soldier in the process, and kill over thirty Palestinians. Find me one crackhead who thinks this is about liberating that poor acne-pocked 19-year old. He must be a really talented violinist or pingpong champion, to make all this worth it. I wonder if Cprl. Shalit would prefer being an inmate at Guantanamo. In my estimation, no. He is a legitimate prisoner of war and is being treated in accord with the Geneva Conventions, for what they're worth.