Beating Peacemakers Senseless in Palestine — and much worse to come

On September 29, Christian Peacemaker Teams volunteers Kim Lamberty and Christopher Brown were attacked by Israeli settlers in the Palestinian West Bank town of Hebron and beaten senseless. Lamberty ended up with a broken arm and knee, Brown with broken ribs and a contusion on his head and temple.

They were escorting Palestinian children to school. The settlers (unlike today’s bombers in Iraq and US and Israeli bombers in Iraq and Palestine in recent days) spared the children a beating today, focusing strictly on the peacemakers.

But Israeli missiles did not spare anyone in their path in Gaza. Israel launched tank shells into the densely populated refugee camp of Jabaliya, killing at least 7 and wounding at least 20, including several children. Israeli troops stormed the place, firing weapons and killing 14 and wounding 85. Three Israelis — a soldier and two settlers — were killed in Gaza by Palestinian fighters. Israeli soldiers returned fire and killed one or more gunmen. Israeli forces targeted power lines, leaving the camp of 120,000 without electricity. This invasion followed a rocket attack that killed two Israeli children on Wednesday. Israeli soldiers killed six Palestinians in one raid, and a single Palestinian child in another attack.

And Sharon’s plans for Gaza make today’s massacre seem like a picnic. It’s to be called “Operation Penitence” and its intent is to “exact a price”, according to Ha’aretz’s quotation of Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. “Exacting a price” from a population for an attack by a specific group is mass reprisal, illegal, immoral, terrorism — and already underway.

Perhaps the weirdest justification for it came from The chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud), who, according to Ha’aretz:

called for an IDF takeover of the entire Gaza Strip, saying, “Israel should wage operation Defensive Shield number two in Gaza, take control of the entire Strip in a wide-spread operation over a period of a few weeks to gather information, destroy the terrorist organizations’ infrastructure and wipe out any slicks of arms as well as the foundations for manufacturing Qassam rockets.”

Steinitz added that he would bring these issues up in planned meetings with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. “Since the technology for laser interception of missiles has yet to be realized, We must significantly damage terrorist infrastructures – it is our only option to ease the situation.”

I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I think he is saying that because Bush’s weaponization of space program isn’t yet implemented, Israel has to invade Gaza and smash civilians. Any reader who can make sense of this, feel free to email me.

Jenin was re-invaded days ago. Israel is promising something terrible and huge in Gaza. Are we helplessly watching the unfolding of another massive atrocity like ‘Defensive Shield’ of 2002?

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.