[Sust-mar] An Unnecessary War

IBS ibs_pei at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 8 21:22:43 EST 2009

----- Original Message ----
From: IBS <ibs_pei at yahoo.com>
To: Ignatieff.M at parl.gc.ca
Sent: Thursday, 8 January, 2009 21:57:05
Subject: An Unnecessary War

I am doing my best to try to like you. I am impressed with your book, 'The Rights Revolution' but then you continually make, 20th century, Machiavellian like comments, justifying war, torture and state sponsored aggression. 
Today, while you where justifying Israel's right to 'defend' itself former US president Jimmy Carter was circulating the following article (see below). I would like to support the Liberal Party under your leadership. However, the continuation of these self-righteous attitudes are insulting to Canadians and all we stand for.
I believe you recognize the great potential of Canada. Unfortunately, I don't think you understand just how great our potential is; particularly as peace makers and peace keepers.
How can you, with your broad understanding of the causes, history and conditions aggravated by the continuation of fighting in the Middle East find any justification for escalated violence by either side?
I cannot, in good conscious, continue to vote for the Liberals, simply as a lesser of two evils. Until you and the Liberal Party represent a true alternative, particularly in your role of advancing humanitarian principles of peace, neither I nor many of the people I know (former Liberals) will support you and the Party.
Phil Ferraro

An Unnecessary War
Thursday 08 January 2009
»by: Jimmy Carter, The Washington Post 

    I know from personal involvement that the devastating invasion of Gaza by Israel could easily have been avoided. 
    After visiting Sderot last April and seeing the serious
psychological damage caused by the rockets that had fallen in that
area, my wife, Rosalynn, and I declared their launching from Gaza to be
inexcusable and an act of terrorism. Although casualties were rare
(three deaths in seven years), the town was traumatized by the
unpredictable explosions. About 3,000 residents had moved to other
communities, and the streets, playgrounds and shopping centers were
almost empty. Mayor Eli Moyal assembled a group of citizens in his
office to meet us and complained that the government of Israel was not
stopping the rockets, either through diplomacy or military action. 
    Knowing that we would soon be seeing Hamas leaders from
Gaza and also in Damascus, we promised to assess prospects for a
cease-fire. From Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who was
negotiating between the Israelis and Hamas, we learned that there was a
fundamental difference between the two sides. Hamas wanted a
comprehensive cease-fire in both the West Bank and Gaza, and the
Israelis refused to discuss anything other than Gaza. 
    We knew that the 1.5 million inhabitants of Gaza were being
starved, as the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food had found
that acute malnutrition in Gaza was on the same scale as in the poorest
nations in the southern Sahara, with more than half of all Palestinian
families eating only one meal a day. 
    Palestinian leaders from Gaza were noncommittal on all
issues, claiming that rockets were the only way to respond to their
imprisonment and to dramatize their humanitarian plight. The top Hamas
leaders in Damascus, however, agreed to consider a cease-fire in Gaza
only, provided Israel would not attack Gaza and would permit normal
humanitarian supplies to be delivered to Palestinian citizens. 
    After extended discussions with those from Gaza, these
Hamas leaders also agreed to accept any peace agreement that might be
negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas, who also heads the PLO, provided it was approved by a
majority vote of Palestinians in a referendum or by an elected unity
    Since we were only observers, and not negotiators, we
relayed this information to the Egyptians, and they pursued the
cease-fire proposal. 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. 
    After 12 days of "combat," the Israeli Defense Forces
reported that more than 1,000 targets were shelled or bombed. During
that time, Israel rejected international efforts to obtain a
cease-fire, with full support from Washington. Seventeen mosques, the
American International School, many private homes and much of the basic
infrastructure of the small but heavily populated area have been
destroyed. This includes the systems that provide water, electricity
and sanitation. Heavy civilian casualties are being reported by
courageous medical volunteers from many nations, as the fortunate ones
operate on the wounded by light from diesel-powered generators. 
    The hope is that when further hostilities are no longer
productive, Israel, Hamas and the United States will accept another
cease-fire, at which time the rockets will again stop and an adequate
level of humanitarian supplies will be permitted to the surviving
Palestinians, with the publicized agreement monitored by the
international community. The next possible step: a permanent and
comprehensive peace. 
    The writer was president from 1977 to
1981. He founded the Carter Center, a nongovernmental organization
advancing peace and health worldwide, in 1982. 
Phil Ferraro and Nancy Willis
Institute for Bioregional Studies Ltd.
114 Upper Prince Street, Charlottetown 
Prince Edward Island Canada  C1A 4S3
"Restoring Community, Protecting the Land and Informing the Earth’s Stewards"


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