[News] If Israel's weapons came through a tunnel
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Feb 12 20:15:39 EST 2009
If Israel's weapons came through a tunnel
Kathy Kelly writing from Chicago, the United States, Live from
Palestine, 12 February 2009
Since I returned from Gaza people have asked me, how do the people of
Gaza manage? How do they keep going after being traumatized by
bombing and punished by a comprehensive state of siege? I wonder
myself. I know that whether the loss of life is on the Gaza or the
Israeli side of the border, bereaved survivors feel the same pain and
misery. On both sides of the border, I think children pull people
through horrendous and horrifying nightmares. Adults squelch their
panic, cry in private and strive to regain semblances of normal life,
wanting to carry their children through a precarious ordeal.
And the children want to help their parents. In Rafah, the morning of
18 January, when it appeared there would be at least a lull in the
bombing, I watched children heap pieces of wood on plastic tarps and
then haul their piles toward their homes. The little ones seemed
proud to be helping their parents recover from the bombing. I'd seen
just this happy resilience among Iraqi children, after the 2003
"Shock and Awe" bombing, as they found bricks for their parents to
use for a makeshift shelter in a bombed military base.
Children who survive bombing are eager to rebuild. They don't know
how jeopardized their lives are, how ready adults are to bomb them again.
In Rafah, that morning, an older man stood next to me, watching the
children at work. "You see," he said, looking upward as an Israeli
military surveillance drone flew past, "if I pick up a piece of wood,
if they see me carrying just a piece of wood, they might mistake it
for a weapon, and I will be a target. So these children collect the wood."
While the high-tech drone collected information, "intelligence" that
helps determine targets for more bombing, toddlers collected wood.
Their parents, whose homes were partially destroyed, needed the wood
for warmth at night and for cooking. Because of the Israeli blockade
against Gaza, there wasn't any gas.
With the border crossing at Rafah now sealed again, people who want
to obtain food, fuel, water, construction supplies and goods needed
for everyday life will have to increasingly rely on the damaged
tunnel industry to import these items from the Egyptian side of the
border. Israel's government says that Hamas could use the tunnels to
import weapons, and weapons could kill innocent civilians, so the
Israeli military has no choice but to bomb the neighborhood built up
along the border, as they have been doing.
Suppose that the US weapon makers had to use a tunnel to deliver
weapons to Israel. The US would have to build a mighty big tunnel to
accommodate the weapons that Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and
Caterpillar have supplied to Israel. The size of such a tunnel would
be an eighth wonder of the world, a Grand Canyon of a tunnel, an
engineering feat of the ages.
Think of what would have to come through.
Imagine Boeing's shipments to Israel traveling through an enormous
underground tunnel, large enough to accommodate the wingspans of
planes, sturdy enough to allow passage of trucks laden with missiles.
According to the UK's Indymedia Corporate Watch, 2009, Boeing has
sent Israel 18 AH-64D Apache Longbow fighter helicopters, 63 Boeing
F-15 Eagle fighter planes, 102 Boeing F-16 fighter planes, 42 Boeing
AH-64 Apache fighter helicopters, F-16 Peace Marble II and III
Aircraft, four Boeing 777s, and Arrow II interceptors, plus Israel
Aircraft Industries-developed Arrow missiles, and Boeing AGM-114 D
Longbow Hellfire missiles.
In September of last year, the US government approved the sale of
1,000 Boeing GBU-9 small diameter bombs to Israel, in a deal valued
at up to $77 million.
Now that Israel has dropped so many of those bombs on Gaza, Boeing
shareholders can count on more sales, more profits, if Israel buys
new bombs from them. Perhaps there are more massacres in store. It
would be important to maintain the tunnel carefully.
Raytheon, one of the largest US arms manufacturers, with annual
revenues of around $20 billion, is one of Israel's main suppliers of
weapons. In September last year, the US Defense Security Cooperation
Agency approved the sale of Raytheon kits to upgrade Israel's Patriot
missile system at a cost of $164 million. Raytheon would also use the
tunnel to bring in Bunker Buster bombs as well as Tomahawk and
Lockheed Martin is the world's largest defense contractor by revenue,
with reported sales in 2008 of $42.7 billion. Lockheed Martin's
products include the Hellfire precision-guided missile system, which
has reportedly been used in the recent Gaza attacks. Israel also
possesses 350 F-16 jets, some purchased from Lockheed Martin. Think
of them coming through the largest tunnel in the world.
Maybe Caterpillar Inc. could help build such a tunnel. Caterpillar
Inc., the world's largest manufacturer of construction (and
destruction) equipment, with more than $30 billion in assets, holds
Israel's sole contract for the production of the D9 military
bulldozer, specifically designed for use in invasions of built-up
areas. The US government buys Caterpillar bulldozers and sends them
to the Israeli army as part of its annual foreign military assistance
package. Such sales are governed by the US Arms Export Control Act,
which limits the use of US military aid to "internal security" and
"legitimate self defense" and prohibits its use against civilians.
Israel topples family houses with these bulldozers to make room for
settlements. All too often, they topple them on the families inside.
American peace activist Rachel Corrie was crushed to death standing
between one of these bulldozers and a Palestinian doctor's house in 2003.
In truth, there's no actual tunnel bringing US-manufactured weapons
to Israel. But the transfers of weapons and the US complicity in
Israel's war crimes are completely invisible to many American people.
The US is the primary source of Israel's arsenal. For more than 30
years, Israel has been the largest recipient of US foreign assistance
and since 1985 Israel has received about 3 billion dollars each year
in military and economic aid from the US ("US and Israel Up in Arms,"
Frida Berrigan, Foreign Policy in Focus, 17 January 2009)
So many Americans can't even see this flood of weapons, and what it
means, for us, for Gaza's and Israel's children, for the world's children.
And so, people in Gaza have a right to ask us, how do you manage? How
do you keep going? How can you sit back and watch while your taxes
pay to massacre us? If it would be wrong to send rifles and bullets
and primitive rockets into Gaza, weapons that could kill innocent
Israelis, then isn't it also wrong to send Israelis the massive
arsenal that has been used against us, killing more than 400 of our
children in the past six weeks, maiming and wounding thousands more?
But, standing over the tunnels in Rafah that morning under a sunny
Gaza sky, hearing the constant droning buzz of mechanical spies
waiting to call in an aerial bombardment, no one asked me, an
American, those hard questions. The man standing next to me pointed
to a small shed where he and others had built a fire in an ash can.
They wanted me to come inside, warm up, and receive a cup of tea.
Kathy Kelly (kathy A T vcnv D O T org) co-coordinates Voices for
Creative Nonviolence (<http://vcnv.org/>www.vcnv.org).
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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