[HCCN] fw Kathy Kelly Asks How?

Judy Robbins jrobbins at mainecoastmail.com
Tue Feb 10 19:12:54 EST 2009

Published on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 by CommonDreams.org
How Do People Keep Going?

by Kathy Kelly
People have asked me, since I returned from Gaza, how people 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 Gazan 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  
January 18th, 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  

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  

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 rely, increasingly, 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 U.S. weapon makers had to use a tunnel to deliver  
weapons to Israel. The U.S. 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 UK's Indymedia Corporate Watch, 2009, Boeing has sent  
Israel 18 AH-64D Apache Longbow fighter helicopters, 63 Boeing F15  
Eagle fighter planes, 102 Boeing F16 Eagle fighter planes, 42 Boeing  
AH-64 Apache fighter helicopters, F-16 Peace Marble II & III  
Aircraft, 4 Boeing 777s, and Arrow II interceptors, plus IAI- 
developed arrow missiles, and Boeing AGM-114 D Longbow Hellfire  

In September of last year, the U.S. 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 from them. Perhaps there are more massacres in  
store. It would be important to maintain the tunnel carefully.

Raytheon, one of the largest U.S. 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  
Patriot missiles.

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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 truth, there's no actual tunnel bringing U.S. made weapons to  
Israel. But the transfers of weapons and the U.S. complicity in  
Israel's war crimes are completely invisible to many U.S. people.

The United States is the primary source of Israel's arsenal. For more  
than 30 years, Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign  
assistance and since 1985 Israel has received about 3 billion  
dollars, each year, in military and economic aid from the U.S. ("U.S.  
and Israel Up in Arms," Frida Berrigan, Foreign Policy in Focus,  
January 17, 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  

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 over 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  
Gazan 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, a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence , is  
writing from Arish, a town near the Rafah border between Egypt and  
Gaza. Bill Quigley, a human rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola  
New Orleans and Audrey Stewart are also in Egypt and contributed to  
this article. Kathy Kelly's email is kathy at vcnv.org

Article printed from www.CommonDreams.org

URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/02/10-11
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