Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Growing Graveyard in Gaza

In that small strip of land called Gaza, it has become the problem of the living to bury the dead. Dying is such a regular occurrence that outstrips birthing and aging, and the Palestinians have run out of graveyards. Those buried by the rubble from the bombs and big guns of Israeli tanks may be retained where they perished. And if the Jewish State offensive continues, the entire Gaza may become a graveyard - not only of the mangled bodies of civilians, but also of the dreams of young Palestinians for a better existence and a place to call their homeland.

As of the 12th of January, 971 Gazans have been killed - one third of them children. Those that will eventually perish from diseases, wounds, and starvation brought on by the humanitarian crisis now engulfing the area, have yet to be factored in. The latest is that Israeli bombs have struck a United Nations aid storage facility, aggravating the already volatile and inadequate aid supply in the city. Israel has also struck the office facilities used by foreign journalists. Both bombs have been confirmed to contain phosphorous - a fact Israel has consistently denied.

Israel's claim of self-defense is not all that plausible. Prior to its recent barrage in Gaza, it has not suffered an armed attack, which in the UN Charter preserves the right of a state to retaliate. What Israel has initiated is a war of aggression. Since the rocket attacks versus Israel in 2002 commenced, about two dozen Israelis have perished. These attacks by Hamas may be considered war crimes; yet in the same period, Israel's retaliatory strikes have killed 2,700 Palestinians.

In June 2008, both sides agreed to a 6-month truce which neither party fully complied with. Hamas fired rockets into Israel after the Jewish State killed or seized Hamas members in the West Bank, and Israel's refusal to ease the blockade that effectively starved and suffocated Gaza. Israel then broke the truce in November 2008 and killed a Palestinian. The resulting Hamas rockets killed no one - but Israel then killed 5 more Palestinians. The current conflict was thus initiated by Israel's violation of the truce - and it cannot claim self-defense against this escalation because it was provoked by its own abuse.

This armed attack by Israel, unjustified as self-defense, is a war of aggression; and definitely a war crime. And although it has withdrawn its soldiers and settlers in Gaza since 2005, Israel continues to strictly control the coast, borders and airspace, making the Jewish State an occupying power with the legal obligation to protect the civilian population. Hamas can be charged for its violative tactic of using civilians and governmental facilities as shields in launching attacks on Israel, but it is not as serious as Israel's crime of launcing a war of aggression against the civilian population.

The idea that the constant battering of the Palestinians will soften them and accept the peace Israel wants to impose on its own terms, is unrealistic. It will only fuel hardened hatred and rage against them. The statements by Condi Rice and George Bush admonishing Hamas to desist from firing rockets is a subtle way of projecting that Hamas is the aggressor. It is both laughable and incredible, since Israeli tanks are inside Gaza bombarding the city to rubble, its planes dropping bombs, while its ships blasting at Gaza from the coast - yet no admonishing is given to Israel. The lopsided statements have resurfaced America's ugly and obnoxious image in the Middle East.

Talks of a truce have been initiated, but the latest bombardment that burned the food, medicine, fuel, and water supplies of the UN to ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, puts into question Israel's idea of peace. It may be that Israel's concept of peace is an exact copy of America's pacification campaign in the old west against the native Americans - that peace, as a goal of the Jewish State means no Palestinian left standing alive - either by bullets, bombs, disease, starvation, or intolerable misery. And that no possible regeneration will ever take place. Gaza will then be recorded and renowned in history as the graveyard of Palestinians, and the burial site of their dreams of a Palestinian State.


Source: Johann Hari, The True Story Behind the War is not the One Israel isTelling
George E. Bisharat, Israel is Committing War Crimes