Gaza Is Aflame. Again!
Just heard on the television that Israeli F-16 bombers have carried out massive air strikes in Gaza which have killed 200 and injured 400 mostly women and children. Scores of dead bodies have been thrown out on the streets as hospitals have no place to keep them.
They said that the weather had been exceptionally beautiful in the West Bank, for the past couple of days. Christmas was celebrated with much pomp and splendor and tourists had thronged Bethlehem for the first time in many years in record breaking numbers. Taking advantage of good weather, Israeli planes bombed around 40 Palestinian police stations, posts and other targets early Saturday morning. Time says that the ‘the first strikes came in a coordinated three-minute blitz’.
Israeli officials say the strikes are being carried out on response to the rocket attacks from Gaza, a Hamas ruled territory. The Israeli Government spokesperson on BBC told viewers that the ‘Palestinians were exaggerating the number of civilian casualties for propaganda purposes’.
Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire in June this year. Israel wants the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shilat. Hamas needed a break to consolidate its control over Gaza. Neither side recognizes the other’s legitimacy but had agreed to negotiate through an Egyptian mediator.
On November 5 this year, the Israeli government sealed all the ways into and out of Gaza. fuel, electricity, food, medical supplies and water equipment are no longer being allowed to enter the besieged Palestinian Territories.
According to Oxfam only 137 trucks of food were allowed into Gaza in November.
Sara Roy, author of Failing Peace: Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict says in the LRB: ‘The majority of commercial bakeries in Gaza – 30 out of 47 – have had to close because they have run out of cooking gas. People are using any fuel they can find to cook with. As the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has made clear, cooking-gas canisters are necessary for generating the warmth to incubate broiler chicks. Shortages of gas and animal feed have forced commercial producers to smother hundreds of thousands of chicks. By April, according to the FAO, there will be no poultry there at all: 70 per cent of Gazans rely on chicken as a major source of protein.’
The holocaust is happening all over again right here, right now. The International Community is not bothered and apart from a few UN warnings, there is no concentrated effort to stop Israel from carrying out violent attacks on the Palestinian people, their properties, their civil institutions, their livestock and their very dignity.
The EU announced recently that it wanted to strengthen its relationship with Israel while the Israeli leadership openly calls for a large-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip . Ehud Barack has just announced that ‘the time to fight in Gaza has come.’
The world is talking about change, countries are quick to pounce on their ‘right to defend’ themselves and Barak Obama’s victory in the US presidential elections has triggered a Mexican wave of joy across the world. It is scary that here is a man who has not even taken over the office yet and people everywhere are already treating him like he is the next best thing after sliced bread.
Obama has already shown his pro-Israel stand and is said to be a firm believer in Israel’s right to defend itself. I suppose we should resign ourselves to Obama murmuring the same clichéd lines when asked to comment on the Isreal-palestine conflict. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has already accused Hamas of having triggered the new bout of violence. So Israel’s hands are clean. Again.
The mind boggles how the world can be so spineless once again and not ask Israel a simple question that Sara Roy asks: ‘How can keeping food and medicine from the people of Gaza protect the people of Israel? How can the impoverishment and suffering of Gaza’s children benefit anyone? International law as well as human decency demands their protection.’
Never before has a noble and dignified slogan like ‘Never Again’ been twisted into such a cruel joke.
India has the dubious distinction of being Israel's principal arms market, as well as being eager customers of Israeli intelligence reports, technological expertise and its propaganda prone foreign policy. Haven’t we all seen how we in India were singing hymns in favour of Israel after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai? Didn’t we all listen in as various experts and the aam junta upheld Israel as a ‘model state’ against combating terrorism on their soil?
Pakistan, on the other hand has always had a hardnosed religious approach to the issue of Palestine. Hardliners in that country have always treated Israel as another Kashmir that is theirs to be fought for. Calls for Jihad have been given many times and truckloads of eager illiterate Pakistani and Afghani youth have left their families to fight for their Palestinian 'brothers and sisters'. Again, a supreme example of how agood idea can be completely distorted.
What Palestine needs right now is not patronizing behavior but a few brave countries to stand in its corner and help their cause in front of the international community. No amount of humanitarian aid or sympathy can help the West Bank. The political leadership in that country has failed. It needs civilian action, not violence, to make the world hear its plight.
There is an overkill of the Israel-Palestinian issue in world media and I suppose a certain fatigue has set in with the common man who does not live in the Middle East. What we need to do right now is to shake ourselves out of this apathy, yes, you and me, and do whatever we can to make the Two-nation theory a plausible option for the world community. Let’s write letters, blog about it and create a human network that not only sympathizes with the Palestinians and their troubles, but is also active enough and strong enough to take this to the end.
This is not a Muslim-Jewish-Christian conflict. This is the unraveling of a society and the annihilation of a people and their way of life. Violence is the not the way forward. Neither is helplessness.
Gaza Is Aflame. Again!
- » Published on December 27, 2008
- » Type: Opinion
- » Filed under:
Author: Sarah Islam
- Subscribe to RSS 2.0 feeds for:
- » Comments on this article
- » Politics
- » Media: News
- » Politics: Asia
- » Politics: Freedom
- » Politics: Governance
- » Politics: War
- » Politics: World
- » Politics: Middle East
- » Politics: US
- » Desicritics.org articles by Sarah Islam
- » All Opinion articles
- » All Desicritics.org articles