Adding to the “everything the press tells you is a lie” file, here a a couple of articles of the (literally) criminal attacks on civilians in Gaza. First, despite the byline, this article on the “siege on Gaza” was written by Sara Roy before the recent Israeli bombing campaign, and right dates the siege from November 5, when the government of Israel cut off the last remaining food going into the tiny Palestinian territory. Note: if you put a wall around a city, destroy the little farmland on its outskirts, and ban all trade in and out for 30 years, people become rather dependent on food aid.
By the way, that image to the left is a World Food Program map of Food insecurity in the Gaza Strip (2004). The wee yellow bit — showing relative food security — was where there had been an Israeli settlement. Things look much worse today.
If you put people behind walls, cut off their access to the outside world and then cut off their food for two months, I can’t think of a word other than genocide to describe the situation. Now I can see folks who are perhaps rightly attached to Israel as a haven in the face of 2000 years of oppression and genocide blowing a gasket. But I just said what everyone will be saying in the history books. It’s well past time you realize that you’re not doing the Jewish people any favors by supporting a government and military that murders civilians and steals their land. (And no, appeals to G_d don’t count. Otherwise I’d be paying rent to the Mohawks, and I’d start a religion which promised me Aruba. That’s not how adults get along)
Lotsa good people in Tel Aviv understand this (see reports on the anti-war demos there this week) so why otherwise good people in Brooklyn have trouble with it is beyond me.
Further, the governments of Israel has maintained a two pronged policy since 1947: establish facts on the ground by occupying land and make sure there is no Palestinian opposition.
The first is done with settlements and walls and “Military zones” and “national parks” and “buffer zones” and the occasional, random killing of people (see Hebron last month). The second is done by making sure there is no Palestinian leadership that anyone would want to share a cubical with. First, the Israelis did this by deporting people. Second, they used to say “there’s no such thing as a Palestinian. They’re Arabs making up a national identity because they hate Jews” I remember having government representatives tell me this with a straight face in the 1980s. They also used to say that “Arabs, because they are not as culturally advanced as Westerners, have no sense of national identity, but those in the Territories are being used as fodder by the King of Jordan to expand his territory.” Why don’t they say this anymore? Because they got some new information and admitted an honest mistake? Or because the government and settlers don’t actually believe ANYTHING they tell the press or even the Israeli center left. They KNOW this is a game of biding time, and they’d tell you Palestinians have gills and therefore are only occupying any dry land at all out of spite if they thought you would buy it.
But part of this process of ensuring that “there is no partner for peace” in more germane here. The Israeli government funded (the then tiny, and even then evil) Hamas in the late 1970s and 1980s to really stick it to the PLO who were starting to look more acceptable when they stopped shooting athletes and hijacking airliners. At the same time, the Israeli government had a policy of rounding up and expelling non-violent secular activists. There was a whole Ghandian passive resistance group in the West Bank in the 1970s. What happened to them? Likud had them rounded up and deported, while releasing the founder of Hamas after serving one year of a life sentence for murder. Even Ehud Olmert was quoted in the Jerusalem Post last year saying: “Netanyahu established Hamas, gave it life, freed Sheikh Yassin and gave him the opportunity to blossom”.
So what is going on now is no “crisis” from the government of Israel’s point of view. Headlines in the US press like “Israel seeks to change rules of the game with Gaza assault” are profoundly ignorant. This is standard operation procedure. And until the US and the rest of the world tells Israel that their support is dependent upon the Israeli government immediately accepting the pre 1967 borders (no exceptions), this will go on and on and on and on.
- Reuters/Global Voices Blog roundup from Palestine: “In Gaza it’s 9/11 every hour, every minute, everywhere”
- If Gaza falls . . . Sara Roy (London Review of Books)
- “Hamas is a creation of Mossad (English translation)” , L’Humanité (Summer 2002).; French original version: “Hamas, le produit du Mossad”, L’Humanité (December 14, 2001).
- The Tel Aviv Anti-War Demonstration. Adam Keller, The Other Israel, December-2008–January-2009 issue
- Not their war: Israeli media coverage of the Gaza onslaught has largely ignored the protests by peace activists.
Chris Dalby. guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 31 December 2008
- Olmert, Netanyahu clash over Hamas and Golan Heights. SHEERA CLAIRE FRENKEL. Jerusalem Post, Feb 13, 2007
- Situation Map-Gaza Crisis. 31 Dec 2008. Source: UNOSAT