O bleeding Gaza, how do you get through the night when the skies spit fire and brimstone? Gaza sighs beneath the weight of the tragedies it has borne on its narrow shoulders since 1948. A million refugees crammed into the area of a city neighborhood. The Israelis close it off, and the Egyptians seal it off. The Qataris, supported by the Americans, fund Hamas, their ally, which has decided to set Gaza light years back. This is Gaza, which the world shunned, and please don’t roll your eyes. What was sown in 1948 is being reaped now.
For now, it’s business as usual. Israel brings down buildings, on top of their occupants inside, while it cries “Help!” — a state under air attack, like Dresden or London in World War II. And while Palestinians are being killed — 30 a day, on average, Hamas broadcasts propaganda messages threatening the Jews — ridiculous films that are useless even to Israel’s well-oiled PR machine. How did the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish put it? – “Our voices are higher than our stature.”
At the Haaretz peace conference last week, Naftali Bennett warned of the dangers of the Islamic State. But who needs that Arab organization, when Bennett’s friends in the extreme right run amok, with calls for revenge that have lethal consequences? Who needs the Islamic State (formerly ISIS), when one of the most powerful armies in the world is obediently, and not without a certain messianic enthusiasm, realizing the hotheaded desires of the extreme right, with the aid of the best of the American death industry?
Now Gaza is subject to the bombardments of the compassionate Jews, whose morality is light years ahead of the brutal Arab morality. What a paradox: The Palestinians are expelled from their homeland and later attacked in the refugee camps to which they fled, and the Jews boast of being more moral. Go ahead and keep pounding the Palestinians if you want, but please stop talking about morality.
In Israel, Gazans are criticized for not leaving their homes during the air strikes. But where would they return to, to the ruins of their former homes? One Palestinian told the Al-Arabiya network that he wasn’t at home when the Israeli army called to warn him, and in the five golden minutes he was granted, he was unable to pass on the warning. So he survived, but without his five children. But Anas Kandil, 19, who wrote on his Facebook page: “Have mercy, God. I haven’t slept since yesterday. Let them bomb the house already and leave us be,” was relieved by Israel of his agony. He and his father were killed in an air strike.
Meanwhile it’s been forgotten that the one who started this escalation, after the kidnapping of the three teenagers, was Israel, when it killed Hamas activists. And we also forget that the day before Operation Protective Edge began, Israel killed nine Palestinians. All without any proof that Hamas was responsible for the kidnapping.
Israel claims the Hamas spirit led to the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens. If so, one could also say the spirit of the extreme right led to the kidnapping and murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir of Shoafat. But instead of Hamas exposing the lie, its arrogance helps justify the Israeli offensive, in Israeli eyes at least. Hamas is ready to accept responsibility for every event that besmirches the Palestinian struggle.
So daily life for Israelis is also becoming untenable on account of the rocket sirens and falling missile fragments. Civilians have a right to live in peace and to raise their children without fear. No Israeli aggression justifies the firing of rockets at civilian targets. Even in these difficult times, humane principles, the basis of international law, must be followed.
In 1956 David Ben-Gurion, wished for Gaza to be swallowed by the sea. Yitzhak Rabin wished for it to drown. Now Gaza is cut off from the world under a tremendous blitz, watching its buildings be destroyed, burying its children. And with all that, it is called the source of the evil. Dear world, just let Gaza be.
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