Gaza: Collective Punishment


Stop the rockets and Israel will lift the blockades.  

or is it . . .

Stop the occupancy and Hamas will stop the rockets.

Of course I condemn the act of missiles being launched into Israel by the Palestinian militants.  I utterly condemn this not least because I don’t believe in violence as a solution to anything but also because the militants don’t even try to discriminate between innocent civilians and the IDF.  We mustn’t hide from the fact that those randomly fired rockets are killing babies, children, innocent people.

And as big, and as complex a picture the Israel/Palestine conflict is, I also understand the need for Israel to protect its people and stop the attacks on its citizens.  But for crying out loud, these Israeli blockades and border closures aren’t punishing the men with the rockets.  They are punishing the innocent – the sick, the elderly, the vulnerable, the children.

So now, under pressure, the Israeli’s have kindly, but temporarily, restored electricity to the Gaza strip.

Well that’s mighty noble of them isn’t it!  Now the Palestinian people can watch TV and take showers and wash their clothes and flush their toilets – for a day.

That is, if they’re not too sick due of the lack of vital medical attention and supplies that the Israeli government has been preventing them from receiving since Hamas was democratically elected last year.  Or if they haven’t already caught some dreadful disease due to a lack of clean water, food supplies and other basic necessities.

Who cares if they’re living under a cruel and unjust occupancy?  What does it matter if the Israeli stranglehold they are forced to live under is cause misery and suffering, often with dire consequences?  Why should it matter that Palestinian families are being denied their right to family life?  Who are they to complain about movement restrictions and border closures resulting in deteriorating illnesses and death?  Or rising poverty levels, mass destitution, malnutrition and the dependence on International aid as a direct result of the blockades enforced by the Israeli government? 

They have electricity now.  They should thank their saviour – their occupier, Israel.

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13 responses to this post.

  1. I understand the Israelis started it just in coincidence with Bush’s visit to the Middle East and the beginning of peace negotiations. Then came the rockets from Hamas.

    To my knowledge no Israeli has been killed so far, whereas there have been scores of them on the Palestinian side.

    If you work out a missile:killing ratio, the outcome will be astonishing: most effectivity of the Israelis with least expense.

    But all in all, the problem started when the State of Israel was declared in 1948 and territories long occupied by the Palestinians were illegaly taken by Israel with the consequent flight of Palestinians, millions of them.

    Many resolutions adopted in the Security Council have been ignored by the Israelis because of the accompanying veto by the US.

    Reply

  2. 2nd paragraph : Sorry it it should read…..”there have been scores of killings on the Palestinian side”

    Reply

  3. Oh Jose, I totally agree with you. I do hope you realised I was being sarcastic in my post.
    Yes, there is a total imbalance of justices and sympathies regarding this complex situation and the Israeli-led abuses outwiegh by far the activities of the Palestinian militants.

    But just as I will never support the Israeli government actions, I can’t bring myself to support the indiscriminate suicide bombings and the firing of missiles by the Palestinian militants onto innocent Israeli civilians. I fully empathise with their plight and their grievances against Israel but the killing of innocents, however imbalanced, has to stop.

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  4. Of course, Earthpal, it has to stop definitively on both sides.

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  5. Sarcastic…..you V ……….Never

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  6. Missyloveheart, good to see you popping you head around. You been busy cooking up wizard food again … 😉

    EP and Jose, you’re right Jose to summarise the situation as you do. The US plays off these two peoples to their advantage and I therefore doubt they are interested in peace.

    The pressure cooker that is Gaza is unbelievable. Those people exist within an open prison, a kind of massive concentration camp, because after all it is a large densely packed concentration of people living in accommodation little better than for camping temporarily.

    I was in Israel for 6 months many moons ago doing the moshav thing and working in a hotel in Eilat. I then went on to travel through Eygpt for 5 weeks.

    I got to know many young Israelis who had just come out of the army. It was obvious they didn’t like the experience and were relieved to be back in civilian life again, working and socializing. They also wanted to see the world.

    I was discouraged from visiting the West Bank unfortunately although a Palestinian did give me a ride from Eilat to Jerusalem via the West Bank.

    The best thing would be for the land of Gaza to be traded for even more land adjoining the West Bank. Having the two areas split is plainly daft. The West Bank can have access to the port of Aqaba in Jordan.

    The situation out there is no good for anyone. It has to stop.

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  7. Good points there Matt.

    Apparently, because of the Palestinian’s desperate but defiant act of breaking through the barrier into Egypt, the Israeli’s are now saying that Gaza is no longer their responsibility, it is Egypt’s.

    Somehow, I don’t think the Palestinians will be concerned about severing ties with Israel if only Egypt would keep its borders open.

    What happens next remains to be seen but Israel can’t escape accountability for the Palestinian plight. Israel owes them.

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  8. Yes, was just reading this;

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7208252.stm

    The Egyptians need to stand up to the Israelis.

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  9. “The move by the Egyptian authorities came only hours after the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, urged them to secure the border with Gaza.

    Later, Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki promised it would “go back as normal”. ”

    I’ve extracted the above from the BBC’s article Matt so kindly sent, and this shows that Egypt behaves as a lackey state to the US.

    As we all know the American government is moved by the pro-Israel lobby in Washington in questions related to the Palestinian issue.

    Washington urges Egypt but no move is done to urge Israel to resume power supply to Gaza.

    And I believe it is not only the incumbent American Administration to be blamed for it – much that they have played an important role – but all the successive administrations on and since the creation of the State of Israel.

    Palestine is a shameful question not only to Americans, European governments are also implied. It seems Europe is the most important trade partner of Israel’s. This passivity on the European side is also worth condemning.

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  10. Spot on Jose.

    I heard Ms Rice insisting that the border is protected but when people are hungry, angry and desperate, they will take desperate risks.

    On a more positive note, Israeli and Palestinian peace activists are joining forces in a protest demonstration today.

    From the Guardian:

    “I think the blockade is pre-election posturing,” she opines. “But we are shooting ourselves in the foot… Israel is a lovely country but it needs to come to terms with its people’s history. We have to move on beyond the trauma … The oppressor is also oppressed.”

    But perhaps Israelis and Palestinians collaborating in the cause for peace may held turn the psychological and ideological tide by demonstrating to both sides that not everyone on the other side is out to destroy them.

    “This joint Israeli-Palestinian action is very important symbolically. It shows that there are people on both sides who want peace and coexistence,”

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  11. I love these peace activists. They are a strong and hopeful part of Israeli and Palestinian societies.

    If Gaza is to stay where it is then it surely makes sense for the Egyptians to allow free trade across their border with the usual border checks in place.

    Jose is right in that the US regime props up a corrupt, unelected Egyptian government who serve the interests of the US. Yes, the EU must do more and begin to speak with one voice.

    The new EU Treaty allows for a ‘foreign minster’ to represent all the EU on such matters, which should go some way to lessening the divide and rule tactics the US plays with EU foreign policy.

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  12. Well said Matt.

    That old “divide-and-rule” policy rarely fails and it would be comforting to know we had a minister who would stand up to the US on behalf of and in unity with the EU, especially in reference to the Middle East issue.

    Reply

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