On 9 August I spoke at the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign National demonstration for Palestine. As an Israeli Jew, born in Palestine prior to the birth of the State of Israel, I am aching for Gaza and for the ease with which many Israelis and their supporters throughout the world excuse the killing of so many Gazans. According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, over 2,100 people were killed, while the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem had put the figure at 1,767, of whom 431 are minors and 200 women. Both agree that 70-80 per cent of the killed are non-combatants, all in full view of the world.
I made three points in my speech. Firstly, the impetus for the massacre was not Hamas’s tunnels or rockets, but rather the eliminatory logic that aims to kill as many Palestinians as possible, gaining as much land as possible. It was horrible to hear Israeli member of Knesset Ayelet Shaked advocating the killing of all Palestinian mothers, and Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Feiglin proposing the killing all Hamas fighters and their supporters, and deporting all ‘hostile Palestinian families’ after first concentrating them in tent encampments near the Egyptian border.
The massacre also aimed to support Israel’s armament industry. Think of it, after each assault on Gaza, every two years, potential buyers are told about the effectiveness of the weapons, be it house smashing robots or the ‘Iron Dome’, in killing humans: children, women, elders, men. According to the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, Israel is the fourth largest arms producer, with 150 companies employing 150,000 workers. In 2012 Israel’s armament exports were worth 7.37 billion dollars, exporting mainly to the US, Europe, Latin America and India. However, using humans as guinea pigs is morally unacceptable. Continue reading “For Gaza, again”
The abduction and murder of three Jewish teenage rabbinical seminary students – Gil-Ad Sha’ar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frankel – in the occupied West Bank three weeks ago put Israeli society on fire. The Israeli government had seemingly known they were murdered from the start but kept insisting they were abducted and might still be alive, leading to an unprecedented terror campaign against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. Media photographs of ransacked houses and seemingly useless searches, among other things, in children bedrooms, stoked Israeli Jewish rage. It meant nothing that the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas condemned the abduction; as far as the most right wing Israeli government since the establishment of the state was concerned, Abbas and his political partners Hammas were to blame and there was no point in continuing the farcical ‘peace process’. Yet, even though many Israelis do not support the settlers, the abduction made headline news, focusing on ‘our boys’ who had to be released at all costs. When the dead bodies of the three young men were found, Israel was awash with a wave of grief, rage and hatred. Gangs of young right wing Israelis poured onto the streets of Jerusalem and other cities chanting ‘death to the Arabs’; a Facebook page calling to ‘kill all Arabs’ had thousands of ‘likes’ within minutes of being posted. And very soon after the bodies were discovered, a young Palestinian boy Mohammad Abu Khdeir was abducted and burnt alive in the Jerusalem suburb of Shuafat by a group of settlers. Continue reading “The Gaza massacre, 2014”
Of course I am happy about the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. After eight days of pounding Gaza’s population, and the barrage of rockets on Israeli civilians, any cessation in hostilities is welcome. While I am fully aware of the horrors faced by friends in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, this attack has been so much worse for the people of Gaza just four years after operation ‘Cast Lead’, and of course also for people in the south of Israel. During the eight days173 Palestinians were killed (113 of thom civilians, 38 children and 13 women)
and 6 Israelis (no children) were killed. In the year preceding the onslaught, 64 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, 5 in the West Bank, and no Israelis. Since the first rocket fell on Israeli soil in April 2001, 59 Israelis were killed and 4,717 Palestinian.
Meanwhile, the US gave Israel 8.2m dollars per day. The reality of the death of children and the devastation in Gaza has been whitewashed in the western media as all social networks report.
The conflagration could never achieve its aims – the Israeli military did not stop the rockers and the rockets did not stop the Israeli military attack. But I cannot help thinking about the inevitability and imbalance of it all. There are many often forgotten but worth retelling facts about Gaza, as the Israeli (Jewish) blogger Eyal Clyne documents. The Gaza ‘Strip’ is an artificial space created by Israel after its establishment in 1948, when Israel chose not to incorporate it. Most Gazans are 1948 refugees, not allowed to return to their homes. Gaza was forcibly governed by Egypt until it was occupied by Israel in 1967, when a third of it was confiscated to build military camps and Jewish settlements. Continue reading “After Gaza, Again”