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“In Gaza last night, while Israeli army forces launched military attacks against Gaza, by sea, air and via artillery shells, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children were unable to sleep inside their roof- tinned homes, clinging to their parents, crying, and terrified…These air raids fall on the majority of the population living in very crowded areas, so while they hit their targets, civilians pay a big price- we have many causalities and the numbers are rising every hour. ..It is collective punishment and it is a brutal attack against all Palestinian people, and mainly civilians are paying the price.”(1)
The horrific images and accounts of the attack on Gaza, reflected in the pictures of a frightened girl and of a mournful father, bring out an emotional response and an urge to find an explanation as to what seems a never ending conflict. One explanation is that hardliners in both sides, in the Israeli government and Hamas in the Palestinian side, are not interested in finding a solution that contemplates the two States solution. The Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, which is considered by some as a form of Apartheid, is one factor in the current situation:
”How should we call a regime that leaves millions of its subjects with no political rights, that practices segregation in all walks of life and that denies them the basic right to determine their future? True, there is a Palestinian Authority as well, but it has no power over crucial issues of security, land, water, movement of people and goods, industry and trade. All that matters is controlled by Israeli military authorities, which operate on behalf and at the behest of settlers and Israeli interest groups. That the territories have not been formally annexed to Israel is irrelevant – it changes none of the oppressive practices to which Palestinians are daily subjected.”(2)
Critics point out that the overwhelmingly military and diplomatic aid provided by Washington to Israel is a critical factor. Military power plays an important role in the balance of interests and the stability of the regions:
“….the top recipient of U.S. foreign aid over the past three decades isn’t some impoverished land filled with starving kids, but a wealthy nation with a per-head gross domestic product on par with the European Union average, and higher than that of Italy, Spain, or South Korea.
…. arming and bankrolling a wealthy nation acting in this way may, on its face, seem like terrible policy. Yet American aid has been flowing to Israel in ever greater quantities. Over the past 60 years, in fact, Israel has absorbed close to a quarter-trillion dollars in such aid. Last year alone, Washington sent some $3.1 billion in military aid, supplemented by allocations for collaborative military research and joint training exercises…Overall, the United States covers nearly one quarter of Israel’s defense budget” (3)
The kidnapping and assassination of the three Israeli adolescents, and as a response the lynching of a Palestinian teenager, apparently provided a pretext to escalate the conflict. An accord between Hamas and the moderate Palestinian Authority provided a better pretext for the Netanyahu’s government to invade Gaza. One does not have to be anti-Israel to state that what Israel is doing in Gaza is criminal (4). Demonstrations took place in Anaheim and many other places this weekend, demanding an end to the occupation of Palestine.
- A View from Gaza: This Is a Brutal Attack, Not a “Military Operation” http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/07/08-4
- If this isn’t apartheid, then what is it? http://972mag.com/if-this-isnt-apartheid-then-what-is-it/79513/
- Washington’s Military Aid to Israel http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175804/tomgram%3A_chase_madar,_the_folly_of_arming_israel
7-11-14 Roundtable: Jackie Goldberg