Israel’s fait accompli in Gaza

By Eric S. Margolis

Al Jazeera

There are two completely different versions of what is currently happening in Gaza.

In the Israeli and North American press version, Hamas – ‘Islamic terrorists’ backed by Iran – have in an unprovoked attack fired deadly rockets on innocent Israel with the intent of destroying the Jewish state.

North American politicians and the media say Israel “has the right to defend itself”.

True enough. No Israeli government can tolerate rockets hitting its towns, even though the casualty totals have been less than the car crash fatalities registered during a single holiday weekend on Israel’s roads.

The firing of the feeble, home-made al-Qassam rockets by Palestinians is both useless and counter-productive.

It damages their image as an oppressed people and gives right-wing Israeli extremists a perfect reason to launch more attacks on the Arabs and refuse to discuss peace.

Israel’s supporters insist it has the absolute right to drop hundreds of tonnes of bombs on ‘Hamas targets’ inside the 360sq km Gaza Strip to ‘take out the terrorists’.

Civilians suffer, says Israel, because the cowardly Hamas hide among them.

Actually, it is more like shooting fish in a barrel.

Omitting facts

As usual, this cartoon-like version of events omits a great deal of nuance and background. While firing rockets at civilians is a crime so, too, is the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which is an egregious violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions.

According to the UN, most of Gaza’s 1.5 million Palestinian refugees subsist near the edge of hunger. Seventy per cent of Palestinian children in Gaza suffer from severe malnutrition and psychological trauma.

Medical facilities are critically short of doctors, personnel, equipment, and drugs. Gaza has quite literally become a human garbage dump for all the Arabs that Israel does not want.

Gaza is one of the world’s most-densely populated places, a vast outdoor prison camp filled with desperate people. In the past, they threw stones at their Israeli occupiers; now they launch home-made rockets.

Call it a prison riot, writ large.

More: http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/war_on_gaza/2009/01/200914102257130539.html

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