Jun 3, 2007
During the night of May 22, the Israeli army carried out ten air raids on the Gaza Strip, causing more than ten civilian deaths and wounding several dozen more civilians. In the previous five days, Israeli bombs had killed another 31 Palestinians.
Israel also totally cordoned off the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, beginning on May 21 at midnight.
Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, justified this intensification of repression against Palestinians as a way to defend the Israeli population living near the Gaza Strip from Palestinian rockets.
Palestinian rockets killed a woman in Sderot, a city near the border with the Gaza Strip. These rocket launchings against the civilian Israeli population may be reprehensible. But attacks by this massively armed Israeli military on the Palestinian population are every bit as reprehensible – and much more widespread. Thousands of Palestinian civilians have been killed over the years by the Israeli army, always “in retaliation” for the refusal of Palestinians to accept Israeli occupation of their territory.
The Israeli population is forced to live in a permanent state of war, feeling itself constantly threatened, confined to a country that has become an armed camp. This is thanks to Israeli policy, carried out over decades, denying the elementary rights of the Palestinian population.
Even after the Israeli army withdrew from Gaza in the summer of 2005, it continued to carry out repeated incursions into Gaza, always under the pretext of preventing rocket attacks. It assassinated leaders of armed Palestinian groups and carried out extensive military operations, like those of last June, when attempting to get back an Israeli soldier taken prisoner.
After the electoral victory of Hamas in January 2006, Israel imposed an economic and financial blockade on the Gaza Strip, with tragic consequences for the population. Israel increased tensions which have led to civil war there, with Hamas and Fatah militants waging violent attacks against each other.
Referring to the Palestinian rockets fired against Israel, Israeli leaders ask, “what country could accept to live under such a threat?” But what country could accept to live for years under the heel of the Israeli army, as the Palestinians have done in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank?
Whether against the Gaza Strip or in Lebanon, the only policy of the Israeli government is a headlong rush toward repression. All this occurs with the complicity of the great powers, starting with the U.S., which share with Israel the responsibility for this bloody impasse.