Jan 26, 2009
After three weeks of war, the Israeli government declared a unilateral truce and began to pull its troops out of the Gaza Strip. Israel used its overwhelming military superiority to leave behind a devastated country. In three weeks’ time, Gaza was turned into an absolute wasteland where the population no longer has the means to survive.
Hospital services already estimate that 1300 people have died either in the bombings or in the confrontations with the Israeli army. As the population searches through the rubble, they are uncovering many more bodies. The real number of victims is not yet known, but will undoubtedly grow.
Five thousand homes were destroyed, and 20,000 others damaged. The sewer system that carries away waste water is out of commission. A number of neighborhoods have no running water nor electricity. Public buildings and schools sit in piles of rubble.
The Gaza Strip has a very high population density (11,000 per square mile, comparable to New York City). It’s a huge lie for the Israeli army to claim its goal was just to attack Hamas fighters.
Some ask whether Israel or Hamas came out ahead in this violent aggression against the Palestinian population. If Israel’s goal was to weaken if not eradicate Hamas, as it claims, it didn’t succeed. It is not by bombing the population of Gaza that the Israeli government can destroy Hamas and make Hamas unpopular with Gazans. The belief that the inhabitants of Gaza will somehow hold Hamas responsible for the bombings is absurd. Those who have been bombarded will hold Israel, which bombed them, responsible, especially since Israel also continuously oppresses them, with no end in sight.
In Gaza, this oppression is translated into a million and a half Palestinians enclosed in a territory that is 25 miles long and averages six miles wide, with all borders – land, sea, and air – controlled by Israel. With Israel inflicting never-ending violence on the Palestinian population, no one could believe that the Israeli government actually wants to reinforce the side of the so-called moderate Palestinians.
Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority since January 2005, has never gained a single thing for the Palestinians, despite constant offers to negotiate. No matter how much moderation Abbas showed, he gained nothing from the Israelis, not about the status of Jerusalem, not on the plight of the refugees, not on the ongoing settlements nor on the construction of the wall. In these circumstances, it’s absurd to say that some bombs can reduce or annihilate the influence of Hamas, whose hold on the Palestinian population is absolutely reinforced by the intransigence of Israel.
In fact, the real object of the Israeli government was – one more time – to terrorize the Palestinian population, punishing them for not being docile enough to suit Israel.
“Israel is at peace with itself,” the Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni just stated. It is the peace of the grave for the Palestinians and a peace without hope for the Israeli people.