The tenth day after Israel used a lie to justify retaliatory strikes against Palestine with utterly disproportionate, heavy handed, venomous attacks, the ground troops have marched into Gaza and the results are predicted to be “messier” than the aerial assaults (according to the senior Israeli military official).
In those ten days 220 people have been killed, 80% of them civilians. Among them were friends watching a World Cup game together, hospital patients, a police chief and his family and yesterday the Bakr boys playing football on a beach – none of them a terrorist threat.
The IDF claims that the civilian casualties are justified because they are culpable by association; protecting ‘Hamas terrorists’ and harbouring them in their homes – effectively human shields (as the Bakr children were dubbed).
The Palestinians have no real military presence yet they are trying to stand against an army backed, funded and trained by one of, if not the most powerful military force in the world – the USA. It’s tantamount to sticks and stones versus a hurricane.
IDF claim that Hamas weapons are being stored in civilian houses, enabling them to justify the destruction of civilian property and kill adults and children alike. Were Hamas to store their weapons in a centralised location it could easily be destroyed in one swift attack and render not only the resistance completely vulnerable, but every single Gazan citizen too.
While the rest of the caring world is pushing for trade sanctions against Israel and people are marching in capital cities to demonstrate their compassion, the politicians with the power to effect those sanctions are procrastinating, their silence and distance speaking volumes. Strange no, that we’ve not heard empowering speeches from Obama, Cameron, Rajoy, Valls, Merkel or any other prominent western leader, condemning the actions of Israel.
“Israel has a right to defend itself from rocket attacks,” said Obama. “But over the past two weeks, we’ve all been heartbroken by the violence, especially the death and injury of so many innocent civilians in Gaza.”
Does Palestine not have a right to defend itself from Israeli oppression, fighter jets, tanks, missiles and bullets?
Meanwhile, some Israeli politicians have broadcast what can only be described as ‘hate’ messages and sent a clear picture of their intentions.
“Kill the mothers to stop other little snakes being born.” ~ Ayelet Shaked, Israeli MP.
Benjamin Netenyahu, without a trace of irony, has validated his ground assault by saying, “In light of the despicable and relentless aggression by Hamas and the dangerous infiltration into Israel, Israel is obliged to protect its citizens.”
It’s incredible that his bias has blinded him so much. With not a single regard for the lives he’s ended with his political decisions, for the destruction of property and life, he has the nerve to play the victim card. A country as privileged as Israel has no right to claim victimisation, not with their heavyweight backing and offensive capabilities. A death toll of 220:1 in their favour makes that fact very clear.
To pave the way for their attacks, Israel dropped leaflets giving clear instructions to the Gazan people and a stern message which said, “Whoever disregards these instructions and fails to evacuate immediately endangers their own lives, as well as those of their families.”
In response, Hamas asked people to stay calm, calling the leaflet drop “psychological warfare”.
Away from the lyrical exchanges, the reality of the situation inside Gaza is worsening. Last night many homes were left without electricity and at around 9pm the Alwafa hospital was coming under fire from the IDF, a worrying sign that Israel is choking Gazan utilities and facilities as part of a final solution. With the systematic destruction of infrastructure the people of Gaza will be faced with grave, even unthinkable choices.
Their hope rests on the shoulders of ordinary people around the world doing extraordinary things; petitions, protests, demonstrations, lobbying – all valid causes and vital to ending the persecution of native Palestinians, provided the politicians in question act upon our requests.
Together, we have all the power in the world.