Gaza’s Crisis Is Also Ours

gaza“They are back at it… I guess ‘they’ will never make peace…”  Well, if we say or think of it this way, we are “off the hook” so we can walk on and leave the people of Gaza to continue being bombed, targeted, destroyed… and, yes, massacred.  We in our country, have been viewing a one sided presentation of what happened in Gaza… a very well crafted Israeli construction.  This solitary analysis, of course, is what the Israeli people have had as a steady diet….until now!

This morning, I read with hope a piece by Israeli author Daniel Ben Simon:  “…And then everything changed. Toward the end, the war underwent a surprising turnabout. It began with talk about an imminent cease-fire. Suddenly, Israelis were exposed to the magnitude of destruction in Gaza with an intensity they had not known before. The three main television stations, which had operated in the course of the warfare with one voice, started uncovering the other side of the war. The Palestinian losses that had been reported only in numbers, suddenly were given a face and a form. Palestinian grief filled the screens. Pictures of hospitals in Gaza that collapsed by the burden and overflow of the wounded and dead were featured. Palestinian neighbourhoods were featured. Time after time, the media screened the bodies of children who were killed for only one reason: They had the bad luck to be born and grow up in Gaza.

“In addition to the focus on the Palestinian victims, other dissonant notes began to be heard, notes that had not been heard before. The news broadcasts reported increasing criticism on the part of heads of state, and especially from the president of France and his foreign minister who described what had occurred in Gaza as a ‘massacre.’ What had originally seemed to be a defensive operation over our home front aroused condemnation from foreign leaders.

“’To tell you the truth, I was surprised,” said Avner Azulay, a former high-ranking member of the Mossad, to Al-Monitor. ‘I kept switching channels to make sure what I was seeing. All at once, I was exposed to international criticism against Israel. Suddenly, there’s a confrontation of Bibi [Benjamin Netanyahu] with President [Barack] Obama, a confrontation with Secretary of State John Kerry, maybe sanctions of Spain against Israel and the threat of freezing arms export deals with Britain. The conclusion of the war is definitely different than its inception.’”

On August 8, I read the following in an IMEC report.  IMEC news, unlike the Israeli media, has been faithful to report what was happening in Gaza as it happened. The resumption of violence started this way, according to a report by Saed Bannoura. The Ministry said Ibrahim Zoheir ad-Dawawsa, 10 years of age, was killed after the army bombarded a mosque, where families took shelter, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

When this all started, I went to New York City to join a demonstration on behalf of the Gazan People.  It was sponsored by a group called: Jewish Voice for Peace, who with other groups met in Bryant Park, the heart of New York City. The program had already started, and for a half an hour we recited the names of children who had been killed by Israeli targeted bombing, then, with our ears ringing we started to walk through the downtown area. I had been given a flyer. It had a photograph of a beautiful little girl with her name:  Janna Mohammed Alhems – Age 3 years… and the hard truth – Killed by Israeli Bombs  Paid for by U.S. $$$. I carried this flyer as a poster to show people who would look and still carry it with me so that others can see this little girl who will never enjoy the freedom Hamas fighters hope to obtain and Israel is determined to deny.

As the war on Gaza heats up once again, there are a few things we all must keep in mind despite the distorted media news. Gaza and Israel are not equal… in any way. One cannot say in the same breath with the same meaning… “Israel and ‘Hamas’ must….”  It is not Hamas, it is Gaza.  Another point is the Human Right of Self-Defense. We hear constantly that Israel has a right to defend itself. That right extends beyond Israel.

According to human norms, natural law, legal norms, and international law and jurisprudence, the Palestinians also have a legitimate right to defend themselves. It is also an obligation for Hamas!  It must be remembered, however, that the Palestinians have been denied a state and an accompanying army by Israel and the United States. Therefore the response available to the Palestinians in Gaza is extremely limited and is confined to rockets fired into Israel. These rockets are primitive weapons and not extremely accurate, which is why they have been defined as fireworks. But that is all that the Palestinians have for their defense. This response is the only avenue open to a society under military attack to try and force the cessation of such an attack when the aggressor will not negotiate with you in good faith.  (Based on an article published on Tuesday, August 5, 2014, by Lynda Burstein Brayer, graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Law, political and legal commentator.)

Gaza’s basic terms of a truce are the most basic need for their people to live: establishing either a seaport or an airport in the Gaza Strip to allow this isolated strip an opening to import their material need for subsistence. Israel totally rejects this. Israel also demands to “reserve the right” to conduct targeted killings.

So, it does look as if Israel and Gaza will never make peace… not as long as we… that is the U.S. can and did re-arm Israel when they ran out of ammunition used up in the Gaza Massacre. Yes, the keystone to peace is the United States, that is, us. We are morally obliged to bring our Middle Eastern ally into conformity with “human norms, natural law, legal norms and international law and jurisprudence.” Basically, Israel can no longer refuse to treat Gaza as an integral part of Palestine, nor to refuse to acknowledge Palestine as an independent nation. Then we will begin to have peace, and not only in Israel and Palestine, but in the whole Middle East.

— Sister Jean Fallon, MM