Mittwoch, 23. Juli 2014

Stop Israel’s War Crimes in Gaza!

The Ongoing Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Alan Goodman | July 21, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | On the morning of Wednesday, July 16, four cousins, age 9 to 12, were among a group of eight children who were playing on the Gaza Strip beach. For generations Palestinians, including the fathers of several of these youths, have fished those waters to feed their families and neighbors. Since 2008, Israeli warships stationed off the coast have fired at and detained fishermen. In June, a fisherman, shot in May by the Israeli navy, died. But these Palestinian children went to the beach Wednesday morning because their neighborhood had become a constant target of Israeli airstrikes. They thought the beach was the one place they might be safe. One of the boys was playing in a tin hut on the beach when the first Israeli missile hit. He was killed. Four of the boys ran toward an old shipping container in search of safety. One of them was blown up on the spot, his body blown into the air, his head split open. A second Israeli missile crashed into the beach. A picture posted online shows the impact of the blast near the children’s path as they ran for safety. Two more children were killed. The massacre of these four children by an Israeli military that has, and brags of having, world-class state of the art military technology was captured by a photographer who happened to be near the beach when the crime took place. As photos and narratives describing the killings went viral, every human on the planet with a heart was filled with outrage. Escalated Collective Punishment Since July 8, Israel has been pounding the nearly two million Palestinian people locked down in the tiny, densely populated Gaza Strip with thousands of attacks by fighter jets, helicopters, missiles, tanks, warships, and drones. At this writing, those attacks have killed children, people living at a center for severely disabled people, and whole families. Israel's response to worldwide condemnation: escalation of the slaughter in the form of a ground invasion launched July 17. The full military objectives of this assault are not clear at this writing. Israel has given conflicting explanations for the immediate cause and the scope of the invasion—including that it was provoked by the incursion of a small group of Palestinian combatants into Israel through a tunnel that resulted in no attacks in Israel or on Israelis. But whatever the official explanation, this much is clear: The ground invasion has greatly escalated the death and destruction in Gaza and that is intentional. Gaza is as densely populated as New York City. The people who live there are literally trapped in a tiny area, cut off from the ability to travel, to get medical care, to go to colleges outside the Gaza Strip, and to acquire the basic necessities of life. As Israeli tanks and armored personnel carriers rumble through the streets of Gaza, tens of thousands of people have been forced from their homes. At this writing, with the Israeli assault on Gaza City, the Palestinian death toll is approaching 400, something like 20% of them children. Thousands more Palestinians have been injured since the beginning of the bombardment. The narrow streets of Gaza City and other areas are choked with whole families desperately seeking safe ground, and hospitals and other care centers are completely overwhelmed. At Nasser Hospital in the heavily bombarded Khan Younis neighborhood in southern Gaza, doctors and nurses are working 24-hour shifts, overwhelmed by the number of wounded—many of them children—and facing desperate shortages of supplies, including sutures for stitches. The Israeli invasion is aimed at the entire population of Gaza. It is collective punishment. It is a war crime of terrible magnitude. As the invasion grinds on, there is a disturbing and ominous drop-off in reports on the situation in Gaza, at least through mainstream media sources. Based on everything we do know, we can expect more gruesome reports from Gaza, more suffering and death. And every step of the way, the United States continues to provide military, diplomatic, financial, and “moral” cover for these crimes. “Incremental Genocide” Historian Ilan Pappé, the author of the book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, has done seminal work explicitly documenting that the State of Israel is a product of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population. He insists that the Israeli policy towards the Gaza Strip has to be seen as part of “an incremental genocide.” This is a critical insight. Israel was founded on ethnic cleansing. Through the “Nakba” (the Arabic word for catastrophe) in 1948, through successive and almost continuous wars, enforcing terror on Palestinians within its borders and beyond, ongoing attacks on Palestinian culture, health, and the integrity and continuity of Palestinian society, Israel—and behind it the United States—has continued and expanded that ethnic cleansing for decades at horrific cost. A “Special Relationship” of Mass Murderers Since its inception, Israel has carried out great crimes as an enforcer for the interests of the U.S. empire. In the Mideast this has included repeated wars and carrying out repeated missile strikes, bombing, assassinations, kidnapping, sabotage and torture. Around the world, Israel has served to do the “dirty work” for the U.S. empire, including arming South Africa during the Apartheid era, and playing a critical role in the suppression of revolts in Central American through genocide, like the killing of 200,000 Indigenous people in Guatemala in the early 1980s. For decades, the criminal “special relationship” between the U.S. and Israel has been a cornerstone of the ability of the rulers of the U.S. to stand atop a world of slums and sweatshops, racism, oppression of women, devastation of the environment, and all the rest. U.S. backing for Israel poses problems for the rulers of the U.S. in the context of continuing upheaval and chaos in the Middle East and their attempts to maneuver and bully their way through that upheaval. But even as this is the case, the rulers of the U.S. continue to have a great need for Israel and the role it plays. No Complicity! Protests are breaking out around the world as I write this. There need to be many more! Now is no time for silence, or silent complicity—including in the form of, or justified by, excuses that “the situation is so complicated.” No, it isn’t. Calling this one-sided slaughter a situation too complicated to sort out, or faulting “both sides” because Hamas is an Islamic fundamentalist group that has launched missiles at Israel, while dismissing the exponentially more defining elements of Israel’s massacre in Gaza, is an immoral cop-out. It is as if a woman slapped a man who had been abusing her, beating her, raping her, threatening her with death repeatedly, and that woman was blamed for causing whatever came next from her abuser because she slapped him. There is a basic question of right and wrong here. Everyone needs to be challenged to confront reality and struggle to stop the “incremental genocide” and ongoing ethnic cleansing being implemented in an extreme way right now against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

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