[News] It's Time to Visit Gaza

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Feb 13 12:54:48 EST 2007

It's Time to Visit Gaza

Miko Peled, The Electronic Intifada, 13 February 2007

Palestinians wait at the Rafah Crossing in Gaza to pass through to 
the Egypt, 6 February 2007. (<http://www.maanimages.com/>MaanImages/Hatem Omar)

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one area where liberals and 
neo-conservatives in America find common ground. From Nancy Pelosi 
and Hillary Clinton all the way to George Bush and Condoleezza Rice 
one and all are united in supporting Israel's assault on the 
Palestinian people and their land.

The criticism of Jimmy Carter's book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid is 
a case in point. The hysteria on the Right is not worthy of 
repetition, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi outdid herself by issuing 
a statement that: "It is wrong to suggest that the Jewish people 
would support a government in Israel or anywhere else that 
institutionalizes ethnically based oppression." Wrong to suggest? 
Here is something right to suggest: Madam Speaker, it is time for you 
to visit Gaza.

In The Tribes Triumphant, arguably one of the best books ever written 
about the Middle East, journalist Charles Glass describes children in 
Gaza on their way to school: "... little girls with white fringe 
collars, boys leading their younger brothers ... with canvas bags of 
books on their backs, hair brushed back and faces scrubbed ... 
Thousands and thousands of children's feet padding the dusty paths 
between their mother's front doors and their schools ... Beautiful 
youngsters so innocent that they could laugh even in Gaza."

Glass reveals that 56.6 percent of the 1.4 million people living in 
Gaza (if you can call it living) are under the age of 18. That means 
792,400 children; Gaza has no cinemas, no theatres, no concert halls, 
and no space for entertainment or amusement. Where then do these 
children play? Israel controls all access to, from and within Gaza, 
never allowing these children to see the world outside this tiny 
crowded strip of sand they call home. If this, Madam Speaker, is not 
ethnically based oppression, what is?

"Gaza First" was the slogan that got the Oslo accords off the ground 
in the early 1990s. Today, as innocent, unarmed men, women and 
children in Gaza are imprisoned, starved and killed by Israel in 
broad daylight, its obvious that it, meaning the Oslo agreement, was 
another nail in the coffin of a just and lasting peace. Then came 
Sharon's Gaza disengagement, which was a disingenuous claim by Israel 
to make "concessions for peace". Pretending to pull out of Gaza for 
the sake of peace, Israel tightened the noose around Gaza and its 
people while freeing itself from any obligation for the welfare of 
the people of Gaza.

People call Gaza a hotbed of terror, neglecting, or perhaps refusing 
to see that people in Gaza are attempting, albeit in all futility, to 
resist the terror under which they are forced to live. Close to one 
million of Gaza's 1.4 million residents are refugees or descendents 
of refugees forced out of their homes from other parts of Palestine 
only to be imprisoned and impoverished in Gaza. In The Roadmap to 
Nowhere Tanya Reinhart writes: "Since 1967, 280,000 people in Gaza 
have passed through Israeli prisons, detention cells and 
interrogation rooms." The connection cannot be overlooked: Residents 
of Gaza have made a name for themselves in resisting the Israeli 
occupation of Palestine even before 1967 and they have paid dearly 
for this resistance.

On 11 December 2006 Jan McGirk described in The Independent the 
effects of Israeli terror on the children of Gaza: "No sane child can 
remain unaffected by the mayhem of Gaza Strip. Playmates frequently 
are killed or maimed: at last count, Israeli guns had slain 88 Gazan 
children and wounded another 343 between mid-June and December, 2006" 
She further writes that "In Gaza's grim conditions, mothers find it 
hard to tell if their offspring are crying out of fright, pain or 
misery. But when normally bickering brats fall silent, it's the first 
sign of mental scars from being constantly scared." She adds, 
"Muhammad, who would hit smaller children or shatter cups when he did 
not get his way, eventually revealed in an after school meeting that 
two IDF soldiers had executed a young man right in front of him."

In America people still speak of a "peace process", and the situation 
in Gaza and in the West Bank is characterized as a conflict between 
two people who can't find a fair compromise. Few dare to mention that 
the only process that is taking place is oppression for the sake of 
expansion. Palestinian children are imprisoned, traumatized, starved 
and murdered so that Israeli can maintain its hegemony over the: 
"Land of Israel".

Gaza is collateral damage, the children of Gaza are of no consequence 
and the leaders of the enlightened, democratic Western world could 
not care less. But in spite of its enormous military might Israel's 
authority over life in Gaza can be must be defied. People conscience 
must act so that the ethnically based oppression, of which House 
Speaker Pelosi says it is wrong to accuse Israel, must be brought to an end.

Miko Peled is an Israeli living in San Diego. He is the son of 
Israeli General Matityahu Peled.

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