[News] It's Time to Visit Gaza
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.
The Freedom Archives
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San Francisco, CA 94110
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