Gaza’s Heavy Price

by

The new Israeli attacks against Gaza, which have already resulted in dozens of deaths, will prove, once again, to be counterproductive. Violence against Palestinians will not diminish their rightful demands for freedom from occupation and for a normal, peaceful life.

Why, then, if Gazans want to live in peace do they continue their equally counterproductive rocket attacks on Israel? Let’s have the opinion of Ari Shavit, a noted Israeli writer and political commentator. Writing in Haaretz Shavit says, “The rocket attacks on Israel are like an attack of the starving against the well fed. The starving are seemingly weak. They have no chance. They’re supposed to be deterred, scared of their neighbors, and refrain from bothering them. But because they’re fanatical, they act illogically. Because they’re economically desperate and strategically weak, they choose to challenge their complacent neighbors across the border.”

Although I generally agree with Shavit, I question his use of the word “fanatical” when applied to the Palestinians, a word which has a decidedly pejorative connotation. Why is Israelis’ desire to live and prosper in peace in their own land more valid than those same desires on Gazans? Are Gazans less human than Israelis?

A more balanced, nuanced opinion is that of Gideon Levy, who has been tireless in his efforts to bring justice to the Palestinians. When asked by an acquaintance of mine why was he so determined in his desire to bring an alternative point of view to the Israelis, Levy answered, “Because I don’t want the Israelis to say that they didn’t know.”

In an article entitled “Did Israel think Hamas would turn the other cheek?” following the killing of three Israelis teenagers and the burning to death of a Palestinian boy Levy says, “All this followed Israel’s punitive campaign against the effort to establish a Palestinian unity government that the world was prepared to recognize, its violation of its commitment to release prisoners, a halt of the diplomatic process and a refusal to propose any alternate plan or vision.”

In the meantime, the Israeli offensive continues and, as of this writing, there are more than 170 persons killed, almost a third of them children, a number that will substantially increase in coming weeks. Despite the tremendous differences in arms and technology between Israel and the Palestinians, people in Gaza continue to resist, in an almost “Masadian” reaction against overwhelming military force.

Let’s listen again to Levy. “What exactly were we thinking? That Gaza would live forever in the shadow of Israeli (and Egyptian) caprice, with the restraints sometimes loosened a bit, or sometimes painfully tightened? That the biggest prison in the world would carry on as a prison? That hundreds of thousands of its residents would remain cut off forever? That exports would be blocked and fishing restricted? What exactly are 1.5 million people supposed to live on? Is there anyone who can explain why the blockade, even if partial, of Gaza continues? Can anyone explain why its future is never discussed? Did we think that all this would continue and Gaza would accept it submissively? Anyone who thought so was a victim of dangerous delusions, and now we are all paying the price.”

And in the meantime the humanitarian crisis continues in Gaza. Because of shortage of fuel due to lack of funds to purchase it, 70 percent of the ambulances cannot run anymore, shortages of medical supplies continue and hospitals are in a protracted state of emergency.

Dr. Mona El-Farra, Director of Gaza Projects for the Middle East Children’s Alliance, has denounced that the European hospital east of Khan Younis in Southern Gaza has been repeatedly shelled with approximately 30 airstrikes. Six patients inside the intensive acre unit and 20 children inside had to be evacuated.

In the midst of this chaos, it is impossible to predict what will happen in Gaza. The ground invasion of the Strip can only worsen a situation that can hardly be any worse. As Noam Chomsky has stated so clearly, “When Israel is on “good behavior,” more than two Palestinian children are killed every week, a pattern that goes back over 14 years. The underlying cause is the criminal occupation and the programs to reduce Palestinian life to bare survival in Gaza, while Palestinians are restricted to unviable cantons in the West Bank and Israel takes over what it wants, all in gross violation of international law and explicit Security Council resolutions, not to speak of minimal decency. And it will continue as long as it is supported by Washington and tolerated by Europe – to our everlasting shame.”

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award.

Dr. Cesar Chelala is an international public health consultant.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire
Halyna Mokrushyna
Decentralization Reform in Ukraine
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Norman Pollack
World Capitalism, a Basket Case: A Layman’s View
Sarah Lazare
Listening to Iraq
John Laforge
NSP/Xcel Energy Falsified Welding Test Documents on Rad Waste Casks
Wendell G Bradley
Drilling for Wattenberg Oil is Not Profitable
Joy First
Wisconsin Walk for Peace and Justice: Nine Arrested at Volk Field
Mel Gurtov
China’s Insecurity
Mateo Pimentel
An Operator’s Guide to Trump’s Racism
Yves Engler
Harper Conservatives and Abuse of Power
Michael Dickinson
Police Guns of Brixton: Another Unarmed Black Shot by London Cops
Ron Jacobs
Daydream Sunset: a Playlist
Charles R. Larson
The Beginning of the Poppy Wars: Amitav Ghosh’s “Flood of Fire”
David Yearsley
A Rising Star Over a Dark Forest
August 27, 2015
Sam Husseini
Foreign Policy, Sanders-Style: Backing Saudi Intervention
Brad Evans – Henry A. Giroux
Self-Plagiarism and the Politics of Character Assassination: the Case of Zygmunt Bauman