FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Israeli Invasion of North Gaza

On Sept. 29th Members of the militant wing of Hamas fired a Qassam rocket across the Gaza border into the Israeli town of Sederot killing two small children. This is not the first time Hamas members have fired rockets into Israel, though it is one of the only times such an act has killed civilians. The Qassam strikes are largely symbolic attempts to send Israel the message that Palestinians will not acquiesce in the decades’ old occupation of their land and Israel’s long-term designs.

Besides being illegal and immoral ­since they target innocent civilians- these strikes are strategically stupid: They present Israel with the perfect pretext for carrying out its goals of grabbing more land, appropriating for itself all of the natural resources, and evicting and re-concentrating the indigenous population into isolated, overcrowded and militarily enclosed landed prisons. Sure enough, Israel has once again made cynical use of the terrible deaths of innocents by using them as an excuse to launch “Operation Days of Penitence,” an open-ended massive military incursion into the northern Gaza Strip ­one that has likely been planned for months if not years.

Already, in just over a week, Israeli soldiers have killed nearly 100 people, many of them civilians and more than a quarter of them children. They have demolished the homes of dozens of families, torn up whole streets, wrecked businesses, uprooted trees, forced schools to close, cut off the water and electricity supplies to thousands of people, carried out air raids, extra-judicial killings and shut down the heavily fortified checkpoints within Gaza and along its borders preventing the flow of human and vehicular traffic. They have besieged the desperately overcrowded Jabalia refugee camp, a half square mile of land home to 106,000 people, taken control over the towns of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia in north Gaza, and are preventing international emergency aid organizations from distributing food, water and medical supplies. They intend to create a five mile “buffer zone” ostensibly to make the successful launching of Qassam rockets impossible but in effect annexing the northern Gaza Strip (including its illegal Jewish settlements) to Israel before “disengaging” itself from the Gaza Strip ­the latest euphemism for redeploying the Israeli Occupation Forces in and around Gaza “in exchange” for the annexation of yet more West Bank land to Israel.

In sum, Israel has created this latest humanitarian crisis in order to let an occupied, disinherited, and suffering people know who’s boss ­and it is succeeding handily thanks to the help of its foremost champion. On Tuesday, 5 October 2005 the United States vetoed a United Nations’ Security Council Resolution criticizing Israel’s latest invasion of Palestinian land. Combined with the greater than usual absence of media coverage of this event, the US veto stops any further knowledge or discussion of the latest Israeli crime against Palestine.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect. With US presidential elections pending, real debate about the Israeli designs on Palestine is especially unwelcome. No candidate serious about his political career can afford to criticize Israel no matter how mildly. Influential political constituencies combined with the power of the corporate media trash the reputation of anyone daring to suggest Israel must be stopped.

Perhaps even more importantly, to get to the heart of the Israel-Palestine issue would mean questioning the whole of US foreign policy in the Middle East; it would highlight the fact that in no Arab or Muslim country in the world (let alone elsewhere) can people discuss US foreign policy in the Middle East without immediately identifying its fawning, egregious and criminal policy towards Israel as their primary grievance. It would divulge the dead end and chaos towards which our leading presidential candidates are heading in Iraq by exposing the superficial, externally imposed “solutions” they advocate. It would suggest that there are real, justifiable reasons for the growing anti-American sentiment in that region and beyond.

This is unacceptable–and so the criticism is silenced. Powerful pro-Israel organizations within the United States, including but not limited to the organized mainstream American Jewish community are allowed to prevail over our opinions with their increasingly vicious and racist propaganda against Arabs and Muslims. It is they who prevent us from even hearing about individual Palestinians such as 13-year-old Iman al-Hams from Rafah who, on her way home from school this week, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers claiming she was a suspected terrorist. Doctors found 20 bullets in her body–five of them in her head.

Who here would ever know?

JENNIFER LOEWENSTEIN is a freelance journalist and human rights activist. She worked at the Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza City, Gaza for 5 months in 2002. In February 2003 Jennifer founded the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project and visited Rafah in January 2004 for its first delegation to the city. She teaches at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She can be reached at: jsarin@facstaff.wisc.edu

 

More articles by:

Jennifer Loewenstein is a human rights activist and faculty associate in Middle East Studies at at Penn State University.  She can be reached at: amadea311@earthlink.net

Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
Robert Fantina
Democrats and the Mid-Term Elections
Joseph Flatley
The Fascist Creep: How Conspiracy Theories and an Unhinged President Created an Anti-Semitic Terrorist
Joseph Natoli
Twitter: Fast Track to the Id
William Hawes
Baselines for Activism: Brecht’s Stance, the New Science, and Planting Seeds
Bob Wing
Toward Racial Justice and a Third Reconstruction
Ron Jacobs
Hunter S. Thompson: Chronicling the Republic’s Fall
Oscar Gonzalez
Stan Lee and a Barrio Kid
Jack Rasmus
Election 2018 and the Unraveling of America
Sam Pizzigati
The Democrats Won Big, But Will They Go Bold?
Yves Engler
Canada and Saudi Arabia: Friends or Enemies?
Cesar Chelala
Can El Paso be a Model for Healing?
Mike Ferner
The Tragically Misnamed Paris Peace Conference
Barry Lando
Trump’s Enablers: Appalling Parallels
Ariel Dorfman
The Boy Who Taught Me About War and Peace
Binoy Kampmark
The Disgruntled Former Prime Minister
Faisal Khan
Is Dubai Really a Destination of Choice?
Arnold August
The Importance of Néstor García Iturbe, Cuban Intellectual
James Munson
An Indecisive War To End All Wars, I Mean the Midterm Elections
Nyla Ali Khan
Women as Repositories of Communal Values and Cultural Traditions
Dan Bacher
Judge Orders Moratorium on Offshore Fracking in Federal Waters off California
Christopher Brauchli
When Depravity Wins
Robby Sherwin
Here’s an Idea
Susan Block
Cucks, Cuckolding and Campaign Management
Louis Proyect
The Mafia and the Class Struggle (Part Two)
David Yearsley
Smoke on the Water: Jazz in San Francisco
Elliot Sperber
All of Those Bezos
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail