Palestinian flags wave in Gaza port (foreground) and Palestinians ride a boat in Gaza waters, a day before a flotilla of aid ships is expected to try and sail into the blockaded territory. On Monday, at least 19 people were killed and dozens injured when Israeli troops intercepted the Freedom Flotilla in international waters. Image Credit: AP

At a time when Israel is facing international criticism for its incomprehensible and deadly attack on the Freedom Flotilla, it has announced plans to raze more Palestinian homes in occupied east Jerusalem, a blatant, illegal move that amounts to a land grab. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was quick to criticise Tel Aviv, saying the plans are "contrary to international law, and to the wishes of Palestinian residents".

Given recent events, Ban might have felt compelled to sound off some criticism. But this Israeli announcement leads one to believe that — despite international criticism — Israel is going forward with its agenda, completely disregarding international law and opinion.

Currently, there's so much emphasis on lifting the blockade on Gaza and easing the pain of the more than 1.5 million trapped Palestinians that the basis of Israeli aggression is being downplayed or even ignored. While Gaza remains a focal aspect of Israeli illegal actions, it certainly isn't the root of the problem but rather a symptom. At the heart of Israeli crimes is the ongoing occupation. This includes the hundreds of checkpoints as well as illegal colony construction and expansion on Palestinian land. Not to mention the land-grabbing schemes and ploys that are changing the map every day. It is very important for the international community and Arab states especially not to lose sight of the root causes of the conflict. After all, that's what the US-sponsored peace plan is aiming to achieve.

Palestinians endure Israeli arrogance daily, whether it involves getting kicked out of their homes, imprisoned or killed. This disregard for human life and dignity isn't something new. And while the flotilla raid has helped shed light on Israeli brutality, the international community should take a deep and analytical look at all Israeli actions in the Occupied Territories.