The Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere in the Occupied Territories have been living in the world’s largest concentration camp for decades. Every shred of hope for peace with their Israeli neighbours is quickly shattered as the Israeli government has mastered the art of delaying and eventually shelving off any effort to bring about genuine peace.
And why should they? They have the upper hand. They are illegally encroaching on Palestinian land by the hour and getting away with it and if there is the slightest indication of resistance, they quickly dispatch fighter jets and bombers and wipe off the dissenters from the face of the map. Such is the current tragedy in Gaza. A massacre is being perpetuated by Israeli forces in full view of the world and yet we stand by and watch as helpless women and children are brutally slaughtered on live television, while viewers in Israel and their supporters cheer on the murderous forces. The Israeli propaganda line is that Palestinian resistance is firing rockets in civilian areas and yet no one has documented such an actuality. Rockets were indeed fired, but upon an Israeli military base that was being used to periodically launch attacks on and to slaughter the citizens of Gaza.
But the Israeli propaganda line was quickly accepted by many in the West and elsewhere, perhaps to blanket their eyes to the horrors being rained on innocent civilians, including women and children, who have constituted a sizeable number among the dead. Perhaps such leaders were seeking to ease their conscience that yes it was necessary to kill these innocent and defenceless people through whatever means in order to bring about ‘peace’.
Understandably, western media like the New York Times, BBC and CNN among others sought to downplay the real horrors of the Israeli onslaught, which specifically targeted civilians by brushing off the war of aggression as a skirmish to be reported on the sidelines of more important news. These media organs have long lost their sense of neutrality and journalistic ethics when it comes to balanced reporting on Israeli aggression. Many in their top echelon of staff are well-know Zionist sympathisers and it is therefore accepted that you will not hear or read it correctly if reported by them.
But how many of the media outlets have dared publish that the Israelis armed with western-provided armaments have militarily occupied the Gaza Strip since 1967. For 47 long years, the occupation remains as one of the longest, bloodiest and brutal in human history. To up the ante, the Israelis have killed 2,500 Palestinian civilians in Gaza in the last seven years.
A fact-finding mission came back horrified after their journey around Gaza last year. They faulted the Israelis for being brutal dictators. They charged that Israel, with the backing of their principal benefactor, the US, had laid “a brutal siege in the Gaza Strip since 2007. It has blocked off air, land and water access to the Strip. Nothing goes in, nothing comes out. This tiny strip of land is home to some 1.7 million people”. Due to its cage-like setup, the team described the area as the “world’s largest open-air prison”.
The seven-year blockade has stifled Gaza’s economy, destroyed its infrastructure and has cut off access to some of the most basic amenities needed to live a decent life. The aim of the Israelis by this siege is to drive the people of Gaza to the point of hopelessness and helplessness and by denying them even basic necessities they seem to have succeeded to a point. But does the New York Times report such ordeals of civilians under Israeli oppression? You can bet it doesn’t.
The fact-finding team also discovered that “the Israeli army regularly conducts incursions into the Gaza Strip to destroy the land it has declared as ‘no-go zone.’ Its tanks, bulldozers and military jeeps, accompanied by helicopters and drones, systematically destroy fruit-bearing trees and agricultural land in the Gaza strip. Civilian infrastructure in this area is also demolished; this includes hundreds of houses, wells and chicken farms — mosques and schools are demolished as well”. Has the BBC reported such blatant transgressions? Again, I know where I will be putting my money on.
Last week, a leading Israeli academic proposed that Israeli forces should rape Palestinian women and girls as they advanced through Gaza. The purpose? To break the back of the resistance! Has such a heinous and Nazi-like idea being touted by an Israeli made its way to CNN headline news? And the irony is that it is these very Israelis who were trying to convince the world of the threat of a nuclear Iran. People in Gaza have enough common sense to realise who the real enemy is, and it is not a four-letter country.
Israeli military superiority may score a few victories on the battlefield against the hapless and ill-equipped people of Gaza. But will it bring acceptance and peace? Not by a long shot, as more and more people are getting turned off by their indiscriminate and purposeful brutality. Meanwhile, the fires of resistance will continue to smoulder.
Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi sociopolitical commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. You can follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@talmaeena