By Mahmoud El-Yousseph
23 January, 2009
Israel chose war over peace with Palestinians. Instead of reconciliation, Israel preferred escalation. Only two days after last Christmas, and during Sabbath Jewish holiday, Israel continuously bombed Gaza for 22 days. Among the targets were defenseless civilian population of 1.5 million people. Gaza is a Mediterranean strip of land next to Egypt that Israel withdrew from in 2005, while retaining control of its airspace, coastal waters and border crossings. Gaza is one of the most densely populated and impoverished areas in the world.
Israel merciless and indiscriminate shelling is nothing short of war crimes against humanity. During its aggression, Israel targeted and bombed, mosques, schools, universities, clinics, food and medical supplies facilities, one church, and yes, U.N. headquarter where hundred women and children were taking shelter there, massacring 44 person in one single attack. Israel lied about it and when it get caught red handed, and when finally confronted by the U.N, it issued an apology.
(Sorry does not bring the 44 innocent victims back to life!
Israel falsely claimed that it does not target civilian, by stating it warns civilians in advance via phone of impending bombing. What Israel does not tell you, is that its army has also called and texted message 100s of Palestinians to leave their homes or risk losing their lives, but Israel never did bomb their houses after all. Early reports indicate that many Palestinian residents have their cell phones confiscated by IDF for fears of contacting the outside world about their atrocities. That is what I call state sponsor terrorism!
From day one of the Israeli assault, Israel, by way of deception and misinforming campaign, pretended to be the victim, who is acting in self defense and the Palestinians were the aggressors who will not leave Israel in peace and are ungrateful after Israel left Gaza and dismantled its illegal settlements in the Strip. Not True!
First, Israel was forced under the resistance to vacate Gaza after 40 years of occupation. While it is true Israel left Gaza physically, but Israel has maintained a strangling illegal siege on Gaza ever since the Palestinian freely elected a government that Israel and the rest of the western world does not care about. Imposing blockade on Gaza is an act of war by itself, and Palestinians have the right to defend themselves also.
Israel claims, it wants to put an end to the arms smuggling to Gaza through the tunnels, and got American guarantee few days ago that Palestinians in Gaza will not be permitted to rearm. Why not? Should we not also demand that the U.S. and the rest of the western nations stop arming Israel with our most sophisticated weaponry free of charge – which Israel to uses to kill Palestinians at will, without justification, and in violation of US law.
Secondly, the tunnel was primarily used as the only life line to bring in badly needed food and medical supplies into Gaza. This is a Palestinian land and it is not the same as crossing the border of another foreign sovereign nation with the intent to enter illegally or to smuggle drugs.
Thirdly, it is a public record that Palestinians were able in the past to purchase weapons from Israeli arm dealers.
My fourth point, as long as Palestinians are under the occupation, don’t they have every right to defend themselves also against brutal foreign military occupation by whatever available means to them? One of my favorite chants in protest rally I attended in Washington D.C. was, “When Gaza Is Occupied! Resistance is justified!” When England was under German occupation, Winston Churchill said, ” I would turn even to devil for help.” After all, most of the weapon in Gaza are home-made.
During the Revolutionary war, France came to our aid with arms and money during our fight for independence from the British occupation. Shouldn’t every American be grateful today, and say, “Mercy France” ? Let’s not forget that England also used the same methods such as: blockade, savage bombardment, massacres, and imprisonment and torture of patriots. The very same tactics used by Israel today against Palestinians. If we truly value freedom, how can we call one group as a “freedom fighters” then refer to another one as a “terrorist group”.? Isn’t that what we call a twisted logic?
Israel has asked Hamas last June for six month truce and Hamas did obliged. This was done through Egypt acting as a mediator. The border was peaceful and quite until Israel violated the truce twice five month later, by killing six Palestinian on November 4Th. Through out the six month truce, Israel has also killed 29 Palestinians injured 62, and kidnapped another 29. Why? Keeping in mind that there was no provocation from the Palestinian side.
During the six month truce, Israel continued to invade towns and villages in the West Bank at will. Killing innocent Palestinian residents, destroying their properties and kidnap their men. Fanatic Jewish settlers also terrorize Palestinians in the West Bank by evicting them from their homes, destroying their field and uprooting their olive trees, with IDF standing by. Why? Was there rockets being fired into Israel from the West Bank? Off course not! What was Israel’s motive?
The truth is that Israel wanted a stooge government in Gaza, just as the same one in the West Bank. Israel wanted a weak Palestinian regime that dances to its tune. Israel has stated repeatedly that does not intend to remove the illegal settlement in the West Bank. It said “no” to Jerusalem , and off course “no” to the refugees right of return and or compensation.
So for Israel to accomplish that, it does not want a resistance, it wants a weak and unarmed Palestinian government that will submit to what Israeli dictates and wishes. So Hamas and Jihad and the rest of the Palestinian groups in Gaza constituted a challenge to Israel long term strategic interest. Also given the discovery of natural gas fields off Gaza shores that worth of 4 trillion dollars, Israel wanted to deprive Palestinians of their newly discovered natural wealth.
22 days after Israel savage attack on Gaza, Israel agreed to unilateral cease fire, continued to occupy part of Gaza, and refused to open border crossing for relief aid. Hamas did agree two hours later to immediate cease fire for one week on the condition that Israel stop the bombing, remove its forces, and unconditionally open all border crossings.
During the fighting, Israel claimed it lost 10 soldiers, and 4 civilians. Palestinians lost 1350 civilians, among them 404 children, and 108 women. Number of injuries among Palestinian were 4540 people, with nearly half of them women and children, who will spend the rest of their lives with long emotional and physical scars.
Despite the fact Israel is the fourth strongest country in the world, It has failed miserably to crush Hamas and the Palestinian resistance or to stop the rockets attack. So it resorted to punishing Palestinians by using internationally banned weapon to inflict higher causality among civilian populations. When Israel ran out of target on the last day of its aggression, it bombed a cemetery. The message is clear: we will starve you to death, and if you don’t die we will bomb you, and when you die, we will bomb your grave again. I am at wits’ with Israel barbaric behavior.
According to a Norwegian doctor who was operating in a Gaza hospital, some of the banned weapon used by IDF consisted of: White Phosphorus munitions, Cluster Bombs, and DIME weapon which causes wide spread Cancer and leukemia and other devastating effect.
Israel has managed to bomb Gaza to pieces, not peace, by severely damaging 200,000 homes, and another 4,000 homes totally destroyed, Gaza looks now like the city of London during WW II following the Nazi Luftwaffe bombing.
Retired USAF Veteran