One cannot help it when watching droves of American politicians from all colors and stripes repeating the Israeli PR offensive that goes along with war on Gaza in asking the rhetorical question: “what would you do if some one is firing rockets at your own house” to feel how misinformed, or even deceptive those politicians were. American politicians are repeating the Israeli lines without bothering or considering what the Palestinians have to say about this war that was imposed on them and is destroying them right now. President -elect Obama who set the tone fo r the Israeli PR when he cornered himself and said it in Israel during his visit during the election campaign last year. Obama subsequently remained conspicuously silent during the initial wave of Israeli attacks, signaling his approval of what’s happening in Gaza and became hostage to his own words in defending Israel’s “right” to attack Gaza.
To say that the reason for the Israeli assault on Gaza, which cannot be described other than a Massacre, is because Hamas fired its useless rockets, whish is more of harassment than a military threat, is misleading and disingenuous at best. Israeli politicians used Hamas rockets to jockey for a better position in the upcoming election and to show the Israeli electorate who is tougher and who can silence those harassing rockets.
The number of Palestinians killed by Israel has reached over 700 victims at the time of writing this article. Israel’s indiscriminate attacks on densely populated civilian areas is illegal and in clear violation of International Humanitarian law, IHL. Article 51 of the First Additional Protocol, states that an attack is indiscriminate and therefore prohibited by International Law. Even when Israeli politicians claim that there were Hamas fighters present in civilian areas, even then Israel is legally prohibited from attacking those areas that will end up killing scores of civilians. Historically, Israel has in past armed conflicts with Arab states and the Palestinians had resorted to bombing civilian areas and launched indiscriminate attac ks killing innocent civilians.
On April 8th 1970, Israel bombed the Bahr el Baqr children school south of Port Said in Egypt killing 46 school children, Israel claimed then that the school was used as a military site by the Egyptian Army. Th e same thing happened when Israel bombed at the same year a civilian factory in Abu Za’abal area killing 80 Egyptian workers and that too was claimed to be a military site. As late as 2006 Israel bombed and killed over a hundred Lebanese civilian refugees who took shelter in a compound in south Lebanon, Israel also claimed that UN compound was used by Hezbollah fighters. None of the Israel’s claims were found to be true including its latest attack on in Gaza which destroyed a UN run school that was packed with horrified refugees killing over forty young children.
Hamas was, too, trying to have a better negotiating position at the table with Israel through its rockets. What Hamas wanted was and still is for Israel to lift its blockade on Gaza from land and sea which choked the life of 1.5 million Palestinia n turning their life into and end less desperation. Israel wants Gaza under Hamas to be quite and without its home-made rockets while Israel is not doing anything in exchange. If Hamas or any Palestinian groups dare to violate or challenge Israel’s terms or even harass Israel, Israel in turn will use or threaten to use the full might of the Israeli army as we see in this case.
Therefore, keeping Gaza locked into a tight siege is important to Israel and its supremacy in the region hence surrounding it with a wall and army units controlling who is in and who is out thus keeping the entire Palestinian population in Gaza hostage to the Israeli leaders whims. Exactly like a prison or Ghetto or both. This controlling environment, coupled with Israeli violence or threat of violence for any bad behavior on part of Hamas or the Palestinians in general, including those in the West Bank, have turned the Palestinians into slaves to the Israeli masters.
Israel cannot expect the Palestinians to remain quiet while watching their piece of land is taken from them bite by bite and inch by inch including their water resources. Resistance to the Israeli occupation, is a legal right and a legitimate choice, especially, in absence of fair and just peaceful settlement that takes into account the Palestinian refugees’ right of return, Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestine. Without this, peace will remain just a pipe dream.