Despite Israel’s intensive cover-up of its ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people, stark images and indisputable facts continue to seep through from the Gaza Strip.
The world has never witnessed a braver, more steadfast and resolute people than the en-caged Palestinians of Gaza — and that goes for every man, woman and child, from Hamas down, enduring unspeakable conditions and saying, in a voice that should be familiar to most Americans, give me liberty or give me death.
We have all witnessed what Israel’s response to this anguished cry has been and the ultimate sacrifices the Palestinians in Gaza continue to pay, most recently with the life of a young paramedic, Razan Najjar (21).
Razan Najjar’s hometown of Salama, five kilometers east of Jaffa, is now on Visualizing Palestine’s map “Short Walk Home; Long Walk to Freedom” – revealing what Haaretz hides by insidiously (given the context of the Great March of Return) referring to her “hometown” as Khuza’a, instead. More than 70 percent of the Palestinian population on the Gaza Strip are refugees from their hometowns, now usurped by Jews.
That any person with an ounce of human empathy would write about Israel’s so-called “humanitarian aid” to the Palestinians of Gaza or deny the misery of their human condition as exiles and refugees from their homes and lands just a few kilometers away fills me with an unbearable sorrow and rage.
Western media continue to use the Jewish state of Israel as a foil to Islam by saying very little about Israel’s avowedly religious character and a lot about Hamas’s.
Now, more than ever, Israel’s “security” has become an automatic euphemism for fending off Islam [currently in the shape of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran], and perpetuating Western hegemony.
The reality, though, is that Israel’s modernization is skin deep, as the reigning paradigm for its continued existence is not a simple secular nationalism for all who live in it but an ideologically exclusionary social and political policy toward non-Jews based on an ancient tribal identity.
Israel’s worldwide hasbara machine continues to deny the fundamental human rights of Palestinians, and in doing so, dehumanizes them. As this headline says, ‘When Tel Aviv goes to war, universities and activists are organized to beat back the bad news.’
“Israel not to blame for Palestinian deaths; Hamas is to blame” are the links I found on Google from every conceivable source for the first few pages of an inquiry into the legality of the blockade. It was only on page five (in my own search) that I came to: Don’t Blame Hamas for the Gaza Bloodshed from Human Rights Watch.
Israeli propaganda deflects the situation and blames the victim even as reports, such as the following on Israel’s horrific blockade of the Gaza Strip by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, continue to detail the disastrous situation there:
“Despite widespread recognition that the situation in Gaza is unsustainable, unliveable, and in many ways horrific, little progress has been made in improving the humanitarian situation of the people there.”
Israel has a long history of running afoul of international law and then trying to “talk away” its violations by employing lawyers to find legal technical loopholes to squeeze itself through and avoid complying with various international conventions to which it is a party. If you search the Internet, you will find many examples of this unconscionable legal “disputation”.
A quick example is Israel’s 1967 military occupation of the rest of the territory of Arab Palestine. In 1948, as many people are now aware, the European settler-colonial Zionist movement set up shop on 78 percent of historic Palestine as a Jewish state by ethnic cleansing most of the non-Jewish Palestinian Arab population.
Israel now claims that it does not “legally” occupy the remaining 1967 territory it invaded, and therefore it does not have to abide by the Geneva Convention.
In fact, you will find people all over the internet still “disputing” all kinds of facts related to the violent establishment of Israel on most of the territory called Palestine and described on maps as Palestine for centuries.
The disputations include preposterous statements denying both the existence of Palestine as a geographic region as well as the existence of non-Jewish Palestinian Arabs and their claim to the land on which they had existed for millennia.
The legal semantics regarding Israel’s siege of Gaza revolve around whether “Israel and Hamas” are involved in an “international armed conflict” (IAC) or not. If they are, that supposedly gives Israel the right to blockade Gaza. The legality of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, according to this version of events,
“seems to depend on its willingness to concede that it is occupying Gaza and is thus in an IAC with Hamas. But Israel does not want to do that, because it would then be bound by the very restrictive rules of belligerent occupation in the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
In an alternative strategy, when Israel finds itself under international attack on a certain issue, it uses its powerful ally, the U.S., to veto or influence outcomes involving UN “panels” in its favor.
In the case of the siege of the Gaza Strip and the question of the legality of that siege, here is a Haaretz headline that sums up the situation:
“Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip violates international law, a panel of human rights experts reporting to a UN body said on Tuesday, disputing a conclusion reached by a separate UN probe into Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship.”
In an honors dissertation (2011), Elisha A. Kemp argues that
“The blockade is disproportionate and therefore illegal under international law. In assessing proportionality, the harm to the civilian population must be looked at as a whole. The combined harm the land blockade and naval blockade cause the civilian population in Gaza greatly outweigh any military advantage Israel derives from the naval blockade. Under the Oslo Accords, Israel already has the power to prevent missiles from being imported. The naval blockade is an unnecessary measure.”
When will the West learn that its allegiance to a Jewish state in Palestine is devoid of all human decency and compassion?
Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank. She is a frequent contributor to Global Research.