Thursday, July 31, 2014

Daily Times Editorial Aug 1, 2014

Eyeless in Gaza Eid did not stop the relentless offensive by Israel in Gaza. If anything, its bombardment incrementally is increasing and becoming more and more indiscriminate. The latest atrocity at the time of writing these lines is the UN school where families were sheltering, including many children. At least 20 were slaughtered, bringing tears to the eyes of a UN spokesman during a press conference on the incident. Those may be the only tears (apart from those of Palestinian victims) being shed anywhere for the massacre Israel is perpetrating in Gaza, seemingly unhindered and undeterred, with the criminal silence of the Arab, Muslim worlds, western governments, the global community and the UN amounting to complicity in the virtual genocide visited on the Palestinians in Gaza. This is neither the first one-sided assault on the Palestinians by Israel, nor does it look like it will be the last. Palestinians in Lebanon, the West Bank, and particularly Gaza, have tasted this bitter fruit before repeatedly. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu responds to the feeble calls for a ceasefire with the threat that attacks will continue even if (in the unlikely event) a ceasefire is agreed. Could there be a more blatant arrogance of power in an unequal fight? The ‘right of defence’ claimed by Israel and backed from the start of the offensive by Washington has no basis in reality. Consider the sequence of events leading up to the current round of Israeli aggression. Three Israeli teenagers are kidnapped and eventually killed. Tel Aviv blames Hamas without a shred of evidence. In spite of Hamas’ denial of responsibility for the incident, 500 Hamas members are arrested by Israel, the salaries of 40,000 employees in Gaza are stopped, followed by an all-out assault on Gaza, the largest open air prison in the world with one of, if not the highest, population densities in the world. This is because the Strip is chock a block with Palestinian refugees who have fled Israel’s repression over the years. How then can Israel claim that Hamas is using women, children and families as ‘human shields’ in defending itself against charges of indiscriminate killing of non-combatants? There is nowhere for the Palestinians in Gaza to run or to hide. Nowhere is safe, no one is safe from Israel’s murderous spree. Sadly, the only adjoining country that could have come to the aid and succour of the trapped Palestinians in Gaza, Egypt, is currently led by a military regime that hates Hamas as it sees it as an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood whose government the military has overthrown in Egypt and is engaged in the suppression of. Egypt therefore is currently helping Israel in its unholy designs of pummelling the Palestinians in Gaza into the dust by keeping the Rafah crossing into Egypt firmly shut, even for the wounded. Israel is thereby ‘freed’ to pursue its ostensible aim of taking out the tunnels Hamas is supposed to be using to attack Israel, a post facto trotted out argument that hardly justifies the scale and intensity of the bombardment it is subjecting Gaza to. Israel’s purpose, stripped of all the self-justificatory propaganda, is to demolish Hamas because it forged a unity government with Mahmoud Abbas’ PLO just before the Israeli offensive. Israel broke off peace negotiations with Abbas soon after since the new unity between rivals Hamas and the PLO meant the former would now be directly or indirectly part of the negotiations. In sum, the Israeli position now boils down to no ceasefire, no peace talks, no compromise two state solution. All hope of a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict therefore is history. Israel hopes to consolidate the status quo, which translates as demolishing Hamas, sidelining the PLO, carrying on the expansion of its illegal settlements in the West Bank, and suffering from the illusion that all this will offer it peace and security. Instead, all that can be envisaged from the present scenario and trends is virtually permanent conflict and bloodshed. With hardly any voice or pressure from any direction on Israel to halt its massacre, nothing better describes the condition of the Palestinians than the title of a famous piece of literature: Eyeless in Gaza.

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