Remembering Gaza

A year ago to this date, a brutal Israeli offensive on Gaza took place. This tiny strip of land had been besieged for many months already and its people were already denied the very basic amenities of life. Yet, a year ago Israel launched a brutal and bloody attack on Gaza that killed at least 1400 people. This savage attack did not distinguish between civilians and militants, and people generally agree that the Israeli response to the termination of the cease fire was at least disproportionate.

The Israeli-given reason for this attack was to fend off the Hamas make-shift rockets that were fired onto southern Israel, which have escalated after the end of the cease-fire. However, this is hardly the case. The Hamas rockets are very primitive and make-shift. They are literally composed of gun powder in pipes that fly. Thus there was no infrastructure for Israel to take out. Plus, the Israeli attack did not stop the Hamas mortars even after it finished.

Unfortunately, it seemed that this attack was little more than a political move to help a candidate win an election. At the start of the offensive, the ruling Israeli party (Kadima) headed by Tzipi Livni were losing in the primary polls against pro-war hardliners and right-wingerssuch as Benjamin Netanyahu. This full-scale attack (without the interference of George Bush in has days in office) boosted Livni’s poll numbers and made the elections closer. Unfortunately, besides the large Palestinian death toll, this was the only outcome of this campaign on the Israeli side.

The Israeli attack didn’t distinguish between militants and civilians, and very little was done to minimize civilian casualties. Israel continued to justify that their mass bombing was because Hamas militants were hiding behind women and children. However, it seemed like Israel was using that as a ready excuse to justify anything (and little proof of that was provided in many cases). For example, Israel bombed a U.N. school that was temporarily housing refugee families which resulted in killing at least 40 people all of which were civilians. Israel also ignored international conventions and weapons that were banned internationally to be used against civilians. For example, white phosphorus was used in civilian locations which is banned internationally. To make matters worse, Israel prevented international news reporters from entering Gaza so as to limit the amount of information getting out.

As I mentioned before, much has been said about this offensive. A U.N. fact-finding investigation of this conflict (what is sometimes called the “Goldstone Report”) concluded that both Hamas and Israel were to blame for the conflict, and concluded that Israel committed war crimes and and possible crimes against humanities.

I personally do not agree or support Hamas, and I have stated that on multiple occasions. However, regardless of your political views you have to acknowledge that what Israel did in killing more than 1400 people, at least 1000 of whom were unarmed civilians, and at least 300 were children was extremely wrong and inhumane. Today, Israel is still denying basic amenities and even cement from entering Gaza to rebuild the destroyed homes.

On this day, it is worth giving a moment to think and reflect.

  1. begollak el mathal, “gellet el comment ,comment”!!!

  2. I think this attack was terrible! This is the holy land for many people all over the world. Why are our holy lands being attacked with no protection and allowed to happen? I just dont get it

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