Gazans overlooked in current border conflict

Two issues are underreported on the current Israel-Gaza conflict: how Israel violated the cease-fire and how we tacitly support Israel’s atrocities.

The Gazans have lived under Israeli occupation since 1967, and when Israel withdrew in 2005, the economic blockade remained; control of the airspace, waters, imports and exports and the flux of people still lay in Israel hands. The blockade’s severity has been increasing — with United States support — since Hamas’ electoral victory in 2006. The conditions were such that in January 2008 the United Nations Human Rights Council decried Israel’s “collective punishment of the Palestinian civilians” leading to “disastrous humanitarian and environmental consequences.”

Ending the blockade, and the cessation of rocket fire, were the goals of the June 2008 cease-fire. Israeli government numbers[1] show a decrease in rocket fire from 359 rockets in May and June to 19 during the next four months. The daily truckloads of goods into Gaza increased to 90 from 70, but remained shy of the 550 truckloads seen two years previously. The cease-fire deteriorated, and the rocket fire resumed, when Israel made an operation into Gaza, in November, killing five.

At the time of this writing, 971 Gazans and 13 Israelis had been killed, with large civilian casualties. The actions of Hamas and Israel are atrocious and should be irrevocably denounced. But the condemnations should not come in the current disproportional fashion that gives less value to the lives of Gazans, nor should we forget Israel’s obligations under the cease-fire and the egregious conditions in which Gazans have been forced to live.

However, the primary concern for us is that the Gazans are being killed with American warplanes and other armaments. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, “Israel has been the largest annual recipient of U.S. aid”, since 1976, but in recent years all economic aid has been replaced with military aid.

We are morally responsible for the consequences of our actions.

[1] See Statistics of Kassam rocket and mortar fire from the Gaza Strip subsection. Correction: subsection was removed. The cached website can be found here. The reports that the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs refrenced were produced by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, a part of the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC), and can be found here and here


Leave a comment