Many of those offering opinions on the most recent Israeli assault on Gaza limit the number of deceased to those killed within the past week, or from the July 2014 inception of what Israel is calling a war, putting the death toll at 209. The fact is that Israel has been killing Palestinians in massacres and other types of assaults and under other pretenses since before 1948 when Israel was “created” by the partitioning of Palestine and later in what Israel calls its war for independence.
In fact, when we examine the Zionist Jewish project in Palestine, it becomes clear that there has never been a period lasting for any significant amount of time when the Palestinian people were not being killed either by the Israeli political and military entities, or by the illegal Israeli settlers. There has never been peace in Palestine for the Palestinians. Aside from that, we must also consider that prior to this recent outbreak of Israeli violence in Gaza, for one week prior, Israel carried out a violent arrest and detention campaign in the West Bank that killed 4 people, wounded 1000 and resulted in the arrests of more than 600 others.
Israel raided villages, stormed homes and kidnapped more than 600 Palestinians, including small children, in what seems now to have been preparation for this current aggression in Gaza. Israel claims it was responding to the kidnapping and deaths of 3 settlers who had served in the Israeli military and may have been active in the military when they were allegedly kidnapped and killed.
Israel has lately stepped up its air assault on the Palestinian people of Gaza, killing 3 more Palestinian people. They have done so with at least the tacit approval of the United States, the UN and EU. These Western powers seem to feel, perhaps along with some Arab governments, that Israel’s repeated violations of international law, such as targeting civilians, children, hospitals and private homes, are acceptable, so long as this situation would bring Hamas to a cease fire. Israel’s other hope might be that as a result of the tremendous loss of life associated with Israel’s assault, the Palestinian people will blame Hamas for their losses rather than Israel, and pressure Hamas to end Israel’s violence through an open ended cease fire agreement. Israel has already killed in its recent 2014 slaughter, more than 200 Palestinian people, mostly women and children.
There is something very troubling about the idea that Israel entered into this campaign of violence with the hope of bringing Hamas to a cease fire in a confrontation that Israel initiated. Israel had a cease fire agreement with Gaza, resulting from its 2012 assault, which it violated within days of accepting the agreement, killing 3 Palestinians almost immediately after the cease fire was announced.
The fact that Israel has never honored a cease fire is also troubling, but strangely it seems to be troubling only to those who understand, that unless something significantly different happens this time, we have no reason to expect that a cease fire will change anything. A cease fire without conditions has no real purpose or effects other than buying Israel the needed time to regroup and rearm in preparation for part 2 of its 2014 assault on Gaza, and it will never result in anything that even resembles peace.
What is needed to create a real incentive for Palestine to agree to a cease fire must be more than the standing Israeli ultimatum, which is accept the cease fire or die, considering that on average Israel kills approximately 3 Palestinians per week. Some people have suggested that Hamas might be interested in a cease fire if Israel agrees to lift the siege on Gaza, which Israel did in 2012 and of course never lifted the siege. In fact Israel tightened the siege, giving its newest Arab ally in the region, Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the command to bomb all of the tunnels leading into Gaza that were used to transport a minimal amount of needed food and supplies into Gaza from Egypt, which el-Sisi has done quite effectively.
What has not been mentioned enough yet, is clearly a significant result that is needed, is an end to Israel’s 40 years of illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, which some refer to as the occupied territories. Now the world should consider that after 40 years of genocide and ethnic cleansing in Palestine, along with an incessant and very aggressive illegal colonization program in the West Bank, in violation of international law and UN resolution 242, it is time for Israel to end the occupation.
A former Israeli Mossad chief has suggested that Israel should attempt to open negotiations with Hamas on issues related to the economic embargo. Reason suggests that Israel should not even think about negotiations with Hamas until it ends its illegal occupation. Also, the cease fire or die ultimatum might not be that attractive to people who have had at least 3 cease fire agreements with Israel and never stopped being killed. Palestine has been subjected to ethnic cleansing through deadly violence that includes kidnappings on almost a daily basis and that does not include the massacres that have occurred regularly since 1948.
Ending the Palestine occupation would require more than merely Israel’s word that it will relinquish its claimed authority over the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It would require the UN creation of an overseeing committee that would work with Israel and Hamas to develop a plan for Israel’s withdrawal and the associated terms of the withdrawal, which must include reparations for Israel’s near total destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure.
If the world is serious about ending the Palestinian resistance response to Israel’s aggression, we must all push very hard for Israel to end its illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and its withdrawal to its 1967 borders.