Wednesday, July 30, 2014

War Crimes Radio

War crimes radio. That's what NPR sounds like these days as I drive to and from work. Israeli is doing everything within its power to ensure that the median life expectancy of the average Palestinian doesn't exceed the mayfly.

I turn on the radio in the morning and learn about Israel bombing its 6th UN school, killing scores and wounding countless others. I turn off the radio and head into the office.

The day is done, I head home. I turn on the radio - scores more dead. This time in a market temporally opened during a 4 hour humanitarian ceasefire. The market sits adjacent to what used to be a neighborhood - called Shuja'iyah - before it was reduced to rubble by Israel's overwhelming firepower. Bodies remain entombed in the remains of the bombed-out neighborhood as there has not been a sufficient lull in the violence to enable their retrieval.  

Everywhere they go, everywhere they seek shelter, the people of historic Palestine in Gaza are subjected to the extreme violence of a colonial regime whose main objective remains constant: "Jewish supremacy in Palestine — as much land as possible, as few Palestinians as possible," as Bashir Abu-Manneh reminds us.

"Israeli violence isn’t senseless — it follows a colonial logic," elaborates in his recent piece for the Jacobin. (Go read it.)

Yesterday Gaza's sole power plant was bombed . . . a deliberate attempt to engineer a humanitarian crisis and shore up Israel's long-term efforts to de-developed Gaza's economy, making it a ward of international aid.  

Israel destroys infrastructure and bombs trapped civilians all under the obnoxious pretext of punishing terrorists. In reality, Israel's objective is to root out any resistance to the military occupation and siege that it has imposed on Gaza, and to transform the tiny enclave into a compliant vassal state unwilling or unable to challenge Israeli dominance.

The death toll in Gaza surpassed 1,300 today. Of that number, nearly 300 are children. An orgy of destruction. That's all it is.

Meanwhile in Israel, life remains minimally disrupted. The hugely disproportionate effect of the rockets vs Israel's massive technological advantage and firepower speaks to the incongruent nature of the conflict - what is tantamount to one-sided barbarism carried out by a democratically elected government that believes it has a free pass to kill, vaporize, explode, decapitate with bombs whoever it wants in order to feel "safe" and protect its illegal, expansionist borders.

Worse yet, Israeli leaders blame the incomprehensible destruction wrought by its own invading army on the people it has penned in like animals and massacred in the full light of foreign media. Under international law, the Israeli army cannot claim self-defense against a people it is blockading, occupying, invading, and indiscriminately shelling.

Terrorism is the act of killing civilians to further political ends, terrorism is creating enemies to cynically use them as a pretext for further war, terrorism is occupation, terrorism is theft of indigenous land and the systematic destruction of a people's ability to survive.

Terrorism is more often state-based than not. Terrorism is absolving oneself of moral responsibility, terrorism is claiming that Palestinians wanted to die, terrorism is blaming the dead for their own deaths.

As Susan Abulhawa, a Palestinian-American writer and human rights activist, states clearly, to blame Palestinians in Gaza for the colossal loss of life and destruction they are currently experiencing is morally repugnant and inexcusable:

It’s the equivalent of saying a woman in a tight dress is forcing men to rape her. No one is forcing Israel to kill unarmed civilians in their homes. No one is forcing them to bomb hospitals, rehabilitation centers, water treatment plants, bakeries, or children playing soccer on the beach.  They’re doing it all on their own. Willfully and deliberately. They are using guns and bombs and planes and warships and drones and snipers of their own volition against a defenseless civilian population in one of the most densely populated places on earth. Together with Egypt, they have besieged all borders, so there is no place for people to run or take cover. There is just no refuting this simple fact. 

I have amassed a painfully large collection of links - but to spare you I will post the six most important articles I have come across this week, aside from three very powerful pieces by Palestinian writers I am saving for a later post:

The Guardian front page today (31st)



The four boys recently torn to bits by an Israeli bomb on a beach in Gaza belong to the Bakr family, who happen to be interviewed in this short (beautiful) film made in 2013. Fisherman in Gaza are prevented by Israel's naval blockade (and their gunboats) from going farther than 3 nautical miles out to sea. Which means their nets mostly catch seaweed.

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