So Israel has launched yet another attack on the imprisoned Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip, claiming it is regularly threatened by Hamas and must defend itself. Israel has said it has no intention of halting its assault.
There are 1.8 million people living in Gaza today with 4600 people per square kilometre, making Gaza the fifth densest area in the world. Israeli attack on Gaza and civilians in particular are nothing new.
Gaza has been called “an open air prison” for good reason. Israel controls the waters and any food or supplies that reach the general population.
Since 2007, when Hamas won parliamentary elections in Gaza, Israel has imposed harsh collective punishments against the Strip. Measures included suspension of civil rights, shortages of water, electricity, food and gasoline, as well as attacks on aid organizations trying to bring supplies to the people, like the Free Gaza Flotilla. Gazans also endure midnight raids and arrests as well as checkpoints that prevent them from leaving Gaza and conducting trade.
Gaza also experiences what has been termed “hyper unemployment”, with tens of thousands of children working for minimal pay and no benefits to support their families.
In Northern Gaza, near the Israel border, olive trees have been destroyed because the Israelis claim shooters hide in them. Israeli tanks have also bulldozed wheat fields or set them on fire during harvest time.
Moreover, 85% of the Palestinian population is food insecure and by 2020 the region may be unliveable because Israel has destroyed the sewage disposal.
Do we need to remind Israeli leaders that the Palestinian people have no military. They have no planes and they have no tanks.
Yet Israeli always uses excessive force. The rockets that have been aimed at Israel have not killed a single Israeli. As of Monday, an estimated 185 people had been killed in Gaza, including dozens of civilians. The UN estimates 3/4 of the dead are civilians.
In contrast, most Hamas rockets have either landed in open areas or been shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system.
Because of Israel’s already seven year siege on Gaza, there are severe restrictions on people’s movements in and out of the Strip and economic opportunities are limited.
Yet Israeli has done everything in its power to restrict aid to the people of Gaza, most notably by attacking the aid ships like the Free Gaza Flotilla
And of course, the U.S and Canada continue to say they support Israel.
After hearing all this, I ask myself, what can we do? We can hold protests which are happening now, we can give up a daily expense, like that morning coffee, set the money aside and then donate it to a humanitarian organizaton that supports and aids the people of Gaza. We can talk to each other share ideas and speak out for social justice and human rights for all those in Gaza.
Sources: Washington Report on Middle East Affairs August 2014 issue
Winnipeg Free Press, Tues July 15, 2014