“The Palestinian cause is not the cause of the Palestinian people alone, but the cause of each revolutionary wherever they may be, because it is the cause of the exploited and oppressed masses”
– Ghassan Kanafani (Writer and militant of the PFLP murdered by Mossad in 1972)
The most recent offensive on Gaza is just another in a long line of murderous Israeli campaigns to assert their political domination over Palestine. Meanwhile, these operations also allow Israeli military corporations to tell their clients (police forces, armies, and intelligence services throughout the world) that their tactics and weaponry have been “tested on the ground”.
The official justification for the latest attack, however, is the kidnapping and murder of three young colonisers back in June (for which no Palestinian group claimed responsibility and which some even suspect may have been an undercover operation). In fact, several sources have proven that Israel’s government knew that the colonisers were dead (and even where their bodies were) just hours after their kidnapping, but it hid the information in order to justify unleashing a two-week-long offensive on the West Bank. And this came only two weeks after a historic agreement of unity between Hamas and Fatah, suggesting that Israel’s attack actually hoped to undermine this alliance.
Thousands of homes were raided, twenty people were killed, and hundreds were detained – including academics, social activists, and personalities who belonged to or sympathised with Hamas. Then it was Gaza’s turn. Once again, Israel said it was defending itself from homemade Palestinian rockets (not necessarily from Hamas). However, there have been a grand total of ZERO deaths in Israel as a result of these rockets, along with almost no significant material damage. This is partly because Israel has anti-missile shields and refuges, and an incredibly organised and well-funded military. Gaza, on the other hand, which has suffered from an Israeli land, air, and water blockade for almost eight years, has none of these. It has no drinking water, electricity, and almost no fuel or medical equipment for its hospitals and ambulances. Its 1.6 million people are simply trapped and bombarded mercilessly by Israeli forces. On July 9th, dozens of deaths were recorded, along with hundreds of injuries.
All of this plainly shows that this is not a war, but a massacre perpetrated by the fourth most powerful army in the world against the planet’s most densely populated territory, and against a people that has no army, air force, or navy – and has never had them – and has simply resisted Israel’s military occupation and racist colonisation for around 70 years (mostly through non-violent means).
Western governments and the mass media, however, repeat the Zionist narrative that “Israel has the right to defend itself”, in spite of what international law and UN resolutions say. Israel aims to use money and political alliances to turn itself from the occupier and thief into the victim, and the Palestinians (who have been dispossessed, robbed, and oppressed for generations) into the aggressors.
And Israel continues its murderous attacks precisely because of this complicity, propaganda, and silence. Between 2008 and 2009, when 1400 Gazans were killed, the UN found Israel guilty of war crimes, but it was not sanctioned. It simply doesn’t pay the price internationally for the crimes it commits and, as a result, its constant daily violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people continue.
The victims, meanwhile, justifiably keep resisting. And that plays into pro-Israeli propaganda, which claims Palestinians ’cast the first stone’. As Frank Barat (Coordinator of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine) said, however, we must respond to such discourse firmly, repeating on a constant basis that “Israel declared war on the Palestinian people in 1947/1948, when it ethnically cleansed the majority of their homeland”. Barat also says that, as long as Israel continues to occupy and colonise Palestine, practising a policy of ethnic cleansing and collective punishment against its people, it cannot complain when they resist. In fact, Resolution 3101 of the UN General Assembly (of December 1973) affirms the right of people under colonial or foreign domination (or under racist regimes) to fight for self-determination. Palestine, therefore, has the legal right to fight back.
Gazan writer and activist Samah Sabawi says that we must not only consider the number of Israeli bombs that have fallen on Gaza and the number of deaths they have caused, but also the days and years of Israeli occupation – under which Palestinians have lived and died without citizenship; rights; dreams; work; water; land; or homes. So the next time politicians or the media try to justify Israeli attacks on Palestine, it is immensely important to remember the context of Palestinian resistance, and why it will not stop as long as Israel continues its brutal racist occupation and its oppression of the Palestinian people.
Adapted by Oso Sabio from a text originally written in Spanish by María Landi (http://mariaenpalestina.wordpress.com)