Why is it I still feel unsure of myself when it comes to commenting on matters concerning the Middle East? And the Israeli Occupation specifically? Because I’ve yet to read enough on the subject to truly understand all of the issues surrounding it? It’s more than possible.
Or is it what I have learned is next to never accurately represented in the media I have the easiest access to? The corporate owned western media? Where reporting their “news” is a business? And, again, people being truly aware is bad for business?
We, like the Palestinians, live on occupied territory. They tell us the news that has been filtered through various “agents” so, when a story finally does appear it’s, at best, only a half truth.
Or, more accurately, lies…
Take what has been going on in the Occupied Territories these past 4 days…
The media is all too easily reporting Israel is responding to Hamas firing rockets into Southern Israel. But what their dancing around is the Israeli blockade of Gaza. The Palestinians living in Gaza have been cut off from food, fuel, even journalists seeing the plight of their living conditions, for month’s now.
But Israel is only striking Hamas, right? From the first paragraph of todays ZNet Daily Commentary, “The Gaza Crisis: December 2008,”Â byÂ Phyllis Bennis;
“The death toll in Gaza continues to rise. The carnage is everywhere — city streets, a mosque, hospitals, police stations, a jail, a university bus stop, a plastics factory, a television station. It seems impossible, unacceptable, to step back to analyze the situation while bodies remain buried under the rubble, while parents continue to search for their missing children, while doctors continue to labor to stitch burned and broken bodies back together without sufficient medicine or equipment. The hospitals are running short even of electricity-the Israeli blockade has denied them fuel to run the generators. It is an ironic twist on the legacy of Israel’s involvement in an earlier massacre — in the Sabra and Shatila camps, in Lebanon back in 1982, it was the Israeli soldiers who lit the flairs, lighting the night sky so their Lebanese allies could continue to kill.”1
I’m, of course, arguing Hamas was the democratically elected branch of the Palestinian government by the people of Gaza. As a rejection of the corruption of Fatah. Much in the same manner Barack Obama was elected as president of the United States over the “morally corrupt” Republicans, right? That would be a far more impressive statement if Obama wasn’t “just the figurehead of one of two pro-war, big-business parties in”2 the U.S. But I digress.
Would American’s sit idly by while a “neighborhood bully,” backed by that bully’s irresponsible parent, told American’s the people American citizen’s elected to lead America were, not only not recognized, but labelled “terrorists” and moved upon aggressively? And what are the chances that reaction would be non-violent?
Hamas are the people of Gaza. The citizens. So Israel can claim to be fighting Hamas, yet kill innocent civilians? Have I got that right? I’m sorry, but that’s fucked up. The people of Gaza are being punished for using a democracy for what it is supposed to provide a its people?Â Not that I’m condoning Palestinian methods, but is the way in which the Palestinians have been forced fight back really so surprising? Tell me, how would you do it?
I can’t help but, once again, citeÂ Ali Abunimah, from his brilliant bookÂ One Country: A Bold Proposal To End The Israeli-Palestinian Impasse;
â€œThe Israeli settlement project could not proceed without the use of violence. Imagine the success rate if settlers went knocking on doors asking Palestinians to kindly step out of their way. The scale of violence the settlements have entailed is breathtaking. […] From any moment you choose to measure, the ratio of unarmed Palestinian civilians killed by Israel is always far greater than the number of unarmed Israeli citizens killed by Palestiniansâ€¦â€3
Which, again, inevitably leads to another individual I’ve quoted previously. In the exact same context. Nelson Mandela once wrote;
â€œ[I]t is always the oppressor, not the oppressed, who dictates the form of the struggle. If the oppressor uses violence, the oppressed have no alternative but to respond violentlyâ€¦â€4
Gives the issue a whole other seeming viewpoint, huh? I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but those one’s I do have don’t seem to be compatible with that for which I see and hear. Something is very wrong…
UPDATE: One more thing, if all you know of the situation is what you’ve seen and heard on T.V, do yourself a favor, shut the damned thing off, and go to Electronic Intifada;
UPDATE 2: For what it’s worth, Happy New Year, if you regard such pointless occasions. Not everyone will celebrating, least of all the citizens of Gaza. And as it turns out “[s]everal Arab countries have shelved New Year’s Eve celebrations in solidarity with Palestinians in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip who have suffered a fifth straight day of Israeli bombardment,”5 too.
UPDATE 3: Some very interesting, yet relevantly poignant, reading, “New Birth Pangs for the Middle East…“
- 1Â The Gaza Crisis: December 2008, by Phyllis Bennis;
- 2Â Hereâ€™s What the Hell is Going On In Dodge.
- 3Â Ali Abunimah, One Country: A Bold Proposal To End The Israeli-Palestinian Impasse
- 4Â Nelson Mandela,Â Long Walk To Freedom
- 5 Arab States Curb New Year Events