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Killing Without Blame, Killing Without Shame

Killing Without Blame, Killing Without Shame

By Ron Jacobs
3 July 2006

One soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) was taken prisoner. Twenty-four hours later, the Israeli Air Force destroys the only Palestinian power plant, along with several political targets.

This plant provided electricity to almost half of the Gaza territory-700,000 residents. Meanwhile, US-made Apache gun ships and F-16 fighter bombers attack buildings and streets from the air. No one is safe in Gaza any more. This piece of Palestine, occupied for over thirty years by the Israeli army, was supposedly freed from occupation in 2005. Yet, even after the soldiers and the settlers left the region, Israeli troops controlled the borders and their planes controlled the sky above.

After the recent democratic election of a number of Hamas members to the Palestinian legislature--an election that put Hamas in power for the first time--the Israelis undertook a series of actions designed to isolate and destroy the Palestinian government. Without a government, there is no nation, at least in the minds of the governments in Tel Aviv and Washington. These actions include a cut off of funds and denial of work, both leading to a situation where people have little to eat and no money to spend. They include the imprisonment on no charges of thousands of Palestinians, many of them women and children. They also include almost daily attacks on the homes and meeting places of those Palestinians devoted to freeing their homeland from occupation. Most appallingly, the actions of the Israeli government also include killing civilians with no more remorse than that shown by a serial killer. Perhaps the most heinous of these murders was the one that occurred on the beach, where a young girl saw most of her family destroyed in mere minutes. To add insult to injury, the Israelis then attempted to blame Palestinian militants for the crime. Like all other instances of Israeli overkill and mass murder, neither the troops involved nor their commanders have faced any punishment.

The Palestinians' daily lives are a litany of punishment and suffering. Reports from Gaza tell of students prevented from going to school and being threatened by armed Israeli soldiers every morning when, once again, they try to attend classes. In the current campaign being conducted by Israel to supposedly free their soldier taken prisoner, no food is allowed into Gaza, nor gas or other heating source. What this means quite simply is that when the food in the refrigerators spoils (which it most certainly has after two days of no electricity because of Israel's destruction of the power plant), the only food that remains are grains and legumes. Of course, both of these need to be cooked, and without gas or other fuel, there can be no fire and, hence, no cooking. Imagine yourself in a crowded city surrounded by foreign troops that will shoot at will. Helicopters and fighter jets fly over your home, if you have one, constantly. There is no money in the house and, even if there was, there are few places to spend it. Your children are already at age ten involved in the struggle to defend their home and their homeland from the foreign occupiers. You never know if they will come home. Sleeping is difficult since the attacks come at all hours. The next meal has become an uncertainty. Indeed, the next day has become an uncertainty. It's not that you perceive yourself as a victim, but the objective reality is that you are on your way to becoming one. However, to declare victimization is to accept defeat.

As for medical care, there can be little with the borders closed. Most readers have read before how Israel soldiers at the checkpoints they erect often prevent Palestinians seeking medical care from getting to the hospital on time. Indeed, most readers have also read of Israeli attacks on ambulances carrying wounded or very sick Palestinians. The latter reality was an almost daily occurrence during the Israeli invasion and destruction of Jenin back in 2002. Speaking of destruction, how many Palestinians find themselves living in their relatives already crowded homes or in public spaces like football stadiums, thanks to the Israeli destruction of their homes? Most often, when the bulldozers come to destroy a home, the IDF soldiers tell the occupants that the reason for the destruction is because one of their families belongs to a resistance organization. Although this is no reason to destroy anyone's home, there is often another reason, even less acceptable. That reason is to make way for another settlement or another extension of the wall Israel continues to build to keep Palestinians from their lands.

This wall is, in a general way, symptomatic of Tel Aviv's approach to its entire existence. Tel Aviv ignores world opinion and steals lands. It ignores world opinion and does it what it wants, shutting itself off from the rest of humanity except when it needs their weaponry or Security Council vote. Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, the politicians in both parties shrug their shoulders and send another 5 billion dollars to the coffers of Tel Aviv. Then, as if that weren't enough, they send them another fifty helicopter gunships. The atrocities of the occupation are not Israel's alone. Washington and most of the other northern capitals are all complicit.

The humanitarian crisis is ongoing in Palestine, yet the events since the IDF soldier was taken prisoner have made that crisis much, much worse. Even should the soldier be released, Tel Aviv will not relent. The fact that they took Palestinian government officials prisoner lends strength to the suggestion that this may be the end of the Palestine Authority put into place because of the Oslo Agreements. If that is the case, then the occupation will become even more pervasive and brutal. Yet, no government criticizes Israel. The White House dismisses the military actions of Tel Aviv (and the crisis those attacks have caused), stating only that Israel has the "right to defend itself." As its so-called "war on terror" has proven, when the White House speaks of defending something, it means that anything goes. Yet, if Israel has this right, then why doesn't Palestine?


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