I want to talk about the regressive way in which we discuss Gaza; it is an entity unto itself, divorced from Palestine. Our discourse does not arise solely from geographic reality – Gaza is cut off from the rest of Palestine – but also from deliberate American and Israeli policy. They have created a Gaza Occupation, which is different from the West Bank Occupation. Godlike, they seek to differentiate us from ourselves – by creating the Fayyadist ‘economic miracle’ in the West Bank, by refusing to permit families to unite, by refusing to permit students to move between the territories, by orchestrating coups. Maybe Zionists in the White House and Israel intend to shove off the Palestinians in the West Bank to Jordan, and those in Gaza to Egypt, or hell. I don’t know.
Many people do not realize that Gaza had been under partial siege for years before Dayton’s Coup. The Fatah coup launched by the venal Mahmoud Abbas et al tightened the chokehold, but it had existed for some time. The people in Gaza – then, as now – depended on foreign aid and sheer ingenuity. My sister Yasmine decided to launch a non-profit in 2007 aimed at alleviating some of the dependency. Her focus was on teaching methods of sustainable farming; desperate Palestinians would grow their own cucumbers, tomatoes, and so on. I thought it was a great idea, but questioned whether her name for the venture was appropriate; she called it “Save Gaza.”
“Why ‘Save Gaza,’” I wanted to know. “Why not ‘Save Palestine?’” Gazans have always been poorer than their compatriots in the West Bank. And we’re from Gaza. But was that really enough to justify the rhetorical partitioning of the national consciousness? Again, this was before the coup. The venture is now defunct; the Abbasniks sought instead to sow the ‘seeds of discontent,’ as it were.
Much has happened since then, and I believe that most readers of this blog know a lot about it. My only purpose here is to remind the reader that the Palestinian people exist in commonality, despite material differences. Materiality should inform the way we approach the struggle, not only in Gaza and the West Bank, but also between towns and camps in both territories. Practical forms of struggle in one place may not be practical in others. But through it all, we must remind ourselves that Gaza is a part of Palestine, however isolated it may be. Mr. Abbas and Mr. Obama may struggle against that fact as much as they like. They overestimate their divinity.
Ahmed Moor is a 25-year-old Palestinian-American from the Rafah refugee camp. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he now lives in Beirut.