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Gaza and the limits of American sympathy

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Last Saturday, the New York Times reported, in a front page article on the fifth weekly Gaza protest against Israel’s continuing violation of their right to return to their ancestral homes, now occupied by Israel, that Israeli soldiers had shot to death three men who had breached a barbed wire fence on Palestinian land near Israel’s Gaza fence. Their weapons had been “wire cutters, hooks and winches.”

In addition to the three deaths, IDF soldiers also reportedly injured nearly 1,000 protesters, of a total estimated by the IDF as between 12,000 to 14,000. The IDF asserted: “‘This is not a peaceful demonstration… They’re trying to infiltrate into Israel, damage our infrastructure and kill Israelis.'”

In 1987, President Reagan, standing on the West side of the Berlin Wall, famously appealed to Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this Wall.” Mr. Gorbachev did tear it down, ending both the Cold War and the separation of East and West Berlin. Israel, having no knowledge that the Palestinian protesters killed on Friday had intentions any other than symbolic ones, brooks no ambiguities.

The implication of the New York Times coverage of the “Great Return March” in Gaza is that the weekly protest demonstrations by tens of thousands of desperate people must be entirely peaceful to be deserving of our support. This is a demand for a superhuman response to the conditions of daily life in Gaza. The people of Gaza were recently told by the UN that the Gaza Strip, their place of refuge from their expulsion from their ancestral homes, will itself become uninhabitable by 2020. By 2020, the people of Gaza will be facing what will amount to their indirect genocide: the clearly foreseeable environmental and human health consequences of Israel’s destruction of their water purification and electrical plants, schools, homes, hospitals, farmlands, and economy — their civil infrastructure — by catastrophic and sustained bombings, including massive use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium, unlawful weapons of war, and, most recently, explosive bullets. Israel enforces a blockade of fishing waters that belong to Gaza, in violation of international law, leaving no choice but the overfishing of the narrow band of shoreline water still allowed for fishing; still refuses to allow the importation of cement needed to rebuild homes, apartment buildings, and civil infrastructure that was destroyed in 2009 and further decimated in 2014, including hospitals; and often delays entry into Israel for emergency life-saving medical attention that is no longer available in Gaza, until after patients die.

Final ironies, as Israel destroys the habitability of the entire Gaza Strip and its soldiers shoot unarmed protesters like targets in a shooting gallery, are that the people who are entitled by law to use deadly force are the people of Gaz, against the soldiers of the occupying state, and that an occupying power’s soldiers — the IDF, in this case — are fair game for the occupied people to attack. And an occupier that rapes and pillages the occupied lands and resources and kills its unarmed people is acting in clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

We cannot reasonably demand that an entire people facing the imminent destruction of their refuge, one that has been called an “open air prison,” because Israel has barricaded the Gaza Strip by land, sea, air, and even underground, must prove their worthiness for global support by responding only peaceably and politely to their looming demise.

With the population of Gaza facing environmental collapse within less than two years, as well as continuing inhumane and unlawful persecution, acts arising from the depths of despair may reasonably be expected. And we would be wise to ask ourselves, “What would we do, in such circumstances?”

Barbara Harvey

Barbara Harvey has long advocated for human rights with such organizations as the National Lawyers Guild and the Center for Constitutional Rights. She is active with Jewish Voice for Peace.

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18 Responses

  1. yourstruly on April 30, 2018, 11:20 am

    Gaza and the Warsaw Ghetto

    same place
    different times
    while the world stands by

  2. Maghlawatan on April 30, 2018, 1:53 pm

    The NYT doesn’t give the context because Zionism wouldn’t allow it.
    The problem with neutralising all alternatives is what happens next.
    In nature where there is no balance there is collapse.

    • on May 1, 2018, 8:46 pm

      Beautifully said

      • Maghlawatan on May 2, 2018, 3:20 am

        Cordyceps is a parasite of ants. It developed around the same time as ants did around 100 million or so years ago and is the ant nemesis. It looks brutal but the fungus plays a very important role in the life of the forest.

        As David Attenborough says in the end of the video ” these attacks do have a psitive effect on the jungle’s diversity since parasites like these stop groups of animals getting the upper hand. The more numerous a species becomes the more likely it will be attacked by its nemesis”
        Zionism is an attempt to reorder time, space and history but it cannot escape the system laws of nature.
        Nukes mean it has no military predators. By neutering all sources of dissent, all possible exit routes are blocked. Zionism has no diversity. It is a monoculture.

        Failure will either come from internal sources or else the goys will organise it. Something that the IDF didn’t imagine will kill it. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 1948. The Zionist nemesis.

  3. Ossinev on April 30, 2018, 1:54 pm

    Meanwhile a leading “America Firster” LOL Senator Lindsey Graham has called for Zioland to be given even more US taxpayer dollars to assist them in their Light unto the Nations endeavours. Well incremental genocide is arguably a lot more expensive than eg the Nazi style all out Final Solution. Those explosive bullets for example cost a lot more than the basic originals and what with the cost of defence against new high tech Gazan terror kites , the cost of replacing all that damaged ghetto standard barb wire and the labour costs in building those sniper earth banks. It just goes on and on and it`s simply unfair and arguably anti- Semitic to expect poverty stricken Zioland to pay for all these and subsidise their poor eternally victimised settlers at the same time.

    • festus on April 30, 2018, 4:38 pm

      Graham and McCain are the two most reliable goy puppets.

      • Citizen on April 30, 2018, 7:39 pm

        Nikki Haley’s no slouch, nor Trump’s two latest high appointees

      • Sibiriak on May 1, 2018, 3:13 am

        CNN POLL: America’s most popular politician is…Nikki Haley

        Haley is viewed positively by some 63 per cent of US voters, while only 39 per cent gave their approval of US President Donald Trump. Haley’s popularity also stretched to both sides of the political spectrum, with 75 per cent of Republicans, 55 per cent of Democrats and 63 per cent of Independents supporting the former South Carolina governor. She was only exceeded by former president Barack Obama, who was still held in high regard by some 66 per cent of voters.


        5 Things To Know About Nikki Haley’s Jewish Right-Hand Man Jon Lerner

      • Keith on May 1, 2018, 11:31 am

        SIBIRIAK- “CNN POLL: America’s most popular politician is…Nikki Haley”

        In some ways, Nikki Haley’s public persona is similar to Trump’s. They are both shallow, big mouth showboats who say things based upon their perceived impact upon their own popularity.

  4. Keith on April 30, 2018, 6:12 pm

    Both Israel and the empire are militarized warfare states that continue to become ever more brutal in crushing dissent. I fear dark times ahead.

    “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking in Jordan at the end of a four-day, four-nation tour through the Middle East, expressed support on Monday for Israel and its response to weekly protests in Gaza that have left dozens of people dead.

    “We do believe the Israelis have the right to defend themselves, and we’re fully supportive of that,” he said at a news conference with Ayman Safadi, the Jordanian foreign minister, when asked about the protests.” (Gardiner Harris)

    • Marnie on May 1, 2018, 12:24 am

      “I fear dark times ahead”.

      I could not agree more.

      Other reasons to be frightened:

      The Press Response to Michelle Wolf’s Comedy Routine … – Alternet…/press-response-michelle-wolfs-comedy-routine-should-frig…

      Analysis // Great Show, Glaring Flaw: 3 Takeaways From Netanyahu’s ‘Iran Lied’ Speech
      What the Israeli prime minister presented on Monday wasn’t a smoking gun but a photograph of a smoking gun taken years ago

      Netanyahu’s ‘evidence’ was presented in Tel Aviv entirely in english. His intended audience was tRUMP who claimed he knew that all along. We’re all fucked.

      • Marnie on May 1, 2018, 12:39 am

        Zarif likens Netanyahu to ‘the boy who cried wolf’

        Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:47PM PressTV
        / Iran
        / Politics

        Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is like the boy who cries wolf after he repeats old allegations concerning Iran’s nuclear activities.

        “The boy who can’t stop crying wolf is at it again. Undeterred by cartoon fiasco at UNGA. You can only fool some of the people so many times,” tweeted Zarif on Monday.

        Zarif was referring to Netanyahu’s 2012 address to the United Nations in which he unfolded a chart with a cartoon-style drawing of a nuclear bomb, and proceeded to draw on it with a red magic-marker.

        “This is a bomb,” he said. “This is a fuse.”

        In a separate tweet, Zarif rejected accusations by the US President Donald Trump and Netanyahu concerning Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

        “Pres. Trump is jumping on a rehash of old allegations already dealt with by the IAEA to “nix” the deal. How convenient. Coordinated timing of alleged intelligence revelations by the boy who cries wolf just days before May 12. But Trump’s impetuousness to celebrate blew the cover,” he tweeted.

        The remarks were made in response to Netanyahu who earlier delivered a televised address in which he accused Iran of violating the JCPOA. “That is just not an acceptable situation. They’re not sitting back idly. They’re setting off missiles, which they say are for television purposes. I don’t think so,” he said.

        Just minutes after Netanyahu’s speech, US President Donald renewed his strong criticism of JCPOA and gave a tacit approval to the Israeli prime minister’s rhetoric.

        US President Donald Trump says his approach towards the Iran nuclear deal will not affect talks with North Korea.

        Meanwhile, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said that Netanyahu is playing a baseless childish, naive game.

        Araqchi went on to stress that such allegations against Tehran have already been proven wrong by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA.)

        Since the JCPOA Implementation Day in January 2016, the IAEA has been monitoring Iran’s compliance with its nuclear-related commitments under the nuclear deal and has consistently verified the Islamic Republic’s compliance.

        Araqchi also the Israeli PM is trying to affect US President Donald Trump’s upcoming decision about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA.)

        He further noted that Iran does not care about Netanyahu’s allegations.

        The deputy foreign minister also said that Tehran is prepared for any scenario caused by the US president regarding future of JCPOA.

        Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the US, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany signed the nuclear agreement on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.

        Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.

        Trump has repeatedly described the JCPOA, which was negotiated under his predecessor, Barack Obama, as “the worst and most one-sided transaction Washington has ever entered into,” a characterization he often used during his presidential campaign, and threatened to tear it up.

        Trump has threatened to pull out of the JCPOA unless Congress and America’s European allies help “fix” it with a follow-up agreement within a 120-day deadline.

  5. Ossinev on May 1, 2018, 8:29 am

    “Netanyahu’s ‘evidence’ was presented in Tel Aviv entirely in english. His intended audience was tRUMP who claimed he knew that all along. We’re all fucked”

    This is the same Yahoo (sans cartoon presumably they are banned in House Committee hearings) who claimed that there was absolutely no question that Saddam/ Iraq was developing a nuclear bomb. Lying a….hole then. Lying a…hole now.

    Loved the “Iraq is a big country. It`s not the size of Monte Carlo”. Monte Carlo is a town in MONACO which is a country. What a d…head.

    Speaking of d…heads does he have some sort of twisted porn thing when it comes to cartoons ?

    • Marnie on May 1, 2018, 9:04 am

      He’s such a moron, sympatico with tRUMP though, right? He’s been crying wolf since the 1990s; the thing is tRUMP was just a slumlord in the 90’s and boobie wasn’t PM.

  6. Ossinev on May 1, 2018, 8:33 am

    “CNN POLL: America’s most popular politician is…Nikki Haley”

    Sounds like she may be next for the chop on the Trump`s must do list ?

  7. DaBakr on May 1, 2018, 5:26 pm

    That is a very strange photo of Ronald Reagan’s face. What’s up with that?

    As to Iran: regardless of the age of the evidence (and is very likely that neither US nor Israel would disclose any current intelligence on any area of Iranian clandestine ops.) the mullahs were humiliated by the success of the Israeli intelligence. Not just that they gained access but such a huge amount. Couple that with the several attacks on Iranian backed bases in Syria and you have one highly humiliated and super pissed off terrorist regime. I imagine mullahs and IRG is chomping at bit to counter attack. But their presently stuck. Using Hezbollah, firing directly into Israel or an overseas attack on a third party Jewish target. Each presents either a political or tactical problem. There may well be an attack and surely the IDF most know the tyrant mullahs will be forced to respond

  8. Ossinev on May 2, 2018, 4:07 am

    “That is a very strange photo of Ronald Reagan’s face. What’s up with that?”
    Probably already showing the effects of dementia. He was officially diagnosed as having Alzheimers in 1994

    ” the mullahs were humiliated by the success of the Israeli intelligence”
    I doubt it. Like the rest of us they were probably pissing themselves laughing at the sight of a narcissistic clown giving another excruciatingly embarrassing performance. Perhaps they were a tad disappointed that the Yahoo didn`t use one of his world leading cartoons to illustrate the “enormity” of the threat facing mankind,the universe,civilisation yawn.

    BTW what are your thoughts on Israel`s nuclear nuclear stockpile and whether to show good faith to the international community they should sign up to the NPT. I know that you will say what you mean and mean what you say.

  9. Stephen Shenfield on May 2, 2018, 6:56 am

    One thing I did not realize until recently, when I heard it clearly explained on a video interview with a representative of Al-Haq on The Real News, is that the barbed wire fence some Palestinians have been trying to cut is not in fact the border fence but is 50 meters inside Gaza territory. Then there is the main fence, overlooked by Israeli snipers on top of sand dunes.

    When the IDF (and many other Israelis) say that the demonstrations are not peaceful they base this solely on claims about what the demonstrators are TRYING to do. They are not even claiming that the demonstrators are in a position to do any of these things, i.e., that they actually pose any threat. And how do they know that the demonstrators are “trying” to kill Israelis etc. when they deny any such intention? Telepathy? The only way to make sense of the IDF statement is to impute a firm racist belief that Palestinians are by nature violent and any appearance to the contrary is deceptive.

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