If anything else is real, what we are witnessing in Gaza is a Holocaust. It is genocide. It is ethnic cleansing by the illegal occupation of Israel. It is the same genocide, apartheid, and terrorism that parallels Black South Africans, Native Americans, and Black Americans; Gaza has become interlinked with them as the latest chapter in the human barbarism of the powerful being inflicted on the weak.
But in a sickening twist of irony, the guards at the Gaza Concentration Camp fence are victims of a Holocaust themselves.
It is not appropriate to use the word borders and border walls when speaking of the barriers surrounding Gaza. They are concentration camp fences. They are cages to trap what Israel has long defined; that Palestinians are in some way sub-human.
First and foremost, Israel is an illegal occupier of Palestine. Israel and Israel's supporters in the West argue that its occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip came through self-defense is false. Two examples are Security Council Resolutions and Palestine's refusal or unrealistic negotiation positions.
One the United Nations Security Council Resolution 446 determined "that the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East."
Under the Hauge Regulations (1907) and the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) lands that occupied through wars of aggression or self-defense is illegal. (Adam Roberts, (1985), pp. 293-94, "What is a Military Occupation?" )
A second argument by Israel and it's supporters is that Palestine does not want to negotiate in good faith. An example being that Palestine walked away from the 20000 Oslo Accords.
Former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, under Prime Minister Ehud Barak, declared Oslo's meaning "was that the PLO was...Israel's collaborator in the task of stifling the intifada and cutting short... an authentically democratic struggle for independence."(Shlomo Ben-Ami, Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy (New York: 2006), pp. 191,211.
When the Oslo Summit collapsed in July 2000, Ben-Ami placed blame primarily on Israel. Ben-Ami, along with being Israel's foreign minister was also was also one of Israel's top negotiators at Camp David for the Oslo agreement. Ben-Ami later would say, " I would have rejected Camp David as well."
Israeli strategic analyst Zev Maoz added, "substantial concessions" Israel demanded of Palestinians "were not acceptable and could not be acceptable." (Zeev Maoz, Defending the Holy Land: A critical analysis of Isreal's security and foreign policy (Ann Arbor:2006), p.476 and p.493.
In Norman Finkelstein's latest book Gaza, An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom (2018) Finkelstein documents Gaza's suffering under Israel's relentless military "operations," merciless illegal blockade and how Amnesty International as well as Human Rights Watch ultimately failed Gaza as defenders of the humanitarian law. Finkelstein's book Gaza is a meticulously researched scholarly examination of the brutal occupation, economic, and physical slaughter of Gazans by Israel.
Finkelstein, regarded as being the leading scholar and authority on the Palestinian-Israel issue writes, "Today more than 70 percent of Gaza's inhabitants consist of expellees from the 1948 war and their descendants, and more than half of this overwhelmingly refugee population is under 18 years of age." (Norman Finkelstein, Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom) (University of California Press: 2018), p.3
Gaza has a generation of children who have seen nothing but war. Gaza's children are on the brink of a mental health crisis. In Gaza, 95% of children suffer from some form of mental health distress. Aljazeera News reported (6/4/18) "Many children grew up witnessing three Israeli offensives - 2008 to 2009, 2012 and 2014 - that devastated the strip. Furthermore, the 11-year Egyptian-Israeli blockade has severely curtailed the quality of life in Gaza, where youth unemployment now is at 60 percent, and poverty levels increased from 30 to 50 percent".
The Israeli military attacks Operation Cast Lead (2008-09), Operation Pillar of Defense (2012), and Operation Protective Edge (2014) cannot be defined as self-defense as the disproportionate amount of force indicates.
The devasting destruction of Israel's Operation Cast Lead alone on Gaza killed 2,200 Gazans, destroyed 18,000 homes, left 110,000 homeless, and destroyed 4 billion dollars of Gaza's infrastructure. The murder rate of Palestinian to Israeli civilians killed was 400 to 1.
To even call these "wars" is misleading in the extreme. They are in fact massacres. Gaza does not possess the military capacity of Israel. Gaza does not own gunships, an air force, armed troops, special forces units, combat tanks, and attack helicopters. Gaza does not have the financial and military support of the United States.
The Great March of Return by Palestinians began on March 15th this year ending on May 15th commemorating the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes. The non-violent acts of civil disobedience were meet by a deranged Israeli Defense Force (IDF) killing and maiming innocent men, women, and children.
Israeli military intentionally targeted its' victims' sparing no one. The Israeli Defense Force has killed over 110 Gazans including 14 children and over 13,000 wounded. Israeli soldiers in their barbarity have intentionally shot doctors, murdered medical workers, and journalists. These are all war crimes.
The American print and cable news are complicit in providing a two-dimensional pro-Israel narrative. The first is the warped and primarily false "Its all Hamas fault." The claims of Hamas initiated violence at The Great March of Return were never substantiated. Many warped minds have adopted this mentality including The psychopathic responses to the Gaza massacre during the Great March of Return.
The second alternative is the "both sides are awful" storyline. Glenn Greenwald smashes this non-reality based argument,
" If an American citizen really wants to advocate for neutrality on the ground that both sides are equally horrible and they're sick of the whole conflict and wish it would all just go away, then the place to begin with that advocacy is US government policy which, as unpleasant as it might be to face, has long been, and remains more than ever, a key force that drives the bloodshed".
Killing Gaza centers on the survivors of Israel's 2014 slaughter. It captures the racist sentiment of Israeli's, cheering the destruction and killing of Gazans. Survivors in the film recount the psychopathic actions of Israeli soldiers lust for death where witnesses and survivors recount Gazans being used as human shields by Israeli soldiers.
Facebook banned an ad for Killing Gaza and refused to explain the ban before reposting the ad three days later. Social media in, particular, has played a role in the censoring and control of Palestinian social media accounts.
Veterans for Peace (VFP) works to serve the cause of world peace and expose the real cost of war. This year VFP sent a delegation to act as witnesses and activists to the devastation of Palestine. The Peace Report film shines a much-needed light on the suffering that Palestinians endure under Israeli terror.
Veterans for Peace and former Marines Mike Hanes and Matthew Hoh, both of whom served in the Iraq War, painfully recount the brutal house raid tactics they as Marines participated in Iraq. The busting into homes, usually at night, evacuating terrified families, Hanes and Hoh both point out how Israeli soldiers are using the same inhumane tactic on Palestinians.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has layered issues that must be examined and resolved. It is not as complicated as some feel it is to understand. Ignoring the brutality of the question, while understandable, is infantile and absolves our liability as a citizen of the world and one's country.
The everything is Hamas response and Palestinians possess some inherent characteristic towards violence, including sacrificing their own children argument needs to be destroyed and abandoned.
The distressing fact that the U.S. funds and politically backs these atrocities must be recognized and eradicated. Israel's killing, land poisoning, and the illegal occupation of Gaza will not end until the world removes Israel's decades of impunity for war crimes. Israel then can turn in its keys as the warden of the concentration camp it established.
Note: I want to dedicate this writing to Dr. Daniel Luchins (Auburn Gresham-Chicago VA Clinic) who passed this May. Your care, unmistakable dry humor, and compassion made my life better. I will always appreciate you.