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Notes from Gaza

By: 
Dr. Mona El-Farra
Date Published: 
October 01, 2006

We are tired of the racist and colonial rhetoric of the Israeli government. As they attack Gaza under the pretense of securing the release of one soldier, thousands of Palestinians remain imprisoned for years, often without trial or charges. As one old woman, the mother of a political prisoner told me, “Our sons and daughters inside the Israeli jails are not less dear than the captured Israeli soldier.” Israel’s pre-planned attack on Gaza, named “Summer Rain,” aims to create chaos in the Gaza Strip in order to run down and topple the democratically elected government of Hamas. Through the use of excessive military force, the destruction of civilian and government infrastructure, as well as months of political and economic sanctions, Israel and its allies hope to distract the Palestinian people from our national goals and keep us focused on our daily humanitarian needs. I look to the large number of civilian deaths and casualties in Gaza and Lebanon as an indicator of the immorality of this state and its occupying forces. The Israeli occupying forces in Gaza, Lebanon, and the West Bank are continuing in the tradition of the state of Israel, which was founded on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine’s indigenous population in 1948. At the time of this writing, five weeks into its brutal offensive, Israel has already killed one hundred and seventy people in Gaza. Earlier this week during an attack on Alshoukas village, the Israeli army would not allow Palestinian health emergency teams to enter and rescue the injured for twelve hours. There are many similar incidences of blocking roads into areas under siege so that medical teams cannot enter, as well as attacks on ambulances. I am sure, as are my colleagues at the Union of Health Work Committees, that these inhumane acts have increased the number of the dead and seriously injured. Israel’s goal is not guaranteeing the security of its citizens. Israel knows that the more power and aggression it uses against the Palestinian people, the more resistance it will face. Palestinian people continue to resist the occupation and injustice even though every day entire families are killed and more homes are demolished and exploded. The whole population of Gaza is imprisoned inside their homes and cannot lead the minimum of normal life because of border closures and the lack of water and electricity during a very hot summer. Regional agenda While trapped inside Gaza, we watch events unfold throughout the Middle East. First the Israelis began to carry out their premeditated plan to attack Gaza. This was followed by the pre-planned and unnecessary military actions against Hezbollah and the Lebanese people. Ms. Rice’s statements regarding the emergence of a “New Middle East” made it clear to all of us, both the Palestinian national movement and to the Islamic movements, that the aim of the US and Israel is to crush any national power in the Middle East. They aim to wipe out any country or movement, including Palestine, which opposes US/Israeli domination. This would allow them to set up countries that satisfy “US interests” in the area—countries that will increase profits for large multi-national corporations. The US and Israel’s vision for stability in the area is rife with immorality and utterly lacks long-term vision. It is time that the world listens, especially the people in the US whose tax money is funding Israel’s attacks. We must put more pressure on the US government to have a more balanced and peaceful policy for the Middle East. The military aggression, border closures, economic sanctions, and walls in the West Bank and Gaza, will not bring peace. What will bring peace and stability to the area is the total recognition of the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights. For now, the balance of power is in Israel’s favor as they attempt to break the Palestinian people’s will and determination to achieve their inalienable national goals. I have said before that they will not succeed and I say it again and again. It is impossible to control an entire nation using collective punishment and continuous occupation. It is impossible to confiscate an entire nation’s right of freedom and self-determination. The Israeli and the US powers should learn history. Palestinian rights At this point, the only exit and hope for both parties is through negotiation and the recognition of Palestinian rights for independence and self-determination. Different Palestinian political factions are ready for negotiation with Israel on the basis of comprehensive solutions for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We must bring these parties together to negotiate for the sake of the future of generations of both Israeli and Palestinian people. But we cannot negotiate on Israel’s terms. The negotiation should be under the umbrella of United Nations (UN) resolutions 194 and 242. These address the crux issues of ending the occupation and guaranteeing the Palestinian’s right to return. How could we expect Israel to respect these resolutions when it receives unrestricted support from the US? The US dominates and bullies the international community and the UN, protecting Israel from having to implement UN resolutions or rulings from the International Court of Justice. The US also uses their veto power in the UN Security Council to shield Israel from nearly all international criticism and condemnation. I do strongly believe that the future of the conflict resolution is through two states followed by one secular state that respects all Palestinian rights including the right of return. This vision will never satisfy the colonial, Zionist nature and ideology of Israel or of the capitalist interests and new imperialism of the US. But things might change. I strongly hope for a shift in the international community and within US society. This will take time and non-stop actions and campaigns by the growing peace and justice movement in the US as well as Europe. Worldwide there is an ever increasing number of people who believe in justice and peace for all people. At this moment the Israeli “Summer Rain” continues to drop on our heads, and though rain can be blessing in our hot Gazan summer, it is not in this case. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr. Mona El-Farra is physician by training and a human rights and women’s rights activist by practice in the occupied Gaza Strip. She is the Vice President of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, a member of the Union of Health Work Committees, and the Director of Gaza Projects for Middle East Children’s Alliance. To read more on the situation in Gaza visit her blog “From Gaza with Love” at www.fromgaza.blogspot.com.