Gaza will not bend to occupier
As I write this, Gaza is being bombed from land, air and sea. “Operation Pillar of Defense” has claimed the lives of 70 Palestinians to date and injured many more. It is another bloody chapter in a long history of Israeli atrocities and collective punishment.
In 1956, Israel briefly occupied Gaza while colluding with Great Britain and France in an invasion of Egypt. Israeli historian Benny Morris says, “Israeli troops shot dead hundreds of Palestinian refugees and local inhabitants” in Khan Yunis alone. Based on U.N. documents, Morris asserts that “all told, Israeli troops killed between 447 and 550 Arab civilians in the first three weeks of the occupation of the Strip.”
Israel reoccupied Gaza in 1967 and encountered mass resistance. Jewish troops under Ariel Sharon’s command responded by killing, beating and rounding up Palestinians, shooting into crowds, destroying homes and personal property, and imposing curfews. Twelve thousand family members of suspected guerrilla fighters were deported to detention camps in the Sinai, and an additional 13,000 Palestinians were violently uprooted when Sharon “thinned out” the refugee camps with bulldozers and infantry.
It was in Gaza in 1987 that the first “intifada” began. Israel, again, retaliated with savage repression. In the words of Benny Morris: “Almost everything was tried: shooting to kill, shooting to injure, beatings, mass arrests, torture, trials, administrative detention, and economic sanctions.”
Armed hostilities against Gaza intensified after the second intifada erupted in 2000, and 3,415 Palestinian civilians (919 of them children) were killed in Gaza from September 2000 until the end of December 2011, and 17,478 wounded. The worst of several Israeli military campaigns was “Operation Cast Lead” in December 2008 and January 2009. Israel’s air force flew almost 3,000 sorties over Gaza and dropped 1,000 tons of explosives; 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including 350 children.
Gaza is still under belligerent occupation as that status is defined under international law. The territory is bleeding now, as it has for the past 45 years, because it will not bend its knee to its occupier. This, not Hamas’ rocket arsenal, explains why Israel is waging war against 1.6 million poor people, more than half of whom are children.
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