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Response to holdencaufield (Reply #11)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 02:27 AM

12. "But when international law says very clearly that occupation is defined by.."

November 18, 2012

The Roots of Israeli Attack on Gaza
Phyllis Bennis: The current conflict did not begin with rockets fired at Israel

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=767&Itemid=74&jumival=9138

And then we can go back to this past Monday, for instance, when Israeli forces killed a young man in Gaza who was approaching the border fence. His family and others all said that he was mentally challenged, that he was mentally ill, had no idea where he was. The Israelis claim they called out to him not to approach the fence. He either didn't hear, didn't understand, didn't pay attention, and they shot him dead. In another attack, two days after that, on Thursday, the Israeli military sent tanks and a bulldozer into Gaza, on land in Gaza, and shot and killed a 13-year-old child who was near a playground, about 1,200 meters, more than a kilometer away from where the soldiers were.

So all of this is going on without anyone really paying attention. It's only when there is a massive escalation (in this case, it was on the Israeli side of the assassination of a top leader of Hamas) that we saw anybody beginning to pay attention. And there's a serious danger as a result, I'm afraid, that we're going to start hearing discussion about how this is now the new normal, somehow; this is now just how Israel is responding, because it will be about Israel responding rather [than] recognizing that at the end of the day this is about occupation.


The form of occupation of Gaza is different. It's not with Israeli soldiers on the ground. The soldiers and settlers pulled out in 2005. But when international law says very clearly that occupation is defined by having control of a territory from outside, from a government outside, that's precisely what we have in Gaza. It takes the form of a siege in which Israeli military controls the borders, determines who can go in, who can come out, what goods can go in or out, controls the seas surrounding Gaza, built a wall completely enclosing Gaza, controls the borders, controls the airspace, bombed the airport so no planes can land, prevents Gaza fishermen from going out more than one mile out to sea—this is occupation of a different form. And until we understand that that's the root of this level of violence that we're seeing, we're not going to be in any position to end it.



Impressions of Gaza

Noam Chomsky November 4, 2012

http://chomsky.info/articles/20121104.htm

Even a single night in jail is enough to give a taste of what it means to be under the total control of some external force. And it hardly takes more than a day in Gaza to begin to appreciate what it must be like to try to survive in the world’s largest open-air prison, where a million and a half people, in the most densely populated area of the world, are constantly subject to random and often savage terror and arbitrary punishment, with no purpose other than to humiliate and degrade, and with the further goal of ensuring that Palestinian hopes for a decent future will be crushed and that the overwhelming global support for a diplomatic settlement that will grant these rights will be nullified.


“What has to be kept in mind,” observes Raji Sourani, “is that the occupation and the absolute closure is an ongoing attack on the human dignity of the people in Gaza in particular and all Palestinians generally. It is systematic degradation, humiliation, isolation and fragmentation of the Palestinian people.” The conclusion is confirmed by many other sources. In one of the world’s leading medical journals, The Lancet, a visiting Stanford physician, appalled by what he witnessed, describes Gaza as “something of a laboratory for observing an absence of dignity,” a condition that has “devastating” effects on physical, mental, and social wellbeing. “The constant surveillance from the sky, collective punishment through blockade and isolation, the intrusion into homes and communications, and restrictions on those trying to travel, or marry, or work make it difficult to live a dignified life in Gaza.” The Araboushim must be taught not to raise their heads.


The effects are painfully evident. In the Khan Yunis hospital, the director, who is also chief of surgery, describes with anger and passion how even medicines are lacking for relief of suffering patients, as well as simple surgical equipment, leaving doctors helpless and patients in agony. Personal stories add vivid texture to the general disgust one feels at the obscenity of the harsh occupation. One example is the testimony of a young woman who despaired that her father, who would have been proud that she was the first woman in the refugee camp to gain an advanced degree, had “passed away after 6 months of fighting cancer aged 60 years. Israeli occupation denied him a permit to go to Israeli hospitals for treatment. I had to suspend my study, work and life and go to set next to his bed. We all sat including my brother the physician and my sister the pharmacist, all powerless and hopeless watching his suffering. He died during the inhumane blockade of Gaza in summer 2006 with very little access to health service. I think feeling powerless and hopeless is the most killing feeling that human can ever have. It kills the spirit and breaks the heart. You can fight occupation but you cannot fight your feeling of being powerless. You can't even dissolve that feeling.”

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