When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, Gaza was, coincidentally, set in flames by Israeli aggression. In the aftermath of his re-election, it has been once again been set in flames. Despite a truce that the Egyptian government helped to negotiate, the Israelis decided to break it through the murder of the Hamas military commander. All hell broke loose.
The Obama administration could have taken the stand of the ‘honest broker.’ It could have insisted on a cease-fire. It could have worked with the Egyptians, as well as the Israelis and Hamas to bring about a lasting truce. The Administration chose not to. As the first bombs landed on the people of Gaza, this Administration decided that it needed to side with the Israelis. It needed to show its support for aggression, allegedly because the Israelis were facing the wrath of Palestinian rockets.
In the USA we are taught to hate and dismiss history. Everything is a thing of the moment. Everything is about what happens next rather than understanding context and background. The people of Gaza are being accused of having voted for alleged terrorists and getting what they deserved. I can only reply, what then should the Israelis have expected when they voted for terrorists? The terrorists who carried out the well-documented ethnic cleansings of Palestine in 1947-8. The atrocities such as the Deir Yassin massacre. Yes, terrorists carried out these brutalities and many of them went on to become ‘respectable’ military and political leaders of Israel. Yet we are all supposed to ignore this and just judge the Israeli leadership by how they present themselves today. Why are Palestinians who oppose the Occupation being judged based on a different standard?
The people of Gaza are treated like rats in a maze. They have been blockaded and denied not only the basic rights that international law is supposed to guarantee but they have been denied their dignity as human beings. They have been trapped and the world has sat back. The world sat back when ships attempted to break the blockade and civilians were murdered by the Israelis. The world sits back watching the misery of the Palestinians and shaking their hands, or worse, blaming the Palestinians for their own occupation. And each day, more and more Palestinian land gets gobbled up by the Occupiers and the Palestinian people become subject to additional humiliations.
I keep dreaming of a military convoy breaking the Israeli blockade, arriving in Gaza just as Allied ships arrived in Murmansk bringing supplies to the Soviet Union during World War II. But i know that this will not happen. I know that the resistance to Israeli aggression and Occupation will be in the hands of the Palestinian people and their allies around the world. It will be in the hands of progressive, democratic-minded people who are sick of Israeli hypocrisy and jingoism and are looking to win peace and justice for the people of the Middle East, and national self-determination for the Palestinian people.
One small step is the petition created by African Americans for Justice in the Middle East & North Africa (AAJMENA). If you have not already, please sign it. If you have signed it, get it around far and wide. At a minimum we must make it clear that there are thousands, if not millions of people in the USA who are sick of Israeli aggression and equally sick of US complicity in the atrocities unfolding.
Those of us with a conscience must act now.