art of resistance, Israel, Israeli - Palestinian conflict, Palestine

Gaza (in) news.

Israeli attacks on Gaza continue. Over 160 people have lost their lives so far, and more than one thousand are injured. There are no casualties on the Israeli side. Two days ago, Press TV‘s Gaza correspondent covered the situation describing how:

“…They killed a doctor, they injured a paramedic, and also targeted an ambulance… There were also casualties reported in hospitals, such as the European Hospital, the al Wafa Hospital… and Red Crescent societies…

The real tragedy here is about the children. We’ve been seeing a lot of videos and pictures, dead bodies in hospitals, of children, innocent children. A person cannot just stand silent in front of those pictures. They bring anyone to tears, except Mahmoud Abbas, Ban Ki-Moon, the Israeli community and those who support the Israeli aggression on Gaza.

Two days ago, there was a father crying over his 4 year old child’s dead body, who lost half his head, and asking him to wake up, he had got him toys. Another dad, his only daughter was critically injured and he was crying ‘take my blood and give it to her and bring her back to life’. Another 6 year old boy is laying in a bed in a hospital… he doesn’t even know that his family was targeted.

The situation is only getting worse, kids are being targeted, and the international community just stands silent.”

Yesterday, Robert Fisk wrote his regular column for The Independent. He warns us that all of this has happened before:

Once, we used to keep clippings, a wad of newspaper cuttings on whatever we were writing about: Israel, Lebanon, Iran, Gaza. Occasionally, we even read books. Maybe it’s because of the internet, but in most of our reports, it seems that history only started yesterday, or last week.

For snobs, it’s called the loss of institutional memory. We journos seem to suffer from it more than most. Our readers, I suspect, do not. So here we go…

“Israel has ignored mounting international calls for a ceasefire and said it will not stop its crippling assault on Gaza until ‘peace and tranquility’ are achieved in southern Israeli towns in the line of Palestinian rocket fire… Arab delegates have met the United Nations Security Council in New York, urging members to adopt a resolution calling for an immediate end to the Israeli attacks and a permanent ceasefire.” This is from a Press Association report.

Now here’s an editorial from the right-wing Canadian National Post: “We [sic] have a great deal of sympathy for the ordinary people of Gaza. Israel’s attacks this week on the terrorist infrastructure within the tiny, heavily populated area are undoubtedly extremely hard on them… as Hamas officials and operatives use them as human shields. But remember: all that was ever required to forestall these attacks was for Palestinians to stop their violence against Israelis.”

And here’s The Guardian: “Yesterday, as three of his children were laid out dead on the hospital floor, Samouni was in a bed upstairs in the Shifa hospital, recovering from wounds to his legs and shoulder and comforting his son, Mohamed, five, who had suffered a broken arm… ‘It’s a massacre,’ Samouni said. ‘We just want to live in peace.’”

And, just for good measure, here’s Reuters: “Israel expanded yesterday its fiercest air offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in decades and prepared for a possible ground assault, after a three-day bombardment that has killed 300 Palestinians… The [Israeli] planes also attacked the homes of two top commanders in Hamas’s’ armed wing. They were not there, but several family members were among the seven dead.”

And last but not least, here’s writer Robert Fulford in the Canadian Post: “Israel has already proven itself the most restrained nation in history. It has set an all-time record for restraint.”

Now of course you are familiar with everything you’ve just read above. Since last week, Israel has been bombarding Gaza to prevent Hamas rockets hitting Israel. Palestinians suffer disproportionately, but it’s all Hamas’s fault. But there’s a problem.

The Press Association report was published on 6 January 2009 – five and a half years ago! The Post editorial was printed on 2 January the same year. The Guardian dispatch was on 6 January 2009, Reuters on 30 December of the previous year – 2008. Fulford’s nonsense was published on 5 January 2009.

There’s nothing new about memory-wipe. Take this warning of civil war in Lebanon, published in The Independent, no less: “For Lebanon, these are tense times… Since the Alawite community which dominates political power in Syria is in effect Shia and the majority of Syrians are Sunni, it is not difficult to understand the darker nightmares which afflict the people of this region. If the civil conflict in Iraq were to move west, it could open up religious fault lines from Baghdad to Lebanon… an awesome prospect for the entire Arab world.” Alas, this was written by one R Fisk, published on 7 July 2006 – almost exactly eight years ago – and printed on page 29.

But just to finish off, here’s a Reuters report from Mosul that will sound all too familiar to readers these past few weeks: “Insurgents have set police stations ablaze, stolen weapons and brazenly roamed the streets of Mosul as Iraq’s third largest city appeared to be sliding out of control…” A little problem, of course. This Reuters dispatch was filed in 2004 – 10 years ago! On that occasion, it was the US military, not the Iraqi army, which had to recapture Mosul from the rebels (for the second time, by the way).

I’m afraid it’s about context, this memory-wipe. It’s about the way that armies and governments want us to believe – or forget – what they are doing, it’s about ahistorical coverage, and it’s about – and here I quote the wonderful Israeli journalist Amira Haas – “monitoring the centres of power”.

The question we should ask – a question many readers and televison viewers have been asking – is: haven’t we been here before? And if so, why the repeat performance?

Vice News also published a new video yesterday – Nowhere Safe in Gaza: Rockets and Revenge (Dispatch 2).

The National has a photo essay – In pictures: Gaza’s ambulance crews dodge airstrikes to save lives.

Daily they risk their lives amid the horror of airstrikes to help those they can… and bring back the bodies of those they cannot. They battle on because ‘this is what we have to do for our people’. Hugh Naylor, Foreign Correspondent, spent an afternoon with Gaza’s emergency responders.

Three days ago, Democracy Now published Gaza Debate: As Palestinian Deaths Top 100, Who’s to Blame for Escalating Violence? What Can Be Done? The guests were  Joshua Hantman, the senior adviser to Israel’s ambassador to the United States and the former spokesperson for the Israeli Ministry of Defense, and Noura Erakat, a Palestinian human rights attorney and legal scholar, also an adjunct professor of Georgetown University and co-founder of Jadaliyya ezine.

Erakat said in the interview:

Israel claimed that it has the right to self-defense, but an occupying power does not have the right to self-defense; it has an obligation and a duty to protect the civilians under its occupation. Even if it fails to meet that duty, it must abide by humanitarian law, principles of distinction, proportionality, of necessity. It has not abided by any of those. What’s happening in Gaza amounts to war crimes. It’s a repeat of what happened in 2008 and 2009. It’s a repeat of what happened in 2012.

Israel can repeat its propaganda over and over, but on the ground, the occupation remains and is well and alive, unfortunately. That’s why Palestinians in Gaza cannot leave, even if they want to become refugees right now, they don’t even have the right to become refugees, because they are held captive in an open-air prison.

As for blaming Hamas for every civilian death, this is really crude. We should be alarmed that the fourth-largest nuclear power in the world—certainly the largest military power in the Middle East—is blaming the victims for their own deaths. Eleven homes have been targeted with Israeli rocket fire. Hamas has crude weaponry and is indiscriminately firing. I don’t dispute that. Israel has precise weaponry and is targeting homes where 11 families have been targeted, including the Hajj family, the Hamad family, the Kaware family. This is a disproportionate attack by what we consider the only democracy in the Middle East, by the U.S.’s most unique ally, to whom we provide $3.1 billion a year, and who U.S. taxpayers can hold to account.

This was just a small summary of Gaza (in) news. Stay informed, do all you can to spread awareness and help in any ways you can.

To finish this post, here are the lines (an excerpt) from Nizar Qabbani’s poem The Wrathful, written decades ago.

O pupils of Gaza . . .

Teach us . . .

A little of what you have

For we have forgotten . . .

Teach us . .

To be men

And ask us not . .

We the people of arithmetic . .

And of addition . .

And of subtraction . .

Your wars do carry on

And abstain from us . .

We’re the deserters

from the service,

Your ropes do bring

And hang us . . .

Return not . .

To our writings . . And read us not

We’re your fathers . .

Do resemble us not . .

We’re your idols . .

Do worship us not . .

We engage in

Political lies . .

And repression . .

And we build graves . .

And jails . .

Liberate us . .

O madmen of Gaza . .

A thousand welcome . . .

in madmen,

If they liberate us

Verily the age of political reason

has long bygone . . .

Do teach us madness . . .

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