years passed since Palestinian lands were usurped
and the ethnic cleansing of hundred of thousands of
Palestinians began. Most of these Palestinians are
now living in refugee camps scattered in neighbouring
Arab countries. The Palestinians who stayed on their
lands in Palestine are living in ghettos, and their
lands constantly expropriated by the Israeli military.
is an extremely densely populated place. It is surrounded
by barbed wires and security fence on three sides
and the Mediterranean Sea on the fourth. Gaza is a
large prison for most of the 1.3 million Palestinian
refugees, ethnically cleansed by Jewish terrorists
in 1948. Israel allows no industry to provide employment
in Gaza. Over 60% of Gazans are unemployed. Very few
Gazans have been able to obtain permits to leave in
search of work. The majority (85%) of the Palestinian
residents in Gaza live in poverty, and rely on aids
to survive. According to many sources, including Amnesty
International and independent NGOs, Gaza is
on the brink of a humanitarian disaster.
more than 7,500 armed Jewish settlers also live in
Gaza and control over one third of the land, and they
are well known for their violence against the Palestinians.
The settlers live in big houses with green lawns and
play grounds, and use most of the water available
while Palestinians have barely enough water for drinking.
is regularly invaded by the Israeli Army (the IDF)
and regularly bombed from the sky by Israeli Air Force
to assassinate Palestinian politicians and innocent
Palestinians children. The recent murder of Sheikh
Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas, was an example.
This criminal policy is condoned by the American Administration
as self-defence against unarmed defenceless
Palestinians. The U.S. is Israels unquestioned
backer and financier, and Israeli military is only
comparable to the U.S. military.
Western world and the U.S., champions of human rights
and freedom, regularly witnessing with silence Israeli
bulldozers, tanks and helicopter gunships tearing
Palestinian houses and Palestinian bodies. The West
and the U.S. are happy to produce fewer fake concerns
to go with these criminal atrocities. U.S. Secretary
of State Colin Powell said Israel's actions were harming
peace efforts. What peace Mr. Powell was talking about?
The EU Chief begging Israel to exercise maximum
restraints. Furthermore, these acts of violence
are called incursions in mainstream Western media
for fear it will be labelled anti-Semitism. Western
media are obliged to copy Israels fabricated
excuses for this ethnic cleansing.
Arab-Israeli writer and member of the Knesset, Dr.
Azmi Bishara pointed out one of the reasons for this
silence, [e]urope could only feel relief at
the opportunity to shift the burden of guilt onto
the Arabs, and Israel is only too glad to oblige by
helping Europe avoid facing its past seriously and
draw the connection between its Jewish problem then
and its racism and xenophobia today. The Palestinians,
unable to perceive this context, imagine that the
interest Europe is displaying towards them reflects
actual concern for them instead of the continued playing
out of the Jewish question.
Many Europeans are happy to agree with their governments
week, the world is witnessing another massacre of
Palestinian children in Gaza. Israeli tanks and aircrafts
firing and killing innocent civilians demonstrating
against the destruction of their village. In one of
these attacks, Israeli media said at least 22 bodies,
most of them school children, had been counted after
the strike in the Rafah camp in Gaza, which some witnesses
said was carried out by helicopter gunships and others
blamed on firing by tanks. These Israeli crimes have
been confirmed by Amy Goodman of www.democracynow.org
broadcasting on 19 May 2004 in direct telephone contact
with Amira Hass of Haaretz News and Palestinian resident
Mohammed Omar in Rafah.
quoted Moshe Yaalon, Israeli army chief of staff,
telling a weekly cabinet meeting, "Hundreds of
houses have been marked for destruction". Israel's
Supreme Court gave its approval to the plan, which
is expected to leave thousands of people homeless,
by lifting a temporary injunction on the demolition
of homes in the Rafah refugee camp.
International courageously likened Israeli actions
to war crimes. The report said: demolition
and destruction are grave breaches of the Fourth
Geneva Convention and are war crimes.
Amnesty International called on Israel to halt the
practices immediately, and said the house demolitions
are linked to Israeli intentions to confiscate Palestinian
lands in the West Bank and Gaza.
a commentary on genocide, Edward Herman, a renowned
economist and media analyst wrote; n the Genocide
Convention of 1948, the word genocide was defined
loosely, as any act committed with the intent
to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic,
racial or religious group as such. Genocidal
acts included causing serious mental harm
or inflicting conditions of life aimed
at such destruction. Can anything be clearer than
that the Sharon government is trying to destroy the
Palestinians as a national group by creating intolerable
conditions of life? Under Operation
Defensive Shield Israel carried out a systematic
process of demolition of Palestinian public and private
property, and mass expropriation of Palestinian land
on behalf of settlers (Appeal by 153 Israeli
academics); the Israeli army deliberately trashed
the inside of every Palestinian institution that it
did not entirely destroyschools, charities,
health organizations, banks, radio and TV stations,
even a puppet theatre (Gila Svirsky). As Rania
Awwad has said, Sharons solution is to
depopulate as much as possible the Occupied Palestinian
Territories by making life for its citizens unbearable.
And what could be more unbearable than watching your
children cry themselves to sleep from hunger, night
after night? The Israeli leadership is not trying
to exterminate all Palestinians, but they are prepared
to kill them freely, take away their land, and make
life so harsh that they will die off or leave. That
this is a genocidal process is sometimes suggested
in the Israeli media, but not in the Free Press.
Israeli journalist and author Amira Hass described
in detail the horror of the IDF-forced ethnic cleansing
of Palestinians in Gaza. Hass wrote; the streets
of Rafah were filled yesterday evening with horse-drawn
carts, trucks and pick-ups, all laden to the brim
with any and every item that the town's residents
could remove from their homes - mattresses, water
tanks taken down from roofs, clothes, blankets, doors
and windows removed from their hinges, dismantled
beds and closets, school books, tin and asbestos sheeting,
baby carriages, refrigerators, gas canisters and more .
Ariel Sharon is repeating the same crimes of 1948
ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
friend of mine who is Jewish wrote an e-mail from
France; believe me, he wrote, what
is happening in Gaza are not the actions of Jews,
these are the actions of the IDF. But who is
the IDF? Isnt the IDF a collection of Jews?
Who finances and commands the IDF? Who is in charge
of Israel's Supreme Court? Who elected Sharon and
his thugs? Isnt Israel a Jewish state? Israeli
propaganda is far more deadly than Israeli war machine.
am very admirer of those decent and honest Israelis
and Jews who are courageous enough to dissociate themselves
from their governments crimes against the Palestinians.
Some Israeli journalists are far more honest than
those in Australia, the U.S and Britain to some extents.
The ABC news twisting and dishonest language
is typical of media bias against the Palestinian victims.
Only after large numbers of innocent civilians are
killed, the morality of the Western world obliged
to see the Palestinians as humans. The policy of silence
has been around for quite some times, and it is very
effective in destroying Palestinian aspirations.
is time for those with supreme military power to apply
their human morality impartially. The people of Gaza
 Edward Said, Israel-Palestine:
a third way, Le Monde Diplomatique, September
 Azmi Bishara, Searching for meaning,
Al-Ahram Weekly, No. 690, 13-19 May 2004.
 Edward Herman, The Cruise Missile Left
(part 5): ZNet Commentary, 18 May 2004.
 Amira Hass, Gazans Pile Up Their Belongings
And Flee, Haaretz, May 18, 2004.
Ghali Hassan is in the Science and Mathematics
Education Centre, Curtin University, Perth, Western
Australia. G. Hassan@exchange.curtin.edu.au
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