Friday, February 8, 2008

The Black Commentator: Palestine Matters

Bill Fletcher Jr. in The Black Commentator:

When atrocities befall the Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli occupiers, much of the Western world remains silent. Particularly in the USA, we await an Israeli explanation for the atrocity, often assuring ourselves that we will be offered a rational and acceptable justification for whatever has taken place. Civilians killed, for instance, when the Israelis choose to assassinate a Palestinian leader, and we are generally told that it is tragic ‘collateral damage.’ The use of cluster bombs in the attack on Lebanon in 2006, and we are treated to stories about the brutality of Hezbollah. The fact is that Israel is the only power in the Middle East with nuclear weapons, and we are entertained with silence. In each case, the response is accepted as understandable, given Israel’s “fight for existence.”

Today the people of Gaza are victims of what both Israeli and Palestinian human rights activists correctly call collective punishment. After the Hamas/Fatah mini-civil war in which Hamas took over Gaza, allegedly because they believed that Fatah was preparing to attack them, the Israelis began a blockade (as well as military incursions) with the full support of the Bush administration. This was followed by rocket attacks on Israeli settlements near Gaza by some Palestinian military units. The Israeli blockade never let up nor did Israeli attacks on Gaza or Palestinian rocket attacks against settlements. Despite Hamas' repeated offers for a truce, the Israeli government has turned a deaf ear, finally locking the people of Gaza into a collective hell.

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