Gaza - Bleeding Heart of Humanity
The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world; Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person (article 3); No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruelty, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (article 5); Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country (article 13)
The UN convention on Genocide defines Genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, by: Killing members of the group; Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, so on”.
Yet, Gaza, situated in the heart of human civilization, has faced conditions of Genocide, enforced occupation and the most harsh and dehumanizing circumstances as it is shut off from the rest of humanity by Israeli forces and inflicted upon with food-shortage, economic standstill and demolished infrastructure. Humanity sits today in the global Coliseum, approving and celebrating Israel as it maims and levels down Gazans - the dehumanizing of the Gazans is the dehumanization of the whole humanity.
Gaza is a narrow strip of land, about 40km long and 6 to 12km wide, with a population of 1.7milllion, nearly a third of which has been living in temporary refugee camps for decades to flee attacks at near the borders.
When the Ottoman Empire fell after WWII, Gaza was occupied by the British till 1948. In the 1948 Arab-Israel war, Egypt got control of Gaza, until Gaza again fell in the hands of the Israelis in 1967, an occupation it maintained over the people of Gaza in some form till 2005. Quoting Yashher Keramati, ‘The multifaceted oppression brought upon by Israel in the 20 years following its illegal occupation of Palestine after the Six Day War of 1967… bottled-up Palestinian grievances and denied them their desires for self-determination, leading to the dependent variable at hand, the Intifada of 1987’.
In 2000, the Second Intifada broke out with waves of protest, civil unrest and bombings against Israeli military and civilians, suicide bombings and the beginning of rockets firings on Israeli border localities by Palestinian guerrillas from Gaza Strip, especially from Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements. In 2005, Israel implemented a unilateral disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip. In Jan 2006 Hamas, a party that was born from within the Gazan people in the backdrop of the First Intefada, won the mandate of Gaza in the democratic elections; at this Israel and United States cut off aid to Palestinians declaring Hamas as a terror outfit.
Hamas faced constant rifts and skirmishes from the West Bank, Fatah government and in June 2006 Israel re-invaded Gaza for 5months. In June 2007, a severe blockade of the Gaza Strip was initiated, completely cutting off all routes of supplies to Gaza, from Israel or Egypt. Already, Israel controlled Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters, and did not allow the movement of goods in or out of Gaza by air or sea, this blockade meant that now no food, medicine, fuel or any humanitarian need would be allowed to pass into Gaza except for what Israel’s rationing would allow. This blockade has been eased off, staring from 2010, but the terms of ease keep changing so that the Israelites maintain their tyrant presence on all out-passes from Gaza, in some form or the other. Within this blockage, Israel has inflicted the 22 days Gaza War (2008) on the Gazans, killing over 1,400 and destroying infrastructure and livelihoods of the Gazans, using Phosphorous bombs on unarmed civilian population.
A group of United Nations independent experts criticized, the Palmer Report of Sep 2011 on the Naval blockage of Gaza by Israel. In this report Olivier De Schutter, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food observed that, ‘At least two-thirds of Gazan households are food insecure, evidence has shown that the so-called ‘easing’ of the blockade has not led this to improve; people are forced to make unacceptable trade-offs, often having to choose between food or medicine or water for their families’. The report says that, ‘35 per cent of Gaza’s arable land and 85 per cent of its fishing waters are totally or partially inaccessible due to Israeli military measures’, ‘90-95 per cent of Gaza’s water is polluted and unfit for human consumption, and large quantities of untreated sewage are being released into the environment every day… This reality is a grave threat to the health and dignity of the people living in Gaza placing obstacles to the entry of medical equipment and its maintenance, and the supply of essential medicine and disposables’.
According to the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Magdalena Sepulveda, the Israeli blockade is the primary cause of the poverty and deprivation experienced by the people of Gaza. ‘In order for Gazans to have access to the economic opportunities necessary to pull themselves out of poverty… all Gaza entry points must be opened to facilitate freedom of movement for individuals, the unhindered inflow of investment and industrial and agricultural inputs, and the export of products from Gaza’. The Special Rapporteur emphasized that “there is also an urgent need to ensure that sufficient quantities of medicines, fuel, spare parts for damaged infrastructure, as well as cement, sand and other construction materials, are able to reach the people of Gaza.”
Apart from the siege and major offensives, Israel is habitual at breaking the laws of the UN conventions, its truces and ceasefires; attacking the Gazans by missiles, gunshots, assault and humiliation at checkpoints; making their access to basic goods difficult and many times impossible to get.
Israel has made Gaza a prison of the Palestinians, a cage wherein it can play freely upon its subjects with all sorts of torture games and with nobody to stop it. The rights of the Gazan are not measured by the Israelis with the same human standards apply to the rest of humanity; the intentions behind their acts are judge by Humanity only according to the verdict presented by the Israelis. Israel alleges that Hamas is a proxy of the neighboring countries and Humanity believes it; Israel says that it is not Israel that has imprisoned the Gazans, it is the Hamas that has imprisoned them and Humanity believes it; would we believe that the Israeli parliament is a proxy of the British or would we believe that the Democrats or the Republicans have taken the American people hostage? So why is there this discriminative standard for the Gazans? Why can’t we accept the democratic choice of the Gazans? Why did the US declare Hamas a terror organization, cutting its life lines to basic needs and not call Israel a terrorist, when it is the US themselves who provide it with funds of billions of dollars and high definition weaponry, which they use to inflict upon poor Gazans? What is the definition of ‘Terror’ here?
On the 15 of Nov 2012, Israel made a new definition in human warfare and increased the dehumanizing factor of war to a new horizon. The IDF introduced its ‘first Twitter War’ by sending a series of threating tweets to the Gazans, like:
After that Israel launched a series of missile attacks on the Gaza Strip. Ahmed Al-Ja’bari, commander of AlQasim brigade, the armed wing of Hamas, was targeted and assassinated along with his driver. Israel not only severed the protocol of war, to officially declare war to the Gazan State, deemed necessary by the UN, pretending in its own mind that the Gazans are neither a state nor human; but Israel actually demonstrated the human parallel of the ‘guinea-pig-maze-experiment’ by releasing the video of the tracking, targeting and disposal of its human target in an amusing manner. Will humanity now learn from Israel, how some human lives are as cheap as that, when it comes to having fun in killing a hated, defenseless dash of an enemy?
The armed wing of Hamas, the Qassam Brigade, has declared after this assassination that “Israel has opened the gates of hell on itself”. Islamic Jihad said that the assassination of Ja’bari was a “declaration of war on our people”. Other Palestinian resistance factions vowed “earthshaking reprisal attacks” to the murder of Ja’bari.
Ismail Haneyya, the Palestinian premier in Gaza, has called for the convening of an emergency Arab summit to confront the savage aggression on Gaza. Haneyya said that ‘there is no fear for the Palestinian people or their resistance as a result of this ferocious offensive’. He urged the Palestinian people wherever they may be to unite in face of the aggression and asked the Arab countries, especially Egypt, to reflect the spirit of the Arab revolutions and to support Gaza and to confront this barbaric aggression.
The truth is that the Gazans are not ready to give away their identity or freedom at any cost; The truth is that Israel with all its global reach, it military might has not been able to bring peace and normalcy in Palestine, the reason being simple; Israel does not want to use all the power it has to create peace and to live peacefully in this land; Israel is not here for the love of an ancestral land, it is here for it covetous desire to impose its hegemony over the whole region. Peace and quiet do not match with such goals, the need of a constant resonance of conflict and bloodshed help Israel to keep up the nuisance level it requires to portray its false case in the international fronts.
Gaza has been used as the instrument of terror, pain and suffering by the Israelis for many decades now. This narrow strip of land has seen long years of siege, cutting of food supplies and humanitarian aid; this narrow strip of land has suffered phosphorous bombs, targeted killings, illegal arrests, humiliation and disgrace. Gaza presents a constant question mark to the conscience of humanity around the globe; with all its resources, technological advancements and UN mandates, how does humanity allow the center of its map to constantly ooze with bloodshed and tyranny.
The United Nation was formed on the principles of “maintaining international peace and security; whereby all its members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state”. Has the United Nation been able to deliver its promise, or should we say, has Humanity used this machine of the UN, with all its funds and powers, to bring refuge to its injured and security to its distressed. Is it the UN or the Humanity itself that has turned its heart cold on the daily massacres and sufferings of parts of its own body, and has the UN proven, that this is reign of wolves, where they are acting like silent lambs.