In Gaza as in Iraq, the US public is being lied to while US
taxpayers and US power is wasted to support aggression.
Vanity Fair reported on the scheme to topple Hamas concocted
by Eliot Abrams (a Zionist in the Bush administration) that was �part
Iran-contra, part Bay of Pigs� that ended up strengthening Hamas. And by
contrast to PR strategies, the former head of the Israeli intelligence services
admitted in Israeli papers that Israel could have stopped Palestinian
retaliatory homemade rockets long ago by lifting its siege of Gaza (a condition
of the cease fire between Hamas and Israel agreed to but rarely implemented),
but that Israel had a more strategic issue: to try a different way to topple
the duly elected Hamas government.
But what else are we not being told about Gaza? Over 70
percent of the 1.5 million Palestinians in this besieged tiny strip of arid
land are refugees.
When Obama visited Sderot in the Negev, he should have also
visited Gaza where he would have met with the original residents of Najd which
was renamed Sderot after its destruction and settlement by European Jews. In
Gaza he, could have met with refugees from many of the 530 villages and towns
ethnically cleansed. To aid the exodus, in the six weeks that preceded
declaring Israel a state, 33 massacres were committed by Jewish forces, such as
the Haganah, Irgun, and Stern (forerunners of the Israeli army that is
attacking Gaza today).
The Palestinian Nakba or catastrophe of destruction and
ethnic cleansing marks our history like the genocides of WWII marks European
history. The nascent state expanded by force to encompass 78 percent of
Palestine (50 percent more than it was allocated). The West Bank and Gaza Strip
were occupied in a second stage of Israeli expansion (1967). A massive colonial
settler enterprise brought 450,000 Jews from around the world to live in the
West Bank. In an eternal quest for maximum geography (for the Jewish state)
with minimum (native Palestinian) demography, a deepening system of apartheid
and discrimination ensued funded by US taxpayers. As in other colonial
ventures, the natives (e.g., Native Americans, Algerians, Indians, etc.) are
designated as terrorists, savages, and barbarians, especially when they resist.
The Gaza Ghetto uprising was so inconvenient to designs to
dominate the Middle East that it was met with uncommon brutality. This had to
be coupled with massive and well-funded media campaigns abroad to hide the
realities, while preventing media access to Gaza. But independent coverage in
Europe and elsewhere show that Israeli forces shelled two universities, three
colleges, police stations, several residential neighborhoods, three UN schools,
roads, bridges, and a children�s playground. Seven hundred Palestinians were
killed in two weeks and over 3,000 injured. Half of the victims are women and
children and half the men are noncombatants. Relative to US population, this
would be like killing 132,000 US citizens in two weeks.
The Red Cross and UN agencies report massive violations of
Israeli obligations under international law, in many cases amounting to war
crimes and crimes against humanity. Ironically, in the past 60 years, the US
used its veto power twice as often to protect Israel from international law
than to protect US interests.
The real reason for the onslaught on Gaza is also not about
fundamentalist Islam. The US and Israel are happy to support those when they
tow the party line (take Saudi Arabia for example). Like the attack on Lebanon
in 2006, Gaza is pummeled to accept the colonization and power structures. In
that context, we can understand Israeli Deputy �Defense� minister Matai Vilnai
who warned once that continuing resistance would bring upon Palestinians a
�bigger holocaust.� Indeed resistance to colonization and occupation are
natural and enshrined in international law and can only be obliterated by
The timing of Israel�s carnage in Gaza is not coincidental
to US transitions of power (i.e., terrorize Palestinians in case Obama may not
be as sympathetic as Bush to such tactics) nor is it coincidental to upcoming
Israeli elections (i.e., ruling party candidates want to appear extra tough).
What is not understandable is that US taxpayers are supporting this charade.
The US role in the world was most admired and its economy
was booming when President Eisenhower stood with international law and forced
Israel to withdraw from Gaza and the Sinai in 1956. By contrast, US standing in
the world and its economy are weakest now that the Israel lobby is at maximum
power and dragging us into endless wars.
Despite the blackout in many media outlets, hundreds of
demonstrations in support of Gaza around the US indicate that people are
starting to understand that this injustice cannot go on. When we end US support
for Israeli apartheid (and we will), both Israelis and Palestinians will be
able to live in dignity and peace and a big weight will be lifted from the US
and world economies. The alternatives are continuing bloodshed and economic
devastation. The choice is obvious.
Dr. Qumsiyeh served on the faculty at Duke and
Yale before returning to serve at Bethlehem University and as chair of the
Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People. His website is Qumsiyeh.org.