The media recently wrote something about Gaza after the latest Israeli military attack on approximately 30,000 unarmed Palestinians. These people had the audacity to approach near the border with Israel. Palestinians were protesting the illegal Israeli siege of Gaza and also reminding the world of the Palestinian Right of Return recognized by the U.N. General Assembly.
Estimates are that the “moral” Israeli military killed at least 18 defenseless Palestinians and wounded another 1,400 who were participating in this Great March of Return, a planned peaceful protest. March 30 was the first day in the six-week-long peaceful protest scheduled to end May 15, the ongoing Nakba (Catastrophe) commemoration day.
There were worldwide condemnations of the slaughter by the Israeli military. One of the few voices in the U.S. political establishment to criticize Israel was Sen. Bernie Sanders, who wrote: “The killing of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli forces in Gaza is tragic. It is the right of all people to protest for a better future without a violent response.”
The European Union and U.N. Secretary General António Guterres both called for an independent investigation of the killings. Predictably, Israel rejected the calls. Also predictably, the U.S. blocked a move by the U.N. Security Council to open an investigation, preventing any sanctions against Israel for its latest criminal behavior.
The media’s usual lack of interest in Gaza is deplorable. For example, Israel, abetted by Egypt and the U.S., implemented a blockade of Gaza over 10 years ago, and there has been little coverage of its horrific effects. This siege, collective punishment of 2 million people, along with several murderous Israeli attacks has created a hell on earth for Gazans. In 2012, the U.N. warned that Gaza would be unlivable by 2020 if nothing were done to ease the blockade.
Since that warning, Israeli actions — including the shameful 51-day bombing campaign in 2014 that destroyed much of Gaza’s infrastructure and killed over 2,100 Palestinians, almost 70 percent of whom were civilians and 495 children — have made life even more unbearable. In addition, nearly 60,000 people lost their homes in that attack. In 2017, Robert Piper, the U.N. humanitarian aid coordinator for the occupied territories, said that the point “of unlivability (had) been passed quite a long time ago.” The struggle between Hamas and Fatah has also exacerbated the Gaza crisis.
Shamefully, the so-called civilized Western nations allow this humanitarian crisis to worsen. For example, instead of sanctioning Israel, U.S. politicians fall over themselves to outlaw the nonviolent Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement ( bdsmovement.net). Contact Congress and demand an end to this criminal Israeli siege.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center’s “Peace Train” runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.