Gaza under fire


Hamas and Israel have agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire to bring to an end some of the worst violence to hit the Gaza strip in two years. Yet not everyone is happy. Palestinians on the ground remain sceptical of the Jewish state’s commitment to a fragile peace – especially as a fisherman was shot dead just hours after the truce came into force. And then there is the question of the Israeli Defence’s minister surprise resignation. Avigdor Lieberman was reportedly irked at not being allowed to up assaults on a people who been living under a blockade imposed by his country more than a decade ago; as a calculated means of controlling the local economy as well as airspace, territorial waters and land borders. There is now talk inside Tel Aviv of a snap election. All of which could spell more unrest for the Palestinians. That being said, palace intrigues will be of little interest to the people of Gaza. Rather, their concern is that the clandestine Israeli cross-border raid into their territory at the beginning of the week – that sparked the bloodshed by killing a senior Hamas commander and six others – was nothing short of extra-judicial killing. And that more such assassinations might be in the offing; thereby prolonging the cycle of violence. After all, Hamas responded by firing rockets into Israel. Forty-eight hours later: 15 Palestinians and two Israelis were dead.
For many Palestinians, the incursion represents a strong message to abandon their weekly protests that have been taking place along the fence with the Jewish state since the end of March; demanding the right of return. The intervening period has seen more than 200 Palestinians killed and thousands injured. And still the world remains largely silent. Never mind that social media has helped images of Israeli state brutality reach global audiences. In fact, right-wing Jewish lobbies in the US have expertly harnessed the power and outreach of micro-blogging sites like Twitter to ensure their narrative prevails. Such as when it comes to documenting instances of anti-Semitic attacks in the West. Yet the endgame here is not to highlight condemnable assaults but to ridicule Palestinian responses that seek to highlight almost daily Israeli aggression. This leads to charges of “whataboutery”. As if the Palestinian voice is not a legitimate one. The point is that one can condemn anti-Semitism while spotlighting the systematic suffering of another people that is largely dismissed by western mainstream media that casts them purely in terms of a security threat to others; veritable non-sentient beings. It is but a way of reminding the world that the Palestinians are still here; still struggling for their right to statehood some 70 years later.
As we at this newspaper have said before: if the international community were sincere about resolving the Middle East question it would have done so. And the longer it stalls on this – the more the entire region will continue to be engulfed by flames. With the Palestinians being burned the most.