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The Siege of Gaza

The news that the Israeli defence force (IDF) is now using artillery only emphasises the indiscriminate nature of their attacks against the Gaza strip. Artillery is uncontrolled and practically untargetted (even with observers several rounds have to be fired to fix a target). It is almost guaranteed to kill innocent people. Gaza is one of the most overcrowded bodies of land in the world. The indiscrimination in the attacks alone constitutes a war crime.

Mirroring the IDF's behaviour in Lebanon, their attacks have not only targetted rocket sites. The large number of killed described by the corporate press as "Hamas militants" includes public servants. It seems the corporate press is conveniently ignoring that Hamas was elected in one of the only truly democratic elections in the Middle East. Likewise, no mention is made that Bush is lying when he claims in his radio address that Hamas seized power in Gaza in a coup. They were the elected government and it was the efforts of the IDF to kidnap and imprison democratically elected members of the Palestinian parliament together with the U.S. to corrupt the Abbas Fatah faction and arm Fatah insurgents in Gaza that led to the armed conflict between the two factions in Gaza.

The claim that Israel's attack is legitimate in order to stop rocket attacks is false. More people are injured and die in Israel from drink-driving accidents than from the home made rockets that Hamas launches. While the rockets fired by Hamas are a crime in also being indiscriminate, the response from Israel is completely disproportionate. Over 400 Palestianians killed for 4 Israelis, where is the terror originating from? On the logic embraced by Livni, Barak and Olmert, the IDF should be attacking the liquor vendors of Tel Aviv. As pointed out by Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, an independent Palestianian politician in the West Bank, no rockets have been fired from the West Bank, yet the IDF has killed at least 3 people there in recent days.

The rocket attacks from Hamas comes in the context of a state of siege which has been imposed on Gaza by the Israeli government for more than a month. Gazans are starving. It has been a cold calculated effort by the Israeli government to provoke this attack to bolster support in the upcoming Israeli national elections. If Israel wanted to stop the attacks they could do so tomorrow. Simply agree to allow international peace keepers maintain the borders of Gaza and stop the blockade of Gaza by sea and air. It is only the Israeli government which does not agree.

So what can we as individuals do? Stop buying from Israel. Ask where your fruit and tomatoes come from. Check the country of origin of everything you buy. Ask your pension fund why they are investing in Israeli defence force stocks and security technology companies. Ask Caterpillar tractor why it is selling armoured bulldozers to the IDF to destroy Palestinian homes. Ask your local politicians why they fall over themselves to accommodate Israel lobbyists.

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