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Gaza’s heavy price

By Dr Cesar Chelala The new Israeli attacks against Gaza, which have already resulted in more than 100 deaths, will prove, once again, to be counterproductive. Violence against Palestinians will not diminish their rightful demands for freedom from occupation and for a normal, peaceful life. Why, then, if Gazans want to live in peace do they continue …


Dr. Cesar Chelala
Dr. Cesar Chelala

By Dr Cesar Chelala

The new Israeli attacks against Gaza, which have already resulted in more than 100 deaths, will prove, once again, to be counterproductive. Violence against Palestinians will not diminish their rightful demands for freedom from occupation and for a normal, peaceful life.

Why, then, if Gazans want to live in peace do they continue their equally counterproductive rocket attacks on Israel? Let’s have the opinion of Ari Shavit, a noted Israeli writer and political commentator. Writing in Haaretz, Shavit says: “The rocket attacks on Israel are like an attack of the starving against the well fed. The starving are seemingly weak. They have no chance. They’re supposed to be deterred, scared of their neighbours, and refrain from bothering them. But because they’re fanatical, they act illogically. Because they’re economically desperate and strategically weak, they choose to challenge their complacent neighbours across the border.”

Although I generally agree with Shavit, I question his use of the word “fanatical” when applied to the Palestinians, a word which has a decidedly pejorative connotation. Why is Israelis’ desire to live and prosper in peace in their own land more valid than those same desires on Gazans? Are Gazans less human than Israelis?

A more balanced, nuanced opinion is that of Gideon Levy, who has been tireless in his efforts to bring justice to the Palestinians. When asked by an acquaintance of mine why was he so determined in his desire to bring an alternative point of view to the Israelis, Levy answered: “Because I don’t want the Israelis to say that they didn’t know.”

In an article entitled “Did Israel think Hamas would turn the other cheek?” following the killing of three Israeli teenagers and the burning to death of a Palestinian boy, Levy says: “All this followed Israel’s punitive campaign against the effort to establish a Palestinian unity government that the world was prepared to recognise, its violation of its commitment to release prisoners, a halt of the diplomatic process and a refusal to propose any alternate plan or vision.”

In the meantime, the Israeli offensive continues and, as of this writing, there are more than 120 persons killed, tens of them children, a number that will substantially increase in coming weeks. Despite the tremendous differences in arms and technology between Israel and the Palestinians, people in Gaza continue to resist, in an almost “Masadian” behaviour against overwhelming military force.

Let’s listen again to Levy. “What exactly were we thinking? That Gaza would live forever in the shadow of Israeli (and Egyptian) caprice, with the restraints sometimes loosened a bit, or sometimes painfully tightened? That the biggest prison in the world would carry on as a prison? That hundreds of thousands of its residents would remain cut off forever? That exports would be blocked and fishing restricted? What exactly are 1.5 million people supposed to live on? Is there anyone who can explain why the blockade, even if partial, of Gaza continues? Can anyone explain why its future is never discussed? Did we think that all this would continue and Gaza would accept it submissively? Anyone who thought so was a victim of dangerous delusions, and now we are all paying the price.”

And in the meantime the humanitarian crisis continues in Gaza. Because of shortage of fuel due to lack of funds to purchase it, 70% of the ambulances cannot run anymore, shortages of medical supplies continue and hospitals are in a protracted state of emergency.

Dr Mona El-Farra, Director of Gaza Projects for the Middle East Children’s Alliance, has denounced that the European hospital east of Khan Younis in Southern Gaza has been repeatedly shelled with approximately 30 airstrikes. Six patients inside the intensive care unit and 20 children inside had to be evacuated.

In the midst of this chaos, it is impossible to predict what will happen in Gaza. A ground invasion of the Strip, as has already been discussed by the Israeli government, can only worsen a situation that can hardly be any worse. Gazans have already paid a heavy price for their freedom and for the right to live in peace in their own land.

 

Dr Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award.

 

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  • Chiam

    First I am a Jew in nyc. I felt terrible about the Palestinian boy being burned alive. I felt terrible about the 3 Israeli boys. But violence begets violence. No one speaks out about the crimes of both sides. I agree that Israel should not have done that but was it Israel or 5 independent people who were outraged? You have to be more objective.

    I know many Egyptian Christians in the US. I will never find a nicer, warmer people. They run their businesses so well and are so kind. They are welcome in my home as well are many of my Mulsim friends. My daughter has friends who are Japanese, Muslim, Spanish, Greek and so on. They don’t talk of race, just friendship. The US fares pretty well with so many ethnic types.

    It seems it is always Israel’s fault. No matter what. If the Arabs had killed all the Jews when they invaded twice many years ago, that would have been ok. One needs to be objective in journalism or it ceases to be that.

    I respect your credentials but if Israel was surrounded by peaceful countries, there would never be a problem. The geographics were planned many years ago to make the Jews suffer more.

    Again, even if the situation solved itself, many would always be calling for the death of the Jewish people. We can not win so we don’t try to. But we are facing our deaths from every surrounding country but Jordan and Egypt.

    I and most Jews wish the Egyptians nothing but peace, health and happiness. I think the Sassi is doing a great job and the govt will return to a fully democratic one.

    Again, it is not always the Jews fault. If you want to believe that, then keep publishing it and create more hate for a people who are hated by just about everyone throughout time. But a people who are 1/5 of 1 percent of the population have won 22% of the Nobel prizes. The world has benefited from the Jewish people as they keep trying to destroy them. From Greece to France. Iran to Yemen. The Jew is despised. But the worlds greatest people keep on achieving and Israel is becoming the tech center of the world.

    Try to be constructive rather than pernicious in your writings Dr. Best wishes and may the Almighty grant Egypt peace.

    http://nypost.com/2014/07/13/america-is-asking-israel-to-negotiate-with-a-terrorist-state/

    • Mudabber

      Achieving 22% of Nobel prizes doesn’t qualify you to murder people like that? By the way, so far, people have suffered more at the hands of Jews than benefited financially or politically.

      Israel is at fault from day one of its existence when British, the colonialists, gave illegal & immoral mandate to Jews to come from all round the World to settle there in Palestine. Despite all those disputes if the Palestinian Authority has accepted Israel’s right of existence then why do Israelis not allowing Palestinians to make a state of their own? Isn’t it because you want to see them as weak & remain your slaves for ever?

      If YOU want to live in peace, then YOU have to exchange land for it otherwise the holy land of ‘chosen people’ WILL, sooner or later, turn into greatest graveyard.

      • Chiam

        So give up all of israel and die. That is the only choice. By the way how did the Ottoman Empire get all its land? By taking it and killing innocents. Please get a life!

  • Roymondw

    An analogy for the situation, with Israel-Palestine exchanged with USA-Canada. Criminals murder 3 US boys and US starts bombing Canada. Proportional ?

    “Three American
    boys go hitch-hiking in British Columbia, Canada without proper legal
    documents, in defiance of Canadian authorities. The boys go missing. A
    few days later, they turn up, having been murdered and buried in the
    Canadian Rockies. There is no suspect, no known motive for the
    killings. There are no confessions, not even any form of circumstantial
    evidence pointing to any individual or group as possibly responsible for
    the killings.

    The US
    government then declares that “Canada will pay for this” – in
    particular, they put the blame on French Quebec, the government and
    citizenry of which has no real connection to the government of British
    Columbia where the bodies were found. They then begin bombing civilian
    targets in Montreal, seemingly at random.

    In a panic, the
    government of French Quebec, who has no actual military to speak of, in
    an act of pitiful desperation, sends a defunct rocket toward New York.
    No one is hurt. The US government then declares that it is time to
    escalate bombings…”

  • Mudabber

    Israel has been at fault from the day one of its existence when British, the colonialists, gave illegal & immoral mandate to Jews to come from all round the World to settle there in Palestine. Despite all those disputes if the Palestinian Authority has accepted Israel’s right of existence then why do Israelis not allowing Palestinians to make a state of their own? Isn’t it because you want to see them as weak & remain your slaves for ever? If YOU want to live in peace, then YOU have to exchange land for it otherwise the holy land of ‘chosen people’ WILL, sooner or later, turn into greatest graveyard.

https://dailynewsegypt.com/2014/07/12/gazas-heavy-price/
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