‘It’s the rockets’, if Hamas stops firing rockets there will be calm, Zionists claim. Wrong, it is the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people, the denial of their rights, the siege on Gaza,the settlements and the lack of the implementation of the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
Listening to the Israeli and pro Israeli commentators and analysts this week you could be excused for thinking there was no problem in Palestine / Israel until 10 days or so ago when ‘Hamas fired rickets’. No mention of the Nakba, the dispossession, the expulsion of Palestinians through Jewish Zionist terror. No mention of the siege on Gaza, the Apartheid Wall, the checkpoints, the house demolitions, the abductions of children by the IDF, the racism, the humiliation and the inequality of treatment of Jews and non Jews. If I had a penny for every time I heard “If Hamas (Khamas) stops firing rockets, Israel would stop its attack”, I really would be a rich person!
What drove me to write this piece was an interview on the BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast show on 14/7/2014. the interviewr, Nicky Campbell is a fair interviewer. Appearing at the same time was a journalist from the Jerusalem Post, whose name I did not get.
In response to Nicky’s first question I asked whether any of the 160 -at the time- Palestinains that had been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza was responsible for the abduction and killing of the the three Israeli settlers, near Hebron. I was taken aback when the Israeli speaker said that Palestinians always try to take the argument back in time, as if the two incidents are not related. I thought that a journalist, not a spokesman for the Israeli Government, would at least answer my question but no. Life starts whenever the Israeli narrative, necessary at the time, determines. In this case when the first batch of Hamas rockets flew out of Gaza.
Those of us that want to see the end of death and terror continue to argue that unlike my Israeli counterpart, we see it as essential that the underlying reasons for the recent crisis are the lack of a political solution. Sixty seven years on, Palestinian refugees languish in refugee camps across the Arab World, some within sight of their homes or land in historic Palestine. forty seven years on, the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza continues and Israel continues to build on this occupied land, strategically, with the aim of making a contiguous Palestinian state impossible. Most recently Netanyahu, in his press conference, on Friday 11/7 should have finished his remarks with a declaration that there will be no Palestinain state, because that is what his individual remarks, taken together amount to.
Both the Palestinain leadership and the key players, including Secretary of State John Kerry, should analyse Netanyahu’s comments carefully. Netanyahu was not posturing because this has been his stance since he uttered his first few words as a serious politician. There is a need to look at other options and not to continually claim the two-state solution is the ‘only game in town’. The referee has blown the whistle on that particular game and there is no extra time. The recent crisis was the ‘penalty kicks’ in which real human beings have died in Gaza and others cowered in air raid shelters, where they exist.
Picture via Chris Gunness, UNRWA
Please do not compare the rockets with US made one tonne bombs. One causes fear, the other death. One fired in a general direction and the other fired by a pilot who can see someone’s home through his Cross hairs and deliberately presses the button to kill people in that house. He knows the bomb will not distinguish between a militant father and his non militant wife, son or daughter but still let’s it go.
Those of us who want to see peace will continue to argue that the underlying causes must be dealt with or we can guarantee that there will be a return to death and destruction some time after the forthcoming ceasefire. It really is not about the rockets, it is about a just peace and reconciliation.