Sympathy for Palestine
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 29, 2012 10:11
If you’ve watched any of the media’s coverage of Israel’s most recent assault on Gaza, you’ve likely heard endless discussion of Israel’s right to defend itself against the “endless barrage of unprovoked rocket attacks.”
What is missing from this analysis is the historical and political context within which the conflict takes place.
Placing the conflict in context completely discredits the narrative that the United States and Israel are putting forward.
Nothing about the current conflict can be understood without placing it in the context of the occupation. For decades, Israel has subjected Gaza’s 1.7 million inhabitants to a brutal and illegal military occupation.
In 2006 Israel took its repression to new heights by implementing a full-scale siege that has utterly destroyed the local economy — 95 percent of factories in Gaza have shut down, resulting in one of the highest unemployment rates in the world — and denied the population access to sufficient food, medicine and other resources necessary for living with basic human dignity.
Israel’s siege is so severe that the U.N. warns Gaza will be unlivable by the year 2020. Israel has done nothing but turn Gaza into the world’s largest open-air prison.
The media fails to contextualize the conflict and instead argues that “violence on both sides” is to blame for the conflict.
But the violence of the occupier to maintain their system of oppression cannot be equated with the violence of the occupied to liberate themselves.
There is no such thing as unprovoked rocket attacks from the Palestinians — all rocket fire is a response to the occupation.
Noam Chomsky explains that when Israel claims self-defense, “they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing … You can’t defend yourself when you’re militarily occupying someone else’s land … Call it what you like, it’s not defense.” If Israel actually cared about peace, it would address the issue driving the violence: the occupation.
As long as the Palestinians are humiliated and dehumanized by Israel, they will continue to resist by any means available to them.
Those of us who want to see an end to violence on both sides should be unequivocal in our opposition to Israel’s illegal occupation and our solidarity with the Palestinians’ struggle for liberation.