Reality of life in Gaza is root of the problem
So here we are few weeks into the latest fighting between Israelis and Palestinians, the third such in the last five years. Israeli supporters point to rocket and tunnel attacks by Hamas as the reason for Israeli actions, and they do have a point. However, missing in this discussion is the reality of life in Gaza – even when there is no fighting going on.
The United States and the rest of the world ignore the Palestinians unless people are dying. Gaza is essentially a 140-square-mile, open-air prison camp with 1.8 million inmates – men, women and children. Israel maintains a complete blockade of Gaza, controlling border access by land, air and sea, and imports of essential supplies of all kinds, including food, fuel and medicine.
There has been no movement toward any sort of just peace agreement for 40-plus years, and many Palestinians have given up any hope that there will be. Israeli actions and inactions – settlement expansions, targeted assassinations, air strikes by drones – tell the Palestinians that there is no hope, that they just have to give up and accept being a captive people forever.
It’s hard to call this a war given the great disparity in military force, destruction and civilian deaths between the two sides. The fighting is closer to an attempted prison break than a fight between equals. And it increasingly appears to the world as a massive, bloody punishment inflicted on Palestinians for their refusal to accept their fate.
Eric A. Gallion