The recent spate of violence, dubbed as the worst single incident in the region, saw 58 Palestinians lose their lives and more than 2,700 sustaining injuries when Israel used brutal state force to repress the waves of protests that have become a way of life there. The reason for protest was very legitimate as America has declared Jerusalem, an occupied territory in recognised international parlance, as Israeli capital and has agreed to open up its diplomatic legation there.
The occasion gave a very gory look as just a few miles away Israel and the US were engaged in joyfully inaugurating the American embassy in Jerusalem. President Trump’s bigoted and hard line Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner and his docile wife Ivanka Trump were photographed smiling along with Israeli PM Netanyahu at the ceremony and Jared Kushner remark uttered there tells the whole story: “those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution.”
It is an unfortunate but regular feature of the international arena that Israel arbitrarily employs disproportionate military force to put down the legitimate resistance of the Palestinian population living in their own territories that were forcibly occupied by Israel in 1967. It is painful to observe that there appears no end to the miseries of the subjugated Palestinians and there is no force to curb Israeli streak of violence that has failed to abate. Even the Arab countries and the Muslim world feel themselves powerless to provide succour to the ravaged Palestinians suffering at the hands of an intransigent Israel.
The plight of the Palestinians currently is witnessed in Gaza, a narrow strip of land, about 40 kilometers long and between six kilometers and 12 kilometers wide that is squeezed between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. It is the third most densely populated area in the world after Singapore and Hong Kong that is enclosed within boundaries with over 5,000 people per square kilometers crowding this small piece of land. Israel has augmented the Gaza border with most advanced technological devices that constantly monitor it and in addition it is defended by an overwhelming Israeli military force.
Israel treats this tract of land as an effective
and extensive Israeli buffer zone within
the Gaza Strip and makes it sure to keep
this area off-limits to Palestinians living there
Israel treats this tract of land as an effective and extensive Israeli buffer zone within the Gaza Strip and makes it sure to keep this area off-limits to Palestinians living there. The besieged Palestinians number something between 1.9 million and their population is projected to grow up to 2.1 million by 2020. With the rise in population the area promises to become completely unlivable. Unemployment currently stands at 29 percent in the Palestinian Authority but it is above 44 percent in Gaza and well above 60 percent among the youth, according to the World Bank. Around 80 percent of the population relies on humanitarian aid to survive.
With tacit American help Israel is exploiting the presence of Hamas in Gaza to kill innocent civilians and is following a strategy to occupy the land, force people out of their homes and then build an illegal wall to continue the occupation. But despite brutal Israeli actions the mass resistance movement by Palestinians in Gaza to demand the return for Palestinian refugees of 1948 and an end to the 12-year-blockade by Israel has been growing. It is very strange to observe the 360- degree turn in American policy that was once instrumental in putting enormous pressure on all parties in the region to sign and implement successive peace accords.
However the US-Israeli nexus is heroically defied by the Palestinian youth against the intolerable conditions they find themselves in. With each passing day protests along the border over the past month have been peaceful despite the lethal response by the Israeli Defence Forces. Young Palestinians are fervently defying the most advanced military force and weaponry in the hands of trained snipers by flying kites across barbed-wire fences, attempting to beat back tear-gas canisters with tennis rackets or simply showing that they won’t be cowed by bullets even at the risk of their own lives.
Whatever the Israeli propaganda implies, its citizens have suffered no casualties and even the soldiers operate safely whereas the death toll among the Palestinians of Gaza is now well above 100 and more than 12,000 people have been left critically injured by live ammunition or tear-gas canisters that have been lobbed on peaceful protesters. Palestinians rightly fear their ethnic cleansing and will naturally do everything to avoid such a fate. They expect that the complete turnaround of American policies is aimed at their ultimate annihilation and Gaza is the first step towards it.
Israeli subjugation of Palestinians is now considered the worst in human history and the historical irony is that it is perpetrated by the people who continuously remind the world about the harrowing massacres they faced during Nazi Germany’s domination of Europe.
Fahad Ali is associated with maritime trade