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Is the Gaza Catastrophe Really About Natural Resources?

Israel’s official war aim is difficult to take seriously.

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This barely scratches the surface of what has been done. Other Israeli human rights groups, UN agencies, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Save the Children, along with dozens of other credible independent organizations confirm that Israeli forces are indiscriminately targeting the entire Palestinian civilian population, blowing up residential areas, destroying power plants, bombing sewage facilities, annihilating hospitals, pummeling roads, all into bloody rubble. 

Compare the hundreds of Palestinians killed, thousands injured, and tens of thousands made homeless, to the fact that only 4 Israelis have been killed due to Hamas rocket-attacks since the outbreak of conflict in December. ( Guardian, 03.01.09) Of course, these deaths are condemnable and outrageous. But they are not cases of massive, systematic massacres of civilians -- which are precisely what Palestinians have been experiencing under Israeli politico-territorial domination for the last decade. 

The Long-Term View -- 5000: 14 

Consider, for instance, that on 19 th September 2007, Israel’s security cabinet unanimously declared the entire Gaza Strip an "enemy entity" -- solely due to ongoing Hamas rocket-fire. Yet that rocket-fire was and is a response to continued indiscriminate Israeli military bombardments. In January 2007, Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) staged three days of air strikes killing 30 Palestinians, and on the 17 th, the Gaza strip was placed under total closure. In response, over 150 rockets and mortars were fired into Israel between the 15 th and 18 th of that month by Hamas. Yet while these caused no injuries or fatalities to any Israelis, in that same period, nearly 700 Palestinians  (including 224 civilians of whom 78 were children) were killed by Israeli extra-judicial executions.  

Indeed, over the last 7 years of conflict, a grand total of 14 Israelis were killed by Hamas’ rocket-fire, compared to an estimated 5,000 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces with advanced American and British-supplied military equipment ( Guardian, 30.12.08) "Among those killed in the first wave of strikes", reports the Guardian, "were eight teenage students waiting for a bus and four girls from the same family in Jabaliya, aged one to 12 years old."  


Who Broke the Ceasefire? 

It is a matter of historical record that the tentative six-month ceasefire was broken by Israel. On 4 th November 2008, Israeli forces raided Gaza late at night killing 6 Palestinians, eliciting Hamas rocket-fire. ( Guardian, 05.11.08) By late December, Israel called for a 48-hour truce in retaliatory attacks. An official from the UN Relief and Works Agency reported that Israel flagrantly violated the lull, exploiting the opportunity to drop 100 tonnes of bombs on Hamas government installations. ( Ha'aretz, 30.12.08) 

Root Cause of Palestinian Resistance: Structural Genocide in the Occupied Territories 

After Hamas came to power in democratic elections, Israel imposed a brutal siege on Gaza in 2005, denying 1.5 million Palestinians electricity, fuel, food imports, medical supplies, and vital maintenance goods and spare parts. As water and sanitation services deteriorated, hunger and ill-health intensified, and mortality rates increased. International aid agencies like Oxfam warned of a major public health crisis.  

The UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk, said that the siege of Gaza warned that the Israeli siege of Gaza, threatening the lives of an entire civilian population, expressed genocidal intent: 

Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not. The recent developments in Gaza are especially disturbing because they express so vividly a deliberate intention on the part of Israel and its allies to subject an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty. The suggestion that this pattern of conduct is a holocaust-in-the-making represents a rather desperate appeal to the governments of the world and to international public opinion to act urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendencies from culminating in a collective tragedy ... But it would be unrealistic to expect the UN to do anything in the face of this crisis, given the pattern of U.S. support for Israel and taking into account the extent to which European governments have lent their weight to recent illicit efforts to crush Hamas as a Palestinian political force.

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