Focus

Why is Gaza fighting back?

It is being said by some, even in Arab and Muslim circles, that Hamas is responsible for what is happening in Gaza, that there will be no Israeli attack if Hamas stopped firing its toy rockets into Israel. There was no problem when the rockets and bullets came only from the Israeli side.

The problem with this logic is that it thinks that the problem started this or last month with the kidnapping and murder of three young Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank. The problem did not start last month or last year and Hamas was not the first to fire a rocket at Israel. The problem started long ago -- shortly after the end of the First World War when Britain inaugurated the Jewish Homeland project in Arab Palestine and in any case in early 1948 when the Jewish terror gangs, like Haganah and Irgun, let loose “Plan Dalet” to expel the Palestinians from their homeland. A majority of the Palestinians then took refuge in the neighbouring countries, especially in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Many moved to areas which were still safe within Palestine like the West Bank and Gaza Strip which house large refugee camps to this day - so much so that 70 percent of Gaza Strip population is refugee fleeing from areas which are now “Israel”. The wave of expulsion continued long after Israel was established on 15 May, 1948 on much more that the area earmarked for a Jewish State in a controversial UN plan. The Gaza refugees know exactly where they came from. Some still have the keys to their usurped homes in which Jews coming from all the four corners of the world live.

The remaining parts of Palestine, viz., West Bank and Gaza Strip (constituting only 22 percent of mandated Palestine) were also occupied by Israel during the June 1967 aggression known as “preventive war”. These refugees and occupied people are fighting back to liberate their occupied lands - a right enjoyed by every occupied land and nation under international law which, in any case, does not apply when the victims belong to the Third World.

The original dream of these refugees was to liberate their homeland in its entirety but their weakness and the blind western support to Israel made them to finally accept only 22 percent of their homeland, the areas occupied in 1967, forgetting what was occupied in 1948. This was the basis of the Oslo Accords of 1992 under which a sovereign Palestinian state was to appear within five years. But 22 years later, this sovereign state is still a pipe-dream. The Palestinians, who have no power whatsoever to force the occupier to vacate their land, have been kept busy in futile “peace process” talks which have not moved forward even a single inch all these years while Israel keeps building new settlements on Palestinian land which even Israel agrees should be part of the promised Palestinian sovereign state.

A new development took place when in 2006 Hamas swept the Middle East’s first free and fair elections. But this popular mandate was not honoured by Israel and its western backers just as earlier they had rejected electoral results in Algeria and Turkey and more recently in Egypt. Democracy in the Muslim world is unacceptable to Western powers unless it yields acceptable results. Hamas government was toppled within months and a blockade of Gaza started in 2007 - the first time in history an occupier blockaded an already occupied territory. This total blockade, brutally controlling the lives of 1.8 million people, continues till this day, turning Gaza Strip into the world’s largest prison, destroying the lives of its people and devastating their social life, economy and educational, health and civic infrastructure.

Every toy-rocket that goes out of Gaza is a protest against this cruel, inhuman and illegal blockade, and every real American rocket and bullet fired by Israel at the defenceless people of Gaza says that Israel and its backers are adamant on continuing this inhuman incarceration of a whole population.

The issue in Gaza is not Hamas’ toy-rockets or tunnels. The issue is the blockade and occupation. The day the blockade and occupation end and even if only “22 percent” of Palestine is returned to the Palestinians, Gaza rockets will stop and Gaza tunnels will become history as the Gazans will start living again as human beings, trying to catch up to build their lives like any other nation in the world. 

Zafarul-Islam Khan is Editor, The Milli Gazette and President, All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Delhi

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 August 2014 on page no. 1

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