The World’s Betrayal of Gaza

By Khalid Amayreh

Occupied Jerusalem: Despite the passage of an entire one year since the cruel Israeli onslaught against the people of the Gaza Strip, the international community has done very little to remedy the effects and aftereffects of the Nazi-like Israeli campaign. Under the rubric of fighting Hamas, the Palestinian Muslim liberation movement, the Israeli army on December 27, 2008, rained bombs, missiles, white phosphorus, and other lethal weapons of death down on the civilian population of Gaza.

The result was more than 1400 Palestinians casualties of mostly innocent civilians, including more than 350 dead children, and more than 5,000 maimed and injured ones.

Moreover, the sustained bombing, which lasted for 21 days, destroyed the bulk of the civilian infrastructure throughout the coastal territory, leaving more than 40,000 homes totally or partially destroyed.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of public buildings, such as mosques and other public facilities were bombed and leveled to the ground.

Israel, a criminal state par excellence, claimed the bombing campaign was aimed at punishing Hamas for firing home-made projectiles on Israeli settlements across the borders.

Kill All Gazans!
The destruction of so many homes has left hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians homeless. However, the massive death and destruction inflicted on the totally unprotected Gazan inhabitants showed that Israel wanted to kill as many Gazan civilians as the international community would allow. Hence, one would not exaggerate a bit or sidestep truth by saying that the main motive behind the virtual Gaza genocide of last year was to satiate Jewish-Zionist thirst for the Palestinian blood. It was a shameless expression of sadism whereby Israelis drew pleasure from seeing so many Palestinian children and civilians die by bombs and lethal white phosphorus dropped on them from high altitudes. The destruction of so many homes has left hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians homeless.

These Palestinians had to be sheltered in insecure and unsafe tents or by clinging to their partially destroyed and highly risky homes.

Israel is vehemently refusing to allow building materials such as lumber, cement, panes, and glass to reach Gaza. Israeli officials concoct many excuses to justify their manifestly criminal behavior, which is causing immense suffering to innocent civilians, such as claiming that building materials could be used by Hamas to build fortifications.

Indeed, “criminal” is an appropriate description of the Israeli behavior since barring building materials from getting into Gaza reflects callousness, cruelty, and criminality.

The Decapitated “Civilized West”
No matter what Israel does and what crimes it commits, this would not affect Israeli-EU relations. Now, with the advent of winter, tens of thousands of tormented Gazans are going to suffer and many might get sick and die because of cold weather.

Notwithstanding its Nazi-like criminality, Israel does not alone bear all the blame for the huge shame of exposing the people of Gaza to much suffering and pain.

The “civilized” West, which created Israel by giving European Jews the historical and ancestral homeland of the Palestinian people, is virtually silent in the face of this shame as if the suffering and pain Palestinians have been through were not sufficient.

Indeed, apart from some routine statements by EU officials deploring the humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip, European officials who would hasten to invoke “Western civility and enlightenment”, are more or less circumspect on the ongoing Gaza nightmare as if they are awaiting to see the people of Gaza slowly dying. The European Union does give humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. However, the people of Gaza need more than just food. They need to rebuild their homes and lives, and this task cannot be realized without the European Union exerting meaningful pressure on the Zionist regime to allow the entry of building materials into the Strip.

It is difficult to find a single legitimate reason justifying European inaction, which really amounts to a huge betrayal and moral failure.

The European Union has much leverage with Israel. The European Union is Israel’s main trading partner, and the Zionist regime has immense interests in maintaining strong ties with European Union and its individual countries. However, instead of utilizing these factors to convince or even force Israel to allow Gaza to rebuild, EU countries are often busy discussing ways and means to promote their ties with Israel. The European attitude toward Israel is morally problematic. It shows that Europe is quite helpless in the face of the Israeli arrogance and insolence. In fact, Israel is not only indulging in cruel sadism against a helpless and thoroughly tormented civilian population, but is also killing the two-state solution by continuing to build Jewish-only settlements on the occupied Arab lands.

The European Union is actually rewarding the Zionist state by showing that no matter what Israel does and what crimes it commits, this would not affect Israeli-EU relations. On December 10, as the world celebrates the so-called Human-Rights Day, the people of Gaza stand virtually alone in coping with their suffering.

Arab Regimes Collaborating with Israel
These regime will pay dearly for their betrayal of an Arab-Muslim people that has been standing alone against Zionist expansionism. Unfortunately, the biggest Arab country, Egypt, could do much to alleviate suffering across the border. Egypt can, at no price and at no risk, allow building materials to reach Gaza, thus thwarting Israel’s criminal blackmail. The Egyptian economy could also benefit from rebuilding Gaza, given the fact that billions of dollars would be spent in the rebuilding process. However, the autocratic Egyptian leadership refuses to do so, citing unconvincing arguments about “international agreements with Israel” as if these agreements, which have been violated a thousand times by the Zionist regime, were sacred covenants and more important than saving lives.

Other Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, have voiced their willingness to contribute generously to rebuilding Gaza. The King of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, reportedly pledged a $ billion to cover the expenses of rebuilding Gaza. However, it is amply clear that financial generosity alone is not sufficient to overcome the present tragedy.

Saudi Arabia, an important country in the Middle East, could, if it wanted, exert strong pressure on Washington to pressure Israel to allow building materials to reach Gaza. However, the fact that the Saudis are not exerting such pressure sends another bleak message of betrayal to the people of Gaza.

This impotent Arab attitude toward the Gaza catastrophe is more than a moral failure. It really borders on outright perfidy. These regimes will pay dearly for their betrayal of an Arab-Muslim people that has been standing, virtually alone, along the first line of defense against Zionist expansionism and belligerency.

Nevertheless, one has to admit that the Saudis and other Arab regimes cannot really be more Palestinian than the Palestinians themselves can. The Palestinian Authority (PA) regime in Ramallah has done very little to help rebuild Gaza. On the contrary, this regime, which gives the stupid political power struggle with Hamas priority over the Israeli occupation, often seems to be conniving with the Zionist occupiers and the Western powers in perpetuating the present situation for as long as possible in the hope of generating more anger and indignation against Hamas among the people of Gaza. This is the very regime that claims to be serving the national interests of the Palestinian people. Well, with leaders like Mahmud Abbas, Salam Fayyad, and Muhammed Dahlan, the Palestinian people certainly need no enemies.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 January 2010 on page no. 25

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