Israel’s latest attack on Gaza, purportedly to stop Hamas rocket attacks on Israel, is an unjustified, immoral, and, above all, stupid action.
I am not defending Hamas’ rocket attacks at all – while many are targeted at Israeli military forces most are simply indiscriminate. I’m saying they don’t justify Israel’s response. Yep, Hamas fires a lot of rockets but they are a ludicrously ineffective weapon used by an oppressed people to make mere pin-prick attacks on their rulers. Most of the rockets fall harmlessly. In 8 years, 27 people have been killed by rockets and mortars launched from Gaza. Israel routinely kills that many civilians in a single day and we’re expected to brush it off as collateral damage.
It’s not as if things suddenly got worse in the last few weeks to justify this latest Israeli onslaught. Not a single Israeli had been killed since May. Before the Israeli attack, the only recent deaths from the rockets were two Palestinian civilians killed by a misfire.
The Israeli invasion has not made things better. Four Israelis have been killed by rockets since the Isreali attack started, more than in the entire previous year. Just as in Israel’s last military foray, into Lebanon, the response is a hail of missiles and more Isreali deaths, not fewer. The idea that the Israeli attack can somehow stop Hamas’ rockets attacks is deadly dreaming. Resistance is inevitable; humans will not acquiesce peacefully to foreign rule. While the Israelis rule Gaza like a giant prison, there will be Palestinian violence in response. That’s not a justification, that’s just reality. Every time Israel goes in guns blazing is just makes the situation worse and ultimately does more damage to itself. Only freedom for the Palestinian people could end the rocket attacks.
So, Israel’s response is futile and unjustified simply from the perspective of the cost to Israel. But let us not forget that it is the Palestinians, the 1.5 million people living in poverty, crammed into the Gaza strip, who suffer the most. Hundreds of entirely innocent people are killed every year by the Israeli occupation. Since last week, another four hundred or more have shared their fate. These people did not deserve to die. And it is a heinous crime that they have been killed by a foreign ruler using massive force in pursuit of an unattainable goal.
I don’t want to spend much time addressing our Government’s response to this international crisis because it is irrelevant to the actual conflict. But it does say something about the quality of our government that it has issued no official statement on the issue. All our great Foreign Minister Murray McCully has roused himself to do is write a whining little press release where he attacks the Greens for their condemnation of Israel’s invasion. He hasn’t actually released any statement of New Zealand’s policy, a soundbite on the news is enough he reckons. It’s pretty obvious that National/ACT backs Israel’s aggression but is afraid to say anything for fear of a domestic backlash and, potentially, getting offside with Obama. Pathetically, they don’t have the courage to come out and say that.