On August 18, as I woke up to the news of an attack that took place in Israel's southernmost city of Eilat in which seven Israelis died, the first thing that came to my mind was: “Who the hell did it?”
As my brother excitedly narrated to me the details of the oddly mysterious incident, I was foolish enough to wish the assailants weren’t from Gaza.
I naively said to my brother: “Let’s hope they don’t turn out to be Gazans.”
In a frenzy, I went through reports of the incidents on the internet, hoping against hope the blame wouldn’t be placed upon Gaza. Or at least by some miraculous power, some organisation outside Gaza would officially adopt the attacks and relieve Gazans of this insane irrationality where the Palestinians in Gaza would be held responsible and “pay a heavy price” for the crimes they never committed.
Soon enough, I was skimming a news article in Haretz.com under the title: “Barak: Gaza is the source of terrorist attacks on southern Israel.”
I immediately thought: “But man, wait, that’s not true. I mean no one in Gaza claimed responsibility for the attack, you know, Hamas would have done, had it been them but er, I mean, you can’t just say it’s Gaza when it’s not blah, blah, blah,”
Israeli deputy PM Ehud Barak wouldn’t listen. Or he wouldn’t have to listen. And he wouldn’t believe me.
And he wouldn’t bother who claimed responsibility and who didn’t.
And to be more accurate, this is exactly what the so-called Israeli Defense Force wanted; that’s what they had been waiting for. An excuse, no matter how lame, baseless and prejudiced it might be, to exercise its favourite habit of bombing, demolishing and killing Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.
In fact, Israel never needed a pretext to start bombing Gaza. Israel’s warplanes shell the hell out of Gaza every day.
This was a pretext for extrajudicial executions, which are not over. [By August 20, Xinhua.com reported at least 15 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli attacks, including civilians — editor's note.]
And yes, it didn’t take long for Israel's aerial, ground and naval operation against Gaza to get under way. You can’t tell me Israel would miss this chance.
Who cares on what basis Barak’s accusing finger is pointed toward the Palestinians in Gaza, claiming they perpetrated the Eilat attacks?
There is no basis whatsoever.
But what if Palestinian militants in Gaza are behind the Eilat attacks? Why would Israel kill two little children? Collateral damage?
Could one, then, consider the seven Israeli civilians killed in the attacks as collateral damage, given the fact that two Israeli soldiers were also killed?
Three massive bombs just hit the area nearby, and Israeli warplanes are intensely flying over Gaza city at the moment.
Why was 13-year-old Mahmoud killed in Israel's attacks?
Is that the way Israel will keep lashing out, indiscriminately killing innocent civilians in blind retaliation?
Isn’t this “violence, brutality and a cowardly act of terrorism against innocent civilians”, Hillary Clinton?
Or perhaps this is a life not worth feeling sorry for. Why wouldn’t the US president and his secretary of state Clinton offer their “deepest condolences” for the families of these little children as well?
Gaza is a Palestinian territory occupied by Israeli military forces and has been living under siege for more than five years. Those people living in the Gaza Strip are the real victims. They are the real oppressed.
There is a humanitarian crisis, a collective punishment, injustice, and occupation that needs to be addressed.
Israel should be held accountable for its crimes against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip before we go about criticising the people in Gaza for firing a few missiles as an act of protest and defiance.
US-made F16s, Apaches, unmanned overhead drones, gigantic warships, Merkava and other tanks and this whole massive war machine are the real sources of violence.
Indeed, as a friend put it: “The only ‘self-defence’ justified by a colonial occupier is to withdraw from those occupied lands. Very, very simple.”
The friend also said: “Israel justifying this massacre as self-defence is like a robber justifying killing the victim because they wouldn’t hand over their wallet.”
[Abridged from Mohammed Suliman's blog at www.electronicintifada.net .]