The breakout of the people of Gaza in late January provided a heroic spectacle unlike any other since the Warsaw ghetto uprising and the smashing down of the Berlin Wall.
On March 4 and 5, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a brief visit to Israel, ostensibly to advance a “peace process” between Israel and the Palestinians, launched in the US resort of Annapolis last November.
Between the Lines Readings on Israel, the Palestinians, and the US War on Terror
Edited by Tikva Honig-Parnass & Toufi Haddad
Haymarket Books, 2007
406 pages, US$17
Tens of thousands of Gazans attempted to form a human chain thelength of the Gaza Strip on February 25. The action was a protest against Israel’s illegal collective punishment of the 1.5 million residents of Gaza.
On February 6, Israel once again resumed its air strikes against the population of Gaza, killing nine Hamas affiliated police officers and injuring 13 others. Israel claimed the attack was in retaliation for a suicide bombing on February 4 which claimed the life of one woman and injured six others in the southern Israeli city of Dimona.
Palestinian resistance fighter and founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), George Habash, died on January 26 from a heart attack, aged 81.
On January 23, a series of explosions ripped open the concrete and steel barrier that had sealed off the Gaza Strip from the outside world. The breach in the barrier allowed hundreds of thousands of desperate Palestinians, perhaps a third of Gazas 1.5 million residents, to surge into the Egyptian cross-border town of Rafah to buy some of lifes basic necessities denied them by Israels siege of the 10 kilometre wide, 40-kilometre long Palestinian enclave.
Early on January 23 more than 20,000 Palestinians from the besieged Gaza Strip poured into Egyptian territory after Palestinian militants from Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) blew up two sections of the Gaza-Egypt border wall at Rafah.
On January 15, the Israel Defense Forces killed 17 Palestinians during incursions into east Gaza City. The IDF killed nine more in raids over the following two days. The attacks launched a new wave of Israeli violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) following the January 9-16 visit by US President George Bush to Israel, the West Bank city of Ramallah and other centres in the region.