Israel/Palestine Issues

Peace with justice in Gaza – commentary by Daniel Smith

Regarding Israel’s attack on Gaza, often one hears in the media the following justification: “No country in the world would put up with rockets being shot at you, what if Mexico shot rockets at Austin, Texas (or pick a U.S. city) would you stand idly by?  This is self-defense.”

I propose that the following analogy is more correct:  What if someone with a gun broke into your house, forced you and your family into a closet in the basement, padlocked the door of the closet, left you there for years, providing just enough water and food for you to survive, and not allowing you to refill your prescription for your daughter’s medical condition.  One day you take a swipe at the man with a homemade knife you were able to fashion, and he shoots you.  The police hear the shot and investigate, but the man gets let off because he said it was “self-defense” and besides his uncle is the judge, and meanwhile you are left bleeding in the closet in the basement.

The people of Gaza, 80% of whom are refugees from what is now Israel, have been under harsh conditions for decades, but have been living under “siege” for the last 7 years.  What has this siege meant for the inhabitants?  When they try to fish in the waters offshore, patrolling Israeli gunboats shoot at them.  When they farm within range of the borders, they are shot at.  They can’t fly out, Israel doesn’t allow it and besides the airport is destroyed.  All the goods that they need to import and export are kept to a trickle at the border crossings.  Very few Gazans are allowed to leave. This is why Gaza has been called the largest open-air prison in the world.

I don’t condone rockets being fired from Gaza, but it should be noted that there have been long periods of calm without rockets being fired whenever the conditions of the siege were relaxed and there were no attacks or targeted assassinations, etc., from Israel. The Operation Protective Edge is not about self-defense, but it is about the abject surrender of the Palestinian people to a future of living with no culture, no land, and no hope.

We (U.S. taxpayers) are the funders and enablers of the siege and current bloody carnage in Gaza.  We give $3 billion annually in overt military aid to Israel unconditionally.  They therefore have no incentive to stop the attacks.  I have contacted President Obama and my Senators and Congressman to cut off this aid.  This is the first step to peace.

Israelis and Palestinians are not so different.  Both highly educated, with traditions of entrepreneurship.  A bright future is possible, if peace, with justice, would be obtained.