Pillar of Cloud settled nothing. Little changed for 1.7 million Gazans. Suffocating siege continues. Israel provoked two border incidents.
Daily life continues as before. Israel doesn’t give. It takes, oppresses, and ignores rule of law principles. Memorandum of understanding terms aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.
For years, it’s been three. Big catches occur far offshore. Israel wants Palestinians denied them. That policy won’t change.
Egypt’s Morsi largely conspires with Israel and Washington. Gazans suffer. Rhetorical support belies policy. Expect little change ahead.
According to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, coastal waters up to 12 nautical miles are universally recognized as sovereign territory.
Moreover, Oslo terms were 20 nautical miles. Israel reneged. It unilaterally imposed three. Whatever Israel agrees to is meaningless.
Since 1948, Palestinians got nothing. Persecution continues ruthlessly. Occupation harshness denies Palestinians all fundamental rights.
Gazan waters belong to Palestine, not Israel. So does all sovereign land and air space. Israel wants all valued areas for itself. It keeps stealing them incrementally. It’s official policy. It won’t change.
Even Reuters reporter David Rohde agreed. “(L)ets be honest,” he said. The fighting stopped. The “long and bitter struggle” continues. Pillar of Cloud settled nothing.
“Don’t expect (current) dynamics to improve anytime soon.” Peace “seem(s) more distant than ever.”
Repressive occupation continues. So does Gaza’s siege. It constitutes slow-motion genocide.
Expect Morsi to do what’s he’s told. Palestinians remain isolated on their own. Nothing ahead suggests change.
Palestinian poet/author Mahmoud Darwish (March 1941 – August 2008) understood. His work reflected Palestinian anguish and hope. Throughout the Arab world, he was deeply admired. He was perhaps Palestine’s most esteemed poet.
He was aged six when Israeli soldiers captured his Galilee al-Barawi village. All that remains is rock-strewn soil.
He and his family fled to Lebanon. He returned to Deir al-Asad. For a decade, he became a “present-absentee.” He wasn’t a “good Arab.”
Israel persecuted him for his activism. He was incarcerated and placed under house arrest several times. Israel tolerates no opposition.
When he left, he never returned. Israel banished him. “My homeland is a suitcase,” he said. “In fact, for years my homeland has been language alone.”
Gideon Levy called his “superb poems (some of) the most powerful love songs ever written to this bleeding land. His words of yearning cannot fail to move anyone who reads them.”
It’s unclear whether he or Israel won its war on Darwish. He once said:
“I am from here, and here I am, and I am I, and here am I, and I am I….forever here, here forever.”
Darwish’s “Silence for Gaza” in part said:
“Gaza is far from its relatives and close to its enemies, because whenever Gaza explodes, it becomes an island and it never stops exploding.”
“It scratched the enemy’s face, broke his dreams and stopped his satisfaction with time. Because in Gaza time is something different.”
“Because in Gaza, time is not a neutral element.”
“It does not compel people to cool contemplation, but rather to explosion and a collision with reality.”
“Time there does not take children from childhood to old age, but rather makes them men in their first confrontation with the enemy.”
“Time in Gaza is not relaxation, but storming the burning noon. Because in Gaza values are different, different, different.”
“The only value for the occupied is the extent of his resistance to occupation. That is the only competition there.”
“Gaza has been addicted to knowing this cruel, noble value. It did not learn it from books, hasty school seminars, loud propaganda megaphones, or songs. It learned it through experience alone and through work that is not done for advertisement and image.”
“Gaza has no throat. Its pores are the ones that speak in sweat, blood, and fires. Hence the enemy hates it to death and fears it to criminality, and tries to sink it into the sea, the desert, or blood.”
“And hence its relatives and friends love it with a coyness that amounts to jealousy and fear at times, because Gaza is the brutal lesson and the shining example for enemies and friends alike.”
“(Gaza) is not the most elegant or the biggest, but it equals the history of an entire homeland, because it is more ugly, impoverished, miserable, and vicious in the eyes of enemies.”
“Because it is the most capable, among us, of disturbing the enemy’s mood and his comfort. Because it is his nightmare.”
“Because it is mined oranges, children without a childhood, old men without old age and women without desires. Because of all this it is the most beautiful, the purest and richest among us and the one most worthy of love.”
“We do injustice to Gaza when we turn it into a myth, because we will hate it when we discover that it is no more than a small poor city that resists.”
“Gaza was born out of fire, while we were born out of waiting and crying over abandoned homes.”
“It is true that Gaza has its special circumstances and its own revolutionary traditions. But its secret is not a mystery: Its resistance is popular and firmly joined together and knows what it wants (it wants to expel the enemy out of its clothes).”
“Enemies might triumph over Gaza.”
“They might break its bones.”
“They might implant tanks on the insides of its children and women. They might throw it into the sea, sand, or blood.”
“But it will not repeat lies and say ‘Yes’ to invaders.”
“It will continue to explode.”
“It is neither death, nor suicide. It is Gaza’s way of declaring that it deserves to live.”
A Final Comment
Gaza boils daily. Life reflects brutalizing occupation harshness. Isolation is suffocating. West Bank Palestinians understand.
No one’s safe anywhere in Palestine. State terror makes everyone vulnerable. No one knows from one day to the next who’ll live, die, be arrested, beaten, tortured, or dehumanized for not being Jewish.
On November 25, Haaretz contributor Gideon Levy headlined “An accounting,” saying:
In April 2001, the first homemade rockets struck Israel. From then to now, 4,717 Palestinians were killed compared to 59 Israelis.
Add at most another half dozen Israelis and over 170 Palestinians from Pillar of Cloud.
Conflict-related injured Palestinian numbers are staggering. From Cast Lead and Pillar of Cloud alone (31 days combined), they exceed 6,000.
On average, annual Israeli vehicular accidents take hundreds of lives. In 2000, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics reported 461 fatalities. Other years reflect similar numbers.
“The numbers don’t lie,” said Levy. The “proportion is horrifying. It ought to disturb every Israeli.” Few know. Most don’t care. Only Jewish lives matter.
Since 2001, the ratio of Palestinians to Jews killed was almost 100 to one. Thousands of Palestinian rockets caused little harm.
Israel bombs and shells to kill and destroy. Which side deliberately targets civilians? Which one is more civilized?
Which one values human life more? Which one cares? Which one doesn’t?
Which one is victim? Which is aggressor? Who bears responsibility? Israeli and Western propaganda suppress truth and full disclosure.
Independent voices explaining Israeli crimes of war and against humanity are shut out. They’re called anti-Semites and Israel haters. Jewish ones are called self-hating.
Facts are turned on their head. Palestinian suffering is ignored. Deaths and injuries mount. “(W)ho’s counting,” asked Levy. Only Jewish welfare matters.