The history of the people who live in Gaza is something that should infuriate.
We could delve into their history of the Egyptian rule over Gaza, or further back during the rule of the Ottoman Empire, or we could even go as far back as biblical histories of the people that lived in that same region, for which some of the place names have stayed unchanged for millennia.
Instead, we can just look at what has happened since Israel left Gaza. Yes, it was occupied by Israel, from 1967 to 2005, 38 years. And then, in a decision that rocked many people, Israel said that although it did not see a partner for peace in Gaza, and although Israel has a very clear policy that it will trade land for recognition and peace, Israel decided to leave, fighting its own citizens, showing once more that it sticks to its word about the settlements not being permanent, but instead something to be removed painfully if peace is achievable to be had.
And then Hamas took power. It has nearly been ten years. Since August 2005, Gazans have been in control of their own destiny. Some might say otherwise, yet Gazans have their own government and they are their own people: If their neighbours, Egypt and Israel, close their borders to Gaza, one must look to a Gaza run by a terrorist organization cum government that teaches and propagates hate, death and destruction to understand why.
Since then, stories of resources being used, such as concrete supposed to be used for infrastructure for civil use instead used for purposes of terrors, or stories of repression of the people there by its own government, or stories of how under Hamas rule people no income or ways to support themselves … I’m reminded of Bill Clinton’s remark “It’s the economy, stupid” … but instead of showing openness to the world, or managing, or caring … Gaza has instead shown that it is not interested in peace, in building a stable economy, in a secure future.
The Gazan government has had ample opportunity over these past years, nearly a decade, to alter its ways, change its mantra of death to the Jews, and become respectable caretakers of the people in their charge.
They have not.
Surely they could have done more. Should have done more.
We can forgive them for at first being overjoyed with the departure of the Israeli forces, and them as a terrorist organization unable to initially take up the challenge of good governance.
We can forgive them for not immediately changing their charter. In Canada and elsewhere, national charters protect the people. In Gaza, the first article calls for the death of Israel and the Jew. (Let me quote just a bit: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” I would like to believe all of us in our organization can see how atrocious such a statement is, and that we would believe in things like the right of people to not be obliterated …)
They said, they being the Hamas government newly in power, they needed time. They have had nearly a decade. What is the holdup … oh, wait, the hate and desire to obliterate.
So, let us fast forward past a decade’s worth of battles, wars, incursions, etc.
How much aide has Israel given Gaza? How much has the world given Gaza?
Giving aid is worthwhile, a noble cause. But, has it gone to the people that need it? Ten years …
So, now, this month, what do we see:
Israel is more threatened than even because its neighbour, instead of caring about the welfare and well-being of its citizens, cares about the cause of killing, of carrying the banner of martyrdom, and of watching its fellow people die.
And yet, these are the same people who are embraced and loved by the international community, with marches on Parliament Hill in Canada’s capital, and in cities throughout the world, holding banners and chanting about the destruction of the state of Israel and of death to the Jews.
Meanwhile, Gaza uses UN locations to launch or house weapons … yet the international community cries out, a day after the UN itself admitted this and said that this practise puts at risk those in these facilities given that these places then are not safe havens but rather places of war to be targeted ..
Meanwhile, Gaza is giving children grenades … and asking their citizens to be sheep to the slaughter.
Gazan officials tell their people to be killed while they hide in bomb shelters.
Cowards? No, this is worse than cowardice. It is vile and ugly and they should be put to shame.
Instead, it is Israel who is put to shame. It is easy enough to do.
In our culture, often activists are against colonialism, yet forget that their ancestors only a handful of generations ago partook in just that, enabling them to live the secure lives they currently enjoy, and the lives the live is at the benefit of economic colonialism … … to critique, is it better to know your roots and who you are, or is ignorance better so that you can accuse the other without seeing just how similar the other is to you?
It looks very bad for Israel. 800+ Gazans dead. 1000s injured. Lots of destruction.
Meanwhile, in Syria, how many hundreds of thousands of people, including so many Palestinians, are dead or injured … where are the inflammatory protests …
Meanwhile, throughout the world, injustices happen on a near-daily basis. But these same activists, when they hear the cry of the moment, if it is anti-Israel it is an easy band-wagon to get on, to get their anti-Israel war-paint on and join their friends between potlucks, veggie smoothies and coffee breaks.
Ask them about a warlord or abuser in another part of the world, I highly doubt they will know .. or care .. but Netanyahu, or Sharon, those are names they know and loath.
I always found it interesting, the focus on such a small country .. is it because then it is easy to know who is who, who to love, who to hate, as opposed to so many other regions and countries many, many times larger that have atrocities of a scale much larger than what has been seen in that one oh-so-small strip of the Middle East known as Israel?
I am sure that many people I know will be upset for my having the gall to write these words.
I am simply sick and tired of having to hear such hypocrisy and twisted logic.
I am reminded of a seminar I attended at the University of Victoria a decade ago.
The seminar was a group of Iranian professors who had fled Iran after the revolution, and a central theme that repeated itself was the image of the protests and marches in the city of Teheran.
I remember how one of the lecturers painfully spoke about the European marchers that were so caught up in the cause of overthrowing the Shah that they were all chanting “Allah-hu akbar” at the tops of their lungs, and how she was looking at these foreigners and wondering if they had any idea just what this chant was going to mean for her country.
… That history continues to be written, and it is a sad one.
We want to see the world as black and white, right and wrong.
We want to support the under-dog. Who doesn’t.
But, terror is terror. Evil is evil.
When Gazans are asked what they want, they want peace. They want to work in Israel. They want security for their children and themselves. They don’t want to live in the terror they have under Hamas … and yet the world cheers on Hamas that spends the money and resources needed for infrastructure, housing, hospitals, schools, and buys weapons, builds tools for terror.. I cannot help but feel sad for this world. And we, as a green movement, should not be supporting such a movement or government .. yes, their flag is green, but that is where the resemblance stops. Or at least, that is where it should stop.
On the other side of the coin, Israel is doing all it can with an untenable situation. The world media vilifies it, to the point that when those firing missiles into its borders and sending militias into its land need to see that they cannot do this, it is Israel, and not Gaza, that feels the world’s hate. When al-Jazeera does a more balanced job than CNN, and let’s not talk about here in Canada our media, how that has been … …
Military experts look at Israel’s military strategy: No carpet bombing, no quick actions, but instead pinpoint strikes whilst warning the enemy in advance of what their plans are, and slow movements.. they, military people the world over, say that Israel’s military is the most moral of them all, above the British, above the Americans, but at what price, when the enemy knows no qualms, and would rather see hundreds of their own people die for a media blitz against Israel than do all it can to save a single life. What other military calls up the enemy on their phone to tell them that their building will be bombed, to kindly leave, yes, you have enough time to leave, just thought it would be the neighbourly thing to do … anyone else in war, and that is what Hamas is calling this time in Gaza, would simply bomb, kill and destroy.
And that is it in a nutshell: Whilst Israel does all that is in its power to protect the lives of all its citizens and the lives of those it is attacking, Gaza does all in its power to have all the more die.
We need to re-examine our priorities if we are marching in the streets. Unless we want to see another Mullah amongst us, where other religions aside from a certain variety of Islam are not allowed, where synagogues are used as latrines and garbage dumps and Christians are living in constant fear.
For those of you who would say this is ridiculous, look at all the countries surrounding Israel and read their track record. And yes, Jordan up until Jerusalem was freed was using synagogues as garbage dumps and as latrines, it is history, look it up and understand how Israel is different, a land where all religions are free to practise and all its citizens are citizens … how many Palestinian refugees are still not the citizens of their countries of residence, the countries they were born in … But, that is a comment for another article for another time, how the world doesn’t actually care about the Palestinians, but rather cares about showing they care about the Palestinians. Though it is interesting, in that it resounds so similarly to nations and people saying they care about Jews and are appalled by anti-Semitism, but when violence occurs … Again, another article for another time.
One day, and soon, I hope that Gaza’s government will act appropriately and show that the life of every single person is precious. But I fear that our world’s international media, international agencies and all the activists who noble actions are grossly misplaced, although nonetheless noble, they are simply enabling the terrorists, and so all they are having reinforced is that this is a strategy that works.
I hope and pray for a peace. That the borders will open. That trade starts up. That the international airport in Gaza can be reopened. That Gazans can retake their old jobs and through economic endeavours create and build upon a peace of social and economic unity.
And then maybe the other issues, such as water, air, and environment can be paid the dire attention that is needed.
But I feel that peace will take a miracle. Israel is losing patience, a country cannot live in constant fear without hardliners coming to power .. oh wait .. and then, while the world watches, Israel will be forced to conduct a military manoeuver, one that perhaps it ought to have made years ago, to then enable reconstruction and a manageable peace. I pray it will not come to that, but if Gaza under Hamas continues its reign of terror, what choice will Israel plausibly have.
Thank you for reading.
President, Green Party of Canada