Burge: Points to Remember Following the Israeli Invasion in Gaza
There was an excellent article written by Gary M. Burge, printed in the Huffington Post. The piece is entitled Gaza: Some Secrets Few Will Say Out Loud. In the article, Burge reflects upon the idea that some have (and in his case he overhead two individuals saying) that the Palestinians “deserved” what Israeli forces did in this recent invasion. He addresses a number of points that sometimes don’t get mentioned in the narrative about the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
I have linked to the article above, but I have noted a few points that Burge makes below. Specifically, he reminds us that:
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees fled Palestine during the 1948 war. And he cites work by Ilan Pappe, and Benny Morris, which documents how many were forced to leave their homes and towns. The effects of this is what is often referred in the negotiations as “the right of return,” the idea that Palestinian families will be able to go back to their homelands of their parents and grandparents.
He also reminds us that in this conflict, 1400 Palestinian non-combatants were killed during this Israeli invasion, out of a total of just under 2,000. In addition, 3,000 of those injured were said to be children, and “1000 of these children will have life-long disabilities.”
He also reminds us that these Israeli actions are not limited to this conflict; that they carried out attacks on Gaza in 2008-2009, and 2012.
He also addresses the Gaza living conditions. Unfortunately, what is often overlooked by those who sympathize with the Israeli state’s actions in Gaza is that Gaza is one of the most difficult places in the world to live. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency has said as much, questioning whether Gaza will be livable in 2020. Despite the fact that Israeli leaders and their backers often say that Israel no longer controls Gaza following their withdrawal in 2005, they continue to control materials coming in, the sea (through a blockade), border access, etc…
Burge, speaking on the difficult conditions in Gaza, states that:
” Its population density is one of the world’s highest and its living conditions are shocking. For eight years Israel has had Gaza under a crippling blockade. And it is severe. The problem is that building materials that could reconstruct Gaza can also be used to build tunnels. And so steel, gravel, pipe, concrete, etc. have not come in. But there is more. Israel also limited the importing of food and has been accused of calculating calories in order to keep Gaza’s economy on the brink of collapse.”
He goes on to say that:
“But there is more. About 70 percent of the people in Gaza are food dependent. Over 60 percent of the water there is undrinkable. And thanks to the destruction of Gaza City’s only power plant, electricity is off. This means pumping fresh water into the system is a problem as is the removal and treatment of sewage. And this means disease. Lots of it. Unemployment? 45 percent — one of the world’s highest.”
Again, he also speaks on issues such as the consequences of this recent Israeli invasion.
Overall, we must keep in mind the political and social impact of the continued illegal Israeli occupation. It is sad that some individuals speak on the conflict without any reference to the continued settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the numerous abuses the Palestinian citizens must continue to endure at the hands of the occupying Israeli Defense Forces.