"In Gaza last night, while Israeli army forces launched military attacks by sea, air and via artillery shells, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children were unable to sleep inside their roof-tinned homes, clinging to their parents, crying, and terrified. The shelling last night was earth shattering, and went through the entirety of the Gaza strip - at least 100 attacks have already taken place. In Gaza, we do not have bomb shelters to escape and hide." — Dr. Mona El-Farra is a physician by training and a human rights and women's rights activist by practice in the occupied Gaza Strip.
"To end violence - and truly mourn its victims - we must acknowledge and challenge the root causes beneath it." — Jewish Voice for Peace
Casualties in Israel's assault on Gaza – and its continuing crackdown on the West Bank – mount by the hour. For a live update and analysis of what has led to the current crisis, you can listen to Gaza-based journalist Mohammed Omer, Electronic Intifada founder Ali Abunimah and author and activist Miko Peled on Democracy Now!
The escalating violence comes right on the heels of – and is directly connected to – the recent killings of both Israeli and Palestinian teen-agers in the West Bank and Jerusalem. But the media-repeated formula that this is a simply a 'cycle of violence' obscures rather than highlights the essential dynamics underway. For those, even knowledgeable figures who are not at all radical place responsibility squarely on the Israeli government. Here's an excerpt from a recent facebook posting by Yuval Diskin, former director of Israel's own Shin Bet security service:
"I see the severe and rapid deterioration of the security situation in the territories, Jerusalem and the Triangle and I’m not surprised. Don’t be confused for a moment. This is the result of the policy conducted by the current government, whose essence is: Let’s frighten the public over everything that’s happening around us in the Middle East, let’s prove that there’s no Palestinian partner, let’s build more and more settlements and create a reality that can’t be changed, let’s continue not dealing with the severe problems of the Arab sector in Israel, let’s continue not solving the severe social gaps in Israeli society. This illusion worked wonderfully as long as the security establishment was able to provide impressive calm on the security front over the last few years…
"However, the rapid deterioration we’re experiencing in the security situation did not come because of the vile murder of Naftali, Eyal and Gil-Ad, may their memories be blessed. The deterioration is first and foremost a result of the illusion that the government’s inaction on every front can actually freeze the situation in place, the illusion that “price tag” is simply a few slogans on the wall and not pure racism, the illusion that everything can be solved with a little more force, the illusion that the Palestinians will accept everything that’s done in the West Bank and won’t respond despite the rage and frustration and the worsening economic situation, the illusion that the international community won’t impose sanctions on us, that the Arab citizens of Israel won’t take to the streets at the end of the day because of the lack of care for their problems… "
For more analysis and background, and for ways to raise your voice, see:
Netanyahu government knew teens were dead as it whipped up racist frenzy by Max Blumenthal.
Gaza Under Attack, Day One by Dr. Mona El-Farra
Take Action: Hold Israel Accountable for Brutality toward Palestinians, Americans: U.S. Military, Diplomatic Support Fuels Israeli Apartheid by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
Action Alert: We Must Face the Root Cause of this Crisis. Our unshakeable belief in justice - as Jews and as human beings - compels us to acknowledge that the root of this violence lies in the Israeli government’s commitment to occupation over the well-being of Palestinians or Israelis. Where our leaders have so thoroughly refused that truth, it is our responsibility to hold it up by Jewish Voice for Peace
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the entire War Times project
Max Elbaum has worked with War Times since its founding. He has been involved in peace and anti-racist movements since joining Students for a Democratic Society (known as SDS) in Madison, Wisconsin in the 1960s. Through the 1970s and 1980s he participated in campaigns defending affirmative action and opposing U.S. military interventions in the Third World while writing extensively for the radical press and taking part in then-widespread efforts to construct a new US revolutionary political party.
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