Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gaza Is The New Warsaw

It must be with a sense of irony that Israel sustains the punishing ghetto prison that is Gaza. The Palestinians, cut-off utterly from the outside world by the Israeli embargo against all but the most basic humanitarian aid, barely scrape out an existence, as 90 percent of the population falls below the poverty line and bakeries threaten the end of bread for lack of flour. After all, the situation faced by the Gazans is ominously similar to that faced by Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War Two. Penned in by the Nazi occupiers, the ghetto Jews suffered and starved and lived in endless fear of instantaneous death.
So it is with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as news reaches us that Israel has killed more than 225 Palestinians with waves of air raids. And this is likely only the beginning. Israel, after all, has never met a military over-reaction it couldn’t top – whether it be “internal” enemies viz Palestine or external governments or movements who challenged their inherent right to be the biggest bully on the block.
Israel’s central strategic role in America’s domination of the Middle East ensures that little more than isolated peeps of protest will be raised in our complicit media. Even when the tanks roll through the streets of Gaza City – even if they gunned down every male above the age of three – the murmurings of protest would be preceded and post-scripted by a condemnation of Hamas. They would have us believe that Hamas is an existential threat to the might of the world’s fifth largest military and not simply an indigenous resistance movement against the ongoing genocide.
No government spokesperson in Canada, the United States or Europe, will demand that Israel recognize that Hamas democratically won its election – an election demanded by the US government. None will demand that Israel end the illegal siege, which amounts to a Geneva Convention defying act of gross collective punishment. None will suggest that Palestinians have the right either to a fully-fledged contiguous state – including control of air space, water and borders – along with the right of return for the Palestinian diaspora. No sir, because that would be like criticizing our own military – Israel is, after all, no more nor less than a US military base and the 51st state of the Union all rolled into one – at least in terms of its receipt of US tax dollars.
So, Gaza is the new Warsaw, where all resistance will be punished with the utmost ferocity. But, like Warsaw, even if the ghetto is destroyed, the heroism of its undefeated population will live throughout history. Israel, on the other hand, will be remembered for what it is: the last racist, colonial settler-state with all the cowardly, asymmetrical, hyper-militarized decadence that this implies.
Join the protest in Toronto outside the Israeli Consulate, 2pm on Sunday, December 28 at 180 Bloor St. West. Just east of the St. George subway station's Bedford St. exit. For more info: http://www.caiaweb.org/node/928
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