Gaza: Five Reasons Israel Should Cease its Attacks on Gaza

Eilat incidents

Israel has provided the flimsiest of evidence that either the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), or any Gazans at all, were responsible for the attacks near Eilat that killed eight Israelis on Thursday. To claim that Kalashnikov bullets found at the scene are evidence of Gazan involvement because Kalashnikovs are also used in Gaza is a trifle disingenuous and simplistic, given that Kalashnikovs are also used in Israel itself, Egypt, and another 70-odd countries around the world. Both the PRC and the Hamas government have denied any involvement in the Eilat attacks.

Or does the PRC Israel accuses really refer to the Peoples’ Republic of China because a t-shirt found at the scene was made there?  Clearly the Gaulloise cigarette butt and the empty coke bottle on the roadside suggest that the putative Gazan/Chinese terrorists were working in collaboration with…a French-US cell responsible for health terrorism, perhaps?

There is certainly a lot more evidence for the last phrase, than for ANY of the former propositions.

Right to “Security” and “Self-Defence”

Human rights are something that ALL humans are supposed to enjoy – not just Zionist Israelis. Palestinians also have the “right” to “security” – despite the international community doing precious little to uphold it for the last 63 years, from the day in 1948 they so generously gave away Palestinian land without their consent to establish the state of Israel within proscribed borders, to the present day.

Borders designate the territory within which a nation can be secure – they define the parameters to be respected by itself regarding ‘excursions’, and others regarding ‘incursions’.  When territory is subjected to incursions, the occupants have the right of proportional self-defence, under international law.

Israel has not only never accepted any borders whatsoever, but it has invaded every neighbouring country with which it shares one — at whim, and for decades.

Israel has thus repeatedly failed to respect the security of its neighbours, then cried “terrorist” when any of them acted in self-defence against its gross breaches of their territorial integrity. The very simple solution to Israel’s self-created security problem is to stay within its internationally – and multilaterally – proscribed borders.

If Israel claims the right to security, it must also extend this right to Palestinians. If Israel claims the right to self-defence, it must also extend this right to the territories it invades, including (but not limited to) Palestinian territory – and in the current case, to Gaza, which has come under unjustified and sustained attacks on its civilians for the last three days.

Learning to Count

Israel rants and raves when one Israeli is imprisoned in Gaza  – while they hold more than 6000 Palestinians in Israeli jails, the majority in breach of numerous articles of the Geneva Convention.

Israeli authorities – and the mainstream media – scream loud and long every time one rocket is fired from Gaza into Israel – but ignore the THOUSANDS Israel fires into Gaza.

Israel – and the mainstream media –  fail to distinguish between the mostly homemade, inaccurate and short-range weaponry of the Palestinians which rarely cause civilian injury let alone death, and Israel’s state-of-the-art, highly-accurate, often illegal and/or experimental – and lethal – arsenal which is mercilessly and knowingly targeted at civilians, killing and injuring Palestinians at a rate at least a hundred-fold more.

International Citizenship

In order for the peoples of the world to co-exist harmoniously, institutions and systems have been developed, and sometimes implemented. Amongst these are the United Nations, and international law. Accepting the benefits of membership requires also accepting the accompanying responsibilities – if you do the crime, you do the time.

So when UN member countries (of which Israel is one) breach the standards demanded of them as signatories to various conventions , declarations, and covenants, they may be subjected to resolutions requiring them to cease the offending practices or behaviour, and are expected to comply, in the spirit of good international citizenship.

There have been more than 80 United Nations Resolutions condemning Israel’s conduct towards Palestinians since 1970, including several requiring Israel to withdraw from territories it has invaded beyond the borders established in international law.

Israel has not honoured either its legal obligations as a member of the international organisation, or its moral obligations as a member of the world community – it has repeatedly and persistently shunned its responsibilities under international law, marking it as a “rogue state.”

Aided and abetted by a veto-wielding superpower, Israel has thus made a mockery of, and exposed the hypocrisy of, the UN system existing to protect the peoples of the world from the very abuses Israel commits with impunity against others, whilst continuing to demand its protection.

Meanwhile, Palestinians, dispossessed refugees in their own land, evicted from their homes, livelihoods destroyed, blockaded in an open-air prison or quartered behind a concrete wall, imprisoned without charge in appalling conditions, regularly subjected to military attack by prohibited and often experimental weapons in disproportionate responses to legally justifiable self-defensive actions, die in their thousands, not just victims of Israel’s  breaches of international law, but also of the rest of the international community’s failure to uphold – and enforce – it.

Cynical Attempt to Deflect Internal Protests – at Gaza’s Expense

Several analysts and commentators have suggested that this week’s attacks on Gaza are a cynical attempt to deflect attention from the Israeli government’s internal problems, the growing protests since the beginning of August. A few tents in Tel Aviv had by 13 August swelled to 350,000 protestors in 18 Israeli cities demanding reductions in the cost of living. A million-person march had been called for Saturday, 20 August – but was postponed because of the “attacks.” It seems the strategy worked – for Netanyahu at least.

For Gazans it is not the cost of living that is at the forefront – but living at all. Taking a child to hospital on a motorbike, driving home in a car both proved fatal to several Gazans yesterday, civilian victims of targeted Israeli missiles. Sleeping in his own bed in a residential neighbourhood was fatal for a 13 year old boy the night before. Just walking outside in a refugee camp was fatal for a man today.

As I write this I can hear the sounds of war – definitely drones, possibly Apaches, punctuated by the occasional explosion. The sound of another family finding grief among the rubble, their pain and loss NO fault of their own – their only crime being their presence in Gaza.

Like them, I do not know if I will be crushed in my bed by a collapsing building tonight, decapitated or made limbless by flying debris, or just blown apart next time I go to the corner shop, to the bakery for bread – simply because I happen to be in Gaza, and Israel has decided to ignore all evidence to the contrary and blame Gaza for the Eilat deaths, to ignore international law, and to ignore all moral precepts, and blast the place to smithereens.

What now?

Israel has not produced any compelling evidence that anyone in Gaza was involved in the Eilat attacks.

Israel is acting in breach of international law in its blatant attacks on civilians in Gaza. Some Gazans have responded in legitimate self-defence to the Israeli attacks on their territory and persons, with the only means at their disposal – inaccurate homemade weapons that will inevitably miss their target most of the time, and whatever else is at hand.

The solution is simple – for Israel to cease its illegal attacks and withdraw to its internationally-determined borders, thus removing Gaza’s need for self-defensive retaliation.

While a condemnatory statement of the aggressor by the Secretary-General of the United Nations might go some way to demonstrating that there is one standard for all, without enforcement of the relevant international standards Palestinians will continue to die at Israel’s hands.

The United Nations, and the international community, must act immediately to prevent further atrocities by the Israeli rogue state – now, and into the future.

Israel’s impunity must be brought to an end, or the UN faces terminal loss of relevance, credibility, and legitimacy – and we in Gaza face uncertain death.

Julie Webb-Pullman is a New Zealand based freelance writer who has reported since 2003 about - and on occasion from - Latin America and more recently, Gaza. Read other articles by Julie.