Conflict only reveals one side of story

Published 3:13 pm Friday, January 9, 2009

The Israeli attack upon Gaza continues. The death toll now exceeds 600, most of the dead are civilians. More than 2,500 wounded. The Gaza hospitals are filled to overflowing with the wounded and the dying.

Ambulances attempt to brave the drive to Egypt with those injured, but no place in Gaza is safe, no drive immune from the weapons of the Israelis.

A three-hour cessation of hostilities was granted by Israel to bring in food to the starving people in Gaza. No one knows if anyone will risk their lives to secure the food in the middle of the attack.

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Israel says the attack must continue. Therefore, the dying by the innocents must continue, for they have no recourse, no place to hide, no safety to be found.

Why? Why is Israel attacking Gaza and killing so many?

Israel says it attacked because Hamas fired rockets into Israel and broke the six-month cease fire. Israel says its people cannot live in constant fear of such attacks.

In support of this argument, Western journalists are ushered around the Israeli countryside to observe the dangerous rockets.

In most cases there is nothing to see; the rockets have fallen into dirt or walls and less than a dozen have died. None before the invasion into Gaza.

But no one can see the damage within Gaza, for there, where Israeli jets have bombed, where tanks have fired their 50mm cannons, where soldiers have fired into the people, there, no cameras and no journalists are permitted.

It is easy to see why. The carnage is indefensible.

But there is more, the Israeli attack is entirely unjustified, and that is what no one must see, none should observe and no report should be made.

The truth is much different than the Israelis claims. Gaza is little more than a concentration camp, occupied by Israel by borders sealed, passage restricted, and access to food and water cut to starvation levels.

The people of Gaza never wanted to live in this prison. They were pushed there in 1948 upon the founding of Israel. They were under direct occupation by Israel since the 1967 war. In 2005, Israel withdrew its forces, but fenced Gaza, isolating it from the world and creating the largest penal colony on the planet.

The penal colony suffered further hardship when Hamas won the Palestinian elections in 2006.

After those elections Israel punished Gaza by cutting back on food, water, even medical supplies. Israel, with the support of the U.S., decided to punish all in Gaza for their free and fair elections.

There are few jobs in Gaza, no industry and no attempt to rectify those circumstances, for they must all be punished for their support of Hamas.

And now Israel has decided to destroy Hamas, and with it, the people of Gaza.

For this attack is not about failed rockets killing no one, it is about Israeli elections coming up in February and appearing tough on Hamas. It is about an American president that will ignore any actions taken by Israel and it is about gaining face after Lebanon.

This attack is about the words of Moshe Yaalon, Defense Forces chief of staff in 2002. “The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.”

It is time for America to stop supporting the mass murder of innocents in Gaza. Our new President should withhold all aid and military support until Israel stops and withdraws.

This will never be a path to peace.

Jim Crawford is a contributing columnist for The Tribune and a former educator at Ohio University Southern.