The Victim Must Be Silenced
Jewish residents of the southern Israeli town of Sderot light fires in the streets to protest what they see as an insufficiently lethal response by the Israeli government to the problem of Palestinian bottle rockets being lobbed over the Gaza wall towards their city.
Ironically, the people that Sderot residents are so eager to see killed are precisely the people who used to live in Sderot.
Sderot was formerly the Palestinian village of Najd, a small Palestinian city present at least since the 1500s. Najd was completely ethnically cleansed by Jews in a single day on May 13, 1948, two days before the declaration of the state of Israel and before the outbreak of the 1948 "War." After being looted by Jews, Najd's 82 buildings were bulldozed and dynamited and its surviving population forcibly relocated 14 kilometers west into the tiny, 2-mile-wide racial prison camp called the Gaza Strip. Zionist colonists, who had been living peacefully alonside the Palestinian residents of Najd and had previously bought 500 dunums of land in the city, helped themselves to the remaining 13,000 dunums from their former neighbors. This stolen and ethnically cleansed land sits underneath Sderot, founded in 1951, and the Or ha-Ner Kibbutz, established in 1958.
Sderot is 8 miles away from the massive prison wall that has imprisoned Gaza's 1.5 million residents since the early 1990s. As such it is the closest thing to a target for homemade Palestinian "rockets" - improvised bottle rockets with no guidance systems and very little destructive capacity which are launched blindly over the wall. The vast majority of them land in the desert and of the handful that actually strike anything, only a very few have caused casualties or serious property damage.
Israel, on the other hand, has been bombing Gaza from the air on a more-or-less continuous basis since the removal of 8,000 illegal settlers in the summer of 2005. Thousands have been killed by the Israeli bombings – the vast majority of them civilians, including huge numbers of children. 50 Gazans have been killed in the last two weeks alone, and hundreds - mostly civilians - have been hospitalized. On the Israeli side, two Israelis have been killed by Palestinian “rocket fire” in the last six months. Even though Israelis stand a greater chance of drowning in the bathtub than dieing from a Palestinian rocket attack, an immense national hysteria has been created about those brown people behind the wall. For most Israelis, this racial anxiety justifies the murder of thousands more civilians in Gaza and the ongoing Israeli campaign to further starve Gaza’s 1.5 million imprisoned inmates of food, water, electricity, medicine and any kind of government or economy. Thanks to Israel's systematic campaign to de-develop Palestine and eradicate its civil infrastructure, more than 80% of Gazan families now live in a state of extreme poverty and eat only one meal a day. In Gaza, this represents an increase of family poverty of more than 25% in the last year alone.
Western headlines wheeze endlessly about Palestinian “rocket attacks”, declaring on a daily basis that Israel needs to use yet more and more indiscriminate military force against the Gazan population. These same headlines never seem to mention that half of the Gazan population are children under the age of 14, or that 20% of those children already suffer some degree of permanent physical and mental retardation because of Israel's satanic strategy of imposing famine.
Despite the patent criminality of Israel's conduct, Israel is permitted in the media to present itself as guided by a boundless humanitarian compassion and restraint, as if its campaign of mass destruction were really targeting “militants” rather than 1.5 million of the poorest, most defenseless people on earth. As Israeli assassins roam the Occupied territories, freely abducting and murdering government officials and leaders of the military resistance, the headlines of the day speak for themselves:
Israel vows to keep hitting militants
Israel keeps up pressure
Do what it takes to halt rocket fire, orders Olmert
Israel may escalate as rockets fall
Israel Faces Dilemma On Hamas Rockets
Israel grants army approval to widen ground operations
Israel sees no quick fix to Hamas rockets
Olmert promises 'no limit' in fighting militants
Israel vows to widen fight against militants
Israeli PM Olmert announces new attack on Hamas
Israel continues crackdown
“Hamas rockets fall as Israel considers escalation,” blathers Reuters, conveniently failing to note that Israeli rockets are also “falling," with astronomically more lethal effect.
Hamas repeated today its offer of a full truce, reiterating that it will stop lobbing rockets over the prison wall into the desert if Israel stops bombing crowded Gazan cities.
Israel's response was typical of all past Israeli responses to peace overtures: “I have no intention of making any agreement” with the democratically elected government of Palestine, Israel’s Prime Minster announced. “We will strike them and continue to strike them… I have no intention of stopping.” He explained that Israeli attacks - bombings, home destructions, abductions and death squad operations - would continue “without a time-table”, and “for the long-term."
ORIGINAL PHOTO: David Furst, May 29, 2007, Sderot, Israel
TEXT AND IMAGE ALTERATION: /anomalous
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