— Dina Shalab (@DShalab) August 2, 2014
Gaza officials say 1,831 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed and more than a quarter of the impoverished enclave’s 1.8 million residents displaced. As many as 3,000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed or damaged.
Israel has lost 64 soldiers in combat and three civilians to Palestinian cross-border rocket and mortar fire …
As before, the Palestinian total becomes higher, 1,843 deaths, because I’ve added the twelve Palestinian protesters that Israel has killed in West Bank protests. If the UN’s 80% estimate is accurate, about 1,474 of the dead in Gaza were civilians. 3 out of 67 or 4.5% of the Israeli dead were civilians (*one was a Thai resident of Israel). (The 4.5% figure results from a deliberate and explicit change in the Gaza resistance’s targeting strategy, which has gone 100% unnoticed in Western mainstream ‘news’/propaganda.)
If We Do Nothing Israel’s Apartheid State Has Won
I have come around to thinking that Israel could very well have won this war, because its purpose has been to destroy Gaza’s democratically elected government — i.e., Hamas — creating sufficient chaos in Gaza so that there can be no progress toward a unified Palestinian government. Is Gaza in chaos? Yes. Is it isolated? Yes. Is Hamas weakened? No, not now, not when it is the symbol of resistance to Israel. But, what about six months from now, when Israel’s destruction of the blockade-defying tunnels limits even more severely food, water, medicines and any ability to reconstruct Gaza’s water and sewage systems, and its businesses, schools and hospitals? We know Israel’s goal has always been to keep Gaza impoverished, but now it has the capacity and probably the willingness to go further, to enact a true siege that sickens and starves a people to death. Many in Israel want to ethnically cleanse Gaza. Do the masters of the concentration camp plan to make life literally unliveable?
So I disagree with Alex Cockburn, who dismisses Israel’s achievements from the war/conflict/massacre here: Israel-Gaza conflict: What has Israel achieved in 26 bloody days? I think where Cockburn loses his argument is in these two sentences, where he writes that Israel has foolishly pulled the Palestine issue out of obscurity:
By its actions, Israel has put the Palestinian issue firmly back on the international agenda from which it had largely disappeared since the Arab uprisings of 2011. Only a few months ago, a friend sympathetic to the Palestinians lamented to me that, in his travels in the US, Europe and the Arab world, he had seldom heard the words ‘Palestine’ or ‘Palestinians.’
But why was that, and what is to prevent renewed invisibility in a few months time, but this time with Gazans in a much deeper state of economic crisis than ever before? Cockburn adds that, usually, “the sufferings of the four million Palestinians penned into Gaza and the West Bank are invisible to people in the rest of the world.” That is exactly the problem and challenge for those who want justice for Palestine, and realizing how horrible conditions could become inside Gaza, I commented yesterday:
Unless the world commits itself to BDS and Boycott Israel, the war is a win for Netanyahu and the ethnic-cleansing state of Israel. But there are signs of passion and action on the BDS front, and it won’t take much to have a huge effect. As we saw with South Africa, corporations react dramatially to a decline in profits!
Yeah, Boycott Israel!
In Ending Israel’s occupation: why BDS is more important now than ever, Ahmed Moor recently summarized the argument for BDS:
Israel has waged three wars against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in the past five years. Those wars, and every war before them and every war that will come, are an outgrowth of a deep injustice. For nearly 70 years now the Palestinians have been forced to inhabit the margins of existence, never knowing the benefits of statehood or citizenship. It is past time that the global grassroots joins the fight to emancipate them. The way forward lies in our universal morality. It lies in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
More BDS background:
The … movement … was launched in 2005 by a broadly representative group of Palestinian civil society organizations and individuals. The call for targeted, non-violent direct boycott actions was intended to highlight the inherent morality of the Palestinian cause – a fight rooted in the desire for freedom and liberty – while providing international activists with the tools to engage directly with Israeli occupation and apartheid. The strategy was inspired by the South African experience, one characterized by the movement of peoples before governments.
BDS itself is driven by three governing principles: First, that Israel end the occupation and dismantle the West Bank barrier; second, that Palestinian-Israelis are afforded their full and equal rights; and finally, that the Palestinian right to return to homes and lands in Israel be honored.
It is the last principle that is regarded as most controversial by Israel’s supporters. They contend that Israel cannot be the “Jewish state” if large numbers of Palestinians are permitted to return to the lands they were expelled from in 1948 and 1967. But in fact, Israel is not the Jewish state – it is the Jewish-privilege state. How else to describe a place where one in four residents is not Jewish? For perspective, it is helpful to reflect on the fact that America is more Christian than Israel is Jewish. The prospect of a Christian America – Christian in its symbols, its laws, its apportionment of opportunity – is as intolerable to Americans as a Jewish Palestine/Israel is to Palestinians.
Moor also tells us why WE have to do it, because as usual our ‘leaders’ are sold-out or maybe just frightened of breaking taboos:
There are few sacred cows in the West. The view that Israel is a ‘Jewish state,’ and that it must continue to be one, is one of them. That is why government officials – from Berlin to Washington – cannot be relied upon to act as agents of reform or action. Rather, civil society must engage – and has begun to engage – to bring an end to apartheid in Palestine/Israel. The US and EU will not pressure Israel to end its unequal regime. It is a challenge that can only be met by grassroots activists and civil society.
I know and am overjoyed to read that young people in the U.S., 18 to 29-year olds, believe by a two-to-one margin (51-25) that Israel’s actions in Gaza are unjustified. I sure hope we see some real action behind that belief, Boycott Israel action, as colleges open up this and next month. Not that us plus-29s should be sitting back in our Barco-Loungers watching the young’uns do the good work for us.