Saturday, January 19, 2008

Getting away with murder in Gaza

It turns out that this is stupendously easy. The magic word is "Sderot". Poor old Sderot. Poor, wretched Sderot. Gaza is a place where "rage" boils and bubbles over, especially since the "Hamas takeover" (the failed Fatah putsch, in other words), and Sderot pays the price. Rockets, empty streets, fleeing mattresses, the dog not getting walked. Poor, miserable Sderot.

Gaza has been under Israeli siege for some time. It is starving. Aid can't get in, because of Israel's blockade. Israel continues to ravage the territory with air strikes. As usual, Israel's imposition of its preferred racial order in the Middle East regionally intersects with its domestic racial order. The daily massacres in Gaza coincide with the the internal campaign against the Bedouin of the Negev, the ongoing theft of Palestinian land and property, the 'Judaising' of annexed territory, the construction of segregated roads, all the usual. In the West Bank, a Fatah fiefdom since June, attacks are frequent. It doesn't matter how much Abbas connives - even his allies are not safe from Israeli assassination.

Gaza, elevated to the happy status of an open air prison since Israel's 2005 redeployment, a move designed to reproduce Israel's "Jewish-democratic character" (Israel can't absorbe too many Arabs, as its political and military leadership is often at pains to point out), is now in full lockdown. Long before Hamas was elected in 2006, Israel was busily establishing "facts on the ground" across Palestine, with repeated attacks to back them up, and with a feckless and increasingly coopted Fatah incapable of doing anything much about it. One notorious attack in Gaza was launched against a refugee camp. From 2000-2006, Israel killed 2,300 Gazans, mainly civilians (whom it deliberately targets). Ever since, it has been using a combination of Quartet-supported blockade and routine attacks to ramp up the terror and suffering. The imposed power cuts and fuel shortages have entailed a shortage of clean water, with predictable effects. The seige launched in mid-2006, with extensive use of human shields, power stations bombed, and hundreds killed, was eclipsed by an all-out war on Lebanon. But the attacks on Gaza didn't stop. A single Israeli bomb killed two families, eighteen Palestinians, in Gaza in November 2006. In the same month, the IDF distinguished itself with a public massacre of female demonstrators outside a mosque. Shells were deliberately fired at Palestinian homes. In 2006 and 2007, Israel killed 816 Palestinians, including 152 children. Almost every child in Gaza has witnessed shootings, attacks, had their homes bombarded. 99.4% of Gazan children suffer trauma. The response from Palestinian groups, even with the determined effort to inflict some damage after the murder of the Ghaliya family, has been pretty low-key. Qassam rockets, smarties-tubes packed with gunpowder and sherbert, pathetically inept devices that rarely hit their intended target, or even any target at all. Since Israel's strategy of promoting civil war culminated in the loss of Gaza, it has been threatening to attack the strip. This attack has now begun in earnest.

Oh, but the luckless Sderot happens to be located nearby, thus copping a few miserable Qassam rockets that leave potholes in the streets and damage the walls. Poor, woebegone Sderot.