Five years after the devastating Israeli war on Gaza, called ‘Operation Cast Lead,’ Israel has again bombed the densely populated open air prison strip to its south. Several Gazans have been reported injured and at least one toddler has been killed. All of the media accounts, as per usual, report the strikes as retaliatory, coming in response to rocket fire from Gaza which “landed in open fields [causing] no injuries or damages.”
Every single Israeli incursion or attack on Gaza is accompanied by the same narrative: Israel fairly responded to unprovoked Palestinian rocket fire. With Israel’s previous two attacks on Gaza, we know Israel actually broke the ceasefire, not Hamas.
Many of the press reports don’t make any mention at all of the sadistic blockade Israel has imposed on Gaza for years, which is starving Gazans of daily sustenance and is by most accounts illegal under international law.
Conditions in Gaza have become exceedingly desperate. About one third of Gaza’s arable land and 85 percent of its fishing waters are totally or partially inaccessible due to Israeli military measures, while at least two-thirds of Gazan households lack reliable access to food as a result of the blockade. Last year, the United Nations estimated that Gaza would be “unlivable” by 2020 unless the blockade is lifted. And again last month, UN officials said “Gaza is quickly becoming uninhabitable.”
Here is an editorial piece published today by the Guardian, entitled “Time to end Israel’s Gaza blockade”:
For the 1.7 million living in the tiny Gaza Strip, life has become increasingly desperate because of Israel’s continuing blockade, backed by Egypt and with no effective challenge from governments around the world. The blockade has brought electricity cuts of 16 hours a day, which means the only street lights visible at night have been those from Israel’s nearby towns. The electricity shortages have severely affected almost all essential services, including health, water, sanitation and schooling. With waste plants not operating, Palestinian children have been wading through freezing sewage to attend school. The terrible floods in Gaza brought the promise of increased electricity supplies for a few weeks, but the international community must demand that supply is constant and permanent.
…It is deplorable for us to allow this continuing collective punishment against Palestinians in Gaza.
Not only does the U.S. allow this collective punishment, it actively supports it and is in part criminally responsible. But again, that is not part of the narrative Americans hear about.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said last year that the blockade bolsters extremists. “Keeping a large and dense population in unremitting poverty,” he said, “is in nobody’s interest except that of the most extreme radicals in the region.”
The bottom line: any narrative that doesn’t include Israel’s “unremitting” siege of Gaza as part of the reason errant rockets occasionally fly into empty fields in southern Israel is a narrative that is not complete.