Israel: Killing Peace in International Waters

The news has barely hit the networks, but the spin has already begun: The BBC Video on the killing of peace activists by the IDF suggests in its tone as if it is an accident, as the IDF soldiers are highly trained and accustomed to these kind of operations. Another speculation is that, somehow, these peace activists took away the guns from these “highly trained soldiers” leading to excessive use of force. if the case was not so serious, one would just die laughing at this spin. This was no ragtag relief effort by a few volunteers; In fact, it was a highly organized and aptly supported venture by peace activists from all parts of the world. The group included, amongst other volunteers, the following supporters of food aid to the interned city of Gaza:

Haaretz reports that at least 10 activists have been killed. Al-Jazeera reportsthat as many as 16 activists are dead. The names of the dead are not yet known. The flotilla passengers included retired US diplomats Amb. Edward Peck and Col. Ann Wright, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, and former UN assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday, as well as humanitarian aid and human rights workers, several Members of Parliament from Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Turkey, Malaysia, and Palestinian Members of the Knesset. (Jewish Voice for Peace).

The city of Gaza, one of the most densely populated places in the world, has been under Israeli blockade for over two years. This collective punishment, illegal under all international laws, has caused extreme suffering. And while the Israelis claim that the blockade does not seriously affect Palestinian lives,

the World Health Organization vigorously contests Israeli officials’ protestations that their siege of Gaza lets through enough food and material. In fact, there is widespread unemployment, poverty, lack of medicine and medical equipment, and hunger in Gaza, and 10 percent of residents (a majority of them children) are physically stunted from malnutrition. (Cited from Informed Comment).

How this is supposed to help bring peace and to improve perception of Israel in the rest of the world is beyond me. It has not made a dent into some of my neighbor’s views though. In their views, as always, “the IDF always knows what is going on” and “these people have been fighting for centuries” tends to explain the whole situation. It seems even now the age-old platitudes are enough to underwrite the racialized views of these people.

Obviously, the purpose of the blockage is to break the will of the people of Gaza, but it has not worked. It is time for Israel to realize that you cannot be an oppressors  and victims simultaneously.  The oppression and now these killings are not likely to work. Peace would, if you give it a chance.

(Image from Dawn.com)

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