Another massive round of air strikes takes place between Israel and Gaza and words like “circle of violence” and “Free Gaza” are once again being thrown about. I wrote about it last year after wanting to do something constructive but not really knowing what.
Sadly I could probably copy and paste that post and just re-post it and, besides the death toll, it would all probably apply. There are still blockades in place over Gaza. The people of Palestine still don’t have the same rights as the Israelis. There is still no sign of an impending peace agreement between the two nations. Rocket attacks are still fired between Israel and Gaza repeatedly and the majority of those killed or injured are still Palestinian civilians.
This time the attacks have escalated from the tragic killings of 3 Israeli teenagers and the murder and burning of the Palestinian teen. Under the face of this the cause of the violence is rooted much deeper and goes back much further. The kidnapping of soldiers, civilians, those suspected to be militants, more civilians and on and on. Time and time again people make the mistake of thinking the Palestinian people and Hamas are the same entity. You hear statements such as “they started it” and with each incident that breaks the fragile ceasefire comes yet another attack from each side. Bomb shelters come into heavy play on the Israeli side and homes and schools act as make shift shelters on the Gaza side.
As of 9am on the 15th July the stats looked something like this:
193 killed – Of which 191 are Palestinian and 2 Israeli. At least 80% of which are civilians and 21% (36) of these are children
66 schools damaged in Gaza
940 homes destroyed
Approximately 10,800 people have taken shelter in 16 UNRWA schools in Gaza City and about 7,000 in 5 shelters in northern Gaza.
(Stats from Chris Gunness – UNRWA)
Others have evacuated and left where possible to take refuge elsewhere. There is no indication on when or indeed if they will ever be able to return.
No matter the circumstances of each offence the people of Gaza are inevitably always the ones most affected. Infrastructure and lives destroyed in an instant, wiping out multiple individuals from one family. Where people do survive, it becomes a long hard mission to start rebuilding not only their homes and other buildings but also mindset that has been damaged by deaths of those close to them.
To then hear David Cameron staunchly supporting Israel without any kind of balance for both sides is bitterly disappointing. No-one should condone killings or violence on any side and if someone attacked England I would like to think we could defend ourselves in any way needed. To wall in a population into restricted land, limit their rights and put blockades in place for years and them live in what is commonly described as an open air prison, however, not expecting any kind of retaliation smacks of either naivety or just a complete disregard of human life based upon who they are.
On the flip side, defacing synagogues in an attempt to show solidarity with the Palestinian cause does nothing to help it. This should never result in an attack against the Jewish population, many of which want peace between the two nations and don’t support illegal settlements or the sanctions on the Palestinians. The cause should be one to eliminate the blockades and sanctions completely, grant the same rights to the Palestinian civilians as Israel and them the same rights as the Israelis and grant them the land that should be theirs for their own state.
Of course that’s a scenario many probably will only dream of and I know we’ve certainly sat extremely safe in our own homes stating how sad it all is but not actually done anything to help anything.
In a situation as massive as this with little light at the end of the tunnel there are some small helpful things that can be done to help the civilians affected like donating a charity to help with medical supplies and basic amenities and / or writing to your MP to urge the lifting of blockades. With the growing numbers of both the killed and the injured, all media portals have reported dwindling and limited supplies particularly in morgues and equipment to help assist critical trauma victims. With the blockades, whilst some have been lifted over the years, Israel maintains some are still in place as a way to deter further attacks. Both imports and exports fall under this:
As both import and export out of the occupied territory are tightly restricted, goods coming in through the single commercial border crossing with Israel meet only 35 to 50 percent of Gazans’ needs, as Reuters reports.
This particular fact sheet is two years old but I think the majority, if not all, still applies and gives a good understanding of the types of conditions that are in place.
There are a number of recent protests that have taken place outside buildings such as the BBC studios protesting against the biased reporting in the media. One particularly interesting Twitter hashtag is #BBCTruth4Gaza. Another is #StopArmingIsrael. Did you know the US Senate has recently authorised funding of $350 million dollars for the Iron Dome? And that the UK provides arms to Israel?
In the meantime whilst it’s hoped that a ceasefire is mutually agreed on quickly, the proven fragility and repeated violation of it gives a grim reality of what the short term future holds for those wanting to just live and raise their families in a safe and secure home.
In reading a lot of articles over the last few days it’s heartbreaking to see one too many graphic photos of those have been killed. As someone quite rightly pointed out, there is no dignity even in death for them and I definitely didn’t want to share it here which probably makes me a bit selfish. Instead though, I will share this. I think he’s hilarious and mostly has a point. This is a pretty excellent one.