Gaza: Occupation is still the issue

The war in Gaza is a completely unequal contest. Israel – receiving billions of dollars in military aid every year from the United States – has one of the most sophisticated killing machines in the world. Gaza is an open-air prison, whose only outlet to the outside world for months has been through tunnels dug deep beneath the border with Egypt. Rockets fired from Gaza have killed a handful of Israelis. Israel’s offensive has killed more than 600 – including the slaughter of 40 at a U.N. school.[1] Yet in spite of these facts, the NDP official statement on the war acts as if both sides are equally to blame.

Canada’s New Democrats “condemn the unacceptable escalation of violence in the Middle East,” the statement begins. This escalation is about “airstrikes by Israel” and the “ongoing rocket attacks”.[2] Not a word about occupation. Not a word about Israel’s strangulation of Gaza. Not a word about Hamas being democratically elected. Not a word about Harper being the first to jump on a boycott of Hamas, giving a green light to Israel.

Israel, Stephen Harper, the United States, F16 fighter planes, tanks, artillery, pilotless drones – against a few hundred Hamas fighters with some rockets. In what way are these two equal sides? Israel has stolen the homes of the Palestinians, forced them into a strip of land by the sea, is now mercilessly pounding them, but “New Democrats believe that Canada must pursue a balanced approach to the Middle East crisis.”

So let’s have a balanced approach. Let’s always tell the truth when we talk about the war in Palestine – the balanced, careful truth. That truth is that Israel is occupying Palestinian land, is expanding its settlements illegally, is carving up what remains of Palestinian land in a way little different from the way South Africa carved up the Bantustans under apartheid, and that until this illegal occupation ends, there will be no peace.

© 2009 Paul Kellogg

References

[1] For facts on the war, see Electronic Intifada
[2] “New Democrat statement on the situation in the Middle East,” December 29, 2008

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