Sunday, January 4, 2009

Israel's Real Strategic Aim is the Palestinian National Cause, Not Hamas - Joharah Baker

Palestine Chronicle, January 2, 2009 - ....Israel, as always, is thinking more in the long term than anything as short term as bringing Hamas to its knees. It has already isolated the Gaza Strip from the West Bank by blockading it economically and physically through the closing of its borders. It has fanned the flames of internal dissent amongst the Palestinians, reveling in the split, and now it is literally killing Gaza's people, young and old, in a bid to: one, annihilate Hamas as much as possible; and two, ensure that any influence left will be shunned by an exhausted, war torn and devastated people not willing to continue in a struggle that will leave them homeless and hungry. It is much easier to pass over Israeli-tailored solutions to a people too tired and too stricken to protest.

Needless to say, it is the cause more than the movement that is being targeted today by Israel. Hundreds of bombs have been dropped on Gaza, not only on Hamas installations as Israel claims, but on houses, universities and mosques. Five sisters sleeping on their mattresses died together when a bomb struck the building next to them. Children, women and men have been pulled from huge heaps of ashy rubble, young men in police uniforms strewn across a bloody street. What is worse, Gazans have nowhere to run, trapped like lab rats in a huge cage. Finding shelter is not option.

Israel may be many things to its own people, but to the Palestinians, it is an occupation, one that targets an entire people and one that does not worry about international condemnation of its slaughtering of innocents. It is certainly not a balanced battle or a situation that needs a "halt of fire" from both sides. Israel's onslaught is murderous madness aimed at the annihilation of any Palestinian national aspirations of statehood by fragmenting Palestine physically and psychologically.

The one glimmer of hope in this sea of darkness is the outpouring of support shown by people around the world. They understand that Israel is acting in its capacity as a merciless occupying power. Those who are willing to brave the bitter cold of winter or the nightsticks of their own police for Palestine understand that Israel's bombs must be silenced, its criminal leaders brought to justice, and the Palestinians left to live in dignity before any peace can prevail. And finally, for the people of Gaza living an unimaginable horror, we say a prayer.

Joharah Baker is a writer for the Media and Information Program at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH).

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