Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gaza: The Spark and Soul of Palestinian Nationalism

Israel's 2008 war against Gaza versus its regional war in 1967

KABOBfest blog, Thursday January 1, 2009 - In the 1967 war, the armies of Syria, Jordan and Egypt were destroyed by Israel in 6 days. Gaza, having endured 5 days of total Israel war, is no closer to caving in now than it was before this war started, and this is a territory of refugees that has endured 60 years of displacement, 40 years of occupation, 16 years of closure, two years of embargoes and one and a half years of siege.

The analogy with the Six Day War came to me as I was trying to understand the strength and morale of Gazans in the face of this merciless onslaught. It helped me understand why my elderly grandparents, while suffering like everybody else, were still doing their best to maintain their normal routine of life. My grandparents were ethnically cleansed from their village of al-Fallujah in 1949 by Israel forces, endured the 1956, 1967 and 1973 wars directly, and have gone through the first and second intifadas, with all the suffocating oppression of the former and the unlimited killing of the latter.

It helps me understand why a tiny strip of land, 30 miles long by 5 miles wide, surrounded on two sides by Israel, on one side by Egypt, and on the last side by the Mediterranean Sea, can take such heavy punishment and continue, decade after decade, being the soul and spark of Palestinian nationalism.

It helps me understand why the most densely populated place on earth, with a population density of 11,000 people per square mile, and one of the youngest regions in the world, where 45% of the population is under 14 years of age, gets the spirit to never acquiesce to Israel's demands and plans, and the confidence that in one of the most lopsided wars in history, a besieged refugee population will not be defeated by the worlds 5th strongest army.

Gaza-born KABOBfest blogger Mohammad, presently a student at Birzeit University, shares more about his family's experiences in this war and his reflections on the strength of Gaza's resistance in the full post - available at the link.

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