The Eyeless in Gaza

Nothing justifies continued massacres of unarmed civilians but Israel is likely to continue its attacks on Palestinians, ignoring the world public opinion against their air-strikes on Gaza. So for 660 Palestinians have been killed and more than 4,040 wounded since Israel began its ‘Operation Protective Edge’ on 8 July. At the time of writing 100,000 Gazans are said to have been displaced as per UN agencies working in Gaza. What a nightmarish humatitarian crisis. Israelis too are mourning the death of 29 rocket victims including soldiers. Yet the government in Tel Aviv is refusing to initiate a cease-fire process, albeit Israel's main patron America is not against a cease-fire.

With the discovery of the Israeli teens' bodies Israeli military and the settlers intensified the attack on Hebron and other towns, with a 17-year-old boy shot in the Jenin refugee camp. Renewing his vow that "Hamas will pay," Netanyahu ordered an escalation of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip—more than 40 in just the first night, terrorizing the entire population of 1.8 million. Although the strikes in part are in retaliation for rockets shot into Israel by a faction that is not 'affiliated' with Hamas, Netanyahu's own words make the connection clear.

According to the prisoner advocacy group Addameer, about a quarter of the hundreds of arrested Palestinians are being placed in "administrative detention," a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold individuals indefinitely based on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. Israel routinely uses administrative detention in violation of the strict parameters established by international law, claiming to be in a continuous state of emergency since its inception in 1948. In addition, says Addameer, administrative detention is frequently used—in direct contravention to international law—for collective and criminal punishment rather than for the prevention of future threat.

Children and youth are frequent targets. Defence for Children International has documented the killing of more than 1,400 Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers or settlers since 2000, of which only 40 were found to be active participants in hostilities. That's the equivalent of one Palestinian child killed by an Israeli every three days for the past 13 years.

In addition, a report issued this week by the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights documents that 2,000-3,000 Palestinian minors have been seized and detained by Israeli forces every year for the last five years, an average of 200 a month, with some as young as 12.

"The Israeli police or military typically break into homes in the middle of the night or take youth right off the streets without telling them what they are charged with or informing their parents, as required by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights." "How is that different from the kidnapping of the Israeli students? And yet it is occurring every day, every year. Where is the international outrage?"

UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the UN Commission on Human Rights each have found that Israel bases its punishments on confessions that its interrogators coerce from children who are not represented by lawyers. Is it surprising that an estimated 95% of these children "confess"?

For one thing United States is culpable as well for Israel's actions as de facto military dictator. Israel is the largest recipient of US military aid, to the tune of an unrestricted $3 billion a year.

The Palestinian crisis is a complete political conflict over land and resources. Palestinians have been struggling for dignity and soveregnty for 66 years. And they will have to struggle for generations to reverse the historical wrong they have been subjected to.  24-07-2014

Vol. 47, No. 4, Aug 3 - 9, 2014