Gaza: merely a retaliation?

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Ilam Pappe was brilliantly incisive in his recent contribution to Electronic Intifada:

The present genocidal wave has, like all the previous ones, also a more  immediate background. It has been borne out of an attempt to foil the Palestinian decision to form a unity government that even the United States could not object to […] On 15 May, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian youths in the West Bank town of Beitunia, thier cold-blooded slayings by a sniper’s bullet captured on video. Their names – Nadim Nuwara and Muhammad Abu Al-Thahir – were added to a long list of such killings in recent months and years. The killing of three Israeli teenaers, two of them minors, abducted in the occupied West Bank in June, was perhaps a reprisal for killings of Palestinian chldren. But for all the depredations of the oppressive occupation, it provided the pretext first and foremost of destroying the delicate unity in the West Bank but als for the implementation of the old dream of wiping out Hamaz from Gaza so that the Ghetto could be quiet again. click here

Other studies too indicate that Hamas’s rocket attacks are a response to an Israeli extra-judicial assasinations and cease-fire violations.  Yet this tit-for-tat pattern is not acknowledged – in particular note our [former] Foreign Secretary William Hague’s statement in the Commons on 14 July:

These rising tensions have been followed by sustained barrages of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. Between 14 June and 7 July, 270 rockets were fired by militants into Israel, to which Israel responded with air strikes. Rockets are fired indiscriminately against the civilian population, including against major Israeli cities. Israel then launched Operation Protective Edge on 7 July. Hansard

This is the narrative put across by Israel’s propagandists: just 17 of the nearly 120 Israeli ceasefire violations over one year following the 2012 ceasefire were reported on by the New York Times. This extensive under-reporting of Israeli ceasefire violations points to the immunity Israel enjoys in the West, and the incentive this provides Israel to continue to violate ceasefire agreements. Israeli forces can then “fire into Gaza without accountability, provoke a reaction and then claim self-defence.” Analysis by John Glaser,

For example, how many MPs are aware of the following:

  • Sir Cyril Townsend’s report on Israel’s 2008-2009 Gaza attacks
  • the extrajudicial assassination unarmed PFLP member Muataz Washaha, aged 24,  in the West Bank university town of Birzeit on 27 February 2014, in which his family’s home was also set alight and demolished?
  • Israel’s strike on 7 October  2012 in which 11 Palestinians were injured, nearly half of which were children, prompted cross-firing.
  • An Israeli three airstrikes in February 2012 on two sites in the Gaza Strip  left 11 injured.  Palestinians in Gaza responded with projectile fire in the first significant uptick during this period. For further details click here.


So next time our Foreign Secretary refers to ‘Israeli retaliation’, some of our MPs should challenge this simplistic and inaccurate narrative and place Hamas’s  retaliation in context.