No medicine, no water, no electricity, no fuel. Hunger and desperation as a political weapon. “We are fighting animals and we act accordingly,” said Israel’s Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, when announcing the total encirclement against the Gaza Strip.
There is a thread of steel linking the genocidal rhetoric of the Israeli commander with the architects of the U.S. blockade against Cuba. Lester Mallory, undersecretary of the State Department, made similar arguments in 1962, as Joseph Goebbels had done before after visiting the Lodz ghetto in 1939: “These are no longer men, they are animals. That is why this is not a humanitarian task, but a surgical one.
The Nazi Minister of Propaganda wrote in his diary: “We must make radical incisions here, and radical ones at that”.
Gallant’s threat is serious.
Euro-Med Monitor, a Geneva-based organization, recorded in the first four days of declared war the death of 880 Palestinians, 59 percent of whom were civilians, including 185 children and 120 women. Around 5,000 more people have been injured and hundreds remain trapped under rubble along the border areas. Israel claims to be focusing on military targets, but is hitting residential buildings, hospitals and mosques, where there are no shelters and no way to protect against the unannounced shelling that has already killed entire families.
The new escalation began this time with the Hamas attack, but the revanchist and vengeful mood that now reigns in media and networks, and which naturalizes the conception of Palestinians as animals worthy of being led to the slaughter, completely forgets that Israel has been adding fire to the pressure cooker for years and it finally burst last Saturday. Foreign Policy in Focus has compared the current situation in Gaza to the Attica, New York, prison riot in 1971, which ended in a bloodbath: “If you put prisoners in a cage and torture them, they will revolt.”
The deafening noise in favor of Israel in this war has buried, along with the Palestinian victims, the history of that people, the tragedy they have lived through for decades and the grotesque irony that the original and legal owners of Israeli land live in Gaza today. The only explanation for the strip’s existence is that the Palestinians were dispossessed of their land in 1948, when Israel was created. They – or their children and grandchildren – are among the 2 million Palestinian refugees crammed into the most densely populated territory on the planet, where 80 percent of its inhabitants come from families who lived in what is now Israel. Most of the people in Gaza are not from there. They are refugees who have been victims of dehumanization for far too long now.
“It is the most terrifying place I have ever seen,” wrote the intellectual Edward Said, after one of the countless bombings of Gaza in 2001. “It is a horribly sad place because of the despair and misery in which people live. I wasn’t prepared to see the refugee camps, which are far worse than anything I saw in South Africa.” It was not a leftist intellectual, by the way, but Amnesty International, who declared a few months ago that “the scheme of domination of the Palestinians by Israel constitutes a system of apartheid,” and that it is “a crime against humanity.”
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, issued a statement on Tuesday in which he reiterated that “the imposition of sieges that endanger the lives of civilians by depriving them of goods essential to their survival is prohibited by international humanitarian law”.
It should only be added that the blockade has not appeared now as a result of this war. It has been going on for decades. It is the long prologue to the punishment and forced dehumanization of a people in order to create the perfect alibi leading to their annihilation. We Cubans know it very well. In this particular case, there are layers upon layers of pain for the kidnapping of thousands of Palestinians who were taken away by Israeli soldiers without a trace, for the desolation and helplessness of hundreds of thousands of ordinary people who have tried to survive among ruins, for the electricity and water cuts, for the endless curfews, for the shortage of food and medicine, for the wounded bleeding to death, for the systematic attacks against ambulances and humanitarian personnel, for the teenagers attacked with dogs of Tel Aviv’s army, for the murdered children. ..
The truth by name. It is genocide and it comes from afar.
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