By Agustin Velloso
Special to PalestineChronicle.com
In the early hours of Tuesday, January 15th 2008, the Israeli occupation army in Palestine killed 20 Palestinians and injured about fifty others, some critically. Once again, it was just another incursion with soldiers, helicopters, tanks, armoured bulldozers and snipers in the city of Gaza, which is under an international blockade.
This army did not confront another one in the battlefield, it did not face an army hiding in trenches, guarded by anti-aircraft batteries and equipped with state of the art weapons. It attacked, as it usually does, civilians living under occupation – people who should enjoy special protection according to Geneva Conventions. These people were in the streets of their hometown, Gaza, one of the most populated cities in the world, defenceless. Half Gaza’s inhabitants are under the age of 15.
Beyond the area where the victims’ families live, this crime against humanity is not an issue. Crimes like this have been committed so many times by Israel, and then pardoned and forgotten so fast by its allies in Europe and the United States, that each crime quickly covers the one preceding it.
Twenty Palestinians died today, half a dozen yesterday, a similar number in the previous days. 4,000 have died since September 2000 – many of whom were children. More than 25,000 have been injured – many crippled for life. More than 11,000 are held prisoner – many uncharged and held without trial. More than 6,000 houses have been demolished in the Gaza Strip – another gross violation of Geneva Conventions.
This procession of death and pain is unparalleled, both for its duration (more than 60 years) and for the complicity of the international community. UN consent and active support by some member states acting individually, have been known since 1991 all over the world as "the peace process".
Those who speak of peace with the Palestinians in Annapolis and other places, are the same people that send their armies to kill them and steal their land. Those who encircle Palestinians inside a watertight blockade are the same people that arm Israel while financing and supporting its deadly attacks. Those who conduct the process and reap the benefits are the Israelis and their European and American allies. The victims, obviously the weakest party by far, are the Palestinians, who lose their lives and their land with each passing day, although they also keep on resisting against all odds, generation after generation.
Despite the so many unwarranted crimes committed against Palestinians, Israeli leaders are perceived as "men of peace". They get Nobel Peace Prizes, are promoted to the position of Secretary General of world organisations and international agencies. Some become international editorialists or commentators. All of them are paid handsomely.
An odd fact is that mass media have managed to convince millions of European and United States citizens to support the peace process, with its absurd summits and ill-fated results, which decent people naturally loathe, instead of supporting international legality and also the sanctity of all human beings, regardless of religion, race or any other preference.
After this interlude of 20 corpses, those who watch the farce from their comfortable and safe living rooms, can assume that no Israeli soldier was injured, that Abbas will soon resume kissing Olmert, that Palestinians will show their despair in front of foreign TV crews, and that political leaders together with editorialists will go on exerting strenuous efforts in order for the peace process to move on and advance as decisively and with the same promise as usual towards the end of the Middle East conflict.
Although the images of the blood-stained bodies sent from Gaza could make the commentators of the "bible of the world liberal press" and like-minded media shudder for a second, it is safe to bet that they will not hesitate to write in support of "the peace process" and the efforts made by the Moons, Bushes, Olmerts, Abbases, Solanas and Moratinos of the moment. They will also endorse these individual’s policies designed to protect Westerners against extremists, that is to say, the majority of Palestinians who voted for Hamas on January 25th, 2006 who have lived with their children under Israeli occupation since 1967 and more recently under the international blockade now in force in Gaza.
On January 15th, Mr. Zapatero, Spain’s president, displayed his acute sense of timing in Madrid when he insisted before Turkey’s president, Mr. Erdogan, on his efficient proposal for solving the Middle East conflict: the alliance of civilisations, which has enjoyed so much success since its inception some years ago. He also announced another summit in the near future, to which Israel’s president, Mr. Olmert, will be invited as an honoured guest. Most probably the meeting will coincide with yet another massacre of Palestinians by the Israeli occupation army.
However, it’s neither politicians nor pundits that interest me here. If you are neither an editorialist nor a politician; if Palestinians have never harmed you; if you think that Arabs and Muslims are human beings just like you, then you have no reason whatsoever to support this peace process charade and ignore the real deaths of Palestinians. There is only one right thing to do: denounce the ‘peace process’ farce and demand of those responsible for it to give it up, to exchange it for real peace based on justice and equality. Do not allow others to kill in your name, to misrepresent your country and to misuse your religion for this purpose.
Do not say the Palestinian conflict is difficult to understand, or that you do not know where the truth lies. In the Palestinian case, as in any other, backing the truth means siding with the victims, not with the aggressors.
-The writer is a university lecturer in Spain. He is a regular contributor to PalestineChronicle.com (Thank you to Toni Solo, an activist based in Nicaragua, for his help with the article)