Gaza and Palestine 101 for Americans

By Chris Kanthan

One should ask, “Why are Palestinians protesting?” before cheering for their death in Gaza. Blaming Hamas is a talking point that hides many facts and realities. In the last few days, 85 Palestinians have been shot to death and 2000+ have been shot and wounded — including 200 doctors, paramedics and journalists — by Israeli snipers. Number of Israelis injured: ZERO!

The general narrative of Israel’s propaganda is: “We shoot only Hamas terrorists who are rushing our fence to kill us all. Our action is self defense!” However, there are videos like this one where one can clearly see Israeli snipers shoot an unarmed old man who is just waving a flag. Then, seconds later, the snipers also shoot a doctor (dressed in bright, distinct clothes) who rushes to assist that victim.

These people are inside Gaza, they are far away from the Israeli border, and they present no danger to Israeli citizens. Shooting in such scenarios is undoubtedly inhumane and illegal by international laws.

Double Standard

Let’s recognize the hypocrisy. If a similar situation had occurred in Iran, the US government and the media would cry crocodile tears and turn it into a spectacle. In Russia, whenever protesters simply get arrested, the media cries a gallon of fake tears.

When 20 violent protesters were killed in Libya (after the mob burned down government buildings and killed some cops), the US and EU passed UN resolutions to bomb Libya. In Syria, as soon as some Al Qaeda protesters died, Obama said, “Assad must go!” and imposed sanctions. In Ukraine, when the violent Neo-Nazis attacked the police, US/EU firmly told the Ukrainian president that he shouldn’t retaliate!

But, in Palestine … protesters’ lives have no value!

Palestine Overview

Most Americans don’t understand how the life of an average Palestinian is constantly and violently disrupted by Israel every day.

Palestinians are forced to live in two areas — West Bank & Gaza. It’s almost impossible to go from one to another. Israelis control the borders.

Gaza is the largest open prison in the world. It’s surrounded by giant fences walls. Conservatives (many of whom are cheering the killing of Palestinians) want the Second Amendment to protect themselves from a tyrannical government who may put them in a FEMA camp … which is ironically what Gaza is!

Life in the West Bank is miserable because of the omnipresent Israeli military. Every day, Palestinian children and adults have to go through all sorts of checkpoints, searches and harassment.

Palestinians are literally under a military occupation. There are hundreds of Israeli-controlled checkpoints in Palestine. Imagine going to work or college and spending 2-3 hours every day in frustrating and dehumanizing checkpoints!

There are no basic rights – like our Bill of Rights – for Palestinians under Israeli occupation. It’s a totalitarian nightmare. Even boys and girls in Palestine are treated like adult terrorists.

The apartheid situation is unmistakable. Can you identify below which road is for Israelis and which one is for Palestinians?

Israeli military can and do barge into homes at the middle of the night, wake up people, harass, arrest, overturn furniture and literally do whatever they want.

Israeli Settlers

Israel keeps expanding, grabbing lands and building new towns. Israeli settlers just come into an area, destroy Palestinian homes, and kick people out. While the Palestinians cannot retaliate, the settlers can beat up or even shoot at the Palestinians. Settlers are rarely prosecuted even when they commit heinous crimes.

Why Throw Stones?

Many Americans ask, “Why do Palestinians throw rocks?” Well, why does this kid throw a rock at a tank?

Logically it makes no sense, but it shows how much frustration and hopelessness Palestinians suffer from. Palestinians throwing stones is mostly symbolic and probably therapeutic, from a psychological perspective.

Look at this guy below who lost both his legs when Israel bombed Gaza in 2008. A few days ago, he was shot to death by Israeli snipers. His name was Fadi Abu Saleh. He knew he couldn’t hurt a single Israeli with his sling, but he had to fight somehow. He preferred dying with dignity while fighting against oppression.

In most situations in Gaza, the protesters are far away — perhaps 200-500 yards — from the Israeli soldiers, and are just throwing stuff in a barren land. Look at the pictures when the protesters were shot to death. There are no Israelis or even any Israeli buildings or roads as far as the eyes can see:

So, to summarize, Israel puts Palestinians in an open prison and then:

— controls all the resources of the people inside

— deprives them of basic liberty and freedom

— bombs them once in a while, even using chemical weapons like white phosphorus

— and then shoots them to death if they protest.

That’s Gaza.

Finally, here’s a picture of disappearing Palestine since the 1940s. It’s basically genocide and ethnic cleansing in slow motion.

Looking at the big picture, Palestinian leaders have made a lot of horrible choices over the years, and there are genuine security concerns for Israel. However, right now, Israel doesn’t want peace. Because, if you have peace and defined borders, Israel has to stop expanding. So the only Machiavellian solution is to keep the fight going on. Do you see? If you have an enemy, you can keep killing them and grabbing land/resources from them, which will be totally justified. And thus the tragedy goes on.

Chris Kanthan is the author of a new book, Deconstructing the Syrian War. Chris lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, has traveled to 35 countries, and writes about world affairs, politics, economy and health. His other book is Deconstructing Monsanto. Follow him on Twitter: @GMOChannel


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