2014 has been a year of wars. In summer, due to phony reasons, Gaza was razed to the ground once more. Thousands have been killed. Hundreds of thousands have been made homeless. Despite the ceasefire, true peace remains out of sight.

The eternal status quo

Since the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel militarily occupies the Gaza Strip. Also the withdrawal of its military and the eviction of some thousand settlers in 2005 do not change the situation at all: Gaza remains illegally occupied.

The borders are closed. Everything entering or leaving Gaza is controlled by Israel. The economic development is massively thwarted. The free access to the Mediterranean Sea is blocked by Israel’s navy forces. The airspace is sealed off.

Gaza remains the biggest open air prison in the world!

The international law concedes the defense of a militarily occupied territory by its population – including armed force as well.
Out of this self-conception the rockets launched in regular frequency by the Palestinian resistance must be conceived.

To make one thing unambiguously clear in the first place: I massively condemn every rocket launched on Israel!

Although these rockets are means of resistance against an illegal occupation, they must be condemned strongly out of a pacifist point of view. Not “only” because these rockets pose a mortal threat to Israeli civilians, but because the Israeli regime continually misuses them as the main reason for their illegal military attacks on Gaza as well – they are absolutely counterproductive for a sustainable settlement of the conflict.

Again in 2014.

Escalation of violence: three Israelis kidnapped, one Palestinian burned alive

In summer 2014, the tensions in Palestine-Israel could have been cut with a knife: demonstrations and violence on both sides, rockets launched on Israel, first air strikes on Gaza, the first deaths.
Then the kidnapping of three Israeli youngsters near Hebron in the West Bank has been reported.

The Israeli forces answer with brutal violence: comprehensive raids, more than 400 (!) detentions, five dead Palestinians. The Palestinian resistance for its part answers with reinforced rocket launches. The news the three kidnapped Israelis have been found dead escalates the situation.

Out for revenge, a group of right-wing Israelis kidnaps a Palestinian youngster and burns him alive. His limbs were cut, he was forced to drink gasoline, and, finally, was burned. Bloody protests emerge all over the country.

The spiral of violence revolves, the situation continues to heat up, and on 8th of July, the Israeli military starts its air strikes on Gaza.
It is the beginning of the next Gaza massacre, an onslaught that will last for the next 51 days.

It is a war that cannot be more unequal. On the one side, there is an upgraded high-tech military that is one of the most modern armies in the world. On the other side, there are frustrated youngsters throwing stones and Molotov cocktails and resistance fighters equipped with decades-old Kalashnikovs and rockets most likely to be pieced together in the backstreets.

Scorched earth

The mobile air defense system Iron Dome intercepts the majority of rockets launched on Israel.

During the war, more than 4,500 of these rockets are launched from Gaza to Israel. The vast majority of these hit unsettled land. Occasionally, some of the rockets, indeed, hit Israeli cities, a gas station in Ashdod is destroyed. Fortunately, hurt people are rare, four Israeli civilians die during the war.

The reason why lethal rockets are an absolute exceptional case is a gift from the US tax payers to Israel:
The air defense system Iron Dome intercepts every rocket coming dangerously near to settled areas.

Israel for its part attacked more than 5,000 targets in the Gaza Strip. Besides a huge number of housing units, Gaza’s infrastructure was targeted systematically:
The only power plant in Gaza was destroyed, schools and hospitals were attacked, 360 industrial plants were destroyed, farmland was rendered useless comprehensively.

These acts of state terror have catastrophic repercussions on the Palestinian economy and the society in its entirety. They illustrate again the actual intentions of this onslaught:

It is not about merely disarming the Hamas which is the official war aim. The recent Gaza massacre was again an attack on the Gaza Strip as a whole. It poses a collective punishment of the Palestinian people that is – once again! – thrown back by years in its development.

The Israeli lawmaker Ayelet Shaked is making no secrets of this eliminatory agenda when writing on her facebook page days after the massacre began:

„The entire Palestinian people is the enemy. […]

Its cities, its property and its infrastructure [shall be destroyed…].

Their blood should be on our hands.”

The German government collaborates with these genocidal fantasies:
Only days after the outbreak of war it delivered arms worth more than 600 million €. Because of this illegal supply of weapons the government of Angela Merkel is also guilty of the war crimes committed by the Israeli regime.

The extent of devastation

UN records produce that during the war 2,192 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli military. Among them are 1,523 civilians (70%). 519 children have been killed – every fourth casualty was a child, damn!
10,224 Palestinians got hurt, 3,106 children among them.

On the Israeli side 69 persons were killed, 4 civilians among.

The Israeli army frequently asserts that their goal is to exclusively eliminate Hamas fighters while protecting the Palestinian civilians. It follows this claim by ostensibly carrying out highly precise and surgical air strikes.

An explosion after an air strike carried out by the Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza-City during the last offensive war in summer 2014: comprehensive collective punishment instead of liquidation of single combatants.

Do “surgical air strikes” really look like this?!

This is collective punishment against international laws. Who drops bomb shells in densely populated areas deliberately approves the death of a great number of civilians.

The Palestinian resistance fighters are often accused of abusing the civilian population as “human shields” because of hiding themselves in housing units threatening the lives of civilians.

But, where should they hide? Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

Is it really legitimate to drop a batch of bomb shells onto the house of a fighter killing his family and neighbors at the same time?

The accusation emerges that the systematic destruction of Palestinian housing units is politically imposed by the Israeli regime. UN records produce that in the recent war alone 18,000 houses have been destroyed and another 37,000 have been demolished severely. This leads to the incredible number of 108,000 homeless people. Another 110,000 found shelter in emergency accommodation or in their relatives’ houses.

228,000 homeless people – an unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe!

When visiting Gaza after the war, UN general secretary Ban Ki-moon wasn’t able to find words for this incredible extent of devastation:

“The destruction which I have seen coming here is beyond description.”

Besides all the casualties and the destroyed housings, another aspect is even more frustrating. The war has left behind 370,000 traumatized children that had to witness their families and friends being killed or mutilated. Every third child of Gaza needs to receive psychological treatment.

Is it really worth it, Prime Minister Netanyahu? How can you take a look in the mirror every morning? When you want to know where the future rocket launching fighters will come from, they are among this generation of mentally destroyed children.

Faceless records

In the recent war 2,192 Palestinians and 69 Israelis have been killed. When these numbers are added to the context of the last 14 years a depressing picture emerges.

In the five Israeli military operations against Gaza since 2000, 7,096 Palestinians have been killed. In the same period 1,114 Israeli casualties were count. © Visualizing Palestine

Honestly spoken, it deeply disgusts me to talk about casualties statistics, charging up human lives against each other – some dead here, only this number of dead people there. The progressive Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar published a list with all Palestinian casualties and by this gives names and stories to the faceless records.

We are dulled by our media, reading about these terrible events we tend to forget that they are human beings of flesh and blood that lose their lives in war – because of pointless decisions made by heartless, unscrupulous desk criminals.

But, what do all these unequal numbers and records tell us? The number of dead Israelis should rise and converge with that of the Palestinians? The relative amount of Israeli civilians should rise? More dead Israeli children?

Surely not!

Every rocket launched on Israel is a crime and is rightly condemned. Every single Israeli casualty is one too much. It doesn’t fill me up with personal gratification but with anger and honest grief.

The casualty counts should not converge, except the number to be converged is zero!

These records intend to elucidate the fact that the Gaza wars are not wars in its common meaning. There are no two competitors in a just fight.

What happens in Gaza every several years is no war – it is a systematic massacre on a defenseless civilian population held hostage!

Ceasefire – time for reconstruction?

On August 26, eventually, a ceasefire negotiated by Egypt was settled. The war is over. The Palestinian people in Gaza starts the reconstruction of its devastated coastal strip.

What happened since this date? Can we talk about peace in its true meaning?

A selection of distinctive events.

The reconstruction of Gaza is massively blocked by the Israeli authorities. Important construction material is restrained. Tens of thousands remain homeless. Only a hilarious amount of 3% out of the 4 billion € of aid payments that were pledged by the international community arrived.

On the other side, the construction of more than 1,000 illegal housing units to be built in the occupied territories has been approved by the Israeli regime. The thievery of Palestinian land ceaselessly proceeds.

In Jerusalem a 5 year old (!) boy on his way home has been shot in his head by an Israeli policeman.

A 17-years old Palestinian was killed in “cold blood” by a shot in his heart. In a village south of Nablus, the boy hanged out with a friend in a park when the two youngsters were attacked by an Israeli soldier of out sudden.

It is hard to bear, weeks after the ceasefire has been settled, the Israeli military is flying the next air strikes on Gaza.

I could continue this depressing list forever and a day. Every single point on it is a fragment within the mosaic of reasons leading to the next war in Gaza. Acts of violence between Palestinians and Israeli security forces arise on an almost daily basis.

Operation Protective Edge  was the fourth onslaught on Gaza since 2006 – every two years a new war is raging. You can start count the days until the next one is ready.

Every peace aspiration is degraded to absurdity by maintaining the illegal 47 years lasting occupation and the daily thievery of Palestinian land. They exclude each other.

This Israeli policy based on sheer racism will never bring peace. The next Gaza massacre is only a matter of time.

Time is running out.

© Pawel Kuczynski

© Pawel Kuczynski

Title image by Marcin Monko licensed under CC BY 2.0 (edited).

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