Archive for Operation Cast Lead

No Gaza optimism over easing blockade

Posted in Everyday life in Gaza, Fatah, Gaza, Hamas, Israeli occupation, Israeli politics, Pictures, Siege with tags , , , , , , , , , on 20/06/2010 by 3071km

Written by Jon Donnison

Date published: Sunday 20th June 2010

Source: BBC News

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Fishing boats in Gaza City's harbour

“I don’t need ketchup or mayonnaise from Israel. I need my business back,” says Nasser al-Helo standing on a busy street in Gaza City.

Mr Helo used to run a business making steel doors in the Gaza Strip. Before the blockade he was able to import metal from Israel and would produce more than 300 doors a month.

“Now, it’s a big zero,” he says. “I’ve lost $300,000 in the past three years.”

Private industry has been devastated by Israel’s blockade, which was tightened in 2007 after the Islamist group Hamas seized control of the coastal territory.

Factories making anything from furniture to textiles, floor tiles to biscuits have gone under.

The Israeli blockade has starved them of the raw materials they need to produce their goods.

Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs. The United Nations estimates unemployment is at 40% in Gaza. Mr Helo used to employ 32 people at his factory. Now there are only four.

‘Not enough’

The overwhelming feeling among Gazans is that Israel’s announcement on Thursday that it is “easing the blockade” is simply not enough.

Omar Shabban

The details of how the blockade will be “liberalised” are still not clear, but reportedly the Israeli authorities will allow more civilian goods to enter, including all food items, toys, stationery, kitchen utensils, mattresses and towels. Construction materials for civilian projects will be allowed in under international supervision.

“Of course it’s not enough,” says Omar Shabban, an economist at the Gaza-based think tank PalThink.

“What about the blockade on people for starters?” he asks.

“One-and-a-half million people are trapped in a prison unable to leave.”

Israel maintains tight control of the border with Gaza, only allowing out a limited number of people to seek medical treatment. Israel says this is needed to protect itself from “terrorist” attacks.

The Rafah crossing into Egypt has also been closed since 2007, although special medical cases are also sporadically allowed to pass through it.

Desperate vendors

Mr Shabban argues that what is really needed in Gaza is not a few more food items – many of which are already available through smuggling tunnels running under the Egyptian border – but a total lifting of the blockade to allow people to work in Israel, as over 100,000 people used to do.

GOODS ALLOWED INTO GAZA

Coriander

  • Canned meat and tuna, but not canned fruit
  • Mineral water, but not fruit juice
  • Sesame paste (tahini) but not jam
  • Tea and coffee but not chocolate
  • Cinnamon but not coriander

Details of Gaza blockade revealed

Gaza also used to export many goods to Israel and beyond. Strawberries and flowers are still two of Gaza’s most famous products, but most of them never get beyond the barrier into Israel.

Instead, in strawberry season in January they are sold dirt-cheap off huge wheelbarrows on street corners, the vendors desperate to sell them at any price before they rot.

Israel has argued that the blockade is necessary to put pressure on Hamas.

The group came out top in the Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006, but the EU, the US and Israel refused to recognise Hamas in government unless it renounced violence and its commitment to destroy Israel.

Then in June 2007, Hamas ousted its secular rival, Fatah, and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority security forces from Gaza.

Rockets

Over the past decade, Hamas has fired thousands of rockets into Israel, killing more than 20 Israelis.

Man selling strawberries in Gaza

But since Israel’s major offensive on Gaza in 2009, which devastated the territory and left more than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead, the number has dropped dramatically. One person – a Thai farm worker – has been killed in southern Israel by a rocket fired from Gaza in the past 12 months.

Hamas has tried to rein in rocket fire, but it does not control all the militant groups in Gaza and sporadic, usually ineffective rocket fire continues.

Israel says it is the responsibility of the Hamas authorities to stop all rocket attacks, and that the blockade is necessary to stop weapons being brought into Gaza.

But at least until now the list of items banned from entering Gaza has gone far beyond weapons. Coriander, chocolate and children’s toys have famously been excluded.

Low expectations

In actual fact, such things are readily available in the supermarkets in Gaza.

Millions of dollars worth of goods are smuggled in through tunnels from Egypt.

Butcher in Gaza City

There is food on the shelves and in the markets but the blockade means it is too expensive for most people to afford. A kilo of beef smuggled from Egypt costs around $15, more than most Gazans earn in a day.

“We are living on a black-market economy,” says Mr Shabban.

Gazans have little faith in Israel’s announcement. At best, they will wait and see if anything changes in the coming weeks and months.

Indeed, like most places in the world, people here are more preoccupied with the World Cup. The cafes of Gaza City on Friday were full of people cheering on Algeria as they thrashed out a dire draw with England.

The beaches in Gaza are packed this weekend with thousand of children enjoying summer camps and frolicking in the Mediterranean Sea.

But as they play in the water, a reminder that the blockade of Gaza is still very much in place – the sound of machine-gun fire just a few kilometres off the coast.

Israeli navy ships, which continue to occupy and control Gaza’s territorial water, regularly open fire on Palestinian fishing boats that stray beyond the limits of where Israel allows them to fish.

Yet most of the children did not even bat an eyelid at the gunfire.

The blockade here has been come a way of life. Few people are optimistic that will change.

KEY ENTRY POINTS INTO GAZA

map of Gaza showing key entry points• Rafah – under Egyptian control. Since flotilla deaths, opened indefinitely for people only. Has been closed for the vast majority of the time over the last three years. Makeshift tunnels in this area used to smuggle in goods, including weapons

• Erez – under Israeli control. Crossing for pedestrians and cargo. Access restricted to Palestinians under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority and to Egyptians or international aid officials

• Karni – main crossing point for commercial goods

• Sufa – official crossing point for construction materials

• Kerem Shalom – for commercial and humanitarian goods. These last three crossings have been frequently closed by Israeli army since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007

• Opening of seaport and bus routes to West Bank had been agreed in 2005 but plans since shelved

• Airport – bombed by Israel in early years of the 2000 Intifada

• ‘Buffer zone’ inside Gaza where it borders Israel. Gazan farmers forbidden to enter the zone

To shoot an elephant

Posted in Activism, Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, International community, Israeli occupation, Non-violent resistance, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Siege, Videos, War crimes with tags , , , , , , , on 06/02/2010 by 3071km

Source : To Shoot An Elephant

To download click here.

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Sinopsis

 

“…afterwards, of course, there were endless discussions about the shooting of the elephant. The owner was furious, but he was only an Indian and could do nothing. Besides, legally I had done the right thing, for a mad elephant has to be killed, like a mad dog, if it’s owner fails to control it”.

George Orwell defined a way of witnessing Asia that still remains valid. “To shoot an elephant” is an eye witness account from The Gaza Strip. December 27th, 2008, Operation Cast Lead. 21 days shooting elephants. Urgent, insomniac, dirty, shuddering images from the only foreigners who decided and managed to stay embedded inside Gaza strip ambulances, with Palestinian civilians.

George Orwell: “Shooting an elephant” was originally published in New Writing in 1948.

Context

 

Gaza Strip has been under siege since June 2007, when Israel declared it an “enemy entity”. A group of international activists organized a siege-breaking movement, the Free Gaza movement. Thanks to their efforts, and despite the Israeli ban on foreign correspondents and humanitarian aid workers to cover and witness operation “Cast Lead” on the ground, a group of international volunteers: self organised members of the International Solidarity Movement were present in Gaza when the bombing started on December, 27th 2009. Together with two international correspondents from Al Jazeera International (Ayman Mohyeldin and Sherine Tadros), they were the only foreigners who managed to write, film and report for several radio stations what was happening inside the besieged Palestinian strip.

Were they journalists? Were they activists? Who cares!. They became witnesses. Being a journalist or being whatsoever depends on how you feel. It is an ethical responsibility that you manage to share with a wider audience what you and those who are around you are going through. It will be the result of your work that will lead you to a professional career as a journalist or not, rather than pre-assumptions and labels. Make them know. Make those who you want to: listen and be aware of what you are aware of. That is a journalist. Having a card, with “press” written on it, or getting a regular salary is not necessary to be a witness with a camera or a pen. Forget about neutrality. Forget about objectivity. We are not Palestinians. We are not Israelis. We are not impartial. We only try to be honest and report what we see and what we know. I am a journalist. If somebody listens, I am a journalist. In Gaza´s case, no “official journalists” were authorized to enter Gaza (apart from those who were already inside) so we became witnesses. With a whole set of responsibilities as regarding to it.

I have always understood journalism as “a hand turning the lights on inside the dark room”. A journalist is a curious person, an unpleasant interrogator, a rebel camera and a pen making those in power feel uncomfortable. And that is the concept of my work in Gaza: To fulfil a duty in the most narrated conflict on earth, where the story of the siege and the collective punishment that is being imposed by Israel on the whole population of the territory in retaliation for rockets sent by Hamas will never be told with enough accuracy. For this it has to be lived. I sneaked inside Gaza despite Israeli attempts not to allow us to enter and I was “politely” asked to leave by those in power in Gaza. That is my idea of journalism. Every government on earth should feel nervous about somebody going around with a camera or a pen ready to publish what he or she manages to understand. For the sake of information, one of the biggest pillars of democracy.

This is an embedded film. We decided to be “embedded within the ambulances” opening an imaginary dialogue with those journalists who embed themselves within armies. Everyone is free to choose the side where they want to report from. But decisions are often not unbiased. We decided that civilians working for the rescue of the injured would give us a far more honest perspective of the situation than those whose job is to shoot, to injure and to kill. We prefer medics rather than soldiers. We prefer the bravery of those unarmed rescuers than those with -also interesting, but morally rejectable experiences who enlist to kill. It is a matter of focus. I am not interested in the fears, traumas and contradictions of those who have a choice: the choice of staying home and saying no to war.

Crew

 

Directors: Alberto Arce/ Mohammad Rujailah

Script: Alberto Arce/ Miquel Marti Freixas

Editing: Alberto Arce/ Miquel marti Freixas

Sound: Francesc Gosalves

Posproduction: Jorge Fernández Mayoral

Co-production/distribution: Eguzki Bideoak.

Translation: Mohammad Rujailah/ Alberto Arce

Design Team: Mr. Brown and Mabrilan

Duration:112´

Cast Lead: Israel Attacks Gaza

Posted in Activism, Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, Gaza reconstruction, Gaza war crimes investigation, Hamas, IDF, International community, Israeli occupation, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Siege, War crimes with tags , , , , , on 18/10/2009 by 3071km

Written by Shir Hever

Date published: June 2009

Source: Alternative Information Center

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The Israeli military attack on the Gaza Strip, lasting from December
27th 2008 to January 18th, 2009, caused massive devastation in the Gaza
Strip and threw the region into a state of confusion. The levels of
violence shocked and amazed people all over the world. Although the
Israeli army has been conducting ongoing operations against Palestinians
in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and also against
neighboring countries, this attack is of special importance and deserves
separate analysis. The attack was enabled by and embodies a change in
world reaction to Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians. The attack
further signified a break with several Israeli military and economic
policies towards the Palestinians, and at the same time was a
culmination of other Israeli policies. The aim of this paper is to
provide a general overview of the events of the attack, with an emphasis
on the attack’s context and the events that preceded it. The paper will
explore some of the economic aspects of the attack and will conclude
with several possible effects this attack may have on the Israeli
occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Some clarifications are in order before a discussion of the attack can
begin. First, this report was written with a certain level of urgency,
as the global protest movement that emerged during the attack
demonstrated the need to distribute facts about the attack at the
soonest opportunity, to counter the efforts by the Israeli government to
obfuscate the topic, conceal facts regarding the attack and discourage
debate. As this report was written in the first months following the
attack, most of its sources are newspaper articles. Such articles are
not always completely accurate, and this is compounded by the fact that
Israel severely limited journalists’ access to the Gaza Strip during the
attack. Israeli army officials did not disclose most of their own
information about the course of the attack, the reasons for it, and its
outcome. Because of this, some of the arguments presented here could be
disproved in light of new information that will be made available in the
future.

A special preference has been given to Israeli sources. Indeed, most of
the information for this publication is derived from Israeli sources,
and the reason for this is double. First, as this publication comes out
in English, it is an opportunity to give the international reader access
to information usually less accessible. Second, the fact that all this
information was available in Hebrew to Israeli readers is presented here
in order to clarify that Israelis cannot claim ignorance regarding the
attack on Gaza. The argument “we didn’t know” cannot be used as an
excuse by Israelis when confronted with these facts, as the facts were
published in the Israeli media. Second, the terminology used in this
report has been carefully selected. The name of the Israeli operation:
“Cast Lead” will not be used often, because it has been coined by one of
the warring sides only (the attacker). The Israeli government did not
declare war, and officially the attack was an Israeli “operation,”
though in the Israeli media it was called a “war.” Since this was not a
conflict between two standing armies, and as the fighting was mostly one
sided, the term “war” is inappropriate here, and the term “attack” will
be used instead. This is despite the fact that both the Israeli
authorities and the Hamas spokespeople endeavored to use the word “war” and thus convey that intensive two-sided fighting took place. For Israel, descriptions of intensive fighting help to justify its widespread use of force that ended up mostly harming unarmed and uninvolved civilians. For Hamas, the image of intensive fighting bolsters their public image as active and brave resisters of the occupation (Hass, 2009m). Although the comparison of force between the Israeli army and the Hamas party in the Gaza Strip is grossly mismatched, and the Hamas fighters were able to inflict only minimal damage on the invading Israeli troops, the aim of this paper is not to ignore the role of Palestinians who resist the Israeli occupation. The conflict is not one-sided, and the decision of Hamas not to surrender and to keep fighting against overwhelming odds had powerful repercussions.

[…]

To keep reading, click on Cast Lead: Israel Attacks Gaza, a report by Shir Hever published on June 2009 within The Economy of the Occupation Socioeconomic Bulletin.

FREE GAZA IRELAND TO SEND “IRISH BOAT” TO GAZA

Posted in Activism, Gaza, Gaza reconstruction, International community, Non-violent resistance, Operation Cast Lead, Siege with tags , , , , , , , , on 13/10/2009 by 3071km

E-mail received: Monday 12th October 2009

Source: Free Gaza Movement

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The crisis in Gaza is unacceptable. For nearly four years, Israel has subjected the Gaza Strip to an increasingly cruel blockade, leading to severe increases in unemployment, poverty, and childhood malnutrition. Israel’s 22-day assault on Gaza last December & January killed over 1400 civilians and destroyed thousands of homes, schools, mosques and hospitals. It’s been almost a year since these attacks and thousands of Gaza’s Palestinians are still living in rubble. Maintaining the Gaza siege and denying Palestinians the right to rebuild their lives is unconscionable.

Free Gaza Ireland is working closely with the international Free Gaza Movement to acquire an “Irish boat” to sail to Gaza as part of an international flotilla challenging Israel’s brutal siege.  Since August 2008, international volunteers in the Free Gaza Movement have been sailing to Gaza, suceeding 5 times to break the siege. Ours remain the only ships to reach Gaza since 1967.  More than simple charity, the Palestinian people need our solidarity and political action. They need us to challenge the policies that leave them in need of humanitarian aid.

Caoimhe Butterly, renowned Irish human rights campaigner and Gaza Project Co-coordinator for the Free Gaza Movement stated that:  “Our delegations  have been deeply shocked by the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Gaza. Israel’s ongoing occupation and the severity of the siege on Gaza is designed to isolate people as well as devastate the infrastructure of Gaza. Free Gaza’s mission is a reminder of not only the efficacy of using non-violent direct action to confront injustice, but also of the deafening silence of the international community.”


With Ireland’s help, the Free Gaza Movement hopes to sail to Gaza before winter sets in with ships carrying badly needed humanitarian and reconstruction supplies. On board will be Irish TD’s, journalists, human rights activists & Irish musicans who will perform in Gaza with local artists as part of a series of cultural events linking up with Ireland.  We urge everyone to join us in concretely asserting the right of the Palestinian people to have access to the outside world. We will not stay silent as the Palestinian people are deliberately starved and humiliated. Like all peoples in the world – Palestinians have a right to life with dignity.

www.freegaza.org


Niamh Moloughney
Irish Free Gaza Coordinator

niamh@freegaza.org
091 472279/085 7747257

“Through Women’s Eyes: A PCHR Report on the Gender-Specific Impact and Consequences of Operation Cast Lead”

Posted in Activism, Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, Gaza reconstruction, Gaza war crimes investigation, Israeli politics, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Siege, War crimes with tags , , , , on 11/10/2009 by 3071km

Date published: 28th September 2009

Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

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PCHR Release “Through Women’s Eyes: A PCHR Report on the Gender-Specific Impact and Consequences of Operation Cast Lead”

In conjunction with the presentation of the UN Fact Finding Mission’s report to the Human Rights Council on 29 September, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) release “Through Women’s Eyes: A PCHR Report on the Gender-Specific Impact and Consequences of Operation Cast Lead”.

The Israeli offensive claimed the lives of 118 women, and injured at least 825 more. However, although the numbers of victims and casualties illustrate the appalling human toll of this conflict, the true extent of the suffering lies in the day-to-day reality of life in the Gaza Strip following Operation Cast Lead, as civilians struggle to rebuild their lives, come to terms with their loss, and restore some semblance of human dignity

PCHR has released ‘Through Women’s Eyes’ in order to highlight the gender-specific impact of Operation Cast Lead and the illegal Israeli closure. As a result of the patriarchal nature of Palestinian society, women in the Gaza Strip – victims of ‘peacetime’ discrimination – are particularly susceptible to the marginalization, poverty, and suffering brought about as a result of armed conflict and occupation. Israeli attacks result in often ignored gender-specific consequences. PCHR has chosen to allow these consequences, and the reality of life after the offensive, unfold through the victims words; although this report is necessarily grounded in international law, it is perhaps fitting that human rights, and human suffering, are expressed through human stories.

This report presents the cases of 12 women affected by Israeli attacks over the course of Operation Cast Lead. These examples are intended to demonstrate the extent of the suffering inflicted on the individual civilians of the Gaza Strip, and the continuing difficulties they face as a result of the devastation wrought by Israeli forces and the ongoing illegal closure.

‘Through Women’s Eyes’ highlights the difficulties women in the Gaza Strip face as they attempt to come to terms with their grief and their injuries; with the loss of their children, their husbands, their relatives, their homes, and their livelihoods. These narratives are illustrative, not only of the trials faced by women in the Gaza Strip, but of the resilience and strength they have demonstrated over 42 years of conflict and occupation.

‘Through Women’s Eyes’ is release as a continuation of PCHR’s work documenting human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory. With respect to Operation Cast Lead, in May PCHR released ‘War Crimes Against Children’ a report on the killing of 318 children, while earlier this month ‘Targeted Civilians’ PCHR’s comprehensive report on the offensive was released in Arabic; it will be available in English shortly.

Obama to host Netanyahu-Abbas talks

Posted in Fatah, Hamas, History, Israeli politics, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Peace process, Pictures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 20/09/2009 by 3071km

Date published: Sunday September 20th 2009

Source: Al Jazeera English

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Obama, right, will meet Abbas, left, and Netanyahu seperately before the there-way talks [File: AFP]

The White House has announced that the US president will host three-way talks with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Tuesday.

Barack Obama is due to meet Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, separately before the three go into a joint session, the White House said.

The meeting is expected to take place in New York before a session of the United Nations General Assembly, the White House said, “to lay the groundwork for the relaunch of negotiations, and to create a positive context for those negotiations so that they can succeed”.

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, welcomed Obama’s personal involvement in the peace process, but indicated low Palestinian expectations for a positive outcome.

“At this point, I think President Obama must convey to the world that one side is undermining efforts to resolve the peace process,” he told Al Jazeera on Sunday.

“This meeting is not about resuming negotiations. I don’t think we will come out of this meeting with Netanyahu agreeing to resume negotiations or stop settlement expansion.”

‘Comprehensive peace’

Talks have been stalled since Israel launched an offensive in the Gaza Strip last December and Abbas has repeatedly said that they will not restart until Israel commits to a complete freeze of settlement building in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem.

George Mitchell, the US special envoy to the Middle East, wrapped up a mission to the Middle East on Friday having failed to secure the concessions necessary for the peace process to resume.

He said that the three-way meeting planned for Tuesday showed Obama’s “deep commitment to comprehensive peace”.Al Jazeera’s John Terrett, reporting from Washington DC, said: “The general assumption was that George Mitchell was flying back to Washington a failure.

“After half a dozen trips to the Middle East he had failed to secure a trilateral meeting at the UN General Assembly next week.

“I suspect the Americans would have preferred to keep the drama going right the way through the opening stages of the General Assembly and out late as Wednesday or Thursday.”

Netanyahu has repeatedly refused to commit to either a permanent stop to settlement expansion, as demanded by the Palestinians, or the year-long halt that Washington was believed to be calling for.

Instead he has suggested that Israel could be prepared to stop building new settlements for six months while negotiations resume.

‘Commitments and agreements’

Maen Areikat, head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) mission to the US, said that no conditions had been attached to Tuesday’s planned talks.

“We haven’t laid down any conditions. We have been asking all along for all parties to meet their obligations,” he told Al Jazeera from Washington DC.

“We Palestinians feel that we have met a lot of our obligations under previous commitments and agreements and phase one of the road map [for peace].”Israel so far has failed to meet any of their obligations.”

Areikat said that the efforts of the Obama administration were encouraging but “we will have to see what kind of discussions we will have on Tuesday”.

But Akiva Eldar, the chief political columnist for Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, said that it was Abbas that would be under pressure going into the meeting.

“He can’t afford to go home empty handed again, and what I mean by empty handed is without a full commitment from the Israelis to stop all the operations in the settlements,” he said.

“[Netanyahu] can come out of the meeting with President Obama and can say something such as ‘we have agreed on some formula that will alllow the settlers, especially those in Jerusalem, to maintain a normal life’.”

More than 500,000 Israelis live in settlements on land occupied by Israel following the 1967 war, land that the Palestinians see as vital to any future independent state.

‘Unrealistic demand’

Chuck Freilich, a former Israeli national security adviser currently with the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, told Al Jazeera that the Palestinians’ demand for a total end to all settlement building was ultimately impossible.

“The demand that there be a total and complete Israeli freeze not only in the West Bank as a whole, but including Jerusalem, was an unrealistic demand,” he said.

“No Israeli prime minister could have agreed to that.”

Meanwhile, Ismail Haniya, the deposed Palestinian prime minister and Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, condemned Abbas’s decision to meet Netanyahu.

Speaking at prayers in Gaza for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, Haniya said “it does not obligate the Palestinian people to anything”.

“No one is authorised, not the PLO nor anyone else, to sign any agreement that violates the rights of the nation and the rights of the Palestinian people.”

Udi Aloni Answering Noa

Posted in Activism, Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, History, International community, Israel, Israeli occupation, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Siege with tags , , on 13/09/2009 by 3071km

Written by: Udi Aloni

Date Published: 1st September 2009

Source: Ynet

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Answering Noa

Filmmaker Udi Aloni, creator of 2006’s ‘Forgiveness’ and Shulamit Aloni’s son, answers Noa’s open letter to Gazans

Israeli-American director Udi Aloni, creator of the 2006 film Forgiveness (Mechilot, winner of the Woodstock Film Festival Audience Award and Shulamit Aloni’s son, replies to the letter written by Israeli singer Noa to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and worldwide:

Dear Achinoam Nini,

I chose to answer you, and not the entire raging Right, because I believe that the betrayal of the peace camp, at this of all times, exceeds the damage caused by the Right a thousand fold. The ease with which the peace camp gives itself over to the roars of war hinders the creation of a meaningful movement that could a true resistance to occupation.

Peace Cry
Noa writes open letter to Gazans / Ynet
Internationally renowned Israeli singer Noa writes moving letter appealing to Palestinians in Gaza and everywhere, calling for eradication of common enemy: Fanaticism
Full Story


You roll your eyes, use your loving words in the service of your conquering people and call upon the Palestinians to surrender in a tender voice. You bestow upon Israel the role of liberator. Upon Israel – that for over 60 years, has been occupying and humiliating them. “I know where your heart is! It is just where mine is, with my children, with the earth, with the heavens, with music, with HOPE!!” you write; but Achinoam, we took their land and imprisoned them in the ghetto called Gaza.

We have covered their skies with fighter jets, soaring like the angels from hell and scattering random death. What hope are you talking about? We destroyed any chance for moderation and mutual life the moment we plundered their land while sitting with them at the negotiation table. We may have spoken of peace, but we were robbing them blind. They wanted the land given to them by international law, and we spoke in the name of Jehovah.

Who are the secular people of Gaza supposed to turn to, when we trample on international law, and when the rest of the enlightened world ignores their cry? When enlightenment fails and moderation is seen as a weakness, religious fanaticism gives a sense of empowerment. Maybe, if you think about the mental situation of the people under siege in Masada, you could get a better sense of what’s happening in Gaza.

The seculars in Gaza find it hard to speak against Hamas when their ghetto is being bombarded all day and all night. You would probably say that ‘we would not need to shell them if they held their fire,’ but they fire because they are fighting for more that the right to live in the prison called Gaza. They are fighting for the right to live as free citizens in an independent country – just as we do.

“I know that deep in your hearts YOU WISH for the demise of this beast called Hamas who has terrorized and murdered you, who has turned Gaza into a trash heap of poverty, disease and misery,” you write. But Hamas is not the monster, my dear Achinoam. It is the monster’s son.

The Israeli occupation is the monster. It and only it is responsible for the poverty and the sickness and the horror. We were so frightened of their secular leadership, which undermined our fantasy of the Land of Israel, that we chose to fund and support Hamas, hoping that by a policy of divide and conquer were could go on with the occupation forever; but when the tables have turned, you choose to blame the effect instead of the cause.

You write, “I can only wish for you that Israel will do the job we all know needs to be done, and finally RID YOU of this cancer, this virus, this monster called fanaticism, today, called Hamas. And that these killers will find what little compassion may still exist in their hearts and STOP using you and your children as human shields for their cowardice and crimes.” It is the same as if your Palestinian sister would write: “Let us hope that Hamas does the job for you, and rids you of the Jewish Right.”

So maybe, instead of ordering around a people whose every glimmer of hope we have surgically eliminated, you could help your brothers and sisters in Palestine rid themselves of the occupation, oppression and the arrogant colonialism inflicted by your country. Only then can you urge them to fight democratically and return Palestine to the mental state it was in before we pushed it into the corner of the wall that we built.

And if your brethren in Palestine choose Hamas, you have to respect their choice, just as the world’s nations respected Israel when it chose the murderous (Ariel) Sharon. Hamas is theirs to fight, just like you fought him. That is what democracy is about. Only then can you and your brethren in both Palestine and Israel share – as equals – the joy of the land, the sky and the music; only then can we fight for equality together, for every man and woman living living in our holy land. Amen.