Correcting a few distortions about Gaza

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by Kathryn Shihadah

I’m so tired of hearing the same false accusations against Hamas and the people of Gaza, day after day, declared as though they are true. Let’s cast some light on a few of these distortions – for the sake of those being maligned and hated. And I ask the few who read what I write to pass this information along.

Can truth have just a moment of your time?

Okay, we’ve got an 11-year long blockade on Gaza. Yes, Egypt has had its border closed too, and that’s not cool. But Israel has closed its border with Gaza to the point of denying access of medical supplies and food, refusing passage of desperately ill patients, denying entry of building materials to repair tens of thousands of destroyed homes, schools, and hospitals after Israel’s incursions. It’s not 50-50 Israel and Egypt. Please, stop saying that.

I won’t talk about the 50-year occupation of Gaza because some people think there is no occupation. Oddly, the United Nations and even the US, as well as most of the world, consider Gaza still occupied, but we’ll leave that topic alone.

The Great March of Return is not an attempt on the part of 10,000 militants to storm your precious borders and run wild in your country, killing Jews. You know that as well as I do. You know this is an unarmed protest. You know the people being shot are on their side of the fence, not yours. They have not hurt anyone. They are being shot for what, in some sadistic minds, they might do – except they won’t because, not only are they dead, but the only weapon they have is a stethoscope, or a camera, or a rock or slingshot. You know that. The least you could do is let them break a law (I mean an actual law, not a trigger-happy IDF policy) before you kill them.

Have you ever heard this phrase: “armed resistance”? Did you know it is a right, guaranteed by international law? Do you remember the American Revolution? Recall from your history book how our people had had enough of King George and his debilitating, unfair policies. How we had to revolt in order to get justice. Netanyahu is King George.

Gazans have had enough. Their cry is not “I worship death!” or “Hamas wants you to kill me so it can gain world sympathy!” Their cry is “Give me liberty or give me death! I am willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and justice in my land!” We all know that Hamas is not in charge of the March, and let’s just acknowledge that martyrdom in the context of a fight for freedom is perfectly legitimate.

Let’s also acknowledge what a waste it is to kill and maim these courageous young men and women. They are willing to die for their righteous cause, yes, but that doesn’t mean you need to oblige them. Death is not their comeuppance, it’s the outer limit of their ability to sacrifice. And they can do more good alive, just like your own children.

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There are, horror of horrors, kites. “Terror kites.” What kind of twisted mentality calls kites instruments of terror, but not butterfly bullets? A burning kite can start a piece of farmland on fire, yes, but what of that? Is that dunam of corn worth more than the life of a Gazan, that you would shoot at the kite-flyer?

So much more could be said here, but I’ll stop for now.

Advocates of Israel, give in to that feeling in your gut – that feeling that you are backing the wrong horse. You may have been able to rationalize Israel’s actions up to this point, but now it’s snipers against protesters. You can’t seriously justify this, even on the grounds of border protection. It just doesn’t hold water and you know it. Give in. Admit that Israel has gone too far this time. You won’t be struck by lightning. You will actually feel better to have that burden off your shoulders – the burden of defending the indefensible, of endorsing the killing of unarmed, oppressed people.

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