None of us can say we’ve witnessed the fall of the Berlin wall. For the people that did, it was a symbol of an end to a bloody war. Well, we have that opportunity to witness another collapse of a Berlin wall—and that’s the Gazan wall. Israel locked Gaza in an “open air prison” in order to, what they believe, lock in the “terrorists”. No one can get in, and no one can come out. This is collective punishment, and the irony is, most Palstinians want a two-state solution, and aren’t blowing themselves up to prevent one. A few years ago Israel carpet bombed Gaza. Hamas launched over 1,000 rockets into Israel and killed 9 Israelis. That is inexcusable but what Israel did to Gaza is massacre. Over 1,4000 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli airstrikes, and almost 1,000 of those Palestinians were citizens. They said that the reason why so many civilians were killed is because Hamas fighters were launching rockets in their backyards. The phosphorus bombs Israel was dropping into Gaza aren’t cherry bombs; you aim for one building and you wipe out the entire block. For every Hamas fighter that was killed, 6 civilians died. For every Israeli that died during this battle, 156 Palestinians died.
This siege is unprogressive for a peace process between Israel and Palestine, because it’s common logic, and we should know this from experience by now—That when you invade a country to bring down a “terrorist regime” and kill civilians in the process, civilians will begin joining these terrorist regimes to get revenge. This May, Israel reduced the amount of foreign aid they would allow into Gaza by over 80% . In a time Gaza needs the aid the most Israel makes sure they don’t get it. Over 70% of the population are living in poverty, and more than half of them are children. It’s not an issue of them needing more foreign aid for the Palestinians, it’s all there—It’s an issue of Israel lifting the blockade off Gaza and allowing it in.
There is absolutely no religious or political affiliation to a humanitarian crisis. Anyone with a human perspective can realize the oppression of the Gazans. I have a friend in Gaza, her name’s Weam. She shocked me yesterday by saying that we need to raise awareness of global warming because people in Africa are dying from it! I remember thinking to myself, “A girl who is trapped in Gaza, who can’t afford to eat sometimes, living in a place that is full of UN tents and collapsed buildings is telling me that we need to help Africans? What?” Palestinians believe in “social solidarity”. They believe that it is everyone’s responsibility to take care of each other.
That’s why Weam can think about Africans when she herself is living in one of the poorest countries in the world. It’s time we did that…Take care of each other. That’s why the siege in Gaza must end—That’s why the Gazan wall must fall. What you can do is simple. Show your support for the Palestinians, either at a rally or a conversation with a friend. Call your representative. Call your senator. Spread the word. The reason why Israel was able to blockade Gaza in the first place was because of the popular support from Americans. Let’s show them the popular support against the siege on Gaza. Let’s tear down that wall.
(written by Dina Yazdani on August 19th, 2009)