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Who the aggressor is

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(source: The Jordan Times)

The world has welcomed Israel’s decision to ease the blockade of Gaza ever so slightly. This is a very unfortunate position, because it in effect legitimises the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which very much remains in force.

That the world should applaud the fact that Israel is now allowing all kinds of food and toys to reach the Gaza Strip is, frankly, astonishing. It is evidence of rank prejudice against Palestinians, who are treated merely as people not deserving more than to be recipients of aid.What is needed, of course, is a full lifting of Israel’s blockade on Gaza, as well as a full lifting of the restrictions on movement of Palestinians, still very much in force in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Palestinians want to build a state. That requires, at a minimum, two things: the world to begin to ramp up pressure on Israel to roll back its half-a-century-long occupation; and Palestinians to be granted the opportunity to try and build an economy away from international donations and towards self-reliance.These are the ABCs of state building. They are fundamental to self-determination. And without them, all international declarations in support of Palestinians’ rights are empty words.

What the international reaction shows all too clearly is that the world has yet to come to a proper understanding of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.The aggressors are not the ones with the homemade rockets. They are the ones with F-16 jets, nuclear weapons and a navy and army capable of locking millions of people into open-air prisons. The aggressors are not the ones without a state, but those who willfully and continuously take more land and more water through a deliberate and precise strategy of theft that, at the same time, is squeezing the indigenous population into ever smaller enclaves with a view, presumably, to make life there ultimately unsustainable. Israel is the aggressor and has been ever since the colonial/racially segregationist project that the state is ultimately based on started. That is an undisputable fact.If anyone should be facing a blockade, it is Israel, which for 60 years has ignored international resolutions and blatantly disregarded international law. It worked with South Africa and it is about time that it is tried with apartheid Israel.