Another year for Banksy’s Christmas card. With each passing year, we see the viability of the Palestinian State erodes while the world stands by silent, complicit while the Hasbara machine continually churns out its rhetoric, transforming the aggressor into the victim.
Religion is not something I hold near and dear, but even so, I have to wonder why Christians aren’t screaming from the rooftops in the name of justice, in the name of international law, in the name of the very tenet they claim in their names, their Christianity? It is not just Muslim Palestinians who are being turned away not only from the holy places held by Israel, separated by family, but also affects the Palestinian Christians. It reminds me of Rudyard Kipling’s famous “The East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet”.
As the West Bank works towards statehood, the State of Israel becomes more and more oppressive. Once conditions demanded of the Palestinians by the Israelis are met, the bar is raised a just little higher. While facts are being created on the ground, any chance of a viable Palestinian state is gobbled up by settlement building in the Occupied Palestinian territories. It has been almost 20 years since the famous handshake between Arafat and Rabin took place on the front lawn of the White House. Rather than seeing marked improvement, the situation has eroded, allowed for almost doubling of settlement building while the State of Israel is recreated a system of governance, eerily reminiscent of Apartheid.
Gaza, poor tortured Gaza, where 1.7 million people are herded like cattle into 365 square miles with only one entrance, one exit, allowing approximately 350 people to cross each way daily. The border is open from 9 am to 5 pm and on some days completely shut down. During the week of the Egyptian elections, the border was completely closed down. After Hamas was elected in 2007, the border crossing remained closed (opening infrequently) until May of 2011.
For Israel, Gaza is convenient. Dov Weinglass said this of the withdrawal from Gaza,
"The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process, and when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress. The disengagement is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians."
When Israel feels pressured to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority, military engagement with Hamas is the solution. When Hamas is pragmatic or reasonable, bombardment of Gaza. Gaza, under Hamas control, has allowed the State of Israel to avoid any discussion of peace. The victims of this action are the Gazans. On the eve of the American Presidential Election 2008 (November 4), Israel violated a well-maintained ceasefire, which for six months had allowed both Gazans and Israelis (especially those living close to the border) live in relative peace, leading to a month of back and forth retaliatory violence between Israel and Hamas. On December 27, 2008, the state of Israel began an assault on Gaza, which concluded with three weeks of violence aimed at a civilian population, leaving almost 1,400 Gazans dead of which 300 were children. Israel targeted infrastructure including schools, hospitals UN structures and homes leaving 600,000 tons of rubble in its’ wake.
A long-term truce was being negotiated between Gershon Baskin and Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari. It has been reported that Jabari was prepared to sign the agreement, while with the Palestinian’s bid for UN status upgrade was quickly approaching which had necessary international support. Israel was quickly running out of options and in November 2012, the State of Israel, effectively quashing any negotiated ceasefire, leading to the second assault on Gaza in four years leaving 136 dead of which 66% were civilians, assassinated Jabari.
Where is it acceptable to kill use a civilian population as fodder for a political agenda? The usual actors, the United States, Canada, the UK, Germany all essentially turn a blind eye to this naked aggression.
This is what is left. The two states solution has been effectively killed by the State of Israel, Gaza is used for political gain while any challenge to the actions of the State of Israel are met with accusations of ant-Semitism. I no longer believe that in my lifetime I will see Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem with no wall to impede their journey. I see no viable alternative where the State of Israel will agree to, allowing for a Palestinian State. I believe the United States, Canada will continue to support the war crimes Israel perpetuates upon these people and the popular “it will get better” will not apply to the conflict and in fact, it will get worse.