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So sad for the people of Gaza

I haven’t written a blog in a long time but the recent attack on Gaza has moved me to write. During the last attack in 2009, I was angry, furious at the slaughter of hundreds of people of Gaza trapped in a tiny slip of land without any protection. So I participated in an occupation of Jewish women of the Israeli consulate. As you will see from the video I was furious and ready for action. This time my feeling is more sadness.

The last few years have filled me with hope that a resolution would come. The Arab Spring, the growing protests in Israel against the economic policies of Netanyahu and above all the growing non-violent protests in the West Bank. Hope that the people’s of the Middle East who have so much in common would find a solution to the violence and hatred. So today I feel sad that we are back to choosing sides in a lopsided so-called war. As you have heard many other places, this is not a war. This is a terror attack by one of the most powerful military forces in the world against an almost defenseless peoples.

Perhaps you can understand the situation better by hearing from some of the people I interviewed while I was there in 2002. It was the time of suicide bombings. The terrible fear of suicide bombings was the excuse Israel gave then for it’s blockade of Gaza and checkpoints soon to be a wall between Israel and the West bank. The suicide bombings declined by 2005. The most stunning interview was with the cousin of a suicide bomber. “We need alternatives,” he said, “but until then we have to fight back.”

The other was the story of friends in Ramallah who try to protect their children from the terror around them so they won’t hate. I called it Ramallah Revelations. We went to Gaza too. I visited with Palestinian feminists there who said they were as afraid of the growing strength of Hamas as they were of Israel. Hamas is growing, they told me because they provide basic social services, which the Israeli blockade had made very difficult. Even then, entering Gaza was like entering a penatentiary. I can’t even imagine how much worse it is now.

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Judy Rebick, author, former publisher of rabble.ca

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