Gaza (along with the West Bank and East Jerusalem) is occupied Palestinian territory underinternational law, determined by the vast majority of the world, as well as the highest court in the world, the UNâ€™s International Court of Justice. Gaza cannot commit aggression against Israel, since Israel is in constant and continual commission of illegal aggression against Palestine by occupying it (illegally and sadistically blockading it and frequently committing terrorism against its civilians, including by targeting them with chemical weapons provided by US taxpayers â€“ see â€œRain of Fireâ€ by Human Rights Watch). As documented by Amnesty Intâ€™l, Human Rights Watch, and many others,Israel intentionally targets and murders civilians, including children, en masse.
Israel also kidnaps and tortures children, including by keeping them in outdoor cages, over night, in winter.
But, even ignoring international law and that Gaza is under illegal Israeli occupation, Gaza did not initiate this current round of violence; Israel did:
Western/US/Israeli propaganda says the violence started with the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli youths on June 12th. That is a lie:
On May 20th, the Israeli government murdered 2 unarmed Palestinian teens, one on video, and wounded a third.
The firing of pathetic scrap metal rockets from impoverished Gaza, which have killed no one, were in fact launched in response to earlier Israeli bombings, killings, assassinations, and arrests of Palestinians, including children.
Since the year 2000, Israel has killed 1,500 Palestinian children, while Palestinians have killed 132 Israeli children. That means Israel has killed over 1,000% percent more Palestinian children than vice versa.
As documented by the Washington DC based non-Profit, The Jerusalem Fund, Israel breaks far more ceasefires than Palestine â€“ this includes firing of the Palestinian scrap metal rockets.
For example, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and many other human rights organizations reported that in Israelâ€™s 2009 Gaza Massacre, Israel killed about 450 children, and it was Israel, they documented, that broke the ceasefire. (In that massacre, Israel killed overall from 1,400 to 7,000 Palestinians, almost all civilians, while 13 Israelis were killed, several from friendly fire.)
According to a landmark, comprehensive study of all of Israelâ€™s wars, by Zeev Maoz, Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Davis, former head of the Graduate School of Government and Policy and of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, and former academic director of the M.A. Program at the Israeli Defense Forcesâ€™ National Defense College:
â€œ. most of the wars in which Israel was involved were the result of deliberate Israeli aggressive design . None of these wars â€“ with the possible exception of the 1948 War of independence â€“ was what Israel refers to as Milhemet Ein Berah (war of necessity). They were all wars of choice . â€ â€“ Defending the Holy Land, pg. 35.
â€œI review a number of peace-related opportunities ranging from the Zionist-Hashemite collusion in 1947 through the collapse of the Oslo Process in 2000. In all those cases I find that Israeli decision makers â€“ who had been willing to embark upon bold and daring military adventures â€“ were extremely reluctant to make even the smallest concessions for peace . I also find in many cases Israel was engaged in systematic violations of agreements and tacit understandings between itself and its neighbors.â€ â€“ Defending the Holy Land, pg. 40.
Israel has violated more UN resolutions than any other country. That includes Iraq under Hussein.
Hamas is the government elected by Gaza in elections that Jimmy Carter (and many others) observed and said were completely fair and free. Israel constantly says Hamas uses human shields. But in Israelâ€™s biggest massacre of Gaza, the one in 2009, all the human rights organizations, including Amnesty, HRW, and the jurist Richard Goldstone, found that Hamas DID NOT use human shields. On the contrary, Israel used human shields, which is a regular practice for Israel. Israel uses civilians as human shields.
Israel forced Palestinian civilians to dig and lay naked in trenches around Israeli tanks.
XIV. THE USE OF PALESTINIAN CIVILIANS AS HUMAN SHIELDS
â€œThe Mission received allegations that in two areas in north Gaza Israeli troops used Palestinian men as human shieldsâ€¦ The Mission found the foregoing witnesses to be credible and reliable. It has no reason to doubt the veracity of their accounts and found that the different stories serve to support the allegation that Palestinians were used as human shields.â€
Noam Chomsky: â€œHamas is regularly described as â€˜Iranian-backed Hamas, which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.â€™ One will be hard put to find something like â€˜democratically elected Hamas, which has long been calling for a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensusâ€™â€”blocked for over 30 years by the US and Israel. All true, but not a useful contribution to the Party Line, hence dispensable.â€
In the history of all rocket and mortar fire into Israel, 26 people, total, have been killed. And remember, Palestine breaks ceasefires far less often than Israel, as documented above.
This number of 26 is in contrast to the minimum number of 1,400 people who were murdered by Israel in a single one of its terrorist atrocities, the 2009 Gaza Massacre.
Noting that in the current massacre, zero Israelis and over 100 Palestinians have thus far been killed, and noting that Gaza is a concentration camp â€“ Israel allows no one to enter or leave â€“ Dan Sanchez gives a perfect description of the disparity in arms between the US/Israeli war machine and Palestinian scrap metal projectiles: â€œThey [the Gazans] are like fish in a barrel, being blasted by a shotgun from above. Itâ€™s like some of the fish in the barrel pathetically spitting water at the gunman, and [US media calls] that a â€œshooting battle.â€
The rhetoric and tactics of Hamas and other groups resisting Israeli occupation and colonization can be brutal (though far less so than Israel). Propagandists try to attribute this to anti-Semitism, to distract from the fact that these groups are resisting having their country stolen and their people dispossessed and annihilated. Native American resistance to European colonizers was sometimes extremely brutal, as was their rhetoric, but everyone universally recognizes that this was not because of â€œanti-White-ismâ€, or â€œanti-European-ismâ€, but because they were having their land stolen and their people massacred, the same thing that Israel is doing to the Palestinians.
Palestinians have the right under international law to resist occupation, ethnic cleansing, colonization, aggression, and annexation. Miko Peled, son of an Israeli general, recently stated that if Israel doesnâ€™t Like rockets, they should decolonize Palestine. Dr. Norman Finkelstein notes that â€œThe Palestinians have the right to use arms to resist an occupation . However, the fact that morally and legally they have that right doesnâ€™t mean that itâ€™s the most prudent strategy. In my opinion, a national Palestinian leadership committed to mobilizing nonviolent resistance can defeat the Israeli occupation if those of us living abroad lend support to it.â€
In 1948, the people who wanted to form a Jewish state carried out a massive terror and ethnic cleansing campaign against the occupants of Palestine, expelling about half of them (750,000) from their land and into concentrated areas (Gaza and West Bank). Israel has slowly continued colonizing even those areas, which were specifically reserved by the UN for Palestinians. Israel takes all the best land and resources, such as water. Here is a visualization of what has happened, and is currently happening with massive support from Obama:
Obama requested more military aid for Israel than any president ever.
Israeli settlement building in Palestine is a war crime under international law. Under Obama, Israeli settlement building is up over 130%.
For about 40 years, there has been an international consensus that Israel must stop colonizing territory outside its 1967 borders. The consensus has been blocked by the United States, in isolation from the international community (much like the USAâ€™s isolated, strong support for South African Apartheid). Every year there is a UN vote on the issue, and every year it goes about 165 to 2, the world against the US and Israel. This continues under Obama. All human rights groups support the consensus, as does Hamas, the Arab League, Iran, the Organization of the Islamic Conferenceâ€¦ Virtually everyone, except the US and Israel.
Palestinians are brutalized, repressed and impoverished by Israel. To get a quick visual understanding of the difference between Gaza and Israel, take a look at the images of people and cities being wantonly pummeled by Israeli terrorism when you search the word â€œGazaâ€œ, and the images of opulence, wealth and luxury that come up when you search â€œTel Avivâ€œ.
Israel has an illegal stash of hundreds of nuclear weapons.
Israel, whose government intentionally targets, tortures, and murders civilians, including children, including with chemical weapons, and whose government uses Palestinian civilians as human shields, and whose government is the last entity on Earth carrying out old-style ethnic cleansing and colonization of foreign countries, is the single biggest recipient of US aid, at over three billion dollars a year and huge amounts of lethal weaponry such as attack helicopters and white phosphorous chemical explosives.
To reiterate, Obama requested more military aid for Israel than any president ever. This is not because Obama and the USA love Jewish people. Obama was recently an accomplice in a literal neo-Nazi-led coup dâ€™etat in Ukraine, and is currently fully supporting the junta-integrated Ukrainian government, which is staffed with several neo-Nazis in high ministries, and which uses neo-Nazi paramilitaries to carry out massacres (and possibly genocide) against people resistant to the junta. The actual reason the US supports Israel is discussed below.
As Amnesty International has noted, all aid to Israel is illegal under international (and US) law, because Israel is a consistent violator of human rights.
Amnesty International also noted that Israelâ€™s 2009 massacre of Gaza would not have been possible without the illegal funding (money and weapons) and support Israel gets from the USA.
This is also true of the current massacre Israel is committing in Gaza.
However, in a way, that is good news.
That means US citizens can STOP the massacres.
If we stop our money and weapons-flow to Israel, which is illegal anyway, we stop Israeli terrorism! All we have to do is stop committing a crime, and we will stop more crimes! Thatâ€™s great news.
Here is a previous example of how this has worked: When the USA cut its funding for Indonesiaâ€™s genocide against East Timor, which the USA was funding almost exclusively, Indonesia was forced to stop and withdraw. All it took was cutting off our illegal flow of money and weapons to the criminals.
The same thing would happen if we cut our illegal funding for Israelâ€™s genocides and acts of terrorism, ethnic cleansing, colonization, and annexation against Palestine. But since the USA is an anti-democratic country, the only way to stop US plutocrats from using our money to fund Israeli terrorism is to force it through massive, non-violent pressure.
One way it happens is when it becomes too politically costly for the plutocracy to keep funding genocide and terror, meaning the costs of their illegal support outweigh the benefits, as in Indonesia. In that case, massive publicity and indigenous resistance accomplished the goal.
But Israel is the USAâ€™s main imperial â€“ and nuclear â€“ base for controlling the Middle East, which US planners, in 1945, called the greatest material prize in world history, due to the oil and gas. Thus, it might require more, as in non-violently making our country into a democracy so that people control their own institutions and money, and thus the way we operate as a society and interact with the world.
Last note: To be clear, Israel is a legal state, but only within the borders allotted to it by the United Nations â€“ the Pre-1967 borders, which existed before Israel started eating away, through terror, ethnic cleansing, colonization, and annexation, at the areas reserved by the United Nations for Palestinians, as well as areas of other countries, such as Syria (the Golan Heights).
Per international law, US domestic law, and common sense, Israel doesnâ€™t deserve any support until it abandons isolationism and accepts that it canâ€™t steal other peopleâ€™s countries, and stops blockading and withdraws its soldiers and settlers, all there illegally, from those countries.
Israel is, militarily, the most powerful country in the Middle East, by far. Removing our support for the Israeli government (which we are legally required to do) will not put Israelis in danger. It will pressure the Israeli government to stop doing what endangers Israelis, which is committing aggressive acts against Israelâ€™s neighbors.
If Israel ends its status as a consistent violator of human rights, decolonizes Palestine, and respects its neighbors, it could be a pleasure â€“ and legal â€“ to work with and support Israel.
Germany, Japan, and South Africa went from being the most reviled countries on Earth to being some of the most admired. Maybe Israel could undergo the same transformation, but not unless we, US citizens, help by ceasing to enable Israeli terrorism and war crimes by illegally supporting them.