Page 13 Cartoons

Relieve the suffering of the Palestinian people

February 5, 2009

As members of Georgetown for Gaza, greeting our friends and professors on campus with “Happy New Year” after winter break seemed bitterly paradoxical.
As we returned to the comfort and luxury of Georgetown, in the Gaza strip the advent of 2009 (1430 Hijri) came loaded with blood, destruction, and terror. Last month, more than 1,300 people were killed, with at least 95 bodies having been pulled from the rubble since Israel halted its assault on January 18. About 1,200 of the dead have been civilians and well over 300 of them were children. To date, 13 Israelis have been killed in rocket fire, 10 of whom were soldiers.
The situation became so dire that Gazans called on international aid agencies to provide them with the white sheets needed to bury the scores killed; it seems the price of a Palestinian life has dwindled so much that it cannot even rest in peace after death.
As if the indiscriminate bombing weren’t enough, the attack came after a 15-month siege on the Gaza Strip, which forced 1.5 million residents into a ghetto-like, overcrowded, severely impoverished lifestyle. Sealing entry points into Gaza, Israel has also reduced and often entirely prevented the delivery of fuel, cooking gas, food, medical and other supplies needed to maintain the barest standards of life.
While often oblivious towards Palestinian life anyway, the mainstream media was not even able to enter Gaza due to Israeli restrictions. This conflict did not begin out of thin air, nor after Hamas launched a home-made rocket at Sderot (after which Israel broke the ceasefire). Instead, the attacks came after more than a year’s worth of collective punishment against the people of the already-deteriorating Strip, the conditions of which President Jimmy Carter ominously dubbed “worse than apartheid South Africa.”
Notwithstanding the fact that all attacks against civilians—Israeli or Palestinian—are to be regarded as war crimes, Israel claims that its operations against the people of Gaza were necessary as a form of self-defense against the Hamas rockets launched into southern Israel. And yet, it is safe to assume that these massively disproportionate attacks will hardly guarantee Israel more security.
While we do not agree with Hamas’s policies—even though it was democratically elected by the Palestinian people—we point out that Palestinians have lived under Israeli occupation since the Six-Day War in 1967, a fact that is often forgotten (or ignored). Israel has, for 40 years, effectively denied Palestinians the option of establishing an independent state by continuously building settlements, segregated roads, checkpoints, and a monstrous wall that is almost three times the size of the Berlin wall.
This war on the people of Gaza isn’t really about rockets, nor is it about restoring Israel’s military deterrence. It’s about resisting the Palestinian people’s right to exist on their own land. Indeed, in 2002 former Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon said, “The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.”
We recall our university’s Jesuit heritage by echoing the plea of Cardinal Renato Martino, the head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council on Peace and Justice, who said, “Look at the conditions in Gaza: more and more, it resembles a big concentration camp.”
Through our efforts, we are inviting our entire community to join us in condemning the horrendous crimes being committed against the people of Gaza. It is unacceptable for us, as future public servants and civic leaders, to remain silent, especially as our own government provides the state of Israel with most of the weapons and money used to kill innocents in Gaza.
We will continue our campaign for awareness as long as it is necessary in order to draw our community into a debate about the rights and wrongs of Gaza. We feel that there is no better way to fulfill our moral responsibilities as students of conscience than to help draw your attention to the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe caused by Israel in Gaza.

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Younus mirza

We need more articles such as these to reveal the daily injustices that the Palestinian community faces. Any realistic prospect for Middle East peace cannot occur without an honest assessment of the present situation.

jack forest

terrific article, very enlightening

saad omar

thank you for writing this farah…


Thank you for pointing out that this recent conflict did not occur due to Hamas rockets–it is dispicable how US lawmakers have tried to spin it in that way.

Concerned Hoya

This article is outdated and poorly written. Some of the sentences make absolutely no sense. Furthermore, your fact checking is atrocious.
Regardless, I question your logic: Is Hamas not responsible at all for the suffering imposed on the people of Gaza, not to mention the people of Israel? Even UNRWA, whose only accomplishment is to perpetuate Palestinian misery and block any progress regarding refugees, condemned Hamas for stealing humanitarian aid! Hamas is committing OBVIOUS war crimes, yet Israel continues to bear the brunt of the blame for defending its citizens, something Hamas obviously has no care to do for its own citizens.
Also, what does this mean: “Palestinians have lived under Israeli occupation since the Six-Day War in 1967”? Gazans are not under any occupation and still their governing body is a failure. And on the other hand, Palestinians in the West Bank, who may in fact be facing “occupation,” are prospering. So I don’t think occupation is the issue here. Rather, I think that you, you who calls for “humanitarian awareness,” are suggesting that Israel doesn’t have a right to exist. And, gosh, that seems awfully racist and not at all concerned with humanitarian issues to me. Oh, but I guess they’re just Jews, so what does it matter anyways… right?


Really well written Farah! And so necessary.

Bader Alhakbani

Very interesting article, thanks Farah


Thank you for such an honest and compassionate call for action Farah!


Another typical article written from another typically uninformed, one-sided student. Read a history book for goodness’ sake. The Palestinian leadership has been given three offers for the creation of an independent Palestinian state over the past 60 years, yet they rejected all three and instead chose the road of destruction and victimization. Instead of developing a peaceful, stable society, Hamas, inheriting the legacy of destruction from its predecessors, chooses to destroy its own people in order to swing them like a bloody piece of meat in front of the hungry, anti-Israel dogs that are many of the world’s leaders.

Instead of taking responsibility for the plight of their people, Palestinian leaders launch rockets at Israeli civilians and then point fingers, play the numbers game, and cry for help when Israel begins protecting its own civilians. Much to Hamas’ delight, the UN is just as interested in demonizing Israel as they are, and if that means making “clerical errors” (such as that made when the UN inaccurately reported the “bombing” of the UN school in which dozens of students were claimed to be killed–turns out it was a ground conflict after which about 12 people were killed, 9 of whom were Hamas militants) or if that means inflating the death toll for the purpose of being able to claim a genocide, then the UN and Hamas will do it. As of February 17, the death toll was listed at 1,200 killed, almost half of which have already been identified as Hamas operatives. Approximately 320 more men had not yet been identified, but 2/3 of them are suspected to be operatives as well. In addition, 300 women and children were killed, a significant number of whom were female suicide bombers.

You use the phrase ‘indiscriminate bombing’, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas of the world, and considering Israel’s military power, it is quite shocking how few civilians were actually killed. The IDF did everything in its power to avoid civilian death and aborted dozens of missions that would have killed non-combatants (something that is extremely difficult to do considering the tendencies that many dishonorable Hamas militants have to pick up a child wherever they find one and chage Israeli soldiers with a gun in one hand and the kid in the other or to invite their families to join them in death).

While every civilian death is tragic and regrettable, it is even more tragic that each Palestinian death is paraded around in front of the media to serve another despicable purpose: the destruction of another people, Israeli Jews. Funny how Iran and Syria and other pledge so much sympathy for the Palestinian cause, yet they donate nothing of their time or money to help their “brothers”. Hm why is that? Any thoughts Farah?

Israel has made several offers for the creation of an independent Palestinian state, has unilaterally withdrawn from Gaza, and many leaders are even considering further land reduction in order to appease Israel’s hostile neighbors. What country has done more to prove she wants peace? Palestinians in the West Bank are living prosperously under the guidance of a moderate government. Gazans are eligible for the same future. But Gazans themselves have to bear responsiblity as well. They simply cannot sit around and allow their government to manipulate them until the next opportunity for bloody publicity arises.

I won’t even address your factual errors, Farah. Let it suffice to say that you, just like Hamas and the UN, have chosen to ignore the truth.

“This war on the people of Gaza isn’t really about rockets, nor is it about restoring Israel’s military deterrence. It’s about resisting the Palestinian people’s right to exist on their own land.” Really? It’s not about the rockets? If it were REALLY about resisting the Palestinian people’s right to exist on their own land (I will repeat, they were offered land three times already), Israel could have wiped them out 20-30 years ago. If Israel wanted a genocide, it could have had a genocide decades ago. This is not about denying Palestinians the right to land. It is about protecting Israel from its hostile neighbors who have chosen not to further the well-being of its own people but instead to withhold money, resources, and aid (yes, humanitarian aid delivered by Israel) to further the fight against a country that simply wants to exist in peace.

As you read this, rockets and mortars continue to fall onto Israeli civilians, and the world has already forgotten.