The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) condemns the ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza, an expression of ongoing suppression of a people’s right to self-determination and of pacification, not of self-defense.
Although Israeli spokespeople never mention the word “occupation” (in fact, Israel officially denies there even is an occupation), this is the context within which the events taking place must be understood. Israel presents its attacks as mere self-defense, as if it is an innocent, peace-loving country undergoing attacks from hostile forces; it often uses the example of missiles being fired at the US from Canada. In fact it is Israel that has held the Palestinians under violent occupation these past 45 years, including the inhabitants of Gaza, who have been systematically impoverished, imprisoned, blockaded, excluded from their agricultural lands, assassinated from the air and killed on the ground – an entire civilian population terrorized by a powerful state with the most advanced military weaponry.
Under international law an oppressed people has a right to resist, even in an armed manner, its oppression – though it cannot attack innocent civilians. We may criticize the firing of missiles from Gaza if they are aimed at civilian populations, but at the same time we cannot expect an imprisoned people completely at the mercy of its oppressors to simply sit passively and wait to be exterminated.
And this is the point: the attack on Gaza, which took place (not for the first time) on the backdrop of Israel and Hamas negotiating a long-term truce, represents a final attempt to pacify the Palestinians. Israeli government ministers refer explicitly to the success of the Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 in ending Palestinian resistance in the West Bank. The current “Operation Pillar of Defense” is nothing less than Defensive Shield 2, the firing of missiles from Gaza being merely a pretext for suppressing Palestinian resistance once and for all and warehousing them permanently.
For Israel, the infinitely stronger party controlling every aspect of life in Gaza, knows full well that the only way to end the conflict and achieve peace and security for itself and its Palestinian victims is to end its occupation. Only by keeping Israel’s attempt at rendering the occupation permanent by warehousing the Palestinians in small cells of the country while “judaizing” the rest – a relentless campaign that requires the subjugation and ultimately the pacification of the Palestinians – can actions such as the latest attacks on Gaza be understood and resisted. Any attempt by Israel to present itself as a normal country merely defending itself represents nothing more than cynical spin.