One Year After Israel's 2014 Gaza Aggression
by Stephen Lendman
July 8 marks the first anniversary of one of history's great crimes - premeditated Israeli aggression against 1.8 million largely defenseless Gazans, a barbarous act of mass slaughter and destruction mostly affecting civilians.
The Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement representing 4.5 million persecuted Palestinians commented on Gaza one year later. Saying "little has changed."
Gaza remains in ruins "light years away from reconstruction." Israeli blockade prevents it - imposing "sweeping, arbitrary restrictions on travel and on movement of commercial goods," Gisha explained.
Free access in and out is systematically denied - one of many testimonies to Israeli viciousness, a rogue state run by Arab-hating thugs and religious fundamentalist zealots.
Gazan unemployment tops 40% - 60% for youths. Poverty exceeds 70%. "(N)o significant rebuilding is taking place and civilian infrastructure has not even been restored to its (dismal) state" prior to last summer's war," said Gisha.
Aid dependence is extreme. Israel turned much of Gaza to rubble. Thousands of housing units were completely destroyed - many thousands more badly damaged.
Basic infrastructure, schools, hospitals, factories, public buildings, mosques and other non-military sites were entirely or partly destroyed.
Despite Israel knowing Gazan reconstruction contributes to regional stability, little has been done to help.
Virtually no homes have been rebuilt. Essential construction materials for public infrastructure and other projects allowed in "meet only 5% of the need," said Gisha.
Collective punishment remains official Israeli policy. Brutalizing illegal blockade continues. Gisha stressed "Israel has a legal and moral obligation to help Gaza residents recover and lead normal lives, which seem entirely out of reach."
"Top officials say it is in Israel's own interest to do so." Its ruthless policy is something else entirely.
Operation Protective Edge (OPE) was Israel's third war of aggression on Gaza in six years. UN relief agency UNRWA Gaza operations director Robert Turner noted the horror, saying "(y)ou have to remember, if you are even just a seven-year-old child…you have been through three wars."
Netanyahu repeatedly defends the indefensible. On OPE's first anniversary, he "sa(id) to all enemies of Israel…that those who attempt to attack our people will pay with their blood."
Fact: Israel's three Gaza wars since December 2008 were premeditated acts of naked aggression - not self-defense against attacks.
Daily Israeli persecution terrorizes Palestinians throughout the Occupied Territories. Around 120,000 Gazans remain homeless from OPE destruction, according to UNWRA.
Robert Turner said "(i)f we don't address the underlying causes of these conflicts (mainly brutalizing occupation harshness), we're simply resetting the clock for the next cycle of violence."
"Resolute political action is required…to achieve the necessary change of paradigm in the Strip, starting with a lifting of the blockade, ensuring rights and security for all," UNWRA commissioner general Pierre Krahenbuhl explained.
Max Blumenthal's new book titled "The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza" discusses the devastating horror from last summer's Israeli aggression.
Atrocities the IDF committed explain best. A teenager mourns his brother's murder in cold blood by an Israeli sniper - while searching for family members in the rubble of his home.
A Palestinian man recounts the unexplainable execution of an elderly neighbor. Family members explain fleeing in terror from their neighborhood engulfed in flames.
Others describe homes turned to rubble and lost family members killed by Israeli terror bombing and shelling.
Throughout 51 days of conflict, Israel fired around three million bullets in densely populated areas, largely against civilians. Around 20,000 tons of explosives were used - the equivalent of the nuclear bombs used against Japan in 1945.
No place in Gaza was safe. The entire Strip was a free-fire zone despite Israel claiming otherwise. Hospitals, ambulances, schools, mosques, residential dwellings, factories, commercial areas, public buildings, power facilities, water infrastructure, cemeteries, UN shelters and other non-military related sites were targeted.
Damage inflicted was unprecedented since the 1967 Six Day War followed by brutalizing occupation.
Blumenthal describes "blacked-out streets of Shujaiya, which were lit only by the light of cellphones and piles of broken furniture set aflame…young men…staring (in silence at) the shadows that danced against the pockmarked walls of the homes they used to live in" turned largely to rubble.
Blockade and devastation denies Gazans essentials to life and well-being most Westerners take for granted. A previous article called Israel ruled by hate-mongering racists, over-the-top fascists and religious fundamentalist zealots.
Gaza most of all reflects their ruthlessness - fully supported by like-minded lunatics in Washington, uncaring of the horrors inflicted on defenseless people.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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