The Norm in Gaza
Excerpts of an opinion piece by eminent political philosopher Noam Chomsky:
On July 17, Malaysian Airlines MH17 was shot down in Eastern Ukraine, killing 298 civilians. President Obama denounced it as an “outrage of unspeakable proportions.” His UN Ambassador thundered that “we must stop at nothing to determine who is responsible and to bring them to justice.”
With the Israeli attack on Gaza in July [which to date has killed nearly 1800], President Obama spoke out of his “strong condemnation of rocket and tunnel attacks against Israel by the militant group Hamas,” while “also expressing ‘growing concern’ about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths in Gaza,” but without condemnation. The Senate filled that gap, voting unanimously to support Israeli actions in Gaza.
This is the norm.
[Another part of] the norm in Gaza is described in detail by the heroic Norwegian trauma surgeon Mads Gilbert, who has worked in Gaza’s main hospital, and just before this latest Israeli onslaught, submitted a report on the Gaza health sector to UNRWA, the UN Agency that tries desperately, on a shoestring, to care for refugees.
“At least 57 % of Gaza households are food insecure and about 80 % are now aid recipients,” Gilbert reports. “Food insecurity and rising poverty also mean that most residents cannot meet their daily caloric requirements, while over 90 % of the water in Gaza has been deemed unfit for human consumption,” a situation that is becoming even worse as Israel again attacks water and sewage systems, leaving over a million people with even more severe disruption of the barest necessity of life.
Gilbert reports that “Palestinian children in Gaza are suffering immensely. A large proportion are affected by the man-made malnourishment regime caused by the Israeli imposed blockage. Prevalence of anaemia in children under 2yrs of age in Gaza is at 72.8%, while prevalence of wasting, stunting, underweight have been documented at 34.3%, 31.4%, 31.45% respectively.”
Another norm for Gaza: For the past 14 years, Israel has killed more than two Palestinian children a week.
The distinguished human rights lawyer Raji Sourani, who has remained in Gaza through years of terror, reports that “The most common sentence I heard when people began to talk about ceasefire: everybody says it’s better for all of us to die and not go back to the situation we used to have before this war. We don’t want that again. We have no dignity, no pride; we are just soft targets, and we are very cheap. Either this situation really improves or it is better to just die. I am talking about intellectuals and academics ….ordinary people [are] saying that.”
Similar sentiments have been widely voiced: it is better to die with dignity than to be slowly strangled by the torturer.