The “peace-loving nation” of Israel is yet again at the brink of an existential annihilation due to homemade rocket attacks from Gaza — or so they would have you believe. As the Israel-Palestine conflict rages, we've heard the same boilerplate statements about “Israel's right to defend itself” and “No country would tolerate rocket attacks, so why should Israel?”

But why are rockets being fired into Israel in the first place?  “Because the Palestinians are terrorists and anti-Semites.” Perhaps, or perhaps there are few more plausible explanations for Palestinian armed resistance; consider the following:

1. The Occupation

Israel, with U.S. support, has militarily occupied the Gaza Strip (along with the West Bank and East Jerusalem) since 1967. The belligerent occupation, now in its 47th year, is one of the longest, bloodiest and brutal in human history — over 2,500 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza alone in the last seven years.

Up until 2005, Israel maintained illegal Jewish colonies in the Gaza Strip as well. It has since disbanded these colonies and thus claims it's no longer occupying the Gaza strip. Israel is alone in holding this deceptive view; the UN, US State Department, global NGO's and legal scholars all consider Gaza a part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories because Israel exercises complete military control over it.

2. The Siege

Israel, with U.S. backing, has laid a brutal siege in the Gaza Strip since 2007. It has blocked off air, land and water access to the Strip — nothing goes in, nothing comes out. This tiny strip of land is home to some 1.7 million people; due to its cage-like setup, Gaza has aptly been described as the 'world's largest open air prison.'

The siege has stifled Gaza's economy, destroyed its infrastructure and has cut off access to some of the most basic amenities needed to live a dignified life. Today, almost 80 per cent of Gazans are dependent on aid as a result of the blockade. The UN has warned Gaza will be inhospitable by 2020 if the siege continues.

3. The Water Crises

Israel's discriminatory division of water means that Palestinians get 70 litres a day per person, far below the 100 liters per capita minimum, while the Israeli's get four times this amount. Limiting the water supply results in Gazan households receiving water for only six-eight hours at a time about every other day. Israel severely damaged the sewage treatment infrastructure in Gaza during its 2009 assault; the blockade means the resources needed for repairs are unavailable.

sewageAs a result, only 25 per cent of Gaza's waste water is treated; 90 million liters of untreated or partially treated sewage is dumped into the Mediterranean every day. Contamination of the territory's ground water is serious concern; about 90 per cent of the water supply in the Strip is unfit for human consumption.  Due to over-pumping and sewage contamination Gaza's only water source, its Coastal Aquifer, is damaged past the point of no return — it will expire in 2016.

4. Scarcity of Fuel and Electricity

Gaza is under a chronic power shortage due to the siege; Israel has severely limited the fuel supply needed to operate the only power plant in the territory. Only 46 per cent of Gaza's electricity needs are being met currently; this has triggered rolling power outages of 12 hours everyday. Amongst other things, this lack of power means that hundreds of crucial medical devices at hospital are non-functional, including Gaza's only MRI machine.

5. Leveling of Land and Destruction of Property

The Israeli army conducts weekly incursions into the Gaza Strip to destroy the land it has declared as 'no-go zone.' Its tanks, bulldozers and military jeeps, accompanied by helicopters and drones, systematically destroy fruit bearing trees and agricultural land in the Gaza strip. Civilian infrastructure in this area is also demolished; this includes hundreds of houses, wells and chicken farms — mosques and schools are demolished as well.

6. Travel Bans

Israel's siege has meant that it is virtually impossible for Gazans to leave the occupied territory. They can't even leave to visit their relatives in the West Bank, let alone in Israel. Gazans with spouses in Israel or the West Bank are forced to live in separation; simple matters such as raising a family are rendered impracticable. Permission to leave even for severe emergencies is rarely given.

By dividing Palestinians, Israel successfully employs the 'divide and conquer' strategy like colonial powers of the past. The people of Gaza can't even seek asylum in other countries due to this restriction on movement. Even students are prohibited from going abroad, or even the West Bank, for higher education; visas of several winners of U.S. Fulbright Scholarships have been revoked in the past.

gaza7. Suppression of Agriculture 

The Israeli army created a 'no-go zone' along the Israel-Gaza border that Palestinians cannot enter. This 'buffer region' extends up to 1,500 meters at times into the Strip and includes some of its most fertile land. As a result, 35 per cent of the agricultural space in Gaza is off-limits to farmers. This has seriously damaged the food economy and harshly penalized innocent farmers. Palestinians are fired at arbitrarily if they try to enter this region; farmers suffer serious injuries, and at times death, as a result of this indiscriminate firing.

8. Restrictions on Fishing

Israel has announced that access to the sea six nautical miles beyond Gaza's shore is prohibited for fisherman. This means that 85 per cent of fishing waters granted to Palestinians under the Oslo Accords is now inaccessible; this has severely impacted Gaza's coastal economy. Similar to the restricted areas on land, Palestinian fishermen are regularly exposed to warning fire by Israeli naval forces, their fishing boats are intercepted and they are detained — all for the harmless act of fishing.

This is a short list of the some of the unspeakable crimes Israel commits on a defenseless population; they are at the root of this conflict. Rocket attacks from Gaza are a desperate response to these injustices – how does our government manage to omit this when brazenly expressing support for Israel ?  In light of the above, let's try to counter some of the nonsense coming out of the foreign affairs office: No people would ever tolerate an oppressive occupation and an unjust siege, so why should the Palestinians?

[Update: July 22, 8:20 pm - I've included a section to highlight the refugee crises as well]

9. The Refugee Crises

Of 1.5 million people living in Gaza, 1.2 million are registered refugees spread across eight camps. These refugees are made up of Palestinians, and now their decedents, who were expelled from present-day Israel in during the mass expulsion or Nakba in 1948. Since the newly created state of Israel denied the right of return to these refugees, they have been trapped in the refugee camps for the past 66 years. These refugee camps are overcrowded, cramped and under utter disrepair – unlivable by any standards.  Attempts to rebuild or renovate the camps have been restricted due to the siege. The humanitarian crisis in the camps is only magnified compared to the rest of Palestine; unemployment is high, food is scarce and fuel is scant.

An edited version of this piece first appeared at Rabble.ca

42 Responses

  1. Mahmud

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    This article needs to be copy pasted……everywhere.

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    • ayah

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Thumb up 3 Thumb down 10

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      • safia

        Spreading lies?! Then I suppose all the NON-MUSLIM historical accounts of Britain making deals with both Jews and Arabs, backstabbing the Palestinians, and giving Jews free reign in their occupation is a lie, too, right?

        I dunno about you… but if some psycho government gave a complete stranger full rights to kick me out of my house, I’d be firing rockets at them too.

        Authubillah, indeed.

        And YES, may Allah guide the Muslims who chose to do nothing about this situation!!

        And may Allah ESPECIALLY set the Muslims of Palestine free!!

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  2. ZAI

    Reason #9 Gaza is under attack:

    Because Sisi, Saudis, Kuwaitis, UAE and others want Hamas destroyed.
    Israel is doing the visible dirty work, but let us not fool ourselves that plenty of regional actors
    aren’t happy with and are perhaps even encouraging what is going on. Hamas gambled on Morsi
    and lost big time…recent developments and attitudes in surrounding Arab nations have
    also sent message to Israel that it has a green light.It is an odd, odd day when the non-Arab
    Muslim countries and non-Muslim governments, excepting the anglo-sphere,
    are most supportive of the Palestinian cause. I’m no fan of Hamas, but Egypt, Jordan
    and the gulf countries, excluding Qatar, have totally betrayed the Palestinians.

    God help the Palestinian people and deliver them from this misery.

    Thumb up 42 Thumb down 0

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    • Masmanz

      Just trying to distribute blame away from Israel? Israel IS the sole responsible party here.

      Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

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      • ZAI

        Oh yeah, ofcourse…
        Egyptian, American & Saudi governments, et. al. are totally innocent:

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-hearst/attack-on-gaza-by-saudi-r_b_5603735.html
        Mutual anti-Iranian interests, mutual enmity against Muslim Brotherhood(which Hamas is seen as an off-shoot of), mutual preference of preserving the regional status-quo, mutual hostility
        to Turkey under Erdogan, mutual anti-pathy towards Qatar and on and on and on.

        https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/12931-mofaz-proposes-role-for-saudi-arabia-and-uae-to-disarm-gaza
        Why so eager for Saudi and UAE to play the role of mediator? As opposed to Qatar, Turkey
        or European countries?

        http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4401/egypt-israel-hamas
        From a right-wing crazy think-tank….however the QUOTES all have links and
        aren’t wrong.

        Sorry man….ain’t buying it.
        Israel is responsible for the actions themselves…I never said different in my previous comment.
        However there is a bigger picture and plenty of the neighboring rulers are happy with
        what Israel is doing or even cooperating behind the scenes. That’s just the reality
        of interests in the modern Middle East. I’m not drawing ANY blame away from Israel…but I’m
        not gonna pretend Israel doesn’t have the FULL support of the gas station kleptocrats and their
        dependents…just like it will if and when it attacks Iran…or confronts Turkey…or works against Qatar…

        Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

      • ARB

        With a little help from it’s friends – HAMAS, FATAH, Other Palestinian Sides, Saudis, Emiratis, Kuwaitis, Jordanians!

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    • Juma Mohamed Mtema

      This is not acceptable for whatever reasons how can a human being civilized one attack children who are playing along the beach using Tanks and Warplanes F16 or Women who are running from the barbaric attacks with their children killing them in the same barbaric methods. Israels should read there History long back when the whole Word criticized NAZIs for killing them in Barbaric methods now we don’t know whether this methods they apply to Palestinians will be forever tolerated till the Day of Judgement Yaumal DINI or Allah will just make decision like during Firaun’s with his barbaric methods of killing innocent human beings let us have Subra after all we shall go back to Alah Inna Lilahi wa Inna Ilayh Rajoon

      Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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  3. kaleem

    This article starts with “Peace loving nation Israel”
    This is BS terminology.Choose your words carefully.How come Israel is a peace loving nation when it kills thousands of children,women and civilians.
    Israel did thousands of war crimes.
    Israel is actually a WAR-loving nation ,
    its a biggest threat to peace in arab world.

    *This comment was edited by the MM Comments Team in order to comply with our Comments Policy*

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    • Iman

      I believe the article meant “peace loving nation Israel” as sarcasm.

      Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

      Reply
    • ARB

      It was a mockery! Like Saudi Arabia is a “ISLAMIC” country!

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

      Reply
    • O H

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      When words cannot express the amount of failure…

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  4. Hyde

    One must not forget that role of the Saudis in this conflict.

    Thumb up 13 Thumb down 6

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  5. scorpius

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 31

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    • Ashy Larry

      Sorry son, but just about everything in your post is false. Time to open your eyes and turn off Fox news.

      – Israel DOES target civilians, according to the U.N (facts…sigh) This is evident by the high percentage of civilian casualties.
      – I understand the whole “occupation” thing isn’t convenient for your narrative. But according to our very own US state department and the U.N it does exist. (i know, i know more facts…sigh..)
      – Mighty gracious of Israeli army to provide warnings for imminent bombs. But where exactly are the kids supposed to get shelter? You do realize Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas on earth, right? There is nowhere to run.

      Seriously, open your eyes.

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  6. AH

    The statement “Peace loving nation Israel” is meant for SARCASM. Reading the entire article should have made that very clear. However, if you were not able to pick up on the sarcasm then I assume some others were not able to either.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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  7. Muslimthug

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 14

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  8. dimitrit94

    First of all, it was a very enjoyable and informative read, Waleed. Thank you for sharing. Nevertheless, I’d like to speak my mind. I certainly agree these reasons are more than enough for being at least angry and annoyed. Israel has no right to have caused all the suffering they’ve been giving many thousands of souls for the last 50 years — my question to you, so, is: are all the reasons in the world really reasons for answering back with violence? How does using violence make Palestinians any better than the Israelis?
    “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, because if you only love those who love you, what reward will you get?”

    With this being said, in no way do I support the Isreali dehumanization that is being and has been done. And surely will they be judged in this life or the next.
    Justice requires apprehending, punishing the guilty individuals — not going on a genocidal revenge against people of the same race. History aside. If you were a 10 year old in Gaza and your brother/mother/father were killed in your presence, how do you internalize all this violence? In a decade, these kids who saw their family die in front of them are going to turn around and do the same thing. By ‘defending’ themselves, Israel is just brewing the conditions for another future Hitler from the Islamic world. This conflict wont end with violence. Each time we see an escalation, it garantees a new generation to carry on the war and feed the cycle.

    My request here is, lets not fight for vengeance or hatred, but to build a peaceful coexistence.
    Sorry for the long text and many thanks again.

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    • Mahmud

      Fighting back is the right thing to do. Hamas and Palestinians have a legitimate right to defend themselves from Israeli attacks. If someone was blockading your town what would you do?

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  9. Joe

    It is a tragedy to see human lives taken on either side, I will pray for all involved.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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  10. ARB

    These article should have been named “8 reasons Israel should have been faced a BORDER WAR in Gaza”! Rocket attacks are TERRORISM, not WAR! So is BOMBING!

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  11. Anthony Lange

    1. “all consider Gaza a part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories because Israel exercises complete military control over it.” …… ABSOLUTE RUBBISH. How, if this were true did hamas manage to build such a rocket fortress

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  12. Anthony Lange

    ” nothing goes in, nothing comes out” – Absolute RUBBISH. Israel allows electricity, food, medical supplies to freely pass into Gaza.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

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  13. Anthony Lange

    3. “The Water Crises” …… If Hamas cared about its people it could make a plan. Why should Israel supply Gaza with ANYTHING!

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  14. Anthony Lange

    6. Travel Bans………….. “virtually impossible for Gazans to leave the occupied territory.” (well EVERYTHING could be “virtually”. The real truth is that gazans DO travel.

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  15. Anthony Lange

    7. Suppression of Agriculture. WHAT RUBBISH IS THIS. What you are saying that because there is a “no go area” that you cannot farm? Id say that’s stretching it a bit, don’t you think? Honestly!

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  16. Anthony Lange

    8. Restrictions on Fishing…………… all I can say is that if you cannot find fish in 6 kilometers…. I guess you will never find fish. Period! besides the rockets come in oversea and you cannot be trusted to just be “fishing”

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  17. Aliza Salem

    I have one question? Is it true that if Hamas stops firing rockets Israel will stop? SO STOP FIRING ROCKETS!! If our own people dont care about our children how can we expect Israel to care?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

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    • O H

      There are numerous cases of Israelis initiating attacks on Palestinians even when rockets are not fired at them by Hamas.

      An example of this is when the Americans were celebrating the election victory of Obama during the end of 2008, Israel used this as an opportunity to enter the Gaza Strip and kill Palestinians, even though rockets weren’t fired then, Israel were the initiators in that case just like many other cases.

      It’s easy for us all, from the comfort of our homes, to blame Hamas but we don’t know the entire context & situation. This article definitely helps address this & it’s shocking to have anyone having any other view, more so if it’s a Muslim.

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  18. lholholho

    Israel : we will drop bombs, so go away.
    Palestine : okay, we’re coming.
    Israel : actually, you cant go to israel.
    Palestine : but you control all of our borders, so where do we go?
    Israel: sounds like personal problems.
    Palestine : …
    (THE TRUTH)

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