Thank you all for your concern, your prayers, and your interest in my community’s well being. I felt so loved when everyone contacted me when things escalated between Israel and Gaza. The hardest part of the week was the uncertainly, were other countries going to join in the attack? Was Israel going to invade by land? Would we be sent home? Could this lead to a third intifada?
During this time I learned an important lesson, you must keep living, you can’t let the threat of uncertainty keep you from action, you still have to go to work, take care of your children, make dinner. One person told me, “the people here we just want to live but were stuck between two governments that want war.” I learned a new way to accompany Palestine by listening to their stories, their hopes, and mourning with them.
Here is my take on what happened.
But first here’s some background on Gaza
- Gaza is roughly the size of D.C.
- Nearly 1.5 million Palestinians live in Gaza, many of them concentrated in one-half of the territory. In this area, the population density is nearly 20,000 people per square mile, one of the highest in the world.
- Over one-half of its residents are children. In addition, with an annual growth rate of nearly 3.5%, Gaza’s young and fertile population is projected to reach over 2 million people in 8 years.
- UN reported Gaza won’t be livable in 2020
- The Gaza Strip has become the world’s most aid-dependent region in the world, with over 90% of the population relying on aid shipments of some sort
- In September 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew all of its settlers and soldiers and dismantled its military facilities in the Gaza Strip and withdrew settlers and redeployed soldiers from four small northern West Bank settlements.
- Israel still controls maritime, airspace, and other access to the Gaza Strip
The cause of the escalation depends on who you talk to – but on Wednesday, Israel assassinated Ahmed al-Jaabari, a Hamas leader. He also played a key role in the capture and release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Then Gaza fired rockets off into Southern Israel and Israel bombed Gaza.
Most of the rockets Gaza used are crude and landed mostly in empty areas.Israeli’s rockets were are much more sophisticated and inflicted devastating damage to hospitals, media stations, mosques, schools, and homes almost all landed squarely in populated areas injuring and killing civilians. In the end, there were 166 Palestinians and 6 Israelis were killed.
Here are some things I continue to think about:
At what point does “defending” breed terrorist?
What does in mean to our society that you could follow live blogs of the bombings, Youtube videos of people dying, post grotesque pictures of dead children on facebook? At what point does “defense” turn into terror?
Here are some links on Gaza:
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gz.html CIA World factbook
http://www.btselem.org/gaza_strip Israeli human rights organization