To the Editor:
Israel has launched more than 1,700 strikes on the Gaza strip, an area and population roughly equivalent to the greater Boston area (including Cambridge, Newton and various other local towns).
Think about how you would feel if 1,700 strikes were launched in this area in six days and over 100 Bostonians were killed and nearly 1,000 wounded with 860 houses destroyed. Smoke and fire are seen all over the city, and the whizzing of drones and F16s is a constant sound to accompany the moans of the wounded and laments of devastated families.
Add to that the fact that you cannot leave the area, the Internet has been shut down by Israel (so you probably cannot even read what I am writing) and the water-treatment facility is barely working.
Meanwhile, 60 percent of the population or more is unemployed, an incredible amount of your neighbors are experiencing traumatic triggers of PTSD from the last major assault, power is pretty much non-existent as the power plant in operation has power blackouts … food and medicine is only being let in in small amounts and this will continue for a prolonged time with the threat of a widening barrage and ground troops … including tanks in our streets.
Think about this, and now imagine that it is actually far worse. That is Gaza.
Many of the people in Gaza are refugees two times: first from the mass expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 and also again in 1967. They are living in one of the most densely populated areas in the world, and despite the fact that they had forced out illegal settlers living there in 2005, still have to make due with Israeli-controlled airspace and borders, having to either buy Israeli goods (those that are allowed in) or have to buy tunneled goods at enormous prices. A majority of the strip is under the age of 18 and has known nothing but the siege, much less the occupation.
Now think about what you would actually do about it if you were living there, lacking internet and telephone lines (which have been shut down by the Israeli government) and seeing that the main media building was bombed … What do you do? You cannot leave, and you can be killed in your house or in the streets if you do decide to venture out. You cannot go out and protest, because it won’t be seen by anyone (and if you venture too close to the border you can be shot and killed by an Israeli sniper). A recent example is the Palestinian 12-year-old who was shot and killed on the border and was the catalyst for the most recent situation.
Palestinians are humans just like Israelis are. They don’t deserve to be occupied, besieged and destroyed in a nationalist bid of expanding land for a state, which has prejudicial ethnic views of citizenship. Israel’s bombs are bought with US taxes … our money! We can stop it!
Ian Chinich is a fourth-year post-doctorate student in political science at Boston University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.