Gaza Forced to the Wall by Mohammed Ataur Rahman (JANUARY 10, 2009)

Mohammed Ataur Rahman on the arrogance of Israel, the weakness of Palestinians and the blindness of the United States.

What is going on in Gaza Strip right now has a parallel in ancient Greek history. When the powerful Athenians invaded the less powerful Melos and began to make mince meat of them, the Melians pleaded for a truce. The Athenians disdainfully rejected the offer of a truce saying, "The strong do as they will, and the weak suffer as they must". And suffer the Melians did in abundant measure.

The relentless pulverising of Gazans and the Israeli dismissal of all suggestions of a truce from different quarters brings to mind the Athenian arrogance and the Melian helplessness. The Israeli alibi for the strafing is that four citizens of the Jewish state have died hit by Palestinian Qssam rockets, a crude device that can hardly be called a proper missile. For that more than 400 Palestinians have been killed, and the count is growing quickly.

Interestingly, the Israeli government has admitted that it had been preparing for the attack for the last several months, right from the days of the Egyptian-brokered peace. The Palestinian rocket firing began much later. One reason for the breakdown of the truce is that no progress was made towards a final settlement of the issue during that period. American and Israeli policy of allowing the issue to hang fire is responsible for the present state of affairs.

If any single country can be held the most responsible for this it is America. Right from the first year of the first term of the Bush presidency the world was promised that a Palestinian state would come into being within the year. They went on postponing it till the second term began. Again the elusive goal of a Palestinian state was promised to be made a reality within the year, year by year. When the final year of Bush presidency came the Palestinian state was said to be coming before the end of his term. Then he made it quite clear at the 60th-year celebrations of Israel that a Palestinian state would be there within the next 60 years!

Now Mr. Bush is busy blaming the victims, the Palestinians, for their plight. Even Mr. Obama, who came riding a wave of hope for change in America's relations with the world, is as unhelpful as Mr Bush himself. Now the onus is being put on Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to work out a permanent agreement with Israel in which the Palestinians would have to be kept under check by these countries. Till then the Palestinians of Gaza will keep on getting a steady dose of bombing, mass death and destruction. Who said we are living in a civilised world?


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