My name is Jason Shawa, i am a Palestinian American and have lived 43 of my 45 years in Gaza. I an not a supporter of Hamas, but i do support our resisting occupation.Need to say that English is my second language, so please forgive the misplacement of dots and commas here and there 🙂
In 1948 Israel was created on the rubble of 400 Palestinian towns on villages. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians lost their homes, land, wealth, savings, citizenship and anything else you can think of. they became scattered all over the world especially in Arab countries.
They still live till today in very despicable conditions in these camps where ever they may be. Many Israelis argue that it is the fault of these host countries that our refugees live in these horrible conditions, and maybe to an extent that is true, but the responsibility they are displaced and stateless is Israel and not these countries. In 1967 Israel occupies the remaining parts of Palestine which are the west bank and Gaza and east Jerusalem which was under Jordanian patronage.
Since then, all Israeli government have made it their unwavering mission to make life for these Palestinians as miserable as humanly possible in an futile attempt to force them all out of Palestine. They used all means at their disposal spearheaded by the one of the most powerful and advanced armies in the world, what they call the IDF.
I am going to sight, in no particular order just a few of the things they did to Palestinians since.
Confiscating rightfully and documented Palestinian land to create colonial settlements, demolishing homes under the silliest of pretexts, imprisonment of tens of thousands of Palestinians, many of which are children and even women, imposing back breaking taxes specifically on Palestinians, treating Palestinians trying to get from point a to point b like sub-humans to say the least on countless check points scattered all over the west bank and Gaza, extrajudicial killings of Palestinians by settlers under the full protection of the Israeli army, and the army itself did the same. students for decades were not allowed to leave to study unless their parents signed an undertaking that their son/daughter does not return for at least 2 years. countless Palestinians grew up with out fathers who were imprisoned, and that still is the case today. they maintained a crushing and brutal control over anything related to economic growth in Gaza and the west bank.
now as i Gazan, i would like to talk about Gaza in particular.
In 2005 Israel unilaterally withdrew its forces and settlers from the Gaza Strip. at first glance, and to the non resident that sounds great. The fact is they redeployed their force to just outside Gaza, besieged it completely. Till this day Israel controls every single solitary aspect of our livelihood, they control how much we are allowed to import of milk, tissue paper, toilette paper, live cattle, tvs radios, toys water, meds,wood, cement, glass, paint. shoe polish, ice cream, fuel, cooking gas, rice, flour….
The list is endless and basically contains every thing you in for life of business. they even came up with a list of import and import nots. for example, at times we were not allowed to import toilette paper and allowed Kleenex, other times they would allow toilette paper and nd prevented bottle water. sanitary pads okay, but no glass! the list has nothing to do with logic or their security, its just about keeping us in constant need. we in Gaza are constantly and daily struggling to find gas for cars and electric generators, cooking gas to cook, cement (which is used for many many other things than tunnels!!
We live on a very strict diet of electricity. at present it is six hours per day, when it does come, people have to scatter to get washing done, heating water, charging phones, charging home battery systems to be able to have a fan when electricity is gone. simply everything and anything is a major issue in our daily lives. Israel has systematically stood against any projects pertaining to sewage treatment or garbage treatment or even water treatment. the only difference between my tap water at home and sea water is that we don’t have fish coming out of the tap yet, the only thing u can use tap water is flushing a toilette or cleaning floors. all are dependent on water filters than can barely coupe with the terrible water.
As much as I try to explain how harsh the Israeli siege on Gaza is, I just cant, you need to live it to fully understand it. One very important notice is that the majority of all the above existed decades before Hamas was created and was strengthened when Hamas came to power through democratic elections sanctioned by most parties involved in the Palestine/Israel issue including Israel and the US.
So what to do? During the ww2, Nazi Germany then gathers countless innocent Jews and put them in what got to be known as the Warsaw ghetto and besieged it very tightly. Jews came up with the idea of digging tunnels to smuggle in food and then weapons to resist the Nazis. That was deemed as a natural thing for Jews to do, I personally think it was perfectly natural and legitimate to do.
So the Hamas dudes thought Hmmm guess that’s our only choice. It started out for food only and later also for weapons to resist the ongoing aggression of Israel on Gaza.
Why is it so hard for the world to understand that Gaza will try and resist fails me.
Palestinians tried everything from stone throwing up rises to futile negotiations that have been going on for 2 decades now to absolutely no avail.
What would you do? What choices do we as Gazans have left?
Don’t know if I managed to give a clear picture, I am not a writer and thoughts just rush through my head and find it very hard to organize better than I did.
Through these actions Israel has diminished Palestinians will to live aside such a state, why would they want to?
So until Israel decides to acknowledge all the wrongs it did starting by occupation, until the understand we are human beings just like them who want to enjoy life and raise our children in peace and dignity, until they decide to right all the wrongs above and much more, there will always be suicide bombers.
Maybe when the do decide we are equal human beings and not sub humans and act accordingly, then I can guarantee you rockets will stop raining on Israel.