Tears trickle down the faces of children as they look down upon their parents, hoping, wishing, praying that they would ‘wake up’. Parents embrace the lifeless bodies of their children, hoping, wishing, praying that they would get up to play just one more time. Chaos, despair, and anguish only begin to describe the bitter reality of the residents in Gaza. Why have these lives been lost? Why is suffering a way of life for these people?
On July 8th, Israeli Defense Forces launched an offensive, ‘Operation Protective Edge,’ in the Palestinian Gaza Strip. The dawn of the operation follows tensions between Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic organization, and Israel. It is estimated that the death toll resulting from the offensive has risen to 680 (and more than 3,500 wounded). Of these 680, approximately 80% were civilians- which contend the claim that the operation is an attack on Hamas. Moreover, of these 80% civilians, 45% were women or children. Israel argues that Hamas is using civilians as ‘human shields’, which would be truthful if Israel didn’t attack hospitals, and schools or kill innocent children.
It is understood by many that this turmoil came after the events that unfolded on June 14th: three Israeli teenage boys went missing, leading to a widespread search for them in Hebron, West Bank. During the process, more than a dozen Palestinians were abducted as Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister, claimed a “terror group” (BBC, June 14 2014) to be behind the abduction of the teenage boys.
On June 30th, the bodies of the three Israeli teenagers were found. This discovery triggered the attack of 34 terror targets in Gaza by the Israeli Air Force. From then on, tensions in Gaza intensified and Operation Protective Edge took the form of a mere operation authorizing attacks on Gaza, wherever and whenever.
On July 17th, Israeli forces initiated a ground offensive in Gaza, further escalating the attacks.
‘Who’s to Blame?’
Thousands of concerned individuals across the globe have participated, and continue to participate, in various protests and rallies to show solidarity with the Palestinian people, and to demand fair media coverage of the crisis. We can play the blame game – call Hamas a terrorist group and discredit them [As most Western Media has] and call Israel unreasonable, but it’s much like a child saying ‘He started it!’. It will not change the dark reality of Gaza.
Since the crisis has reached this length, it is no longer important (and never was) whose ‘side’ you’re on. The fact of the matter is that innocent people are stuck in the crosshairs of these attacks. Children. Fathers. Mothers. Sisters. Brothers. You don’t have to be ‘pro-Palestine’ or ‘anti-Israel’ to realize the sheer disregard for human life that is taking place, and has for many years.
Pressure must be placed on world powers to effectively put an end to this unrest. The life of a human being does not belong to any party or organization and it shouldn’t be so effortlessly placed in the hands of those who do not value it. These lives should be defended. They should be valued. They should be important. Gaza is in our hearts.