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  The Day that changed the Middle East By Salim  Nazzal, January 2, 2009

The tragic events which took place in Gaza during the  festive seasons have entered Palestinian history as a period of infamy when Israel committed the mass murder of hundreds of Palestinians, injuring thousands more, with no international power ready to defend Palestinians, who face the most sophisticated, hi-tech American-made planes, attack helicopters, warships and tanks armed with only homemade weapons..
It is very difficult for ordinary Palestinians to see the holocaust of their nation on TV and not to point the finger at the United States and Europe for their responsibility, morally and practically, for the mass murder of Gaza.  Only recently, amid the brutal Israeli siege of Gaza, Palestinians were shocked at the EU’s decision to increase the level of cooperation with the state of Israel despite this policy contradicting the EU’s own charter which set certain conditions for cooperation with states. Even more shocking was hearing an American spokesman using Hamas’s “terror” to justify the Israeli policy of mass murder. When the spokesman was asked to comment on the thousands of Palestinians killed and injured he did not comment, which offered evidence, in Arabs eyes, of the United States’ role as a major sponsor of Israeli state terrorism.
The Israeli terror campaign, it must be remembered, is aimed not only at murdering Palestinians; in the long term its prime victim is the possibility of achieving peace in the region, a fact that will doubtless encourage a culture of revenge in the future.
 After 60 years of suffering the pain of living as refugees and of the brutal occupation, more and more Palestinians are losing faith in the international community which has done a great deal to protect other peoples, but stands by hopeless and inert watching Palestine and doing nothing. Palestinians have learn through their history that American   financial support and the American veto were always there to defend the state of Israel, while Europe which regards itself as somehow different to the United States has practiced a policy of hypocrisy and double standards by equalizing between the victim and the occupier, despite   its historical responsibility for creating the Palestinian tragedy.  
 Those with a short memory must be reminded that the siege of Gaza did not start last week, but after the democratic election which took place in Palestine three years ago that resulted in the formation of a Palestinian national unity government. The Israeli assertions and accusations aimed at Hamas are groundless and lack even the most minimal credibility. The quality of the targets which the Israeli planes destroyed proves that Israel’s real aim is to prevent Palestinians from being an independent nation.  Israel and its sponsors in the White House need to explain why Israel bombed the Palestinian parliament, the Ministry of Justice, the Health Ministry, mosques, schools and residential areas. Israel’s claims that these targets are used as places to hide weapons are among the most offensively ludicrous that it has used during its bloody history in the region; if true, this would mean that every Palestinian house is a potential target and the Israeli justification for this massacre – that every building is a hiding place for weapons - can be used at any opportunity.
During recent months, Hamas committed itself to a one-sided truce in the hope that Israel would respect this. The outcome, as ever, was that Israel never honored the truce and continued its policy of besieging Gaza, causing a shortage of fuel, medicine and food, which paralyzed Gaza, affecting the weakest  - the children, the ill and the elderly – the most, while the Western world, as ever, stood by and looked on, not lifting a finger to help.
It must be remembered that Gaza is an area with a population of 1.5 million people, who work, attend school and get on with their lives like any other people in the world. Zionist propaganda, of course aims to justify Israel’s murderous policy of presenting Gaza as being populated solely by armed men.
The voices that put the blame on Hamas have produced no solid evidence to back this claim. Hamas accepted the truce, which gave no benefit to the Palestinian in Gaza who continued to live under an oppressive siege; this raises serious questions about the reason for maintaining a fragile truce that gave Palestinians nothing.
In this situation Gaza has become the biggest prison in the world, but with the difference that the innocent prisoners here are denied access to the essentials of life accorded to the actual criminals held in other prisons. There is no leadership in the world that would accept their people living under the situation Palestinians live with, where an Israeli officer decides whether Palestinian kids can have a glass of milk today or not. There is no responsible leadership which would accept the situation of an Israeli officer deciding whether or not to allow a desperately ill Palestinian to leave Gaza for treatment or, as sometimes happens, attempting to blackmail the Palestinian into working as a spy for Israel in exchange for allowing them to be allowed out for medical treatment. Above all, there is no state in the world outside Israel, which has so flagrantly violated all international laws and conventions without anybody even seriously questioning their genocidal acts.   
It is very obvious that the Zionist state has learnt nothing from the lessons of history: in 1948 after the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe), the Fedayeen resistance movement appeared in Gaza in reaction to it; following the defeat of the Arab armies in 1967 the Palestinian resistance movement was born and, following the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, came the first Intifada. The continuing oppression of Palestinians brought the second Intifada and now the war in Gaza looks likely to create an even tougher generation than previous ones.
For a new generation of Palestinians who see their homes destroyed and their parents murdered in front of them, Israel must expect to face in the coming wars a tougher Palestinian generation whose ability to compromise with the Jewish racist state is minimal. This generation may well conclude that their parent’s generation reduced the Palestinians’ legal rights to their lowest ever level in the hope of winning concessions from their oppressors, yet still this failed to elicit any positive results.   
Regardless of the outcome of the mass murder continuing in Gaza, the region won’t be the same as it was prior to December 27. Israel and the United States have presented Palestinians and Arabs with more evidence that the language of power is the only language which the US and Israel understand; this will, no doubt, move the region towards more militarization and revenge. If Western powers, especially the USA, are unwilling to review their policies towards the region and unwilling to stop the Israeli mass murder, unwilling to support an independent Palestinian state, Palestinians are concluding that the international community is unable to protect them; for this reason, Palestinians have concluded, they need to review their policy towards finding new strategies to protect themselves.  
 Dr. Salim Nazzal, a Palestinian-Norwegian historian on the Middle East, He has written extensively on social and political issues in the region. He can be contacted at:                            

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