Rob: Now, you're Jewish, I'm Jewish. I hear from Jewish people I know all the time, "Oh, Israel treats the people in Gaza good. They bring them to Deborah Hospital, and what else could Israel do with all of those bombs raining down on them?" What is your reply to that, and what did you see when you were there in Gaza? What do you have to report from your actual visit there?
Noam: Well, I wrote about it, so you can look it up, but it's basically a prison. People are imprisoned. The Israeli policy is to prevent them from starving to death - that wouldn't look good - but to essentially prevent development. So, at the start, just to give you one indication, at the beginning of this latest Israeli upsurge of violence, November 14th, about half of the essential medicines required in Gaza were not available; they weren't there. That's because of the siege. You know, you go to visit hospitals and they don't have simple medicines; they don't have surgical equipment; there's very little construction, because the system won't allow real construction to take place, except in limited ways. The idea that they let them in the hospitals is a joke. They actually bar going to the hospital -- occasionally they'll let somebody in. But, the question, "What do you do when you're under attack by missiles?" is a fair question. And there are answers: very straightforward answers. One answer, a simple one, is to accept a truce. There were constant truce offers right before this latest upsurge to, there was another one before, Cast Lead. And, during the truces - we know from Israeli official sources - that Hamas observed the truce completely; like the pre-Cast Lead truce. There wasn't a single Hamas missile fired until Israel broke the truce.
So, one simple answer is accept a truce. Another simple answer is: follow the principals of International Law, which are quite clear. You can read the UN charter. It's very explicit. Forces are permitted under one circumstance, unless authorized by the Security Council, one circumstance: If a country thinks it's under armed attack, it is supposed to notify the Security Council, and it is allowed to use force in self-defense until the Security Council acts. That is the one exception. Well, Israel of course didn't do that, because it knew that if it approached the Security Council, the whole array of pretexts would fall apart. But that's the second answer, and there is a third answer, a much more significant one.
Actually, by interesting coincidence, one of the conservative national security journals just published an article about it, not referring to Israel; they were referring to China in the Western Province, the Xinjiang province; there was an uprising. The weaker population started slaughtering Han Chinese. Well, if it had been Israel or the United States, we know how they would have reacted. But China reacted differently. The Prime Minister flew there, security officials were removed, policies were introduced to deal with the underlying problems - development, reconstruction and so on - and the violence reduced. That is the more far reaching approach. The US and Israel should be paying extensive reparations to Gaza for what they have been doing to them for the last, as far back as you want to go, at least since 1948. Well, so there are answers, it's a fair question, and there are answers to it. I'm sorry, I've really got to leave.
Rob: Ok. Thank you so much. "Radio ID" I've been speaking to Noam Chomsky, a legend in activism and The Left.