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Israel and Palestine: Who is The Victim and Who Is the Aggressor?

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Sometimes the absurdity is more than you can take. I was in Gaza for five days, arriving less than a week after the Israeli military pounding of Gaza that killed 180 and wounded over 1,000 Palestinians. Six Israelis were killed by rockets fired from Gaza during the eight days of conflict.

On TV shows broadcast to a U.S. audience, Israeli officials and supporters in the U.S. such as Alan Dershowitz, said with straight faces while reading from the Israeli government script, that 7 million Israelis were the "victims" and the 1.7 million in Gaza were the "aggressors" in the latest round of large-scale Israeli military attacks on Gaza and the responding rockets fired from Gaza. Many Americans know so little about the conflict that they believe the Palestinians are always the "aggressor'" and that Israel is always the "victim" of unjustified Arab hatred and hostility.

What is seldom mentioned on US television shows is that the "victim" has the biggest military in the region with the most advanced air, land and sea forces, has nuclear weapons (which, by the way, they have never allowed to be inspected) and an annual $3 billion dollar military aid gift from the United States. 

The "aggressor" has no air force, no ground force and no naval force, and the various militias in Gaza use primarily $150 rockets made by hand from tubes and propellant smuggled across or under the border with Egypt. 

The American audience hears the "victim" relying on the charge that the "aggressor" hides its rockets in civilian areas to justify the incredible disproportionate use of force and the targeting of the "aggressor's" non-military civilian infrastructure such as civilian government buildings, including virtually all police stations, civilian vehicle depots, and government documentation facilities for travel documents and property deeds and the council of ministers office, as well as schools, and sports fields. 

Most Americans don't realize that the "aggressor's" land is very small -- only 25 miles long and five miles wide, and very densely populated. There is little space where there are no civilians. In fact, virtually the only area with no civilians is the Israeli declared no-go zone, 1,000 meters (3,000 feet or 10 football fields) into Gaza land that has been cleared of homes and agricultural crops to give the Israeli Defense Forces a "kill" zone where anyone who comes into the area is shot.

Many Americans never bother to think how strange it is that the "victim" could have the power to have instituted a land-and-sea blockade on the "aggressor,"  in which the "victim" directly controls access to the "aggressor's" land on three out of four borders, including the sea, and strongly influences control on the fourth border (Egypt).

The "victim" claims that its blockade of the "aggressor" is simply a means of keeping out weapons from the territory, but the blockade has always included a stark limitation on food and materials allowed into Gaza, and also a ban on almost all exports from the aggressor, crippling the economy, while having no connection to weapons imports.

Dov Weisglass, an adviser to the victim's former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, explained the rationale of the blockade: "The idea is to put the 'Aggressors' on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger."

A 2008 study by the "victim's" Ministry of Defense of the minimum daily humanitarian food needs of the "aggressor" revealed that the "victim" allowed in to the aggressor's territory substantially less than the minimum daily amount of food needed by the population. 

Among the items the "victim" prohibited being imported into the aggressor's territory from 2006 until June 2010 were notebooks, cilantro, sage, jam, chocolate, French fries, dried fruit, fabrics, and toys. With the international condemnation of the "victim's" June 2010 murder of nine international activists on the Freedom Flotilla, the "victim" was forced to allow more products in the "aggressor's" land.

The "victim" still restricts imports of basic construction materials, despite a shortage of approximately 250 schools and some 71,000 housing units, and restricts travel between the two territories of the "aggressor."

On the eve of "victim's" November 2012 military attack on the "aggressor" -- Operation Pillar of Defense -- the "aggressor's" population had lower per capita incomes than they did in the 1990s. 

The "victim's" navy keeps the small fishing fleet of the "aggressor" penned in to the shore and regularly wounds if not kills "aggressor" fishermen and steals fishing vessels, using the excuse that weapons may have been brought in by sea, yet not one fisherman has ever been charged with weapons smuggling. The "victim" continues to break the current ceasefire almost daily by shooting at fishermen.

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Ann Wright is a 29-year US Army/Army Reserves veteran, a retired United States Army colonel and retired U.S. State Department official, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She received the State Department Award for Heroism in 1997, after helping to evacuate several thousand (more...)
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