On 27 December, as 2008 drew to a close, Israeli jets launched an aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip, where 1.5 million Palestinians live, crowded into one of the most densely populated areas of the planet. In the following three weeks, more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including some 300 children, and some 5,000 were wounded.
Israeli forces repeatedly breached the laws of war, including by carrying out direct attacks on civilians and civilian buildings and attacks targeting Palestinian militants that caused a disproportionate toll among civilians. Israel said it launched the attacks in order to stop Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups firing rockets at towns and villages in southern Israel. In 2008, seven Israeli civilians were killed by these mostly homemade, indiscriminate rockets or in other attacks by Palestinians from Gaza; three Israeli civilians were killed during the three-week conflict that began on 27 December.
The sudden conflict followed an 18-month period in which the Israeli army had subjected the inhabitants of Gaza to an unremitting blockade, preventing virtually all movement of people and goods in and out of the territory and stoking a growing humanitarian catastrophe. The blockade throttled almost all economic life and led growing numbers of Palestinians to become dependent on international food aid; even terminally ill patients were prevented from leaving to obtain medical care that could not be provided by Gaza’s resource- and medicine-starved hospitals.
For Further Research
Let us not forget the business-as-usual element. The Israelis have slaughtered thousands of innocent Arab civilians in Lebanon and the occupied territories but nothing substantive is done to prevent future massacres and war crimes. We in the West continue our leisure and recreational activities while fellow humans in Palestine are in desperate circumstances. The Palestinians are carted off to concentration camps (the Israelis did this through proxy forces in Lebanon at the El Khiam concentration camp which was eventually liberated by Hizbollah). Palestinians are killed; they are starving for food and medicine, and we're going about pursuing our lovely, lavish lifestyles. If these were "Jews" who were dying, starving, denied medicine and medical care, the most demanding moral question of the Age would become, "What did you do while the 'Jews' suffered and died in 2009?!" The Palestinian gentiles, who are less than human, as Orthodox Judaism has always taught, do not merit any such pressing, haunting concerns. The burning question of the Age is sixty-five years old and still being forced down our throats, "What did ____ [fill in the blank: the Catholic Church, Pope Pius XII, President Franklin Roosevelt, the Red Cross etc.] FAIL TO DO during The Holocaust?"