The wall was broken at its weakest point, on the border with Egypt, allowing hundreds of thousands of hungry and besieged people to enter the Sinai and stock up on food and medicines. The second law determines that human beings do not always react as those in power anticipate; instead of giving in to Israeli pressure, the residents of Gaza decided to break the siege themselves. The third law relates to surprises of the rulers—the intelligence community, military, think tanks and “analysts for Arab affairs”—along with the Israeli government, did not anticipate what occurred last week in Rafah, and no one noticed the destruction of the wall by the Palestinian government in Gaza. Yet another instance in which all of these people were surprised, as they were by the first Intifada, by Yasser Arafat’s rejection of Barak’s “generous offers,” by the second Intifada and Hezbollah’s response capacities in the summer of 2006.
This surprise is not the result of stupidity on the part of those who are supposed to understand what could happen, but of the blindness of the ruler who is incapable of referring to those under his boots as human beings with autonomous wills and their own ability to take decisions. In the eyes of the occupier, the occupied is an object, not a subject capable of thinking and reacting outside of the occupier’s set scenario. Throughout history, this blindness has accompanied each colonial war, from Algeria to Afghanistan, from Vietnam to Iraq—Israeli colonialism is no exception.
The day in which the residents of Gaza broke through their prison wall is indeed a day of celebration, like that of the Soweto revolt in South Africa or the Budapest uprising fifty years ago, a celebration that distinguishes between what is human and what is beastly: the longing for freedom and the willingness to mold their lives by themselves. And if the initiative of the Gaza residents and their leaders represents the human, the siege of Gaza represents the bestiality of the occupier who, with the weak excuse of Qassam rockets on the city of Sderot, does not hesitate to impose punishment, sentencing 1.5 million people to hunger. Indeed, the uplifting of spirits brought by the television pictures from Gaza must not erase the simple and painful fact that the Israeli abuse of Gaza’s residents has not stopped. It is reasonable to assume that the military headquarters is cooking up even more cruel acts of punishment than the “experiments” about which Ehud Barak has so bragged. It is appropriate that the “Coalition against the Siege of Gaza” did not cancel the solidarity convoy planned for 26 January, as the residents of Gaza still need this same solidarity, and for a very long time to come.
The politicians, advisors, senior officers and journalists will no doubt be held accountable for what is undoubtedly defined as a war crime. On the bench of the accused, Minister of Defence Ehud Barak will have a special place of (dis)honor. The man who experiments on human beings is the same man who is responsible for the slaughter of Palestinian citizens of Israel in October 2000, for the bloody attack planned on the cities of the West Bank at the end of 2000, not to mention his actions as a military man. This bloodstained man carries the mark of Cain on his forehead, and when he will travel around the world, he must be treated as a war criminal for whom courtrooms are waiting in order to carry out justice.
Menachem Mazuz, the Israeli Attorney General, announced this week that no one would be tried for the massacre that occurred in October of 2000. Ehud Barak, the person holding primary responsibility, should not have been allowed off yet again.