9781844676019-punishment-of-gaza-reprint-max_221

The Punishment of Gaza

“An eloquent, even desperate, call to bring this shocking tragedy to an end.”– Noam Chomsky
Israel’s 2009 invasion of Gaza was an act of aggression that killed over a thousand Palestinians and devastated the infrastructure of an already impoverished enclave. The Punishment of Gaza shows how the ground was prepared for the assault and documents its continuing effects.

From 2005—the year of Gaza’s “liberation”—through to 2009, Levy tracks the development of Israel policy, which has abandoned the pretense of diplomacy in favor of raw military power, the ultimate aim of which is to deny Palestinians any chance of forming their own independent state. Punished by Israel and the Quartet of international powers for the democratic election of Hamas, Gaza has been transformed into the world’s largest open-air prison. From Gazan families struggling to cope with the random violence of Israel’s blockade and its “targeted” assassinations, to the machinations of legal experts and the continued connivance of the international community, every aspect of this ongoing tragedy is eloquently recorded and forensically analyzed. Levy’s powerful journalism shows how the brutality at the heart of Israel’s occupation of Palestine has found its most complete expression to date in the collective punishment of Gaza's residents.

Reviews

  • “There are more terrible atrocities in the world than what is being done to the caged prisoners of Gaza, but it is not easy to think of a more cruel and cowardly exhibition of human savagery, fully supported by the US, with Europe trailing politely behind. Gideon Levy’s passionate and revealing account is an eloquent, even desperate, call to bring this shocking tragedy to an end, as can easily be done.”
  • “Levy has a way with words that leads him to some brilliant indictments of Israel.”
  • “Levy has made it his exclusive mission ... to document the grim and brutal facts of the occupation, to tell the stories he knows Israelis do not want to hear ... To this shiny nation—democratic, prosperous, confident in its righteousness—Levy holds up Gaza like a mirror.”
  • “Gideon Levy is among a small group of Israeli journalists giving a face and a voice to Palestinians in the world's most intractable conflict.”
  • “Levy ... deals with the politically and emotionally charged subject of the hardships of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, and their conflicts with the Israeli military and Jewish settlers.”
  • “The story of Gideon Levy—and the attempt to deride, suppress or deny his words—is the story of Israel distilled. If he loses, Israel itself is lost.”
  • “An Israeli dedicated to saving his country's honour.”

Blog

  • The horrifying reality of living in the West Bank for Palestinian families



    What follows is an extract from Palestine Speaks: Narratives of Life Under Occupation.

    Laith Al-Hlou

    Farmer, day laborer, 32
    Born in Bethlehem, West Bank
    Interviewed in the West Bank

    [Editors] The first thing we notice as we drive to Laith Al-Hlou’s home southeast of Bethlehem is the challenge presented by the roads. Some roads are almost too steep to climb, and others almost too muddy or rocky to navigate. The bottom of our car crunches and scrapes as we creep along toward his village. Eventually we reach the compound where Laith lives with his family. Laith’s house, the family’s olive trees, and two other houses belonging to his extended family are surrounded by a short rock wall topped with barbed wire. When we pull up in our car, a dozen or more kids come spilling out to greet us—Laith’s children and nieces and nephews. Some wear cracked plastic shoes, some wear no shoes at all.  Laith is a skinny thirty-two-year-old with a wife and five young kids. The seven of them sleep in a twelve-foot by twelve-foot room that includes a wardrobe, a crib for the baby, and twin bunk beds piled with blankets. This is the main room of the family’s living space. They also have a small kitchen and toilet, all of which is on the second floor, above a chicken coop.

    After a tour of his house, we sit with Laith on plastic chairs outside, and he tells us about the ways his community has changed since 1996, when Israeli settlers first moved near his home. His wife stays close by, and even though she is hard of hearing, she interjects periodically with her own stories. Laith is one of up to 300,000 Palestinians living in Area C—the roughly 60 percent of the West Bank that is still under full military and administrative control of Israel following the Oslo Peace Accords of 1993.1 Area C also contains many of the West Bank’s Israeli settlements, a collection of villages established by Israeli citizens following the occupation of the region in 1967. Today, there are 400,000–500,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank outside of Jerusalem. The guard tower of a nearby settlement looms above Laith’s property as we sit and talk. He tears up as he tells us that pressure from the settlements may force him to someday relocate his family.

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  • Return: A Prologue


    Ghada Karmi and Ellen Siegal, 1973

    By Ghada Karmi in Return: A Palestinian Memoir


    As I sat at my father’s bedside, listening to his irregular breathing and the sound of the pulse monitor attached to his finger, I thought how frightening it was to be brought up sharp against the awareness of one’s own mortality. I feared death equally as much as I knew my father did. He was a very old man, but age had not dimmed his ardour for life and I imagined I would be the same. Like most people, I did not like to contemplate my dying and avoided thinking about it, but it was always there, waiting in the background to be attended to. An elderly doctor I knew once told me, ‘I believe that people must prepare for death. Avoidance and denial are foolish. If we face up fair and square to the inevitability of death it will lose its terrors.’

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  • A Country in Darkness



    Introduction to Letters to Palestine: Writers Respond to War and Occupationedited by Vijay Prashad 


    Forget Palestine 

    Palestine is easily forgotten. There is war. There is suffering. The war ends. The suffering vanishes. Silence.

    Was there even a “war”? Palestine is under occupation, and has been since 1967, since 1948. An occupied land is not at war, can never be at war. It is occupied. Occupation is a state of war. The occupied space retaliates. It seeks its freedom. It is punished. Was Operation Protective Edge a war or a punishment? Operation Grapes of Wrath, Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Cloud—names less of defense and more of vengeful retribution.

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