Part of the series Symposium on US-Israel

Gaza should be a Mediterranean paradise. Instead, it is a horror story, in which 2 million prisoners, half of them children, survive in conditions that will soon be unlivable according to international monitors, with almost no potable water, destroyed sewage and power systems, general misery, and little hope. The wreckage is not the result of nature’s cruelty. It is the work of a malevolent occupier backed by a brutal superpower.

Gaza’s torture begins with Israel’s ethnic cleansing programs in 1948, expulsions that continued well into the 1950s. Egypt-occupied Gaza was subject to regular Israeli terrorist attacks, some truly horrifying, like the Khan Yunis massacre in 1956.

In 1967, Israel conquered Gaza and soon initiated illegal settlement programs, as in the West Bank and Golan Heights, taking over Gaza’s main resources — and despoiling them, notably through water-intensive crops drawing down the limited aquifer. In 2005, the Ariel Sharon government withdrew the settlers, recognizing that it was pointless to devote substantial military resources to protecting a few settlers who could be moved from their subsidized illegal homes in Gaza to subsidized illegal homes in occupied areas that Israel intended to incorporate into its Greater Israel project. Israel remains the occupying power in the eyes of the world, excluding Israel.

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