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Why bombing Ashkelon is the most tragic irony PDF Print E-mail
Dec 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How easy it is to snap off the history of the Palestinians, to delete the narrative of their tragedy, to avoid a grotesque irony about Gaza which – in any other conflict – journalists would be writing about in their first reports: that the original, legal owners of the Israeli land on which Hamas rockets are detonating live in Gaza.

That is why Gaza exists: because the Palestinians who lived in Ashkelon and the fields around it – Askalaan in Arabic – were dispossessed from their lands in 1948 when Israel was created and ended up on the beaches of Gaza. They – or their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren – are among the one and a half million Palestinian refugees crammed into the cesspool of Gaza, 80 per cent of whose families once lived in what is now Israel. This, historically, is the real story: most of the people of Gaza don't come from Gaza.

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A state of emergency provides the government with an opportunity to corrupt power itself, promote foreign interests, and go after political rivals using tools and methods that the government wouldn’t be able to use on an ordinary day due to stiff resistance from the opposition. A state of emergency gives the government the opportunity to exploit the fear and uncertainty of the public, which is busy dealing with private or family issues and the (real or imagined) threats around the corner, to take steps unthinkable in times of normalcy.

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