‘Gaza in Context’ Film Takes Aim At Media Coverage of 2014 Gaza Attacks
ED Noor: Gaza in Context offers a comprehensive teaching guide. To study this film in depth with full script and educational content, please head over to this page. The screen capture above says so much about the uneven treatment given to the inhabitants of Palestine.
By Noura Erakat and Tareq Radi
In the summer 2014, Israel launched its most devastating offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip to date. It sealed the perimeters, expanded the buffer zones, concentrated the already dense population, and launched six thousand airstrikes and fifty thousand artillery shells in an air and ground offensive that lasted for fifty-one days.
The register of death and destruction was harrowing and included the killing of 2,251 Palestinians, including 551 children; the complete or severe destruction of eighteen thousand homes; the forcible displacement of one hundred thousand Palestinians, and untold trauma that has left more than three hundred thousand children in need of psycho-social treatment.
Palestinian forces killed seventy-two Israelis, six of whom were civilians. As Palestinian doctors struggled to treat the injured in under-sourced hospitals vulnerable to attack, Israel’s military industry boomed. Three hundred employees of one company, Israel Military Industries, worked twenty-four hours shifts for four weeks, to ensure that the Israeli Army would have a sufficient arsenal. One company CEO explained, that “After every campaign of the kind that is now taking place in Gaza, we see an increase in the number of customers from abroad…” because they can market their weapons as “battle-tested’.”
Indeed, Gaza’s captive population has become a laboratory for means and methods of warfare.
Israel used disproportionate fire power on a civilian population in Gaza, 2014 summer, committing every war crime in the book. From illegal weapons testing to human shields.
Despite the imbalance of military force, as well as the structural violence of siege, media narratives of victimhood and survival were exclusively reserved for Israel and Israelis. The harshest critique of Israel’s unparalleled use of force was that it was “too much” or “excessive” implicitly suggesting that the colonial relationship between Israel and its captive subjects is normal; the realm of abnormality was reserved for Palestinians who used crude weapons to challenge their condition.
The de-historicization of the Gaza Strip and its severance from the rest of the question of Palestine functions as another site of violence, one that perpetuates colonial subjugation and all but ensures a repeat of the kinetic warfare necessary to maintain it.
This pedagogical compendium, in combination with the short narrative documentary film Gaza in Context, uses Operation Protection Edge to demonstrate the temporal and spatial continuity of Israel’s settler-colonial policies across Israel and the Occupied Territories in order to disrupt the language of exceptionalism surrounding Gaza today. The volume scrutinizes Israeli settler-colonialism through a multi-disciplinary lens including history, law, development, political economy, and gender across Israel’s singular jurisdiction extending from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.
While the scope of Israeli force deployed during Operation Protective Edge is unprecedented, warfare is not. The summer 2014 offensive was the eighth attack on the coastal enclave since unilateral disengagement in 2005 and the twenty-second attack since the exchange of letters between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President George W. Bush in April 2004.
In her contribution, originally published in The Nation, Noura Erakat surveys Israel’s aggressions towards Gaza and concludes that warfare is systemic, longstanding, and is an extension of Israel’s broader policy towards all Palestinians.
This policy is guided by two principles:
1) To obtain the maximum amount of Palestinian land with the minimum number of Palestinian people; and
2) To concentrate a maximum number of Palestinians onto a minimum amount of land.
ED Noor: Gaza stat: 1.8 M Palestinians of which 1.4 are homeless
Through this analysis, Erakat resituates the question of the Gaza Strip within a framework of settler colonialism that helps put the rest of the pieces within this publication in conversation with one other.
ED Noor: In the immortal (and immoral) words of Ariel Sharon:
“We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them, … we’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlements in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlements right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years’ time, neither the United Nations nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.” ~ Ariel Sharon
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