by Linda Milazzo
Certainly no person aware of Israel's blockade of goods and services to Gaza, or Israel's devastating bombing of Gaza, would consider Gaza a vacation haven. Gaza is not a place of joy. It’s an overcrowded war-zone populated by more than a million terrified men, women and children. They subsist amidst the rubble caused by Israel's missiles that crushed their homes and killed their loved ones. They inhabit a tiny strip of land that can be driven across in two hours. They have no space for recreation. They have no scenic boulevards and tony cafes. Even their beach is a danger. Their lives are a daily challenge of fear, illness, hunger, anguish, poverty, joblessness, homelessness and physical and emotional wounds.
Israel, on the other hand, which propagates its struggle for survival and its imminent danger as rationale for killing and imprisoning Palestinians, is promoted as a vacation oasis. Witness the glory of Israel from the video below that loops frequently on local Los Angeles TV. No fear, hunger, rubble or homelessness appear in this portrayal of Israel. Only beauty, riches and joy.
I'm happy there is joy in Israel. I want Israelis to be happy and live well. But I want Palestinians to be happy and live equally well. As a Jew it angers and insults me that Israel proclaims itself on the verge of distinction unless it suppresses Palestinians and withholds their basics for survival.
Now juxtapose Israel's visual with that of Gaza. Here's a glimpse of Gaza after Israel's December and January assaults. There are numerous videos to choose from which show the horrors Gazans suffer. It's the deaths of innocent children that most disgust me. But I've spared you the images of their battered and lifeless bodies to focus on the landscape and compare the terrains. After all we're talking "tourists" here.
(For those of you who can bear it, here's a link beyond the landscape to the horrific images of THE CHILDREN )
As is clear from this video, no tourists will be journeying to Gaza in search of calm and frivolity and no videos will be produced to invite them. The only visitors to Gaza are intrepid journalists and humanitarian organizations like CODEPINK, who risked their safety just this week to bring gift baskets, as shown below, to the women for International Women's Day:
As one who feels great sadness over the death and destruction in Gaza, I'm immensely grateful that this lovely video of Israel exists (there are more like it on youtube.com) to show the extreme contrasts between the affluence and security of Israel and the poverty and anguish of Palestine. Perhaps the next time Israel unleashes its grotesque killing technology (like phosphorous) on Palestine, Lebanon or others, observers might consider whether Israel is being honest when it proclaims how desperate and fearful Israelis are. Perhaps after viewing these videos observers will have more realistic images of the safety and comfort of Israelis compared to the pain and suffering of Palestinians.