For the 7 weeks following the 30th March 2018 “Great March of Return” campaign, the world witnessed what it referred to as ‘protests’ at the Gaza border with Israel. During this border demonstration, tens of thousands of people protested, many violently. People attempted to break through the border fence, burned many thousands of tires (causing an environmental and humanitarian disaster), purposefully placed people in harm’s way including children and babies (even during the tire burning) and threw Molotov cocktails and rocks in addition to using other weapons. Hamas and its supporters have fired rockets (one of which landed in a kindergarten) into civilian areas and are sending kites and balloons bearing fire (the purpose of which is to do as much damage as possible to Israel and its people) into Israel, destroying crops and thousands of hectares of property and killing animals in nature reserves, but thankfully not killing any civilians just yet.
Sadly, at least 112 Palestinians were killed during these demonstrations. Around 83% of those killed were terrorist operatives or affiliated with terrorist organisations. Most of those fatalities were Hamas operatives. In a tragic yet rather ironic turn of events, a rocket destined to kill Israeli civilians, instead damaged 3 Israeli power lines which supply electricity to Gaza, rendering the humanitarian crisis for the people of Gaza, of course, worse as it affected tens of thousands of people. This is the common pattern and self-infliction crisis which Hamas forces on the Palestinian people with attacks and incitement to violence, brainwashing and rewarding murderers. There appears to be no condemnation of Hamas for these rockets nor of the blatant attack on the very existence of Israel. Instead there is an emboldening silence encouraging the terrorists, attackers and various media outlets to continue their mission to vilify and/or destroy the state of Israel.
To call this onslaught a ‘protest’ is to embolden terror and cheapen real and important protests and what they have done for history. Mahatma Gandhi, for example, took part in peaceful protests.
This is a protest:
This is not a protest:
On May 24th the South African Government tweeted the following tweet:
Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. The Palestinian people in Gaza live in a terrible situation under the rule of their dictatorial terrorist leaders: Hamas. Israel unfortunately has no choice but to control who goes in and out of its territory, however to state that there are “violent and destructive incursions into Palestinian territories” is simply untrue. This tweet begs many questions… Why is there support for terrorising and attempting to kill civilians? Why does a government body choose to discard the obvious need for Israel to defend its citizens from certain death? Why does it ignore the fact that Hamas routinely incites violence and refuses to negotiate peace, even going as far as calling for the murder of ‘every last one’ of the Jews and Christians, on TV? This is not unique to South Africa. This is the stance and behaviour of all the human-rights-violating countries which sit in an Orwellian fashion on the UN Human Rights Council and the ignorant, fearful or hateful who support them.
For South Africa however, this is especially ironic and baffling given the shocking Marikana tragedy. In August 2012, the South African Police Service opened fire on a large crowd of protesting mine workers in Marikana, North West Province. 34 mine workers were killed by police, almost 80 others seriously wounded, around 250 miners were arrested. This was a massacre, some people were murdered at point blank. This horrific occurrence is forever a stain on South Africa’s soul. The attempt to bring perpetrators to justice is still ongoing.
It would serve the South African government to be forward-thinking enough to question the state of affairs and rhetoric it has come to support with regards to the Middle East. The South African government should support the well-being of the Palestinian people by standing against the horror which the Hamas terror organization inflicts on its own citizens and on Israelis.