Independent Media Center, Israel

author: ISMer

LSM, you've blown it here.

Everyone knows and acknowledges that there are tunnels in Rafah through which arms, cigarettes, consumer goods and drugs are smuggled. What many people don't know is that punitive restrictions on border trade imposed by the Israeli authorities in Rafha, Karni, etc. have led to an even greater incentive to dig tunnels, more for consumer goods than for weapons. So by making it impossible for Gazans to trade with Egypt, Israeli policies then encourage the digging of tunnels, even as the Israeli military tries to shut them down. What a paradox of punitive policies !

There are tunnels, but there were no tunnels in the home Rachel Corrie was defending, and ISM avoided defending homes where there are tunnels. Rachel Corrie was in front of the home of a Palestinian pharmacist with many children. ISM knew the family very well. Most observers agree that there are only tunnels in a tiny percentage of the more than 600 homes that the Israeli Army has demolished in Rafah. This also corresponds with my experience.

As B'Tselem says, Israel is obligated to find ways to defend itself that result in less destruction to innocent civilians than massive, indiscriminate home demolition in Rafah. It is impossible for me to believe that there are no more effective and more humane ways to deal with weapons smuggling than the brutal policy of destroying every home in Rafah.

And lets remember who Israel is expending all this energy and effort and destructive power "defending" anyway - 6,000 settlers who, along with the military control 40% of the Gaza Strip (of course, Gaza's best land), while 1.2 million Palestinians live on the remaining 60%. If there were no settlements in Gaza, what would Israel have to "defend" it in this manner ?

These are losing arguments for you LSM, because, with the Wall, Rafah home demolition and other issues ISM focuses on, it always comes back to you having to justify military occupation, settlement and land theft, all of which is indefensible.

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