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Israel's 'colonial tactics' decried

Source:Al-Jazeera
Date:11/01-2009

Azmi Bishara, an Arab-Israeli analyst and former member of the Israeli parliament, has lashed out at the Israeli media campaign being run alongside its war on Gaza that criminalises the victims and victimises the coloniser.

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Tuesday, Bishara said Israel's war on Gaza was disproportionate and punishes the Palestinian people for  refusing to bow to Israel's fait-accompli in the strip.

"Usually people are pushed to collective punishment because they want to punish resistance movements or national liberation movements.

"That's usually what colonial powers did, and that's what Israel is doing.

Bishara said the majority of Gazans are refugees, whose ancestors used to live in what is now Israel.

"Everybody knows that 75 per cent of the people of Gaza are refugees. Everybody knows that Israel disengaged from Gaza militarily, but occupies it economically and politically and also it besieges Gaza militarily.

"Israel would say, "what would any normal country do if they were threatened by rocket fire? They would act".

"But Israel is not a normal country, it is an occupying country, a colonial country and the people of Gaza are under siege."

‘Punishing democracy’

Bishara said that Palestinians are being punished for choosing Hamas in the January 2006 democratic elections and accused Israeli officials for dramatising their lies.

"Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, should be asked, "What would you do if your house is besieged and you can't feed your child, can't go to school, and can't take them to the doctors and physicians when they are ill.

"I consider Hamas rockets a protest shout, they haven't hurt many, only the few. They are weapons of the poor, used to express their will.

"What brought the war was the siege. When colonial powers have historically gone to occupy countries, siege has always been a weapon. Siege is a military action at the beginning of war.

"When it did not work to break the will of the Palestinian people... Israel realised that the rockets were a response to the siege, and they went to the next phase which was direct military aggression, which is actually now directed against civilians to punish them for their democratic choice.

"What I think will happen is a ceasefire that will mean an end to the siege if the rockets stop. It will happen after the deaths of so many people."