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moving and deeply sad account of the harsh realiites of life in Gaza
on 20 July 2010
Gideon Levy became well known for his weekly 'twilight zone' articles in the Israeli paper Haaretz. Levy himself has developed into an ardent critic of Israeli policies and their inhumane treatment of the Palestinians. Yet Levy was born the son of two Holocaust survivors and grew up accepting the 'traditional Israeli narratives', that the nation was constantly under threat of another imminent holocaust. Indeed Levy served in the Israeli Defence Forces in the 1970's. It was only in the 1980's when Levy began working as a journalist for Haaretz in the West Bank that he was exposed to the Palestinian occupation and its harsh realties.
This book is a selection of those haaretz articles covering the period between 2006 and February 2009. Re-reading these early articles it is shocking that little has changed since 2006, the world has not forced Israel to end the blockade of Gaza that is causing a serious humanitarian disaster for Gazans, preventing freedom of movement, and imports and exports are banned by Israel leading to the collapse of the Gaza economy. Likewise, as Levy notes 'Gaza is poorer and hungrier than ever before', attacks and killings by Israeli forces of Gazan civilians, including children have become routine. Other topics discussed include the fact that Israel prevents Israeli journalists from entering Gaza since 2006, although some foreign journalists still go there. Articles such as 'the most moral army in the world' focus on the Israeli incursion of Gaza in December 2008-January 2009 and how the killing of nearly 1,400 Palestinian civilians in 22 days is dismissed by Israeli propaganda, that also has the nerve to claim in response, to be 'the most moral army in the world'. All this occurs despite IDF accounts of atrocities in Gaza leaked by breaking the silence, Amnesty International accounts of the killings, and Human Rights Watch accounts that all lay the blame upon Israel and its use of disproportionate force and 'wanton destruction'.
Levy's book humanises the Palestinians (so often mis-represented as terrorists), their suffering is documented along with the madness of Israeli policies that are inhumane, unjust and according to Levy unsustainable. Levy seeks to awaken Israel and the world to this fact before its too late, but time is running out fast.