How will the blockade on consciences be lifted? - LEYLA İPEKÇI

How will the blockade on consciences be lifted?

Today, in a global period which everybody is in alliance with everybody on certain issues and in dispute on certain others, we have no further knowledge other than rumor of what strategies are being planned with Israel through Egypt, Syria, Russia and Iran. Or other than the kind of expansion being planned toward the natural gas agreement mentioned by politicians. Also, for example, what kind of reciprocal measures may have been developed against terrorist organizations such as Daesh and the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which are a headache for Turkey. But we have experiences:

If Israel, which until now, failed to apply UN decisions and fulfill its sanctions, destroyed Gaza's power and water infrastructure every three-four years – just when we fixed it – through new bombardments, which on numerous occasions collapsed ordinary people's homes over them and did not hesitate to raise its children in Palestine hate, has agreed to allow Turkey (with the approval of Hamas) to provide the moral and material support that will lift Gaza back on its feet, how will we trust that it will not re-demolish the area for any reason, regardless of the conditions?

The basic objections against the Turkey-Israel agreement that took place yesterday are: The soldiers who fired guns in the Mavi Marmara raid cannot be tried in court. The Gaza blockade is not going to be lifted. Our aid sent to Palestine will again be subject to Israel's supervision. Let ours be a moment, a breath among the humble, civilian and individual stances without taking into account the diplomatic discourses in the official state language, what has been said and what has not.


It was only a couple of Ramadans ago, we were obliged to watch the Gazans be subjected to bombardments on screens of fire. We couldn't sleep after sahur, the last meal before sunset to start fasting for the day. While we wrote to keep note, to hold the reader witness to what was happening, words were becoming meaningless. States were still saying that Israel had the right to defend itself against terrorism.

It has been a few years now since a young American woman named Rachel Corrie was killed under while standing up against a bulldozer that came to destroy a Palestinian family's home. In the court case even the perception that this young woman was under the influence of Palestinian terrorist organizations was created, and the games that were intended to be staged about it were all prevented in the West.

The mid-2000s are fresh in memories like yesterday. Because until today, the same course of events continued without much change: It is Israel that set fire to Palestinians' olive trees, that blew up the children playing on the beach, prevented Gazans from fishing, objected to supplies brought from Egypt through tunnels saying they include weapons, prevented free movement at control points, erected walls in the West Bank, and did not care about the separation of families, homes and farms by the wall it put up, Israel that feared more as it did not allow them to live and the more it feared the more it hated, that oppressed and belittled the helpless people on the land it invaded…


There are also the Palestinians I came across in various regions of the Middle East. It was quite ironic to talk about peace with children drawing pictures of houses in an orphanage in the dirt- and trash-filled streets of Palestinians trying to hold on to life at the Shatilla camp we visited in Beirut.

Some had become tradesmen in Damascus and explained that the day they heard a school in Lebanon was bombed by Israel, they decided to go to university instead of becoming suicide bombers.

I came across some while they were working as taxi drivers in Jordan and trying to sell goods among Dead Sea products that were not Israel-made. I had a chat with the Gazan family I met while waiting for the Friday prayer at Dome of Rock in Jerusalem. Their lineage was filled with martyrs. There were also those who were disabled, in prison or who had gone to other countries to work. When listening to the story of this big family trying to hold on, I always felt the same whenever I came across Palestinians who were artists, who had careers or were academics, whether I met them in Hejaz, various Middle East countries or in Europe:

Despite being oppressed so much before the eyes of the civilized world, they were not oppressed at all. Perception management had conditioned us to think that no comment or observation could be made about them since they are constantly mentioned with war and misery. Yet, they are extremely proud, strong and dignified.


It was the night of Mi'raj, we had prayed at Masjid al-Aqsa and shed tears. It was four years ago. One of my first observations of Israelis was young mothers had a couple of children. Apparently the state provides moral and material support for women to first become mothers than continue their careers, providing them with loaded financial support.

That is when I understood why they see every newborn Palestinian as a potential terrorist. Because Muslim mothers were having many children. They had no other weapon to hold onto life on this invaded land that spread death. Life againt destruction, massacre and death! A never-ending root against being cut and scraped!

Allow me to return to the first question as an annotation, beyond the agreements between states: Regardless of conditions, how will we trust that Israel will not shoot children on Gaza's beaches, attack other Mavi Marmaras, crush other Rachel Corries for whatever reason? I hope that this trust will be tested at once, and put into practice not only in Gaza but also in Jerusalem where they are trying to eradicate Muslim culture and tradition.


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