The news that the Palestinians broke the wall between Gaza and Egypt should be considered one of the largest prison breakouts in world history. For the first time in their lives, 750,000 Palestinian inmates could venture outside the Gaza strip, which is like the largest open-air prison in the world. This event demonstrates the resilience of human beings who are brutally denied their basic rights and forced to survive in a hostile environment. Although the Israeli government tried everything to extinguish the resistance of the outnumbered and outgunned Palestinians, it has utterly failed. Oppressors can only offer methods that, at their best, are simply inhumane.
Recently, the Israeli government imposed a total blockade on Gaza, cutting off the supply of essential foodstuffs, fuel and desperately needed medical supplies. The best minds in Israel schemed so that the inmates would revolt against their government, Hamas, and beg the Israelis to give them reprieve. As an additional incentive, Israel launched scores of missiles and air raids, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians.
If such conditions were imposed on any other nation in the world, such as the United States, Serbia or China, their populace would probably break down and sue for peace. Not that Americans are cowards, or that Palestinians are different from the rest of us. Instead, their resilience comes from the fact that for three generations, they have had to live and fight one of the most oppressive regimes in the modern world. They continue to survive violence which, if revealed in all its ugly reality, would spur citizens to demand their governments to intervene and stop this genocidal oppression.
Yet this does not happen, for the true image of suffering is not shown in American media. Rather, Israel is given carte blanche by the U.S. government to deal with the Palestinians however they choose. Thankfully, Palestinians learned long ago that they cannot count on world powers to alleviate their suffering. They have learned to rely only on themselves.
Thus, when Israel blockaded the tiny strip of land called Gaza in hopes of crippling its will, Palestinians found a powerful yet simple answer. Just like the Berliners, who stormed and toppled their wall in 1989, the Palestinians leveled this symbol of oppression and division in one exuberant stroke of national will. Though Palestinians were able to taste the sweet air of freedom, they still remain in prison and are still encircled by walls of indifference and neglect.
Once again, these imprisoned, impoverished and oppressed people have proven their resilience in retaining their human dignity. They showed Israel that its military cannot extinguish their quest for freedom. The oppressive state of Israel should recognize that it is impossible to impose its will by sheer force, and that it needs to recognize Hamas as a legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Only then will it be possible to start productive peace talks to resolve this bitter conflict. However, if we are to judge from past Israeli actions, the future does not look bright.
Ilgiz Khisamov is a third-year English major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.