My Visit to Gaza, the World's Largest Open-Air Prison
Friday, 09 November 2012 - By Noam Chomsky, Truthout | Op-Ed
Women sit in their makeshift home in the Forgotten Neighborhood in Gaza City, Gaza, September 6, 2012. A United Nations report cites shortages of food, water, electricity, jobs, hospital beds and classrooms amid an exploding population in what is already one of the most densely populated patches of the planet. (Photo: Ed Ou / The New York Times)
Even a single night in jail is enough to give a taste of what it means to be under the total control of some external force.
And it hardly takes more than a day in Gaza to appreciate what it must be like to try to survive in the world's largest open-air prison, where some 1.5 million people on a roughly 140-square-mile strip of land are subject to random terror and arbitrary punishment, with no purpose other than to humiliate and degrade.
Such cruelty is to ensure that Palestinian hopes for a decent future will be crushed, and that the overwhelming global support for a diplomatic settlement granting basic human rights will be nullified. The Israeli political leadership has dramatically illustrated this commitment in the past few days, warning that they will "go crazy" if Palestinian rights are given even limited recognition by the U.N.
This threat to "go crazy" ("nishtagea") – that is, launch a tough response – is deeply rooted, stretching back to the Labor governments of the 1950s, along with the related "Samson Complex": If crossed, we will bring down the Temple walls around us.