Gaza and Youth Work : Any Connection?


Over the last few days I’ve been struggling to write something that connected the unfolding tragedy in Gaza to the politics of Youth Work. This line of thought was set in motion by a chance conversation with a group of young Palestinians. However in doing so I’ve gone beyond what is comfortably appropriate for a blog contribution. So, if I finish up writing something worthwhile, I’ll post it on the Critical Thoughts page. However, in the piece I’m writing, I touch on the illusory notion of political ‘balance’ and thus in the interests of alternative readings of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict the following links are worth exploring.

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If Gaza falls . . – Sarah Roy

Israel’s siege of Gaza began on 5 November, the day after an Israeli attack inside the strip, no doubt designed finally to undermine the truce between Israel and Hamas established last June. Although both sides had violated the agreement before, this incursion was on a different scale. Hamas responded by firing rockets into Israel and the violence has not abated since then. Israel’s siege has two fundamental goals. One is to ensure that the Palestinians there are seen merely as a humanitarian problem, beggars who have no political identity and therefore can have no political claims. The second is to foist Gaza onto Egypt.

On 5 November the Israeli government sealed all the ways into and out of Gaza…….

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Oxford professor of international relations Avi Shlaim served in the Israeli army and has never questioned the state’s legitimacy. But its merciless assault on Gaza has led him to devastating conclusions

The only way to make sense of Israel’s senseless war in Gaza is through understanding the historical context. Establishing the state of Israel in May 1948 involved a monumental injustice to the Palestinians. British officials bitterly resented American partisanship on behalf of the infant state. On 2 June 1948, Sir John Troutbeck wrote to the foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin, that the Americans were responsible for the creation of a gangster state headed by “an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders”. I used to think that this judgment was too harsh but Israel’s vicious assault on the people of Gaza, and the Bush administration’s complicity in this assault, have reopened the question………

This brief review of Israel’s record over the past four decades makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that it has become a rogue state with “an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders”. A rogue state habitually violates international law, possesses weapons of mass destruction and practises terrorism – the use of violence against civilians for political purposes. Israel fulfils all of these three criteria; the cap fits and it must wear it. Israel’s real aim is not peaceful coexistence with its Palestinian neighbours but military domination. It keeps compounding the mistakes of the past with new and more disastrous ones. Politicians, like everyone else, are of course free to repeat the lies and mistakes of the past. But it is not mandatory to do so.

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Statement distributed by the Manchester and Sheffield Anarchist Federation groups on the conflict in Gaza, in solidarity with the victims of the conflict, and for internationalism.

One thing is absolutely clear about the current situation in Gaza: the Israeli state is committing atrocities which must end immediately. With hundreds dead and thousands wounded, it has become increasingly clear that the aim of the military operation, which has been in the planning stages since the signing of the original ceasefire in June, is to break Hamas completely. The attack follows the crippling blockade throughout the supposed ‘ceasefire’, which has destroyed the livelihoods of Gazans, ruined the civilian infrastructure and created a humanitarian disaster which anyone with an ounce of humanity would seek an end to.

But that’s not all there is to say about the situation…………


The question haunting the piece I am writing is ‘to what extent are youth workers engaging in awkward and contradictory conversations with young people about Gaza?’ How far are they trying to comprehend for themselves what is unfolding before their eyes? What’s your sense of what’s happening on the ground?

Published in: on January 15, 2009 at 6:55 pm  Comments (6)  
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