Posted by: sean | December 31, 2008

The irony of Ashkelon

I’ve only been following the horrible events in Gaza superficially, because I’m in New York and haven’t had the time to sit down and read. I did, however, just read an interesting piece by Fisk, who reminds us of the irony of the situation:

How easy it is to snap off the history of the Palestinians, to delete the narrative of their tragedy, to avoid a grotesque irony about Gaza which – in any other conflict – journalists would be writing about in their first reports: that the original, legal owners of the Israeli land on which Hamas rockets are detonating live in Gaza.


That is why Gaza exists: because the Palestinians who lived in Ashkelon and the fields around it – Askalaan in Arabic – were dispossessed from their lands in 1948 when Israel was created and ended up on the beaches of Gaza. They – or their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren – are among the one and a half million Palestinian refugees crammed into the cesspool of Gaza, 80 per cent of whose families once lived in what is now Israel. This, historically, is the real story: most of the people of Gaza don’t come from Gaza.

But watching the news shows, you’d think that history began yesterday, that a bunch of bearded anti-Semitic Islamist lunatics suddenly popped up in the slums of Gaza – a rubbish dump of destitute people of no origin – and began firing missiles into peace-loving, democratic Israel, only to meet with the righteous vengeance of the Israeli air force. The fact that the five sisters killed in Jabalya camp had grandparents who came from the very land whose more recent owners have now bombed them to death simply does not appear in the story.



  1. Thank you for this article. I hope the world will read it

  2. As a Palestinian, I know this by heart as I lived it. I was glad to see this article spreading thru the blogsphere. Thanks for posting it

  3. sean i think you can go home now.. you need a break from the middle east and america needs you..

  4. Lirun: How about this, then? I’ll go back to America when you go back to Australia.

  5. Some people’s history begins in 1948 with “Israeli dispossession”. Some people’s history begins with the hatred of the Arab Revolt, the Nazism of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and the Holocaust. Some people’s begins in 1947 with the petition plan. Some people’s history begins with the British Mandate. Some people’s history begins with Mohammed, and some with Abraham.

    It is a very simplistic view which holds he reason Gaza exists is Israeli dispossession.

  6. my family is from here sean.. my parents were born here and this is where my roots are from.. have u suddenly become lebanese?

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