“Incendiary balloons bear no resemblance to the deadly weapons in Israel’s arsenal.”
Electronic Intifada.net by Ahmed Abu Artema Thurs., Aug..27, 2020
In recent weeks, the tension between Palestinians in Gaza and Israel’s occupation forces has increased. Israel has used the launching of incendiary balloons by Palestinian youths as a pretext to bomb Gaza once again.
The release of the balloons is a gesture of protest against how the Israeli occupation has procrastinated in abiding by its previous agreements with the Palestinian resistance. Under those agreements, Israel had committed to easing the siege on Gaza.
This procrastination has caused the continued deterioration of Gaza’s health and public services and its economy. Meanwhile, the Israeli government continues to control the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza.
The Israeli military has responded to the incendiary balloons by carrying out dozens of raids on sites used by Palestinian resistance fighters with US-made F-16 jets. The Israeli naval forces, which besiege Gaza from the sea, have prevented fishers from doing their work and fired at their boats.
The Israeli government has also closed the only crossing through which commercial goods enter Gaza. This closure led to the shutting down of the only power plant in the territory, which, in turn, means households in Gaza receive only four hours of electricity per day.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated frankly that Israel would respond to the incendiary balloons in the same way as it responds to rockets fired from Gaza. Israel, it seems, wishes to keep on responding with deadly force to largely symbolic acts of resistance that make use of very basic materials.
Israel has put this statement into practice by dropping highly destructive missiles from F-16s onto densely populated Gaza for 13 consecutive nights.
The incendiary balloons bear no resemblance to Israel’s sophisticated and modern weapons. Youths have simply attached burning wicks to balloons and released them toward Israel.
The balloons have been carried into Israel by the wind. They have caused some fires on farm land and, as a result, incurred a small amount of damage to Israel’s economy.
Yet nobody has been killed or injured by them.
In his novel Men in the Sun, Ghassan Kanafani tells a story of three Palestinians undertaking a perilous journey hidden in a water tank. After the men are found dead by their driver, Kanafani asks why they didn’t bang on the water tank wall.
Banging on the walls of a tank is better than suffocating.
Launching handmade incendiary balloons from the besieged Gaza Strip is like banging on the walls of a water tank and refusing to die in silence.