Humanity Has Failed Gaza

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Sandy Tolan. Photo courtesy of guest

Amidst the carnage and political debacle surrounding Gaza and Israel, it can be easy to discuss the conflict with a macro view, where families, hospital workers, UN workers and journalists become statistics and political perspectives dominate. On this episode of the Scheer Intelligence, host Robert Scheer talks to the author of what Scheer claims are “arguably the two most important books that deal with the humanity of the Palestinian people.”

Sandy Tolan, author, journalist and professor of journalism at the University of Southern California, delves into this crucial aspect of humanity in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel itself. Invoking the themes of his books, The Lemon Tree and Children of the Stone, Tolan and Scheer explore the historic details that define the war today, including the accounts of the people living through it all.

Tolan also draws from his reporting experience, describing an assignment to cover the water crisis in Gaza where, “97% of the water… was not fit for human consumption,” to exemplify the harsh reality on the ground. The 2006 blockade that saw food, water and electricity become tightly controlled is also discussed as one of the elements that paints Gaza as an “open air prison.”

Humanization, Tolan argues, should be used to catalyze actual change for the people of the region. “The civilian casualty rates are always, as terrible as they are on both sides, always highly skewed. So many more Palestinians die. And I think if we see each other, and I mean Israelis, I mean Palestinians, I mean anybody, as human beings, it's a lot harder to do that,” he said.

The two conclude that the future appears bleak now a little over a month into the war. Tolan explains: 

“If it continues the way it is, it's hard to imagine there not being another person arising from this terrible rubble and growing up with a lifelong resentment and hatred towards Israel and perpetrating something that we can't even envision right now. Unless there's a way for people to feel represented and for them to feel like they have the right to freedom of movement, to be safe, to enjoy an evening in the Gaza Harbor without fear of bombs made in America raining down on them, it's really going to be hard to imagine how anybody long term is going to feel safe.”



Joshua Scheer