Human Rights Fellow dispatch: views and visuals on Gaza

As part of my internship with Visualizing Palestine, I went through the names and ages of those killed in Gaza during the recent conflict, including those of more than 450 children. Despite the divisiveness of the  Israeli occupation of the West Bank and their blockade of Gaza, I thought that surely the numbers of dead children would stir empathy on both sides. But many in the United States can only support Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas’ rockets, not the Palestinians’ right to defend themselves from Israel’s siege.

The United States was the only country on the United Nation’s Human Rights Council to vote against an investigation into Israel’s invasion of Gaza, and the Senate voted unanimously in favor of Israel’s ground incursion. I do not condone violence by either side, but what is lost in the debate is the disproportionality of the violence inflicted. This is what Visualizing Palestine has tried to show with these three infographics.

One of the infographics is an update to the Timeline of Violence that charts the deaths on both sides. If all human life is equal then why is there not more outspokenness in the United States against Israel’s violence against the Palestinians? The second traces ceasefire violations by both sides since the last Israeli military operation in Gaza in November 2012. Although Israeli violations were more frequent and more deadly, why—especially in the United States—do we only hear about Hamas’ rockets? The third infographic draws a comparison between the terror experienced by the United States on September 11th, and the terror experienced by the Palestinians of Gaza so many times in recent years. It tries to communicate shared experiences of grief, while contrasting stages of healing and recovery, showing how the people of New York city mourned and memorialized their losses, while their counterparts in Gaza were not allowed to recover when they have had little respite from Israeli violence and blockade.

More than 40 percent of Gaza’s population is under the age of 14. This is a generation growing up knowing only war. In my research for these three infographics for Visualizing Palestine, I took down many of the names and ages of those children who have become victims of this violence. If their deaths cannot change minds, and hopefully change my country’s policy, then I do not know what will. 

The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.
vp-timeline-of-violence-en-rev01-20140716 VP-Gaza-Grief-2014-07-26-02 VP-CeasefireViolations-DATASKETCH-20140724