In its latest, greatest victory, Israel's COGAT, the bureaucratic arm of the Occupation, just announced it has confiscated several dozen pairs of hiking boots “hidden in a shipment of civilian goods in an attempt to smuggle them into Gaza for terrorist purposes” - news breathlessly reported in the Israeli press with, "Battling Gaza Terrorists On a New Front." COGAT, for Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, tweeted the find complete with stark photos of... shoes...and the sinister warning, “This is another miserable and failed attempt by terrorist groups in Gaza to hide behind the civilian population...The more these attempts continue, the more security and stability are compromised.” That's the "security and stability" of the world's largest open-air prison, where millions lack water, power, housing and other necessities, up to 70% of people are unemployed, and the still-rubble-strewn streets are filled with groups of young amputees on crutches thanks to the Israeli military's deliberate shooting of unarmed young men in the legs - a practice an IDF spokesman says represents "the minimal use of force possible." Since the 2018 start of Great March of Return protests, that restraint has killed 300 Palestinians and injured over 31,000, some as young as 13; over 7,000 have been shot, mostly in the lower legs. The UN estimates 1,700 of those need complex surgeries to walk again; due to lack of funding and medical care, they will likely face amputations instead. Under international law, Israel has now committed 31,000 more war crimes.
Though Palestinians have no state, army or money, and Israel is a nuclear-powered, armed-to-the-genocidal-teeth police state that gets billions in military hardware from the US, still the harassment continues. At the border, Israel painstakingly scrutinizes every package mailed to Gaza in search of allegedly deadly "dual-use" items that could, in the IDF's paranoid fever dreams, be used for "military purposes," using a random, irrational yardstick that goes far beyond international norms. Unacceptable goods can range from drones, cameras, microscopes, radios to medical equipment, construction material, spare parts for assembly lines - and hiking boots, because Palestinians having shoes is now a security threat. When COGAT posted the cache on Twitter, many assumed it was a joke, not the actual mind-boggling, soul-crushing sadism of an apartheid regime with nuclear weapons. But nope. "Honey, those are shoes," noted one weary reader. "Oh my god, not shoes! What will they think of next, socks? Thank you for saving humanity from the horrific threat posed by... checks notes...hiking shoes." Many others wondered what's next in the nefarious smuggling trade: food? water? medical care? underwear? Old Navy cargo pants? Also: "Israel be like, 'Breathing air is terrorism,'" "Weapons of mass destruction," "Great work, my dude," "Good to know Israelis will sleep peacefully at night knowing Palestinians have no arch support," and "Those are normal shoes, fascists." Above all, "Now we know who the terrorists really are."
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A couple of years ago, Banksy took us on a tour of Gaza. At least now, more people only need one shoe.