ISRAEL’S ATTACKS on Gaza have so far killed an estimated (1,900) Palestinians, (about three quarters of them civilians, including about 450 children), while (67 Israelis) have been killed, (all but three who were soldiers) , (according to The Associated Press on Monday). The number of Palestinian civilians killed is all the more shocking because Israeli targets have included hospitals and U.N. shelters, attacks so brutal that even our feckless president has mumbled a weak protest.
Shamefully, even now Israel’s most ardent American supporters claim the slaughter of hundreds of children is justified by Israel’s right to self defense. Israel’s stated intent is to wipe out all Palestinian resistance and killing civilians is evidently no obstacle. An editorial in (the Aug. 1) The Times of Israel – later removed – even went so far as to suggest that genocide of Palestinians is permissible.
Images of Israelis sitting in lawn chairs and cheering as bombs fall on Palestinian civilians make genocide seem a real possibility.
Israel’s behavior has been barbaric and absolutely unjustified, but what makes it worse is that we Americans are enabling this campaign of cruel destruction. We are supplying the weapons and munitions used to destroy Palestinian lives, and the recent unanimous Senate vote – with the concurrence of New Mexico’s two Democratic senators – affirming Israel’s right to “defend itself” from the pathetically ineffective rocket fire from Gaza gave the Israeli government a green light for continued slaughter.
As Americans, mindlessly repeating that Israel has a right to defend itself while doing nothing to stop Israeli slaughter makes it clear that we think Palestinian lives, even those of Palestinian children, aren’t worth anything. This makes all of us complicit in butchery that the rest of the world community has called “criminal.” Supporting Israeli barbarism makes us barbaric, too.
Stop supporting Israel and support the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement instead.
No more weapons for Israel
THE WASHINGTON Post calls the conflict taking place in Gaza and Israel “deeply asymmetrical” because, whereas the Palestinian death toll has now surpassed (1,900), the Israeli toll is still in the double digits, deplorable as that certainly is. Also, civilian deaths constitute the great bulk of Palestinian deaths. Israeli deaths are almost all in the military.
Another word that should be used to describe the conflict is “disproportionate.” Israel’s use of military force has been disproportionate to the threat it faced. It has razed whole sections of housing; bombed or slammed artillery shells into schools and mosques and even destroyed Gaza’s only power plant, depriving Palestinians of electricity for months to come. Once more, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyuhu has forewarned the Israeli people to prepare for a long conflict, meaning that both death and injury tolls will rise exponentially.
The United States must not be involved in furthering Israel’s military assault. The Department of Defense has confirmed the U.S. is resupplying the Israeli Defense Forces with tank shells and illumination devices. The U.S. has leverage on Israel in the form of an arms agreement, annually supplying Israel with $3 billion in arms. The agreement specifies that these arms must be used defensively only, but defensive use becomes a fiction when Israel conducts a massive offensive operation across its borders. The U.S. can abrogate its arms sales on the grounds that the terms of the agreement have been violated.
In immediate terms, the U.S. must stop any resupply of such items as tank shells and illumination devices, suspend any planned transfer of weapons, crowd control devices or anything else that might reasonably be construed to advance Israel’s military campaign.
LAURI E. KALLIO
Adhere to 1947 UN agreement
OF COURSE, there’s no excuse for Hamas in Gaza using rockets to attack Israel. But, even more so, there’s no excuse for Israel’s killing of Palestinians – already some (1,900), nearly all civilians, and including hundreds of women and children.
The Israelis have even resorted to the Nazi-like tactic of bombing hospitals and refuge centers. Way back in 1947, the UN General Assembly called for the partition of the Palestine territory into two independent states – one for Israel and one for Palestine. But, on gaining independence in 1948, Israel has totally ignored this UN stipulation and has inexorably grabbed more and more Palestinian land.
Where have we been on this over all these decades? Why haven’t we done much more in urging the establishment of the two nations envisioned by the United Nations? The need now is to call on both sides to stop the bloodshed in Gaza and push forward on giving Palestine its own country.
Zionists are destined to lose
AFTER MANY decades, I reread Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” It gave me new insight into what is happening in Palestine. Frankl’s book describes his survival in the Nazi concentration camps and describes Logotherapy, his approach to helping people grapple with meaning in their life.
In a sense, what he describes is like a terribly tragic play. There are three sets of characters. First, the principal players are the prisoners – terribly starved and abused by the guards and other prisoners. We read the tragic stories written by survivors in German and other concentration camps. Second, are the guards and capos – prisoners given supervisory control. Some are incredibly sadistic, a few are generous, but most are numb from their exposure in the system. Finally is the German populace. They say “we didn’t know” and we also suffered. They are shocked when they discover what happened in camps in the occupied territories.
The same tragic play is being played out in Palestine. The Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank play the role of concentration camp prisoners, as Palestine has been termed the largest outdoor prison camp in the world. They are trapped, starved and abused. There is no safe place for them to avoid death.
The Israeli Defense Force plays the role of the guards. Most just follow orders. With precision, they shoot and bomb Palestinian militants and civilians and destroy what little infrastructure remains, including hospitals and UN safe zones. Like their German counterparts, they are acting to “save their country” from poorly trained and armed Palestinians. Their weapons industry brags their weapons systems are field tested – on the Palestinians. Third, the Jewish civilians in Israel proper and in the occupied territories don’t want to know what is happening to the Palestinians. They sip their lattes and life is good. The current rockets from Gaza are a minor distraction.
Perhaps someday, the Zionists will realize what their German counterparts eventually learned: the path to peace and justice is not on the backs of those they oppress. Like the Germans, they will lose.
What about our U.S. soldiers?
SINCE THE ISRAEL/Palestine conflict began on July 8, 2014, we have been overwhelmed by the news outlets with coverage. (For) several days, the picture of a missing Israeli soldier – now deceased – was plastered on every newscast. But this is America, not Israel, although sometimes you can’t see where one begins and the other ends.
How much reporting was done on the conflict U.S. soldiers are still fighting in Afghanistan? There has been no reporting that I can find. So, with that in mind, I would like to notify the reader of the four U.S.A. serviceman who have been killed since our attention has turned to the everyday conflict in Israel. Staff Sgt. Benjamin Prange, age 30, KIA July 24, 2014, hostile fire; Private Keith Williams, age 19, KIA hostile fire July 24, 2014; Private Donnell Hamilton, age 20, non-hostile fire July 24, 2014; and Staff Sgt. Girard Gass, non-hostile fire Aug. 3, 2014. Very few American families have family members in the military. It is very easy for the majority of Americans who have no family members serving in our military to forget the sacrifice that is made by those who do serve.
Honor our soldiers by bringing them home. Honor our soldiers by not forgetting them. Honor them by doing more than saying “thank you for your service.” Instead show your thanks by volunteering at the VA Hospital or with any number of veteran groups. Don’t forget them.