Voices in the wilderness: Israel’s vengeful response is inhuman and immoral

Let’s make it clear: the death of three Israeli teenagers at the hands of unknown perpetrators is tragic. But let’s ask a biblical question: What would be a reasonable response? An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth? Or is there some other way?

In a web exclusive titled “Israel’s bombing of Gaza is not about Hamas” and published by New Internationalist magazine on 14 July 2014, Ella David writes: “Until the world realizes that military operations in Gaza are about subduing the population into compliance with Israel’s quest to carry on as it pleases, the occupying state will continue killing and oppressing, unabated for decades to come.

The following passages are excepted from the article and deserve serious reflection.

Gaza“Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. The Strip is 25 miles long and four miles wide; there are no sirens to warn people of bombs, no air raid shelters or safe rooms, previous Israeli airstrikes mean many buildings are already unstable, the Strip is undergoing ‘de-development’ and even before the latest attack, hospital supplies were at zero, according to the UN. This time the situation has been exacerbated by Egypt’s refusal to keep the Rafah border crossing open and transfer casualties out of the Strip. Only 10 patients have been allowed to cross the border so far. On 10 July a water pipeline serving 70,000 people was destroyed along with a well that had supplied water to 15,000 people. A sewage plant was badly damaged causing 25 million litres of raw sewage to spill into the sea…

Bombs, shells and naval missiles have fallen on 1.7 million Gazans, on average, every five and a half minutes for the past seven days. Some 512 residential homes in Gaza have been either totally or partially destroyed by Israeli warplanes since 7 July. Thirty-nine schools and six hospitals have been damaged along with 21 mosques.”

“The occupying power’s bombardment of a trapped population constitutes a war crime. Israel has the Iron Dome system to protect its population from rockets – almost perfect after years of being trialled during flare-ups such as this. It boasts one of the world’s most powerful armies and receives millions of US dollars in aid which is spent largely on weaponry…

[American political scientist, activist, professor and author] Norman Finkelstein puts it succinctly: ‘Gaza has no army, air force or navy. Israel is the fourth largest military power in the world. Resistance to occupation is allowed under international law. Israel’s occupation, siege and collective punishment of Gaza is not.’”

“Israel’s oppression of Palestinians doesn’t start and finish with large-scale military operations: ‘normality’ for Gazans is ghetto life, for those in the West Bank, ethnic cleansing and colonization. Rockets or no rockets do not change this. The air, sea and land blockade of Gaza – now supported by Egypt – has gone on for seven long years. And when a ceasefire is implemented, Israel and its supporters will expect a return to the status quo. This is why resistance should not be denounced by those outside liberation movements: resistance in all forms is any oppressed people’s right to shout to the world, ‘we’re still here’ and to demand justice and change.”

Gaza(2)Lone voice? No. People of conscience in the USA have called on President Obama to make ending the occupation and lifting the Gaza siege priorities for US foreign policy in the region. They point out that US military and economic aid to Israel creates a heavy moral obligation for the USA to ensure that its aid is not used in violation of human rights. Affirming that the Palestine / Israel conflict can be resolved by ending Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, they urge the US government to help “stop the current violence and use US influence and diplomatic weight to push for a just peace that will benefit all of the people of the region.”

Anyone have a reasonable alternative point of view?

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