Monday, January 12, 2009

Not a Just War...just war...

An Unnecessary War is how Jimmy Carter refers to what's happening between Israel and Gaza on this little piece of the world's real estate. He calls the now 15-day old war the "devastating invasion of Gaza by Israel" and says it "could easily have been avoided." He also calls Israel out as the bully who threw the first swing in this melee - on November 4. Still, on the day former President Carter's piece was published in the Washington Post, the US Senate voted unanimously - by voice vote - to "recognize Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States' strong support for Israel, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process." The House passed the resolution the next day, with 90% of our elected representatives voting yes on the measure. Only 5 voted no. Sigh. Just when I thought we were putting on a kinder, gentler face for the world... Apparently there are only 5 of us showing our compassionate side on the international scene. Six if you count President Carter. Who, I ask you, could call Israel's self-proclaimed "iron fist" against Gaza a fair defense? Two weeks into this fight the death toll is reported at 810 Palestinians (mostly civilians), 12 Israelis (soldiers). What, does anyone know, is "the Israeli-Palestinian peace process" our government so firmly supports? Starve, dehydrate, and bomb Palestinians until they scream uncle? Human rights workers in Gaza (Amnesty International, Save the Children, Care International) say the humanitarian situation there is at its worst since 1967. They call Israel's blockade of international relief deliveries, and the destructive raids on civilian areas "illegal collective punishment." Israel says its military action and "other measures" are lawful and needed to stop rocket attacks from Gaza. Apparently the US Congress agrees with Israel. Today, I have read the diary of Hatem Shurrab, a relief worker in Gaza. Hatem says, I sometimes wonder if there will be enough space to bury the dead, as he writes of his personal losses over the last two weeks and the despair that is beginning to overwhelm everyone in Gaza. In one entry, as he attempts to describe in detail the death and destruction he's witnessed, he stops and writes this: I don't think there are any words in the dictionary that can accurately capture what's happening here. Only one: war.

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