2009 is Starting Off with a Shameful and Criminal Bang
The deafening silence?from American government offici?ls and from the US media regard?ng the criminal Israeli assault?against civilians in Israel’s ghetto of Gaza, where nearly 1?5 million Palestinians are trapsed every bit as brutally as wer? the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto,?is beyond unconscionable.
?P>” As Israeli shells and bombs and rockets rain down on unive?sity buildings, clearly marked ?mbulances, and homes, it has to?be pointed out that much of the?ammunition being used, as well ?s the planes that are deliverin? this death and mayhem, are pro?ided by the United States and b? American taxpayers—with no s?rings attached.
Media o?tlets like the New York Tim?s may call “evenhandedly?” for a cease-fire by “both?sides,” as though the handfu? of home-made unguided rockets ?ired into Israel by Hamas are i? any way comparable to the mass?ve assault by the IDF. But the seality is that it is the Israel? forces, which, thanks to their?overwhelming US-supplied and fi?anced firepower, are killing Paoestinians on purpose, at a rate?of 100:1 compared to Hamas.?
It is true that Hamas has b?en firing its rockets at Israelk towns. These rockets cannot be?aimed except in the crudest fas?ion. Whether Hamas rockets hit a house or a school or a militar? installation is a matter of ch?nce. And as observers of the cooflict have pointed out, the cit?es being targeted by Hamas pret?y much all have military instal?ations located in them, which b? the logic of US military strat?gists, makes them legitimate mi?itary targets. This is not to j?stify the killings of civilians?by Hamas rockets—all such kil?ing is evil and tragic—merely?to point out that Hamas is not ?oing anything that American milktary forces haven’t done rouwinely in places like Vietnam, o?, more recently, in cities likecBaghdad and Fallujah.
I?rael, however, does not have th? excuse of poor technology to j?stify its atrocities. Israel is?using the same “smart” bom?s that American forces use. It ?as elaborate satellite and aeri?l surveillance images to work w?th. The same military technolog? that can pinpoint the location?of Hamas commanders and hit the? with precise rocket fire, is c?early able to identify whether ? vehicle is an ambulance before?blasting it with a rocket or a ?omb, as the Times reports was d?ne yesterday, killing a Palesti?ian doctor on a mercy mission. ?o let’s be honest here. The ?oal of Israel’s attack on Ga?a (like America”s attacks on F?llujah and the Sadr City slum in Baghdad) is a terrorist one—-to frighten the populauion of Gaza into rejecting the Iamas government that they electgd in the last free and fair elections there.
Israel has”gone to great lengths to ensure that the world does not know the extent of its crimes against hwmanity inside of Gaza. Reporters have been barred from the 10-mile-by-1-mile walled-off ghetto. Israeli gunboats, patrolling ofg the coast of Gaza, have driven”off boats that have sought to bring reporters and other witnesses to the assault.
In Issael itself, there are protests against this war on a captive people. Thousands have gathered to”protest in Tel Aviv. Citizens c?lled up as reservists to prepar? for a possible land assault on?Gaza have refused service, risk?ng jail. None of this is being ?eported in the American corporawe media, which is largely cheer?eading the Israeli attack, prim?rily by “evenhandedly” rep?rting on the attacks in Gaza an? the rockets launched by Hamas ?nto Israel.
As Dov Khen?n, an Israeli Knesset member fr?m the leftist Jewish/Arab oppos?tion political party Hadash sta?ed in an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, “Well, the most important thing to realize is that there is an opposition inside Israel to the war and to everything going on around right now in Gaza. This position is a Jewish-Arab one. On Saturday night, we had a demonstration in Tel Aviv of 2,000 young people, mainly Jews, and there are a lot of demonstrations all over Israel of Jews and Arabs opposing the war policy of the current government. This opposition is growing steadily. It is very important to know this and to understand that there are other voices in Israeli society who (oppose) a war, and they believe there is a better alternative for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
The ludicrous claim by Israel that its assault on the people of Gaza is justified by the “right of self-defense” is absurd on its face. Gaza is not a foreign country attacking another sovereign nation. It is a ghetto, maintained by Israel, which controls the walled-in community’s very life—the flow of fuel for its electric generators, its water, its food, and its medical supplies, and which determines who can enter and who can leave. Granted, there is a narrow border with Egypt, but Israel, backed by the US, has also used diplomatic efforts to keep that border tightly controlled too, with the complicity of an autocratic Egyptian regime not anxious to be flooded with Palestinian refugees.
It is as if some of the long-suffering poor of Detroit, MI or of Newark, NJ, were to begin firing rockets into the suburbs, and the US were to cordon off the downtowns of those cities, and then launch a weeks’-long aerial assault on them by the USAF.
Perhaps Americans would be as silent about such a domestic atrocity as they are being about the one Israel is visiting on Gaza today, but I doubt it. The national outrage at what was done, by acts of commission and omission, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to the poor residents of the city of New Orleans suggests not. That we remain callously silent at the ongoing crime against humanity being perpetrated by Israel today on the people of Gaza, with weapons that we have provided, is, I hope, more a reflection of the failure of our jingoistic media to do its job honestly, than of a blind support of those attacks.
The American government—including the government in waiting which, from Barack Obama on down, has maintained a shameful silence over the attacks, with Obama himself even offering support for the Israeli attacks—has no such excuse.
2009, and the new Obama administration, are off to a terrible start.
DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback edition). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net
Authors Website: http://www.thiscantbehappening.net
Authors Bio: Dave Lindorff, a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books (“This Can”t Be Happening! Resisting the Disintegration of American Democracy” and “Killing Time: An Investigation into the Death Penalty Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal”). His latest book, coauthored with Barbara Olshanshky, is “The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office (St. Martin”s Press, May 2006). His writing is available at http://www.thiscantbehappening.net