Friday, December 25, 2009
Might Makes Right? The Promised Land?? It's High Time To Dump The Myths And Say Yes To Accountability.
Christmas night a year ago, a lot of Israeli "One Shot Two Kills" gunmen must have been salivating like mad as "Operation Cast Lead" was just about ready to detonate all over Gaza.
The business of obliterating pregnant Palestinian women and a whole lot of other defenseless civilians would go into overdrive once again, but with much more success than the bungled Lebanon invasion in the bloody summer two years earlier.
The Israeli regime was poised to unleash their U.S.-supplied white phosphorus bombs over densely populated civilian areas, roasting children alive with one of the most hideous chemical weapons on earth, that burns right down to the bone and poisons the body.
The Israelis at first lied outright about the use of their white phosphorus bombs, claiming they were not being used at all. But when the irrefutable physical evidence began flowing in, they had to admit it. And then came the Israeli lie-upon-lie: It was only being used to mask troop movements!
Merely masking troop movements. Simultaneously came the wonderful convenience of using it to attack civilians. Which, as the U.N.'s Goldstone Report showed, was yet another sickening, flagrant war crime perfectly suited for prosecution at The Hague.
On the other hand, I suppose the Israeli storm troopers "oops, sorry 'bout that" slaughter of enough civilians gives them a whopping strategic dividend in their might-makes-right "war on terror."
What if, however, she were your daughter, burned like firewood by these ruthless war criminals? Perhaps it's easy to shrug when the young, nameless child is someone else's, thousands of miles away.
But again--what if she was your child?
Gideon Levy is an Israeli journalist for the country's Haaretz newspaper. After 20 years of covering the occupation and all the brutality, he seen enough to be a credible witness to the horror.
"The conclusion," wrote Levy, just after all the bloodletting was finished in the Gaza War, "is that Israel is a violent and dangerous country, devoid of all restraints and blatantly ignoring the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, while not giving a hoot about international law." He later added that Israel simply must "wean itself of the ideology that force is a solution to everything, and that it is the policeman (aka thug) of the Middle East."
Today, on this Christmas day, Levy provided more perspective in his "Twilight Zone" column, about just how horrendous things are for the surviving victims of the Great Middle East Thug, which continues to use its $10 million daily U.S. allowance to slowly strangle the life out of beseiged Gaza.
"Long before Operation Cast Lead," he reflects, "there were unbearable scenes from Gaza. In January 2005, at Shifa Hospital, we met four children who had all lost both of their legs in the appalling shelling of the strawberry fields in Beit Lahia. They were in their wheelchairs facing the window, silently looking out at the world, their gloomy expressions heartbreaking. A year later I met them on crutches, looking just as lost.
In that same shelling, Kamal the farmer and his wife Maryam lost three sons, two nephews and a grandson. Another son lay in Shifa on a respirator, having lost both legs, a hand and an eye. Where is he today? Did he survive? Are there still strawberries in that blood-soaked plot? When we arrived that day, Kamal still thought his surviving son had lost just one leg.
A dozen kids who had gone out on their first day of school vacation to help the farmers pick strawberries were dead, long before the Goldstone report. And the knee-jerk, blood-curdling response of the IDF Spokesman did not even express regret: 'It must be noted that a terrorist cell operated from within a populated Palestinian area. The IDF is investigating the incident.' Blah, blah, blah. The heartlessness is still chilling.
Long before Goldstone, I became attached to little Maria, who lost her brother Mohammed, her mother Na'ima, her grandmother Hanan and her aunt Nahad as a result of a missile strike by an Israeli plane on the Peugeot her father Hamdi had bought that very day. It was the family's first trip in the car. Maria sat on her mother's lap in the back seat singing songs, a moment before it was all over.
For three and a half years, Maria and Hamdi have been living at the Alyn Hospital in Jerusalem, where she has a breathing tube and is permanently paralyzed from the neck down. A sweet girl who feeds a parrot from a spoon she holds in her mouth, operating her sophisticated wheelchair with her chin while her father tends to her with the most profound devotion I've ever seen. Once every six months or so, the Defense Ministry threatens to expel them back to Gaza; once every six months a small group of dedicated Israelis acts to thwart the evil decree.
In recent weeks, Hamdi has sounded more dejected than ever. The first time we met, on the sandy floor of his home in Gaza, he was limping as a result of his own injury and in total shock. That was two days after the tragedy, and he could hardly utter a sound.
Another person dumbstruck by tragedy was the mother of Dam Hamad - a 14-year-old girl killed by a concrete beam that went flying as a result of an Israeli missile strike, as she lay sleeping in the arms of her paralyzed mother. When we arrived at their impoverished home in the Brazil neighborhood of Rafah, the mother was lying, mute, in bed. Dam was her only daughter. We kept driving.
Also struck by tragedy was Islam, the girl in black whom we met on one of our last trips to Gaza, in November 2006. She sat on a stone wall outside the ruins of her home in Beit Hanoun, after losing eight family members, including her mother and grandmother. All told, 22 people were killed in an instant by shells fired into the heart of the neighborhood, because of a malfunction of an electronic chip in the weaponry, according to the IDF Spokesman. And we drove on.
We met beautiful Fatma Barghout, in her 20s, whose breast cancer had spread and who faced inhuman obstacles, placed in her way by Israeli authorities, barring her from lifesaving treatment in Israel. Once she was even sent away from the Erez checkpoint because her prosthetic breast set off the metal detector; explanations and pleading were of no use. By the time she finally obtained an entry permit, it was too late. A few days before she died in Gaza, I took her out for a day of fun: to the Safari in Ramat Gan, Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv and the alleyways of Old Jaffa. She got to see wild animals, green lawns and unarmed Israelis for the first time in her short life.
And there was the Ghazal family, from the Al-Daraj neighborhood, who once invited us to share in their Id al-Fitr feast: two little salted fish, bought with NIS 10, to feed 13 people.
It's as if the heroes of these columns and others are gone with the wind. Who knows which of them is still alive, who has recovered from his tragedy - or who, God forbid, was killed in Operation Cast Lead, one year ago this week? I'll never know. I wasn't able to meet the many victims of the army incursion; we were prevented from telling their story. Gaza is still closed to Israel journalists, and no one cares."
Levy is one of the few voices that are the overdue conscience of Israel. Israeli historian Benny Morris is another. There are too many people, however, that simply do not care. And maybe it's due to their ignorance of history and how all of this tragedy and injustice and bloodshed came to be.
Go back to just before the middle of the last century. Take a good hard look at Palestine's step-by-step descent into hell and find out where the injustice really started--and which side ignited the conflagration that smolders & flames up to this day.
Al Jazeera is one of the most significant names in international broadcasting. It is also obviously an Arab news network. This of course easily provokes Zionist and right-wing voices to denounce it for being inherently biased.
Have a look at Al Jazeera's examination [Part I] of the conflict and decide for yourself. Within the clip, you'll see a shot of Jerusalem's Grand Mufti, with no mention that he had Nazi connections. Al Jazeera should have, and balanced this with the Jewish terrorist Stern Gang's Nazi connections.