By Tariq A. Al-Maeena – Jeddah
A reader last week objected to my references of a ‘holocaust’ in this latest atrocity being carried out by the Israelis against civilians in Gaza, and specifically targeting children. May I remind the reader and other skeptics that this word is no longer exclusive to crimes of the past?
Cambridge Dictionary defines holocaust as “a very large amount of destruction, especially by fire or heat, or the killing of very large numbers of people” a situation that is currently in full force against Palestinians in Gaza.
Palestinians are being killed like insects not because of Hamas or because of Qaseem rockets or hand-thrown rocks. Palestinians burn and bleed because they are the non-Jewish natives of that land. There is no other reason. Just like Jews in the past were killed for being Jewish. Palestinians today are killed for being the Muslims and Christians who hold historic, legal and even genetic title to that land.
What have Palestinians done to deserve such a fate? To be endlessly hunted and treated like animals? To have their homes demolished, their ancient history and heritage cast into forgotten space? To languish in refugee camps and slums, while Jews from all corners of the earth flock to fill their confiscated homes and farms? To be tortured, imprisoned, and denied in every inhumane way?
Israel should face charges for War Crimes as bluntly stated by Professor Marjorie Cohn, President of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. Writing in "Israel’s Collective Punishment of Gaza", she cites four specific violations carried out by the Israelis:
‘Israel’s air and ground attack in Gaza violates Geneva in four ways.
-First, it constitutes collective punishment of the entire population in Gaza for the acts of a few militants.
-Second, it targets civilians, as evidenced by the large numbers of civilian casualties.
-Third, it is a disproportionate response to the rockets fired into Israel.
-Fourth, an occupying power has an obligation to ensure food and medical supplies to the occupied population; Israel’s blockade has created a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.’
UN Relief workers discovered four starving children sitting next to their dead mothers and other corpses in a house in a part of Gaza City bombed by Israeli forces, as reported by the Red Cross. Scores of other such horrific circumstances litter the Gaza landscape. How long can the world and specifically the US pretend that Israel is a civilized nation, immune from censure for their on-going butchery?
The NY Times reported that, “International aid groups lashed out at Israel on Thursday over the war in Gaza, saying that access to civilians in need is poor, relief workers are being hurt and killed, and Israel is woefully neglecting its obligations to Palestinians who are trapped, some among rotting corpses in a nightmarish landscape of deprivation.”
If Americans do wonder why the rest of the world detests US foreign policy and is accused as an implicit partner in this holocaust, then they should not look any further than the recent headlines: ‘US rejects Arab bloc’s ceasefire proposal.’ The US had objected to the proposal, which demanded an “immediate and permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip”, the lifting of Israel’s border blockade and the establishment of an international force to monitor the truce. Ever wonder the motive?
While the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, publicly condemned the Israeli attacks that had caused the deaths of four UNRWA workers, together with shelling a UN-run school that killed 40 people including many children earlier last week, and there are mass demonstrations in all parts of the world including Israel against this mass slaughter, US President Bush okayed the green light to the Israelis to invade Gaza with tanks and artillery.
In his weekly radio address, Bush held Hamas responsible for the latest violence, and proclaimed that ‘no peace deal would be acceptable without tougher action to prevent Hamas and other groups from receiving weapons’. Why? So that they could be sitting ducks? No mention of the carnage of civilians was brought up. And sure enough, barely hours after he spoke, on January 3, US supplied Israeli tanks rolled into the Gaza Strip.
A human being with no remorse and a perverted demolisher, he must have analyzed the vast wreckage around him at the end of his presidency strewn with colossal foreign policy failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, and decided to go out in full fanfare – this time in Gaza.
Several years ago, he lied to the world about weapons of mass destruction to gather support for his illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq. A few days ago, Israel employed a barely more credible excuse, the rockets as justification for its own barbaric shock and awe in Gaza.
While millions of Americans face home foreclosures, health care uncertainties, job and pension losses, none of these crises currently threaten the flow of their tax dollars to Israel’s war machine. It is their money that buys F-16 jets made by Lockheed Martin to drop bombs on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Indeed, the world is wondering where the spirit of America has evaporated so quickly to, the very spirit that brought the first black President to the White House recently? Why the silence and subjugation to a government that falls nothing short of aiding and abetting a holocaust?
– Tariq A. Al-Maeena is a Saudi socio/political commentator. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.