By Hasan Afif El-Hasan
It is very troubling and sad that more than 80% of the Israeli public supports, with no reservation, their government’s aggression against the Palestinians that murdered more than 400 children and 300 mothers in Gaza! A vast majority of the Israelis supported their military actions that have been described by the Red Cross, the UN human rights organizations and Amnesty International as war crimes and breaches of the Geneva Convention. These include “bulldozing houses with civilian families inside, killing civilians who were raising white flags attempting to escape the bombed war zone, opening fire on ambulances trying to reach the injured and firing white phosphorus shells and dime bombs on crowded civilian residential areas”. The architects of these massacres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, gained popularity among the Israelis, and some demanded that the military should hit the Palestinians even harder.
The Israelis have become brainwashed sheep dancing to their sadistic and psychopath masters’ biddings, exactly like the Germans who supported the Nazi genocide in Auschwitz and Dachau. The main Israelis’ argument against the Palestinians in Gaza or the West Bank or the refugee camps or in Israel proper is that “the Palestinians are not Jews”, the same like the Nazis’ argument against the Jews that “they were not Germans”. The Israelis’ sense of arrogance and supremacy was expressed by Ehud Barak description of Israel as “a villa in the middle of a jungle”, a civilized nation surrounded by savages (Arabs!).
Israel unleashed and sustained a massive bombing assault from air, sea and ground on Gaza on December 27, 2008. Its military, one of the strongest in the world directed the firepower of its planes, tanks and ships under the mantra of self-defense against a malnourished population of refugees who had been under complete siege since Israel and Egypt sealed off the strip 18 months ago. Its first targets were government and civilian institutions and social welfare and humanitarian infrastructures including police stations, schools, social centers, universities, mosques, clinics, small factories and water and sewage systems. The Israeli Air Force dropped more than 400 bombs in the first few minutes of the assault on Gaza killing more than 400 Palestinians according to the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Then for three weeks it carried out continuous bombardment of the crowded neighborhoods, ambulances while transporting the injured, relief trucks carrying food supplies, UN schools that sheltered some of the war displaced families, a major hospital in Gaza city and the UNRWA compound injuring three of its employees and setting fire to food and fuel while the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon was holding talks in Jerusalem. Israel war machine killed more than 1,300, most of them children and women, injured more than 5,000 and still counting. The Independent newspaper reported more than 4,000 homes had been destroyed completely, some of them on top of their occupants and 20,000 homes seriously damaged. The indiscriminate killing of the Palestinians in the cage that is called Gaza, where people have no where to go and no means to defend themselves, is a mindless tragedy that will make peace less likely to reign in Palestine.
The West studied the holocaust in universities and schools and memorialized it by passing laws and building lavish museums as memorials to the Jewish victims; but the same West has not lifted a finger to stop the atrocities against the Palestinians in Gaza. The West especially the US set no value on Palestinian lives as long as they are slaughtered by Israel. They never accounted for the Palestine’s everyday living situation for the past sixty years; and they had no sense of urgency to stop the massacres today; and the Western media has not reported with due consideration the appalling Israeli war crimes.
After twenty-two days of carnage in Gaza, Israel declared victory and announced unilateral ceasefire while Hamas rockets were still being fired deeper into Israel and the country’s reputation has rarely sunk so far. Then Hamas too declared victory and announced one week ceasefire to give Israel time to withdraw from Gaza while its population were mourning their dead and pulling more dismembered bodies from under the ruins of what used to be their homes and tens of thousands of already impoverished Palestinians homeless. Success in this war should not be measured by the number of people killed and homes destroyed.
Hamas rag tag lightly armed irregulars do not have to win a fight against the F-16 jets, Merkava tanks, gunship and unmanned drones. The thousands of civilian dead and injured victims of Israel’s war machine and the massive destruction of Gaza have overshadowed the Israeli impressive display of its military power. Its strategy was counterproductive; Israel demonstrated the futility of its conviction that the use of its military advantage is the answer to all its problems with its neighbors.
The Israelis have the unwavering US military, political and financial support while it ignored with impunity countless UN resolutions; Europe follows the US commands; the Arab regimes have no credible role beyond lip service and proposals to accommodate the Israelis’ demands; and nothing can be done about that. Mahmoud Abbas and his Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are loved by the Americans and the Israelis. Their government does not fire rockets and its security people help the Israeli military identify and detain Hamas supporters in the West Bank. But after years of negotiations and so many meetings and photo-ops, Abbas has failed to halt construction in a settlement or remove one roadblock in the West Bank.
Never mined the West doesn’t care; Hamas is weakened but not humbled and won’t quit; the Israeli state is the dominant power in the Middle East; and the Arab and Muslim regimes turned irrelevant spectators asking the Palestinians to suffer in silence. The Palestinians will have the images of their burnt and dismembered children by the Zionists’ war machine engraved in their national consciousness and memory for ever. The images of the children and their mothers killed and injured in their beds on the hands of the Israelis will be the battle cry of the Palestinians and demands for vengeance for generations to come. The Israeli atrocities created an environment among the Palestinians that guarantees the resurgence of armed response by surviving victims. The Observer suggests that the “status of Hamas as a preferred vehicle for resistance is enhanced” because of this aggression.
There is really no winner when Gaza is in ruins and the Palestinians everywhere are mourning their dead. But there are big losers: the Israeli people who supported the massacres of the Palestinian children, the international community that suffered from moral collapse by refusing to stop the atrocities against the impoverished besieged people in Gaza and the moderate Arab regimes that lost legitimacy and credibility.
– Born in Nablus, Palestine, Hasan Afif El-Hasan, Ph.D. is a political analyst. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.