By Aijaz Zaka Syed – Dubai
We have entered the third week of Israel’s war on Gaza. Pundits have said whatever needed to be said from the comfort and safety of their cocoons. In fact, we have all begun repeating ourselves as we struggle to capture the magnitude of the man-made tragedy that Gaza is over and over again.
Hundreds of millions of agitated people have been on the streets worldwide for days — from Los Angeles to London and from Cairo to Kuala Lumpur — pleading with Israel to spare the people who have, God knows, suffered enough.
But that doesn’t seem to have made any difference to the great State of Israel founded for and by the people who call themselves descendants of prophets and inheritors of divine scriptures.
Israel continues to kill, kill and kill…like a killing machine without batting an eyelid and without the slightest hint of mercy or sympathy for its victims.
More than a thousand people have been killed in full view of the international community and the civilized world routinely goes about its business.
As if nothing has happened…as if it’s perfectly normal for an all-powerful military power with a pile of nukes and other weapons of mass destruction at its disposal to take on unarmed civilians including women and children who can’t even fight pangs of hunger let alone fight a brute military power!
It took Arab and European states more than two weeks to get a worthless resolution passed by the UN that finally asked Israel to please call back its valiant forces from Gaza. And if the world expected the Zionist state to run for its life, it would have been disappointed.
Let alone respond to and act on the UN call, Israel didn’t so much as acknowledge it. In doing so it has once again driven home the message that in its view the UN resolution isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.
After all, what have so many other resolutions in the past done to rein in Israel? Not to mention 40 others that Israel’s patron saint America has vetoed since after the 1967 War!
Talking of America, watching the US-based television networks and reading US publications is a sobering experience. For the majority of Americans, Gaza is a completely different war and different story.
According to their narrative, the homeless, starving and all the time dying Palestinians are not the victims here. It’s the other way round. The poor, democratic and God-fearing Israel is surrounded by the bloodthirsty Arabs and Muslim terrorist states that are out to obliterate God’s own country from the map.
Even if some liberal and balanced newspapers at times manage to report this completely one-sided war on the Palestinians and their suffering, they bend over backwards to ‘balance’ their coverage by splashing stories and images of horrified Israeli ‘victims’ of Hamas rockets.
I mean how do you ‘balance’ this endless parade of dead children with that of people getting all worked up expecting rockets that are little more than firecrackers?
This is no defense of Hamas rockets. In fact, I believe they haven’t exactly helped Palestinians.
But what do you expect from a community that has spent the last 60 plus years under a punishing occupation and without justice or promise of justice from the international community. They do not see even a glimmer of hope for their children.
Even if you accept Israel’s fiction that Hamas rockets are to blame for this war, is there any sense and justification for its utterly, utterly disproportionate and asymmetrical response? It’s like using a battle tank to kill a fly!
This willful suspension of belief and disconnect with what is really going on in the Middle East and what Israel’s friends choose to believe is not limited to the US media. From Republican conservatives to Democratic liberals, everyone appears to live on a different planet when it comes to Palestine-Israel conflict.
This past week the US Congress passed a resolution backing Israel’s war on Gaza and its right to ‘defend itself against Hamas terror’. The resolution was passed by an overwhelming majority, and followed a similar, unanimous Senate motion, passed on Thursday.
The House resolution was passed by 390-5. That is, against 390 supporting the war on Gaza that has killed nearly a thousand innocents, nearly 400 of them children, only five were opposed to the aggression.
Lawmaker after US lawmaker sang hosannas to Israel. No mention of hundreds of Palestinian children who were too young to know why they were being killed. No reference to the total devastation and destruction that Israel has unleashed on Gaza.
And out of five who opposed the motion, moved jointly by Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican House majority leader John Boehner (R), only Congressman Ron Paul had the courage to confront Israel for its crimes against humanity. Ron Paul, the lone Republican Congressman who unsuccessfully ran for presidential nomination last year, tried to hold a mirror to the powers that be in the US by pointing out the US is aiding and abetting Israel in Gaza through its financial and military support. "The weapons being used to kill Palestinians are American weapons, and American funds are being used for this," said the congressman.
Unfortunately though, when it comes to Israel, conscientious voices like those of Ron Paul might have as well been raised in wilderness.
And this is not the first time the US lawmakers have taken the side of a ruthless bully against a long wronged underdog. The House has passed similar measures expressing America’s loyalty to Israel in recent years by landslides.
In 2006, the House voted 410-8 to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah for "unprovoked and reprehensible armed attacks against Israel" and supported Israel’s invasion and destruction of Lebanon. In 2004, the vote was 407-9 to support a statement by Bush that it was "unrealistic" to expect Israel to return to pre-1967 borders. In 2003 again, it was 399-5 to back another devastating crackdown on Palestinians.
What explains this? Why’s the Palestinian blood so cheap in American eyes? How long will the US remain a hostage of cutthroat manipulators and moneybags? How can a country that calls itself land of the free and claims to champion freedom, justice and human rights be so blind and so callous to persecution of Palestinians? In Bob Dylan’s words, how many times can you turn your head and pretend you don’t see?
America has to open its eyes to the Palestinian Holocaust before it’s too late. Israel’s dance of death in Gaza is sowing seeds of all-consuming hatred and strife around the world. If the US and the West do not act now, they will all reap this harvest of hatred.
-Aijaz Zaka Syed is Opinion Editor of Khaleej Times. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.