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Israel’s Callous Disregard For Civilian Casualties In Gaza Strikes Unacceptable

December 27, 2008

The strikes by Israel were not unexpected, as the rumors were flying for a couple of weeks of such an attack upon Gaza.  The ferocity of the bloodletting however was not something that most anticipated.  While there are always casualties from such military madness, the reports of 200 dead in Gaza this morning is just unacceptable.

The fact that too many long-neglected people (Palestinians) are cramped into a too small geographic area (Gaza) with poverty and unemployment running rampant is not news.  The horrible conditions give an understanding to the political outlets that are chosen by the oppressed to seek redress.  While there are radical and provocative actions by some who live in Gaza, there should be a realization that in this part of the world adding fuel to the flame is not the way to stem the tide of violence, or to foster long term goals for peace.

The horrific attack by Israel as their military flew F-16’s over Gaza that resulted in at least 200 dead including woman and children, and some 700 injured, makes me ill.  Guess which country sells them the weaponry used to kill Palestinians, and then wonder why so much of the Middle East has a hatred of America.

There is no doubt by any clear thinking person anywhere in the world that this action by Israel was excessive, and needs to be utterly and completely condemned.  For far too long the world knows one of the root causes for the chaos and bloodshed in the Middle East.  Israel has set up a country, in part on land it should not have, and has no right to control.

Timidity about calling Israel what it is will not allow for a more clear and reasonable path to the long term goals that the Middle East requires if it is ever to live in peace.  There is a justified reason for Israel to live in peace, but there is just as compelling a reason for the Palestinians to also have unfettered access to the dreams of a homeland too.

The warring action of Israel undermines their self-spun  idea that somehow they are more noble and rationale in that region of the world.  In fact, they have demonstrated again that they are no better than those who they consider to be terrorists.

Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi, speaking from Ramallah in the West Bank, accused Israel of ignoring the terms of the tenuous six-month cease-fire that expired a week ago.

“This is certainly a very cruel escalation, a relentless bombardment of a captive civilian population that has already been under siege for months, that has been deprived of basic requirements like food and medicines and fuel and power,” she said.

The Arab League scheduled an emergency meeting in Cairo, Egypt, at 7 p.m. (noon ET) Sunday to discuss the outbreak of violence.

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe called on Hamas to cease its rocket attacks on Israel and urged Israel “to avoid civilian casualties as it targets Hamas in Gaza.”

A statement from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Israeli aircraft attacked “a series of Hamas targets and infrastructure facilities.”

“The Air Force activity came as a result of the continuation of terror activity by Hamas terror organization from the Gaza Strip, and the duration of rocket launching and targeting Israeli civilians,” the IDF statement said.

Video showed severely wounded people being loaded into cars and driven to hospitals.

Inside one Gaza hospital, doctors appeared overwhelmed; the floors were covered with wounded men and some children.

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  1. pam phillips permalink
    December 29, 2008 8:26 AM

    Do you live on a day to day basis in Israel? It’s easy for you to sit at your computer in America and pontificate about a situation that you obviously know very little about. How would you like to live in constant fear that you or your children will be killed by the constant rockets that are fired into Israel by the terrorist group Hamas? The poster who noted that you do not report on the slaughter of innocent Israeli civilians by Palestinian suicide bombers is correct. Where are those stories? You claim the Israel is built on land that it should not be? Where is your outcry for the American Indians who were slaughtered in order to procure the very land that YOUR country sits upon today? Those very Indians still live today on reservations under dire conditions. Why don’t you face what your own country has done and is still doing to this day? Your country and mine, the United States of America, has used excessive force against civilians on our own soil, in Vietnam, Cambodia, etc, etc, etc. Are you sick about that too?

  2. arron permalink
    December 29, 2008 12:17 AM

    I write from London, and though stumbling on your post proved a delight, I do wonder what is wrong with America in light of this action in Gaza.

    Let’s be crystal clear. Israel’s massive attacks on Gaza today have one overarching goal: conflict management. How to end rocket attacks on Israel from a besieged and starving Gaza without ending the impetus for those attacks, 41 years of increasingly oppressive Israeli Occupation without a hint that a sovereign and viable Palestinian state will ever emerge.

    Indeed, the Occupation, in which Israel controls Gaza under a violent siege which violates fundamental human rights and international law, is not even mentioned in Israel’s PR campaign. Speaking to the international community, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni insists that no country would tolerate its citizens being attacked, a seemingly reasonable statement were it not for Israeli sanctions on Gaza supported by the US and Europe – sanctions that preceded the rocket fire on Israel – or the fact of Israeli Occupation in general. Solely focusing on the rocket attacks conceals the political policy that led to them.

    There is need, as you write on your blog, for leadership. I fear none is to be had from your present leaders. One prays that will change soon.

  3. Dan permalink
    December 28, 2008 8:34 PM

    I’m trying to recall, have you ever blogged against the murder of innocent Israelis by Palestinian terrorists? I know that I can always count on you to blog against Israel fighting Palestinian terrorism! (-:

  4. December 28, 2008 10:58 AM

    @CR: What is “justice” for the Palestinians? A return to their “ancestral homes” (never mind that the Jews have a claim to the land that goes back 2,000+ years)?

    I am sorry for your family’s loss. So is Israel. Barak offered compensation at Camp David back in 2000. We all know what Arafat did with that offer.

    The reality is that Israel is never going to grant right of return. That is just the way it is. No amount of bloodshed is going to change that. To be able to return, Palestinians will have to take it by force. Is that really going to happen?

    It’s been 60 years. When do the Palestinians start to work towards creating a functional society? It’s happening in the West Bank, why can’t it happen in Gaza? Hasn’t enough blood been spilled? The Israelis will sit down to negotiate tomorrow with anyone who can deliver real peace.

  5. December 28, 2008 7:26 AM

    See Jerusalem Post’s details of the strikes on Gaza:

    On 27 December at 11:30 a.m., more than 50 Israeli Air Force fighter jets and attack helicopters swept into Gazan airspace and dropped more than 100 bombs on 50 targets. The planes reported “alpha hits,” IAF lingo for direct hits on the targets, which included Hamas headquarters and offices. Thirty minutes later, a second wave of 60 jets and helicopters struck at 60 targets.

    A commentator on Israeli Broadcasting Agency, Ra’anan Gissin, reminded that “in an asymmetrical war you need to change the rules of the game by using asymmetrical means” with endurance and courage.

    For the outgoing Bush administration, this will be just an annoying aberration from their vacations but they will nevertheless encourage Olmert on his righteous, calculated and effective actions protecting Sdeort by ruining Gaza.

    For the incoming Obama administration, this welcome note will stage the set to cloud the atmosphere so that to timely dampen the Democrats administration’s potential plans to play any meaningful role to mediate for lasting peace in the Middle East.

    The Gaza strikes could come at no better time as post-Christmas and pre-New Year present to Israeli voters from politicans competing to show more “toughness.”

  6. Ted permalink
    December 27, 2008 11:49 PM

    Of 240 killed FIFTEEN are civilians… this article seems to imply ALL are civilians. The rocket attacks are an act of war and the israeli response both appropriate and reasonable. No sovereign state will allow its citizens to be attacked by rockets from the elected government. Be reasonable.

  7. reformislam permalink
    December 27, 2008 10:02 PM

    Hypocrisy in Action:
    Where were Egypt, Russia, OIC, EU, Britain, Sarkozy, US & Austria when Hamas was pounding Israel with daily barrage of rockets?

  8. December 27, 2008 5:30 PM

    Thanks for this post.

    It’s not like Israel only just started killing Palestinians when Hamas was elected. There was no “Hamas” when the Haganah chased my father’s family out of their ancestral home in Sara. Nobody talks about the Israeli raids into the West Bank because it does not fit into the rubric of punishing the Palestinians for their democratic choice!

    And I am so sure that the press went through and examined every single body blown up today to make sure they were all “security men.”

    There will be no peace without justice for the Palestinians.

  9. Pete permalink
    December 27, 2008 5:10 PM

    When anyone refuses to respond to Israeli violence against Palestine without immediately trumpeting about Israel has the right to “defend itself,” you completely ignore the immense power imbalance that exists between Palestine and Israel, the aggression and oppression that Palestinians experience on a daily basis at the hands of Israel, and the tremendous difference in the levels of death, destruction, and disempowerment that each population faces. Yes, no civilians should die be they Israeli or Palestinian, but to ignore the numbers and the power differences at play is disingenuous and grants the oppressor even more power over the oppressed.

  10. December 27, 2008 5:00 PM

    I respectfully disagree with pretty much everything you’ve written here.

    1. Most of the casualties were Hamas. No one is disputing this.

    2. Any civilian casualties caused can be directly attributed to Hamas’ predisposition to place their infrastructure in the middle of civilian areas. We’ve seen this in all recent conflicts in the area – missiles are often stored in apartment building, trotted out into the courtyard to be fired at civilian targets in Israel.

    3. Hamas displays mind-boggling cynicism by placing legitimate military targets in these civilian areas, then acting with outrage and press conferences when Israel strikes them. Hamas, and most of their Palestinian terror comrades, attempt to sway world opinion at the deliberate cost of their constituency’s lives and property.

    I grieve for the Palestian civilian population. They have been led to ruin by pretty much everyone who has ever claimed to care for them. Their “leadership” has done nothing to improve their lot in life, has continued to delude them with the fiction of return to their pre-1948 life while ignoring the fact this will never happen, and has shown no interest in developing a Palestinian society in the territories Israel has ceded to them.

    Israel wants to live in peace. There is no indication, now or in the past, the Palestinian leaders want the same. If the average Palestinian wants peace, why do they elect Hamas, who has clearly stated time and time again they will not negotiate?

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