By now, most
of the world is aware of the horrific news of death and destruction
that has been visited upon the people of Gaza. Millions have watched in utter shock the footage depicting Israel’s
indiscriminate and disproportionate bombing of Gaza.
This brutal military campaign
that already took the lives of over 300 people, including children
of all ages and women, and injured over 1000 people is likely to
continue as the so-called international law can neither stop Israel
nor could hold it accountable. Certainly not in its current arrangement!
For decades there was a widely
accepted international norm that kept the word “oppression” out
of anything written or spoken about the state of Israel.
The exception being: when the combination was used to describe the
historical suffering of the Jewish people. All others were immediately
dismissed as Anti-Semitic assertion or expression.
This unique and profoundly privileged
status was made possible by a number of factors. Chief among them,
of course, is the U.S. foreign policy toward Israel; a policy that,
over the years, not only has provided absolute and unquestioning
support, but also billions of the U.S. taxpayers’ dollars to beef-up
the Israeli military.
By all objective accounts, what
has taken place and continues to make life unbearable for the people
of Gaza constitutes war crimes.
his latest article in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz titled,
“The Neighborhood Bully Strikes Again,” Gideon Levy, one of Israel’s
journalistic voices of conscience writes this: “Once again, Israel’s
violent responses, even if there is justification for them, exceed
all proportion and cross every red line of humaneness, morality,
international law and wisdom.”
Levy reinforces his charges
with blatant honesty by writing “What began (Saturday) in Gaza
is a war crime and the foolishness of a country. History’s bitter
irony: A government that went to a futile war two months after its
establishment (Lebanon)…embarks on another
doomed war two months before the end of its term.”
The question that begs moral
and ethical evaluation is: do oppressed people who are denied their
basic human rights, who are kept under inhumane economic strangulation,
whose homes are routinely demolished and their lands confiscated…have
the right to defend themselves?
Meanwhile, what if the impetus
of the current deadly military campaign against the Palestinian
people had little or nothing to do with these over-sensationalized
rockets? What if it was staged to attain a political end?
“Indeed, this is another voluntary
war by Israel, and seems to be motivated more by dishonored Israeli
Prime Minister Olmert and Defense Minister Barak’s desire to not
leave office without somehow erasing the memory of their failed
Lebanon invasion two years ago…,” comments Rabbi Michael Lerner
in reaction to the Gaza massacre. In
addition to this motive, the current brutal overreaction is intended
to provoke Iran into a
Whether or not President-elect
Barack Obama will bring fresh ideas that can pave the way for lasting
peace between Israel and Palestine
is yet to be seen. However, if his position expressed during his
visi t to Israel last summer is any
indication, he is likely to continue business as usual with perhaps
a slight difference in style.
Obama said what resembled the
sound-bite mantra of the Israeli leadership to justify any heavy-handed
actions against the Palestinians. He said he did not think “…any
country would find it acceptable to have missiles raining down on
the heads of their citizens.”
The Israeli / Palestinian conflict
is the most stubborn and indeed the most volatile political dilemma
facing the world. Today, as in its inception over sixty years ago,
the victims are denied their day in court. The
cruelly caged, oppressed people of Palestine
have a story to tell in the court of history…if only history would
lend them the opportunity to be heard.
The saga of the oppression suffered
by the people of Palestine does not begin with “…we became under
rocket attack and we reacted accordingly,” unless, of course, the
narrative is controlled by the oppressor.
Now that Israel
is one of the mightiest military powers on the face of the earth;
now that it has routinely been exercising that power without sense
of proportionality and restraint and thus putting world security
at a greater risk, it is high time to hold it accountable.
It is about time the state of
Israel is pressured to comply with the Geneva
Conventions or be dealt with as a rogue state.
BlackCommentator.com Guest Commentator, Abukar Arman, is a freelance writer
whose articles and analyses have appeared in the pages of various
media groups and think tanks. Click here
to contact Abukar Arman.