Quid Rides? De te Fabula Narratur

What are you laughing at? The joke's on you.

Criminal Actions

Posted by Anthony on January 20, 2009

By Anthony J. Aschettino

Over the majority of the last month, Israel has been waging a relentless war against the forces of Hamas in the Gaza strip in an effort to stop rocket attacks on Israeli citizens being fired from the territory. Defenders of the invasion cite the right of any sovereign state to protect its own people, while those who would criticize it point out the disproportionate response by the Israelis given the real effect of the rockets versus their overwhelming countering offensive.

In the first place, let there be no confusion about the nefarious actions of Hamas: it is an organization dedicated to the eradication of Israel as an entity and has sponsored numerous acts defined internationally as terrorist. Although popularly elected in Gaza, their subsequent actions against Fatah supporters showed a genuine desire to eliminate democracy by removing any challenge to their power. In any case, their election was more a show of disgust with Fatah corruption and ineptness in governance than a real vote of confidence for Hamas and their policy.

That having been said, the Israeli response is not only completely disproportionate but also cynically timed and quite possibly criminal. Make no mistake about it, the Israelis have chosen to take action now because of a forthcoming election in which certain members of the government are trying to show that they are “tough” on security related issues. Hamas has long been lobbing missiles across the border, and there is no reason why Israel could not (and should not) have taken action prior to this current show of strength.

Israel has shown contempt for international law not only by denying humanitarian aid, with precious few exceptions, but also by the use of white phosphorous, a particularly nasty substance that essentially causes a human being to melt away upon contact, against civilian targets. She is perhaps the only country in the world today outside of the major powers (the United States, Russia, China, and India) who can act with such impunity and blatant disregard towards the international community. Indeed, so long as the United States refuses to order a halt to her campaign there is really nothing that can or will stop Israel from pursuing her objectives in Gaza regardless of the cost in human life and property.

Just as troubling is the effort by Israel to keep reporters out of the war zone by banning foreign ones and apparently targeting indigenous Palestinian ones. The need for a media presence is extremely critical, especially given the rampant allegations being hurled back and forth by both parties, in order to independently verify any such accusations. Without a media presence there is every possibility, especially now that Israel has decided to engage in urban warfare with Hamas fighters based out of Gaza City, that atrocities may well be committed by both sides. A media presence would act to restrain the forces as anything resembling a massacre or deliberate target of civilian lives would be immediately broadcast to the world and serve as a confirmation of the guilty party’s actions.

Sadly there is not much that can be done to bring an end to this particular episode of the ongoing saga in Palestine. A toothless United Nations, its own properties subjected to Israeli attacks, is left tabling resolutions that will never pass muster with the United States while its Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, is left pleading to the wind for an immediate ceasefire. The fact that the outgoing Bush regime has allowed this invasion to occur and not done anything at all to ease the plight of the countless innocent civilian lives being swallowed up by the Israeli war machine is a fitting coda to its legacy as the worst administration the United States has ever suffered.

There are wrongs here on both sides: the militant Islamic underpinnings of Hamas present a definite roadblock towards any hopes for normalization between the Palestinian people and Israel, and the sooner the Palestinian people throw them out of office the better for all involved. Israel, though, is using the proverbial sledgehammer to take out a mosquito and in doing so is wreaking havoc on a people who have already suffered tremendously due to an embargo that has brought the economy and life vibrancy of Gaza to a standstill. Over one-thousand Palestinians have been killed so far: one can only wonder how many more will have to die before the Israelis have decided that their blood-money has been remunerated in full.

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