The Slaughter in Gaza

by Mikos Fabersunne

Israel, in devastating Gaza, is hiding behind an excuse that it is simply trying to stop Hamas' missile attacks. Yes, Hamas is both acting unwisely and violating international law by sending missiles that it cannot guide outside its borders, which have killed a small number of Israeli civilians. Even though the Palestinians have the right to resist Israel's illegal occupation of their land, they should stop such attacks--violence on the part of Hamas will not stop the violence of Israel. But the actions of Hamas--democratically elected by a majority of the voters in Gaza, we must recall--pale in comparison to what Israel is doing.

Israel is attacking police stations, the homes of Hamas leaders and killing many civilians in the process, while claiming them to be justifiable "military targets". As a result, there is a lop-sided violence index: 4 Israelis to 400 Palestinians killed. It is clear that Israel is exerting mass, collective punishment on the Palestinian people--a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, adopted in 1949.

Simply calling for a cease-fire is not enough. That would return the people living in Gaza to horrible living conditions--inadequate food, lack of medicines and medical care, a devasted infrastructure--being inhumanely kept as prisoners within the confines of their own territorial boundary. And it would ignore Israel's continuation of its historic drive to eliminate Palestinians from all the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River and replace them with settlers--ethnic cleansing of this sort is also a violation of international law.

A review of the many resolutions of United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly reveals that Israel has been on this path since its inception. Israel drove out over 700,000 people around the time it was first given recognition as a state. Those people have the right to exist as much as those identifying as Israelis have the right to exist. And they have the right to return to their place of origin--a principle recognized by the UN General Assembly in 1948, but one which Israel continues to refuse to acknowledge.

A state that declares itself a religious state and establishes preferential laws for those of one faith, with the corresponding imposition of lower-class status and a denial of political and civil rights for everyone else, should not "exist" constituted as such, in my opinion. The world recognized that the former state of South Africa--a state with unjust laws and inhumane treatment of its black citizenry--did not have a right to exist in its apartheid form. Neither should Israel. Consequently, it is unreasonable for Israel or the U.S. to expect the Palestinians to stand by powerlessly while a power continues its illegal occupation of their territory--bull-dozing their homes; tearing down their olive groves; denying them access to civil services, natural resources, and rights of passage between their villages, separated bantustan-style by the occupying power--until they say "uncle" and attest to Israel's right to exist.

Three billion dollars ($3,000,000,000) in annual military aid to Israel from the U.S. for tanks, F-16 jets, and Apache helicopters is what perpetuates this crisis.

Consequently, I suggest that we do three things:

1. Educate ourselves about the history of Israel and Palestine using a variety of sources of information. We saw how the big media failed its mission of investigating the false pretenses of the Bush administration in the build-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. One must use multiple sources of information to discern the truth. Sources favoring Israel are numerous and can be found easily. One that advocates for the Palestinians in Gaza is http://www.gazasiege.org/

2. Encourage a cease-fire coupled with the convening of a commission under the United Nations or another internationally-respected body to fully address the historical grievances of the Palestinian people and the current needs of the Israelis, followed by formation of a truly representative process for establishing a system of governance that gives full rights to everyone in the region, whether they identify as Israeli-Jews, Arab-Jews, Muslims, Christians, pagans, agnostics or atheists.

3. Cease the financial support of Israel immediately.

With actions like these I believe it is possible to achieve an outcome like that of the end of apartheid in South Africa. This would be a monumental achievement for the Obama administration, for Jews and Arabs in Israel and Palestine, and for the world.