Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gaza Update

The body count in Gaza has climbed to 348 Palestinians and 4 Israelis.

Israel has rejected international attempts at truce.

Israeli officials said the military blitz against Hamas targets is just the "first of several stages" of military action.

Medical officials in Gaza have also put the number of wounded at about 800. Considering the lack of medical supplies that are allowed to enter Gaza, which is little better than a walled in prison, those wounded are unlikely to survive.


What crime have these people committed that they deserve being dehumanized like this? Voting for Hamas? little light makes a point about this particular argument that I find difficult to disagree with:

Tell me what you would do! Tell me! Who do you believe, who do you listen to, who do you rely on? You are walled into a prison with guns pointed at you all the time. Food is not allowed in, fuel is not allowed in, medical supplies are not allowed in. You lose count of family members violently dead or maimed. Your schools and hospitals and places of worship are destroyed, your neighborhood is full of rubble with few buildings intact, and you cannot expect to live to thirty. And you don't know any of the people on the other side of that wall.

Who do you listen to as a reliable source? The guys with the guns pointed at you, who took the food away and tell you you deserve to have nothing, but who the outside world tells you are decent folks acting justly? Or the people you're told are evil scumbags, but who provide you food, medicine, a little pride, a little order, and the promise to fight for you? Who among you, looking at your hungry, sick child, is going to listen to the person telling you that you shouldn't be allowed to care for them over the person handing you bread and antibiotics and a little civil infrastructure? Do you listen to the asshole who gives you food, or the asshole who takes it away? When you have nothing, no dignity, no hope, when you've got nothing to lose, who do you listen to? What do you think you would do differently? Do you honestly think that, with a gun pointed at your family, you wouldn't be grateful for even a vile human being who tells you you don't deserve it and points a weapon right back?

I don't think I'm that saint. I don't think you're that saint. You want to say you'd know better?

I really don't care what anyone says. Inflicting this level of suffering on a group of people with as few resources as the Palestinians in Gaza have is NOT justifiable. Inflicting this kind of suffering on any group of people is NOT justifiable.

I have heard argument after argument that the Palestinians started it and therefore deserve this. Bullshit. The Palestinians are living in some of the most resource deprived, most densely populated places in the world. There are people who have been living in refugee camps for half a fucking decade. They get angry and toss some rickety rockets over the wall at the people making their lives hell, and we rush to justify their oppressors sending one of the most well-funded and equipped militaries in the world back at them.

Living in fear because your government insists on treating another group of human beings like animals DOES NOT justify the taking of lives, especially on this scale.

To add a disclaimer: No, I do not think that the violence perpetrated by Hamas is right, as it clearly leads to continuing the cycle of violence. However, Israel has the power to stop these cycles before they start, and the Palestinians do not.

To quote Melissa McEwan over at Shakesville, "...sometimes, at a certain point, being right becomes less important than doing the right thing."

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:08 PM

    Yep. I feel quite similarly. The Israeli government has no moral mandate to kill Palestinians indiscriminately.

    The US is extremely involved in these goings on- weaponry used on both sides was funded by us. What do we have to gain by humiliating the Gaza Palestinian civilians? Are they suddenly going to love Israel and hate Hamas? This will only harden the resolve of violent radicals, and turn more moderates into radicals.

    No one wins. But lots of Palestinians die.