Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Review of Gazan Horror

America, wake up


By John Mayfield
Published: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 12:01 PM CST, The Tribune, Ames
The Israeli government’s slaughter of the people in Gaza that has gone on, as of this writing, more than 19 days is a human-made catastrophe of apocalyptical proportions. Life in Gaza has become hell on Earth.

When we hear that 4,000 plus people have been injured, this does not mean scratches or bruises. It means children, women and men forced to have amputations. We receive photos of people sliced open with shrapnel or burned in the horrible way phosphorus sears right down to the bone.

We read physicians’ accounts of patients faced with long-term suffering because Israeli explosives are a new kind of slow-killing machines: Dense Inert Metal Explosives or depleted uranium shelling that leads to cancer and slow, painful deaths. All the while, Israel claims it is not targeting civilians; that destruction of Hamas is their goal and their right, regardless of the consequences.

There are those in Israel and here in America who object to this justification not only because it is a moral outrage against a helpless people, or even that Israel is destroying itself in this tragic bargain with evil, but because the rationale is a lie. Israeli and Jewish writers continue to tell us with amazing consistency that this bombardment to stop ineffectual rockets of rebellion is just a cover for the real reason behind the onslaught.

Jewish writers tell us that it is a result of Israel’s determination to never, ever allow a Palestinian state to exist and to set the stage for perpetual war in the Middle East. You may not have heard of these writers, but they are world famous and they are all saying the same thing, this killing is about the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people, an act that ironically, cannot fail to unite those who would continue violence rather than end it.

Uri Avnery, Tom Segev, Ilan Pappe, Gideon Levy, Amira Hass beg us to understand what’s behind the carnage. They are Jewish, they are Israeli, and they have watched first hand as this battle has evolved. Foreign corresponds who join this chorus include Chris Hedges, Robert Fisk, Justin Raimondo, Tony Karon and Joe Klein.

American Jews of conscience who take more heat from Zionists in America than others are Harvard’s Sara Roy, MIT’s Noam Chomsky, NYU’s Tony Judt, The Nation Magazine’s Naomi Klein and Henry Siegman, Wisconsin’s Jennifer Lowenstein, Chicago’s Norman Finkelstein and the UN’s Richard Falk. If these people of international stature are willing to put themselves and their careers on the line to stop Israel’s slaughter, where are the rest of us?


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The 85-year-old Israeli writer, Uri Avnery, a veteran of the Israeli fight for independence, tells us that Israel’s idea that “the state must defend it’s citizens” is a “ridiculous propaganda device” since Israel is the occupier and oppressor not the occupied and oppressed.

Why should Israelis be safe, but millions of Palestinians whose lives are controlled by Israel face unimaginable danger and starvation every day of their lives?

The idea that Israel has to defend itself against a hapless people, he tells us, “has been accepted as the whole truth” He adds, however, “War, every war, is a realm of lies.” “The trouble is that propaganda is most convincing for the propagandist himself.”

The government can no longer see the truth. Few mention that the Qassams are retaliation for a two-year Israeli siege that has caused a man made human rights disaster for the million and a half inhabitants of the Gaza Strip.

That Hamas held a two-year truce and for this received nothing from Israel but closed borders, continued incursions, killings and under-reported bombings, indicates the problem is not a one-sided issue. Do not the Palestinians and their elected Hamas government have a right to defend themselves?


For those who are indifferent to this horror, consider this: Whatever happens, even if the current violence ends without a single Hamas defender standing, Hamas wins. They win in the eyes of the downtrodden whether they survive or not.

Writer Chris Hedges explains, “Hamas cannot lose this conflict.” Israel, he tells us, “is delivering a package of facts for the world to see, truckloads of maimed and dead.”

We cannot look away forever. The reality show comes in waves of truth that no lie can vanquish. Says Hedges, “Hamas fighters, armed with little more than light weapons, a few rockets and small mortars, are battling one of the most sophisticated military machines on the planet ... The Israeli assault, by destroying Hamas as an [elected] governing force, has opened a Pandora’s box of ills. Life will become a nightmare for most Palestinians and, in the years ahead, for most Israelis.”

America can stop the insanity. Why don’t we?

John Mayfield


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