Gaza Redux

Gaza Redux

It’s only the blood of children

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 19, 2012

 “Our enemy is drowning in the blood of [our] children.”

That statement, delivered by Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, sums up the utter futility and madness of the conflict in the Gaza zone over the past week.

Juan Cole, speaking in a different context, wrote, “Images of dead babies would inflame the Muslim world and cause huge headaches for the US.” The heartlessness inherent in that statement isn’t Cole’s; he was describing how the civilian casualties expected would raise the political stakes and make a general war in the region more likely.

Both, however, touch on the deepest tragedy of this conflict. It’s mostly men, women and children who are non-combatants, who are dying. When the media report that Israel is making surgical strikes, they’re lying through their goddamn teeth. These are flying bombs, landing in densely-populated areas nearly at random. And there is no real equivalency here: The rockets that some shadowy figures in Gaza fire into Israel are little more than toys, a statement born out by the low Israeli casualties.

Netanyahu claims the latest assault by Israel was provoked by these rocket attacks, and most likely Netanyahu is lying. He’s defensive in the wake of the American election, where he put his bets on Romney, all but anointing the cold little plutocrat the new American president without waiting for the formality of a vote, and becoming more and more derisive and disrespectful to Barack Obama. Like most fascists, he was convinced the Republicans had the White House in the bag, regardless of what the American people wanted.

And Israel has an election of their own coming up, and Netanyahu has to slaughter some Palestinian children in order to keep his standing with his Likud supporters, most of whom would like to see death camps erected in Gaza and the West Bank.

But as Meshal makes clear, the madness is on both sides. Who could possibly gloat that getting the children of his people killed served to make the enemy look bad? Well, it seems Meshal can. There are lines beyond which no amount of desperation can be used to justify, and Meshal crossed that line.

It’s rather a pity that we can’t settle the dispute by having Netanyahu and Meshal have a duel. Chainsaws in a dark closet. Winner, if any, gets a choice between signing a binding peace treaty or taking a bath with a running hair dryer.

Of course, getting rid of those two swine won’t really solve the problem. It seems pretty intractable.

Israel must be willing to remove the partial blockade. Hamas must find a way to bring the militants to heel. One can’t happen without the other. Israel needs to drop their opposition to allowing Palestinian envoys to be at the UN in “Observer” status, an absurd intransigence that suggests that under all the bluster, the Israeli government might be feeling a little bit of guilt and shame.

And the Western media has to start reporting in terms of civilian casualties, rather than Israeli declarations of deistic sanctions. Even the Guardian printed this absurdity today: “Support for Operation Defensive Pillar remains solid in Israel. According to an opinion poll in Haaretz, 30% of the Israeli public support a ground invasion despite the risks of high casualties.”

Thirty percent represents solid support?

I wish more of the opposition to Netanyahu’s stances in Israel would get reported. Obviously when they only make up 70% of the population (that would be 47% in Romney arithmetic) they must not be a significant factor in Israel.

Kangarupe Murdoch came up with his own absurdity, blaming the “Jewish-owned media” of the US for having an anti-Israel stance. Disregarding the obvious anti-Semitism in the “Jewish-owned” slur, there is the fact that neither the American media nor Jews are particularly noted for their anti-Israel stances.

True, most American Jews have little use for Netanyahu and devoutly hope Israel’s voters will one day return to a sane, non-vicious government. But that’s not exactly the same as wanting Israel to be driven into the sea, is it?

But Kangarupe shares the same wild obsession the American right has with Israel, based in part on the strange pseudo-Zionism of the Dominionists and other religious whack jobs who believe that Israel is the key to Jesus returning to earth and rapturing all the worthy, which means Romney voters and other corporate owners and bankers. They downplay the part about how Israel has to be destroyed for this to happen, and if Netanyahu has heard about that, he politely pretends not to have noticed. So people who might normally dislike Jews on the far right champion any and all causes involving Israel, and if Jews with a little common sense note that Netanyahu is making things worse rather than better, obviously they are Israeli-hating Jews, and must be exposed.

It’s a base Romney played to, and it explains how he could be so rabidly pro-Netanyahu and lose the Jewish vote.

There is hope for a cease fire. I suspect even Netanyahu doesn’t really want to launch a ground invasion into Gaza, and Hamas wants the Israeli bombardments to stop. So Ban Ki Moon’s prospects of brokering a cease-fire are reasonably good.

But the best hope for the region may have been last week’s American election. Obama is pro-Israel, but not a tool of Netanyahu, and not controlled by the crazed apocalyptic cult that makes up the GOP. So even though American leans toward Israel, the support isn’t blind and unlimited, and a messy, bloody ground action could backfire for Israel.

Gosh. Who would have thought that burning and killing babies could have negative repercussions?

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