Out, Damned Spot

November 20, 2012
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The United States of America, the principal benefactor of Israel, is responsible for the deaths that have occurred in Gaza this past week.

After Hamas sent a series of rockets towards Israel, ultimately killing three Israeli civilians and injuring several dozen Israelis, Israel responded with air strikes on Gaza. The President of the United States, Barack Obama, reasonably declared that Israel had a right to defend itself. Israel’s counterattack was intended to defend the Israeli people and target Hamas members. Indeed, Israel protected its civilians and killed Hamas members and leader, Ahmed Jabari. Israeli attacks also killed several dozen Palestinian civilians, including women and children.

The right to defend oneself is basic tenant of human existence. But in what world is the massacre of an estimated fifty Palestinian civilians in a matter of days a good defense strategy? Let us not overlook the thousands of deaths of Palestinians and Israelis over the many years of this never-ending cycle of dehumanization: the actions of both Palestinian and Israeli aggressors are inexcusable and should be condemned.

Both Israeli and Palestinian aggressors fail to understand that their enemy cannot be defeated. The wounds of Palestinians and Israelis are felt across all peoples, all lands, and since the inception of the struggle. The recent events in Gaza, as well as the long history of the so called Israeli-Palestinian conflict, should not be seen as an issue of Palestinians and Israelis, or Jews and Muslims. It should be seen for what it is: a blatant, ongoing violation of basic human rights.

The United States would have been profoundly better off if it had practiced a policy of isolation, as the first president, George Washington, suggested. Instead, American leaders have a reputation of intervening whenever and wherever they have deemed appropriate. The United States has provided Israel with more than $80 billion in military aid; that is to say, Israel has received more than $80 billion from tax payer dollars of the American people. The blood of the people of Gaza is on our hands; it is on the hands of our Commander in Chief.

As the War on Terror rages on, let us ask: who it is that lives in daily terror? Why is Gaza not an appropriate place for the United States to intervene? It is the United States that has enabled the deaths of people in Gaza this past week by reinforcing the Israeli military, and it is the United States that is responsible for restraining Israeli aggressors.

A new generation is maturing in Israel, in Palestine, and in countries all over the world. Those children deserve to envision a rosy future, not live a life blind with the anger of their elders or blurred with the grief of losing loved ones.

The efforts for conflict resolution in this area of our world are enduring and difficult. Bloodshed will make the path to peace more difficult; it is hard to hear one another over the sound of rockets, the rivers of tears, and the ricochet of shrapnel.

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