Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Gazan Vespers

Chatting on the internet with a friend from Ramallah today, she wrote to me that, watching the slaughter currently taking place in Gaza, where Israeli forces have killed at least 30 civilians in the last day, “the most painful is not knowing what we can do to actually make a difference and stop it.”

Having been immersed in reporting on the rather catastrophic situation here in eastern DRC and having never visited the Middle East, I have refrained from commenting publicly on something that I know only from following the news and reading books as an educated consumer, and the conversations that I’ve had with Israeli and Palestinian friends.

With that caveat, though. and though I know this comment will be viewed as needlessly provocative by some, the ghastly collective punishment that Israel is currently meting out to the Gazans seems to me could only seem to be viewed as a sensible foreign policy when one learned military tactics at the feet of Nazi Germany. If there is one thing that I have learned in reporting on conflicts throughout the world over the last decade, it is that you can't continually bomb civilians, kill women and children, drive people off their land, illegally build settlements and an apartheid wall and not expect that those people aren't going to seek revenge some day. And I think that any reasonably person could only conclude that the course Israel has been pursuing over the last 2-3 years, from its disastrous and brutal invasion of Lebanon until now, makes the likelihood of the destruction of the Jewish state in the Middle East greater, not less.

If the United States is a genuine friend to Israel, it should not simply sit back and let a nation self-destruct in the way that Israel is now doing. And it should cease pretending that Israeli lives are somehow worth more than Palestinian lives. Lead as my country is by its own religious zealot in the form of the sinister, smug puppet George W. Bush, I can only hope with all my heart that the next administration in the United States will hold the Israelis responsible for their actions, as any friend should, and that the long-suffering Palestinian people, failed so miserably by their leaders and largely abandoned by the international community, will finally and unalterably be granted a state to call their own.

My thoughts are with the people of Gaza this Sunday afternoon in Kinshasa.

1 comment:

Babette said...

very well said, my friend. I join you at the Wailing Wall.

elizabeth roebling