Monday, January 12, 2009

Blind rage

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
- Dylan Thomas

For over a fortnight, the world has watched in helpless rage as Israel has conducted a virtual massacre of the Palestinian residents of Gaza, using state of the art weaponry supplied by American taxpayers.

Nearly 900 Palestinians have been killed and 3700 wounded in this brief period. United Nations observers estimate that forty percent of these casualties have been children—hardly surprising in an area where half the population is under the age of fourteen, and where Israeli forces, despite their denials, make no distinction between civilian and military targets, herding refugees into so-called “shelters” that they then proceed to bomb.

During this same period, thirteen Israelis have been killed, including four civilians who were victims of Hamas rockets.

Of the millions of words of commentary that have been dedicated to this issue over the past couple of weeks, one of the quotes I’ve seen most often used in reference to the endless cycle of violence between Israel and its Muslim enemies comes from Mahatma Gandhi, himself the victim of fratricidal violence during the troubled birth of the independent state of India, where the relationship between Muslims and Hindus remains unsettled today, over sixty years later. Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

But does the darkness descend even faster, when it’s a hundred eyes for an eye?

Israel’s disproportionate (and indiscriminate) response to the Hamas rocket attacks—which evidence now suggests were themselves a response to Israel’s calculated violation of a six-month cease fire—were telegraphed months ago by General Gadi Eisenkot in the Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth:

“We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction. From our perspective these are military bases. This isn’t a suggestion. This is a plan that has already been authorized.”

He may not have realized it at the time, but the general’s words are, for all practical purposes, a confession that the “crimes against humanity” of which Israel now stands accused, were premeditated. A letter published last week in the Times of London, and signed by 70 international law experts, including Richard Falk, the UN’s special observer for human rights in Gaza, lays out the charges.

The letter says that Israel’s “invasion and bombardment of Gaza amount to collective punishment of Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants contrary to international humanitarian and human rights law. In addition, the blockade of humanitarian relief, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and preventing access to basic necessities such as food and fuel, are prima facie war crimes.”

Of course, as virtually every commentator in America’s Israeli-occupied corporate media is required to concede in the name of “even-handedness,” the Hamas missiles, however inaccurately targeted at Israeli civilians, also constitute a war crime. But the issue of proportionality cannot be avoided.

And I think this is where the element of “rage” plays such an important role, and not only in preventing any real solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because of what Arab-American Institute president James Zogby has rightly described as the “pathological” state into which both sides have descended out of a sense of impotence to stop each other’s violence.

But international rage at Israel’s actions may also move the world into a much more dangerous position—that is, the final abandonment of international law as the basis for relations between states. At what point does international law become meaningless, if it is routinely ignored by the powerful? At what point does the world cross over into anarchy? Are we close to that point? Or have we already crossed it?

I think this is the real danger posed by both the US Congress’ resolution of “unwavering” support for Israel’s de facto genocide in Gaza, and by Barack Obama’s apparent legal relativism when it comes to enforcing international law at home—that is, if he doesn’t hold the Bush war criminals responsible for their actions.

This is a precarious moment in human history. There is a point at which blind rage can become all consuming.


Vic said...

I ALWAYS find it amazing how a small country like Palestine would provoke a conflict with the most ruthless and awesome military forces on Earth.

It's important to also understand the roles many dual (Israeli/USA) citizens play in our government. I invite your readers to look at evidence showing Israel's influence in American affairs. Much of the information is available on the internet.

When people have dual citizen status in high levels within our government, to who do they really owe their allegiance to?

The Gaza attacks are a barbaric reminder that our planet needs real change and not just promises for change.

May everyone who reads this post and comment, look for the good in our fellow humans and resolve to embrace the higher truths of love and compassion.

From my heart to yours with love made of: humility, forgiveness, valor, appreciation, compassion, and understanding. May we allow those attributes to BE the building blocks of the New World Order.

We've GOT THE POWER to change the world, you need only BELIEVE.

Thank you Michael for your courage to speak your heart.

Vic said...

Here's a video of life in Gaza back in 2007.

It's important to seek alternative news sources, after all, isn't that what our freedom of speech is for?

What I found disturbing about this video were the Gun Towers with high power machine guns arbitrarily gunning civilians. It reminds me of Auschwitz, except turned inside out.

Jim D said...

It’s become the norm to watch in helpless rage. For decades, the world has turned a blind eye toward Palestine. The outrage has only manifested itself in silence. Seated at the table of diplomacy we talk of peace while we feed off war. This is reminiscent of the Holocaust the Nazis perpetrated on the Jewish people. When it was all said and done, the world attempted to wash its conscience clean, left only with soap created with the corpses of the victims.

All the religious heirs of Abraham are complicit in the genocide of the Palestinians. This fratricide is perpetrated not only by the Jewish lobby in Washington, but the Evangelical movement and their delusional belief in the “second coming” and the necessity of Israel to exist to fulfill their prophesy and perpetuate their fantasy.

It is a Darwinian world we live in, where the strong prey off the weak to survive. The existence of Israel depends on either driving the Palestinians into the sea or into their graves. It seems with munitions supplied by the United States it will be the latter.