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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Closer look at Gaza crisis raises disturbing questions

    It’s generally understood that people are responsible for the real or likely consequences of their actions – as well as their failure to act. The principle also holds without much controversy in the so-called democratic societies in which all the people in a sense share responsibility for what their governments do.

    The recent lunatic rampage by Israel upon the people of Gaza is a suitable case in point for us to consider as Americans.

    On Dec. 27, in a pernicious swarm of well over 60 U.S. warplanes and attack helicopters piloted by euphemistic Israeli “”defense”” forces, a massive wave of attacks was launched over the 25-mile long Gaza Strip (a geographical area smaller than Tucson) on the coast of the Southeastern Mediterranean. The attacks were planned months in advance according to Israeli sources. This first strike alone – initiating 23 days of unremitting terror – rent a bloody havoc on the densely populated area of 1.5 million Palestinian people, over half of them children, predictably resulting in hundreds of killings in the first few minutes. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported the damage unleashed by the bombings as “”the single deadliest day in Gaza since Israel’s occupation of the territory in 1967.””

    This latest operation was new in scale only. For over half a century the conditions of violence have remained terribly familiar and steadily severe.

    Our involvement as Americans in the occupation of Palestine began as it remains: a crucial and vital one for Israel. According to a January 2008 Congressional Research Service report, U.S. aid to Israel has amassed $100 billion dollars since 1949, used to create the fourth largest military power in the world. In August 2007, The New York Times reported a recent arms agreement whereby Israel will receive payments of $30 billion in military aid from the U.S. over the next ten years with the stipulation that roughly 75 percent of the money “”must be spent on American equipment.””

    The obvious question of what Israel will likely do with our munificent military might is reasonably answered by observing what Israel has done and continues doing militarily, which is not difficult to discover when one looks at the diplomatic and human rights record concerning Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestine.

    Apart from the occupation’s wretched illegality, maintained for over 40 years by the highest international law bodies, numerous human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, continue to bitterly condemn the transfer of illegal arms from other countries – “”particularly the United States”” – which are then “”used in Israel and the Occupied Territories with excessive force resulting in unlawful killings and unwarranted injuries.””

    Not observing one’s own part as an American citizen in these matters meanwhile requires some considerable effort at self-delusion.

    Moreover, the punitive environment of Gaza, which prominent Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem has repeatedly called “”the world’s largest prison,”” gave rise to the latest butchery in which – thanks to American generosity and approval – a hopelessly defenseless civilian population was shot and bombed inside a veritable cage with nowhere to flee. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), relaying facts on the ground in the wake of the 23-day onslaught, revealed “”tens of thousands”” of Palestinians rendered homeless among veritable mountains of rubble and ruin from the thousands of homes and vital infrastructural fabric of Palestinian society torn apart by the world-class fury of modern U.S. weaponry. UNRWA reported that Palestinian “”civilians bore the brunt of the conflict,”” with 1,314 people killed (512 of whom were women and children) and 5,450 wounded during the massacres, while 13 Israelis were killed (3 of whom were civilians) in retaliatory attacks by Palestinian fighters.

    The grisly crimes in Gaza undertaken by leaders of the Israeli government represent the careful, cold-blooded work of some of the most miserable and obscene human beings who ever committed themselves to mass murder and degrading barbarity – aspects we can also rightly ascribe to ourselves for supporting these crimes for so long, without conscience or regard, and without pity or protest in mainstream American culture and society.

    All of us as taxpayers indirectly bear a very serious responsibility as a sort of paymaster for a three billion dollar yearly salary, which Israel then uses to commit the most horrendous of international atrocities. Our crimes are colored by a previously plausible claim to ignorance that is becoming more inexcusable as the flamboyant and promiscuous array of Israeli crimes, and U.S. support for them, become more and more apparent.

    But there are easy and attainable ways to end such terrorism. An obvious one is to stop providing and approving the means for terror. We also can, and should, be honest about our own actions and involvement in world affairs. And then, of course, there’s the choice of adjusting our actions as we wish, afforded the unique privileges and resources we enjoy, always with alternatives of averting from participation in miserably immoral forms of domination and toward honorable resistance to injustice.

    -ÿGabriel Matthew Schivone is a junior majoring in art, literature, and media studies. He may be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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