It’s lights out in the Gaza Strip and lights out in the moral consciousness of the Western and Arab world. The reason? One soldier, who lacked the ethical fiber to resist involvement in the illegal occupation of an indigenous people, was captured by those he was oppressing. It’s like a rapist complaining when his victims get aggressive. Red flags have gone up throughout the West. This event is an “escalation,” a “declaration of war,” an “obscene act by terrorists.” Is this capture ten thousands times less offensive and harmful than the ten thousand prisoners abducted by Israel? Would not the executing of four thousands Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians, constitute a “crime against humanity?”
Palestinians have a legitimate right—under international law and the Geneva Conventions—to defend themselves against this illegal occupation. This event was not an attack on the civilians of Israel, but rather a patriotic fight against an oppressive foreign force. Similarly, the twenty-four point reconciliation proposal in Iraq which, based on the argument of patriotism, calls for amnesty of those attacking American forces. This argument seemed generally accepted within the US administration and military. Although for some odd partisan reason, democrats, burnt flag in hand, had a hissy fit over it in Congress. The West should not only apologize to Hamas for defaming its good name, but it should pat Hamas on the back for playing by rules. As for the Palestinian’s “Arab brothers,” it’s understandable that Egypt likes its monthly cash deposit from its sugar daddy, America, but amassing troops on the border to appease its sugar daddy is a sellout that even Sadat would have grimaced at.
In recent days, the Israeli government reverted back to its roots: the implementation of hardcore collective punishment. A few hundred artillery shells striking houses filled with children and beaches filled with families just wasn’t sufficient. Operation Brown Man Down aims to cut off electricity to 1.4 million people, further starve children suffering from malnutrition, and make 500 artillery craters a day in the most heavily populated area on the planet. I’d reserve Israel the Purple Heart for its courage during the recent wounding, but I think any heart at this point will do.
It’s clear the wicked witch of the Near East, which has no regard for democracy within its own borders, is out to destroy its neighbor’s democracy as well. This week Israeli forces abducted sixty-four members of Hamas’s political wing—many of whom serve in the Palestinian government. But don’t worry kids, according to sources for the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, more arrests are on the way. It’s believed that the 100th Hamas member abducted will get to take home a new car after being summarily beaten—well that is if artillery shelling doesn’t blow the vehicle up by the time he gets out.
As icing on the cake, Israel revoked the residency rights of four top Hamas members living in Jerusalem. Surprisingly, these measures didn’t spring up as a spontaneous retaliation. The plan for the revocation of residency rights was formulated in April and the plan for the abduction of the Hamas members had been in the works for “several weeks” according to Haaretz. Israel, however, needed this intense period of victimization to apply such outrageous policies against the Palestinian government. Israel tries not to define itself by subtlety. Rather than leaning on Hamas, it appears Israel felt a flying tackle would be more appropriate.
It’s sad that the world is expending so much energy on the life of one soldier engaging in state-sponsored terrorism, yet the world doesn’t so much as wince when another Palestinian child is killed. Unfortunately, while Palestinians brace themselves for further destruction and a possible Jenin-style massacre, the international community is rooting Israel on like it’s a 26-1 underdog in the Kentucky Derby.
Remi Kanazi is the primary writer for the political website www.PoeticInjustice.net He lives in New York City as a Palestinian American freelance writer, poet and performer and can reached via email at [email protected]