Almost every weekday for the last twenty-two days the first thing I do when I get home from work is look at Al Jazeera, the Electronic Intifada or Democracy Now to learn the latest news from Gaza. I don’t bother with American media outlets because they are a disgrace.
I don’t personally know a single Palestinian so readers might wonder why an American guy who lives in California keeps writing about Gaza and Israel. I can’t quite explain it myself, except to say that I find Israel’s hubris shocking and its inhumanity in Gaza appalling. The displaced in Gaza reportedly number ten percent of the population; electric power is sporadic at best and may soon be non-existent; fresh water is scarce; hospitals are overwhelmed; and worst of all, hundreds of innocent children have been killed by Israeli bombs.
I can’t get one image out of my mind. I saw it first on the UK’s Independent and again tonight on Democracy Now, a two and a half or three year old girl with a fractured skull and broken nose, horrific bluish-purple rings around her dark eyes, lying on a hospital gurney. She was injured when her home was bombed. I look at her image and ask myself what crime against Israel she is guilty of. Can this little girl be a hardened terrorist at two and a half or three years of age? Is she an arms smuggler? An assassin? A top Hamas leader? No, her crime, if we can call it that, was being born in the wrong place, nothing more than that.
Bibi Netanyahu and his American enablers stand waist deep in the blood of innocents. The death toll is way north of 1,000 and Bibi, badass Jewish avenger with an insatiable appetite for death, vows that Israel isn’t done yet. Oh no, Israel is in this one for the long haul. Most of the casualties on the Palestinian side are civilians, with a significant portion of those being children, like the little girl with the fractured skull and broken nose.
I don’t know a single Palestinian, and yet, staring at these images and video footage I feel sick to my stomach, tears well in my eyes, and I am outraged that the world stands silently by while Israel rains more death on Gaza. The UN tries to act, but as always is stymied by the US; Bibi Netanyahu merely laughs, secure in the knowledge that Israel is untouchable.
Writing in the Independent over the weekend, Robert Fisk, one of the most intrepid journalists ever, wondered what world reaction would be if the tables were turned, if more than 1,000 Israelis were dead and the Palestinians were dropping precision bombs on Israeli homes, schools, hospitals, parks, and apartment blocks. All the hemming and hawing and posturing and obfuscating would go straight out the window. The US would marshal international support and launch a full-scale military deployment on “humanitarian” grounds. American film stars and directors would stage star-studded fundraisers for Israel. Politicians in Washington D.C. would be apeshit.
Dead, wounded, maimed or homeless Palestinians don’t matter. Old or young, male or female, the world simply doesn’t care. Maybe this is why I keep looking at the news day after day, maybe, down deep, I refuse to believe that the world isn’t going to lift a finger to help the Palestinians, that people are so cowardly and craven and callous.