Israel, a state entity, is committing war crimes in Gaza. They have blockaded and imprisoned an entire civilian population in the Gaza strip, over a million people, and have now launched air strikes against civilian targets with the expected results: the deaths of hundreds, among them women and children and innocent men. The Israeli attacks are the disproportionate response to escalating firing of rockets into Israel from the Gaza strip. The Israelis claim they will continue their brutality until it “changes [the] behavior” of those they blame for the rocket attacks. Any person with more than two neurons firing knows what kind of behavior these attacks will call forth. This is an endless cycle of violence and counterviolence. Each side can claim a pretext for retaliation, although the imbalance in power makes the Israeli side orders of magnitude more brutal and more vicious:
An Israeli woman was killed Saturday when a rocket fired from Gaza hit a house in Netivot in southern Israel, about six miles east of Gaza, Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said. Two other Israelis were in “medium to serious” condition at Soroko Hospital in Bersheba, he said.
Wounded people could be seen lying in the streets of Gaza City, and passers-by were doing what they could to summon help.
The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees urged the Israeli government to stop its bombardment.
“UNRWA recognizes Israel’s legitimate security concerns. However, its actions should be in conformity with international humanitarian law, and it should not use disproportionate force,” the agency said in a news release. (CNN)
The death toll in Gaza is now (Saturday night) put at 225, with 400 injured but it is clearly much greater and mounting by the hour under this brutal attack. The Israelis will say that they had no choice but to respond to the rocket attacks. The Palestinians will say they had no choice but to respond to the starvation and Israeli attacks on their own population.
While the imbalance in power provides an asymmetry, I’ll be even handed in my labeling. Trying to achieve political ends by violence against a civilian population is terrorism. By this standard, calling Hamas militants terrorists is justified, although by that standard there are a lot of terrorists in the world who are employed by countries, including our own. On the other side, the collective punishment of a civilian population is a war crime, a violation of the Geneva Conventions. The Israeli leaders are war criminals. We have some of those, too.
I don’t want to side with terrorists or war criminals. But the Israeli attack is madness. It is also vicious and cruel. Any country that justifies cruelty and viciousness has lost its way.
Firedog Lake is providing good coverage.