- After the news hit Israel that commandoes stormed the
aid flotillas and seized control, Israeli civilians threw impromptu celebrations.
They waved Israeli flags and honked their car horns. Later, official parades
and demonstrations by grade school kids filled the streets, extolling the
heroism of the commandoes who stopped relief aid from entering Gaza.
- While the world rages in unprecedented criticism of the
IDF brutality, the United States is different. Here, pro-Zionist politicians
and evangelical leaders alike have celebrated as if they were on the streets
of Tel Aviv. Hundreds rallied behind Israel in Miami. Sen. Chuck Schumer
spoke at an Orthodox Union event in Washington and said Gazans should be
"strangled economically" until they admit Israel's right to exist.California
Congressman Brad Sherman called for the arrest and prosecution of any US
citizen who was involved in the Gaza flotilla, under the 1996 anti-terrorism
- We sound just like Israel. Henry Siegman, in Haaretz,
says he called a lifelong friend in Israel after the flotilla attack. He
wanted to know the mood of the country. Knowing that his friend was an
Israeli right-winger, Siegman says he was still unprepared for his response.
The friend said, "in a voice trembling with emotion," that the
world's condemnation of Israel was just like the days of Hitler. Siegman
was shocked because he, like most of the world, recognizes the tremendous
evil and injustice being perpetrated by Israel. To those inside Israel,
however-like those inside the American pro-Zionist camp-the truth seems
nowhere to exist!
- "A million and a half civilians have been forced
to live in an open-air prison in inhuman conditions for over three years
now, but unlike the Hitler years, they are not Jews but Palestinians,"
Siegman writes, seeming astonished. "Fully 80% of Gaza's population
lives on the edge of malnutrition, depending on international charities
for their daily nourishment. According to the UN and World Health authorities,
Gaza's children suffer from dramatically increased morbidity that will
affect and shorten the lives of many of them. This obscenity is a consequence
of a deliberate and carefully calculated Israeli policy aimed at de-developing
Gaza by destroying not only its economy but its physical and social infrastructure
while sealing it hermitically from the outside world."
- Israel reoccupied Gaza and the West Bank in the 1967
war and has remained in power there ever since. The UK Mirror calls it
"one of the most desperate places on earth." Lack of medical
supplies and training keep Gazans in crisis. The Mirror's June news story
tells of a woman whose newborn died because she couldn't reach the Israeli
hospital-one hour away. "Gazans must pay extortionate rates to buy
essential items like lightbulbs, kettles and tea, which are smuggled from
Egypt at extortionate prices. Around 300 tunnels have been dug from Egypt
into Gaza to do this." Egypt is currently building a steel underground
wall to prevent even this exploitative relief.
- Americans moan about "The Great Recession"
with national unemployment at less than 10 percent. Gazans would shake
their heads at us. Their unemployment rate is at least 45 percent."Hundreds
of Gazans have not been able to rebuild homes destroyed in the invasion
as they cannot obtain the building materials, and children are forced to
attend school in shifts. Farmers are unable to plough their lands and fishermen
are restricted to a tiny area now empty of fish. And much of Gaza's sewage
is pumped into the sea because sanitation facilities are poor."
- Norman Finkelstein explains, "Today 80 percent of
Gaza's inhabitants consist of refugees from the 1948 war and their descendants,
and more than half of the population is under 18 years of age. Its current
1.5 million inhabitants are squeezed into a sliver of land 25 miles long
and five miles wide, making Gaza one of the most densely populated places
in the world." (from his new book This Time We Went Too Far: Truth
and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion, available for download or purchase)
According to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter: "Palestinians in
Gaza are being actually 'starved to death,' receiving fewer calories per
day than people in the poorest parts of Africa. This is an atrocity that
is being perpetrated as punishment on the people in Gaza. It is a crime
an abomination that this is allowed to go on. Tragically, the international
community at large ignores the cries for help, while the citizens of Gaza
are treated more like animals than human beings."
- From the beginning, it has been a brutal and inhumane
oppression. While major media describes Israeli attacks as "clashes,"
the Palestinians have never had more than rudimentary weapons with which
to resist the iron fist of the Israeli government. Israeli historian Benny
Morris, in his 2001 book, Righteous Victims: A history of the Zionist-Arab
conflict,18812001 , says the "brutal and mortifying" occupation
of Gaza and the West Bank was "founded on brute force, repression
and fear, collaboration and treachery, beatings and torture chambers, and
daily intimidation, humiliation, and manipulation"(New York: 2001),
pp. 34043, 568.
- For American evangelicals, this history does not exist.
Jews are "God's chosen people," both in Israel and outside. Any
means are justified to keep them safe-even killing the innocent. Indeed,
as Israeli and Anti-Defamation League propaganda says, there are no innocent
non-Zionists-only anti-Semites and potential terrorists. American evangelicals
seem incapable of recognizing objective truth about the situation, outside
the lens of their pro-Jewish bias.
- The anti-flotilla satire video "We Con the World"
was widely spread around on American right wing and evangelical websites,
including Pat Robertson's huge Christian Broadcasting Network. When international
anger erupted at the video's trivialization of the deaths of nine peace
activists, Israel quickly apologized for sending a link of it to media
outlets around the world. Christians should do as much to the people of
Gaza. The church should apologize for its own trivialization, even contempt,
for those who have suffered for more than 60 years without sympathy from
Jews or Christians. It should repent of its vacuum of Christian love and
begin to behave like the good Samaritan toward those Israel has thrown
into its own inescapable ditch to die.
- Harmony Daws is a staff writer and researcher for the
National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative watchdog organization.
- Rev. Ted Pike is the director of the National Prayer
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