Linda S. Heard
On Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US President Barack Obama not to “second-guess” him on how Hamas should be treated.
At the same time, US Secretary of State John Kerry is being vilified in the Israeli media for mishandling his role as an intermediary, prompting strong rebuttals from the White House, which is wagging its finger at Israel over civilian casualties while re-supplying weapons to the Jewish state to kill more.
The American satirist, John Stewart, summed this up by saying America cannot be Israel’s rehab sponsor while also being its drug dealer.
White House spokeswoman Marie Harf, the blonde with the permanent Colgate smile, was questioned why the US suspended aid and deliveries of F16s and Apaches to Egypt yet supplies Israel.
“Wholly different situations,” she answered. “Our relationship with Israel — our military-to-military relationship is a very strong one… where, as you know, we suspended a large amount of assistance after what happened politically in Egypt.” She went on to say that Israel is using its Made in the USA weapons “to fight a terrorist organization, which we believed is legitimate self-defense.” Who is she trying to kid! Doesn’t she realize how utterly fatuous she sounds.
At the time of writing, over 1,700 Palestinians have had their lives cut short and that horrible statistic is due to rise when ambulances can finally reach the southern Gaza town of Rafah that was pummeled by bombing and shelling when Israeli soldiers went on the hunt for one of their own, said to have been captured, when it was subsequently revealed he’s believed dead. Some 10,000 have been injured, many, including babies and children, have had their legs or arms amputated. Tens of thousands have been rendered homeless.
For those of us in the region sitting comfortably in our air-conditioned homes and workplaces, it’s impossible to imagine what life must be like without electricity cuddling our children and wondering whether this day, this hour, might be our last. What kind of future will they have, unless the international community gets its act together? The day after could be even worse than today if that’s at all possible. That came home to me after viewing a televised segment of parents that have been both deprived of their legs, while their young daughter’s feet are burnt black; they’re just one family whose lives have been ruined forever.
Netanyahu is following an “I’m alright Jack” ‘solution’ to the conflict. Israel says it won’t be attending talks with Palestinians in Cairo on long term cease-fire arrangements and relieving the more than seven-year-long siege on this encased strip of land much of which has been turned into rubble. Mealy-mouthed concern for civilians in Gaza spewing from the mouths of his propagandists would be amusing if the situation wasn’t so tragic.
Netanyahu’s strategy is to withdraw most IDF ground forces, continue bombing homes, hospitals and schools into dust and then, when it suits him, he will declare a unilateral cease-fire with a warning to Hamas on the lines of ‘You start-up again at your peril; you’ve seen what we can do.’ Israeli spokesman, Dore Gold, says Gaza can be a wonderful place provided it’s demilitarized; a condition Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups are unlikely to accept.
Israel has crossed the line. Anyone with even half a heart and a brain will recognize that it is, indeed, a rogue state, but will never be officially categorized as such, because the leader of the free world who touts America’s values at every opportunity, does not have the guts to acknowledge the reality that is being recognized by so many other nations and individuals. It was heart-wrenching to watch UNWRA Director Chris Gunness, who’s seen the carnage up close and personal, break down in floods of tears on live TV after pleading for the killing to stop.
The US may be patting Netanyahu on the back behind closed doors, but Israel won’t get off scot-free. Five Latin American countries have withdrawn their envoys to Israel. The ruling ANC Party in South Africa has issued a statement comparing Israeli actions to those of the Nazis. Denmark, Finland and Norway have condemned Israel’s disproportionate violence. China and Russia have slammed Israel for violating human rights. Dublin’s city council has called for anti-Israel sanctions. Turkish entrepreneurs are backing a boycott of Israeli goods and Britain’s largest supermarket chain, Tesco, will no longer sell products from the occupied West Bank. Britain’s biggest trade union supports boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. The government of the Maldives has announced it will boycott Israeli goods and will annul previous agreements with Israel. Muslims in India have boycotted Coca Cola and Pepsi.
Moreover, the Israeli government isn’t doing Jewish citizens in the Diaspora any favors. French Jews are immigrating to Israel at an unprecedented rate due to rising anti-Semitic attacks on synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses. In Germany, firebombs were thrown at a synagogue in Wuppertal and elsewhere in the country, protesters chant “Jews to the gas chambers.” They pursue the Jews in the streets of Berlin … as if we were in 1938,” said the Israeli Ambassador to Germany Yakov Hadas-Handelsman. In Italy, walls were scrawled with swastikas and threats against Jewish communities. Israeli tourists in the Maldives have had to be evacuated for their safely. The more the slaughter in Gaza goes on, the greater this ugly bigoted backlash of hate will be.
Netanyahu can inflict more pain with apparent impunity. His army, ‘the most moral in the world,’ can massacre many more thousands or even carpet bomb every inch of Gaza before returning home as heroes. But Israel will not emerge unscathed and calls demanding justice for Palestinians who’ve known nothing but suffering for generations, will become a crescendo that not even the United States can ignore.