Did you ever see anyone take such a battering as Secretary of State Kerry when he went to Egypt to try to gain a cease fire in the mini-war that has seen as of Monday of last week 67 Israeli deaths, none being women or children, and 1,806 Palestinian deaths with about half being women and children?
Kerry became persona non grata immediately before the trip when he said about Israel’s operation that it was “a hell of a pinpoint operation.” For an interesting and enlightening discourse on the use of the expression “a hell of a” I suggest you read this here. The Israeli knives were waiting for him and after he made his proposal for a cease fire they cut him up into little bits. The “Israel does no wrong” group was calling for his head.
The article I referred to setting out the number of dead is on the front page of the Washington Post. It concerned Israelis reactions to the deaths of its soldiers. More particularly it is about Barkay Shor the 21-year-old Israeli soldier who was killed recently; it also mentions the death of Lt. Hadar Goldin, who was thought to have been captured and how “thousands of Israelis — many strangers — turned out for his funeral at the military cemetery in the town of Kfar Sava on Sunday afternoon. Troops sporting the purple beret of Goldin’s unit looked on as Simcha Goldin urged his son’s comrades to “take the Torah with you day and night and be good Jewish fighters.” The article noted that “The grim ritual has been repeated 63 more times across Israel in recent weeks.”,
Reading it I had the feeling that there were people bleeding, suffering and dying on only one side of the battle. On the other side something was happening to people, to at least 1,800 of those who died and the 10,000 wounded, but none of them had names. Nor was there any mention that on the other side there were more than 1,800 “grim rituals” connected with their deaths.
People with names are killed on one side; people without names on the other. Can there be anything more dehumanizing?
McClatchy news in Washington DC had as a lead story:”Israelis gather to bury Hadar Goldin, once thought Hamas Captive.”
How many of the names of the 20 people who were sleeping at the UN compound by Israel artillery did you read about? Surely you must know the name of the 8-year-old girl who was killed last Monday in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City by an Israeli air force strike after the latest cease fire went into effect. Or perhaps the names of the kids in the photograph on this page.
If not, do you think you will read a headline article in the Washington Post about any of them. Will you hear of their grieving relatives or don’t Palestinians grieve their dead. Will someone tell us of the grim ritual of putting an 8 year old girl or those others into the ground?
There are lists of those who died if you are interested. Al Jazeera has one of 627 Palestinians and 34 Israelis. 56 of the Palestinians are unidentified. Most Israeli papers carry the names of its soldiers.
Israel went into the conflict with wide international support. “Unlike past conflicts, Operation Protective Edge has actually garnered international support, . . . the United States, as well as Canada and Australia, has backed the operation. British Prime Minister David Cameron “reiterated the UK’s staunch support for Israel in the face of such attacks, and underlined Israel’s right to defend itself from them,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel “condemned without reservation rocket fire on Israel,” and French President Francois Hollande said that Israel should “take all measures to protect its population in the face of threats.” Even Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose foreign minister just seven months ago called for Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza, told a rabbinical delegation, “I support the struggle of Israel as it attempts to protect its citizens.”
On wonders whether the unreserved support made Israel believe it could conduct the war in any manner it saw fit. It acted that way. Its killing of Palestinian civilians has now produced outrage outside of America even among its most ardent supporters.
France’s foreign minister has said: “While Israel’s right to security was total, this did not justify “killing of children and slaughter of civilians.” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Israel’s attack on the U.N. school “a moral outrage and a criminal act.” America holds its breath.
The war is a tragedy for all involved especially the captive people of Gaza. It is compounded by highlighting the sorrow on one side and ignoring it on the side suffering the greatest of harm. Perhaps, if we treated the dead and wounded equally the true horror of war would be shown.