On The Tragedy of The Nameless Dead:

(1) dead children in GazaDid 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.





  1. “America holds its breath.”

    Projecting much?

    • Ed:

      No, don’t think so. We’re just hoping the killings stop so we can go back to business as usual.

  2. John King McDonald

    Matt :

    A terrible situation. Does Hamas deliberately embed their rocket batteries, as proven and censured by the UN of all Organizations unsympathetic to Israel, in UN schools, and in schools and hospitals generally, and in the densest pockets of civilian population possible as a callous calculated strategy to cause collateral deaths and curry World disapprobation of Israel? Apparently Yes! What is Hamas’ practical and moral culpability here and why do you ignore their grim and exploitive tactics with Gaza non-combatants and innocents? Bye the bye why aren’t you deploring the brutal beheadings of Christian children in Iraq by ISIS, their Masada like attempted massacre of twenty thousand refugees on an isolated mountaintop that we have forestalled with airstrikes , or the marking for elimination on the doors of Christian homes by ISIS. Are Palestinians in Gaza a more fashionable cause for the coffeehouse intelligentsia who mask what creepily feels like anti-semitism in faux outrage that sees no moral equivalence in deaths caused by terrorists period, whether in Gaza, Israel, Iraq, Syria or Libya. Naturally I exempt you from this chic set of shallow thinkers.

    Incidentally and in a blackly cosmic and uncomical irony Matt, it is proven now that Hamas propaganda includes the worlwide net posting of civilian casualties in Syria from their civil war, and other gruesome pictures from Iraq of ISIS victims, and is representing them as slaughtered Palestinians. What moral fiber are these Hamas fighters made of ? Is it like that of the IDF who defend the Jewish STATE ? …I doubt it and I severely doubt, all things being equal in a life and death situation that the Hollywood bohemians would rely on Hamas’ tender mercies rather than Israels, or enjoy the bloody and real consequences of the Islamic Absolutism that ISIS and their fellow travelers represent. There is a Pan-European fever taken hold in these times Matt, let’s give it a name and point directly at it’s befuddled and benighted adherents ; Anti-Semitism !

  3. Ray Donovan said after his trial on fake charges brought by a Democrat prosecutor ” where do I go to get my reputation back?” How does Israel recover from this global publicity nightmare? Today their citizens may be applauding the government but as time goes by they’ll realize the substantial harm this fight cost them. What politician in Europe, Asia or South America can run for office supporting the tactics employed by the Israelis? Anyone who did would lose. So how are all these other governments going to be anything but hostile to Israel’s interest? It might be argued that in the first week of the conflict the tactics employed were an effort to minimize Israeli military deaths. ( air bombing and standoff shelling). But it was clear after week one that hundreds of women and children were being killed. Yet Israel persisted in those steps that guaranteed a slaughter of the innocents. This was clearly a war crime. 2. Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that all men had certain rights given by God. Among these were life and liberty. When Egypt and Israel closed the borders of Gaza six years ago they deprived 1.6 million people of their liberty rights. During that period America gave almost $20 million in aid to Egypt and Israel. Were these acts in violation of international law ? Were they war crimes? Should Netanyahu. Sisi and BHO be in the dock? Or didn’t BHO know what had befallen the citizens of Gaza? 3. If one relies on the American media it will get a one sided portrayal. Putin’s Russian media is about as fair and objective as the U S press. Fortunately today people can look at BBC. German tv and Al Jazeera for another view. They can go to the internet and read different views from Krauthammer to Amy Goodman. 4. 100 years ago politicians from many countries blundered into WW1. At the conclusion of that conflict the victors had replaced the old order ( Hapsburgs, Hohenzollerns and Romanovs) with Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin. From bad to worse, much worse. The historically illiterate are repeating that blunder in today’s middle east. Gone is Hussein replaced by ISIS. Gone is Quadaffi replaced jihadists. Efforts are made to replace Assad. What will follow. Probably more ISIS. Confusion abounds

    • NC:

      1. Israel seems to be isolating itself. I don’t get how a country that was created because of the horrors of the Nazis can forget what it was like to be a hunted minority. There is no need for Israel to concede anything as long as it has a lock on American politics. If the rest of the world boycotted it; the Americans will step in and make it whole. We give it 250 million to make its Iron Curtain better; we debate taking away the few millions from the Palestinians. None of it is good. No president has done anything but press its cause. The worst leader in its history holds office now so any chance for it to do other than increase settlements and force the Palestinians to live other than like confined farm animals will not happen as long as Netanyahu is around. Imagine how bad it will be if when Sheldon Adelson gets to pick the secretary of state and defense.

      2. The problem with the blockade of Gaza is that Israel and Egypt (which now bars the staff of Human Rights Watch from coming into the country) blame the Palestinians. We’ll soon be hearing both of those countries suggesting how much they hate the Palestinians for forcing them to cut off food and water to the Palestinian people. As for being criminals, you must have heard to the winner belongs the spoils. The only war criminals come from the losing side. Obama to give him some credit has tried to modify the situation; that’s why he’s universally hated in Israel.

      3. True – American media is one sided. I laugh at CNN when it has Wolf Blitzer reporting from Israel. Blitzer who speaks Hebrew began his career in journalism in the early 1970s in the Tel Aviv bureau, caught the eye of Jerusalem Post editor Ari Rath, who hired Blitzer as a Washington correspondent for the English language Israeli newspaper. Blitzer remained with the Jerusalem Post until 1990, covering both American politics and developments in the Middle East.[11] Blitzer also contributed to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He often interviews Martin Indyk another former AIPAC member about the Israel/Palestine conflict. Indyk did not become an American citizen until 1993. He was US ambassador to Israel from 1995 to 1997, and from January 2000 to June 2001. Tell me everything is on the up and up when a guy who has been a citizen for two years becomes our ambassador. No qualified Americans. But that was under Clinton when the house was for sale; imagine what Hillary will do.
      As if that is not bad enough in July 29, 2013, he was appointed Washington’s special Middle East envoy for the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian. Fat chance for any progress there. Where is the head of the people running this country?

      4. Agree – our foreign policy is made u on the fly. Maybe because we have to run everything by Netanyahu.