The 2009 Gaza massacre is not the first incident where Israel has killed, pillaged and destroyed Palestinian lives. In 1982 the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) under Ariel Sharon allowed the killing of more than 2,000 Palestinians in two Palestinian refugee camps in Sabra and Shatila.
In 2002, Israel killed hundreds in Jenin, which Bülent Ecevit, the Turkish prime minister of the time, had called “genocide.” After Israel pulled out from Gaza in 2005, Israel continued to kill Palestinians and grab more land. Between 2005 and 2007 alone, Israel killed more than 1,200 Palestinians, many of them children and women, and expanded its settlements in the West Bank. Now, the UN is calling the Gaza massacre a genocide. In the words of Avi Shlaim, a professor of international relations at Oxford: “Gaza is a classic case of colonial exploitation in the post-colonial era. Jewish settlements in occupied territories are immoral, illegal and an insurmountable obstacle to peace. They are at once the instrument of exploitation and the symbol of the hated occupation.”
Israel and with it the United States have lost all moral ground after Gaza. Because of its inaction and silence, the international community and the neighboring Arab countries, the so-called “moderate Arab states,” too, are complicit in this crime against humanity. Silence in the face of massacre and murder is an equally bad crime. Israel should know this better than any other nation. The comparisons between what Israel is doing to the Palestinians and the Holocaust are not without grounds.
It is clear now that Israel is committing war crimes in Gaza. The International Red Cross confirmed the use of phosphorus weapons by Israel. Israel does not allow humanitarian aid to reach Gaza. Civilian and non-civilian points are targeted without discrimination. Children and women are killed indiscriminately. Since Gaza is under de facto occupation, Israel as the occupier is responsible for the safety of civilians in Gaza. This is what the Geneva Conventions and other international agreements say. But Israel continues to commit war crimes with the Bush administration as its accomplice in a shameless war.
After the 2009 Gaza massacre, the hawks in both Israel and the United States should have no question about why millions of people around the world hate them. The Israeli propaganda machine is trying to define this war in terms of a clash between Islamic fundamentalists and the civilized values of the West. After 1,000 dead and 4,000 wounded, what civilized values are we talking about? The propaganda machine, so shamelessly crafted to cover the ugly face of Israel’s suicidal war in Gaza, may delude clueless Americans and Europeans but it cannot mislead the conscientious peoples of the world.
The so-called international community, including the UN and the European Union, has also failed miserably in the Gaza massacre. Watching Israel’s war crimes and not even condemning the killing of children and women cannot be the highest moral standard Europe has. The Turkish prime minister is calling on Europe to act in Gaza the same way it acted in the Georgian-Russian war last August. Where is the will and resolve of the Europeans to stop human suffering and state terrorism? Whatever happened to their moral values and their Enlightenment ideals?
The so-called moderate Arab states — Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan — are equally responsible for the deaths of Palestinians in Gaza. Their silence is mindboggling but not inconceivable. Taking their cues from Tel Aviv and Washington, they continue to betray their nations and put themselves to shame.
After Gaza 2009, those who condone an immoral war to protect their petty interests should know why the world hates them.