(UPDATE 4 BELOW)
(UPDATE 3 BELOW)
(UPDATE 2 BELOW)
(UPDATE 1 BELOW)
How about this child, then? Is he dead enough for you?
The gates of wrath and sorrow open wide again in Gaza, clanging on their rusty, bloodstained hinges.
A report, via Facebook, from Gaza:
"From Dr. Mona Al-Farra in Gaza City, an urgent message on Facebook: Dear Friends, Gaza is under extensive Israeli military attack, in less than 2 hours, 14 military attacks against different targets in different parts of Gaza Strip, 6 were killed including 2 young girls age 4 and 7, 11 were injured, the hospitals are already lacking essential emergency medications, and citizens were called for blood donation, we do not have power, i am using UBS ,the first stage of this operation has been accomplished, we expect more escalation. your solidarity means a lot at this difficult times, pass the word, this aggression, should stop now."
The 20th paragraph -- the 20th paragraph -- of the New York Times story on the attack notes, very obliquely, that the recent rocket firing was in response to "deadly Israeli airstrikes":
"Since then Hamas has mostly adhered to an informal, if shaky, cease-fire and at times tried to enforce the smaller militant groups to stick to it. But in recent months, under pressure from some of the Gaza population for not avenging deadly Israeli airstrikes, it has claimed responsibility for participating in the firing of rockets. Last week, it also claimed credit for detonating a tunnel packed with explosives along the Israel-Gaza border while Israeli soldiers were working nearby."
But elsewhere in the story, and everywhere in the media, the attack is clearly presented as righteous retaliation for unprovoked attacks: not as collective punishment on a captive people for themselves retaliating against airstrikes against them.
(UPDATE 1: In the latest online version of the constantly updated NYT story, the mention of the rocket attacks as retaliation for "deadly Israeli airstrikes" is now in the 32nd paragraph. Most of the new material is taken up with the Peace Laureate's firm support for Israel's right to "self-defense" -- a right which obviously does not extend to the Palestinians at any time, in any form. Like "good injuns," they're supposed to lay down and die on the cracked, caged earth of the reservation.)
In responding to the current attack, Arthur Silber also points to this deeper look (from the 2009 slaughter in Gaza) at the template behind these spasms of atrocity -- a template much used not only by the "light unto the nations" but also "the shining city on the hill":
"For a very long time, the United States government has specialized in the pattern pursued by Israel. The vastly more powerful nation wishes to act on a certain policy -- almost always territorial expansion, for purposes of access to resources, or to force itself into new markets, or to pursue the evil notion that economic and ideological success depend on brutality and conquest -- but a specifically moral justification for its planned actions does not lie easily to hand.
"So the powerful nation embarks on a course designed to make life intolerable for the country and/or those people that stand in its way. The more powerful nation is confident that, given sufficient time and sufficient provocation, the weaker country and people will finally do something that the actual aggressor can seize on as a pretext for the policy upon which it had already decided. In this way, what then unfolds becomes the victim's fault."
And so it goes, and on it goes: the curse of violence, hatred, estrangement, fear. Madness snaking in and out of the only place where the universe is: in the electrics of our brains. So many sharp and painful endings to the world and all that's in it.