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Why Israel's Offensive Must Be Considered an Attempt at Genocide

By       Message Peter Dearman     Permalink
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The litany of war crimes accusations aside--and most of those look like open-and-shut cases to me--Israel's present military actions in Gaza must, plain and simply, be seen as genocidal.
 
No other country has ever been this harsh in warfare. When was the last time anyone else ever attacked Red Cross/Red Crescent vehicles? In over a fortnight of constant bombardment of Gaza, Israel has essentially not permitted any supplies to get in or even announced a lull in the bombardment so that the wounded may be collected. The IDF even attacked the first convoy that was let in during the infamous "humanitarian corridor" period that they announced. The Jewish press around the world ran cover stories suggesting that Hamas targeted the convoy, but the UN Relief Work Agency (UNRWA) said they were tank shells. The Red Cross, UNRWA and other relief groups are hopping mad. Their spokespeople are screaming on camera, they are so outraged. Despite Israel's and America's exaggerated news treatment and sympathy for the terror caused by Hamas' rockets, only a fool or a liar could argue that Israel is not in clear violation of the international rules of war principle called proportionality.
 
But why must it be called genocide? Simply this: All Western-style democratic countries agree, as far as I am aware, that peace in the region is to be desired on humanitarian grounds, if not practical ones, and that peace can only be envisioned through a two-state solution. Israel espouses Palestinian statehood at an official level. And yet, this country, brought into existence by U.N. mandate, continues to flout a Security Council directive, fires upon U.N. staff driving marked vehicles that were given prior clearance, and continues strafe bombing and large-scale demolition activities in the densely populated suburbs of Gaza City.
 
Israel obviously does not envision any future peaceful co-existence anytime soon. This offensive--The Offensive--has willfully reset the clock on any two-state solution. Gazans cannot reasonably be expected to forgive Israel for this crime inside of a generation, maybe two, or maybe never. And Israeli leaders know this. They cannot plead insanity. You can see them on TV, cool, calm, collected, stony-eyed. Their actions belie their claims to be peace-seekers.
 
When rationality fails to explain how this special sort of conflict arises--and we have seen it befor--it is the kind we typically call an atrocity, a crime against humanity, or sometimes even a holocaust. We always find the same process at work. We have called it genocide. Is it rooted in an even more fundamental principle called racism? I don't think we know the answer to that question yet. Jews and Palestinians are supposedly both Semitic races, though I'm not clear about what that means.
 
Personally, I feel all of these things might be even more fundamentally rooted in a process/principle we would call scapegoatism. I cannot admit that "evil" is part of the human foundation. I know that's the preferred theory, but sorry, I can't go there. I naturally trust everyone. But this musing is neither here nor there. What matters is the present. The people of Gaza are suffering terribly, and their suffering has gone beyond the bounds of human decency, beyond rationality. Let them collect their dead at least. Must I swear a blood oath to never speak or acknowledge an Israeli for the rest of my life? Because, God, that's how I feel. Never in the history of modern warfare has a civilian population been treated so inhumanely. And it's happening now. Well, people are saying the Warsaw ghetto is a parallel. I won't opine on this; I don't know much about that anyway, but I feel very sure that the German military during World War II behaved, for the most part, much more respectfully toward civilians than Israel's is now. And if you want to get into the matter of concentration camps and gas chambers, I would ask, is the recent incident, when IDF troops gathered an entire extended family from their various homes, put them into a "safe" house and then bombarded it, killing 31 of the family, any less profane?
 

 

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Peter Dearman is a Canadian teaching English and living in Taiwan. He is concerned about the generally high level of bad things happening in the world today, especially on the matters of depleted uranium, repression in Burma, stolen elections, organ (more...)
 

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