"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality."
---Bishop Desmond Tutu
In Gaza, the elephant has finally removed its foot from the mouse's tail. Much to the dismay of the mouse, the behemoth is not done with him. Not this elephant. He has decided to bring his immense weight to bear on the mouse's miniscule body, sadistically reveling at the sight of the blood oozing from the mouse's bodily orifices as it is gradually reduces it to a mass of flattened pulp.
Enabler of Ethnic Cleansing
The elephant has received over $140 billion in financial support from the United States since World War II. US subsidies to the Israeli government and military average $15 million per day. Palestinian NGO's were receiving a pitiful $232,000 per day (for non-military use only) from the United States prior to the termination of US aid to punish Palestinians for choosing the "wrong" leaders in their democratic elections.
The mouse recently had the audacity to bite the elephant's toe. Some of the more militant members of the Palestinian community, who refuse to quietly acquiesce to extermination, kidnapped an Israeli soldier, an 18 year old Jewish settler and a 62 year old Israeli man.
An Eye for an Eyelash
In the perverse logic widely employed by Americans and Israelis, three kidnappings warranted Israel unleashing hell upon Gaza. Forget that 9,800 Palestinians in Israeli prisons are routinely subjected to torture while Palestinian prisons hold one Israeli. Never mind the 23 civilian Palestinians murdered by Israeli shelling and air strikes over the last four weeks. And disregard the 4,209 Palestinians that Israel has killed (including 892 children) and the 30,122 they have injured since 9/30/00.
Note: By way of comparison, Palestinian inflicted Israeli deaths totaled 1,113 during this period.
As I compose this piece, Israel has launched a ruthless military assault on the Gaza Strip, one of the two pitifully small Palestinian enclaves. Air strikes have knocked out the power plant which provided electricity to most of the 1.3 million inhabitants of Gaza. It will take an estimated 6 months and $20 million to make the plant operational again. The Palestinians can afford neither the time nor the money.
Israeli troops and tanks are rolling into southern Gaza as additional aerial bombardment has essentially split Gaza into northern and southern halves by taking out two key bridges. Recent reports indicate that Israel has violated Syrian air space by flying over the president's home and has launched tank attacks on northern Gaza.
Despite the lack of casualties thus far, Palestinian senior negotiator Saeb Erakat had this to say:
"I condemn in the strongest possible terms this attack on our infrastructure. We have 1.3 million people under siege in Gaza. Israel is in the process of reoccupying Gaza -- not in traditional sense -- but through control of water, electricity, food and medical supplies, and I don't think the international community should allow it. A chance should be given to diplomacy. I urge the United States to intervene immediately."