Saturday’s “Operation Cast Lead” was a brutal instance of collective punishment of Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants. It involved 64 aircraft dropping more than 100 tons of explosives, the largest Israeli operation against Gaza since 1967. The death toll includes women and children.
The fatalities also include three senior Hamas officers. Known Hamas facilities were targeted, but residential areas were hit even near schools and hospitals. Hamas said all of Gaza’s security compounds were destroyed. An estimated two thirds of the casualties were police officers or members of the various Hamas security forces, according to a senior Gazan medical official.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Gaza’s hospitals have been “overwhelmed by casualties.” Reporting how the Israelis targeted graduation day at Gaza City’s main police station, the newspaper described “the bloodied bodies of dozens of dead and wounded young Palestinian men in black uniforms, as survivors rushed to assist the injured….
Since June 2007, when Hamas thwarted a planned Fatah coup against it by seizing control of Gaza, Israel has mounted a blockade to deny Gazans all but the most essential provisions. Basic services such as water, sewage and electricity have been cut for up to 16 hours a day. Raw sewage runs through the streets. At least 50 percent of the adult population is unemployed, and 80 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.
Earlier this month, Gaza’s banks had all but run out of cash as a result of Israel’s restrictions, leading to the closure of all banks and cash machines. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency was forced to suspend the distribution of cash to 94,000 Palestinians.
I wonder what those poor people in the German ghettos in the 1940s would think if you told them that their plight would lead to another population being treated just like them, prisoners in their own country, and that the greatest crime of the 20th century would be used to dismiss any criticism as anti-semitic?
To criticize Israel for its racist and quasi-genocidal policies is anti-Semitic in the same way that criticizing Hitler was anti-German: only in the minds of the stupid and the hypocritical. If we have learned anything, anything from the horrors of World War II, that should be it. But apparently all we have learned is that dropping bombs on people solves problems. The thing is this: that’s what Hitler thought, too. And I can almost imagine that old fuckhead smiling at his legacy to the world.