Monday, February 2, 2009

Innocence, Morality Ravaged in Gaza - Howard J. Gale

Seattle Post Intelligencer, February 1, 2009 - Israel has dropped tens of thousands of pounds of U.S.-made and/or U.S.-paid-for munitions on one of the most densely populated regions on Earth. Israel has been firing on known United Nations schools, killing dozens of civilians.

There are credible U.N. reports that Israel has bombed shelters to which Israel evacuated civilians 24 hours earlier. Israel is using artillery shells, widely banned cluster munitions and white phosphorus munitions, all of which guarantee an increasing proportion of civilian casualties (more than 50 percent of the more than 1,000 Palestinians killed). How can one justify the dropping of a 2,000-pound bomb on the home of a Hamas leader killing 18 others, including four children?

Could one imagine Britain claiming the right to bomb Northern Ireland during the four decades of "The Troubles" as a means of "self-defense" against terrorist bombings? Indeed, after Britain further militarized the conflict in January 1972, when 13 Northern Irish civilians were shot by the British Army, deaths nearly tripled that year. Militarizing the conflict prolonged it for another 25 years, resulting in more than 3,200 deaths. Did the Mitchell Principles accepted in 1997 end all violence? No. There were 129 deaths reported during 1998-2006. But negotiations are a critical step to decrease the violence and make peace possible....

Only a tribalism that hardens one's heart and blinds one to reality can reconcile Judaism's most sacred teachings with the death Israel has dispensed in Gaza....

Howard J. Gale is a Seattle research psychologist and Jew, with family and friends in Israel.

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