- Written by Gilbert Schramm Gilbert Schramm
- Published: 29 October 2023 29 October 2023
A few days ago, an Israeli army spokesman uttered one of those absurdly ironic statements that are typical in the current conflict. He argued that Israel ‘had to attack Hamas’ because they were ‘living on Israel’s doorstep.’ When you steal someone’s house and evict them with brutal violence, it is not surprising to find them on your doorstep. Does that justify exterminating them or justify driving them into a different neighborhood? Most civilized people would say not.
Egypt is getting roundly criticized for not opening their Rafah border crossing. Their reasons are quite clear. First, they don’t want 2 million Palestinian refugees living on their border with Israel and they don’t want to have continued Palestinian resistance staged from within their borders. That would inevitably lead to another Israeli/Egyptian war. Their second reason is perhaps more principled—they refuse to collaborate in the further ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. This is why Hamas itself is urging residents of Gaza to remain. It is largely why they do remain.
In 1948, Israel brutally ethnically cleansed the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin. For years, Israel claimed that Arab authorities told Palestinians to flee. Israel claimed that their flight made the land Israel’s by default. There is no clear record of Arabs telling Palestinians to leave, but no Arab Government wants to open themselves to the same false claims or manipulation.
There have been a lot of comparisons to 9/11 with regard to the Hamas attack and the Israeli response. It might give some much-needed perspective to rely on comparisons with smaller numbers. During a ten-year period in the mid 2000s, Palestinian rockets killed about 20 Israeli civilians. That is around 2 people a year. That is about how many Israeli people are killed yearly by snake bites. It is less than the number killed in the US by fireworks as we celebrate 4th of July (a single day). No one has ever called on the US air force to stop 4th of July celebrations. One credible article I just read said the that recent number of deaths caused by Palestinian rocket fire was about one per 142 rockets. The number of rockets in 2011 was about 1,483. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/05/13/faq-hamas-missiles/). It is getting worse, but is hardly an “existential threat” as Israel claims, and it certainly doesn’t justify the horrific force Israel is bringing to bear on Gaza.
Just yesterday (October 25) a lone gunman in a small town in Maine killed about 18 local residents with a legally purchased gun. It would have taken 2,556 Hamas rockets to kill all those people in Maine. The gunman did in an hour what it would have taken 10 years of Hamas rockets to accomplish. Yet there are no US airstrikes in Maine. That would be madness!
Meanwhile, the death toll inflicted on Palestinian civilians in Gaza continues to grow astronomically. Over 7,000 Palestinians are now dead. Apparently, over 3,000 children are among them (dismembered somewhere in the rubble). How many more victims need to die before Israel reaches its mysterious “redemption point?” It is time to stop this madness.
The US and Israel argue that a ceasefire would ‘only help Hamas.’ The truth is it would mostly help the civilian population of Gaza, most of whom had nothing to do with the horrific Hamas attack. It would also help the hostages and the countries they come from by giving their negotiators time to arrange their release. It would even help Israel by giving their people time to hold back before committing their nation to a horrific mistake.
In recent days, most of the leaders of Israeli intelligence and the military have taken responsibility for their failures. The exception is Israeli PM Netanyahu. He has led Israel for 13 years. His aggressive policy has been an abject failure and has probably created far more extremists than he ever eliminated. There is no sane reason the US should continue to support this approach.
It is time to let humanitarian aid into Gaza and to enforce a ceasefire now. A serious long-term peace deal should quickly follow. Period.