Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Gaza and the Prayer for the Children
An Israeli officer admits that the IDF has been using enormous firepower in its assault on Gaza.
"For us, being cautious means being aggressive...... From the minute we entered, we've acted like we're at war. That creates enormous damage on the ground ... I just hope those who have fled the area of Gaza City in which we are operating will describe the shock. Maybe someone there will sober up before it continues."
Robert Fisk wonders why we're surprised.
What is amazing is that so many Western leaders, so many presidents and prime ministers and, I fear, so many editors and journalists, bought the old lie; that Israelis take such great care to avoid civilian casualties. "Israel makes every possible effort to avoid civilian casualties," yet another Israeli ambassador said only hours before the Gaza massacre. And every president and prime minister who repeated this mendacity as an excuse to avoid a ceasefire has the blood of last night's butchery on their hands.
A former Israeli soldier delivers his verdict.
Under the circumstances, Israel had the right to act in self-defence but its response to the pinpricks of rocket attacks was totally disproportionate. The figures speak for themselves. In the three years after the withdrawal from Gaza, 11 Israelis were killed by rocket fire. On the other hand, in 2005-7 alone, the IDF killed 1,290 Palestinians in Gaza, including 222 children.
And now that almost 2000 are dead, I'm left to wonder what such brutal tactics, and killing so many innocent civilians and children, does to the soul of a nation. A nation I've had a special feeling for ever since I was a small boy.
Wonder whether Israelis need to take a long look in the mirror and recognize what 40 years of occupation and war have done to THEM.... and the Palestinians .
And then even though I'm not religious, join in this prayer for the children of Gaza.
Lord who is the creator of all children, hear our prayer this accursed day. God whom we call Blessed, turn your face to these, the children of Gaza, that they may know your blessings, and your shelter, that they may know light and warmth, where there is now only blackness and smoke, and a cold which cuts and clenches the skin.
Almighty who makes exceptions, which we call miracles, make an exception of the children of Gaza. Shield them from us and from their own. Spare them. Heal them. Let them stand in safety. Deliver them from hunger and horror and fury and grief. Deliver them from us, and from their own.
Stop the killing. Stop this bloody Dance of Death. Have the strength and the courage and the decency to do what is right and good for both of you.
Enough is enough. For the sake of the children. For the sake of the whole world.
Give peace a chance...