Never Again? A Modern-Day Holocaust, With a Sickening Twist
by Alison Ross
Disclaimer: This will likely piss a lot of people off. I don't care. The truth hurts. I will be accused of anti-Semitism by those whose hearts are constricted against painful reality. At the same time, I am no lover of Hamas, so don't even go there. Try discerning some nuance and you'll feel a whole lot better. And yes, I do sound hostile and paranoid, but I don't mean to. I'm just exasperated with this issue, and how distorted it has become. I only want what's right for BOTH sides.
At my school, there is a student from Israel whose family is clearly Zionist. He flaunts his pride in his homeland whenever and however he can. He wears t-shirts that bear Hebrew or English Israeli slogans, and he often dons Israeli Army fatigues and even beanies with the Israeli Army insignia. Sometimes, this student creates artwork related to the Israeli Army – a few pictures have even been a bit gory - and
he occasionally puts up petitions around the school for various things concerning Israel. Most recently, his petition solicited support for the atrocious offensive in Gaza.
I am greatly bothered by this student's actions, because for me they equate Israel with violence. In other words, the student is evolving an understanding of his home country not as a positive place rich in aesthics, culture and ideals, but as one where ugly militancy reins, and the primary symbology is tanks and missiles.
It's unfathomable to me that the group of people who were so notoriously and perniciously persecuted in WWII (and even before that) have evolved into oppressors of the most egregious kind. True, not all Israelis invest belief in the crudely cynical aims of Zionism. But the ones who do, believe in them with unparalleled passion. Zionists, in short, believe that they possess a Biblical inheritance to the land in Palestine, and that they may use any means necessary to gain permanent access to it.
This is not to discount the transgressions of some Palestinians and especially Hamas. But the difference is, Hamas evolved as a RESPONSE, however sickeningly inappropriate, to Zionist aggression. It's not right, of course, and such belligerence should always be dissuaded.
Of course, some will say that Israeli bellicosity evolved as a response to Palestinian terrorism. I suppose it could be considered a question of chicken and egg, but how would you feel your land were stolen from you? This is exactly what happened when Palestinian land was carved up into Israel.
It's beyond fathom to me, too, that religions are still so regressive in nature – that they derive their identities from bigotry and aggression. In this way both sides are equally to blame.
But let's put things into perspective for a moment, because no matter how wrong Hamas and some Palestinians have acted, it's Israel's actions which have been the most horrificially heinous.
Indeed, the most recent offensive in Gaza was disconcertingly designed to "send Gaza back decades," according to an Israeli Army official. The offensive featured, in atrocious abundance, intense bombardment on CIVILIAN dwellings and institutions, killing, injuring, and displacing tens of thousands.
More specifically, the offensive DELIBERATELY destroyed mosques, universities, government buildings, courts, schools, ambulances and hospitals, as well as bridges, roads, electricity-generating stations, sewage lines and nearly 2,000 factories, workshops and shops.
According to Palestinian Authority officials, the estimated damages (considered conservative) total about at $2 billion. About twenty thousand apartment buildings need repair or reconstruction - and this has created about 100,000 Palestinian refugees. According to the same estimate, about 80 percent agricultural crops were destroyed.
And all this to serve the oh-so-humane goal of destabalizing Gaza's infrastructure and economy.
Please, someone tell me, how is this in any way proportionate to Hamas' much more tepid terroristic efforts, which have injured, according to estimates, well under a hundred civilians and soldiers, as opposed to tens of thousands injured, killed, and displaced by Israel's actions? Hamas, while reprehensible indeed, has no miltary might to match that of Israel's, which is a fully sanctioned state, and which possesses a profusion of American-supplied missiles, tanks, even nukes.
Tell me, who's the REAL terrorist here?
Even more disturbingly, this latest offensive was once termed a shoa (the Hebrew word for "holocaust") by Israel's Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai. The term has not been used in recent months because its use humiliated the Israeli government - but the repellent hypocrisy lingers.
This is not to deny the right of Israel to exist. It's too late to argue that point anyway. Perhaps Israel should not have happened the way it did, but we cannot reverse time. We must exist in the present, and propose solutions that are equitable for both sides. For the Palestinians have a right to exist on their land as well, free of the belligerent encroachment of neighboring terrorist states.
Just to present an even more sobering picture, since 2004, there have been eight Israeli military assaults on Gaza, as well as blockades since 2005, which have tragically resulted in a staggering 75 percent malnutrition rate and a 46 perecent childhood anemia rate.
And of the recent killed in the latest offensive, 1 in 3 have been children under 18.
Widely reported, too, is the illegal use of white phosphorous on civilians, a substance that is adheres to flesh and penetrates to the bone.
Gaza is a concentration camp, and the Israeli government is perpetrating a holocaust against the Palestinians. A shameful irony, indeed.