Monday, January 12, 2009

Israel vs. Gaza: 985 to 13 and Counting

NewsOne, 1-12-09

By CASEY GANE-MCCALLA

As Israel continues its re-invasion of Gaza, all this talk of a proportionate response and Israel defending itself seems to be off the mark, judging by the numbers. If a man hits you and you beat up his whole family, is that a proportionate response? Is shooting a man for throwing a rock at your window defending yourself?



The Associated Press reports that as of January 14th, more than 985 Palestinians have been killed, including more than 400 civilians. This is in comparison to 13 Israelis who have been killed, including three civilians. It is estimated that 40% of all the Gaza casualties have been civilians.



Last weekend, Barack Obama was on ABC's This Week and reiterated his statement, "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. I would expect Israelis to do the same thing."

Palestinians are seeing bombs dropped on their houses at a much more frequent rate than Israelis have had rockets shot at them, so shouldn't they have the right to defend themselves, too? Far more Palestinian daughters have died because of this conflict than Israelis.



We've all heard the saying that an eye for an eye leaves us all blind. What about 200 eyes for an eye?

Does Israel expect to be greeted as liberators in Gaza? Every Palestinian family member they kill just fuels the desperation and hatred of Israel that creates the rocket launchers and the suicide bombers that they are trying to stop.



From 2005 through 2007 in Israel and the Palestinian territories, there were 86 Israelis killed, eight of which were civilians, meaning less than 10% of all Israelis killed during that time were civilians. There were 1290 Palestinian casualties during that same period, of which 222 were civilians.

So in the last two and a half weeks, Israel has killed as many Palestinians as they have during the past four years.

An unequal death toll has marked this conflict for years. From 1987 through 2005, there were 3196 Palestinian casualties, including 620 civilians; and 946 Israeli casualties, including 112 civilians.

In the face of the murder, terror and dead children, U.S. politicians are not condemning the violence or the war, but defending Israel's right to defend themselves. N.Y. Gov. David Paterson said, "I believe the Israeli people, under constant attack from the Palestinian territories, have a right to protect themselves and I stand with them as they fight to defend the basic rights of humanity."

Is Hamas not under attack by Israel as well? Given the disproportionate amount of casualties, isn't it the Palestinians who have more of a need to defend their basic human rights?

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said there is no measured response to terrorism, essentially saying that Israel has carte blanche to use what ever force it wants, regardless of civilian casualties.

I worked for many years as a teacher and had to break up several fights. If a 100 pound kid kicks a 300 pound kid in the shins, and the 300 pound kid begins pummeling the 100 pound kid, I wouldn't say that the 300 kid had a right to defend himself. I would tell them both to stop fighting and try and break it up.



Maybe one of the reasons the US has been slow to criticize Israel is the Iraq war. 100,000 Iraqi civilians (some have estimated it in the millions) have been killed vs. 4,000 U.S. soldiers.

If the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were a boxing match it would have been declared a TKO a long time ago. If it were a football game, Israel would have put in their second string. Without a referee, the game has gotten far out of hand.

In war there is rarely a right side and wrong side. If Hamas was wrong for breaking the previous ceasefire, that does not mean Israel is right for killing more than 400 civilians.

The current war on Gaza is doing very little to improve Israel's relations with both the Palestinians and their Middle East neighbors. It is only fueling hatred for Israel in the Arab world.



While I've heard several good arguments justifying Israel's actions, I've always been told that number and pictures don't lie. Given the lopsided score on the casualty count and gruesome pictures of the casualties, it is very clear that Israel is in the wrong along with Hamas.

For more evidence of Israel's brutality in Gaza check out this gallery of Palestinian casualties.

(Casey Gane-McCalla is a writer, rapper, producer and actor, and the assistant editor for NewsOne.)

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