Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Tuesday, October 21, 2003  

At what point does the US criticize Israel? Each week the government bombs Palestinians indiscriminately, killing innocents along with "targets" regarded by the government as dangerous--whether or not they have been tried and convicted of crimes. Yesterday was particularly violent: in five air strikes, Israelis killed 11 and wounded 130. (According to one report, a bomb exploded on a street crowded with school children, wounding four.)

Israel has routinely been given a pass by non-Muslim countries (led, of course, by the patronage of the US) because it is under a constant terrorist attack. Anything can be justified as a response: collateral damage, new settlements, retributive bombings based on scant information. Feeling justified by the terrorist attacks, Israel responds in kind.

I think Americans have resisted looking at the situation there as something akin to Kosovo or Rwanda. Israel is a first world country and a long-time ally. It is the cradle of Christian civilization, and in the battle of the sons of Abraham, American Christians have increasingly sided with Jews. For Israelis to commit such barbarism is unthinkable. Yet not only is it thinkable, but this barbarism appears to be unfolding. It doesn't take a psychic to imagine that this situation--always volatile--may be at the moment of combustion where it is escalating into a full-scale race war.

You don't have to take sides to be horrified by the scene; you don't have to be partisan to demand action. In this battle of unequal powers, Israel, despite the wrongs it believes it has suffered, must take the lead. The situation cannot change if the government continues a war of terrorist extermination--it will only worsen. In the meantime, human rights atrocities become the norm, and any hope of long-term stability are diminished. Israel, for its own sake, needs to be the leader for peace. If it cannot make this difficult choice, the world is going to have to start demanding it. And calling terrorism terrorism--no matter who perpetrates it.

posted by Jeff | 6:49 AM |
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