TELL IT LIKE IT IS: For the past few decades, a rule-of-thumb for the never-ending “conflict” between these peoples has been for every one (1) Israeli killed, approximately one-hundred (100) Palestinians are killed. For the past few years, the ratio has been even higher, about 115/1. What follows is an abridged and edited version of a newsletter issued by Alan Elsner, Vice President for Communications for J Street (”the Political Home for Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace Americans”):
“For the first time in two months, the skies above Israel and Gaza are quiet, and Israelis and Palestinians are finally beginning to get back to at least some semblance of normalcy. Tuesday’s cease-fire was a welcome development, and we hope very much that it proves durable.
But there is no question that this truce came at a terrible cost: 72 Israelis and more than 2,000 Palestinians are dead—including over 500 children. Much of Gaza sustained damage, economic activity in southern Israel was paralyzed, and the real damage done to both peoples may be impossible to measure.
How will we prevent other states from isolating Israel or supporting Palestinian efforts in international bodies if Israel is not seen as committed to peace?
As the smoke clears, we are confronted with difficult questions. What was all of this for? Are Israelis safer as a result of Operation Protective Edge? What can we do to make sure this summer doesn’t repeat itself?
In the spirit of Israeli democracy, we are posing these questions directly to Prime Minister Netanyahu and urging him to account for his government’s decisions during this war and for his government’s vision of how to move forward.
We also posted questions for Hamas, though we aren’t holding our breath waiting on their response. This crisis has made clear that there are no winners in these military escalations—only losers.”
Of course, I selected this photo of Netanyahu precisely because it looks like he is giving the Nazi “Heil, Hitler!” salute to the camera!
A salute to the J Street organization
So, first: Bravo to Mr. Elsner and J Street! The ten questions that they have posed Netanyahu (should we start referring to him as the “butcher of the Middle East”?, because Saddam certainly didn’t get away with anything remotely like this) are penetrating.
Back to the 115 Palestinians killed for every 1 Israeli: of course, these are horrible figures, painting a portrait of Israel that should shame them into rethinking their entire approach to this admittedly confusing affair.
But look at the numbers above: 2,000/72, meaning that every time Hamas or a related group kills a single Israeli, Israel retaliates by offing nearly 300 Palestinians.
How will Israel remain democratic and Jewish if it attempts to govern the millions of Palestinian Arabs who live in the West Bank?
A second, perhaps even more horrendous way to read these numbers is that for every adult Israeli murdered, seventy (70) Palestinian children are murdered.
This is NOT a conflict. And it is most certainly NOT a war (as one side doesn’t even have a real government let alone an army).
One of the more meaningful slogans of the Sixties was “Tell it like it is.” This is a MASSACRE, and whose side you are on is irrelevant.
Under the heading of “Prime Minister Netanyahu, It’s Time For Answers” you can read the ten questions and sign a petition asking the PM to address them. I thought the best question was ninth on the list:
“How will Israel remain democratic and Jewish if it attempts to govern the millions of Palestinian Arabs who live in the West Bank? How will it have peace if it is unwilling to delineate a border, end the occupations and allow for Palestinian sovereignty, security, and dignity? How will we prevent other states from isolating Israel or supporting Palestinian efforts in international bodies if Israel is not seen as committed to peace?”
The petition form on the J Street page allows you to add your own comments. In it I wrote, “An eleventh question for the Prime Minister might be, ‘What will you tell God when you stand before Him?’ ”
Finally, aware that the Internet is a place where accusations such as ‘anti-Semite’ are tossed about with flagrant disregard for meaning or accuracy, I want to state that I have ALWAYS supported Israel and its place in the world and its need to defend itself—since I was old enough to begin to grasp global politics and militarism in high school in the 1960s.
But supporting Israel and the Israeli people no more means that I have to support the policies of the Israeli/Netanyahu government than I have to support those of my own country, the United States of America, and the many reprehensible policies of the Obama administration . . .
This cartoon by Gerald Scarfe is titled “Israeli Elections” and “Will Cementing Peace Continue?” Scarfe is one of our extraordinary editorial cartoonists who is known to millions who pay no attention to the newspaper through his illustrations for Pink Floyd’s album THE WALL.