I often try to inject humor into my writing. I have no room for laughter on this one.
What Hamas did was beyond horrible and should be considered a war crime. But are we really going to sit here and watch the Israeli government unleash yet another completely disproportionate amount of death and destruction on the Palestinian people? Depriving an area that is two-thirds the size of Chicago with 2 million inhabitants, 1 million of which are under 18, of food, medicine, water, and electricity. Blowing up entire blocks and telling half of the population to flee their homes and head South. Could you imagine half of Chicago being told to flee the North Side and head South? In twenty-four hours? Gaza has already been described as an open-air prison for the past 17 years, with dramatic health consequences and massive unemployment. You can’t subject people to so much trauma indefinitely and not expect consequences.
Why don’t we consider what Israel is doing, and about to do, to be a war crime? We give Israel more military assistance than any other nation and we should be able to influence how they react to this act of war by Hamas.
Don’t get me wrong, we have zero credibility on morality here. We propped up Saddam Hussein’s brutal dictatorship in Iraq until he turned on us. Then we starved the Iraqis in a series of debilitating sanctions for over a decade before blowing the country to hell in 2003. Our interventions in Iraq caused so much misery to the Iraqi people it’s hard to even quantify.
After 9/11, we too, could have chosen a path based on the rule of law, but we didn’t. We could have found and prosecuted Bin Laden within the framework of existing international laws. Instead, we lashed out indiscriminently, causing nothing but chaos and destruction, and setting in motion a whole new level to the already existing cycle of violence. We couldn’t stop ourselves from killing Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, even when millions of people around the world took to the streets to try to stop us. Our actions in Iraq should be considered a war crime.
Israel is about to do the same, and while we have no track record or moral standing to tell them to stop, we should still try. We have to start somewhere. “If we do an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth we will be a blind and toothless nation”, said Martin Luther King, Jr. We should know that more than anyone.
We need to be using our influence to prevent Israel from killing thousands of more innocent Palestinians, most likely in the next few weeks alone. And who knows how many more if this thing isn’t immediately contained.
I’m not a religious person, I have nothing to pray to, but watching this horror unfold in real time makes me wish there was a benevolent God. Or better, someone in power with the right sense of morality to break this endless cycle of violence we are caught in.