Yes, it's been two weeks since the air bombardments began, and with over 1000 'martyred' (which means 80,000 virgins, right?), you would think that the politicians might give a damn.
(Image: I had to do it, didn't I? I had to include a photograph that forces us Westerners to confront our own dehumanisations towards the Arabic world. Turns out, they are really people like us! Who knew! I thought they all wore balaclavas and grunted 'Allah Akbaar' through gritted teeth! Maybe some slight sarcasm included here, by the way.)
Instead, they call for 'peace', and the need for Hamas to stop firing rockets. Great. Because that was what kicked it all off, right? Well, to believe that would be to ignore thirty years of Israeli occupation and subjugation of Gaza, and the obvious conflict of interest for the Israeli government with the forthcoming elections.
The governing party is likely to lose, so here comes their version of the US 'October Surprise'! They've been under rocket fire for years but they suddenly get angry now? Coincidence? Methinks not.
Now, that's not to say it isn't justified to want revenge when your area comes under rocket fire. Of course it is reasonable to defend yourself.
But yet again, Israel doesn't get self-defence. They pursue what they have always pursued; expansionism. Right from the day Israel was created it has been expanding by force. (though not entirely unjustified at first, as it was too small to defend itself.) This expansion ended after the Yom Kippur war in 1973, when for a time Israel took the entire Sinai desert from Egypt.
The perception by some in the West, that Israel is the little guy surrounded by enemies, is outdated and/or a lie. There was a time when Israel had to fight for its existence, but that time has long been buried in the annals of history. For the last thirty years at least, there has been no serious threat to Israel. In fact, due in part to the multi-billion dollar US military aid it receives, Israel has one of the strongest armed forces in the world. And a bloated, over-influential military industrial complex.
(Images: top and middle both from the recent pro-Gaza rally in London; bottom is from the Seattle branch of Jewish Voices for Peace. Yet more proof that anti-Semitism because of Israel's actions is just plain wrong and ignorant.)
The real Israel of today is more of a Goliath than the David it was when it began. It is the schoolyard bully who dumps misery on all those around it, and then has the gall to tell the teacher that 'he hit me first!'
The economic sanctions lorded over the Gazans, along with the blockades, is an atrocity and an act of occupation. The ramming of Cynthia McKinney's boat is a war crime. Who else could attempt to sink a civilian relief vessel and get away with it?
Understand that I do not believe any of this justifies firing rockets at civilians. Hamas' actions were disproportionate. (also, did you know Israel created Hamas?)
But Israel's response has been disproportionate in the extreme.
If we don't get to the roots of the conflict, we will not solve it. And in doing so we must appreciate Israel's long-term aim in Gaza. Which is, to rid the area of Palestinians by making their lives exponentially more uncomfortable. This involves blockades, trade embargos, causing food shortages, lack of basic medical care, and anger among the people, who protest by throwing rocks and in return get shot and gassed.
Israel's actions are tantamount to ethnic cleansing by stealth.
Deaths Total Comparison:
Palestinians Waving White Flags Shot In The Back: