Monday, 21 July 2014

When Self Defence is Genocide

The history of the Israeli nation has been a turbulent one. However. it shouldn't be conflated with the biblical history of the Israelites. The Israeli nation was carved out of occupied areas of the Middle East by the Allies following the defeat of the Nazis. It provided a haven for settling Jews who were displaced during the holocaust. There have been numerous violent battles and clashes between the Israeli nation and its Arab Neighbours. These date back to the 'six day war' in 1967, through a long running battle with the PLO; to present day clashes with Hamas. Throughout all of this there have been ongoing episodes of bombings and shelling by insurgents. The most recent outbreak of violence is being described as a campaign of self defence by the Israeli nation. However, what triggered it was the abduction and murder of 3 Israeli youths along the Gaza Strip. This was a heinous and horrible crime committed in an effort to provoke the Israelis. As despicable an act as it was it was still a crime and should have been treated as such. A joint investigation by Israeli and Palestine authorities should have been undertaken. And hopefully the culprits brought to book. What is clear, is that the bombardment of residential quarters in Gaza wasn't an appropriate or proportional response. This seems to be an act of retribution rather than of self defence. To date there have been over 300 Palestinian deaths and around 15 Israeli deaths. Most of the Palestinian casualties have been civilians, and a quarter of them children. If Israel's objective is to disable Hamas; the slaughtering of children and civilians does not seem to be the way way to do that. Nor does it seem the path to a lasting peace or any kind of peaceful resolution. It is about time the Israelis were called to account for the slaughter of Palestinian children and civilians in the name of self defence. There is a need for it to defend itself but an all out assault on residential neighbourhoods is not self defence. It is a callous disregard for Palestinian life and a deepening of an already deeply driven wedge.