Bombing civilians in a cage

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2009-01-12

Dear Annette, Since I have known you, Israel has never been right in your opinion. So how can they ever have the right to protect themselves? If rockets were coming in to Chicago from Canada what would you feel. Rockets were fired on rooftops of civilian homes by Hamas. Do you really want the state of Israel to continue to exist? --[Brother-in-law] Bob Schlamm

Dear Bob, can you really think that you have the whole story, the whole background, the whole context of the story behind the policies that led to this latest Israeli siege and invasion of the captive and impoverished people of Gaza? In this war, as in any modern war, propaganda plays a major role and is repeated ad nauseam: Hamas uses the inhabitants of Gaza as "hostages" and the women and children as "human shields" -- leaving the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) no alternative but to carry out massive bombardments where, to their deep sorrow, thousands of women, children and unarmed men are killed and injured. Really they are so sorry.

The reasons given by the Israeli government ("The state must defend its citizens against the Quassam rockets") has been accepted as the WHOLE TRUTH by almost all of the American media which (initially) repeated for days this official Israeli propaganda line, while entirely ignoring the Palestinian side of the story, the background CONTEXT of WHY the rockets were coming.

Bob, the fact is that the Israeli government, since the time that Hamas won (freely and fairly) the election in 2007, has imposed a military siege and closure on Gaza, surrounding it with barbed wire fences and high curtain walls -- and cutting off, as it pleased, all deliveries of FOOD, MEDICAL SUPPLIES, GAS, FUEL, even cutting off UN refugee relief aid; see my previous letter. Ehud Barak declared "we will put Hamas on a diet" -- and the slow starvation of a million and a half inhabitants began in earnest. This was not mentioned in Israel's simple rational -- also suppressed in the American media (unless one read European news on the Internet)

The foreign press was barred by Israel from entering Gaza to report on the dire situation. Israeli journalists use reports provided by the Army spokesmen. Western volunteer medical teams had also been barred. But the cameras are inside the Strip in the middle of the hell and are hard to control.

The death toll of civilians by now has reached over 900 -- injured close to or over 4000.

You have questioned whether I want Israel to exist. Of course I DO. But as the writer Uri Avnery (Israeli Jew) has said,

This will have severe consequences for our long-term future, our standing in the world, our chance of achieving peace and quiet. What will be seared into the consciousness of the world will be the image of Israel as a bloodstained monster, ready at any moment to commit war crimes and not prepared to abide by any moral restraints....In the end, this war is a crime against ourselves too, a crime against the State of Israel.