The image above is by Israeli artist Amir Schiby, paying tribute to the four Palestinian boys (Ahed Atef Bakr, Zakaria Ahed Bakr, Mohamed Ramez Bakr and Ismael Mohamed Bakr) who died playing football on the beach during one of the air strikes. He wrote on Facebook that the image was created “as a tribute to *all* children living in war zones.”
The reaction from Cameron and Obama in the wake of Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza has been disgusting. According to The Guardian, a No. 10 spokeswoman said that “both leaders reiterated their support for Israel’s right to take proportionate action to defend itself from the barrage of rocket attacks from Gaza”. Obama was especially callous as he stood at a White House iftar, supposedly held to encourage interfaith dialogue, and reiterated that statement.
I don’t often write about politics on this blog, mostly because I work hard to be informed and am not always aware to what extent I am. Occasionally there are crucial bits of information missing and sometimes the only information you can get comes from sources so biased it’s hard to separate the truth from the propaganda. However. In this case, while the history of the conflict is long and complicated, this particular assault is not.
I want to be absolutely clear about this: Israel’s current unrelenting and bloody attack on Gaza is not “proportionate action”. It is tantamount to genocide.
Genocide /ˈdʒɛnəsʌɪd/, noun: the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular nation or ethnic group.
Over 350 Palestinian deaths. Five soldiers and two civilians in Israel. Israel have the Iron Dome, which means most Hamas rockets (which are less precise and deadly than their Israeli counterparts at any rate) do not reach Israel.
I have a couple of Israeli friends on Facebook, and yesterday I was shocked when one of them posted pictures of himself on the beach with his friends. The caption said something about a “hot summer” that was “lots of fun”. There was another photo with a surfboard and a comment on the waves. He’s not a bad person. But it goes to show how dramatically different the quality of life is on the two sides of the border.
A note: it infuriates me that I have to point this out, but being against the terrible atrocities that the state of Israel commits and being anti-Semitic is not the same thing. Anyone who decides they want to accuse me of being anti-Jewish can kindly take their ridiculous mentality elsewhere. It is precisely that kind of narrow-minded thinking that perpetuates these violent actions because it makes people too afraid to speak up.