The current round of violence between Israel and the Hamas should be condemned, with both sides attacking civilian populations. While there is no doubt that Hamas’ “noble resistance,” of shooting rockets indiscriminately at the Israeli population is also a violation of human rights, this is no way gives Israel a carte blanche to target the Palestinian population at large.
Until now, over two hundred Palestinians have been killed, with 77% of them civilians. In fact, with the new technology of the Iron Dome, Israel is able to protect much of its population under attack, which only highlights the absurdity of Israel’s campaign.
Today, Human Rights Watch stated the following:
“Israeli air attacks in Gaza investigated by Human Rights Watch have been targeting apparent civilian structures and killing civilians in violation of the laws of war. Israel should end unlawful attacks that do not target military objectives and may be intended as collective punishment or broadly to destroy civilian property. Deliberate or reckless attacks violating the laws of war are war crimes.”
The human rights organization documented the following case of excessive Israeli violence, which seems set on targeting civilians:
“On July 11, an Israeli attack on the Fun Time Beach café near the city of Khan Yunis killed nine civilians, including two 15-year-old children, and wounded three, including a 13-year-old boy. An Israeli military spokesman said the attack was “targeting a terrorist” but presented no evidence that any of those at the café, who had gathered to watch a World Cup match, were participating in military operations, or that the killing of one alleged “terrorist” in a crowded café would justify the expected civilian casualties.”
Another case documented shows Israeli targeting of a 20 year old low-ranking Hamas member led to the bombing of his house, killing the member and seven of his family members. In short, we have case upon case of Israeli violation of human rights that have lead to massive destruction and a humanity crisis (which also includes call by the Israeli army to a hundred thousand residents of Beit Lahiya, in Northern Gaza, to evacuate their houses).
On a personal note, this week has proved to be quite a difficult one. Being in Istanbul, I have been appalled by the reoccurring anti-Semitic slurs in the Turkish media and personal attacks on twitter. Perhaps, hardest is being far from Tel Aviv, or Haifa, where I am always able to find protesters, Arab and Jews, who see eye-to-eye with me; together I would be with them chanting “Israel Stop the Killing,” and “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.”
Yes, Israeli citizens, whether Palestinian or Jewish, coming together against the growing hate and racism. For many, we are the enemies from within who have been able to penetrate the close-gated community Israel has become, behind its might wall and its skies protected by the Iron Dome.
The second hardest part is that my only way to connect directly to Israel is via the Israeli media. Watching Israeli Channel Two, one witnesses endless war-mongering among its analysts and even some of its broadcasters. It is this type of incitement that conditions killers like those of Mohammed Abu-Khdeir, which led me to ask in a former blog, can Israelis Mourn a Palestinian.” What is clear is that the Israeli media has failed to cover the Palestinian side of this story.
Racism is embedded in Israeli society. We do not even need to look to the revelations of the latest new racist, Ayelet Shaked (I will save this for a future blog), it is enough to look at Arab Knesset Member, Dr Jamal Zahalka (a Palestinian citizen of Israel), being dragged out of a Knesset meeting, with Likud Miri Regev disgustingly calling him a terrorist and yelling at him to “go to Gaza!”
It is the level of racism, the lack of Israeli empathy with the Palestinian victims, that will haunt (and is haunting) the Israeli society and led a whole country to become blind to the Palestinian suffering, not just now, but in general..
Therefore, it is high time that Israelis shout, not in our name, even if we too are running to for cover, or ones like me, who have genuine fears for loved ones there. Fear is fear. And, my heart goes out to all who are suffering Jewish or Palestinian. However, this cannot distract me, or lead me in anyway to justify the massive killing we have seen this week.
Yes, not in my name. Not in my loved ones’ name. Not in my Palestinian and Jewish friends’ name. And, not in the name of the multitude of Jewish groups inside Israel and abroad. Stop the reckless killing.