The Ever-Evolving World Through Her Eyes

2+2=4, Violence in Gaza= War Crimes

On the 22nd day of unabated violence in Gaza, with 1,203 people dead- including 360 Children, and 5,320 people injured of which are 46% Women and Children, Israel has said “The aims of our operation have been met.” Is that the sound of a ceasefire? Even after, Israel turned down Hamas’ deal on a Palestinian state of the 1967 borders, the deal that Israel said was the Palestinian people’s golden opportunity?

And, what were your aims Ehud Olmert? I’m confused because what happened over the last three weeks was not a nation protecting itself, but rather a government perpetrating fear within it’s borders, and the borders of a territory occupied and oppressed.

Frankly, I’m done with this, I am done hearing about the atrocities that you are committing, righteously, as if you were “entitled.” Entitled to violence, as if it were owed to you because of what your people have seen, and gone through. Let me say this, no one is entitled to violence, the history of people throughout this world is bloodied and conquered. When will it end?

Would the American government be so forgiving if African Americans rose up, took over New York or California, due to help from the European Union, and started perpetrating violence in the same ways that Israel does? While, the EU continued to funnel roughly 10 million dollars each day, even increasing funds while civilians were being slaughtered, as the US did a couple weeks ago. For some reason, I don’t think so. The institutions that are supposed to protect us, have been killing young black men for years. Look at the most recent cases of Oscar Grant and Adolph Grimes.

This is war crimes. In the “Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977” under Article 51, the protection of civilians Israel has committed War Crimes. According to Point 4 – the definition of Indiscriminate Attacks, section (c),

those which employ a method or means of combat the effects of which cannot be limited as required by this Protocol; and consequently, in each such case, are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction.

It’s also very interesting, that while these laws were created because of the genocide committed against the Jewish people, and 6 million others, in the holocaust, that Israel criticizes the International Criminal Court and will not take part in it.

On July 1, 2002, the International Criminal Court, a treaty-based court located in The Hague, came into being for the prosecution of war crimes committed on or after that date. However, several nations, most notably the United States, China, and Israel, have criticized the court and refuse to participate in it or to permit the court to have jurisdiction over their citizens.

People are all the time wanting to intellectualize war and this issue. So often I hear, “Shadia, this is complicated stuff. The middle-east!” Or talk of how ‘tough’ these decisions are, and “What would you do if you were in power; it’s not so easy.” You are right and you are wrong. It is is very difficult to have this kind of power, yes. However, that is why these leaders are voted in. These ‘decisions’ of whether or not to bomb ambulances, three UN Schools, UN Headquaters, 20,000 residential buildings, and SIX hospials, are not difficult. You just don’t do them. It is illegal, let alone unconscionable.

My colleague Joshua Kahn Russell also states in his blog,

As a young Ashkenazi Jewish man, I’ve been particularly shaken seeing some members of my Jewish community attempt to rationalize or justify the murder of children, the use of illegal biological weapons like White Phosphorous, and blocking of humanitarian aid. I feel unsafe as a Jew in a world where militarists and demagogues commit genocide and pretend it is in my name or the name of my people. What is happening in Gaza is a political, not a religious conflict, as decried by Jews around the world who stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine (including some of the most religious and traditional Hasidim). Even Jon Stewart took a political risk in condemning the attacks.

I ask you this, what will we tell our children of this time? Will our story be, that we sat by and watched as the disenfranchised and the oppressed, were killed off, like a disease. Or will we say, that we fought for justice, and we prayed for peace, and we loved one another, even our “enemies,” and because of that our world is a beautiful place. What story will you choose?

What can you do:

As Obama, comes into office we need him to know, that Israel can no longer dictate what our policies in the states are. Contact his transition office today, even if you already have.

Organize yourselves, a group vigil, a group prayer, an after-work special of writing letters to congress, letters to the editor, just get people together. Share food, share energy, we need to support one another during times like these.

To read more about what some Israeli’s have to say about this, I encourage you to read Avi Shlaim, who served for the Israeli Army. Or Israeli voices from Sderot.

Check out what Arab-Americans have to say at the Arab American Institute.

Video from a rally today in Tel Aviv, my friend Tom Pessah reports back “Shadia – 3000 Arabs and Jews marched tonight from Tel Aviv to Jaffa chanting “end the occupation” (this is what you can hear). Other chants were “arabs and jews refuse to be enemies”, and protests against Defense Minister Barak.”

Please please take this last step. Let the children of Gaza know that you care about them. The American Near East Refugee Aid, works with thousands of children in Gaza. They have put a call out for letters to these children that have experienced such psychological trauma.

and lastly a video of hope


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