If nothing else, the grief must be devastating. Yesterday, 10 members of one family perished in an Israeli attack, including four children. The Dalu family from Gaza City were pulled lifeless, charred, and limp from beneath the rubble of the building that was once their home. Today they will be buried, 10 members of one family –” an entire existence eliminated. The Dalu casualties are just around a tenth of those killed since Wednesday when Israel began its massive operation –” Pillar of Defense –” into the Gaza Strip. With the death toll steadily rising, it now stands at 93, most of whom are civilians.
It is a terrifying case of dÃ©jÃ vu. Just four years ago, at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 (and yet again, right after President Barack Obama was elected but not yet inaugurated), Israel launched its Cast Lead Operation, a 22-day offensive that claimed the lives of 1,400 Gazans. The current situation is looking equally as grim, with dozens of civilian lives being lost and the West barely batting an eyelid, except to wink at Israel.
This is what is so distressing, even in the twisted world of politics. When a bomb kills a baby, the world should pay some attention. That is the case when an Israeli baby dies or and American baby. That is the case even when it is not a bomb. When Hurricane Katrina, or Storm Sandy claimed innocent lives, they were paid tribute. So, how can anyone –” even calloused politicians –” look at the little body of one-year old Ibrahim Dalu, or the bodies of his siblings Sara or Yousef or Jamal the eldest of which is seven, and not crumble in sorrow?.
Anyone with a smidgen of humanity certainly cannot. But politics is not about humanity, and politics that involves Israel and the Palestinians is light years away from it. Unless, that is, the subject is about being ‘human’ towards Israel and its citizens and then there is a double serving of it.
President Obama, now securely back in the White House for the next four years, seems to have adopted the mantra of being “more Catholic then the Pope.” During his current visit to Thailand, the president chimed in on the crisis, ignoring the rising civilian death toll of the Palestinians in Gaza and focusing on one thing: “There’s no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders," Obama said. " We are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself."
This is not only outrageous, it is insulting. If this is the case, Mr. Obama, what about bombs raining down on the people of Gaza, one-ton bombs that flatten entire buildings, wipe out families and create huge craters in the ground? The damage caused by the Palestinian rockets coming from Gaza is incomparable to the devastation wreaked on the Gazans by just one Israeli bomb. Granted, these Palestinian missiles have advanced since the last invasion, now reaching as far as Tel Aviv and even Jerusalem but all one has to do is the math: since Wednesday, there have been three Israeli deaths and almost 100 Palestinians.
It is a sad day indeed when the leaders of the so-called “Free World” brazenly distinguish between the value of Palestinian and Israeli lives, all while supposedly advocating for the right of a nation to defend its citizens. Are the Palestinians not afforded this same right? Fortunately, the peoples of this world are not like their governments. They are not blinded by political agendas or relentless allies like Israel who believe and act as if they are above any man-made or God-made law. Peoples all over the world have taken to the streets in protest of this abomination and have demanded that Israel halt its onslaught. They realize the value of a human life, regardless of nationality and that is why they call for justice.
Still, just as it is encouraging to see people in London, Washington DC and even Korea, feverishly calling for an end to Israel’s slaughter, it is equally disheartening to hear their leaders put the onus solely on Hamas and the Palestinians for escalating the conflict. Have they forgotten that all Palestinians –” in Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem –” are an occupied people? That along with the refugees outside of Palestine, they have been dealt one bad hand after another? That they also want to, and should, defend themselves? Shame on anyone who would expect less. And shame on anyone who can look at the debris-covered body of a Palestinian child and blame them for their own death.