The situation in Gaza grows more horrible each hour. On the day I write this, the heads of United Nations agencies involved with humanitarian relief told the U.N. General Assembly that an …
The situation in Gaza grows more horrible each hour. On the day I write this, the heads of United Nations agencies involved with humanitarian relief told the U.N. General Assembly that an “intolerable” human crisis continues to unfold.
Blaming both Israel and Hamas for violating international laws, the U.N. humanitarian affairs chief called for a “breather” for the people of Gaza from the “terrible, terrible” things they have been forced to either endure or die from. He also called, “without condition,” for the release of all still living Israeli hostages held by terrorist organization Hamas.
Yet the Israeli military continues its seizure of Gaza’s largest hospital, and people not affiliated with Hamas continue to die in droves. In response to a lack of fuel that has sabotaged life-saving efforts, Israel will only allow two tankers of fuel per day to enter Gaza. A second hostage’s body has been found, and a water plant has been burned down amidst a catastrophic water crisis.
And while Port Townsenders and their fellow Americans demonstrate, post on social media, and debate amongst ourselves, Israel has announced its intention to expand its military operations.
Fifty-eight and a half years ago, at the Atlanta orientation for volunteers in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s SCOPE (Summer Community Organization and Political Education) voter registration project, Bayard Rustin convinced me that pacifism and non-violent action were the only effective means for social change.
Now, I’m not so sure. If someone were to attack me or anyone I love, would I turn the other cheek and either cover my head with my hands and run, or would I fight back? At 78, I’m not sure my fighting would do much good. But would I rather go down fighting or just stand by and watch others go down?
Yet here I am, like so many of us, watching as horrors unfold. I certainly know that Hamas’s slaughter and hostage-taking was inhumane and deserving of punishment. But as much as this gay Jew affirms the vital importance of the physical state of Israel and knows that Israel is virtually the only country in the Middle East where I can live openly as a gay man, I do not confuse the state of Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu has been out for blood for decades, certainly since the 1976 death of his Harvard-educated brother, Yonatan, during an anti-terrorist action at Entebbe. I don’t know why Israeli intelligence failed to take Hamas’s far from hidden war preparations seriously, and why it failed to act before Hamas’s slaughter unfolded.
I just know that since the killings and hostage-taking, Netanyahu, whom many Israelis thought / hoped / prayed was finally out of government, has struck back with a vengeance. Netanyahu seems bent on trying to cover up every error of judgment he and those under his command have made with more and more killings.
He seems to insist that the Israeli military must be free to kill, kill, kill until those who killed “us” can kill no more. And then, if by then the war has not widened into a multi-continental conflict, what comes next?
It's time to end the madness that begets madness that begets madness. The killing must stop. Now. Relief efforts must resume in full force while diplomatic efforts must begin to achieve release of all hostages and achieve a two-state solution to an otherwise endless cycle of violence, suffering, and death.