The Israeli-Palestine question has been one where I’ve not quite been able to take sides – I’ve wavered with Israel in the past, Palestine before and settled on the two-state solution for a while. However, Israel’s recent attempt at butchering the meaning of ‘self-defence’ has caused me to firmly plant myself, for now, with the Palestinians. There is nothing remotely defensive about bombarding a beach, largely populated by civilians, and murdering four children. You can leave your #IsraelUnderFire at the door, it isn’t Israel that’s suffering, nor are they the victim right now – the victims are the ones who are being bombarded without end, who are suffering overwhelming civilian casualties and the fathers who are burying their sons at a tragically young age.
The latest offensive, or Operation Protective Edge as Israel dubs it, gives you a good idea of how one-sided this conflict is. Five Israeli lives have been lost so far, three IDF soldiers, and two civilians. In contrast, the Palestinians have, at time of writing, seen 318 people killed, and the United Nations estimates that 72% of those casualties are civilians. Those who defend Israel ruthlessly on social media often say Israel use sophisticated technology to minimize civilian casualties. I’m noticing a slight chink in this theory’s armour – if the casualty list for Palestine is mainly civilians, it seems that Israel needs an update on its technology. Indeed, over 2,000 have been wounded in Palestine on top of those killed. In sharp contrast, only 28 civilians have been wounded in Israel – yet people rush out to defend every action the state of Israel as ‘self-defence’. It almost seems like people shrug off the Palestinian casualties and point at the Israeli ones as justification. The life of an Israeli is equal to that of a Palestinian, and it makes me seethe with anger at how many pro-Israelis ignore the damning evidence of how Israeli is pummelling the Palestinian citizenry into the ground, not the other way round.
Further to this, many people cite Israel’s attempts to ensure people are notified before its forces perform the benevolent act of annihilating their homes. One such way is by firing a small missile. Nothing works more effectively than firing a missile to notify the occupants about a much larger missile heading their way – and indeed this very method has taken lives.
Furthermore, casualties aside, one must also note how one-sided this conflict is in terms of military resources. Palestine elected the terrorist Hamas government (a government I certainly do not support), one that certainly cannot be described as an advanced militarily regime. They lack an air-force and a navy and employ the usual deplorable terror tactics such as suicide bombs and unguided mortars. Israel in contrast has a highly advanced militarily – troops with excellent training, a fully equipped air-force and a navy. The Israeli Defence Force receives great sums of money from many western countries as well to ensure they are well-supplied and son. All this top-of-the-range killing technology is perfectly suited by the looks of things to bomb Palestine, in many cases quite literally, into the dust. There is no way this is a ‘war’, it's butchery.
Israel has now launched a ground offensive, which will no doubt result in further civilian casualties. It baffles me that all over social media I see people, some of sound intelligence, rush to Israel’s support over Operation Protective Edge. Killing children is unforgivable; it’s a war crime that should see the Israeli military hierarchy punished severely, and it’s made much worse by the fact that the image of Israel is one of a liberal state wedged between various fundamentalist Islamic theocracies. These aren’t the actions of a liberal state – and it's time the west sent a strong message against Israel. If we ignore this, we are letting Israel get away with what is currently simply a massacre. It has left innocents dead, and many more homeless or with grievous injury. Something must be done - lest we all be condemned with the crime of turning our backs and leaving civilians to die.
By Rory Claydon