With these words still hovering around his mouth, “We reject all cruel behavior”, Benjamin Netanyahu launched yet another attack with yet another movie title, Operation Protective Edge, on the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who live in a state of siege and oppression in the Gaza Strip. All this week, I’ve wandered online sites, taking the pulse of my US neighbors whose tax dollars and mine support the war crimes. On a random stopover that’s not one of my usual destinations, I read this reader comment: “Muslims understand one thing better than anything else, that is the point of a gun in their face. I hope Israel goes in and makes a parking lot out of the damn place.” Another provided a sign, promoting Zionism: “IN ANY WAR BETWEEN THE CIVILIZED MAN AND THE SAVAGE, SUPPORT THE CIVILIZED MAN. SUPPORT ISRAEL DEFEAT JIHAD.” At what’s considered a liberal news venue there was this entry: “I guess the ‘civilized’ world expects Israel and the Jewish people to just sit there like idiots and absorb the blows. IMO Israel would be justified in leveling Gaza. Enough is enough.” And:
Logical response to a rain of rockets. Now the Palistinians [sic] want world sympathy for the wreckage they wrought on themselves. So, the cries go out for restrant [sic] but how do you restrain the rocketeers? Tough solutions in a tough neighborhood.
The people of Gaza are labeled militants, as terror explodes their lives, terror unleashed by the Israeli military, terror funded by the US. Last week, after a sixteen-year-old Arab was burned alive in a reprisal killing to avenge the deaths of three Israeli teens, Netanyahu uttered that condemnation, rejecting “all cruel behavior…”—adding that this “could not be accepted by human beings.” But Israel is burning alive the people of Gaza, burning alive the children of Gaza, burning that could not continue without US complicity. And it is nothing new. It’s been going on for decades. The unacceptable is accepted, and getting worse. As Israel persists with the genocide of Palestinians, I think about the propaganda I believed when I was young—that my country intervened heroically and always on the side of justice. This misinformation is required to perpetuate the myth of the USA—as a benevolent nation. It’s Wednesday evening and I’ve just read that Israel has struck 200 Gaza sites. Netanyahu asserts that Israel “rejects all cruel behavior” but 12 children are reported dead. One was 18 months old. Most likely, many more are injured, traumatized. Israeli ground troops are amassing for an incursion. (During the 2008-09 three-week assault called Operation Cast Lead, 353 children were killed and another 860 were injured.) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said, “The war is not against Hamas or any faction, but against the Palestinian people.” The death knell is blaring. Gaza is burning. Palestinians are burning alive. Operation Protective Edge is not an effort to defend a perimeter; it is part of a plan, conceived to obliterate a population. Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Baltimore. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org