FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Reckoning Deaths in an Agitated World

What happened last week at the Israeli resort hotel in Taba was hideous: the random massacre of 30 or more vacationers.

Never, never can there be justification for the slaughter of non-combatant civilians.

The scale of the disaster at Taba, relative to Israel’s population of 6 million population, was huge. Those thirty dead represent, proportionally, a loss of life almost half as large as America’s benchmark 9/11.

* * *

Who attacked the Israeli hotel in Taba, and why, is presently a mystery. It is thought that the attack represented a retaliation by Al Qaeda against Israel’s current “Operation Days of Penitence.” “Operation Days of Penitence,” never mind the sensitive poetry of its title, is a punitive military action directed against faceless Palestinians in the densely populated Jabalya refugee camp of Gaza It was provoked by the killing of two Israeli children, ages 2 and 4, who were the unspecified victims of a rocket fired by Hamas into the Israeli border town of Sederot.

The rocket attack on Sederot (a) which killed the 2 Israeli children occurred on September 29. Israel’s retaliation (b) in the form of “Operation days of Penitence” began the following day and in the next days killed over 100 Palestinians. The bombing of Taba (c), which killed some thirty people, most of them Israelis, took place just a week after that. Given the character of the present Israeli government, it seems inevitable that it will insert a fresh contribution, some unimaginable (d), into the current cycle of retaliatory violence.

Sederot (a) was itself, of course, an inevitable next letter in the continuing series of alphabet books written in blood on whose composition Israel and Palestine have been collaborating for decades now.

* * *

“Operation Days of Penitience,” Israel’s answer to the 2 deaths at Siderot, had by October 8 brought death to 101 Palestinians, combatants and bystanders both. If we segregate 24 of that number, necessarily, because they were children, it will be seen that 12 times more children were killed in Gaza than were killed in Sederot. That is how a (b) follows on a given (a).

If the anguish of parents at the death of their children is universal as the acceptance of this principle is not and if the widely reported killings at Sederot was hideous, what can we say about the disregarded deaths of Palestinian children numbering 12 times more than the widely reported child deaths in Sederot? That some of them perhaps threw stones or taunted some of the 200 tanks and armored vehicles that broke into their slum, and they unfortunately deserved to die for that; and that the rest of them lived fated lives that brought them into a line of fire whose military justification overtook their chance of continuing their childhood?

Relative to Palestine’s population of 3 million, 24 deaths of any sort would represent the equivalent of three-quarters of a 9/11. That — worse by far this Palestinian experience of disaster numerically on the scale of 9/11 should have been composed entirely of children, is a fact that we can hardly look in the face.

Desolation and vengeance, vengeance and desolation: the two fat serpents of tragedy twine together in obscene kinship.

* * *

I saw a characteristic American dullness of mind and moral opacity displayed by John Edwards, John Kerry’s political partner, on the night of his recent debate with Vice President Cheney.

When the subject of the Mideast conflict came up, Edwards fittingly expressed horror at the recent killing of the two children of Sederot.

But not a single word did he have to say about the blind clatter of the Israeli military machine that thereupon seized Jabalya and took the lives of twelve times more children than had perished in Siderot.

Did the 24 slain children of Jabalya figure so much less in Edward’s mind than did the 2 slain children of Sederot because he was purely ignorant? Because he was an average muddled racist who couldn,t be bothered to fathom the agony of the distant Other? Or because he was a sheer opportunist serving the politics of the day?

JULES RABIN lives in Marshfield, Vermont. He can be reached at: jhrabin@sover.net

 

More articles by:
June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
John Pilger
Bring Julian Assange Home
Conn Hallinan
The Spanish Labyrinth
Patrick Cockburn
Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration
Gary Leupp
Trump Gives Bibi Whatever He Wants
Thomas Knapp
Child Abductions: A Conversation It’s Hard to Believe We’re Even Having
Robert Fisk
I Spoke to Palestinians Who Still Hold the Keys to Homes They Fled Decades Ago – Many are Still Determined to Return
Steve Early
Requiem for a Steelworker: Mon Valley Memories of Oil Can Eddie
Jim Scheff
Protect Our National Forests From an Increase in Logging
Adam Parsons
Reclaiming the UN’s Radical Vision of Global Economic Justice
Dean Baker
Manufacturing Production Falls in May and No One Notices
Laura Flanders
Bottom-Up Wins in Virginia’s Primaries
Binoy Kampmark
The Anguish for Lost Buildings: Embers and Death at the Victoria Park Hotel
Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
Jonathan Cook
How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions
Ajamu Baraka
North Korea Issue is Not De-nuclearization But De-Colonization
Andrew Levine
Midterms Coming: Antinomy Ahead
Louisa Willcox
New Information on 2017 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Deaths Should Nix Trophy Hunting in Core Habitat
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Singapore Fling
Ron Jacobs
What’s So Bad About Peace, Man?
Robert Hunziker
State of the Climate – It’s Alarming!
L. Michael Hager
Acts and Omissions: The NYT’s Flawed Coverage of the Gaza Protest
Dave Lindorff
However Tenuous and Whatever His Motives, Trump’s Summit Agreement with Kim is Praiseworthy
Robert Fantina
Palestine, the United Nations and the Right of Return
Brian Cloughley
Sabre-Rattling With Russia
Chris Wright
To Be or Not to Be? That’s the Question
David Rosen
Why Do Establishment Feminists Hate Sex Workers?
Victor Grossman
A Key Congress in Leipzig
John Eskow
“It’s All Kinderspiel!” Trump, MSNBC, and the 24/7 Horseshit Roundelay
Paul Buhle
The Russians are Coming!
Joyce Nelson
The NED’s Useful Idiots
Lindsay Koshgarian
Trump’s Giving Diplomacy a Chance. His Critics Should, Too
Louis Proyect
American Nativism: From the Chinese Exclusion Act to Trump
Stan Malinowitz
On the Elections in Colombia
Camilo Mejia
Open Letter to Amnesty International on Nicaragua From a Former Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience
David Krieger
An Assessment of the Trump-Kim Singapore Summit
Jonah Raskin
Cannabis in California: a Report From Sacramento
Josh Hoxie
Just How Rich Are the Ultra Rich?
CJ Hopkins
Awaiting the Putin-Nazi Apocalypse
Mona Younis
We’re the Wealthiest Country on Earth, But Over 40 Percent of Us Live in or Near Poverty
Dean Baker
Not Everything Trump Says on Trade is Wrong
James Munson
Trading Places: the Other 1% and the .001% Who Won’t Save Them
Rivera Sun
Stop Crony Capitalism: Protect the Net!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail