Beliefnet
Progressive Revival

The death toll from Gaza keeps rising like a morbid nightmare,
from 150 to 300, to at last count 702 victims.     702 Palestinians killed by the Israeli
military through massive bombings that have inflicted unimaginable violence
upon some of the poorest,
hungriest, and
most defenseless people on Earth.  
 Mosques have been
bombed.   Hospitals
bombed
, including a Children’s hospital.    Homes bombed.   United Nations relief
agencies bombed. 
 Refugee centers bombed.   Universities
bombed. 
 United
Nations schools bombed.    
 If the Israeli officials responded to appeals to conscience,
one would cry out:  “At long last,
have you left no sense of decency?”  
These bombs are paid for through American taxpayer dollars, which makes
this violence that we are supporting.    What has been the response of our political
leadership?   A mixture of
silence, racist double-standard for the dignity of human life, and
inaction.  The time to act is now.

President Bush finally spoke out on the Gaza atrocity in his
January 2nd weekly address, and made two points:   “This
recent outburst of violence was instigated by Hamas — a Palestinian terrorist
group.”  
In other words,
no accountability for Israel for its actions.  And the only acknowledgement of the Israeli’s murder of 700
people and the injuring of thousands more?   “Regrettably,
Palestinian civilians have been killed in recent days.” 
 Passive verbs, Mr. President?  Can’t you bring yourself to use the active verbs and say who
is doing the killing?   Would
it hurt your gentle soul to state that it is the Israeli state, using bombs and
planes and rockets paid for by our taxpayers, who is systematically killing and
murdering Palestinians? 

Let’s get real:  
If we were talking about Hamas, or any Palestinian faction, killing 700
Israeli civilians, would Bush or any American spokespersons say: “Regrettably,
Israeli civilians have been killed in recent days?”   Of course not. 
We would dismiss that as a blatant terrorist act, an abomination, one which
calls for immediate cessation.  The
groups responsible would be labeled as supporting terrorism, be prosecuted and
brought to justice.   But that
kind of concern and urgent action apparently only applies in case of Israeli
lives, not Palestinians.     Why is that Mr. President?  Do Palestinians not bleed?  Do they not suffer?   Are they the children of a lesser
God?  

In the conclusion to his remarks, Bush stated:  “We seek
security and peace for our allies, the free people of Israel. For the
Palestinian people, we seek a peaceful and democratic Palestinian state that
serves its citizens and respects its neighbors.”
     What is missing from the above
equation?    Israelis
deserve “security and peace”, while the Palestinians deserver a “peaceful and
democratic state.”   Mr.
President, do the citizens of Palestine not deserve the same peace and security
that you promise the citizens of Israel? 
Do they not deserve to live without the constant fear of having Israel
drop American-made bombs drop from American-made planes on their head?  What good is a “peaceful state” if you
constantly live in fear of the 4th largest military force in the
world–that of the Israeli regime–propped up through five billions dollars of
annual military and financial aid from the United States?   

President-elect Obama finally broke his silence on the
atrocities being waged on Palestinians by stating:  “The
loss of civilian life in Gaza and Israel is a source of deep concern for
me.” 
  I would say it is about time, but
the truth of the matter is that it is two weeks past the time.   It is time and past time to move
rapidly from “deep concern” to direct action to alleviate the suffering of some
of the poorest people on Earth.  If
the “fierce urgency of the now” that Obama promised us is to have any real
meaning, now is the time.   
Right after the above sentence about the “deep concern for me”, Obama
added “and
after January 20th I’m going to have plenty to say about the issue.” 
 Why after January 20th, President-elect
Obama?  How many more Palestinians
have to die while we wait for you to act courageously and compassionately when
Bush has failed us so disastrously?  

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