Online Journal
Front Page 
 Special Reports
 News Media
 Elections & Voting
 Social Security
 Editors' Blog
 Reclaiming America
 The Splendid Failure of Occupation
 The Lighter Side
 The Mailbag
 Online Journal Stores
 Official Merchandise
 Join Mailing List

Commentary Last Updated: Jan 13th, 2009 - 02:20:51

Blind rage
By Michael Hasty
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jan 13, 2009, 00:40

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

�Rage, rage against the dying of the light.� --Dylan Thomas

For over a fortnight, the world has watched in helpless rage as Israel has conducted a virtual massacre of the Palestinian residents of Gaza, using state of the art weaponry supplied by American taxpayers.

Some 900 Palestinians have been killed and 3,700 wounded in this brief period. United Nations observers estimate that 40 percent of these casualties have been children -- hardly surprising in an area where nearly half the population is under the age of 14, and where Israeli forces, despite their denials, make no distinction between civilian and military targets, herding refugees into so-called �shelters� that they then proceed to bomb.

During this same period, 13 Israelis have been killed, including four civilians who were victims of Hamas rockets.

Of the millions of words of commentary that have been dedicated to this issue over the past couple of weeks, one of the quotes I�ve seen most often used in reference to the endless cycle of violence between Israel and its Muslim enemies comes from Mahatma Gandhi, himself the victim of fratricidal violence during the troubled birth of the independent state of India, where the relationship between Muslims and Hindus remains unsettled today, over 60 years later: �An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.�

But does the darkness descend even faster, when it�s a hundred eyes for an eye?

Israel�s disproportionate (and indiscriminate) response to the Hamas rocket attacks -- which evidence now suggests were themselves a response to Israel�s calculated violation of a six-month cease-fire -- were telegraphed months ago by General Gadi Eisenkot in the Israeli daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth:

�We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction. From our perspective these are military bases. This isn�t a suggestion. This is a plan that has already been authorized.�

He may not have realized it at the time, but the general�s words are, for all practical purposes, a confession that the �crimes against humanity� of which Israel now stands accused, were premeditated. A letter published last week in the Times of London, and signed by 70 international law experts, including Richard Falk, the UN�s special observer for human rights in Gaza, lays out the charges.

The letter says that Israel�s �invasion and bombardment of Gaza amount to collective punishment of Gaza�s 1.5 million inhabitants contrary to international humanitarian and human rights law. In addition, the blockade of humanitarian relief, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and preventing access to basic necessities such as food and fuel, are prima facie war crimes.�

Of course, as virtually every commentator in America�s Israeli-occupied corporate media is required to concede in the name of �even-handedness,� the Hamas missiles, however inaccurately targeted at Israeli civilians, also constitute a war crime. But the issue of proportionality cannot be avoided.

And I think this is where the element of �rage� plays such an important role, and not only in preventing any real solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because of what Arab-American Institute president James Zogby has rightly described as the �pathological� state into which both sides have descended out of a sense of impotence to stop each other�s violence.

But international rage at Israel�s actions may also move the world into a much more dangerous position -- that is, the final abandonment of international law as the basis for relations between states. At what point does international law become meaningless, if it is routinely ignored by the powerful? At what point does the world cross over into anarchy? Are we close to that point?

I think this is the real danger posed by both the US Congress� resolution of �unwavering� support for Israel�s de facto genocide in Gaza, and by Barack Obama�s apparent moral relativism when it comes to enforcing international law at home -- that is, if he doesn�t hold the Bush war criminals responsible for their actions.

This is a precarious moment in human history. There is a point at which blind rage can become all consuming.

Michael Hasty lives on a farm in West Virginia, where he wrote a column for seven years for the Hampshire Review, the state�s oldest newspaper. In 2000, it was named best column by the West Virginia Press Association. His writing has appeared in the Charleston Gazette, Online Journal, Common Dreams, Buzzflash, Tikkun and many other websites. He publishes the blog, Radical Pantheist. He plays guitar and harmonica with the folk/gospel trio, the Time Travelers. Email:. radicalpantheist(at)gmail (dot) com.

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor

Top of Page

Latest Headlines
Israel is relentlessly pursuing a course that can no longer be tolerated
Thank you, George and Dick
Canada complicit in Israeli war crimes
Why we never seem to get the change we need
Saving the economy, one furnace at a time
Obama Nation upholds US terror
Eight years of insanity: Bush, Israel, and the slow destruction of Palestine
US deserves blame for Gaza slaughter
The humiliation of America
Gaza drowning in its own blood
We can no longer afford the empire
Sanctuary denied
CBO report: U.S. will go to hell in 2009
Headlines from hell
America�s shame
Blind rage
What am I bid for the American wild?
Unnecessary concerns: Democratic leadership should have little fear of an Obama administration
The Nakba, Gaza and American responsibility
Children of Gaza, run to the angels