�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,
�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
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
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
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.
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.