Letters to Editor, Opinion

LETTER: Israel must end its brutality

Gaza: A recurring nightmare is haunting the inhabitants of this crammed, impoverished strip of land. For too long, the Palestinian people have suffered under the heel of a brutal oppressor that boasts one of the world’s most technologically advanced and well-funded militaries. Israel has demolished Palestinian homes, encaged them within concrete walls and checkpoints, humiliated their sons and daughters and deprived them of basic human rights. The list of injustices will go on until the international community decides to alleviate Palestinian misery and denounce Israeli atrocities.

Today, however, it’s business as usual. The world is making excuses for the Israeli army as it hurls white phosphorous on Gazan cities, blows up schools and mosques and denies Red Cross workers access to a neighborhood where frail children cling to their mothers’ corpses. Already, over 900 Palestinians, including some 300 children, have been brutally murdered, not to mention 4,100 injured all in a matter of a few weeks. The disproportion of the civilian toll is stark: little over a dozen Israelis have perished thus far. When Qassam rockets fall on Israeli towns, residents can go to bomb shelters and hospitals well-equipped to deal with severe injuries and psychological trauma. Yet when vastly superior Israeli planes and tanks wreak havoc on Gaza, Palestinians possess few if no resources to cope with their pain, frustration and loss.

Terrorism against innocents on both sides is deplorable and indefensible. However, blaming Israel’s security crisis solely on Palestinian extremist minorities ignores the on-the-ground reality. No one is born a suicide bomber. A report commissioned last year by the U.N. deemed Palestinian terrorism the ‘inevitable consequence’ of the Israeli government’s persistent brutality, chillingly mirroring South African apartheid.’

Israel’s media war has furthered the dehumanization of Palestinians. Despite a ruling from the Israeli Supreme Court, the army has banned foreign correspondents from entering Gaza. Apart from the BBC and Al-Jazeera, most major news organizations are only delivering one side of the story. Further, because the U.S. mainstream media and Hollywood have consistently depicted Palestinians as inherently violent and unwilling to live in peace with Israelis, rather than victims of the cruelest oppression, the majority of Americans have become largely desensitized to Palestinian suffering.

The time has long since passed to radically rethink America’s unyielding support for Israel. The U.S. has a vital role to play in ending this carnage. After all, Israel has been the largest annual recipient of U.S. aid for over thirty years, not to mention Washington’s most cherished ally in the Middle East. Healing the deep wounds inflicted on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will require efforts to promote peace and reconciliation between Jews and Arabs. However, this cannot happen until Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank ends and the Palestinian people are restored their dignity. We must never forget Gaza lest history is forced once again to engrave humanity’s silence in the face of deafening injustice on the tombs of the innocent.

Hassan Awaisi

CAS ’11

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