Naming the dead

I am struck by the way that the names of the dead from Israeli bombardment of Gaza have disappeared. This latest round of killing was touched off by the killings of 3 Israeli hikers and the allegation that Hamas was responsible. Then a group of Israeli settlers killed a Palestinian youth and his name was in the news. There were apologies and an investigation and charges were brought. And then, came the planes raining death from the sky and the names of the dead grew too long to count. For those who believe that life is precious, this must feel dehumanizing. I was struck by the irony of Israel making a big deal of finding the settlers who killed they boy and then sending in its military to  do the same many times over. They are well-known to target civilians and the death tolls from their raids always testify to this fact. They are not mounting an offensive against Hamas, they are offending against the whole people of Gaza. This is barbaric on a scale one could not imagine being done by any other country.

The world community howls about the Ukraine and sanctions were placed on Russia for annexing Crimea but none are considered against the targeting of civilians, families, soccer fans, those whose only crime was to be poor. They are the unnamed targets executed in this latest round of death and destruction. If I was massacred in such a fashion, I would want my name spelled out in the news. We must name the Palestinians.

Sometimes these deaths are explained away as being unintended. Perhaps the victims lived too near an intended target. A bomb was not dropped on them but the concussion from the blast collapsed their weak house. Maybe the victims are the relatives of a supposed Hamas operative? When I read the names and descriptions, I saw few persons described as being with Hamas. Wars are very seldom fought between armies as the object is to inflict as many casualties as possible on the civilian population. Israel often destroys houses or Palestinian institutions and attempts to prevent people from rebuilding. Everything in Palestine is described as being part of terrorist infrastructure and this description is accepted at face value even as the faces disappear. Those of us who dare to mention the lopsided body counts are mocked. As if only Israelis count. And even public opinion is no longer a deterrent.

At the same time, we cannot be silent and accomplices. If you use the hashtag #gazaunderattack, you can track this human rights tragedy. I do not believe there is a military solution to this cycle. Israel could continue to bomb almost indefinitely because Palestine has no airforce. The United Nations has stirred and there may be resolutions passed but Israel continues to ignore past resolutions and the United States vetoes anything that comes to the Security Council. It is up to us, now that we have understood that this course of action is unacceptable to take whatever measures we have as world citizens to stop the killing.


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