by Rick Staggenborg. Published as a letter to the editor in the three mid-Valley newspapers May 28, 2021.
“Palestinians in Gaza are dying by the hundreds under relentless Israeli missile attacks. Several Israeli citizens have also been killed by Hamas rockets. The predictable US response is “Israel has a right to defend itself.” While true, those concerned about lost lives on both sides must look beyond the misleading media characterization of the violence as a “tit-for-tat” exchange.
This isn’t a clash between equals, but between one of the most powerful armies on earth against fighters interspersed among nearly 2 million civilians. While Hamas rocket attacks on civilian populations are war crimes, so is the completely disproportionate Israeli response. To understand why Hamas would provide a rationale for the Israeli slaughter, one must examine the sequence of events leading to the exchange, something American politicians and media never do.
As reported in several Israeli newspapers, several provocations preceded the Hamas response. These included forced evictions in Jerusalem, violent suppressions of resulting protests, ignoring or supporting settler violence against Palestinians in Jerusalem, and raiding the sacred al-Aqsa mosque during observances preceding a Muslim high holiday. The Times quotes Israeli politicians who argue that Netanyahu deliberately set the stage for civil war and the massacre in Gaza to save himself from prosecution on charges of corruption.
Netanyahu’s actions prove that equating American interests with the political interests of an increasingly out-of-control Israeli government doesn’t serve the real interests of Israel or the U.S., not to mention the Palestinians caught in the crossfire.
It’s time to end U.S. military aid to Israel.”
Rick Staggenborg, MD