Stories from Afar & Up Close

Reading material, for it has already been 22 days in Gaza

Israeli Assault Injures 1.5 Million Gazans – Jonathan Cook “Talking of Gaza's civilians, where did they all go? Israel's so-called "war" on Gaza must be the first example in human history of a conflict where there are apparently no civilians. Or, at least, that is the impression being created by the world's leading international bodies, from the World Health Organization to the United Nations. Instead they refer to a new category of "women and children." […] The implication -- one with which Israel is presumably delighted -- is that the rest are Palestinian fighters, or "terrorists" as Israel would prefer us to call them. It also suggests that every man in Gaza over the age of 16 is being defined as a non-civilian -- as a combatant and, again by implication, as a terrorist. In short, all Gaza's men are legitimate targets for Israeli attack.”

War Diary from Sderot – Nomika Zion

“It frightens me to see my town lit up, as if for a festival and decked out with Israeli flags, groups of supporters distributing flowers in the street and people sounding their car horns in joy at every ton of bombs that's falling on our neighbours. I am frightened by the citizen who admitted to me, with a beaming face, that he never attended a concert in his life but that the Israel Defence Forces bombs is the sweetest music to his ears. I am frightened by the haughty interviewer who doesn't question his worlds by one iota.

I am frightened that, underneath the Orwellian smokescreen of words and the pictures of [Palestinian] children's' bodies that are especially blurred for us on TV as a public service, we are losing the human ability to see the other side, to feel, to be horrified, to show empathy. With the code word "Hamas" the media paints for us a picture of a huge and murky demon that has no face, no body, no voice, a million and a half people without a name.

A deep and gloomy current of violence seeps through the dark pores of Israeli society like a grave illness, and it gets worse from one war to the next. It has no smell and no shape but one feels it very clearly from here. It is a kind of euphoria, a joy of war, lust for revenge , drunkenness on power and burial of the Jewish command "Do not be joyful when your enemy falls". It is a morality that has become so polluted that no laundry could remove the stains.”

How to Sell ‘Ethical’ Warfare – Neve Gordon

“The Israeli media continuously emphasises Israel's restraint by underscoring the gap between what the military forces could do to the Palestinians and what they actually do. […] The message to the Israelis is a moral one. The subtext is that the Israeli military could indiscriminately unleash its vast arsenal of violence, but chooses not to, because its forces, unlike Hamas, respect human life.

This latter claim appears to have considerable resonance among Israelis, and, yet, it is based on a moral fallacy. The fact that one could be more brutal but chooses to use restraint does not in any way entail that one is moral. The fact that the Israeli military could have razed the entire Gaza Strip, but instead destroyed only 15% of the buildings does not make its actions moral. The fact that the Israeli military could have killed thousands of Palestinian children during this campaign, and, due to restraint, killed "only" 300, does not make Operation Cast Lead ethical.”