Gaza: Another tragedy in the making?

By Elias Karmi

Usually it brings a certain pleasure to be able to accurately predict what will happen next. When the prescience relates to the open-air prison known as the Gaza Strip, however, that pleasure is lacking.

First, the prediction in this case is quite tragic: Tens, possibly hundreds of Gazans are likely to be killed by Israeli artillery after Israel identified Gaza as an “enemy entity” on September 19th. Ground operations are already underway, and on September 28th, 13 civilians were killed. The world is doing little or nothing to stop or even condemn it, and most painfully, the United States government will support and condone it wholeheartedly.

Second, there is very little to “forecast” – no brains involved. The pattern is as predictable as the seasons. After all, it was little more than a year ago that Israeli artillery pounded villages and cities in Lebanon to dust and killed hundreds of civilians. Again, the world did nothing. The U.S. government supported it.

A few tears while yawning.

And this has been the case since 1948. Israeli atrocities remain largely unconfronted except by some historians and academics who have little political influence. Massacres from Deir Yassin to Sabra and Shatila to Jenin and many others in between, in addition to land and home confiscations and illegal settlements, all continuing to happen and all fueling more terrorist attacks and rendering the chances of peace dimmer and dimmer.

Here is how people in the Middle East see the story: The Palestinians practiced their right to
elect their government democratically. Their choice was frowned upon by Israel, the United States, the European Union, and several Arab states — in other words, everyone that counts. Fighting ensued between Fatah and Hamas; the U.S. and the E.U. sided with Fatah even though they democratically lost the elections. Hamas fought back and got Fatah out of Gaza. Now Hamas is isolated, and my guts are telling me that Gaza is about to be attacked with the permission of the U.S. government and the Fatah government in the West Bank. Several Israeli attacks have been launched in recent weeks. The losers in the end are none other than Gazan civilians and their elected government.

Will Senator Norm Coleman take a decent stand? Not likely, given his uncritical, unquestioning attitude toward Israel. Hopefully Minneapolis Congressman Keith Ellison will say something, but I would not be too surprised if he does not; he specifically labeled Hamas as “the greatest obstacle to peace” on his campaign website while he ran for Congress in 2006. Nevertheless, it will be worthwhile to observe which representative says what on this matter. For now I will settle with my grim prediction. Future generations will be very disappointed.

–Elias Karmi
Burnsville, Minn.

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