Should there be a ceasefire in Gaza? Yes!
Palestinian deaths in Gaza are approaching an horrific 20,000, plus another 55,000 wounded, as Israel expands its violence into the West Bank.
One hundred and fifty-three member nations of the United Nations General Assembly agreed to a draft resolution calling for a ceasefire. The US voted “NO.”
Is Pope Francis correct in saying this has “gone beyond war. This is terrorism” as he describes what is happening in Gaza? The pope was especially focused on the sniper-murders of Nahida Anton and then her daughter trying to carry her to safety inside the Holy Family Catholic Church compound in Gaza.
Their offense? Going to the only bathroom available.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has described it “an incident.” Contrary to constant Israeli statements to the contrary there were no warnings, no justification.
Nor were there warnings for Yotem Haim and two other Israeli young men – all former hostages – who appeared shirtless, holding a white surrender flag and calling out in Hebrew who they were. They were also killed by the IDF.
There was no warning for 8-year-old, Adam Somer al-Ghoul killed in the West Bank by the IDF — the murder caught on video, especially the actions of his frantic friend, trying to pull his lifeless body behind a car.
And, of course, there was no warning given as Israel forced the medical staff and families away from the five babies left to die and decompose in a Gaza Hospital.
There are countless murders occurring in Gaza and the West Bank as the world holds it breath because Israel’s partner in the massacre, the United States, has parked its aircraft carriers nearby in the Gulf.
These deaths come on the heels of Hamas’ Oct. 7 atrocity as the cycle of violence builds year after year with a root cause, the illegal occupation, carefully avoided.
Thirteen of fifteen members of the UN Security Council recently called for a humanitarian cease fire. The US vetoed the resolution, with the UK abstaining. The US veto has protected Israel for decades from international condemnation.
The Biden Administration’s acrobatics over Gaza are a high wire act. One moment they piously intone concern about civilian casualties and the next send tons of additional bombs that kill indiscriminately, and artillery shells to continue the massacre.
Retribution (revenge) has morphed into calculated ethnic cleansing.
True friends would have advised restraint and a path to solve the conflict, not accelerate it, as Israel has done. True friends would have led Israel to address the cause of Oct. 7: The occupation of a people who live without most basic freedoms, further exacerbated by the attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, one of the holiest sites in Islam.
The frequent warnings to Mr. Netanyahu from of Washington are theater.
Biden and Netanyahu are in this together. They need each other. Biden gives Netanyahu cover internationally to purge Gaza and the West Bank. Netanyahu gives Biden legitimacy as a defender of Israel in the run up to the 2024 election, especially in those constituencies sensitive to Israel’s concerns.
The Biden Administration and the Netanyahu government are cooperating in advancing a textbook case of genocide against Gazans, in full view of the entire world, daring anyone to step in the way.
It is doubtful that anyone will forcefully try to stop this destruction of an entire society because they have seen Israel again execute the Dahiya Doctrine: Massive, disproportionate, indiscriminate revenge against any society that resists their illegal military incursions and occupation.
My wife, Elizabeth and I walked the rubble of Dahiya, a residential section of Beirut, Lebanon, and throughout the string of flattened towns and villages in South Lebanon, shortly after Israel leveled them, in 2006. Gaza is the Dahiya Doctrine writ large; a slower-motion ethnic cleansing is taking place on the West Bank.
The death toll will mount dramatically as our President and Congress express grief while they send bombs. Once tens of thousands of Palestinian deaths are acceptable, hundreds of thousands of deaths will occur.
The goal of preventing another Oct. 7 atrocity by any means necessary – including a call to wipe out Palestinians– has anesthetized hearts, minds and souls of Israeli leaders who refer to the Palestinians as “human animals” and “ants” that should be buried alive.
Fear, and desire to make sure it never happens again, has impaired judgment and brings to aggressors that which they fear – – a continuation of attacks.
The pretext for genocide no longer holds up: “We are only trying to eliminate Hamas and protect Israel.”
Jewish people should be safe wherever they live. They have suffered discrimination world-wide. But throughout history, those who have felt such a depth of violence must know that subjugation and the infliction of mass violence on another group sows the seeds of a bitter harvest.
This massacre will only increase the desire of Palestinians for self-determination.
This war is not making Israelis safe or Jewish people safe anywhere in the world. It is widely viewed as being genocidal. The nightmare paradox is that through wiping out Palestinians in order to eliminate Hamas, Israel’s security threats will increase, endangering the survival of Israel itself.
I write this as someone who stands for the survival of Israel. As someone who can only imagine the grief and fear that the mechanized state murder of six million ancestors does to one.
I support the existence of the state of Israel and fully oppose all doctrines and charters which would seek to eliminate it.
I also stand for the survival of Palestinians. One must recognize the continuing damage which the occupation has done to the Palestinians, the second-class citizenship they suffer, a condition which has been characterized by President Carter as apartheid.
I stand on the side of peace, for the survival of both Israelis and Palestinians and for the ultimate resolution of this conflict.
Unfortunately, the killing of Palestinians will continue because the ultra-nationalists in the Israeli Administration have the upper hand in setting Israel on a course of continued ethnic cleansing. Their political support is pivotal to Mr. Netanyahu’s continuation as Prime Minister, given his razor thin majority in the Knesset.
The plans to purge Gaza, the West Bank and South Lebanon will press forward, as will the risks of wider war. The massacres of Palestinians will continue, notwithstanding calls for a ceasefire, as will the increased danger to Israel.
The US could stop the war today if the Biden Administration wanted to do so. But it does not. The question is, why not? These are not the actions of a friend, because friends tell friends what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.
Washington D.C. should also heed the warnings of Alon Schwarz, the director of the documentary, Tantura, who has said:
“Israel will never make peace with the Palestinians without outside help and maybe pressure to guide it to the right place….”
Will President Joseph Biden and the Congress be true friends to Israel and the Palestinians or only think about the next election while ignoring the inevitable cycle of horror they are doing nothing to stop?
Kucinich is a Member of the Ron Paul Institute’s Board of Advisors.