I realize that saying what I am about to say will earn me some powerful enemies. But it must be said.
I call on all people to open their minds about the deteriorating circumstances at this hour in the Holy Land. I ask people of goodwill to rise in solidarity with me and defend the innocent Palestinian people who are needlessly being made to suffer as Israel pounds the besieged Gaza Strip with practically everything in its mighty military arsenal. It is naked aggression by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).
The Palestinian death count in Gaza is growing by the hour: 40, 51, 60; at least 23 of the dead are children. Three Israelis were killed by a rocket fired from Gaza when it hit an Israeli settler town as the conflict unfolded.
President Barack Obama echoed the U.S. pro-Israeli line. Peace in the region must begin with "no missiles being fired into Israel's territory," the President said during his trip to Burma. Israel, according to the conventional wisdom in this country, has "the right to defend itself."
Egypt however, the other "third party" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, departed from its past policy – under ousted President Hosni Mubarak – of tacitly acquiescing to the Israeli aggression. "We cannot stay silent about this tragedy. The entire world should be responsible regarding this aggression. Egypt – Egypt, the revolution, will not spare any efforts to exert every effort to stop this aggression and achieve a sustainable truce," Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil said after he traveled to Gaza, where a wounded baby literally died in his arms.
The conflict began when Israel broke an informal ceasefire by assassinating Ahmed Jabari, the military commander of Gaza's ruling party Hamas, in an air strike. The Palestinians responded, firing rockets into Israel.
Jabari was assassinated just hours after he received the draft of a permanent truce agreement with Israel according to the peace plan's author, Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin, who helped mediate talks between Israel and Hamas in the deal to release captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Baskin wrote recently in the New York Times.
Ironically, according to a recent article in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, "Israel Killed Its Subcontractor [Jabari] in Gaza ... in charge of maintaining Israel's security." And "that was the reality for the past five and a half years," the article by Aluf Benn said.
Even as the attacks such as this one may have clear ties to the pending Israeli parliamentary elections set for January and the future of the hawkish Likkud coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the bloodshed also draws attention away from the march of increased Jewish settlements that each month usurp by force of arms, more and more Arab land.
The violence and disproportionate murder of Palestinians by Israelis, the disruption of their way of life, the theft of their land, the brutality, the humiliation does not have to be this way, except that when it comes to Israel, too many Jews, especially in this country, turn a blind eye and refuse to acknowledge the horrors inflicted on the Palestinians. Horrors those same Jews would condemn if they were perpetrated by any other government against any other subject people outside of the Holy Land.
"Like many Americans and many Jews, I grew up with a positive view of Israel as a peace-seeking democracy. Israel symbolized to me the one protection that Jews had against the type of persecution that had plagued families like mine throughout history," writes Anna Baltzer a Jewish-American Columbia University graduate, a former-Fulbright scholar, and the granddaughter of Holocaust refugees. "I saw the Jewish state as a tiny and victimized country that simply wanted to live in peace but couldn't because of its aggressive, Jew-hating Arab neighbors."
Now, after working through her feelings of disbelief and anger, she sees things differently she writes in her testament: "A Witness in Palestine."
"Families told me stories of past and present military attacks, house demolitions, land confiscation, imprisonment without trial, and torture. It seemed that these actions were not carried out for the protection of Jewish people, but rather for the creation and expansion of a Jewish state at the expense of the rights, lives, and dignity of the non-Jewish people living in the region."
And so it is with the escalating violence in Gaza. People in this country should look deeply into the conflict there and throughout the Holy Land before routinely condemning the Palestinian victims for the crimes originated against them by the Israelis who would like nothing better than a land without any non-Jews living there at all.