Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What is "Fifty To One?"

"50-to-1" is the ratio of Palestinians slaughtered this year by Israeli forces in Palestine (West Bank & Gaza) to the number of Israelis who have lost their lives this year to VIOLENCE by Palestinians: "More than 500 Palestinians, 73 of them children, have been killed this year alone as a result of the conflict - more than double the figure for 2005. Eleven Israelis have lost their lives this year." So reported Karen AbuZayd, the commissioner general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (, writing for The Guardian last week.

AbuZayd notes the ironic juxtaposition of the approaching anniversary of the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights, the ratification of which was contemporary with the establishment of the State of Israel in the land of Palestine. The plight of European Jewry in Nazi Europe was one of the main stimuli for the Declaration. Hence, there is no small amount of irony in the fact that Jews in Israel are among the most flagrant violators of that document, for their treatment of Palestinians, especially the over 1.5 MILLION of them effectively imprisoned in Gaza.

AbuZayd writes:
The need to give substantive meaning to the protection of Palestinians has never been greater. The former high commissioner for human rights, Mary Robinson has said that in Gaza, nothing short of a "civilisation" is being destroyed. Desmond Tutu has called it "an abomination". The humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Maxwell Gaylard, said that in Gaza there was a "massive assault" on human rights. Most recently, the European commissioner, Louis Michel, described the blockade of Gaza as a "form of collective punishment against Palestinian civilians, which is a violation of international humanitarian law".
It is important to note that there is nothing particularly, or inherently, 'Jewish' about these atrocities. It's the usual business of ethnic cleansing, an art perfected elsewhere, but whose practitioners happen, in this case, to be Jews.

As with the case of the fervent opposition of Blacks in California to the right of gay couples to marry, which is counter-intuitive given the history of black oppression and the court struggle to overturn anti-miscegenation laws, it never ceases to bemuse and befuddle me that Israelis--many of whom or of whose parents were victims of Nazi terror--can find rationalizations and justifications for conducting the same reign of terror against their Arab neighbors as was conducted against them or their ancestors in Europe.

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