Pres. Obama: End Collective Punishment, Call for a Halt to Israel’s Coming Ground Invasion
“No country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians and we support Israel’s right to defend itself against these vicious attacks,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said yesterday.
Since then, the Israeli military, including jets and naval gun fire, pulverized the Gaza Strip killing at least 13 people and injuring 90 others. Furthermore, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called up 40,000 reservists for a possible ground invasion and has begun moving convoys of tanks and armor to the Gaza border.
In light of this all out assault on Palestinians, the White House should take a clear stand for human rights: “No people can accept air, sea and possible ground attacks as collective punishment.”
The notion that Israel’s right to defend itself trumps the right of Palestinians to live free of an unrelenting occupation is ironic. The name for the newest campaign of Israeli aggression is Operation Protective Edge, and in the span of just days, it has hit more than 160 sites, killed children and is showing signs of intensifying into a full-on ground operation.
Tensions have escalated in the wake of the tragic targeting, kidnapping and killing of Israeli and Palestinian children. No one should tolerate the use of violence against innocent civilians. The silence from the international community is deafening. Will it take us waking up one morning to witness another Operation Cast Lead before anyone even merely pays lip service to the suffering of Palestinians?
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has announced a “state of emergency” for Israeli cities within a 40 km radius of Gaza, warning that the military aggression will not end in a few days and everything at Israel’s disposal will be used in the operation. The real state of emergency here is the lack of conscience in the occupiers’ actions toward the occupied.
The occupation and the atrocities it has produced need to be addressed. If we are to attempt to find a solution to the crisis, then we have to be honest about facts on the ground.
It would be a severe travesty for our government to turn a blind eye to collective punishment, illegal settlements and disproportionate use of force against an occupied people. If our government is truly the ally to Israel it says it is, let it be the first to call out Israel’s unacceptable actions.