Rachel Corrie – Crushed to death on March 16, 2003 by an Israeli military bulldozer when she attempted to block the path to a Palestinian home that they were trying to destroy. Rachel was sitting in front of the Palestinian home with a bright orange reflective vest and made eye contact with the Israeli bulldozer driver as he intentionally drove over her and then backed up over her body.
Part of an e-mail written to Rachel’s mother on February 27, 2003, shortly before she was killed (e-mail in its entirety – http://palsolidarity.org/2016/03/an-email-from-rachel-corrie-to-her-parents/):
Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I’m witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I’m really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don’t think it’s an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel. Disappointment. I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world. This is not at all what the people here asked for when they came into this world. This is not the world you and Dad wanted me to come into when you decided to have me. This is not what I meant when I looked at Capital Lake and said: “This is the wide world and I’m coming to it.” I did not mean that I was coming into a world where I could live a comfortable life and possibly, with no effort at all, exist in complete unawareness of my participation in genocide. More big explosions somewhere in the distance outside.
When I come back from Palestine, I probably will have nightmares and constantly feel guilty for not being here, but I can channel that into more work. Coming here is one of the better things I’ve ever done. So when I sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should break with their racist tendency not to injure white people, please pin the reason squarely on the fact that I am in the midst of a genocide which I am also indirectly supporting, and for which my government is largely responsible.
Wyre Davies (BBC Gaza reporter), writing about the Israeli Operation Pillar of Defense attack in 2012:
“What has shocked me most over the last eight days – during which I have reported exclusively from Gaza, with BBC colleagues complementing in Israel – is the appallingly high number of children killed and injured.”
Prior to 2012, in the December of 2008 conflict, Israeli Operation Cast Lead, were 1,391 Palestinians killed, with 749 deaths of which 32 were minors, and thousands of Palestinians wounded. There was extensive damage to buildings and the overall infrastructure. The electric, water and sewage sytems were barely functioning before the conflict, and afterwards there was no functioning of these important systems for survival. According to a UN report, 3,500 residences were destroyed and “tens of thousands” homeless.
B’Tselem the Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, in its report on Human Rights violations during Operation Pillar of Defense, documented 92 incidents of targeted attacks against Palestinian civilians whereby in every case the conclusion by the Military Advocate for Operational Matters provided to B’Tselem that the case-file had been closed once “no suspicion of a criminal offense or well-founded suspicion of violation of laws of war by any military entity had been found.” According to B’Tselem, many of the reports were given “without any accompanying information to support this conclusion.”
A commonly reported civilian attack: The killing of Talal al-‘Asali, 48, his son Ayman,
19, and daughter ‘Abir, 11, of Jabalya Refugee Camp (21 November 2012):
On 21 November 2012, the last day of Operation Pillar of Defense
in Gaza, at around 1:00 PM, there was an Israeli air strike on an
agricultural area located near residential homes in Jabalya Refugee
Camp in the northern Gaza Strip. The bombing killed Talal al-‘Asali,
48, and two of his six children – his son Ayman, 19, and daughter
‘Abir, 11. According to testimony given to B’Tselem, at the time of
the strike, the three were out in the fields collecting herbs for tea.
According to testimony collected and additional information obtained
by B’Tselem about the incident, no rockets had been fired from that
location before the al-‘Asali famly was hit. Relatives said that Talal
28 His testimony was taken by Muhammad Sabah on 26 November 2012.
-27- al-‘Asali grew herbs that he then sold in the market, and that he had
no connection to Palestinian armed groups.
The mother of the family, Tamam al-‘Asali, 40, told B’Tselem that
on midday on Wednesday, 21 November 2012, the family had eaten
lunch together and that, after they finished, her husband Talal asked
her to make tea for everyone. Talal went outside to a nearby area
that he cultivates to pick some herbs for tea. Two of his children, his
son Ayman and daughter ‘Abir came along. This is Tamam al-‘Asali’s
account of what happened next:
I began preparing the things for tea when suddenly I heard
a powerful explosion from behind the house. I went outside
immediately and ran to the place where Talal and the children
were. Even before I reached them, I could already see
Talal and Ayman lying on the ground, covered in blood.
The moment I saw them I started screaming and crying. I
was in shock. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I understood that
my husband had apparently been killed instantaneously.
Ayman was still moving a little bit. I didn’t see my daughter
‘Abir. I felt dizzy and weak. Then, apparently, I passed out.29
Tamam al-‘Asali regained consciousness a short time later, at home,
surrounded by neighbors and relatives who had come to offer
condolences. They told her that her husband and son Ayman had
been killed in the bombing. Later, her relatives told her that her
daughter ‘Abir had also been killed. Tamam al-‘Asali told B’Tselem:
I was in shock when they told me that ‘Abir had also been
killed. I screamed and cried hysterically. Three members of
my family killed at one blow. I lost them all in an instant,
for no reason. Every time I recall the incident, I am terribly
sad and I cry for them.
“International Humanitarian Law (IHL), applies to both Israeli and Palestinian armed groups, imposes restrictions on combatants with regard to permissable targets, weapons and circumstances for carrying out attacks. IHL provisions were devised to try to minimize injury to civilians during warfare. Accordingly, the provisions unconditionally prohibit the targeting of civilians or civilian sites. Attacks are permitted only against persons directly involved in combat and military targets making an effective military contribution to the other side.
Even when the target of an attack is a legitimate one, the combatants must, as far as possible, adopt various precautionary measures to prevent harm to civilians. Therefore, the law permits the use only of precise weapons capable of distinguishing military from civilian targets. Furthermore, the provisions stipulate that the civilian population in the area must be given prior warning, as far as circumstances permit, to enable them to protect themselves. In any case, if projected harm to civilians significantly outweighs anticipated military benefit, attacks must not be carried out” (Human Rights Violations during Operation Pillar of Defense, 14-21 November 2012, B’TSelem report on May 2013).
Additionally, B’TSelem reported that based upon their Palestinian fatality statistics, there were at least two times the number of civilian deaths in the last four days of the conflict compared to the first four days which indicates civilians were not warned, and may have been intentionally targeted. However, B’TSelem reports there appeared to be “grave suspicions of misconduct,” but that information provided by the Israeli internal military probe is extremely scant, and “In order to reach reliable conclusions, additional information – which is exclusively in the hands of the military is required.”
Operation Protective Edge July 2014
One year old baby, Noha Mesleh who died of wounds after the UN school in Beit Hanoun was hit by Israeli shelling.
On July 28, UNICEF released a statement entitled “No safe place for children in Gaza.” In it, the head of the organization’s Gaza field office, Pernille Ironside, declared: “The physical and psychological toll that the violence is having on people is almost indescribable… We see children killed, injured, mutilated and burnt, in addition to being terrified to their core.”
“A man carries the body of a two-year-old baby Palestinian boy, Amir Ayyad after he was killed by a bullet wound to the head during an Israeli attack on the Shijain neighborhood outside Gaza city May 2, 2003” (Reuters by Suhaib Salem).
I intentionally chose photos of Palestinian children and babies that have been killed by IDF whose names are provided. This is not the photo of an unnamed baby that we frequently see on news media. Just another death-we glance at the carnage and then think of something else, or turn the channel, or think about what we are going to cook for dinner. These babies and children have names. Their parents are devastated, are helpless and are becoming hopeless in a place, in a world, that just doesn’t care. That is, we don’t care unless it hits home, unless violence has entered our environment of comfort.
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
We have forgotten how to weep. Our hearts have become calloused and hard. Close your eyes and imagine this: You constantly hear the drones overhead, the fighter jets, shelling far away and with full knowledge that your enemy without compunction will shoot civilians, including women and children. You are afraid to leave your home, but you need to provide for your family. You look over at your two beautiful children looking up at you with innocent eyes and have no idea within 24 hours they both will be dead and your wife will have such serious disabilities and be in such sorrow over the death of her children, she will no longer want to live. And you cry and you cry and you cry out to God. Your tears make a puddle on the floor, and your heart feels like it is breaking into a million peaces, and you try to understand how He could not hear the cries of anguished parents.
Painting by Imad Abu Shlayyah
The Institute to Middle East Understanding, 50 Days of Death & Destruction: Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” states there were 2,191 Palestinian fatalities, with 1,660 civilian fatalities, including a shocking 527 children killed, and 299 women. During this entire 50 day conflict 70-75% of Palestinian fatalities were civilians. According the the UN there were 1,500 children orphaned, 11,100 wounded, of which were 3,374 children (1000 of which will suffer from life long disabilities), 2,088 women, and 410 elderly. Because of extreme trauma, 373,000 children will require direct and specialized psychosocial support. There were 18,000 housing units destroyed with 12,000 Palestinians still displaced from the 2008-2009 conflict. According to the UN, there is a shortage of 71,000 housing units (2014) and 485,000 Palestinians were displaced during the peak of the conflict.
Additionally, the Gaza’s only power plant was bombed knocking it out of commission indefinitely. Amnesty International condemned the attack as a “collective punishment” against all of the population. Regarding damage done to the Gaza infrastructure as it relates to war crimes, Amnesty International reports, “Damaging or destroying a power plant, even if it also served a military purpose, would be an unlawful disproportionate attack under the laws of war, causing far greater civilian harm than military gain.” Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director stated, “If there were one attack that could be predicted to endanger the health and well-being of the greatest number of people in Gaza, hitting the territory’s sole electricity plant would be it.” And, “Deliberately attacking the power plant would be a war crime.” For more information: https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/08/10/gaza-widespread-impact-power-plant-attack.
Numerous human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have documented widespread significant violations including “the reckless and disproportionate use of deadly force in densely populated urban areas, attacks on medical facilities and workers and UN schools sheltering displaced civilians, and attacks on civilians and the targeting of civilian infrastructure and the homes of Palestinian political and military officials. (Links to international human rights organizations: Palestinian, Israeli, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch )
Israeli Soldiers Shoot and Kill Fleeing Civilians report on August 4, 2014: “The attacks Human Rights Watch investigated include a missile attack that killed four boys on a Gaza City pier and wounded three others, multiple strikes over several days on a hospital for paralyzed and elderly patients, attacks on an apparent civilian residence and media worker’s car, and four previously documented strikes. In many, if not all, of these cases, Human Rights Watch found no evidence of a military target. Israeli forces’ failure to direct attacks at a military target violates the laws of war. Israeli forces may also have knowingly or recklessly attacked people who were clearly civilians, such as young boys, and civilian structures, including a hospital – laws-of-war violations that are indicative of war crimes.”
News reports covering the impetus for Operation Protective Edge against the Palestinians, state this was Israel’s response to Hamas launching rockets toward Israel. The reports go on to say tensions were ignited due to the death of three Israel teenagers in June, one with American citizenship and all seminary students, who were hiking in the West Bank and were assumed killed by Hamas. Shortly after the three teens were killed, a Palestinian teenage was burned alive in Gaza by three Israelis. Israel has extensive sophisticated weapon defense systems partly provided by U.S. financial support which minimizes damage to Israel. The Palestinians have no such protection against Israel’s rockets so historically fatalities, injuries and infrastructure damage has always been significantly greater in Gaza and the West Bank.
The reporting of the above events has several trigger words to influence the reader to support Israel’s devastating, horrifying response. Hamas (terrorists kill Europeans and Americans), Jewish American teenager (an American was killed!), and Seminary students (religious boys). Hamas shot rockets towards Israel… (Israel was only defending themselves). What the reports don’t include is all of the events that led up to the three Israeli teenagers being killed ( and why were these boys hiking in Palestinian territory when if a Palestinian is within shooting range in Gaza of one of the dividing walls or borders between Gaza and the State of Israel they are immediately shot?)
Painting by Imad Abu Shlayyah
This painting symbolizes the media’s slanted reporting and those of us who watch and refuse to pursue the truth.
The events in 2013 leading up the conflict in July 2014 are thoroughly documented by Human Rights Watch (https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2014/country-chapters/israel/palestine ) in its World 2014 report on human rights Palestine, which includes:
- Israeli forces killing civilians in the West Bank and Gaza.
- UN reported Israelis damaged Palestinian property.
- Severe restrictions applied by Israeli forces on the Palestinians right to freedom of movement.
- Israelis continued to build unlawful settlements in occupied territory.
- Arbitrarily detained Palestinians, including children and peaceful protesters.
- Israel and Egypt impeded the rebuilding of Gaza’s devastated economy by blocking almost all exports from Gaza which has resulted in more than 70 percent of Gaza’s 1.7 million residents receiving humanitarian assistance.
- Israeli Defense Frorces (IDF) continued to shoot at civilians in the “no go” zone just inside Gaza’s northern and eastern borders and beyond six nautical miles from the shore, wounding farmers and fishermen.
- Israel did not open any criminal investigations against members of IDF for wrongdoing during Operation Pill of Defense in November 2012. Bombs and air-to-surface missiles killed scores of Palestinians civilians in attacks that apparently violated the laws of wars.
- Shot three children in the West Bank and a 16 year old Palestinian student running away from soldiers in the back.
Not included in this report is the May 2014 killing of a Palestinian teenager by Israelis. This list is a partial list so I suggest reading the entire report for an extensive look at events leading up to Operation Protective Edge. Additionally, I am not excusing violence from Hamas, but explaining how the Palestinians believe they need to protect themselves, their families, and especially children from Israeli aggression.
Ethnic Cleansing definitions
According to Ilan Pappe in his book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, “…’ethnic cleansing’ has come to be defined as a crime against humanity, punishable by international law.” Also, “The Hutchinson encyclopedia defines ethnic cleansing as expulstion by force in order to homogenise the ethinically mixed population of a particular region or territory.”
U.S. State Department – “essence of ethnic cleansing is the eradication, by all means available, of a region’s history, ‘The most common method is that of depopulation within ‘an atmosphere that legitimizes acts of retribution and revenge.”
A Palestinian girl reacts at the scene of an explosion that medics said killed eight children.
Russell Tribunal on Palestine’s Emergency Session on Israel’s Operation Protective Edge held on September 25, 2014:
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine’s Emergency Session on Israel’s Operation Protective Edge held yesterday in Brussels has found evidence of war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of murder, extermination and persecution and also incitement to genocide.
The Jury reported: ‘The cumulative effect of the long-standing regime of collective punishment in Gaza appears to inflict conditions of life calculated to bring about the incremental destruction of the Palestinians as a group in Gaza.’
‘The Tribunal emphasises the potential for a regime of persecution to become genocidal in effect, In light of the clear escalation in the physical and rhetorical violence deployed in respect of Gaza in the summer of 2014, the Tribunal emphasises the obligation of all state parties to the 1948 Genocide Convention ‘to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide.’
U.S. Support of the State of Israel
Lindsey Graham at a press conference: “…funding for Iron Dome was intended as a gesture of solidarity with Israel. Not only are we going to give you more missiles – we’re going to be a better friend. We’re going to fight for you in the international court of public opinion. We’re going to fight for you in the United Nations.” Graham is a major recipient of campaign contributions connected to a powerful lobbying group, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
The obvious question is why the United States has continually supported the State of Israel, even in spite of the evidence of war crimes and genocide committed against the Palestinians. Even more disturbing is the increasing support from Christians for the State of Israel. The Christian radio station I listen to has been actively supporting a Christian Music Tour with well known Christian bands that is sponsored by the State of Israel. Obviously, Christian support for the Israelis is based on extreme ignorance and a lack of caring. It is Christians being led by the bridle on a path in a direction that is not Christ centered.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you. Many are the sorrows of the wicked, But he who trusts in the LORD, lovingkindness shall surround him.…Psalm 32:8-10
It doesn’t matter whether you believe Israel somehow is important in the last days, or it is the Jews ancestral lands, etc. What is important is that God does not, nor ever, support cruel, murderous intentional genocide. We are called to defend the oppressed, the orphans, and the widows. It is our responsibility as Christians to do whatever is within our reach to promote peace, and bring the world’s attention and international pressure against a country that is committing genocide.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God (Matthew 5:9)
There will be no peace in the Middle East as long as the Israelis continue their campaign of genocide against the Palestinian’s with the U.S. and Canada’s support. I am going to put it bluntly – the U.S. is providing weapons (via financial support) to Israel to kill innocent children, destroy families, create terror, and promote the Zionists attempts at genocide. The blood is all over our hands – the guilt is on our heads. Look your own child in the eyes and tell them you are no longer going to support the rampant, intentional killing of innocent Palestinian children because you wouldn’t want that to happen to your own children, would you?
A Closer Look
“The official name for Israel’s latest assault on Gaza is Operation Protective Edge. A better name would be “Operation Déjà Vu.” As it has on several prior occasions, Israel is using weapons provided by U.S. taxpayers to bombard the captive and impoverished Palestinians in Gaza, where the death toll now exceeds 500. As usual, the U.S. government is siding with Israel, even though most American leaders understand Israel instigated the latest round of violence, is not acting with restraint, and that its actions make Washington look callous and hypocritical in the eyes of most of the world.
This Orwellian situation is eloquent testimony to the continued political clout of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and the other hardline elements of the Israel lobby. There is no other plausible explanation for the supine behavior of the U.S. Congress—including some of its most “progressive” members—or the shallow hypocrisy of the Obama administration, especially those officials known for their purported commitment to human rights” ( AIPAC is the Only Explanation for America’s Morally Bankrupt Israel Policy).
Stephen M. Walt (Professor of International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government) concluding the article:
“Historians will one day look back and ask how U.S. Middle East policy could be so ineffectual and so at odds with its professed values — not to mention its strategic interests. The answer lies in the basic nature of the American political system, which permits well-organized and well-funded special interest groups to wield significant power on Capitol Hill and in the White House. In this case, the result is a policy that is bad for all concerned: for the Palestinians most of all, but also for the U.S. and Israel as well. Until the lobby’s clout is weakened or politicians grow stiffer spines, Americans looking for better outcomes in the Middle East had better get used to disappointment and prepared for more trouble.”
The insidious nature of AIPAC
“AIPAC has more than a hundred thousand members, a network of seventeen regional offices, and a vast pool of donors. The lobby does not raise funds directly. Its members do, and the amount of money they channel to political candidates is difficult to track. But everybody in Congress recognizes its influence in elections, and the effect is evident. In 2011, when the Palestinians announced that they would petition the U.N. for statehood, AIPAC helped persuade four hundred and forty-six members of Congress to co-sponsor resolutions opposing the idea” (Friends of Israel The lobbying group AIPAC has consistently fought the Obama Administration on policy. Is it now losing influence?)
How powerful is the AIPAC lobby? “In 1996, Brian Baird, a psychologist from Seattle, decided to run for Congress. Local Democrats asked if he had thought about what he was going to say to AIPAC. “I had admired Israel since I was a kid,” Baird told me. “But I also was fairly sympathetic to peaceful resolution and the Palestinian side. These people said, ‘We respect that, but let’s talk about the issues and what you might say.’ The difficult reality is this: in order to get elected to Congress, if you’re not independently wealthy, you have to raise a lot of money. And you learn pretty quickly that, if AIPAC is on your side, you can do that. They come to you and say, ‘We’d be happy to host ten-thousand-dollar fund-raisers for you, and let us help write your annual letter, and please come to this multi-thousand-person dinner.’ “ Baird continued, “Any member of Congress knows that AIPAC is associated indirectly with significant amounts of campaign spending if you’re with them, and significant amounts against you if you’re not with them.” For Baird, AIPAC-connected money amounted to about two hundred thousand dollars in each of his races—“and that’s two hundred thousand going your way, versus the other way: a four-hundred-thousand-dollar swing.” Baird: “They [AIPAC] see us, members of congress, as basically for sale. So they want us to shut up and play the game.” The AIPAC lobby is so powerful it significantly influences congressional policy and causes compassion and empathy for a beautiful people to flow within streams of blood to grow a murderous people.
David Victor, a former AIPAC president told Connie Bruck (reporter for the above mentioned article), “The face of pro-Israel activists has changed pretty dramatically. In the past eight years, AIPAC has reached out to Hispanics, African-Americans, and evangelical Christians, in the hope that greater diversity will translate into continued support in Congress.” The Christian radio station I listen to has been actively supporting a Christian Music Tour with well known Christian bands that is sponsored by the State of Israel. So, my brothers and sisters in Christ who support the State of Israel, how does it feel to understand you are nothing but a pawn on the political chessboard – that you are being used as a political ally to allow the Israelis to continue with their plan of complete genocide against the Palestinians?
Peace doves from the heart, painted by Imad Abu Shlayyah
Imad was born in Amman in 1965 and fled Palestine with his family in 1948 where they ended up in the Jerash refugee camp.
From an organization (Musalaha Ministry of Reconcilation – see link below) which is attempting to create peace and reconcilation:
“It is our belief that Christ’s death and resurrection are the foundation for reconciliation, and that forgiveness and healing can only come through following His example and obeying His word. We hope to emulate and teach Christ’s model of forgiveness, mercy, and love, breaking down the walls of enmity that so easily embitter and ensnare.
The challenge lies in the practical application of such Biblical teaching and truths. Palestinian and Israeli believers, who share a common faith and desire to honor the Word of God, often continue to be separated by cultural misperceptions, language barriers, and resentfulness. The years of conflict between nations have allowed a process of dehumanization and demonization of the “other.” How can people, whose images, opinions, and attitudes are so defined by a history of conflict, be reconciled?”
Musalaha brings Palestininian and Israeli youth, adults and leaders on desert treks in an attempt at reconciliation because getting to know the “other” is the first step towards understanding and reconciliation. However, I somewhat feel this is putting the cart before the horse, because there will not be true reconciliation until there is acknowledgment of the Israeli genocide against the Palestinians. There will not be reconciliation until the Israelis begin to perceive the Palestinians as having the same value in the eyes of God as themselves. There will not be reconciliation until the Israelis tear their garments and fall to the ground in mourning for their lack of respect for the sanctity of life.
It is time for Christians to stop supporting the State of Israel and pray and ask God what we can do to help stop the destructive carnage of the Israeli’s genocide against the Palestinians. The first step is clearly looking at the truth- and looking at yourself in the mirror. Why do you accept propaganda and lies so easily? Let’s spread the fire of truth to other churches and start a grassroots movement to oppose the Israeli’s genocide. Let’s put pressure on our elected leaders to oppose the continued financial support for weaponry that is being used on Palestinian civilians. Let’s demonstrate against the power of AIPAC over our own government policy. Let us truly be the peacekeepers that God has called us to be and defend the oppressed!
Revolutionary Palestinian Protest Song: UNADIKUM (“I call upon you”) – YouTube
Musalaha Ministry of Reconciliation – Musalaha Mission statement: Musalaha is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians as demonstrated in the life and teaching of Jesus. We endeavor to be an encouragement and advocate of reconciliation, first among Palestinian and Israeli believers and then beyond to our respective communities. Musalaha also aims at facilitating bridge building among different segments of Israeli and Palestinian societies according to biblical reconciliation principles.