LETTER: No morality exists in Gaza conflict

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 | 3:03 p.m. CST; updated 3:28 p.m. CST, Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Israel has killed 1,140 people in Gaza. Gaza rockets have killed 13 Israelis. Our government and most of our media tell us that the blockade (illegal under international law) of Gaza should continue so that the elected Gaza government (Hamas) cannot rearm. The U.S. government gives Israel foreign aid in the form of exotic weapons, including phosphorus bombs. What is moral?

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Ray Shapiro January 22, 2009 | 9:01 a.m.

World is selective in caring about tragedy

Published Wednesday, January 21, 2009
They are estimating that more than 1,000 Gazans (unverified) might have been killed and many more wounded by Israel’s counterattack against Hamas’ missiles that have rained down on southern Israel’s schools, homes, and businesses for several years. Many of those killed by the Israel Defense Forces were Hamas operatives. (Israel turns out to have excellent intelligence about their locations, and in several instances the IDF phoned its target before attacking, giving him an opportunity to save his family by leaving the house.) But many were not terrorists because Hamas has perfected a kind of camera-ready human sacrifice - placing its launchers in playgrounds, hospitals and neighborhoods crowded with mothers and children.

Every innocent human life lost is a tragedy and a horror. But to watch the news in Brussels or Boston and certainly in Islamabad or Caracas, one gets the distorted impression that the Palestinian plight is the worst on Earth - an impression reinforced almost daily by the United Nations. We in the United States pay almost no attention to the resolutions, findings and advocacy of the U.N., regarding it as a font of gasbaggery, stinking hypocrisy and cant. But the rest of the world does pay attention. According to Eye on the U.N. (, in 2008, 68 percent of General Assembly resolutions regarding violations of human rights targeted Israel. Afghanistan was cited in 4 percent of the resolutions along with Azerbaijan, Georgia, the United States and a few others. Russia, Sudan, China, and Saudi Arabia, just to name a few, were not cited at all. In 2007, 32 countries were mentioned for human rights violations, though most just barely. Israel again topped the list with 121 actions taken against her. Sudan came in second with 61, Myanmar third with 41. The United States was No. 4, with 39 actions, tied with the Democratic Republic of the Congo!

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro January 22, 2009 | 9:02 a.m.

(Part two)
Regarding the plight of Gaza, remember this: Between 1948, when Israel was created, and 1967, when Israel captured Gaza in a defensive war, the Gaza Strip was administered by Egypt. During those 19 years, the Egyptians never offered citizenship to the Palestinians in Gaza, nor did they permit them free transit from the Strip into Egypt proper. They did nothing to encourage an independent Palestinian state. In fact, in 1958, Egypt’s President Nasser formally annulled the so-called "All Palestine Government" - a remnant of the Palestinian state the Arabs rejected in 1948. Egypt, like all the other Arab states and the United Nations, chose to keep the Palestinians bereft and stateless, a permanent and growing dagger aimed at Israel.

Even more instructive is this: When Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Gaza’s residents had a golden opportunity to begin to build the sort of state they have claimed to desire. The Israelis even left behind the infrastructure to give the Palestinians a start: roads, houses, swimming pools, fish farms, nurseries, orchards, and factories. The Palestinians chose to kill each other (see Jonathan Schanzer’s new book, "Hamas vs. Fatah") and to fire missiles across the border at Israel instead. Apologists like Columbia’s Rashid Khalidi protest that Israel continued to control sea lanes, borders and air space around Gaza and cut off aid after the Palestinians elected Hamas. Well, Hamas didn’t seem to have any trouble importing longer and longer-range Iranian missiles despite Israel’s blockade. And in any case, despite the advice of some hardliners in Israel, the Israeli government continued to permit humanitarian supplies through.

Since the start of 2007, 16,000 civilians have been killed in fighting. Not in Gaza, so you might have missed it. It was in Somalia, where an Islamist movement is fighting Ethiopian troops. This is the 18th year of civil strife in that country.

In Sri Lanka, some 70,000 people have perished in a civil war that has flared on and off since 1983. The regime in Myanmar (formerly Burma) has killed thousands and forced an estimated 800,000 into involuntary servitude.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) 45,000 people are dying every month. Nearly 5 and a half million have died since 1998 in a conflict that grew out of the violence in Rwanda and spread. Half of those deaths were of children under the age of 5, according to the International Rescue Committee. The violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has caused more human devastation than any conflict since World War II.

In Darfur, Sudan, more than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million made homeless by violence.

To cite these sad data is not to suggest that suffering is tolerable in any particular case - but merely to observe that the world is strangely blinkered in the tragedies to which it responds.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand January 22, 2009 | 12:05 p.m.

This is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to diversity. When one group of people is persecuting or killing another, what do we do? Celebrate that diversity of belief? Or ask the oppressors to stop? And if they don't, then what? Simply stand on the sidelines, condemning them and wringing our hands? Or do we go in and kill the oppressors?

It's nice to argue that all people and beliefs should be treated equally, but that often falls apart in the real world because everyone believes that the line has to be drawn someplace. Then it's just a question of whether you're willing to kill or die -- or send someone else to kill or die -- to maintain that line.

What if a neo-Nazi or pedophile wants to teach at your child's school or move in next door? Would you celebrate diversity? Or fight to protect your beliefs?

Tough questions, but they keep coming up at home and abroad.

(Report Comment)
stand greaves March 11, 2009 | 1:18 a.m.

ray shapiro's/Mona charen's lies: Isntreal's massacre with U.S. weapons of over 1,000 Gazans was OK because many Hamas were killed, and the rest were Hamas' "camera-ready sacrifices" because Hamas situated its rocket launchers in playgrounds and hospitals, etc. Mr.Ms shapiro/charen, i dare you to go to Gaza and see for yourself and actually listen to the people there. You will learn the truth of what Israel did with U.S. tax-payer-funded weapons of mass destruction. People should shut up if they don't care about other people, instead of spreading cruel lies to justify the murder of those people they don't care about.

(Report Comment)

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