"We do not shoot at innocent civilians." Thus spoke Israeli spokesman Mark Regev, who during the war against Lebanon went so far as to assert that children were terrorists. As for the not-so-innocent civilians — that's their tough luck, in the Regev Insanarium.
The claim that Israel does not attack civilians is the essential lie of the war on Gaza, the essential lie of the Israeli propaganda machine. It is one that American news organizations and political leaders are particularly eager to swallow without hesitation.
The evidence refuting this lie is overwhelming — overwhelming. By any measure employed in science or law, the conclusion is unavoidable: Israel makes war upon civilians. There are decades of attacks upon civilians, beginning with massacres during Israel's struggle for independence and continuing without interruption through to today.
If Israel's onslaught were not so brutal, it might be comical. How does an olive grove threaten Israel? Yet Israeli forces have mowed down thousands of acres of olive trees, a dietary staple, a key element in Palestinian agriculture and economy.
But the greatest point in evidence is not found in the shelling, bombing, shooting, bulldozing. It is found in the blockade that has been forced on Gaza since 2007. There is no pretending that the blockade is an "accident", as is routinely claimed every time civilians are shelled or bombed. There is no way that blockade can be characterized as anything but an attack upon civilians. For months, numerous international observers and aid workers have reported on the terrible effects of the blockade — crippled medical services, near-starvation for many Gazans, inadequate water, inadequate electricity.
The blockade is an attack upon civilians. Americans know this. The Berlin Airlift from 1948 to 1949 was a response to the Soviet blockade of Berlin. The Gaza blockade has brought far greater suffering upon Gazans.
If the US is serious that it supports Palestinian civilians, then it is time for a Gaza Airlift. Fly American cargo aircraft over Gaza and drop medical supplies, food, water. Put the Israeli propaganda to the test.
But the US is a full participant in the Israeli attack on civilians. It is almost certainly providing satellite info to the Israelis. It is most definitely providing most of the war materiel. If the US is not to be as guilty as Israel in the commission of the war crimes in Gaza, it must cease its support and launch the Gaza Airlift.
Partial list of Israeli massacres and other attacks upon civilians
- King David Hotel bombing, 22 July 1946, 92 killed
- Deir Yassin massacre, 9 to 11 April 1948, about 110 Palestinian villagers killed
- Qibya, 14 to 15 October 1953, 69 Palestinians killed by forces under Ariel Sharon
- Kafr Qasim, 29 October 1956, 48 Palestinians killed: 6 women, 23 children
- al-Sammou massacre, 13 November 1966, Israeli forces attacked village, killing 18
- Sabra and Shatila, 16 to 18 September 1982, between 1500 and 2000 killed
- Qana, 18 April 1996, 106 refugees killed
- Qana, 30 July 2006, 28 civilians killed, half of them children
- Iain Hook, 22 November 2002, UNRWA worker shot by Israeli sniper
- Rachel Corrie, 16 March 2003, bulldozed by Israeli military
- Tom Hurndall, 13 January 2004, photography student shot at in the head at point blank range