Collective punishment is immoral no matter who carries it out. Us or them. It’s immoral no matter what form it takes, indiscriminate shelling or gratuitously injurious siege, terrorism or oppression. No matter the justification.
What part of bombing a kindergarten is OK?
Don’t answer right away. Take a moment.
This week, when a mortar shell fired from Gaza slammed into the yard of a border-area Israeli kindergarten just before the children and staff were to arrive, the answers to the question came fast and furious.
“When Israel is bombing and killing people in Gaza on a daily basis, what do you expect?” a twitter user wrote in response to EU envoy Emanuele Giaufret’s condemnation of the shelling.
Among other answers: The Israeli kindergarten is reinforced against attack, as opposed to the much more vulnerable construction of Gaza schools, one of which was hit by an Israeli attack later in the day. Or, the rockets and mortars fired at Israel by Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and others in Gaza are largely ineffectual weapons, as opposed to the deadly, state of the art munitions employed by Israel.
Whether you call it a crisis or call it a passing distress, names are irrelevant when you try to describe the impossibility of life in Gaza that no man could endure yet no man can escape.
On March 13, Jared Kushner and Jason D. Greenblatt held a White House summit on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza with leaders from Israel, several Arab nations and Western countries — but there were no leaders from either the Palestinian Authority or Gaza in attendance.
“We all know that none of this will be easy,” Greenblatt reminded those gathered at the summit. “Everything we do must be done in a way that ensures we do not put the security of Israelis and Egyptians at risk — and that we do not inadvertently empower Hamas, which bears responsibility for Gaza’s suffering. But the situation today in Gaza is unacceptable, and spiraling downwards.”
Any plan for Gaza would be better than the status quo. But if the summit is to accomplish anything, it must acknowledge three hard truths: Life in Gaza is unbearable. Unbearable suffering is fueling Hamas’s continued reign of terror. And the only way to free Gazans from their unbearable suffering is to acknowledge Israel’s role in it.