Many years ago I foolishly believed that during any war, when the first child was killed, both sides of the conflict would throw down their weapons in disgust and shout, “My God, look at what we’ve done?! We’ve murdered a child!”
I am a father and a grandfather. Here’s what that experience has taught me: children are innocent. They are precious, one-of-a-kind gifts bestowed to us. We are their protectors, their guides, and their teachers. They look up to us as examples of how to live their lives and, perhaps most importantly, how to love others. And we continue to sacrifice them at the altar of hate.
In the latest contradiction to my fading idealism, the lives of 65 children were taken needlessly in the never-ending Gaza-Israel War. Sixty-three of those children were slaughtered in Gaza; two in Israel. But it doesn’t really matter on which side of an arbitrary political border in which they resided. Dead is dead.
Selling Weapons to Isreal
Right before Hamas and Israel signed the tenuous cease-fire last week, our own president, the one who is supposed to be so different from the previous weird tenant of the White House, signed off on a $735 million arms sale to Israel.
The deal, which must have made America’s weapons of mass destruction factories salivate as they contemplate their ill-gotten gains, consists of “precision-guided weapons to Israel, and congressional sources said on Monday that U.S. lawmakers were not expected to object to the deal despite violence between Israel and Palestinian militants,” according to Reuters.
Of course in the United States we will broker no dissent when it comes to our number one dependent Israel. That would be political suicide. The Reuters’ article continues, “Because Israel is among a handful of countries whose military deals are approved under an expedited process, the typical window for objecting will close before lawmakers can pass a resolution of disapproval, even if they were inclined to.”
These horrific bombs — given the euphemism, Joint Direct Attack Munitions — are manufactured by Boeing Corporation, the same company that blessed the world’s airlines with the un-precise 737 MAX airplanes.
Let us dispel with the oxymoronic phrase “precision-guided weapons.” If that was the case there would still be 65 children and 229 total living, breathing human beings still alive today, and tens of thousands more souls on this troubled planet.
We must also note that Hamas’ growing arsenal of horror is supplied by Iran. That arsenal also contributes mightily to the death toll. But I pay my taxes in the United States, not in the Islamic Republic, or to one of our most rapacious consumers of our weapons, Saudi Arabia.
You might recall that the Kingdom was let off the hook for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi because then-President Donald Trump was more worried about the threat to a pending arms sale rather than the murder of a US resident. “Part of that is what we are doing with our defense systems and everybody is wanting them…”
So, no, this isn’t about who is right and who is wrong. When it comes to harming children there is only wrong.
After the arms deal was blessed by Saint Biden, he then placed pressure on both sides to agree to the current cease fire as though saying, see, you can have it both ways. The US State Department contributed to the Administration’s public relations whitewash with this comment: “We remain deeply concerned about the current violence and are working towards achieving a sustainable calm.”
Apparently a $735 million-dollar infusion of peaceful munitions into the region will help achieve that calm with sustainable precision. George Orwell’s words continue to age well. “War is peace.”
On May 12, in the Israeli city of Sderot, a mile away from the border with Gaza, five-year-old Ido Avigal was killed by shrapnel from a Hamas rocket even though he was sheltering in place in the family’s fortified room. The Times of Israel reported that, “despite barricading themselves in the room, the rocket shrapnel punctured the shelter’s window, critically injuring him [Ido] and also wounding his mother and seven-year-old sister. He was pronounced dead several hours later.”
In Gaza, on May 15, Muhammad al-Hadidi‘s four children went to visit their cousins and attend the festival of Eid al-Fitr, an Islamic occasion marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. After an Israeli air strike only one child was alive, 5-month-old Omar.
“They were safe in their homes, they did not carry weapons, they did not fire rockets,” Hadidi said. “What did they do to deserve this?”
According to the Associated Press, “the blast left the children’s bedroom covered in rubble and smashed the salon. Amid the wreckage were children’s toys, a Monopoly board game and, sitting on the kitchen counter, unfinished plates of food from the holiday gathering.”
The first item in the 1974 UN General Assembly Resolution 3318, “Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict,” states, “Attacks and bombings on the civilian population, inflicting incalculable suffering, especially on women and children, who are the most vulnerable members of the population, shall be prohibited, and such acts shall be condemned.”
Another lesson I’ve learned from being a parent and grandparent is that your words are only as good as your actions. The children of Gaza and Israel cannot protect themselves. It is up to us, the so-called adults, but yet we continue to fail them, over and over again, one tiny corpse at a time.