Olmert's Candid Comment
Correction made on July 11th:
With gratitude to Rabbi Daniel Brenner, I make the following correction on the quote attributed to Prime Minister Olmert in the first paragraph of this post. My quote came from an unreliable source -- my apologies.
The correct quote is: "I am deeply sorry for the residents of Gaza, but the lives, security and well-being of the residents of [Jewish] Sderot is even more important to me."
While I understand that he may have said that at a difficult time to Sderot residents, it still is problematic since it legitimizes for them their devaluing of the humanity of Palestinians.
I have edited the previous post accordingly.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made a candid comment, perhaps in an unguarded moment, which showed his true feelings. He said, "I am deeply sorry for the residents of Gaza, but the lives, security and well-being of the residents of [Jewish] Sderot is even more important to me."
In recent days Israel has used the killing of two Israeli soldiers and the capture of a third by Palestinians as an excuse to invade Gaza with overwhelming military force and demolish its infrastructure which included bridges on the main roads and Gaza's main power plant, leaving half of Gaza's 1.5 million people and its two main hospitals without electricity and running water.
“What Israel and its benefactor - the United States - really want is to destroy the democratically-elected Hamas government, “writes Margaret Cohen, professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, president-elect of the National Lawyers Guild, and the US representative to the American Association of Jurists, in an article entitled Israel Creates Humanitarian Crisis. In addition, in the biggest raid since Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005. Israel has kidnapped 64 Palestinian governmental ministers and politicians. It bombed the home of Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh.
This sentiment expressed by President Olmert is what inevitably leads to Israel's policy of collective punishment. Writes Cohen: “Attacks on a civilian population as a form of collective punishment violate article 50 of the Hague Regulations, which provides: ‘No general penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, shall be inflicted upon the population on account of the acts of individuals for which they cannot be regarded as jointly and severally responsible.’
Hundreds of Israelis protested outside Olmert's home, denouncing the government as war criminals and demanding an end to the Gaza invasion. ‘We call for our government to stop targeting Palestinian civilians - the targeting of civilians is a war crime - and start negotiating with the elected Palestinian leaders, not to arrest them,’ said Yishai Menuhin, a spokesman for the peace group Yesh Gvul.
Gershon Baskin whom I read often has a great piece on the present crisis at http://www.ipcri.org/. Click on "What New at IPCRI" and go to the post of July 2nd.