The Coastal Post - June, 1996

Love Thy Neighbor


On the eighth day of Israel's latest violent attack on Lebanon, her gunners shelled the UN refugee shelter at Qana, killing almost 200 women and children. Robert Fisk, British reporter at the scene described in The Nation: "When I reached the compound the blood was flowing in streams, running down the road near me. Inside I found heaps of bodies, a baby without a head, a dismembered woman, a Figian UN soldier holding in horror a headless child."

Responding to international anger, the Security Council sent Netherland's Major-General Frank van Kappen with other experts to the scene. Van Kappen reported to the UN that Israel's slaughter "was purposeful." Her military had been informed the day before that the UN shelter was full of refugees. Established in 1978 after Israel's invasion, this UN command compound was identified on every Israeli military map. Moreover, Israel's artillery was being directed by a pilotless drone plane delivering TV images to the gunners, visible even on video tapes replayed on CNN. The first salvo of four regular detonation bombs just missed the camp, whereupon the Israeli gunners switched to M-732 proximity fuses (anti-personnel bombs) that explode seven feet above the ground, expressly targeting the shelters within the compound, and accounting for that mass of mangled bodies and decapitated children. At the UN the U.S. and Israel sought without success first to deny and then to buy the report.

Israel's disregard for the lives of non-Jewish civilians repeatedly criticized by the International Red Cross, the Red Crescent, Amnesty International and the UN was discussed by Israeli author, holocaust survivor and emeritus Professor, Israel Shahak, in his recent book: Jewish History, Jewish Religion. Professor Shahak quotes from the soldier's handbook issued by the Israeli Army Central Regional Command:

"When our forces come across civilians during a war or in hot pursuit or in a raid, so long as there is no certainly that these civilians are incapable of harming our forces, then according to the Halakkah [legal system of classical Judaism] they may and even should be killed. Under no circumstance should an Arab be trusted, even if he makes the impression of being civilized. In war when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed, and even enjoined by the Halakkah, to kill even good civilians, that is, civilians who are ostensibly good."

The Second and Fourth Geneva Conventions signed by 140 nations, including Israel, instructs armies do their best to preserve civilian lives. Americans, we remember, punished their officers responsible for the civilian massacre at Mai Lai during the Vietnam War.

Two years ago when Professor Shahak was on a lecture tour, I had the privilege of interviewing him in San Francisco for local papers and he discussed this Jewish attitude toward non-Jewish life. Shahak pointed out that in the religious schools in Israel the supremacy of the Jew as contrasted with other races is emphasized, and children are taught that even the Jewish embryo is different from embryos of non-Jews.

Professor Shahak said this teaching effects Jewish attitudes at all levels of contact between Jews and their neighbors, and even relates to the dead. In his book he notes: "Jews have a tremendous reverence towards Jewish corpses and Jewish cemeteries, but have no respect towards non-Jewish corpses and cemeteries. Thus hundreds of Muslim cemeteries have been utterly destroyed in Israel...but there was great outcry when one Jewish cemetery...was damaged under Jordanian rule."

Americans have not come away unscathed from assisting Israel in her lawlessness. Aside from billions of American taxpayer's dollars which have and are still supporting that country's military misadventures, we have sustained a loss of whatever moral creditability we once enjoyed. Presidential confidant, advisor and author George Ball in his book The Passionate Attachment points out also that our unquestioning support of Israel has cost many American lives. We lost almost 300 marines in Lebanon. Again, when Israel targeted our U.S.S Liberty off their coast during the 1967 War, their fighter jets killed 34 American sailors and wounded 171 more, many being strafed as they clung to life rafts. The ship had to be scrapped.

When ex-President Carter was interviewed on March 26, 1989 for the New York Times, he said: "You have only to go to Lebanon, to Syria, to Jordan to witness first hand the intense hatred among many peoples for the United States, because we bombed and shelled and unmercifully killed totally innocent villagers, housewives, children and farmers in some of those villages around a result we have become a kind of Satan in the minds of those who are deeply resentful. That is what precipitated the taking of hostages and that is what has precipitated their terrorist attacks."

The recent photo opportunity in Washington staged by the smiling Peres and Clinton, in the face of all reports from Lebanon, strongly suggests this "honest broker," once again implicated in Israel's terrorism had best leave future Mideast peacekeeping efforts to our European friends and the UN General Assembly.