Response to My Letter to Secretary Kerry regarding Gaza

 

I wrote to Secretary Kerry’s office to express my concern over the situation in Gaza…and this was the reply and my synopsis below

I wrote a reply to Secretary Kerry on the Gaza situation.   This was the reply from the State Department.  Clearly, they are getting lots of letters.
I wrote a reply to Secretary Kerry on the Gaza situation. This was the reply from the State Department. Clearly, they are getting lots of letters.

:

“………July 22, 2014
Dear Skip,
Thank you for your message concerning the issues surrounding the situation in Gaza.
We encourage you to visit the following websites for information concerning this topic.
Statement by President Barack Obama: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/07/21/statement-president-situation-ukraine-and-gaza

United States Humanitarian Assistance to Gaza:
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/07/229563.htm

Thank you for contacting the U.S. Department of State.
Bureau of Public Affairs Office of Public Liaison………….”

 

Please see these benign, politically correct “incorrect” responses. While I was intrigued with the reply about U.S. humanitarian assistance to Gaza, I still think “they” have missed the point and are merely placating public calls for a response to the insanity with the handcuffs of currency. If money were all it took, the U.S., Israel and the Arab nations could have prevented this human tragedy long ago. So click the links, and take a look at the assistance we are providing through the UN…don’t get me wrong, I am thankful.

But also now consider the President’s statement that was sent to me by the State Department. Here are my takes on the highlights:

The president begins his statement with a worn mantra, “Israel has a right to defend itself against rocket and tunnel attacks from Hamas.”

Still he fails to address the legitimacy of an appropriately scaled military action within Gaza and West Bank or the violation of human rights, international law, treaties, and modern conventions of warfare. (Although this is not a war right? If it were, then Gaza would also have a right to defend itself, no? but they do not and cannot have a military).

“Israel has already done significant damage to Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure in Gaza…” So at what point is “significant damage” enough to make the Israeli citizens feel safe during their “summer vacations” (as one U.S. media outlet reported). How much more significant damage (or is it “collateral” damage) is appropriate to bring peace to the region? What will be done to repair the civilian infrastructure, once the Hamas infrastructure is taken down?

The President expressed, again, “… serious concerns about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives,” and yet I am distracted by my own efforts to count the number of Israeli civilian deaths (since he seems to equate Israeli combatants with Palestinian civilians). Please report on how many Hamas militant casualties and what defines, to an Israeli soldier, a “Hamas terrorist” at 1000 feet AGL flying at 600 MPH, with a bomb that will blow up a neighborhood the size of yours. Where is the intell coming from about these school storage locations and about the alleged sniper fire from hospital windows (or is it defending the shelled out hospital) and how do we target this at night with bombs (which then blow up bombs)?  If the UN found weapons in a school, are they then the ones calling in the coordinates to the long range munitions teams and air strike fighters? If Israeli intelligence is already within Gaza…can they not find less destructive ways to neutralize this threat? (but I digress)

He calls for a “..cease-fire that ends the fighting and … deaths of innocent civilians, both in Gaza and in Israel.” But a cease fire does not equate to peace – it never has, and never will until terms are specified, addressed, and negotiated; especially with encouragement and cooperation of the superpower countries that brought this trouble to the Middle East to begin with, (read your history).

“Secretary Kerry will meet with allies and partners…” (which I might presume means Israel and not the Palestinian leadership.)  “I’ve instructed him [Kerry] to push for an immediate cessation of hostilities based on a return to the November 2012 cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.” But, will he also push for a compliance from both sides to what was stated as terms of the cease fire? The president continues, “…  this work will not be easy… and [there are] some very difficult strategic issues involved…” Is there ever really a “strategy” that overlooks the slaughter of civilians? Children? Refugees? Prisoners? (oh yes, on both sides, for those keeping score).

And then the President immediately skirted the Palestine/Israel issue and the work that “is not easy” and moved to our more easier cold war topics of the Ukraine and Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Another horrific event indeed.

The remorse the President spoke over this tragic airline shoot-down exceeds in word length his entire addressing of the Gaza situation (sans remorse). Here are the sound bites about the Ukraine and listen extrapolate this in your mind and heart to those of whom in Gaza (and Israel) he just spoke…

“speaking of the extraordinary and beautiful lives that were lost — men, women and children and infants who were killed so suddenly and so senselessly…thoughts and prayers…unimaginable grief…truth is out…accountability…removing bodies without the utmost care…insult to those who have lost loved ones…behavior that has no place in the community of nations….”

Now, I share my sentiments for all lives senselessly lost across the world – and giving the same speech, I couldn’t possibly cover them all either, but IF the Ukraine and Gaza come up within the same series of breaths, as President, I’d certainly extend heartfelt condolences all the way around.   Where is the moral courage to call a spade a spade? Even Kerry was recorded off camera by Fox mocking the “pinpoint targeting” of Israel…adding that we really need to get over there (sadly he wasn’t dispatched until nearly 600 deaths later).

I believe the President is trying to suppress and downplay the “more-difficult- to-deal-with” grief over Gaza and intensify, if not divert, the attention to Flight 17. Which, frankly, is inappropriate to all victims and families…. Grief is not a political ploy.

He continued, “…We know that Russia has armed them with military equipment and weapons, including anti-aircraft weapons …” Aside from double standard of which country responsibly arms another country or separatist faction, we ARE the world’s leading arms supplier. And we “arm” NOT in accordance with who is both in need and entitled to defend themselves, but rather who achieves our national agenda and those other “strategic issues” President Obama spoke of when referring to Gaza.

He is passionate that there is full, unimpeded and prompt access to the crash site for broad investigation by multi-nations, including our own. But where is this passion in Palestine – where we rely solely on Egypt and Israel to term the ceasefire. As the President said, the Ukraine gets a “diplomatic solution” and Gaza gets a “cease fire.”

We are not doing all we can… it’s not just doing “something” it’s doing the most morally right, effective thing. I’d be happy to cover my share of the dollars going into relief for Gaza or to pay through taxes, my national representatives, but I expect more from my leadership.  I expect a lot more.

A friend of mine astutely remarked, given all my passion over current events, “when equilibrium is restored, as it should be, let’s make sure we’re consistent in our outrage, as it should be ………..” Meaning to me that Gaza has set off a new level of awareness within me, that will not go dormant again, when I see such flagrant disregards for humanity.

tis nothing if not heardEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Print this pageShare on Google+0