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Monday, November 19, 2012

Zachary Klein: Disproportion


1. lack of proportion or equality
2. an instance of disparity or inequality
1. to cause to become exaggerated or unequal
English Collins Dictionary – English Definition & Thesaurus
It is with a heavy heart that I once again feel compelled to write about the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. Heavy because as I lay fingers to keyboard, The New York Times is reporting: After a meeting with President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli Army was “continuing to hit Hamas hard and is ready to expand the operation into Gaza.”
Heavy because my gut tells me that if Israel does invade Gaza, we are going to see a mass of civilians—women and children included, of course–defined as “collateral damage.” We’ve been here before.
In no way do I condone the missiles Hamas has been firing. I believe it’s legitimate for Israel to stop them, no matter who fired the first shot. My sadness has to do with how the Israeli government is choosing to stop them.
Newspapers have reported about the “pinpoint” bombing that killed a high ranking Hamas official, and even with this “pinpoint” strike, there were a couple of dozen Palestinian civilian casualties as well as three Israeli deaths. The last Israeli invasion of Gaza “left thirteen Israelis and more than one thousand Palestinians dead, hundreds among them civilians” (THE BOSTON GLOBE 11/17/12). Does anyone else see a problem with this picture?
My heart is heavy because comparing the body counts underscores my political opinions. I believe the ongoing disproportionate amount of deaths between Palestinians and Israelis leaves little room for Israeli apologists.
This disproportion is not new. In April 2011 I wrote a post calling for a regime change in Israel ( second entry down) I listed the following facts:
Since September 29th, 2000 to the present, 124 Israeli children have been killed. The number of Palestinian children killed during the same time period–1,452.
Since September 29th, 2000 to the present, 1,084 Israeli adults have been killed. The number of Palestinian adults during the same period–6,430.
Since September 29th, 2000 to the present, 9,226 Israelis have been injured. The number of Palestinians injured during the same period–45,041.
The current number of Israeli political prisoners or detainees is 1. The current number of Palestinian political prisoners or detainees is 5,935.
Since 1967 the number of Israeli homes that have been demolished for settlement reasons is 0.
Since 1967 the number of Palestinian homes demolished for settlement reasons—24,813.
Of the 40 towns in Israel with the highest unemployment rates, 36 are Arab towns.
According to the Central Bank of Israel statistics for 2003, salary averages for Arab workersin Israel (emphasis mine) were 29 percent lower than for Jewish workers.
U.S. government aid to Israel in 2009 was 8.2 million dollars of military aid per day.
U.S. government aid to Palestinians in 2009–0 dollars.
(These numbers and their primary sources can be found at
That was then and perhaps the numbers are somewhat different now. However changed they might be, the disproportion will not if or when Israel invades Gaza again. This disproportion cannot be seen as defense regardless of Palestinian missile attacks. This isoffense and the notion that the best defense is offense crumples in the face of dead and maimed children.
A whole lot of people have raked me for my ongoing support of the Palestinian people. Been called an anti-Semitic Jew (was also called a “self-loathing” Jew after my third Matt Jacob Novel No Saving Grace), one-sided, and blind to the acts of terror committed by Palestinians. The problem with all that is I’m not anti-Semitic or even one-sided. And I’m certainly not blind or silent about any acts of terror whatever the justification–real or imagined.
What I am is terribly, terribly sad. It rips my insides to watch a people to whom I belong, who were savaged into near extinction during World War Two, slowly but surely dehumanize another people. It tears me up to watch Israel become an apartheid state. It breaks my heart to even imagine how close Israel is creeping toward committing genocide. These are not the feelings of an anti-Semitic Jew; they are the emotions of someone watching his people change from the oppressed to the oppressor.
I used to believe in a two-state solution. Believed that had the 1967 boundaries been accepted along with internationalization of Jerusalem, peace would have been possible. I believed that had Israel legitimately dealt with Fatah or the PLO that preceded them, Hamas wouldn’t have had steady legs to stand on.
Now I believe it’s too, too late. The disproportion too, too great. Which is why my heart is heavy today for the Palestinian people, the ugly transformation that’s grabbed hold of Israel, and mostly for those who have died and those who will. Disproportionally.
History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, however, if faced with courage, need not be lived again. ~ Maya Angelou

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