Friday, January 2, 2009

Darn rockets and bombs

I'm so sad to see a resurgence in violence in Israel/Palestine. Last January I spent 2 weeks touring Israel and the West Bank with a group of Seattle church leaders. We talked to many people and each held out hope that the current cease fire would somehow turn into a longer peace.

No such luck. The blockade on Gaza continued, the rockets kept falling, and now the bombs are dropping. Word is that ground troops, massing at the border, will soon invade. It's a sad scene, partly because of these often-overlooked facts:

  • Population of Gaza is 1.5 million in an area of 360 square kilometers. That makes a density of 4167 people per square kilometer - the highest density in the world.

  • 75% of Gazans are refugees.

  • 45% of Gazans are under 14 years of age.

  • 80% of Gazan households live below the poverty line, subsisting on less than $3 per person a day.

  • 80% of all Gazan families would literally starve without food aid from international agencies.

No one really disputes the depravity of the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel. My problem is the Israeli bombing attacks on Gazans, which are far more deadly, given the population density of Gaza, and far more likely to strike innocent civilians. A case in point is the 400 Palestinians so far killed vs. the 4 Israeli deaths by rocket fire. This is more of a shooting gallery than it is a war.

So, I'm joining tomorrow's march downtown and am planning a statement at the rally. I'll condemn both Palestinian rocket firers and Israeli bombers, Palestinians who make informal terror and Israelis who make formal war/terror. It's all terror and it all should be stopped. These groups will hate each other for years, but both are proving the idiocy of violence as a way to resolve conflict.

No comments:

Post a Comment