A Message to the brave Israeli airmen

The situation in Gaza is getting worse, if that is even possible, and it is
time to rally even more strongly than before.  Below is yet another article
by Jeremy Salt that is truly a harrowing message.  Also included is an
American CBS network  video clip showing a Norwegian doctor at Shifa
Hospital in Gaza explain in chilling detail the effects of Israel’s latest
bombs which not only tear apart the bodies of people, but those who
survive, are likely to develop cancer from the fallout.  If any of you doubt
the viciousness of Israel’s attacks, the doctor’s description will certainly
make you think again.  In just one day,  Shifa Hospital in Gaza received 150
wounded and 50 Palestinians killed and almost all of the injuries and deaths
were caused by these bombs.   Half the Palestinian population in Gaza is
under 15 years of age which should really put into perspective the
motivation for Israel’s attacks.  As one Australian put it – “genocidal
violence”.

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=bFjooAPtyTo&feature=channel_page <http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=bFjooAPtyTo&amp;feature=channel_page>


You can access Robert Birch’s “Shame File” from our website
http://www.australiansforpalestine.com

If you want to do something to show your disgust, then perhaps you can
emulate the brave initiative of one of our Australian supporters who has
raised the Palestinian flag on the roof of his house in East Brunswick.  He
expected a lot of abuse and even damage – instead he has got resounding
support from neighbours, passersby and motorists.  He believes that Gaza is
like Sharpeville in 1923, the turning point in the anti-Apartheid movement
in South Africa when the police began firing without provocation at unarmed
demonstrators protesting the restriction of movement by pass laws and killed
69 people, some in the back as they tried to flee while wounding some 150
others. People in the West saw what they had been ignoring for years.  
According to him, when the West really begins to realise the brutality of
the whole Zionist enterprise in Palestine, Zionism’s days will be numbered.  
Our totally cowed politicians will suddenly have to do an about-turn when
the people on the street no longer accept the lies and their declarations of
fealtyto Israel.

Another thing you can do is sign the following petitions:

Free Gaza Now – 1.5 million signatures for 1.5 million humans in Gaza
http://www.PetitionOnline.com/1500000/   

AVAAZ.org Gaza: Stop the Bloodshed
http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_time_for_peace/?cl=164104908&v=2624   
 
Scientists for Gaza
http://www.petitiononline.com/I75SD92/petition.html   

British Committee for Universities for Palestine Gaza Emergency
http://www.bricup.org.uk/   

IACenter.org Stop the attack on Gaza
http://www.iacenter.org/gazapetition/   

Palestinian petition to PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Palestinianpetition/signatures.html   

End the Occupation Sign open letter to President-elect Obama
http://www.endtheoccupation.org/form.php?modin=137   

Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace Petition on the bombing of the
Islamic University in Gaza
http://www.ffipp.org/campus_area   

ADALAH Petition to End the Siege on Gaza
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/end-the-siege-on-gaza.html   

Suspend EU-Israel Association Agreement  
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Suspend-EU-Israel-Trade-Agreement   

You can also keep writing as many letters as possible  to the media, our
politicians, members of the Israeli Knesset (addresses sent in an earlier
email) protesting these murderous attacks on 1.5 million imprisoned people.  
And you can join vigils, rallies and pickets in your areas and bring your
family and friends.  IN MELBOURNE, THE NEXT RALLY WILL BE ON SUNDAY 18
JANUARY at 2.00pm AT THE STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA.  The last one saw some
6,000 people attend (double the number of the first rally). See if you can
help make that number even greater.

Please do not stop speaking out at every opportunity.  Gaza needs your help
urgently.  

For more articles by Jeremy Salt and a new article by former Israeli Staff Sergeant  
and now psychotherapist Avigail Abarbanel, please visit our website
http://www.australiansforpalestine.com

Sonja Karkar, Australians for Palestine, Women for Palestine

A message to the brave Israeli airmen

by Jeremy Salt

Hello brave Israeli airman. What’s it like, firing missiles at people you
can’t see? Does that help, that you cannot see who you are killing, does it
ease your conscience that you are not deliberately targeting civilians, as
your government keeps saying, when you know perfectly well that they are
going to die as the result of your actions. How does this sit on your
conscience?  Do you sleep well at night or do you have nightmares of the
women and children you killed, in their homes, in their beds, in their
kitchens and living rooms, in their schools and mosques? Do you actually
believe what you are being told, that Israel is under threat from homemade
rockets, so seriously threatened that you have to go out and take part in
the aerial massacre of civilians?  What do you feel when the mission is
over? That you did a good job?  Do you and your air force buddies slap each
other on the back before going off for a beer? Would you still think that
you did a good job if you saw the dead and dismembered bodies you have
created, not of fighting men but of women and children, the bodies that are
your particular contribution to the Middle East ‘peace process’? Would you
still regard your mission as a success, the word used by your political
leaders, your media and your government and military spokesmen and women?  
How would you personally apply the word ‘success’ to the killing of
civilians? Does it cross your mind that people around the world regard you
not as a success story  but as a war criminal who should be prosecuted if
your identity is ever revealed and you step out of your own country and
expose yourself to arrest?

The number of your countrymen in this category is increasing by the day. You
can exchange notes with Dan Halutz, your former air force commander, who
said when asked what he felt when he bombed an apartment building in Gaza
that he felt the wings of his plane tremble as the bomb was released.  Did
you think that was funny at the time? Do you still think it is funny? Do you
think it was a pity about the 18 people who were killed.  Now the political
leaders who gave you your orders have taken their place in the overcrowded
pantheon of Israeli war criminals.   They told you that you were only
defending your country. Actually, it’s someone else’s country. Do you know
that or you have swallowed the propaganda about the Palestinians running
away and your state surrounded by a ring of steel and facing extinction?  
Are you a liberal who believes in two ……

. . . but you are never going to admit that even if inside you know deep
down that it is true.  You can’t admit the truth because the game would be
up for you and other brave young men and women like, sent out to kill in the
name of protecting the homeland from attack. Well, sixty years ago, the
homeland was attacked by your father and your grandfather and the fathers
and grandfathers of your friends.  So, what you are actually doing is
defending your right to hold stolen property, and that’s nonsense isn’t it.
If someone steals your property, does that mean you only have to wait ten,
twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty years for it to become yours? It will
still be theirs in a hundred years, won’t it.  

What do your parents say when you get home? Does your mother bustle
around you, spoiling you, ruffling your hair, making you a cup of tea, relieved
that her darling boy is home safe and sound.  She won’t have any idea, will
she, of what you actually did today, and you aren’t going to be the one to
tell her. In fact you don’t even know and you don’t want to know because you
could not live with yourself if you faced up to the detail of what you did
today.  You just fired your missile at a target didn’t you No doubt she will
say well done. Yes, it was well done, wasn’t it.  You killed civilians very
efficiently and effectively.  No possibility of them ever getting to their
feet again. No chance of those children growing up or of their dead mothers
giving birth to more children. No likelihood that those limbs you severed
can be reattached, no way of rejoining the head to the body you decapitated.

In all likelihood you are a nice young from a good family, proud that you go
into the air force academy. The kind of nice young man who would not
hesitate to rush to the defence of a old man or a child being beaten in the
streets. But isn’t that what you are doing? What possibility do the old men
and women and children have of defending themselves against your aerial
mugging – not that the actions of a back alley bully applies to you.  Oh no.
What you are doing is much worse. Infinitely worse. You are not just killing
innocent people. You are murdering them.  Is this is what you were trained
to do in the air force academy?  Good heavens, no! What an insult to the air
force!!   You were trained to attack and destroy the enemy, weren’t you. To
protect the stolen homeland, and if civilians get in the way, as they do
when the target area is the most overcrowded piece of earth on the planet,
it’s not your fault. It is the fault of the enemy.  After all, they started  
this and so they are responsible for you  having to kill civilians in
defence of your stolen country.  And you were not deliberately targeting
them anyway, were you.   Is it is your fault if the enemy uses schools,
mosques, apartment blocks, university campuses, government ministries and
the parliament building to stockpile weapons?   So you are not the murderer
– it is the enemy.  Is that the way you justify your behavior?  Is that what
enables to sleep peacefully at night?  But what will you say if all of this
catches up with you, not in the middle of the night when you are staring up
at the ceiling and wondering what you have done, but in the court of law
where you are being tried for war crimes?  ‘I was only obeying orders’.  
Surely even you have heard that somewhere before.  

Jeremy Salt teaches in the Department of Political Science, Bilkent University,
Ankara, and is the author of the recently published The Unmaking of the Middle East:
A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands
(Berkeley: University of California
Press, 2008).