War crimes

The following letter appears in this week’s Australian Jewish News:

I write to express my disgust at the destruction of Lebanon by Israel’s armed forces. This is a war crime.

Let us look at the chain of events. For 16 months, the Hamas Government in Gaza maintained a cease-fire, with constant provocation from Israel, economic sanctions and shelling from across the border.

I have read (yes, on Noam Chomsky’s website) that on June 24, two Gaza civilians, a doctor and his brother, were abducted and taken, presumably, to Israel. It was on the following day, June 25, that Gilad Shalit, a member of a tank battalion, was abducted by Hamas.

The answer to that was to invade Gaza, and for the IDF to do its worst. The abductions and killings by Hezbollah were obviously an act of solidarity, perhaps to take the heat off Gaza. I do not defend it, but that is what the action surely was. Now we have Israel dropping bombs on civilians and civilian infrastructure. There is massive destruction and loss of life in Lebanon, out of all proportion to what is being suffered in Israel. As I, and many others, say, it is a war crime – collective punishment on a grand style.

You would not guess it from my name, but my father was a Jewish refugee from Vienna. My mother is not Jewish. So you can call me a self-hating Jew, or an antisemite, whatever you like. But many other people, including that brave journalist Antony Loewenstein, have woken up to the brutal ugliness of what Israel has come to stand for. It is time to, in all humility, stop the killing, stop the propaganda and negotiate. Because there will be no peace without
justice.

STEPHEN LANGFORD
Paddington, NSW

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