I grew up in Britain during the era when the Provisional IRA was conducting a bombing campaign in Northern Ireland and on the mainland. I don’t remember the Provos ever being praised for the fact that they would typically phone the police to issue a warning before their bombs detonated. No one ever dubbed them the most humane terrorist organization in the world.
Danny Morrison, a former IRA prisoner interviewed on the BBC shortly after 9/11 wanted to emphasize, however, that the IRA should not be compared to Al Qaeda:
“Certainly there were civilians killed in the course of this last 30 years, but by and large the IRA made attempts to issue warnings before bomb attacks. That’s the distinction between the people who carried out the attacks in America.”
By the same standard, those who accuse Israel of engaging in state terrorism, should be absolutely clear: Israel’s acts of terror are more like those of the IRA (except on a vastly larger scale), than Al Qaeda’s attacks.
During its 30-year campaign, the IRA killed about 650 civilians. In the last 11 days, Israel has killed about 230 civilians.
Sharif Abdel Kouddous writes: Gamal Magdi Mushtaha had been up all night, unable to sleep, when his cell phone rang at 7:30 a.m. on Friday. The man on the other end of the line identified himself as an Israeli military officer. “Gamal,” he said, addressing the father of three by his first name, “you have to leave your house.”
To anyone other than a resident of Gaza, the call would be baffling. But Mushtaha, a 39-year-old contractor from Shejaiya, a town east of Gaza City, knew what this was about. The Israeli military was going to bomb his home.
He argued with the officer, explaining to him that five families live in the three-story house, including 15 children. “I told him I’m not wanted, that I’m a civilian,” Mushtaha says. “He just said my house was a target and I had five minutes to get out.”
Mushtaha woke up his family and rushed them out the door and down the street. A few minutes later he watched as his home was reduced to rubble in a double airstrike — one missile falling after the other. “I don’t know where to go or what to do. I have no home now,” he says.
Israel has lauded its warnings to Palestinians ahead of bombing their homes as a humanitarian act, a magnanimous gesture towards its enemy and a tactic designed to minimize civilian casualties. But in Gaza, it is a cruel reminder of how powerless residents are in the face of Israel’s military machine and their inability to prevent the wanton destruction of their lives. From Gaza City in the north to Khan Younis in the south, Palestinians in Gaza are being told to leave their homes, businesses, even hospitals to make way for Israeli bombs. Too often, they have nowhere to go. [Continue reading…]