Letter to the Editor on “The Hamas Drone”

Mr. Enav’s prominently displayed July 15 P-S article seems to suggest that that bully, Gaza, is hitting poor Israel below the belt. Writing from Jerusalem, Enav reports on a single (foiled) Hamas drone attack. Like many mainstream commentators on the latest Israeli invasion of Gaza, Enav ignores key realities:

  • Israel, a colonial settler state much like formerly apartheid South Africa, is the nuclear-armed regional superpower. It has one of the world’s mightiest militaries, thanks in part to the three billion dollars in US military aid it receives annually.
  • Israel has deployed surveillance and weaponized drones 24/7 over Gaza ever since its 2008/2009 Operation Cast Lead invasion of that isolated, desperately poor – but feisty – refugee enclave of Palestine. Many of those Gazans (or their parents and grandparents), before being driven out in 1947, had their homes, land and livelihoods in what is now Israel. In 2008, Gaza already had been severely weakened by years of illegal military occupation. Now post-occupation, it continues to be strangled by years of Israel’s military siege.
  • Periodically, the Israeli military finds a pretext to “mow the grass,” i.e. go on a rampage to retard Gazan economic development. During the Operation Cast Lead massacre (the kill ratio was 100 to one), Israel used air power to destroy broad swaths of civilian infrastructure. At the same time, Israeli drones killed 87 Gazan civilians, including many children, maiming more and terrorizing hundreds of thousands.*

Note that along with the US, Israel leads the world in developing weaponized drones. It used the 2008/2009 invasion to test and subsequently market its Israeli Aerospace Industries’ “Heron” drone and its Elbit Systems Ltd.’s “Hermes” drone.

Since that invasion, Israel’s drone export business has flourished. Drone exports, whether by Israeli or US corporations, keep the pot boiling. This proliferation generates profit, but doesn’t make our volatile world safer.

What can we do to end the ongoing carnage? For starters, we can pressure our Congressional representatives – Ms. Gillibrand, Mr. Schumer and Mr. Maffei – to end US military aid to Israel. More long term, we can work for an international ban on weaponized drones.

Notes:

See the Human Rights Watch 2009 39-page report, “Precisely Wrong: Gaza Civilians Killed by Israeli Drone-Launched Missiles.”

Also see Norman G. Finkelstein, “This Time We Went Too Far: Truth and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion,” O/R Books, 2010.