By Vacy Vlazna
On Christmas Eve, while Christians knelt in churches to honour the birth of the eternal light of the Child of Bethlehem — the Child of peace, Israeli Herods struck Gaza and the life-light of little Hala haemorrhaged into eternal death.
Hala Ahmed Abu Sbaikha, all of 3 years old, was, like all toddlers, both vivacious and shy, playful, affectionate with bright curious eyes and with a so soft cheek to rest a bedtime kiss.
Why did the Herods of Israel attack Gaza?
There are three possible answers — one false, one truly appalling, one heinous.
Ostensibly, reports in western pro-Israel media, that devoted one sentence to Hala’s death, garbled on and on with the usual Herod hasbara (propaganda); the attack was Israel’s divine right to excessively inflict collective punishment for the shooting, by a Gaza sniper, of an Israeli civilian labourer, Salah Shukri Abu Latyef, 22, working on the border fence. Salah was airlifted to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
No mention, of course, that four days previously, Odeh Jihad Hamad in Beit Hanoun, 29, was a kilometre away from the border collecting scrap metal when Israeli soldiers fatally shot him in the head. Israeli forces did not allow ambulances to attend to Odeh for an hour and a half after the shooting.
Or that since November 2012, when Israel’s Pillar of Cloud assault (weapons testing operation) that killed 171 Palestinians had ended in an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, Israel has committed over 300 ceasefire violations encompassing aerial attacks, military incursions, the levelling of agricultural land, gunship attacks on fishermen, harassing, targeting and wounding farmers, unlawful kidnappings, and the killing of ten Gazan civilians.
Definitely suppressed was the fact that for seven years, the people of Gaza have been held captive by the illegal Israeli siege and in the last two months Israel’s blockade of fuel has caused a disastrous humanitarian crisis with severe shortages of critical supplies and electricity for health services. In freezing temperatures blasted by a winter storm of unprecedented proportions, vulnerable Gazan families and their children have had no electricity, heat, or light, and when the waste water pumping system collapsed pouring sewerage into the streets, shockingly, Israel opened two dams close-by causing the flooding, devastation and misery to soar.
So why did the Herods of Israel truly attack Gaza?
They attack because they can. They attack because, for 65 years, have been granted impunity by democratic western nations. They attack to test their weaponry on Gazan families to sell to said western democratic nations. They attack because they don’t want peace. They attack because they want Palestinians to leave Eretz Israel (the whole of Historic Palestine). They attack to to drive Palestinians from their ancestral lands into the sea.
On the first Sunday after Christmas, Catholics and Copts commemorate the Feast of the Holy Family recalling Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus’ flight to Egypt to escape Herod’s ordering of the Massacre of the Innocents; the infanticide of male babies and toddlers in the Bethlehem region.
But Hala’s family had no escape. For seven years, Israel and the US-supported Egyptian military government have sealed Gaza’s borders so that it’s 1.7 million refugee population, half of whom are children, has no recourse to refuge from Herod’s war crimes.
Herod the Great (i.e., Herod the Deranged) was a vassal of the Roman Empire. Today there is political twist. The US empire (and its client states, UK, EU, Australia) is Israel’s vassal. The US pays an annual tribute of 3 billion dollars even though Israel publicly insults and leads US presidents by the nose on a merry dance to the tune of incompetency played by Herod’s fool, the UN.
The UN has the the legal duty and responsibility to protect all children. On the website of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, it informs us that “the Security Council recognised early on the need for robust action including sanctions against individuals persistently committing violations against children in armed conflict. These sanctions include arms embargoes, asset freezes, and travel bans.
The readiness of the Security Council to impose sanctions against violators of the rights of children in armed conflict has developed over time. In Security Council resolution 1539 (2004), the Council expressed for the first time its intention to consider imposing targeted and graduated measures against parties to conflict violating the rights of children. This commitment was reaffirmed in resolutions 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009), and 1998 (2011).
Israel’s Herods have slaughtered 1,400 children since 2000. Has the UN or any state robustly imposed sanctions on Israel’s child-killers? NO.
Let’s look more closely at why Zionist Herods attack Gaza?
Impunity aside, ultimately, they attack because they are depraved Untermenschen, not just the military but every Zionist who supports Israel’s illegal occupation, warmongering and apartheid policies. They attack because a three year old Palestinian child’s life, its delightful vitality, its laughter, its wonder, its tears, its fun and its fears means nothing to these inhuman thugs and nothing to the UN and nothing to the leaders and citizens of western democratic nations who look away from Israel’s war crimes and daily crimes against humanity.
On Christmas Eve, the songs of Christmas angels were muted by explosions when Herods’ tanks and warplanes “forcefully” bombed Gaza for two hours hitting Hala’s home in Al-Maghazi refugee camp,massacring her innocence and injuring her mother Buthaina, and brothers Mohammed 6 and Bilal, 4.
Little Hala should be alive now. It was her sacred right.
Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Aceh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 and then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.