The News: Speaking in an on-line interview, Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican's Office for Justice and Peace, condemned the resort to violence and likened the conditions in Gaza to those of a concentration camp.
The Cardinal's remarks were ignored by the major US media outlets; however they did not go unnoticed in Israel which condemned the comparison. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told Reuters that "The vocabulary of Hamas propaganda, coming from a member of the College of Cardinals, is a shocking and disappointing phenomenon” which was totally removed from "truth and dignity".
The Note: What would Israel know about truth? It has so consistently twisted, shifted and blurred the truth that it wouldn't recognize a lie if it walked smack into it. Virtually every humanitarian organization in the world, including the International Red Cross and UN Relief Agencies have condemned both Israel's food and fuel blockade of Gaza and its grotesquely disproportionate response to Hamas "rocket" attacks. Are they all lying? Of course not.
Dropping 1000 pound bunkerbuster bombs is not what one would call "proportionate" to the firepower of hand-held rockets and mortars that, at most, can punch a hole in a roof a thousand or so meters away. Five hundred Palestinian deaths to three of four Israeli casualties is no nowhere close to one eye for one eye.
Most importantly, withholding food and fuel from people trapped in a walled and barb-wired enclosure is what ghettos and concentration camps are all about. Not even the philo-semitic US press which all but has its copy written for it in the Israel Foreign Office has been able to suppress the fact that for the past year Israel has subjected Gaza to a blockade of food, fuel and medicine. When food is withheld, people starve. Is that too a lie?
"Israel is committing a shocking series of atrocities by using modern weaponry against a defenceless population - attacking a population that has been enduring a severe blockade for many months," according to UN Relief coordinator Richrd Falk speaking in a BBC interview.
Israel's conduct is so outrageous that the International Red Cross has taken the unusual step of publicly condemning Israel's violation of humanitarian law after, its aid workers were shot at, barred from rendering assistance and, after four days, found the starved and emaciated bodies of four children huddling next to their dead mother amid the corpses of 10 other women and children. [Reuters report and video here]
Dignity? What would Israel know about dignity? True dignity, as opposed to pomp, power and pride, avoids whining, bombast and hypocricy.
Back in February 2008, Israeli threatened Gaza with a "holocaust". Faced with a stunned and shocked world, Israel's hasbarah mavens started back-pedalling, arguing that "holocaust" really only meant a "snafu," mess-up, chaos in the kitchen and stuff like that -- which is why Zionists build Snafu Memorials everywhere they can. Any bear with a brain understood what Israel was threatening.
By the end of the year, Israel was making good on its threat. Haaretz military correspondent Amos Harel has called the operation Israel's version of "shock and awe." Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilani, acknowledged that the Israeli military "has made preparations for long weeks of action" and according to Prime Minister Olmert's the bombardment was "the first of several stages approved by the security cabinet". This would be followed by a land incursion which Southern Command General Yoav Galant would "send Gaza decades into the past".
What is a "shocking phenomenon" is that Israel can so shamelessly drape itself in the mantle of dismayed piety when conduct it has admitted and even bragged about is pointed out critically. If blasting an imprisoned and starved enclave back decades is not what concentration camps and holocausts are all about then nothing is.
Even in Israel, and even on the pages of Haaretz or the Jerusalem Post one can find acknowledgement of facts that are buried deep in the U.S. press, if they are printed at all. Even in Israel, there is trenchant criticism by Jews of self-brainwashing, paranoia and suspicion that has taken hold of the greater part of Jewish society. There is no denying there that the "barrage of rockets" penetrating "into" Israel are little more than an obnoxious nuisance that inflict minor property damage on a farming town several hundred meters from Gaza. There is no denial there that the real aim behind the official crocodile tears is to displace a Hamas that was duly elected in elections Israel itself had insisted upon. There is no ignorance in Israel that what the government really wants is to impose a Quisling regime -- a compliant "council" -- to keep Concentration Camp Gaza quiet.
But while the entire rest of the world is aware of and appalled by Israel's conduct, the United States is kept in the dark by a government and media that is abjectly subservient to zionist interests. Instead of dignity and truth, the US gets barraged with belligerent nonsense such as the White House statement that "These people are nothing but thugs, so Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas." Or, it gets fed, from neocon word-punks on the New York Timesmore of the same old untruths extolling an Israeli success in Gaza as a victory in the war on terror. Yes indeed... the endless, murderous victory of the victimized bullies.
Cardinal Martino spoke up for the weak and defenceless with truth and dignity. It is the regime in Israel that resorts to hypocrisy and lies in order to obscure its shameless crimes.