11-25-12 Is Gaza Israel’s Guernica?

 

On November 23, the New York Times ran a story by David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker:

For Israel, Gaza Conflict Is Test for an Iran Confrontation

Washington – The conflict that ended, for now, in a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel seemed like the latest episode in a periodic showdown. But there was a second, strategic agenda unfolding, according to American and Israeli officials: The exchange was something of a practice run for any future armed confrontation with Iran, featuring improved rockets that can reach Jerusalem and new antimissile systems to counter them.

The reaction to Sanger and Shanker’s revelations was a giant yawn. NYT’s columnist David Broder speaking on NPR, summing up the wide spread opinion, brushed away the moral implications of enlisting the occupied people of Gaza as guinea pigs for the weapons destined for a larger war. The Palesinians, he implied, are mere fly specks on the larger canvas of the mid-East. Better to keep your eye on Iran.

A report, written by war correspondent George L. Steer, the most frequently cited account of the the bombing of Guernica, ran in the Times of London and the New York Times on April 28, 1937.

TOWN DESTROYED IN AIR ATTACK

EYE-WITNESS ACCOUNT FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, Bilbao, Tuesday, April 27, 1937 - Guernica, the most ancient town of the Basques and the center of their cultural tradition, was completely destroyed yesterday afternoon by insurgent air raiders. The bombardment of this open town far behind the lines occupied precisely three hours and a quarter, during which a powerful fleet of aeroplanes consisting of three German types, Junkers and Heinkel bombers, did not cease unloading on the town bombs weighing from 1,000 lb. downwards and, it is calculated, more than 3,000 two-pounder aluminum incendiary projectiles. The fighters, meanwhile, plunged low from above the center of the town to machine-gun those of the civilian population who had taken refuge in the fields.

The Nazis, backing Franco’s Nationalist party, chose Republican Guernica as a testing ground for their new planes and young pilots. It was a dry run for the big war to come. The Luftwaffe’s successful mission horrified people the world over as they reacted to Steer’s report.

How far Americans and Israelis have come from their “righteous wars.” Like Hitler, they pick and choose who is subhuman and not worthy of attention, who, godlike, we will save, and who we will destroy.

Painting: Pablo Picasso, Guernica

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