From the Archive: As Israeli military has killed dozens of unarmed protesters near the border at which they are fenced into Gaza, Israeli leaders may feel they are once again “mowing the grass” as Elizabeth Murray recalls in this updated piece originally published on November 16, 2012.
By Elizabeth Murray Special to Consortium News
In early 2010, one of Washington DC’s most prestigious think tanks was holding a seminar on the Middle East which included a discussion of Israel’s December 2008-January 2009 assault on Gaza which killed about 1,300 Palestinians. When the death toll was mentioned, one expert on the panel smiled enigmatically and intoned: “It’s unfortunate, but every once in a while you have to mow the lawn.”
The remark, which likened killing hundreds of men, women and children, many of them noncombatants, with trimming the grass, was greeted with a light tittering around the room, filled with some of Washington’s most elite, highly educated and well-paid Middle East experts. Not a single one objected to the panelist’s black humor.
The cavalier language is symptomatic of the policymaking community’s increasingly pervasive tendency to disregard and disparage the humanity of Palestinian victims of Israeli attacks, often waged by Israel’s high-tech drones and U.S.-supplied F-16’s. There is also a tendency to ignore or downplay Israeli war crimes. On the contrary, several analysts and experts were grinning at the reference to Israel’s strategy of mounting periodic attacks on the Palestinians to cull each new generation of militants. Such is the nonchalance of Washington’s policy-advising cognoscenti toward the ongoing and systematic genocide of Gaza’s oppressed population.
This dangerously sociopathic attitude is prevalent whether cloaked in a cheap joke or reflected in the usual failure by the State Department spokesman to condemn or even acknowledge the criminality of Israel’s aerial and sea-based bombardment of Palestinian civilians.
Less Than Human
After the 2012 attacks, the State Department justified Israel’s bombardment of Gaza as Israel’s “right to defend itself” against the launching of…