Sophie's Choice in Gaza
Today I received an email from Barbara Lubin, an American Jewish woman who is the Executive Director of the Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA), a children's advocacy organization based in Berkeley, California. She is in Gaza assessing the damage and figuring out how MECA can be supportive. Of all that she wrote, this paragraph chilled me to the bone:
"Out of all the devastation I have seen so far, there is one story in particular that I think the world needs to hear. I met a mother who was at home with her ten children when Israeli soldiers entered the house. The soldiers told her she had to choose five of her children to 'give as a gift to Israel.' As she screamed in horror they repeated the demand and told her she could choose or they would choose for her. Then these soldiers murdered five of her children in front of her. The concept of 'Jewish morality' is truly dead. We can be fascists, terrorists, and Nazis just like everybody else."
I feel sick.
Update: I am revising this on February 7, based on another piece I found on the web, which is MECA's official statement on the above writing, which has received widespread attention. Since I had already posted the paragraph above, I felt it necessary to add this statement:
UPDATE FROM MECA (JANUARY 26):
Barbara Lubin and all of us at the Middle East Children's Alliance believe that we should have confirmed the story about the Gaza woman who was told by an Israeli soldier to choose which five of her ten children should die, and then witnessed their murder. We are doing everything we can now to verify the story, but have been unable to do so. We ask that you do not publish or post this story on the Internet. If you have already done so, please post this statement, as well.
Barbara Lubin went to Gaza to deliver four tons of medicine and other aid to the people there. When she arrived in the immediate aftermath of the Israeli assault the scene she encountered was chaotic and the people traumatized. She heard and retold many horrifying accounts, and saw for herself the devastation to homes, schools, businesses, land and lives. In these catastrophic circumstances, it’s not difficult to see how Barbara would find this story credible. Unfortunately, we sent it out before taking the time to verify it.
We know that several hundred children lost their lives in the assault, and that some appear to have been shot at close range. There are reports of family members being shot in front of each other. Israeli forces entered Gaza homes and apparently used people as human shields. Israel is now being investigated for using unconventional weapons like white phosphorous and dense inert metal explosive (DIME).
All of us at MECA are committed to accuracy as we relate the stories of what we see when we travel to Palestine. We will keep you informed about what we learn.
Doctors at a hospital near Gaza are almost overwhelmed by the number of Palestinian children needing treatment for bullet wounds to their heads.