Yesterday I watched this video of Charlie Rose’s January 7, 2009 interview with Bob Simon. Bob Simon presented a devastatingly bleak outlook for the future of the Middle East peace process. Nevertheless, his honestly on how the U.S. and Israel in fact present the major obstacles to reaching peace in the region was both refreshing and unique amongst the American press corps. He also described Gaza, a territory roughly twice the size of Washington, DC where the local population is prohibited from leaving its borders (that’s right, there was nowhere to flee or hide during the recent bombings), as the world’s largest prison.
While Israel is the United States’ most important ally in the region, for both cultural and ideological bonds, the U.S. has to demand that the friendship goes both ways. And if we are capable of denouncing Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and torture as beyond the limits of what is morally (and legally) acceptable in fighting to defend our way of life, then surely we can tell Israel that bombing heavily populated civilian areas indescriminately is also reprehensible. Otherwise, it is hard to imagine that there are any limits whatsoever, including the recourse of terrorism, in a nation’s alleged self defense.