On Monday, Jon Stewart addressed the tragic violence playing out in Gaza and Israel by using his signature satirical device: comparing incongruities and asymmetries.
At one point, Stewart metaphorically highlighted the current asymmetry by comparing how Israelis and Palestinians are able to shield themselves from the ongoing violence, which inspired this quip:
Unfortunately, as we've just learned this morning, swimming for it is just as tragic an option for Palestinians trapped in Gaza, one of the most densely-populated areas on the globe. Four children in a fishing family, playing on the beach, were killed on Wednesday from a gunboat shelling just outside a beachfront hotel where journalists are staying, several of whom tried to rescue the children.
What are Gazans supposed to do...evacuate to where? Have you f*cking seen Gaza? Israel blocked this border and Egypt blocked this border. What are they supposed to do, swim for it?
NBC's Ayman Mohyeldin, who is capturing the unbearable scenes, was with the children just before they died:
Israel has told nearly 100,000 Palestinians to evacuate areas ahead of plans to intensify its bombing campaign as Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel. However, NBC's Mohyeldin, who witnessed the attack, echoed Stewart's comedic quip by explaining nobody knows where they can go.
4 Palestinian kids killed in a single Israeli airstrike. Minutes before they were killed by our hotel, I was kicking a ball with them #gaza— Ayman Mohyeldin (@AymanM) July 16, 2014
Via NBC News:
Mohyeldin said the consequences of the attack showed that warnings from the Israeli military to evacuate targeted areas were proving ineffective. "The vast majority of the people here do not take the warnings seriously because it's not clear where they are supposed to evacuate to," he said. "The entire Gaza Strip has been struck [by Israeli airstrikes]."This continued, tragic violence comes after the failure of a ceasefire which never had a chance from the start, as Haaretz journalist Barak Ravid has revealed. The ceasefire, which was secretly hammered out by Israel and Egypt, was not only never shown to Hamas, but wasn't even shown to Israeli cabinet members. "We made a ceasefire agreement with ourselves," one Israeli minister told Ravid.
Stewart ends his clip by saying, "The world has gone mad."
Indeed, it has.
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, recently published by Oneworld Publications.