Sunday, May 23, 2004

A Zoo Too Far

Anger over razing of Gaza zoo
During the past five years, Mohammed Ahmed Juma and his brother, Fathi, slowly built their privately owned zoo into one of this city's best-loved community institutions. Last week, it took less than 30 hours for Israeli army bulldozers to destroy it...

Like much of the other destruction in the 6-day-old Israeli offensive in Rafah, the demolition of the zoo seemed a psychological attack on Rafah's population rather than a military strike against the Palestinian guerrillas who maintain a strong presence in the city...

[An Israeli military spokesman ]said Israeli forces had been forced to react to "an explosive device" found on a road outside the zoo. His account did not make clear why such an incident might have necessitated the destruction of the zoo.

Generally I am supportive of most Israeli policies and actions (with the exception of creating permanent Settlements in the occupied territories), but the destruction of the zoo seems unwarranted and mean-spirited. Then again, the aggressive move may have been necessary to prevent terrorist from gaining access to the LLAMA OF DOOM.


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