Saturday, January 3, 2009

In solidarity with the people of Gaza

It is hard to be neutral in such a one-sided conflict. Israel has still not learned the main lesson of the past 60 years: There is no military solution to its conflict with the Palestinians, short of genocide--to which Israeli actions in Gaza approach very closely. So soon after the failed Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the Jewish state is making the same mistake again. Do we need to start wishing for as high as possible Israeli casualties, so that the lesson will be learned at last? Only if the international community does not rise to its responsibilities and put a stop to it.

Gaza update: As might be expected, casualties are mounting. Ha'aretz reports (Jan 4 online) 30 Israeli soldiers wounded, two seriously, but 20 Palestinian civilians reportedly killed by Israeli shelling of a shopping center in Gaza City. And as also might be expected, the death toll is entirely one-sided. Implied in this disproportionate response to the relatively light damage and casualties caused by Hamas rockets fired into Israel (which is itself a reaction, albeit illegal, to Israel's blockade of Gaza) is the assumption that Jewish lives are worth more than Palestinian lives; as a Jew who grew up in the United States, I can attest that this has long been a prevalent attitude. But Jewish parents also taught their children that "two wrongs do not make a right," a lesson that seems to be falling on too many deaf ears these days.

Israel's righteous fury and its victims in Gaza. That's the title of an online article by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, now chair of the history department at the University of Exeter. An excerpt from the first paragraph: Israel is engulfed once more with righteous fury that translates into destructive policies in the Gaza Strip. This appalling self-justification for the inhumanity and impunity is not just annoying, it is a subject worth dwelling on, if one wants to understand the international immunity for the massacre that rages on in Gaza. Please read the rest.

American public opinion on Gaza attacks. Glenn Greenwald documents what he calls a "disconnect" between the views of Americans and their political leaders, with much more skepticism about Israel's actions among the former than the latter. Barack Obama, please take note (and also of the large protest march in New York City on Saturday.)

New York Times opinion page's relative silence on Gaza. I wonder if this reflects a division of opinion on the editorial board?

International foot-dragging designed to weaken Hamas? That's the suggestion of a news analysis in Ha'aretz, a newspaper worth watching at the moment. If so, those nations taking such a stance are complicit in the war crimes currently being committed by Israel.

J Street questions and answers about Gaza. This liberal Jewish organization takes a mildly critical but nevertheless constructive stance towards Israel's actions in Gaza, which it rightly brands as counterproductive. Check it out at this link.


c.a.miller said...

City officials estimated 4,000 people marched in Chicago on Friday, January 2, to protest Israel's actions in Gaza. This was not reported in any local papers, although it took place within a block of the Tribune building! Another, smaller protest was held Saturday in front of Obama's house in Hyde Park.

Michael Balter said...

Thanks, c.a.miller, for that report, and I hope that other readers will alert us to local actions in their areas.

Richard Parker said...

Israel, until it is deprived of its US subsidies ($3 billion a year + arms) will never learn to behave itself.

Work it out - those young sisters

(amongst 450 killed in the last week) work out at about $200,000 per death subsidised (no; funded) by the US

America has to cut itself off from its imaginary navel cord to Israel.

Richard Parker said...

From Haaretz in Israel (a much more informative newspaper than anything in the US or UK):

"The international community, headed by the U.S. and Egypt, is giving Israel time to carry out the ground offensive in Gaza, so it will severely damage Hamas' regime. The rationale behind such a move is that a weakened Hamas would improve the chances of achieving a stable agreement in Gaza once the fighting subsides."

The 'international community' such as it is, is a bunch of assholes.

'Ariel' Sharon carried out a very personal assassination campaign (Sheikh Yassin, Rantisi) against Hamas in 2004, and achieved nothing.

Hamas is a very personal campaign.

I don't like Sheikh Nasrallah of Hezbollah very much, but I totally agree with him when he asks for as many Israeli soldiers who invade Gaza to be killed as possible.

Anne Gilbert said...

There are actually people on both sides who are trying to stop this madness. There is a blog called "Life Goes on in Sderot and Gaza"(or something similar, that describes a lot of this,in great detail. It is published intermittently, for obvious reasons, but what they publish is very interesting, and the most recent piece links to a lot of things that some Israelis themselves are doing to try tos stop this and get onto a more sensible course.
Anne G

terryt said...

"Do we need to start wishing for as high as possible Israeli casualties, so that the lesson will be learned at last?"

That's what I'm hoping for.

"City officials estimated 4,000 people marched in Chicago on Friday, January 2, to protest Israel's actions in Gaza. This was not reported in any local papers".

Therefore I'm not sure if you've heard of the latest method of protest in London: throwing shoes. I'm sure it will catch on, but it needs a name. What's Arabic for 'shoe'?