Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:

I could write a book about my feelings regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Gaza Strip. But Greg Mitchell's piece over at Editor & Publisher led me to this - from a December 30th column by Amira Hass in the Jerusalem daily, Haaretz - which says it so much better and so much more succinctly than I ever could:
"This is not the time to speak of proportional responses, not even of the polls that promise a greater share of Knesset seats to the mission's architects. This is, however, the time to speak of the voters' belief the operation will succeed, that the strikes are precise and the targets justified.
Take, for example, Imad Aqel Mosque in Jabalya refugee camp, bombed and strafed shortly before midnight on Sunday. These are the names of the glorious military victory we achieved there - Jawaher, age 4; Dina, age 8; Sahar, age 12; Ikram, age 14; and Tahrir, age 17, all sisters of the Ba'lousha family, all killed in a "precise" strike on the mosque. Another three sisters, a 2-year-old brother and their parents were injured. Twenty-four neighbors were wounded and five homes and three stores destroyed. This part of the military victory did not open our television or radio news broadcasts yesterday morning, nor did they appear on many Israeli news Web sites.
This is the time to speak about the detailed maps in the hands of IDF commanders, and about the Shin Bet advisers who know the exact distance between the mosque and nearby homes. This is the time to discuss the drone planes and the hot air balloons fitted with advanced cameras floating over the Strip day and night, filming everything. 
This is the time to rely on legal advisers studying the operation to find the right phrasing to justify "collateral damage." Time to praise Foreign Ministry spokespeople who in their polished language, with their elegant South African or charmant Parisien accents, say it is the fault of Hamas, which uses neighborhood mosques for its own purposes. 
Talk of double standards has always been moot. Maybe there was a huge weapons store in the mosque. Maybe Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades militants met there every night and from there planned to launch their upgraded fighter jets. 
Where does the IDF Chief of Staff sit when he draws up war plans? Not in the Sahara, or even in the Negev. What would happen if someone blew themselves up at the entrance to Tel Aviv's Cinematheque movie theater, and those who sent him said sorry, but he was headed for the Defense Ministry down the street? 
This is not the time to recall long-forgotten history lessons to say this is not the way to topple a government. Nor is it the time to make rational recommendations for balanced statesmanship. The time for such things has passed, along with the New Order we once arrogantly tried to establish in Lebanon, which only brought us Hezbollah. Along with the Orientalists' plans to reduce the popularity of the PLO, which only paved the way for the emergence of a militant Islamic nationalist movement. 
The time of such recommendations has passed, along with the grab of Palestinian lands and hyperactive construction of settlements in the Oslo era, which only laid the cornerstone for the second intifada and the fall of Fatah. 
The era of reason and judgment died long ago, even before the targeted assassinations of Fatah activists in the West Bank, which soon turned into shooting attacks on soldiers and the emergence of another few thousand young people taking up arms, not to mention the phenomenon of suicide bombers. 
It is never the right time to say "we told you so," because once it is possible to say those words, they are already invalid. We cannot revive the dead, nor repair the damage caused by arrogance and megalomania. 
This is the time to speak of our own satisfaction and enjoyment. Satisfaction from tanks once again raising and lowering their barrels in preparation for a ground attack, satisfaction from our leaders' threatening finger-waving at the enemy. That's how we like our leaders - calling up reservists, sending pilots to bomb our enemies and manifesting national unity, from Baruch Marzel to Tzipi Livni, Netanyahu to Barak to Lieberman."
According to Mitchell's column, Hass is:
... not only an Israeli but both of her parents are Holocaust camp survivors. Yet she has gone on to become the most prominent Israeli journalist to make it her mission to report as often as possible from Gaza and the West Bank – breaking bans and earning the wrath of both Israeli and Palestinian officials. She earned headlines in this regard just in the past month.
Hass was born in Jerusalem, and studied the history of Nazism at Hebrew University. She joined Haaretz in 1989 and began living nearly fulltime in Gaza or Ramallah starting in 1993. She earned the Press Freedom Hero award from the International Press Institute in 2000, among other international journalism prizes. She now lives in Ramallah. 
Earlier this year, now a regular Haaretz columnist, Hass traveled to Gaza by boat to demonstrate her opposition to the Israeli blockade. On December 1, she was ordered to leave by Hamas, and arrested by Israeli police on her return to Israel.
A woman after my own heart!!! She lived among the "other," coming out with the simple realization that, "Right is right," and "Wrong is just plain, wrong" despite the real, or perceived loyalities involved. Would that we all should take a such a stand.

Remember the President-select's promises to AIPAC in March of 2007 and again in the video below in May 2008?

He's in hock - up to his neck - to the American Jewish lobby on Gaza. His first 100 days will surely be interesting.


ea said...

Did you read the press releases from the Green Party?

You can find them at the web site.

Deb said...

ea...I checked them out and I totally agree. But we both know how the handlers will play this whenever he takes a stand. I tell you, I just cannot wrap my brain around this man who will do anything, say anything, be anything in exchange for some perceived power.

When I saw my sister on CNN talking about being rammed while trying to deliver aid to the Palestinians - and then, Israel at first, denying the shit happened, then backtracking to "it was an accident" and THEN, this shit from Alex Koppelman yesterday at Salon had me shaking my damn head over just how much right is not right, when wrong is.

I added the site to my Blog List so I can get right to it. For some reason the feed shows it as having been updated a year ago - even though there's current stuff on the page.

Deb said...

ea...Oops! Here's the Salon link. Please tell me how in the hell having McKinney on that boat harms this organization's cause???

ea said...

Oh, that makes me so angry. Same as what was done to Rep. Shirley Chisholm and Dr. Joycelyn Elders. She is a strong Black woman who speaks out and takes the heat for others. She has to be belittled and put in her place or made out to be crazy in case enough people pay attention to what she actually says. Can't let that happen. People might start to think for themselves!

Deb said...

I know right?!?! "Listen up people! Ya'll know Cynthia McKinney's an anti-Semite. What is she doing on that boat?" What the hell??

Like her mere presence on the boat could have caused it to be RAMMED!! Think the Israeli Navy knew she was onboard and said, "Let's show that anti-Semite who she's dealing with!"?

They RAMMED it to stop the relief effort for chrissakes! But let's not talk about that. Let's call it an accidental collision and blame McKinney for it - Koppelman!

The piece was foul.

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