Graphic by Ben HeineIt doesn't take a political mastermind to see the lopsidedness of Israel's invasion and bombing of Gaza. A few crude rockets sent off by the sealed-off and starving people of Gaza are met with a ground invasion and shelling that have killed over 400 people, including children.
I went over to Betmo's first thing to see what sources she had gathered on the topic. As usual, I did not come up disappointed. The first linked article discusses how things are possibly changing through a new outlook on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by organizations both in Israel and the U.S.
J Street is the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement in the U.S. which is largely Jewish-American but has memberships of non-Jews as well. J Street is circulating a petition that calls for "strong U.S. leadership to bring about an immediate ceasefire". Consider going over there and learning more about their efforts
Am I just being naive or is Hamas a persecuted little bully who is ganged up on and pounded into the ground by a huge gang of thugs? Hamas talks tough about the total elimination of the state of Israel but they don't have the means. And in fact, this article from 2006 illustrates the position of Hamas on Israel's right to exist. Again, thank you, Betmo.
The Israeli government is perpetuating violence that will never end unless there is diplomacy toward a cease-fire and eventual lasting peace. What will this accomplish? Further violence and hatred and divisiveness.
Our government has suppored Israel militarily and politically for far too long. It's our duty as peace advocates to educate ourselves about how we can bring pressure on our government to support similar goals as J Street is advocating. The situation is complex but if we a have clear, well-defined position statement that we can use as reference when writing to our elected officials or taking our own positions on our blogs and in our other circles, we can make a difference in the way this decades-old warring between the Israeli government and Hamas.
Obama campaigned on a promise of renewed emphasis on this situation and reiterated that conviction during his new cabinet appointments. I don't mean to knock Clinton or Obama (why do I feel I even have to say that??) but it is my assumption that she is very sympathetic toward Isreael. I hope that this is not a hindrance in Obama's stated desire to bring U.S. diplomacy efforts to the region. And yet, MSNBC features this video news piece by Andrea Mitchell, touting Clinton as "credible in the Arab world". Let's hope so. Because as the video illustrates, the last time Clinton demonstrated some regard for the Arab world, the backlash was so strong in the U.S., that she went out of her way to embrace Israel, hookline and sinker.
Further, I wish that Obama would take a strong stand on the invasion of Gaza and not hide behind the "it's not my turn yet" facade. We know that Bush and Rice aren't going to do a damned thing differently.
And again, many thank yous to Betmo for helping me clarify my own ideas on this issue. She has sent me many links via email and provided much food for thought through the writing and links on her blog, Life's Journey. My dear friend, you are a tireless voice in the blogosphere, for peace and reason.
Thank you also to Ben Heine for allowing free distribution of the graphic above, for his own tireless voice on peace issues and justice and his immense talent as a cartoonist, artist and photographer.