Sunday, January 4, 2009

Israel's Invasion of Gaza

Graphic by Ben Heine

It 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.

8 comments:

  1. I have read a few posts about this - and I am so grateful to all who are raising their voices

    I am horrified and enraged by Isreal's actions - so much so that I stopped and started so many posts - they all seemed so explosive

    I too always feel like I need to apologize for questioning Obama - or Clinton - and on this subject I'm not thrilled by either of them. Hillary needed the Jewish vote to win her Senate seat and the power of Pro-Isreal groups in NY is mind numbing.

    I have very recently been told I sympathize with terrorists and have been called anti-semetic (Nana would love that one!) because of my feelings about Isreal's actions.

    The people of Gaza have been mistreated by Isreal for years and years - and now a few rockets are being used as the excuse for what Isreal has always wanted to do.

    People say Hamas acts as terrorists with Iran's help - well Isreal does the same with the US's help.

    Thank You!

    ReplyDelete
  2. my thoughts are put down at my place so i won't go into many here- there are so many issues to fight against that have been allowed to fester for decades- but this has to be one of the worst. i guess i wonder how people in america can stand up and say that america is the world's policeman and that we go where we are needed and do the right thing- when there is continued genocide allowed in spots such as gaza, africa, eastern europe, etc.

    who are we kidding? it isn't enough to pay lip service when it suits us. we either believe in the values we tout from pulpits and podiums around america- or we don't. you can't just say you believe in saving the lives of innocent people in the name of democracy- and then wink-wink because it's you or your allies perpetrating the atrocity. doesn't work that way.

    thought you would be interested in this article. this particular author is pro-israel but he does have some good points:

    http://field-negro.blogspot.com/2009/01/lost-boys.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. thank you for writing about this subject. I will have to check out Betmo's blog as well.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I can remember as a teenager, listening to my little radio - stories about Israel at its beginning. In my mind, they were the champions. Well, they were - they were the underdogs then.
    It is still difficult for me to put aside my starry eyed vision of the new country. But it has troubled me for a long time now. They forget. They are now the bullies. So tragic.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Here's another Jon Stewart tip, Gina. Quite literally, the BEST reporting/commentary, I've seen on this mess:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=213380&title=strip-maul

    ReplyDelete
  6. The MSM has been so one-sided on this issue it would be comical were it not for the fact that people are dying. The fifth largest military in the world against a region that is not even allowed to have a military? It is not a level playing field and the situation should not be considered as if it were. Many people forget that, before Israel was given to Jewish refugees by people who didn't want to allow them in their own countries, that land was already occupied by people who were displaced without consultation. Today, those people (Palestinians) do not have the same rights as Israelis. I believe that if the Israeli government truly wanted to end the conflict, they could do so tomorrow without further bloodshed, but I don't think they truly want to. Powerful people in the Israeli government have been quoted as saying that they will not be satisfied until all Palestinians have been exterminated. Certainly, the actions of Hamas are not contributing to a peaceful solution, but, given the fact that they have not been able to control their own borders, do not have the right to their own water, etc, etc, is anyone surprised that they have resorted to violent measures? And still, the deaths as a result of rockets fired into Israel have been very few, while the death toll in Gaza is in the hundreds. Instant recruits for Hamas will be the result.

    Betmo, I have yet to read what you have written on this subject (although I intend to), but it is my opinion that the US government has no real interest in Human Rights. They will use the phrase Human Rights when it is convenient to further the agendas of Halliburton, Blackwater and their ilk, but it's just a catch phrase to use in manipulating people as far as they are concerned. It remains to be seen how the Obama administration will deal with the situation, but I'm not very optimistic that they will do the right thing. We'll see.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm tired of hearing and reading that "both sides are at fault" and while to some extent that's true, if that's the case, then neither side should be receiving military aid and political support such as the U.S. has been giving to Israel.

    I agree with Ed when he says that it's not wonder the people of Gaza have turned to extreme measures. There is no else besides Hamas that is taking their side as they are walled in, starved and denied medical care.

    Yeah, yeah, I've read comments from pro-Israeli people who say that Israel is doing all sorts of "nice" things for the Palestinians such as warning them when there will be a strike so they can evacuate and that a lot of food is being allowed into the Gaza strip but that's it's being denied to the people by Hamas. I could be wrong but it sounds like Israeli propaganda to me; the same type of crap we get on our news here.

    And Ed is correct about the displacement of the Palestinian people to make room for the Jews. It's not that no one foresaw a recipe for disaster. I believe it's that the entire world didn't care and continues not to care about the Palestinian people. And when people are forgotten about, starved, killed and denied access to the same things as the people whom they see as occupying their land, they will retaliate. And the Hamas has been doing so on their behalf with dinky little rockets which have met with a totally unbalanced and unfair retaliation.

    ReplyDelete

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