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Peace on our Dime – Israel/Palestine

When a zionist once asked me why I think partitioning Israel may have resulted in the current conflict I had to point out that I came from an ethnic group whose identities of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi were determined by a similar partition and indeed on the same religious grounds.

And for this? Between 7 to 10 million people died in the fragmentation of the Raj and the arbitrary lines drawn up for the sake of peace.

Israel vs. Palestine.

How much do we actually know about Israel and Palestine? I mean the conflict? We are all out there posting images and stances on Facebook and writing blog posts, but how much of it do we actually understand. The Zionist/Pro-Israelis demonise the Palestinians and provide highly worrying arguments excusing the “manifest destiny” of Israel ranging from historical ownership of the land, the denial of Palestinians as an identity and a belligerence of aggression by cultural superiority and indeed a destiny manifest by religion.

Various reasons. On contrast? The Palestinians side generally try to keep religion out of their depictions of suffering and portray their demands on more moderate terms. Hamaas however? Are more explicit in their demands for a pure Palestinian home land.

The Palestinian side is easier to understand in this issue since we see them as a group of people who have lost their homes struggling not to lose any more under the thrall of Hamaas as they are the only protection they have.

The pro-Israel stuff is just weirder. Historical ownership of land doesn’t make current ownership valid. It would be like Marching all white americans to the Death Valley and leaving the land to the First Nations and Native Americans. To defend it via the atrocities visited on the natives doesn’t excuse it. One atrocity to cover another does not make things square or equal. And yes there was no Palestinian nationality as such prior to threats of formation of Israel. But you know what? There was no India either until after the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 and the formation of a nationalist movement among the Middle Classes. India was a balkanised series of Kingdoms of various sizes in ever changing wars with everchanging borders. National identity can develop over time and today no one can say that there is no National and indeed a racial identity as Indians. And finally is the religious excuses and the recreation of the mythological borders of Israel by a modern army and that the Palestinians deserve their torments. They are the eggs that need to be broken to form the Israeli Omelette. The modern Israelis are the Inheritor of the will of Moses and Moses didn’t really care about genocide.

But this is a simplistic view. All the following is a simplification of a highly complex situation complicated by international interventions and individual actions with huge ramifications.

At the core we have to define what Israel and Palestine are.

Israel is the only officially Jewish country, and is located in the Middle East.

Palestine is two separate territories made up of ethnically Arab people who are mostly Muslim. There are Christian Palestinians too. They are divided into the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. 8 Million Israelis, 4 million Palestinians BUT with a huge number of refugees numbering in at least another 4 million or so. Honestly? This is rather tiny as populations go. The city of Mumbai has as many people as Israel and Palestine within it’s metropolitan area.

Now the Palestinian lands are not independent . There is massive international contention on who the Palestine state should belong to for various reasons ranging from humanitarianism to solidarity. Long story short? A lot of countries treat Palestine as independent and demand that it be recognised. Fewer think it really should be a territory under Israeli occupation but in that few are a lot of western nations. Most importantly the USA which by itself is all the legitimacy Israel needs for it’s occupation status.

FIGHTING!

So why the fight? 

We like to think it is about religion. The issue is deeper.

At it’s simplicity? It is about land. Who gets what land, who is in charge and why is it acceptable for one group of people to be displaced at the behest of another. At it’s core the question of land boils down to two views.

1. The Israeli view that Israel must remain a Jewish state and that it was fought for hard by Israel to create the state today along with support from it’s allies in the west.

2. The Palestinian view that they have been displaced from their homes and cannot return due to the occupation of Palestine and it’s old boundaries by the state of israel and the lack of the right to return to their homes.

There are conflicts on top of this conflict complicated by broken promises and actions on both sides. And by the overlapping conflict that this has manifest itself as is the current state of affairs where Israel practices a suffocating and paralysing Military Occupation while Palestinian groups fight back through terrorism and militancy.

Now while both sides have squandered peace, Israel tends to be making demands that are often considered insulting and harmful. For instance? During the Syrian Refugee Crisis when Palestinian Refugees from the Syrian refugee camps were offered sanctuary by the Palestinians in the West Bank they were prevented from entering. During a major humanitarian crisis, Israel turned away refugees to Palestine (not Israel) unless….

Unless Palestinians gave up the right to return. AS this is one of the defining parts of Palestinian Nationalism (AKA yearning for a homeland stolen), the Palestinians refused. To understand why? It’s simple. Crazy Horse. Sitting Bull, many of them opposed the reservations and fought against American troops to defend their way of life. Palestine are a modern version of this.

While many pro-Israelis tell me that they had no nationalism before, I have to point out that nationalism is not a static entity and can grow. There was no American Nationalism during the American Civil war but “true patriots” can be found in the South these days.

Palestinian identity may have developed post Israel and developed as a product of the occupation. While both sides may have squandered peace and helped perpetuate the conflict? It is Palestine that pays the price. Israel hides behind the Iron Dome and the threat of Palestine is behind walls and distant fireworks.

The violence drives the resentment. This drives the distrust and scuttles peace initiatives. The reality of Palestine is a million miles away from Israel and this complete disconnect creates a lush breeding ground for the facebook comments where both sides don’t understand each other and yet make sweeping generalisations about how all Israelis are Zionist miliamen  and how all Palestinians are Hamaas. However this means those voices are listened to because there is no one out there who can say “well actually, what the Palestinians want is a very rational thing” or “what the Israeli’s want is a very rational thing”. It is easy to talk about total annihilation because one side is portrayed as the descendents of Moses… epic shithead and genocidal fuckhead. The other are the second coming of Osama Bin Laden. We need to stop the caricatures. Sure these people exist, but we should not make these people the people involved in the dialogue as they simply wish to derail any peace process.

The peace process that has been going on for decades but despite breakthroughs during the 1993 and 1995 Oslo Accord (A musical break if you need it) the status quo quickly re-establishes itself. In it’s current terrible cycle, violence is like a herpes infection. Periods of latency to rebuild and terrible periods of violence. And with each cycle peace is further away and harder to achieve.

There is plenty of truth to the notion that both sides are responsible for the violence. I would need to be a Hindu god to point out the number of people culpable without running out of fingers. We can point fingers at the Nazis, Zionists, The British, Arab Nations, Palestinians , Israelis, Likhud, Ariel Sharon, Yasser Arafat….

We can clearly say that the death of Yizthak Rabin was the point where peace died. HIs murderer can be argued as the lynchpin moment in history where we turned left instead of right.

But the important truth here to take away is that the price is paid by the Palestinians. We can see that in the current conflict. Compared to 30 dead Israelis with 28 soldiers and 2 civilians, the Palestinians have taken 600 casualties at the time of this article. Mainly civilian.

But how did this all start?

A brief history? It all started in the early 1900s. In 1917, ownership of Palestine passed hands from the Ottoman Empire to the British Empire and the area was called the Palestinian Mandate. The movement of Zionism had hundred of thousands of Jews move there from the Middle East and Europe, ostensibly to escape persecution but with the added bonus of creating a Jewish state.

This however caused tit for tat violence as Jews were perceived to receive external benefits from the British Empire and the Arabs began to fear marginalisation.

A word on this? This is a serious issue in many ex-British colonies. The principle was called divide and conquer and enabled the British to create fractured populations that made it hard to work together. Testimony to it’s efficiency? The ENTIRE India Pakistan animosity is down to this practice.

Communal Violence spiralled out of control. It wasn’t “Muslim on Jew” violence but tit for tat. The UN plan was to divide the two into Israel and Palestine with Jerusalem being a UN administered neutral zone. The plan never got fully implemented. Arabs and Palestinians saw it as colonial theft and Israelis saw it as an insult to not occupy the boundaries as promised by their zionist ideal. This lead to the invasion of the region by other Arab nations which was repelled. How it was repelled is simple. It wasn’t divine power.

God supports the country with the best weaponry. Israel was equipped with WW II surplus while many nations fielded WW I era weaponry. It’s awfully hard to dogfight Spitfires with a biplane. Tank battles between Italian era WW I and interim tanks versus Shermans and even a few examples of German weaponry meant Israeli forces were outnumbered but not outgunned. And in response they pushed beyond the International boundaries set by the UN. Nearly a million refugees were created and their descendents number around 7 million and they have still been unable to return home.

These are the rough borders established by Israel. The borders between Israel and Palestine are heavily disputed (As this would effectively mean that Israel is an occupying force within Jerusalem and therefore settlements are illegal under international law, but since Palestine exists in a grey area its okay and the USA has a veto to keep Israel safe). The current issue over the borders and the refugees are the main sources of contention in the dispute.

However? Palestine was free. Until 1967 when Palestine was invaded and placed under military occupation.

So why the occupation?

In 1967 another war took place between Israel and Jordan and Egypt. Gaza was administered by the Egyptians and West Bank by the Jordanians. Syria’s Golan Heights and the SInai were also captured but the Sinai was returned back to Egypt while the Golan heights remains with Israel. Since then Israel has been the defacto ruler of Palestine. It is during this period we see the rise of Palestinian as a separate entity and Palestinian identity solidify.

The Gaza Strip is different. It withdrew settlers and troops from Gaza and instead just walled the whole region in and a full blockade is maintained. The only way in is via Israeli Checkposts and indeed past the Israeli Navy or via one of the many tunnels Gaza is forced to use to keep itself functional. There are reports that Israel has utilised the wall as collective punishment, denying aid set for Gaza entry. Many describe Gaza as the world’s largest open air prison. It’s Arkam City if you will.

But there is another word for such an entity. Ghetto. Gaza is the world’s largest ghetto. Complete with high walls and no traffic.

It isn’t pleasant behind the walls. There is no trade. There are few job opportunities. Unemployment is at 40% and povety is rife. The entire area exists solely through aid donations as it cannot sustain itself. Power cuts occur and 95% of the water is undrinkable. Israel can even shut off the drinking water to the region and has done so in the past.

Many cheeky sods inscribe a german quote on the wall. It’s not racist.

Ich Bin Ein Berliner.

So why is this all necessary? Israel says that this is needed to protect Israel from Palestinian attacks and these walls (that are also found on the West bank) provide a buffer from foreign invasion. Which is fine I suppose.

But there are settlers. The Settlers are Israelis who move into the occupied territory. The ones in Gaza have withdrawn due to the blockade while the ones in the West Bank still remain. There are two attitudes towards this. Some say that it is because of the desire to settle all of Historical Israel others say it allows poorer ex-Soviet Jews cheap housing while providing an excuse for the military occupation of the West Bank.

The settlers are widely considered to violate international law which forbids the occupying force from moving it’s citizens into occupied territory. But so far? Half a million settlers live in cheap housing in frontier villages/towns a few miles from the Israeli borders. Some live deep into the West Bank.

The deeper settlements are run by zionists who wish to claim all of the West Bank for Jews. The official line is that this is forbidden but the Israeli government has been complicit in the demolition  of Palestinian homes and defence of these settlements. Settlers of all types make life even harder for the Palestinians. The settlers often require walls that cut out Palestinian fields or their roads. Many roads in the West Bank are for the usage of Israelis only. SOme for Palestinians with a permit.

One of the major reasons for the tolerance of the settlers is that should a peace deal be brokered, Israel having a stronger hand than Palestine would probably get all the land the Settlers are on, in effect taking Jerusalem.

However? For the Palestinians? The Israeli occupation is life. Travel is hard and through check points. Many roads are off limits for Palestinians and you can be shot for using them. 20 foot walls cut off fields from their farm houses and a 10 minute walk can easily take a couple of hours. In effect? The west bank is under a stranglehold. One can be cynical and point out that it is designed to cripple any sort of economic growth by halting the movement of goods. In order to work? Most Palestinians take jobs in Israeli companies as cheap labour.

Every day at least two children are arrested, tried by military courts and jailed.

The life of a Palestinian is the life of any person with no freedom. Indignities are to be born silently no matter how large. Familes whose children were shot for throwing stones or killed by settlers often have no recourse and when they do? Punishments are laughable. In one case an Israeli soldier was jailed for 6 months for shooting a child in a school. Israel’s civilian army is prone to error and bias too.

Any wonder why Hamaas finds recruits? Since Hamaas control the smuggling that does occur within these territories, Hamaas can often be seen as saviours providing medical aid, education and indeed being the only ones standing up for the rights of Palestinians.

You may see them as terrorists.

A Terrorist who Wins is a Freedom Fighter

The Palestinians would be more likely to see them like the people in the above photograph of French Resistance fighters. As heroes and freedom fighters rather than terrorists.

A lot of Palestinian culture and solidarity is due to the unifying force of the PLO and Hamas in creating the idea of a free Palestine. Not just from Israel but from the rest of the Arab world. Of a right to self determination. One of the things we must remember is that we never really listened to what the Palestinians wanted when they were peaceful. We only began to pay attention when Hamas and the PLO began terror attacks. We have a share of the blame too.

What about Today? 

The PLO has effectively disbanded as a militant entity especially after the death of Arafat. The majority of attacks from Gaza are carried out by Hamas and Palestine Jihad. Hamas does seek the destruction of Israel and does target civilians but Israel playss kind of fast and loose with Civilian safety. In addition? Hamas tend to be armed with the weapons of a guerilla fighter while Israel has a real standing army so the firepower is assymetric causing more casualties even by accident. Gaza is a barrel full of fish so practically anywhere Hamas resides is in theory near civilians and indeed Israel’s demands that Hamaas be an open organisation is just laughable for the same reason the real French Revolution never draped themselves in a French Flag and shouted obscenities at the Germans. Because it’s a good way to die.

The latest fighting seems to have been caused by Hamaas in the West Bank who murdered three Israeli youths studying there. While this seems to have occurred under the initiative of low end soldiers, the command structure lauded the attack. In retaliation Israel began airstrikes against Gaza while arresting West Bank members.

This would have been the end of it. Hamaas had paid in blood and arrests. Israeli settlers exacerbated the situation by torturing and burning a Palestinian teenager to death. The protests against this were not Hamas based but run by the Palestinians who wanted Justice for the murder of a Palestinian. Would they be seeing arrests? What ensued was a crack down on protests compounding anger. Every group in Gaza began to retaliate and the war escalated culminating the invasion of Gaza.

Whiile Israel claims to target militants and Hamas targets civilians (Hamas’s claim is that every Israeli is a soldier) the advanced weaponry of Israel plus it’s willingness to use overkill weapons has lead to catastrophic casualties. Attacks on Hospitals to target Hamas fighters who also need medical care have killed innocent patients. White Phosphorous and Flechette rounds have been used in civilian areas. Out of the 600 dead, at least 400 to 450 are civilian casualties according to the UN.

Why does this happen?

War is the status quo of Israel and Palestine. Peace is a risk, any failure is seen as a failed leadership and so no one wishes to take the risk to meet each other half way. Control over the violence is seen as preferable and the Israeli and Palestinian populations show less Interest in suing for peace. When 40% of your family is unemployed due to a whopping great wall, you can’t get grannny her meds and your house was blown up along with all your stuff? That Hamas boy scout badge looks awfully tempting.

But this creates an unwinnable conflict. Hamas cannot win against Israel. Israel are supplied by the USA and have weapons that may as well be considered magic. Hamas make their most advanced weapons out of piping and these were considered obsolete after WW II. All Hamas achieve are civilian deaths of Palestinians. Israel however strangles the economic life of Palestinians, robs them of a future and a determination of self, has reduced them to second class citizens and punishes any insurrection. This creates a rich recruiting ground for Hamas.

A second thing to remember is that Palestinians PAY ATTENTION. i read today about a man travelling in the USA where he was stopped by a TSA agent who didn’t believe a driving license because he didn’t know where the District of Columbia is (Hint. Washington DC.). The Palestinians have a lot of their life riding on politics so are incredibly politically strong and have a vibrant culture with regards to it. Gaza looks at the West Bank. Palestinian leaders kowtowed to the Israelis and sought peace and compromise and negotiation only to be rewarded with Military occupation and the continued Ghettoisation of the West Bank. Gaza? While surrounded and under siege is free. Hamas may die but you die free. You don’t die because you have no future, you die because the future you have chosen is to die on your terms. To put hold your gun is to rage against the machine.

Because to them? Negotiation got them nowhere. I don’t endorse the logic, but I don’t have to live it. Behind that wall? People may think differently.

Palestinian hopelessness and distrust in the peace process has been a major contributor to the violent in recent years. Partly due to the unwillingness of Israel to enforce the settlers and remove them. In late 1980s was a mass uprising of Palestinians called the First Intifada. This is a cultural milestone because it was Palestine not Hamas or the PLO taking to the streets to protest and riot. In late 2000, the second Intifada took place. This was much more violent. Little old ladies attacked Israeli soldiers with Kitchen Knives. In this period of fierce nationalism, Palestine picked up the weapon of choice of the oppressed freedom fighter/terrorist. Remember? I am a Tamil. We are known for the practice too. Palestinian suicide bombers became a way of fighting back against Israel. In the ensuing struggle? 3000 Palestinians died, a 1000 Israelis died in return. The Palestinians saw the Israelis as inherently distrustful to negotiation.

And vice versa. Israeli distrust of Palestinians was solidified by the second Intifada where Israelis began to excuse counter attacks on civilians and ignore the Palestinians.

And alongside this, the violent fringe of Zionists has become more outspoken and their actions create conflict zones that boil into wars.

So what can be done?

You have 3 possible outcomes. One is realistic, Two are peaceful and One is an atrocity.

One State – This should have been done in the first place. the partition left a lot of bad blood particularly among the Palestinians displaced by the wars and forced out of their homes and who demand the right to return. Israel would not acquiesce to this because it would mean trading a position of extreme power to instability. There are 4 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. There are 7 Million in refugee camps across the Middle East. There are only 8 million Israelis. Palestinians having been disenfranchised for decades and would seek to equalise the score or at the very least destroy the institutionalised Judaism of Israel. Israelis living under the shadow of the Holocaust would never surrender a their state after the notion that this is the reward for thousands of years of persecution. Israeli Jews would never wish to become minorities especially among a population seen as hostile. It is too late for this solution.

Destruction – Either Israel or Palestine has to be wiped out. This is terrible. It is only included here because it is an outcome. But it is the go to plan of fundies on both sides of the argument. There have even been demands for the reinstatement of Slavery as a method of dealing with Palestinians. These are fringe arguments made by fundamentalists.

Two States – Palestine must be free and the right to self determination must be respected. Palestine must be compensated and developed. Palestine must have rights to the agreed up on the borders before the annexation. However? The longer the conflict draws out the more unlikely it is that both sides will agree with the other out of pique. It is a long and drawn out process and many Israelis and Palestinians oppose it because it would mean the unified Palestine/Israel dream must die and that Jerusalem will no longer be a Muslim/Jewish city (delete where appropriate).

So why is no one doing this?

There are three MAJOR sticking points to any peace plan.

Jerusalem is claimed by both sides as a capital but at the moment the illegal settlements surround the city effectively keeping the city in Jewish hands. The City cannot be divided between administrations and no one wants to blink first when it comes down to agreeing to make a concession with regards to this.

The borders have to be drawn and there is no clear determinator of borders particularly considering the Settlers. An option is to pull out all deep lying settlers which would be unpopular but offer land of equal valuee from Israel in exchange for the settled land. However this has issues since some of the land the settlers are on was constructed on destroyed Palestinian housing and many seek their lands back. In addition? Israel would have to give up on it’s strategic hold over Palestinian resources.

Security is a huge issue. Palestinians need a sovereign state of Palestine entitled to the defences of all sovereign states. In short? Palestine wants the capacity to shoot down Israeli planes bombing them and say “those guys had it coming because they were bombing us”. At the moment these operations are seen as “police actions” which is amusing since most criminals don’t require air to ground missiles to fight. Israelis fear an independent Palestine could ally with other Muslim nations and challenge them militarily partiicularly since a two state solution would come with the same military aid to Palestine or a cessation of Military aid to Israel. More worryingly, Israel fears that the West Bank may be taken over by Hamas. Israel’s demands include a demilitarised Palestine which Palestinians do not accept for quite sensible reasons (Our oppressors want us to not have guns and to get rid of the guns we already have and then they will give us freedom. Not….)

Palestine is also unwilling to settle for International Peacekeepers for the same reason. Their demands are nothing less but full freedom and self determination. A lot of people suggest that this is unrealistic, but we have to take into account that this is a request no different from any other group of people on the planet.

And finally? The Refugees. At the moment? The refugees are Palestine. Palestine is a nation without a state since the bulk of Palestinians are refugees. Israel encourages their imposed banishment and yes, the irony of Jews enforcing the banishment of another ethnic group isn’t lost on me. These were residents of places like Ramis and Jaffa and the survivors of Incidents like Shabra and Shatillah. One of the major points of contention is the right to return. That Palestinians wish to return to places like Ramis and Jaffa and live there as equal citizens with full rights but such an influx would weaken the Jewish nature of Israel. The other issue is financial restitution and the economic development of Palestine to the level of Israel. This is a lot of money. A frankly astounding amount since we would have to fix some of the damage caused by the Israeli occupation.

As I said. There are no Mathematic lessons in a Fox Hole. To train and educate a new Middle Class and bootstrap the Palestinian economy after nearly 50 years of stagnation would require a major effort by the International community and Israel.

But time widens the wounds. The longer we drag the conflict out the lower the chance for peace as the more incredible the demands get. As it is the demands are hefty. Had this been solved in the 60s we would not have to foot the cost of nearly 70 years worth of reparations to 12 million people and instead only have to worry about around 5 million people while fixing the brain drain and damage to the economy and education. With every year more things are broken that need fixing and fewer people are inclined to fix the things.

Israel has two choices. Either withdraw and follow the peace plan. Or maintain an apartheid state. It won’t abandon a Jewish State.

And in this environment breeds extremists. The violence is the status quo. Peace is novel. Unless Israel and Palestine can break from the cycle peace is impossible. All it needs is one idiot. Or two.

And the price is paid by the future of Palestine. It’s children are often victims. Jailed for youthful rebellion and killed in reckless strikes. Israel has failed to realise that the deaths of children only strengthens the resolve to not bow to child killing jerks in the same way that Hamas hasn’t realised that attacks on civilians encourages Israel to keep shooting and killing children.

In the current war it is children and women who have paid a high cost among the refugees.

There are people who suggest that Palestinians are not helped because of their usage of social media. That they regularly release images of their dead and wounded online and that such is exploitative.

I disagree. 

The reality is dead children, war photography has shown the reality of conflict. The sanitisation of the first Gulf War lead to a problem in the USA. A lot of Americans complain that we sanitise the news. For a country so in love with guns it rarely is shown the repercussion of it’s actions. I think that’s why places like r/WTF exist. Places where Americans and indeed other nationals of the First World can live a little vicariously and see a little bit of what other people across the world deal with as “basic news”.

We saw a war fought by TV screens and at range without anyone on the ground and we didn’t see the cost of war. We just saw buildings with missiles going through windows with the assurance that the building was filled with baby eating douchebags. Exploding was too good for them!

You don’t like dead children and don’t wish to see them. That’s cool. That’s fine. Don’t read the threat. I wrote a story about another aid worker in Afghanistan having to flee due to her life being unsafe as she had t he audacity to protect a 10 year old rape victim from honour crime and the rapist and no one wanted to read that. But here is the thing. How are you any different from the people who hide their heads under the sand ignoring the truth in front of their own eyes. We atheists demand people to stand up against Islam, but when someone does you don’t wish to pay attention because it is upsetting.

People don’t want to read sad things. But here is the thing? Sometimes you have to. It’s how the world really is. Your little bubble needs to be burst otherwise you fall into the same trap of the Gulf War.

The first Gulf War’s photogenic nature made the Iraq invasion “easier”. No one had to deal with Vietnam’s imagery. There was no MASH to remind us of the cost of war. We went in naively and paid the price in the blood of a million Iraqis and thousands of our young men.

And the US tried to hide its dead. Remember.

If dead children make you uncomfortable then imagine how much worse it makes the victims of war. That is the point of a war photograph. To bring to the masses the taste of war, to inflame the passions of men and women to do something about it for the betterment of society.

How many pictures of dead children must we see before we decide killing children is wrong? None really. But how many times has Israel claimed to have killed militants when it has been shooting up hospitals?

One can argue about respect for the dead. Yet where is our respect for the living? Maybe it is my Hindu upbringing. The dead aren’t valued as much. The body is gone, it is cremated within the day. My grandmother was cremated within 8 hours of her death. Funerals are efficient possibly because we don’t value the physical remains of the dead.

It is the living we must think about. To the usage of war photography to tell a story, it was always the living. War Photographers of the past tried to tell a story with their photos. Today the rise of cheap cameras mean any damn fool can take a photo. What they choose to do is portray the inhumanity.

There are Americans who think that Israel’s killed 600 odd terrorists not “open fired wildly into residential areas inflicting huge levels of collateral damage”.

You may think that the dead detract from the immensely complex nature of the conflict but it really is that simple.

The war in Gaza is killing innocent people. Children have Died. Adults have Died. Israel needs to be reigned in. Hamas need to be reigned in. This is gone on too far. And it has worked hasn’t it? Aren’t we talking about it? The CAR and Darfur didn’t do social media all that well and we didn’t give a flying fuck about them.

All wars don’t look the same. There is still footage from the first Gulf War out there and we can compare that to the footage of the current reporters in places like Syria. A very different sort of war imagery. I do think there should be warnings about disturbing imagery but I do not think we should balk at witnessing the reality of what happens in these situations.

Remember I work with the people whose traumas cause your traumas. I say why not? Perhaps we will then learn what other people endure. It will teach us to think before we waggle that flag or encourage wars. You say all this but remember Iraq? We knew killing kids was bad but we killed them anyways. 

If you wish for a sanitised world view then fine. I agree about trigger warnings but frankly I don’t agree with sanitising the world for the sake of people who wish to ignore the plight of people who I work with. I have had this argument before. 

If I didn’t write about South Asia and the terrible things I see and help alleviate then I am nothing different from the countless other people who write. We would never listen to any minority who struggled. 

If we could convince people through logic and reason do you think we would have wars? Where was logic and reason then? Logic and reason are often over rated. We are far away from the consequences of our actions. Sometimes it is worth learning the cost of our life.

The difference between “me” and “some guy who writes in the USA” is that I have lived through some of the things I write about. When I write with expertise while they write with second hand knowledge. 

There is a huge and long trend of ignoring the suffering of people online because our stories are too “terrible” and “sad”. If your eyes prick between bath and pre-lunch beers then GOOD. That’s the damn point. That’s how change occurs. We have seen countless times the effect of war photography and how it cements a story. Hell even bloggers are told to add photos simply because it solidifies ideas. If we don’t then its just a sad story with little to no evidence. Remember one of the biggest arguments pro-Israeli zionists make is that there is no evidence of such atrocities. Hell I got a guy telling me that Medicin Sans Frontier is part of Hamaas despite MSF doctors putting up photos of their work.

This is our work. This is what we do for a living. These are the people who often rely on us. To hide them because someone in the west feels a bit squeamish sounds daft. I am sorry, your suffering is too much for our genteel audience, do you mind suffering in silence AND away from the camera?

The price paid for the conflict is the blood of Palestinian civilians. In defending itself Israel has failed to realise that it has become a symbol of what its citizens sought to escape. We have to take a step back and realise that Hamas and the Israeli Government are both the problems as they both perpetuate a war at the cost of Palestinians while we simplify the dialogue to “Oppressors” and “Terrorists”. This helps no one. The situation is far more complicated despite the solutions that seem easy and all we do is bring our prejudices about Muslims and Jews to an argument that boils down to land but is complicated by religion.

_______________________________________________________

Some may say I am sympathetic to the Palestinians more than the Israelis and am more critical of Israel. My stance is simple. I think the formation of Israel and the original zionist movement and our encouragement of it was foolish beyond belief. I think the collective guilt of Western nations over the holocaust and Christian Doomsday Lobby Groups who believe that the formation of Israel is a “sign” merely exacerbated the problem. In addition the USA’s usage of Israel and blind funding has created more problems. I do realise the situation is that neither Israel nor Palestine can go away and that a generation or two of Israelis have grown up within Israel. The displacement of Israelis would be akin to the displacement of Palestinians and two atrocities do not cancel each other out. I do think Palesting and Israel should have been promoted as a single secular state to begin with and perhaps a more harmonious result could have occurred. However the problem is that the tit for tat violence has not just gotten out of hand but has gotten out of response. The attacks from Palestine are less an Intifada and more a frustrated action of a caged human. The attacks from Israel are a calculated attack to cow Palestine into submission for the sake of it’s own defence. What once was a cause that could be understood has since exceeded whatever road to hell that could have been paved with good intentions. What I support are the people of Palestine who I believe have the right to a free West Bank and the right to self determination and freedom. And that the only way the wounds of history can be healed would be through the dialogue of peace that is respected by both sides rather than the impotent bluster of Hamas or the deadly retort of the IDF. For this Israel will have to blink first as Palestine is a caged and wounded animal. The peace progress cannot occur as long as the cycle of violence continues.

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Comments

  1. colnago80 says

    Just a minor correction to the 1948 discussion. Most of the weaponry used by the nascent State of Israel was purchased from Czechoslovakia. Stalin approved the purchases because it was the easiest way for him to kick the British out of Palestine and eventually out of the Middle East.

    The unfortunate fact is that, as we sit here today, there is no possibility of a peaceful settlement because the Hamas terrorists who run the Gaza Strip will not accept the State of Israel on even 1 inch of Palestine.

  2. says

    Yes but if you read the article I pointed out WHY Hamas has support for that stance.

    Because the West Bank took a more softer approach and they got invaded. Hamas took a hardline stance and turned Gaza into a Palestinian only zone. To thee Palestinians, debate and adjustment gets you invaded.

    And I repeat. Israel aren’t just in Palestine historically they are in Palestine as determined by the UN. Please dude, I spent time writing and actually dealt with all your statements within the post. 6000 words is actually pretty smalll to explain how complex the situation really is.

  3. Pen says

    I think I agree with you in that we should cease our support for a monocultural theocratic state (Israel) especially in areas that have historically been multicultural and given that most of us prefer as much separation of religion and state as possible. It would also help those Israeli atheists, liberals and progressives whose parent and grandparents migrated to Israel and who now find themselves trapped in an autocratic state which doesn’t represent them.

    I wanted to add that I’ve been in Israel and seen what goes on to fuel the harshness with which Palestinians are treated. The media go all out to humanise Israelis and dehumanise Palestinians. When an Israeli soldier is killed you can see his or her biography hour after hour on television: parents grieving, friends, their bedroom, childhood photos, pets… In between this, Palestinian casualties are reduced to a number, always higher and quickly mentioned in passing. It’s disgraceful propaganda and devastatingly effective. Most Israelis are so used to it they don’t even see it. It’s so blatant, I’m sure it would shock any outsider. For the most part, even nicer Israelis with a normal to strong sense of justice can’t be relied on to make accurate moral decisions about their country at this point. This is a major problem and I think that only extreme pressure from outside is likely to have any impact on them at all.

  4. Ed says

    This was a beautifully written, moving and informative article. Thank you.

    But could you please help me with a few things I am confused on about this whole issue:

    A) Each side promotes a very different story about who the Palestinians are and what Palestine was like before Jewish settlement began. Zionists have a narrative where the land had become an impoverished backwater of the Ottoman Empire and was under-populated; analogous in some ways to areas in the US like the so-called Rust Belt or much of Detroit.

    In other words, it was supposedly an area that had been highly developed at one point in its history, but by the late 19th/early 20th Centuries had much more space than the existing population could use. Thus, according to those who promote this view, the Jews who came were not displacing anyone.

    They were immigrating to a place that benefited from in influx of immigrants and in fact (according to some Zionists) a large percentage of the Palestinian population is descended from people from other parts of the Arab world who moved in AFTER the first waves of Jews, because the influx sparked great economic growth.

    Then Palestinians will assert the exact opposite. There was never a serious decline in the region. It was always a place with a bustling agricultural and commercial economy and a fairly large population; much of which even pre-dates the Islamic Arab conquests. Only a small minority is derived from more recent (19th Century or later) migrants from elsewhere in the Arab-speaking world.

    I simply have no way of knowing who is telling the truth, though even if the Zionist version is correct it in no way justifies the human rights violations you expose.

    B) Then when we come to discussion of the actual formation of the state of Israel, the Zionists will say that they wanted peaceful coexistence, but were faced with repeated, fanatical attempts to exterminate them by surrounding nations. This forced them to expand their territory to one large enough to defend. Many of their immediate Palestinian neighbors collaborated with this attempted genocide and thus cold not be trusted as full citizens of the new nation.

    Obviously, the Palestinians have a different version where they would have tolerated a small Jewish state, and may have even had no problem living among the settlers, but Israel was constantly looking for flimsy excuses to expand.

    C) Then there is the common claim that Jordan was actually part of the territory called Palestine which the British had agreed to split between the Jews and Arabs. If this is true, it would seem that the partition took place as agreed with the Arabs in fact getting the larger part. Zionists will argue further that the government of what was originaly called Transjordan expelled the Jews who lived there (designating areas “Jew-free” when the purges were completed) while Israel retained an Arab minority as citizens.

    Palestinians present the events in Jordan/Transjordan as not having much to do with their identity and in any event being motivated by legitimate defense against Israeli expansionism than antisemitism.

    My attempts to understand this conflict and to do what little I can to promote peace are confused by always being drawn back to these dueling, mutually exclusive propaganda narratives of both groups. If possible, please help me understand, and address some of the particular claims and justifications I’ve mentioned.

  5. says

    A) As you said? The version doesn’t matter. I used the term Manifest Destiny in particular because the Israeli arguments are so similar to the ones made by Americans during that era. The land was empty! They aren’t using it! If it wasn’t for us they would still be savage!

    B) The violence was tit for tat. By all accounts it was brushfire ill will until the actions of a pro-Israeli milita group which spiralled out into major violence leading to the original two state deal. In effect the British Mandate was being claimed by both Egypt and Jordan as they were hisorically rulers of the region and indeed the LAST rulers of the region (due to the Ottoman Empire’s administrative centres being there) so it was expected that Palestine would be partitioned between then. The Arabs did not see Israel as people returning home. They saw them as white people using a stupid excuse to colonise lands of people who did them no harm.

    C) The West Bank was part of Jordan.

    I explain it quite simply. Boston is American. But Boston has it’s own culture and local practices and even a way of speaking that’s different to other places. And the USA is just a couple of hundred years old with people who can trace their family trees up to the point where they came to the USA. In just a short time such major differences and indeed local pride has come to the front. Palestinians have in general had a shared culture of sorts but it wasn’t unique to them in the region since it was similar to their neighbours. Not really a big deal, neighbours share cultural influences all the time.

    Just look at Alannis Morissete and Rush…. or Justin Beiber, Avril Lavigne and Celine Dion. Canada’s cultural exports to the USA.

    But you wouldn’t say the USA is the same as Canada.

    The shared experience of the occupation and the refugee status is what defines a Palestinian as “Palestinian” over the people of Jordan and Lebanon and Egypt.

  6. AndrewD says

    Avi, The only major point I would argue is that there is a forth option which is not talked about, but to my mind is possibly better than the others. That is a 3 state option with an Independent Gaza City, Independant West Bank and an Independent Isreal. There are numerous reasons for this solution but one obvious one is drawn from the fate of East Pakistan. I do not believe that a geographically divided state is a viable option for any state let alone for one with a radically different political outlook.

  7. Ed says

    Thank you very much. That makes a lot of sense. You’re right that national identity is a social and historical product which can be generated very quickly.

    Despite glorification of history and tradition, we often perceive anything as very old and established if it lasts a couple decades and virtually ancient if our grandparents dealt with it, too.

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of the past, both groups are certainly there to stay, and seeking a compromise is the only thing moral or practical.

    I used to be pretty pro-Israel because I admire many aspects of the old European Jewish intellectual culture that Zionism originally grew out of and through much of Israel’s history it came across as very progressive and modern. The cynical alliance of their government with the most bizarre aspects of the American right wing turned me off.

    I once saw Netanyahu chatting respectfully with Pat Robertson in a televised discussion as if Robertson was some great intellectual or statesman. This is a man who tried to get his TV station engineers to invent a lens capable of filming God if he were to appear in the sky, who claims to heal diseases over the airwaves and thinks that immigration policy should consider the danger posed by immigrants who may be posessed by demons (mandatory exorcism to get a visa?) !

    Then of course, the constant demand for automatic assumption of moral superiority in any conflict and admitting no distinction between the most hideous forms of civilian targeting terrorism (which to be fair, they are often the victim of) and the use of standard guerilla and insurgent tactics which were widely used by Israel’s founders.

    The increased awareness of conditions in the West Bank and Gaza along with everything to do with this current war are disillusioning a lot of people. Not the level of violence alone so much as also painting themselves as victims on the brink of destruction even as they are winning with hundreds of deaths for every dozen of theirs and most of their dead being active military.

    I saw a glowing piece on the news about a group of Americans and others who are fighting in Gaza with some kind of Foereign Legion type of auxiliary of the IDF. You’d have thought they were a team of scientists that just cured cancer and AIDS from their space station orbiting Mars.

  8. colnago80 says

    Re Ed @ #3

    The question as to the level of development in Ottoman controlled Palestine is controversial. The American writer Mark Twain visited Palestine in the late 1860s and found the place to be rather desolate and unoccupied. Jerusalem appeared to be less populated then his native St. Joseph, Mo. On the other hand, Ottoman census figures seem to show that the place was not as depopulated as Twain observed. It should be recalled that, after the unification of Germany in the early 1870s, the Kaiser, looking for other worlds to conquer, became interested in Palestine and began purchasing property there followed up by some German immigrants (there is the famous German quarter in Jerusalem). This was followed by British interest, inspired by the German interest (the rivalry between Britain and Germany was just getting started). The development in Palestine attracted immigrants from elsewhere in the Arab World and also from Jewish immigrants from Europe who saw Palestine as a bolthole away from European antisemitism. The bottom line here is that most of the current occupants of Palestine are descended from immigrants who migrated there in the 19th and 20th century.

    However, even if we buy the argument that the State of Israel is illegitimate because Arabs were displaced by Jewish immigrants from Europe, then by the same reasoning, the USA and Canada and in fact all the nations in the Western Hemisphere are also illegitimate because Native Americans and First Nations were driven out of their homes by European immigrants. But I suppose the statute of limitations has run out on Native Americans and First Nations so they are shit out of luck. So when is the statute of limitations going to run out for the Palestinians?

  9. says

    The issue to me is simply, always, power. Support the weak against the strong, when the strong are abusing their position. Especially if part of the abuse is violent.

  10. says

    the USA and Canada and in fact all the nations in the Western Hemisphere are also illegitimate because Native Americans and First Nations were driven out of their homes by European immigrants

    Why, yes they are. And if you look at the history of treaties between the European invaders of North America and its original inhabitants, you’ll see a pattern that looks amazingly similar to the peace efforts between the Israelis and the Palestinians. “Peace” is used as a chance to prepare for the next land-grab and nothing is sincere about it.

  11. colnago80 says

    Re MarcusRanum @ #11

    Hey pal, any time you are prepared to turn your home in Pennsylvania over to the Native Americans from whom it was stolen, then you would be in a position to criticize Israels. Until then, not so much.

  12. says

    Hey pal, any time you are prepared to turn your home in Pennsylvania over to the Native Americans from whom it was stolen

    Sure, if Norway would let me exercise some kind of right of return and give me citizenship, I’ll turn my real estate over to the native americans for 50% below market value.

    And of course you’re pretending to be the master of false equvalency – as if people who are actively displacing people are somehow on the same moral plane as someone who purchased property from someone who purchased property from someone who purchased property…. Yes, there were bloody hands on the deed to my land, but the blood is not on my hands, or my parents’ hand or my parents’ parents, or – for that matter – my great-great-grandparents who immigrated here long after the blood of those deeds had dried.

    That you have to make such foolish and desperate arguments shows the moral bankruptcy of your fascism.

  13. Ed says

    colnago 80–

    Thanks for the historical background. I’d read some of Twain`s observations but was always kind of skeptical. He was a genius and generally a progressive thinker, but could be pretty contemptuous of anyone he saw as “primitive.” His essays on the Native Americans are chilling in their dehumanization.

    I’m not interested in condemning or punishing any nation as such. All nations were founded on violence and oppression to some extent at least. I don’t blame the Jews in the late 40s for trying to establish a safe haven after what had just happened to their people.

    As for earlier Zionists, there was once a concept of liberal nationalism in which nations stood side by side as equals. It was supposed to be the opposite of imperialism, freeing subordinate groups from huge multinational empires or in some cases uniting populations against local smalltime feudal rulers.

    The problems with nationalism even of the most well-intentioned kind became apparent as time went on and it became an easy justification for conquest and internal authoritarianism (the person subsumed into the body of the state as a cell or organ is part of an actual body) in many countries.

    I don’t think the debate over whether this or that already established nation has a right to exist is even meaningful at this point. But think that the world has a right to demand especially high standards of justice and human decency (and reparations to victims) from the privileged nations of which Israel and the US are examples. We can’t go back and undo the past, so let’s all own our actual history and abandon “restoration” mythology as the basis of future actions.

  14. colnago80 says

    Re Marcus Ranum @ #13

    A perfect example of the statute of limitations running out on Native Americans. What do you mean by a Native American descended from the original inhabitants of your land paying you buck 1. It was stolen and that individual doesn’t owe you the time of day. Any more then I should pay for the return of a stolen television set that passed through multiple hands before being identified. You will have to do better then that boyo.

  15. says

    What do you mean by a Native American descended from the original inhabitants of your land paying you buck 1. It was stolen

    The house on, which I built, is worth about the same as the land. Since I’ve added value to the land, I don’t think I’m being unreasonable.

    But… Waaaaay to completely ignore the other point, which is that we – appropriately – assign more guilt to someone who wrongs someone else deliberately, than to someone who hundreds of years later benefits from that wrong. The Palestinians who are being forced out of their homes with Israeli bombs are the current owners of those homes, and their parents have often undergone one round of displacement, already. The various native American tribes that fought over the land which is now mine no longer even exist, unfortunately.

    I really shouldn’t have even dignified your stupid comment with a response. You’re just such a disgusting slimebag! Didn’t your mother ever teach you “two wrongs don’t make a right?”

  16. says

    PS – I suppose that, if you own real estate, you probably would respond with a 15mt nuke if any native American pointed out that it was stolen from them. Or, would you emulate your heroes in Israel and just summon a bunch of US-made 155mm HE rounds on them until they were dead?

  17. says

    I don’t blame the Jews in the late 40s for trying to establish a safe haven after what had just happened to their people.

    Apparently you didn’t read Avi’s carefully-written article. The conquest of Palestine began in 1922. In the late 40s, of course, there was a really good excuse. Because, when a bunch of Germans and Russians and French do something wrong to a person, that totally justifies their doing the same thing to someone else who wasn’t involved.

    It might have actually made sense to give the jews Berlin and what used to be known as Prussia, after the war. I could actually have seen an argument for that. But because A beats up B, B is not justified in beating up C. Unless you’re Colnago80, that is.

  18. Ed says

    I read the parts about the earlier groups of settlers. I was talking about the large number who came after the War because they had good reason to be terrified of putting themselves at the mercy of others. Also, the homelands of many Jews fell under direct or indirect Soviet control and Stalin was becoming increasingly antisemitic. They’d probably been fed the “almost empty land” line and the egalitarian society line and it sounded better than begging to be tolerated in the East or grudgingly let into the West.

  19. Ed says

    And yes it would have made much more sense to give them part of Germany.(sorry, I hit submit too soon)

  20. colnago80 says

    Re Marcus Ranum @ #17

    PS – I suppose that, if you own real estate, you probably would respond with a 15mt nuke if any native American pointed out that it was stolen from them

    Wrong. I would freely admit that the land on which my townhouse sits was stolen from Native Americans. However, that was 300 years ago and the statute of limitations expired long ago so the claimants are shit out of luck.

    The house on, which I built, is worth about the same as the land. Since I’ve added value to the land, I don’t think I’m being unreasonable.

    Let’s take another example replacing the stolen television set with a stolen computer. According to you, if somewhere along the line from when the computer was stolen and when it was recovered, additional internal memory was added, a larger hard disk was installed, a faster video card was installed and an improved sound board was installed, then I would be responsible for paying for the improvements. Ho, ho, ho and need I say ha, ha, ha. I hardly think so.

  21. Pen says

    Colnago80@15 – but Marcus’ land didn’t belong to just Native Americans in general. That would be like saying I own Norway or Portugal on the basis of being European. And the land wasn’t even privately owned. It was occupied by a specific collective (and it was the case that occupation was guaranteed or ended by military activity and/or diplomacy, in pre-Columbian times). Cultural differences in the way land ownership was understood played a fair part in that debacle in the first place. If you want a reverse transfer of property, the legitimate descendents of that collective would have to manifest themselves, with a plan to own collectively or re-distribute the land. The Zionist assertion of God-granted ownership of Israel to a Jewish state is another thing again. Obviously, since God doesn’t exist, it’s ludicrous. The Torah does in fact support the right of Jews to steal land in Israel and kill other occupiants but that doesn’t mean they’re getting moral support from anyone else.

  22. says

    that was 300 years ago and the statute of limitations expired long ago so the claimants are shit out of luck.

    Actually, there’s no statute of limitations for treaties that were violated. I can’t tell if you’re really this ignorant, or if you’re just a liar. I guess it doesn’t matter.

    What you’re really saying is that the claimants have been successfully killed off, so their claims died with them, so la la la you dance on their graves. And that in a nutshell is what Israel is trying to do to the Palestinians.

    Most of the great land-grabs in history have been accomplished through genocide or “cultural assimilation” (e.g.: culturecide, like the Brits did to the Maori and Australian Aborigines, the Canadians to the Native American tribes, the conquistadors to the Maya and Inca, and the USAmericans/Colonials to the Native Americans) Israel’s problem is that it’s trying to have its cake and eat it too – a genocidal-style land grab really looks pretty shitty coming from a tribe that has been a victim of exactly the same thing. Don’t forget that the Russian pogroms, especially under Stalin, were economic ‘property redistribution’ as much as they were about ethnic hatred. Even the nazi ethnic cleansing had a huge economic component.

    It has to suck ass to see your tribe doing something so hateful, and to have to stand as a popinjay trying to defend the indefensible.

  23. says

    Let’s take another example replacing the stolen television set with a stolen computer. According to you, if somewhere along the line from when the computer was stolen and when it was recovered, additional internal memory was added, a larger hard disk was installed, a faster video card was installed and an improved sound board was installed, then I would be responsible for paying for the improvements. Ho, ho, ho and need I say ha, ha, ha. I hardly think so.

    You’re such a bad, irrational, liar that you don’t realize that you’re making a wonderful argument for why the state of Israel should cease to exist.

    My argument – that those who have benefitted from stolen lands can act to attempt to re-balance an ancient wrong – is much more morally reasonable. Yes, it’s complicated because the native american tribes that lived in my part of Pennsylvania were some of the first to be eradicated; there’s nobody left to negotiate with. But if the land-grab had happened sooner, it might indeed be practical to negotiate some reparations. I think my idea of selling the land back at a fraction of the current market price is not unreasonable and is, indeed, vastly vastly more moral than anything we’ve ever heard from Israel or its apologists.

    All of this has given me a solution to the Israel problem. Yes, a lot of the land in Palestine was purchased by the European settlers. If there’s clear title, then that’s that. Land that was grabbed? Live on it until the resident dies, at which point it reverts to its original owners. No need for violence or slaughter, the whole thing would sort itself out in a generation. Oh, the children growing up on stolen lands? Germany does offer a right of return to jews that left (I have a friend who scammed an EU passport that way; his family was Russian…) grant them US citizenship, give them 15 years to find someplace else to live, or to arrange to purchase the land from the people from whom it was stolen. Although, as you point out, it’d be hard to demand more than the market price circa 1947…

    Of course that’s a ridiculous idea. Because the Israelis would never negotiate anything with anyone. Because, actually, they can’t — Israel is built on violence and the brute fact of power, and there’s nothing to negotiate with other than the increase or cessation of violence.

  24. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    If only Hamas would stop shooting rockets at innocent people ..

    All this would be ..

    Well, not fixed, still awful, but not the war we have now.

    Is there really any dispute about that? What the hell do Hamas gain by keeping this going – still attacking murderously in vain but for the occassional dead Israeli civilian as they somehow think that’s a gworthy accomplishment – and rebounding upon their supposed population and cause thousand-fold. (Or near enough)

    If only Hamas would stop the shooting, end the violence and accept a ceasefire of which, hell, I’ve lost count how many have been offered and turned down so far.

    If only.

    This whole situation is horrific and depressing and nightmarish and there is no end in sight with or without a ceasefire now as long as Hamas remains in charge of Gaza.

    (Yeah, Israel not faultless in this either – but who the blazes would ever put up with so many enemy rockets being fired at their people even if Hamas do have lousy aim and comparitively, relatively, despite their intentions little effect but for the odd murdered Jewish human being. Or other non-Jewish human being seeing as how a lot of Hamas rockets fall short and land in Gaza on their own people & UN workers instead.)

  25. Silentbob says

    (parody)

    If only Israel would stop dropping bombs on innocent people ..

    All this would be ..

    Well, not fixed, still awful, but not the one-sided atrocities we have now.

    Is there really any dispute about that? What the hell do Israel gain by keeping this going – still attacking murderously in vain but for even more justifiable hatred on the part of Palestinians as they somehow think that’s a worthy accomplishment – and rebounding upon their supposed population in the form of increased international condemnation.

    If only Israel would stop the bombing, end the violence and accept a ceasefire on terms which seem perfectly reasonable:

    Hamas’ political leaders say they will only stop fighting when there is an end to the blockade of Gaza. The group’s armed wing though has said it will only accept a ceasefire if:

    – Israel stops “all aggression” in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza
    – Commits to the 2012 ceasefire
    – Stops trying to undermine the recently formed Palestinian unity government
    – Frees prisoners released in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011 but who have recently been re-arrested

    [source]

    If only.

    This whole situation is horrific and depressing and nightmarish and there is no end in sight as long as Israel keeps blowing up children, hospitals and schools.

    (Yeah, Hamas not faultless in this either – but who the blazes would ever put up with this without doing anything they can to fight back?)

    (/parody)

  26. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @ 26. Silentbob : That is indeed a parody and the opposite of the actual reality.

    Israel don’t deliberately drop bombs on innocent people – Hamas deliberately fire rockets at innocent people and hide behind a human shield composed of their own children and civilians whose deaths these disgusting scum exploit. We know this :

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/frame_game/2014/07/gaza_civilian_casualties_while_hamas_targets_innocent_people_israel_tries.html

    very well. It is clear observed fact. It is also a fact that this latest conflict was sparked by Hamas firing rockets and refusing to stop or accept ceasefires.

    That’s the reality – not parody.

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