By now, everyone is aware that Hamas has attacked Israel, though it was Israel itself which broke the ceasefire. I no longer have a television but I know the story is plastered on every major news network because it is also plastered on every political blog and social networking site. There is an entire network of supporters on both sides of the conflict insisting that their side is blameless and that the concerns of the other side are unremarkable. Both sides are spewing enough hyperbole and anger to warrant concern about fistfights breaking out stateside.
The conflict between Israel and it’s “neighbors” in Gaza and the West Bank is a great big mess that apparently has just one solution - according to a large group of foreign policy geniuses in America and Israel: more fighting.
If you have read about Israel’s history, you know that Osama bin Laden’s open letter of 2002 which mentioned an event “80 years ago”, was referring to the Balfour declaration of 1917. In the English government’s proclamation, Lord Balfour, pandering to Zionists in England, sent a message to Jews and Arabs (paraphrased): Palestine belongs to the Jews and we are going to give it to them.
After England and the U.S. had routed the Turks, the world’s superpowers and Empires colluded to carve up the region based on geological survey. The apparent intent, though not stated as such, was to produce the largest possible oil profits split between them. Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia were all arbitrarily created at that time.
The Jews received their sliver of land and the Arabs currently living there were told that they had no legitimate claim on their own lands. Spoils of war. The snub set the wheels in motion for what we see today. But of course, Osama bin Laden cannot be heard or acknowledged even though he seems to have a far better understanding of history than most pro-Israel commentators. To Israel’s numerous shills, neither he nor any Arab has a legitimate complaint. He and they are terrorists. They insanely lash out against the west for reasons only a filthy Ay-rab could understand.
Similarly, anyone who objects to Israel’s apparent over-reaction and obvious baiting should be accused of anti-Semitism, “supporting terrorism” or other epithets which seek to shut down debate. Dr. Charles Kennedy notes extremism can be found amongst Christians professing allegiance to Israel in a “vociferously blind” fashion, Cal Thomas being one of the most obvious. Thomas, rather than direct his ire carefully at terrorists, proclaims everyone critical of Israel and everyone living in Gaza and the West Bank are anti-Semitic, neo-Nazis. (Neoconservatives are typically that intellectually lazy, yes.)
Personally, I don’t like discussing Israel because it creates such volatile responses. Who wants to have a discussion that is inevitably going to break out into a fight? In spite of my misgivings I do find it interesting that the current environment, where calm, rational debate is discouraged, is very similar to the real-life drama that has unfolded since 1947 when Israel became “official”.
Rarely mentioned is that Hamas was originally funded by Israel in order to weaken the influence of Yassir Arafat and the PLO. The PLO during the 70’s took a page out of former Jewish terror groups Irgun and the Stern gang, and used similar tactics to protest actions by Jordan and Israel. It is fairly typical of Israel to put two factions against one another to achieve results that might seem barbarous if overtly performed. One infamous example of this is the Shabra and Satilla massacre.
Israel’s road to independence, if one can call it that, came by way of terrorist acts. Now, as a “legitimate” government - as legitimate as any government can be - it has reaped what it sowed.
In the U.S. we cry out when our government rewards companies who manage their businesses poorly. But we don’t seem to have any problem giving out billions to governments that cannot manage their affairs or protect the rights of their citizens. But that is exactly what we are doing in the case of Israel and Palestine. It is Israel’s responsibility to secure its own peace. However, its actions make it quite clear that it wants nothing to do with peace. The same can be said of Hamas.
Hamas poses no significant military threat to Israel. A recent photo of rocket damage in Israel showed a pool of blood next to a pristine bus stop. The ground and structure around the area where the rocket had been detonated suffered no visible damage. It was said that a woman died there as a result. The event was tragic, but there is absolutely no comparison to the loss of life inflicted on innocent civilians in retaliation by IDF military forces - which possess the most expensive and modern weapons that U.S. taxpayer money can buy.
In the forty-odd years since the 1967, ‘Six-day war’, Israel has apparently learned nothing other than escalation as a response to terrorism. In so doing, it has generated thousands upon thousands of new terrorists every generation. If my parents or children had been killed and the killer attempted to justify this by claiming my proximity to terrorists was a justification, I would become a reluctant terrorist myself.
The mere act of compassion, putting oneself in the shoes of somebody else, is exactly what shills for Israel and Hamas refuse to consider. Real children are dying in Palestine because the IDF has no sense of proportion and does not have sympathy or respect for non-combatants who get in their way. Real children are dying in Israel because idiots with no credible military hardware are taking on an opponent that has no problem punishing the innocent. Hamas’ intent is clearly to increase their ranks and Israel is quite happy to oblige them.
Both sides are reckless. Those dying, for the most part, are innocent civilians while the governments of Israel, the US and yes, even Hamas just keep getting more powerful while using the terrible condition of Israel’s security and Palestinian oppression as an excuse.
Failure has begotten success in funds and power. Israel’s citizens are losers in the bargain to be sure. While not nearly suffering the loss of life and property as do the Palestinians, they live in fear and with less and less freedom each passing day.
Personally, I don’t want to hear another word from some neoconservative mouthpiece telling me to show sympathy for poor, poor, Israel or a liberal pundit claiming that Hamas is fighting for the oppressed masses. I see them both for what they are: gangs which have no intent to protect anything but their own influence and power. A pox on both of their houses.