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Rants: Israel v. Gaza, Round No. “Pointless”

A damaged street in Rafah. Hamas officials vowed to fight on, regardless of any Israeli cease-fire declaration. Photo: Ben Curtis/Associated PressWhile you were twisting the night away with the brand new president Israel decided to stop blowing up people, places and things on the Gaza Strip.

Normally I would have written about the situation in Gaza sooner, but I couldn’t get past my own blind rage and exhaustion over the issue. Now that the violence has died down in a wash of purposelessness I’m left to wonder, what was the objective of Israel’s offensive?

Was it to get rid of Hamas, because they were democratically elected and they’re still entrenched in power?

Was it to win over the citizens of Gaza? Because more than a thousand of them are dead.

Or was it simple revenge?

(Warning: This is not a short blog posting. Perpare for the “short version” of why things are the way the are between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Read the entire monster essay after the jump.)

Ah, that sounds about right. Revenge. Everything in the Middle East is about revenge. It’s like the film “Death Wish,” only your opinion on who is Charles Bronson, the “hero” vigilante, and who are the criminal urban terrorists depends on your point of view.

The conflict in the Middle East between the Israelis and the Palestinians is a living example of the “Irresistible Force Paradox” which, oddly, popped up in the middle of last summer’s blockbuster (and post-9/11 treatise depending on how you interpret it) — “The Dark Knight.”

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? In this case the unstoppable force is the determination of the Israeli people to forge a homeland on what used to be the property of other countries and other people. The immovable object –which they, in vain, keep trying to move — are the Palestinian people who used to live on that land. I often get frustrated with the American media, which seems uninterested in addressing this issue with any sort of historical perspective, preferring to make this very complex and nuanced and entrenched issue a matter of “Israel = good” and “the Middle East is a violent place.”

As if that even got to the heart of the matter.

To understand why this is a living Irresistible Force Paradox you have to understand how Israel came to be in the first place. And it did not start after World War II and the devastation that was Hitler’s Germany, but decades before, at the turn of the century, in the shadow of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

David Fromkin’s “A Peace to End All Peace,” required reading for anyone who feels like attempting to force a Western facelift on the Middle East, goes into detail about the commotion caused by the Zionist Movement of the early 1900s.

In 1917, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George ordered the military conquest of Palestine in an effort to seize the land from the slowly collapsing Ottoman Empire. Lloyd George had a vision of securing the land as part of the giant Middle East land grab Great Britain, France and other European nations were engaged in post-World War I.

Lloyd George wanted to encourage the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Many of his contemporaries did not realize how serious he was about this vision. A devout Christian Zionist, Lloyd George once stated it was not worth winning the Holy Land only to “hew it in pieces before the Lord,” and asserted that “Palestine, if recaptured, must be one and indivisible to renew its greatness as a living entity.” (Fromkin, pg. 270)

Over time, the movement to encourage European Jews to move to Palestine picked up, pushed by Christian Evangelical groups in Europe, preoccupied with returning Zion to the Jewish people. Their long-term goal was to convert these individuals to Christianity and prepare them for the second coming of Christ.

Naturally, the Palestinians who were already living in Palestine, then property of the Turks, weren’t exactly pleased when they were forced from their homes and wound up marching through the desert to their current, unhappy places of residence.

The people of the Middle East faced a lot of the same racism and ignorance from the British and French that had plagued nearly all of Asia and Africa in both countries efforts at Imperialism. Many European countries and the United States engaged in empire building, but British and the French were quite prolific, along with the Russians, who were primarily obsessed with taking the countries that would eventually become the Soviet satellites. The Americans were relatively late to the game and, at the time, divided on the issue politically as we were a former colony and didn’t particularly care for it. We still wound up at one point ruling the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, Guam and most remnants of Spanish influence in the Americas.

In the Middle East, arbitrary lines were drawn in the sand. Fake countries were created out of what had been real territories. Iran wasn’t Iran’s first choice in a name, considering they used to be Persia. And Iraq may be more recognizable to Biblical scholars and ancient civilization historians as Mesopotamia. But this was all done out of ego, much as the Romans and Ottomans had tried before. To “tame” their weaker neighbors and become like Gods themselves, molding entire peoples and countries into their image.

Fast forward to the end of World War II, more than six million Jews dead from the war and Holocaust. The survivors scattered, emotionally scarred and homeless, and Hitler, dead, after committing suicide in his bunker rather than face the judgment of his enemies.

The movement to take Zion was still quite forceful, if not more so, with millions of European Jews moving to Israel in the belief that from now on they would be in charge of their own destiny — determined to no longer live in fear. The only thing terribly wrong with this picture was the raw deal the Palestinians received when the United Nations chose to recognize Israel as an independent state despite the fact it came to be under such duplicitous circumstances. In spite of the reports of Palestinians being moved from their homes by force and the questionable motives of the Evangelical Christians backing the whole enterprise.

America played a great role in solidifying this untenable situation when President Harry S. Truman, against the advisement of many (including his own anti-Semitic wife) decided to go out on a limb and recognize Israel as a state. This paved the way for UN approval. Since then our country has had a moral, financial and geo-political tie to Israel, born half out of guilt due to our initial non-response to reports of Hitler’s abuses, the other half out of our own self-interest in the region. We’ve been the no. 1 country, behind the British and the French in trying to “solve” this unsolvable problem we helped create.

For centuries Jewish people lived all over the former Ottoman Empire in relative peace. After Israel was recognized as a state, the people of the Middle East took out their anger on the innocent Jews who lived in their countries, including the former Mesopotamia. To this day there are Iraqis with Jewish bloodlines and heritage who dare not mention it for the violent, bloody scenario that unfolded after to Israel’s establishment.

Knowing this history, the actions of Hamas, while violent and counter-productive, reveal that this isn’t some random rage-based in anti-Semitism. This isn’t Hitler’s Germany. This is an angry, displaced minority who have always been treated as second-class citizens by the Westerners who moved in uninvited. Still seething from the British who promised them freedom from the Ottoman Turks, only to saddle them with some Messianic push to prepare Zion for the book of Revelations, mixed with the desperation of a devastated and determined Jewish people.

Sixty years later the problem remains the same. Israel insists it has a right to exist. Hamas says it does not. The bitterness has long since turned to a perversion with views forever discolored by victimization. Despite the motives of the Evangelicals who started the fight, the Jewish people who came to settle Palestine had no intention of being a) converted to Christianity or b) forced to do anything. They have amassed the most powerful military in the Middle East. They rule the skies. They have “the bomb.” Which is why it is odd that in the United States they are still cast in the mold of “victim.”

Israel has repeatedly proved it has the determination and fortitude to protect itself, to the last man, woman and child, if necessary. With the most powerful military machine in the Holy Land, they proved their prowess in The Six Day War. In 1967, the Israeli military defeated Egypt, Jordan and Syria with lightening precision all on their own, seizing the Golan Heights, West Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and even the Sinai Peninsula (which they were asked to give back as part of a peace deal with Egypt).

I don’t know if this has settled in for the minds of many Palestinians and others who are still angered from the religious zealotry of Lloyd George, but the people of Israel aren’t going anywhere anymore than we’re giving Texas back to Mexico. Anymore than we’re honoring the various broken treaties of the dispersed native tribes of North America. They have lived there for 60 years now. They’ve had children there. They have built their settlements, business and homes. They are armed to the teeth. And they’re perfectly fine with waging retaliation for indiscriminate Hamas crude rocket fire by coming down with brutal force. Stances have only hardened.

This is the world’s most frustrating game of chicken. Palestinians throw rocks. The Israelis fire bullets. Palestinians blow themselves and whoever is near them up. Israel blows up large chunks of Palestinian territory and takes political prisoners with no chance at ever getting out of prison. The Palestinians persist in engaging in suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks. The Israelis build a giant fence and obtain the ability to shut off power, supplies and water to the territories, even instituting a blockade. Hamas starts digging tunnels and building rockets.

Under the Bush Administration, in the aftermath of 9/11, our country took the stance that Israel should be able to respond to terrorist acts by Palestinians by any means they deemed necessary — even if the most forceful reaction from Israel simply resulted in more of the same.

What’s amazing is the degree of myopia possessed by the state of Israel in its efforts to protect itself and its citizenry.

In news reports, Israeli officials gave vague reasons (other than retaliation) as to why they were blowing up huge chunks of Gaza. Many believed foreign relation experts pondered if this was part of an effort to overthrow the Hamas government. Hamas, as many of you may recall, came to power after the United States pushed for Democratic elections, then acted stunned when the Palestinean people — who have also been living under a siege mentality since 1946 or longer — elected Hamas overwhelmingly.

Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel as a state, faced with international condemnation and isolation. With Israel holding all the cards with their fence and blockage, the siege quickly turned into an act of collective punishment.

And this is where the true hypocrisy lies.

Collective punishment, the act of making the lives of all miserable for the sake of a few, is what the Jewish people have dealt with since Biblical times, since the Roman Empire or longer. Since the Crusades and the Inquisition. Since the Holocaust. Routinely someone, some group, some country, some religion has decided the world would be better off if the Jews were marginalized, converted or slaughtered and all their murderous intent did not break the resolve of the Jewish people. They only became tougher. They only held on tighter to their faith. They only became more entrenched.

What do the Israelis think is happening in Gaza? Or do they even care?

Every act of war waged, every Palestinian death at the hands of the Israeli military is another chink in the armor of discontent. No matter how frustrated or disillusioned the Arab Street may become with their own leaders or meager, poverty-stricken situations, seeing your home reduced to rubble, your school reduced to rubble, your family and neighbors dead, does not make you want to give up. The acts of cruelty make you evermore hardened and evermore cruel, evermore determined to win at this game of chicken, realizing your mere existence and resistance is a giant affront to the opposition.

Now that I’ve depressed everyone with the details, all that is left to ponder is: What now?

What was the point of Israel’s offensive if they didn’t even succeed at their objectives? Will it stop the rockets? No. Will it force Hamas from power? Probably not. Or, even if Hamas was forced out, would a more Israel-friendly political party take its place? Also unlikely. Will these actions soften the hearts of Palestinians living in camps (for 60 years now) in places like Lebanon? No. Will it make Palestinians stop dreaming of the day they return to their old homes, farms and ancestral burial grounds inside of Israel? No.

But is Israel going anywhere, despite how it came to be? No.

I only see one way out of this and even it might not work. Much of the pain and angst in this conflict is over how the modern Middle East came to be and how Israel came to be. Maybe it is time for everyone who took part in the carving up of the Ottoman Empire carcass to acknowledge that Israel was created (though through “good intentions”) in the most devastating and demoralizing way possible for the Palestinian people. People died in that march through the desert after they were forced from their olive groves and homes in the aftermath of World War I. How can you move on if you can’t acknowledge that the wrongs of anti-Semitism and the wrongs of forcing people from their homes do not make the grounds on which Israel was founded of any more right?

Much like the United States still healing over the scars of slavery and post-war Germany healing over what Hitler wrought, one can’t gloss over the uncomfortable portions of their past and pretend they don’t exist. Especially when they still have the company of the wronged part in their presence. Much like television revealed the true face of “equality” in America during the Civil Rights Movement, the carnage in Gaza demonstrates that there is a gaping wound of pain where there are no longer any innocents and even the youngest members of society are ever more determined in their opposition on both sides. Israel, despite its weakness to terrorist attacks, is the more powerful entity. Their power will not diminish if they begin a reconciliation process by acknowledging the wrongs of the past, the mistakes made and forcing the point that they must learn to co-exist as or perish together as fools, because … they aren’t going anywhere.

In the end, Palestinians and Israelis will have to live together – in peace or in pieces. Hardliners, those who will never forgive the transgressions of the past, will always deny Israel’s right to exist, but the people of the Middle East are not beyond reason if the desire for reconciliation is real. Constant war and uncertainty is not a desirable situation for the average Palestinian who simply wants the same thing the Israelis have — a homeland and prosperity. But no one will ever see peace if they can’t reconcile the sins of the past. Just like many black Americans couldn’t believe in racial progress until they saw it sworn into office Tuesday.

The Palestinian people — not the radicals or their political leaders, but the average citizen — will not believe peace is obtainable until their feelings, fears and concerns are treated with equal seriousness.

Reconciliation through acknowledgement of past mistakes and wrongs, followed with faith-building and retribution for those who lost so much, is the first step to a “two-state” or even one state solution that doesn’t dissolve back into “tanks versus suicide bombers.”

But I don’t see that happening as long as everyone is wrong and everyone is right at the same time. As long as this is still seen in the prism of black and white. As long as there is an unmovable object and an unstoppable force. As long as the Irresistible Force is that of an irresistible fantasy of Holy Land utopia that is more science fiction than an actuality.

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25 thoughts on “Rants: Israel v. Gaza, Round No. “Pointless”

  1. Half moon circle says:

    this is the anonymous you got into the lengthy debate with about Palin a while back. Speaking of which I don’t think you replied to my last post. I don’t care, I was just enjoying it.The one thing I take issue with is that because some Jews lived in relative peace in the Middle East before 1949 the Jewish state created a solution to a problem that didn’t exist. Blacks lived relatively peaceful in Alabama in the 70’s, what the f*** was anybody complaining about? The fact is that Jews have been a global ethnic punching bag since recorded history. This came to a head after WW II and thus a jewish state was born that @ was in the location Jewish leadership wanted and (B) took land away from basically non players in the geopolitical happenings of the past ten years. So, yeah the palestinians took one. I agree. But all one needs is a map to realize that the Palestininans are surrounded by their own kind while the Jews….not so much. Why haven’t other Arab leaders done something other than chant "death to israel" for the past 50 years to affect the plight of the palestinians. Seems to me that the palestinians have caught it from both ends.Your comment about America wrestling with the scars of slavery in a similar fashion to Germany and the Holocaust and the parallels it has with the middle east I think is emblematic of a worldview that truly doesn’t understand the mindset of your adversary. Here’s a documentary I think adds a little oomph to this argument.http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/germans/Especially interesting are the converations with young germans.The point I’m making here is that no diplomatic or political solution is going to fix a g** d*** thing. If the palestinians get what they want they still will wish for the end of israel and as long as Israel has land of it’s own and U.S. defense funding they will always be spoiling for a fight. I truly think the best we can hope for is that Israel will never go as far as they want to due to International pressure and palestine will just keep throwing rocks and not VX gas cause nobody gives a shit about them. That sounds really cruel but I think it’s true. As a bible belt raised staunch Israel supporter, and someone who rather join the IDF than the U.S. Army again all I really think there is to say is "War is Hell". Give war a chanceDe opresso liber

  2. Danielle Belton says:

    @ Half Moon:Well, I honestly had no more to really add to the Palin discussion so I let it stand as is. I mean, I simply don’t think she’ll pose much a threat to anyone in four years. Like I wrote, anything could happen that could change this (I don’t deal in absolutes), but considering all the hoops you have to jump through to get the nomination I just don’t see her being the standard bearer unless something dramatic happens.As for the Middle East conflict, I honestly don’t think the comparison between the segregated South and Israel is apropos. Largely because black people never lived "peacefully" in the South. We lived under Jim Crow. Jewish people lived in the Middle East, along with Christians and others, as religious and ethnic minorities. They had to deal with the same level of indifference to bloodshed as every other religious group in the Middle East. Life wasn’t perfect, but they didn’t have laws forbidding them to intermarry. They owned businesses, their religious and holy sites were respected (especially since Christians, Muslims and Jews share a lot of the same Holy sites) and were simply members of the larger Ottoman Empire society.Also, Jews have always been in the Middle East while black people (and white people for that matter) moved to North America, one on their own accord and another with no choice in the matter. That’s really an apples and oranges situation.My main point is that unjust treatment doesn’t justify you treating another group of people, who did nothing to you, as bad as you were treated. What they did largely wasn’t much different than the American belief of "Manifest Destiny" that lead to the massacre of millions of Native Americans. After all, they were once the vast majority of North America’s citizens and now they’ve been reduced to a small minority. It doesn’t matter that the US is a great country or that Democracy is fascinating system of government. People still were massacre to create the country.That was my point with Israel. It’s natural to want your own country and to want to defend yourself, but they took the land by force and by violence. Therefore they will always have to deal with force and violence from the opposition. This was a choice. Their choice. They couldn’t have expected to take the land violently and marginalize the Palestinians and not gain millions of newly minted enemies.What would be an apropos comparison would be that because black Americans traditionally caught the worst in American society, black slaves were encouraged to move to Liberia, where black Americans proceeded to recreate the uneven, cruel society they left behind. The African natives who lived in Liberia were forced into virtual slavery and treated like second class citzens. These natives did nothing to black Americans. They didn’t cause our problems, yet they were the ones who had their lives up-ended and destroyed.I think you’re taking the very "black or white" view that all Palestinians think a like and all are unreasonable. I don’t think all Palestinians are unreasonable anymore than I think all Israelis are. I simply think that no one can get past their own anger to see how nothing will get solved unless the initial wrong is dealt with.The citizens of the US never had to really face the wrongs perpetrated against the Native Americans because nearly all of them were killed off or forced onto reservations. That’s the only reason why we don’t have an unruly, insurgent population making our lives miserable. Israel can’t escape the Palestinians (unless they want to push that myopia to the limit and truly become the one they hate) and they’ve been giving war a chance for 60 years now.Don’t think its working, considering folks are still dead and everyone is still miserable — including the Israelis.BTW: I think that marginalizing the Palestinians as geo-political non-players, therefore it was OK to treat them like second-class citizens is amazingly wrongheaded and prejudicial considering that justification could be made for just about everyone, including Jewish people, blacks, any ethnic or religious minority, Tibetans, the oppressed people of Myanmar, women, children and many, many others considered "weak." Being poor and small still doesn’t make it OK. In fact, it kind of makes it worse, because now you’re hurting someone who has even less than you. That simply shows despite how shoddily you’ve been treated you have no interest in rising above and being a better person than the people who hurt you.

  3. JJones says:

    This is a very complicated issue with a even longer history than what the author alludes to (this plot of land has been fought over by Christian and Muslim forces dating back to the Crusades). I think that there are even deeper and more compelling questions to be asked and answered in order to come to a true understanding of the "middle east" dilemma Like:How are Jews or "The Jewish People"? Like Sammy Davis Jr. as an African-American man if I converted to Judaism today and go over to Israel to assert my rights of citizenship or to land in than area I will be rejected quicker than a $3 dollar bill. But this is what was done by converts to this religion who were from the Khazarian Empire who converted to Judiaism the dark ages, who actually make up the ethnic majority of modern Jewery. For more info on this subject please read The Thirteenth Tribe by Arthur Koestler, which can be read online @ http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/13trindx.htmThe human race has to start looking outside of our socially created boundaries and see certain fundamental truths like killing your fellow man and usurping his land is wrong.

  4. Danielle Belton says:

    @ JJones:That’s why I gave the "short" version. The complexities of this region are so deep and ingrained in history that there’s no way I could ever give it full justice in one blog post. The modern conflict is multifaceted and complex enough without getting into the historical wars waged between Jews, Christians, Muslims and the various inter-faith battles over the land.And I totally agree with your last line. Continuing the same pattern of "attempting to conquer the Holy Land" and expunge people already living there is wrong, no matter the circumstances. It’s just an untenable situation.

  5. WIlma says:

    I have Jewish friends and they are very liberal people, except when it comes to Israel. I’m Dutch and WW II has had such an impact on our continent, it’s still moral testpoint (I’m not sure if that’s the right word, but you’ll understand) I can understand the feeling of my friends because when you have been persecuted as a people like the jews have been it sort leaves a permanent scar on your psyche even if you personally were not persecuted. Their families were, they are missing generations of family memebers. I’m sure that sounds very familar to you as a black woman. Those scars run very deep and I understand the need of the Israeli people to feel secure, to strike before they are stricken. But…Israel is a state and calls itself a democratic state, a western state even. It prides itself on Western values of liberty and rights and therefor it should do better. Vaclav Havel said after the Velvet Revolution that no nation can move forward if it does not own up to it’s own past. Mistakes were made by Israel and by the rest of the world. Before Palestine was a pretty modern place, just like Iran once was a pretty modern state. It has become more fundamentalist because of the way Palestinians have been treated. They have been treated as sub-humans and we should not be surprised that people are radicalising because of that. In 1967 60.000 people were just removed from their homes and had to watch how Israelis moved in to their houses. Arabs in Israel who have been living there all their lives are being treated as second rate citizens and have hardly any rights. My solution is that Israel acknowledges the settlement of the UN of 1967, does not retaliate again on Palestinian ground, keeps borders open and starts talking to Hamas, who have been democratically elected. This will not happen. No politcian can sell this.

  6. WIlma says:

    ANother thing, which people often don’t realise: most of the Hamas leaders have been educated in England. Jimmy Cater said in an interview with the BBC that he was surprised to find how easy it was to connect to the Hamas leaders he talked to, they had a very Western background and western ideas about democracy.

  7. halfmoon circle says:

    Snob, our palin conversation had morphed into calculating republicans and who is going to run the show now. I had refuted some of your assertions and never got any feedback. that is all. It’s really no big deal. Way too early to tell anyway. I think I have a very pessimestic view of the world in comparison to many people that blog here. Yeah, um, of course it is wrong to kill people and take their land. But it is human nature. It is GOING to happen. I suppose those morally superior Native Americans never conquered anyone did they. I’m not making light of the situation, but let’s be realistic. Only the dead have seen the end of war and all wars have been over money or power or both. I think you misunderstood my comment about palestinians as pawns comment. I never said it was okay. But it did happen and that is probably why. If they had been a big player or supporter during WWII things most likely would have been different. But thanks for assuming I’m a heartless bastard. It stroked my ego a little bit. As a citizen of the US we have probably never had to go identify a crispied child at school after a crude rocket attack or buried our entire family because of a SABO round. Which in a sense blinds us to day to day life for both sides of this. The truth is, Snob, you can pick any atrocity(America or otherwise) and it’s going to be an apple and oranges situation. This is some true Arab/Jew shit. There is nothing that compares. I just think it’s ridiculous to think that Israeli’s are being irrational when they are SURROUNDED by nations bent on their destruction. Also, being a Jew does not make you an Israeli. Israel is a Jewish state. They have citizenship steps like any other democratic country. If war had truly been given a chance the outcome of this would have been long decided. But, as is the case with most conflicts, what should be military objectives turn into political ones. And, not to be redundant or anything, we haven’t seen the last of it.

  8. half moon circle says:

    Oh yeah, one more thing, a democratically elected, western educated terrorist organization is still a terrorist organization.

  9. Wilma says:

    Are you actually stating that when war had truly been given a chance and the Palestinians would have been wiped out as a people as a result of that that would be just that? We should be realistiic about that and move on?You’re not as rational as you seem to think you are…

  10. Danielle Belton says:

    @ HalfmoonHey mi amigo, I can’t read intent. (One of the side effects of blog comments.) I can only read words. You put it in a pretty dry way, which was why I wrote what I wrote, tis all. I can see the pessimist viewpoint, it’s a pessimistic situation, but seriously, if you don’t look for some sort of moral ground to work from you can pretty much argue that you can do anything to anyone because, what does it matter? It’s all be done before. Of course bad things happen, death happens, war happens, but that doesn’t mean you stand ideal and accept the carnage. Otherwise, what’s the point in anything? There are atrocities everywhere so are you arguing that we shouldn’t care about atrocities because they’re human nature and they’re going to happen anyway, so perhaps we should just turn up the "American Idol" a little louder? That’s the only argument I have against pessimism is that it basically removes any sort of meaning, purpose or responsibility from the equation, unless this is an argument about how life doesn’t have a meaning and that we are only responsible to ourselves, making things like morals and ethics irrelevant and that we should all just stop trying because we’re living with a fantasy mindset.And never in my post did I say Israel shouldn’t protect itself. (I think I pointed out repeatedly that violence is only going to lead to more violence and a lot of Israel’s defensiveness is rooted in a history of being victimized by others.) I understand their side. I just don’t agree that cruelty met by cruelty equals "peaceful Middle East."My point was, they’re the sole military superpower of the Middle East. They blew up a nuclear reactor in Syria and all the Syrians could do was deny they were building a reactor. That’s power. There was no declaration of war. No retaliation. The Syrians are afraid of the Israelis. They’ve been beaten, badly, by them before. So Israel is not weak by any stretch. But all the military prowess in the world won’t solve this problem. All the military might hasn’t solved this problem. But if you’re going to make your homeland on confiscated ground you’re going to have to deal with everyone hating you, so I’d hope you’d brought a gun or something. Otherwise you certainly won’t last long.Once again, despite the many wars natives perpetrated against each other in the Americas, it still gives no one the moral right to murder millions of people and take their land. I’m making a moral argument, not one that speaks to the darker side of human nature which explains why people use perceived genetic superiority, greed, power or religion as a justification of genocide. It isn’t so much about optimism but about laws. One of the things I have long loved and admired about America is the fact that we have a stable government, peaceful transitions of power despite how divided politically the populace may be and the fact that you can have some form of Freedom of Speech that doesn’t end with a long stint in a political prison. America’s not a paradise, but I enjoy that part about our country and considering our history, it is amazing that we continue to try to build on those ideas, rather than destroy them.Not that it isn’t a constant battle and doesn’t take work and people have died for it, but we have that. It’s obtainable. And we’re messy violent humans here too.As for our previous discussion about the calculating Republicans, I honestly didn’t have much more to add there. I think the Republicans, like the Democrats are going to hold on to dear life to failing ideas for a while, not wanting to accept the fact that something went terribly, terribly wrong in their system. They’ll run elections and lose a few more times before it sinks in that you have to do more than put a ribbon on it and few fresh ethnic and/or female faces. As for people like Bobby Jindal and Palin, in the short term I don’t see him getting very far either. The party is a mess, but many of members are holding to the belief that they weren’t true enough to their dogma, not that the dogma has flaws. The Democrats did the same thing. You blame everyone for your losses, but yourself. And that lasted for decades on their end, unable to recalibrate after being in power for so long post-FDR’s reign.I don’t think the Republicans will wander in the wilderness that long. But the Dems lost their historical majorities with the advent of Reagan and went from ’68 to 2008 with only two Democrats as president, running unelectable candidate after candidate because they couldn’t let go and adapt. There are just too many unknowns there with the Republican Party when you’ve got both the youth and the oldesters scheming on how to bend the conservative voting public to their view.I realized that lacking a crystal ball, it didn’t make much sense to keep going into these unknowns. The more I looked at it and thought about it, I looked and saw nothing to hold on to. Everything had a thread that could be tugged that could cause the argument to fall completely apart.I need to do a little more "wait and see" on my end and that’s why I just stopped writing. I’m long-winded and opinionated, but I’m not one to labor the point when I don’t really have anything useful to add. I felt things had run their course on my end.

  11. half moon circle says:

    Ah, yes. The old Mcnamara "Rationality should be a guideline in war" axiom. If we firebombed Tokyo and killed a 100,000 civilians what was the purpose of the Atomic Bomb? If I knew that if I punched someone in the mouth they were going to come to my house and kill my whole family I wouldn’t punch them in the mouth. As far as I can tell Israel isn’t refuting the right of anyone to exist. And, personally, I would never boast my own rationality but I would defend to the death my right to exist. My larger point is this. There will never be a two-state solution(going back to the true Arab/Jew comment) . I think the only true way to peace is an Arab solution. Israel must have that little sliver of land they claim. Anything short of that(provided we still militarily support them) will result in the same bloodbath. I think my little "Give war a chance" lingo as perhaps inaccuratley altered perception about my stance on this. I do not want to see any people wiped off the face of the planet. But peace is in the hands of larger Arab states in the Region. If Egypt and Saudi would give the Palestinians their own region than perhaps war could be averted. None of the major players in the Middle East want peace because the Palestinans are doing the dirty work of what all of them want to happen. The destruction of Israel.

  12. Danielle Belton says:

    @ HalfmoonThe problem still lies in the fact that the Palestinians used to live where the Israelis are living now. They don’t want a homeland in Lebanon or Jordan or Egypt. They want their homes back. Even if countries like Lebanon opened up those resettlement camps and let the Palestinians living there be citizens I STILL think Israel would have a terrorism problem.That’s why I see it as an Israeli-Palestinian issue. Other countries simply use the conflict as a way to blind their people from the fact that their own various rulers, despots, dictators and royalty are taking advantage of them. It’s largely about propaganda. They need Israel. Without it they’d have no straw men to distract their populaces from their greed and incompetence.If the Israelis and the Palestinians find a way to reconcile and share the land, those Arab countries will be forced to deal with their own internal issues rather than leading people on to believe that paradise would irrupt if Israel were gone. The leaders of these countries don’t have death wishes. Many of them aren’t even religious ideologues. (Most are Western-style capitalists posing as religious ideologues to assuage their discontented populaces.) They talk a lot of shit about Israel, but no one is going to war. They need their people to be distracted to keep from any more revolutions, a la the rise of the Ayatollah in Iran in the 70s or Saddam’s recurring nightmare of a Shiite rebellion in the south, that would disrupt their hold on power.The Saudi princes need the cover. Saddam needed the cover. The Ayatollahs need the cover. Many Arab citizens are dirt poor with few rights. Take away the perfect distraction that is the conflict and they’re facing the angry mobs of their own citizens — French "Off-With-Their-Heads" Revolution-style, Afghanistan/Taliban-like lawlessness and religious fundamentalism.

  13. half moon circle says:

    That last post was for Wilma. Thanks for talking back Wilma. I feel like I came off as hostile and I didn’t mean to. I see your point.Snob, Morality is a slippery slope. I get into similar discussions with some of my mexican friends and it always goes to the "we were here first" mantra. So when is someone actually there first? The history of human nature is one of conquering. Which is really my larger point. I’m a as big a supporter as any of social justice, when tangible and objective, as anyone else. But I do not think any concessions made by Israeli will be met by a Lincolnesque humble heart by the palestinians. So I wouldn’t stop shelling either. Let’s take a break here to dabble a little moistening humor on this collection of dryness.http://video.google.com/videosearch?sourceid=navclient&rlz=1T4GGLJ_enUS311US311&q=christopher+titus&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wv&oi=property_suggestions&resnum=0&ct=property-revision&cd=1#q=christopher%20titus%20apologizes&emb=0If that doesn’t work google christopher titus apologizes. You may have seen it but I think it fits in this conversation.I love this country for the same reasons that you do. You’re right, as a social experiment America is truly a miracle. I don’t think Americans truly have a first person understanding of the Middle eastern conflict. Catholic/Protestant beef wasn’t the same once it got across the pond and we are the only West-African slave nation to truly agonize and almost tear ourselves apart over it. Haven’t heard much from Portugal about that lately even though they by far imported the most slaves. Americans tend to think of these things as a part of their own heritage or family, not in a geo political sense. I truly understand your frustration about this from a moral standpoint. War is a truly horrible thing. I have accepted that it is a part of life. I just believe that when war is done it should be done swiflty and terribly so everyone will see how horrible it is and not want anymore. How soon we forget things like that, ya know? I must tell you that this post was truly impressive. I’m not into the social stuff you do but this was a refreshing change. You’ll be hearing from me again if you continue to cover this type of stuff. thanks

  14. half moon circle says:

    I think you’re mistaking capitalist for tyrannical. Middle Eastern Leaders might be free market minded when it comes to international relations but I think it’s a stretch to say Adam Smith is the new hotness in the Arab Street. Are you saying that Israel is the little whipping boy that these leaders need to keep around to justify their own ends? That without Israel they wouldn’t have a diversion for their own incompetence? I get it. But I don’t buy it. Here’s another humorous video. Just to keep it temperate in here.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCGA9p2-jAoTo say that the fundamentalist nature of this conflict is simply an angle I don’t think is entirely accurate. But it has been done so I won’t throw up the B.S. flag. My experience with the locals over there has convinced me that most of them aren’t the religious zealots that we Americans are led to believe. It’s still a party in the Sunni Triangle during Rammaddan(spelling?). But if you can convince someone to fight and die for religion how real does it have to be? The ends have been served.What is truly depressing is that if every Christian church in America didn’t tie the destruction of Israel to whatever Armageddon spiel they’re selling and if this same entitiy wasn’t so politically powerful than no one would really give a shit.

  15. Danielle Belton says:

    @ HalfmoonHey, anytime. I actually wanted to be an International Relations major at one point in my life and I’m a history nerd (on top of all the other kinds of nerd I am). Sometimes I’ll look at Condi Rice and think, "Hey! That could have been me." Then I’ll remember that as much as I love to study the politics of other countries and their histories I didn’t want to be the person everyone is looking at going FIX THIS SHIT. I rag on Condi a lot, but I feel for the girl. Her boss was clueless on international issues AND she had to deal with a resurgent, Nationalist Russia AND the forever imploding Middle East. It’s amazing she just didn’t pull a Colin Powell and abandon ship.Although, technically, Colin was forced out. But I really think that was for the good soldier’s own benefit in the end.But I love talking/writing about it. I’m not all snark. But the snark DOES keep me from hurting people. My sense of humor is what keeps me from buying a lot of guns and moving to Belize. And war, one of the realities of human nature, is best if you can just get the damn thing over with. I believe that was the initial brilliance of the first Gulf War. Clear objectives. Clear game plan. Clear exit strategy. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a slow, dull war of attrition that I think most Americans are desensitized to for the reasons you mentioned. We’ve been relatively peaceful for so long. Our Civil War was just that bloody that no matter how angry people get here, everyone knows the alternative is far, far worse. Like, it’s better to ride out an American presidency you don’t like no matter what your beliefs are. (Folks always say they’re moving to Canada. Please. The last people to actual mean that when they said it were runaway slaves trying to get out from under the Fugitive Slave Act. THEY moved the Canada. Everyone else sucks it up.) I mean. It’s only four to eight years. Even if the country comes out a little messed up at the end of it, there’s still a good chance at a rebound because … yeah, we’re not breaking up anytime soon.No matter what the Russians are smoking right now.Don’t get me started on how ass-backwards their most popular "Texas will fall under the sphere of Mexico" theories. I think Mexico has more to fear from them falling under the sphere of Texas (if for some freak reason we imploded). I’m almost positive that one state’s GNP is better than most of Mexico. And my father’s a Texan. They’re crazy. Same for California. But the "we were here first argument" gets much dirtier when religion is involved. At the end of the day, Mexicans who still want to claim Texas and the American Southwest have to reconcile with the fact that they lost both those regions because the Spanish weren’t interested in populating the area with more Spanish and when the Spanish left the Mexicans didn’t do much to populate those areas with Mexicans. THEN they fought a war with those "gringos" over Texas and lost Texas when the US decided to back those gringos in a larger, Mexican-American War. THEN, later, a cash strapped Mexico SOLD us the rest of the Southwest to the US.Sure, the Adobe were still living there at the time, which was why the preferred their Spanish overlords to their American overlords to a certain extent (as Americans actually planned on settling the land and utilizing it, not just bragging about how they own some sweet, undeveloped real estate up "el norte.")But I think that’s mostly sour grapes. The Mexican citizenry just want an end to all the border bickering even though they’ve got a wee bit of a drug/human trafficking problem over there. (Not that our desire for cheap labor and drugs is helping this!) They don’t have religious ties to the land. They don’t think God promised it to them.The Navajo, on the other hand … hence, the reservations. It’s a reality that if the natives had the numbers (better technology and less tribal bickering), the Indian Wars may have lasted well beyond the 19th century.

  16. Danielle Belton says:

    @ HalfmoonI’m just saying Israel is a great foil if you’re Saudi Arabia and you have more to fear from Osama bin Laden’s influence and various other fundamentalists than the Israelis. The Israelis don’t want to overthrow Saudi Arabia, but the extremists do. The average citizen is stuck between a corrupt government and a very, very impassioned religious minority. Which side to you choose? In the case of Iran, they chose the Ayatollah over the money-minded, but screw the people Shah. A lot of these countries live in fear of their own people. The perfect example is Egypt. Their people are pro-Palestinian, there’s a dangerous terrorist streak in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood and they’re not a true Democracy. (And the citzens know it.) Yet the government fears the country falling into disarray because of the massive poverty and the anger at the incompetence in the government. But they don’t want to do the right thing, because then they wouldn’t be in power anymore. Therefore they have this hot/cold reaction to the conflict that a lot of Arab nations have.Without Israel as an antagonist they’ve got nothing to justify why they oppress their own people. I mean, the Saudi Prince isn’t a really a true believer and could care less about the Palestinians. But he does care about keeping his palaces. It’s pretty common for people in power to use a straw man to keep the masses from murdering them in their beds. It doesn’t always work. But it usually works for a long, long time. Saddam giving money to suicide bombers. Iran pretending to care. They’re all stunts to mollify their people so they can hold on to power and profit. I think the leaders gave up on trying to take back their land from Israel a long time ago. Hell, we pay Egypt to NOT fight Israel. They just don’t want to be perceived as weak. Weakness means instability. Instability means zealots take over your country. It’s not that the people are zealots. It’s that the zealots are the most determined and the leadership has treated the people so badly they’re willing to take a chance on the zealots (re: electing Hamas).And you’re right. If this place didn’t have religious significance, most Westerners would treat it with the same disdain as the continent of Africa, another resource rich region, once colonized and now an afterthought.

  17. half moon circle says:

    I agree with you about condi and, from everything I can tell, the world is your oyster. I couldn’t disagree more about the Gulf War. It was a huge political success but it would be foolhardy to think that Iraq II wasn’t a direct result of Iraq I(And I’m not talking about neocon revenge, "he tried to kill my daddy"or anything else we had unfinished business. period.). But I am impressed you see it that way, you must not be up to date on your highway of death photos. kidding.I hope you’re right about American resilence to stay together. But I’m not totally convinced of that either. It’s just the pessimism talking. The Russians that you elude to is one former KGB professor that’s been obcessing over this for years. It’s crap, we all know it’s crap, that’s that. But I Think Lenin framed the American predicament more accurately."The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them." I f***cking love Russian History by the way.

  18. half moon circle says:

    Snob,I’m out for the night. When you go light on the pop culture and pretentiousness and heavy on the politics, I shall return.

  19. RT says:

    I am a black American who converted to Judaism in Israel and became a citizen (I presently live in New York). I lived there for 4 years and I have never been rejected like a $3 dollar bill. I am just one of a growing population of black (non Ethiopian) people turning/returning to Judaism and making Israel home. All of the Jewish people are descend from a converts whether from Abraham the first Jew or more recent ones. Many of the greatest rabbis of Torah history were converts or the children of converts. And every Jew, born or converted, has a claim to the land of Israel and the Jewish heritageI like reading your blog but I think there is very clear truth and very clear right and wrong not matter how painful the results. Jewish history is long and deep, starting with the book of Genesis to today. But here are a few truths and factsThe Jewish presence in Israel in did not begin in 1948. Jews have been in the holy land for over 3000 years. (For those of you who are Christian, remember that Jesus the Jew wasn’t doing his thing in Utah) They built cities and temples (historians and archaeologists knows that the Temple mount had a the Beit HaMikdash on it before the Moslem-built golden dome.) Archeology in Israel reveals a great amount of Jewish artifacts and structures and very few Muslim onesFor much of Jewish history, the Jews of Israel were forced into exile by conquering nations Greek, Persian, Roman, etc. The books of the prophets are (Isaiah etal) the earliest accountIsrael has never been devoid of Jews. Even in the Ottoman Empire. Modern history gives account of the work of Jews to overthrow the Turkish (Ottoman) empire and support the following colonial masters, the British. (Who turned out to be as bad as the Turks)Israel was an undeveloped land before 1948. When Mark Twain visited the holy land, he described it as an empty swamp with a few stragglers trying to live on rocks. Muslim and Jews lived there, mostly in poverty. But 1948, after the Israelis fought the British for their independence it was like a rebirth. There is a big myth that all of the Jews in Israel came from Europe. The biggest "supporters" to Jews returning to there land were the Arab nations who expelled or violently harassed their Jewish residents – Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen, Turkey, Iraq, etc. These Jew had nowhere else to flee, other than to the only nation that would take them – Israel. This was millions of Jews. Half of the Jewish population of Israel is Sephardic/Mizrachi Jew (Jew from Arab countries of the Middle East and North Africa). Israel is the home of the Jewish people and the country will do everything to aid threatened Jews around the world, as was done in the 20th century for the Jews of Ethiopia. And perhaps soon, for the Jews of Uganda. Never again will any Jew have nowhere else to turn.Israel had no interest in fighting it Arab neighbors in 1948 (the surrounding Muslim state attacked Israel the day after it won independence in 1948 and Egypt de facto started the conflict of 1967). A nation of holocaust victims and Jewish refugees fleeing Arab states just getting on it legs could hardly want to fight anyone one. Most people were living in tents and lean-tos because there was no housing, little food, not quick access to water. Would you want to start a war when you had a population to house and feed? But fight they had to, because the Muslim states wanted one. And only by they grace of the Most High did the Jews prevail. When the Jews returned in huge numbers and started to build cities the Arabs started to return. No they were not in the holy land in huge numbers, as propaganda would have it. Even Yasir Arafat was a North African. Even look at the census survey of Gaza. A small refugee camp of less that half a million people exploded to millions in a few years. The reason: the average Muslim has more children that the average Jew.The state of Israel has 6 million Jews and 2 million Muslim Arab citizens and half a million Christians and othere. CITIZENS with all freedom and rights granted to every member of the state including representation in all branches of government. All Muslim Arab citizens are exempt from serving in the Israeli army. Contrast this to Hama in Gaza, who want a state of ONLY Muslims. Most of the Muslim Arab nation don’t acknowledge Israel’s existence. This is not democracy or a sign of respect for human rightsIn every war 1948, 1967, 1973, the surrounding Muslim states wanted a fight, started a fight and then cried "we are in a holocaust, we are victims" when they lost. Hamas started this fight. Instead of taking and trying to grow Gaza and have Arab self-determination and help, they fire bombs on Israel. I was living in Israel at the time of the removal of Jews from Gaza (forcibly by the Israeli government). The deal was all of Gaza back in exchange for a cessation of bombing and violence in southern Israel. So who broke that deal? There is NOT a single Jew in Gaza. But the bombs that fell on southern Israel have never ceased. Israel is on the right side of democracy and the front line of the war on terrorism and people who want to destroy all that is free, democratic and fair. Hamas is a terrorist group bent on destruction of the state of Israel NOT on creating the seed of a viable state in Gaza. They sacrifice their people for the cause of hatred and terror. It is a fact that Hamas publishes school text book spreading hate for all Jew and preaching on the destruction of all "non muslims". This is what they teach the future generations. Is this the seed of peace? They guarantee no shortage of terrorists or hate. If Hamas were a non-violent like the Dr. King and the civil rights marchers they would have had what they wanted a long time ago. But that is not their goal. What have they delivered to the people they profess to care about? If one sows the seeds of hate and violence you not reap peaceful fruit.In America because all people see here are white Ashkenazi Jew they believe that Jew are white and the Middle East conflict is a race/colonial thing. Israel is the reflection of the Jewish people. We are white and black, Hispanic and Asian, very multicultural and multiracial and we seek peace and we are on the front line of fight against hate and terror. Where is Hamas?

  20. Danielle Belton says:

    @ HalfmoonOh, anytime. Per the Gulf War though, that was my example of a "fast" war. Not necessarily a good one. (Especially if you were one of the poor Shiites who believed Papa Bush when they thought we were seriously going all the way to Baghdad.) And I am one who believes Gulf War I and Iraq War are intrinsically tied. We never did stop bombing the no-fly zones. The embargo lasted for decades. We’ve basically been engaged in some form of warfare with the country (whether fighting them or supporting them during the war with Iran) since the 1980s.And America’s biggest threat has always been the same threats to every country, individuals whose interests are about the individual (re: money in the case of capitalism, power in the case of tyrants and imperialists) and not the greater society (even if they talk a good society game.)What do dictators and multinational corporations have in common? Neither has a heart.

  21. A concerned observer of the Gaza destruction says:

    Snob, This was an excellent post. I didn’t really understand the background underlying the conflict until it was explained here (and elaborated on among the comments). I appreciate what everyone has shared here. The US media doesn’t do a great job of making sure we understand the genesis of the conflict nor are they willing to display the realities of the carnage of war (the international media do a much better job of this – it’s worth checking out BBC and other international outlets every once in a while).Can someone please get this article and the Fromkin book in front of Bush 43 (even though it doesn’t matter anymore-he has time now to expand his knowledge) and David Paterson (who are both fond of the phrase of Israel’s need to protect HERself (like the country is a newborn baby girl-using personification to try to justify this country’s violence). President Obama would benefit by seeing this also so that we can be sure he understands the position(s) of the Arab people for whom he alluded during his inauguration speech he wants to build bridges of peace towards.Yes, I do love Obama – but I wonder during his presidency if he’s going to be able to hear the perspectives of truly objective persons who are willing to acknowledge the history and the positions of both sides of this deeply divided issue without bias, or will he tow the line of the misinformed and inadequately informed and also not want to rattle his monetarily and media well-connected Jewish supporters who believe Israel is our little sister who needs to be protected from the big bad bullies as our most recent past leader wanted us to believe. I stress to all of us to go beyond the major news outlets and get other broader perspectives, we shouldn’t just feed on what is most convenient – that is why so many Americans (myself included) are ignorant of the motivations and history behind this conflict and what we do hear is usually one-sided.

  22. Anonymiss says:

    Hey Snob,Props, props, and endless props!I love how you humanized the Palestinian people in this piece. So many Americans are under the impression that the Palestinian people are belligerent and angry without reason. My old stomping grounds has a Middle Eastern population. I learned so much from my friends and their families.I’ve never experienced the pain that they’ve been through or the pain that has brought them to the States but I can understand. Being a woman of color helps me empathize.

  23. Sevenofnine says:

    "Lets take things as they are, with a hope for the best after the initial stun has passed." ( from your post GREAT EXPECTATIONS AND THE HUMANITY OF OTHERS, ) For me, the initial STUN, or you might say blemish on Obama’s administration, is the massacre of nearly 1000 of Palestinian children, using American bunker buster bombs, and experimental weapons such as white phosphorus and DIM, destroying civilian bodies in a way that was never seen before. Is it just a coincidence that the hostilities were resumed BY THE ISRAELI’S, on November 4th, the day of Obama’s election, and ceased by the Israeli’s January 20th, on the day of his inauguration. During this time, Obama’s designated chief of staff, Rom Emanuel an Israeli American dual citizen who served in the Israeli Army, and whose father was a member of the Israeli terrorist group Irgun., made a trip to Africa, e.g. Egypt, because his name was being mentioned in the Blogovich scandal. Blogovich was offering to sell Obama’s senate seat, remember? He was indicted on December 9th. Is it possible Rom obtained a concession from Israel to end the war on inauguration day? Does this absolve Obama from this initial blemish on his presidency?As you see, I am angry too! What bothers me most of all, are the lies that pass for truth about this latest Palestine massacre, and the full support that the US Congress has given to the slaughter! Did you know that a relief ship carrying Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney, a former member of Congress, was intentionally rammed by Israeli ships at night and then left to sink, before the Congressional vote? Only a call to the Lebanonese Navy saved her / them!Of course, the first and greatest massacre of Palestinians was the Nakba, (or catastrophe) during the war of 1948, when over 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes. Some of them were shot in the back while they were leaving. You can read more about this first Nakba (catastrophe) here:http://www.democracynow.org/2008/5/15/as_palestinians_mark_60th_anniversary_ofand also here:http://www.democracynow.org/2008/5/16/as_israelis_celebrate_independence_and_palestinians(Israel doesn’t like the term "Nakba" because it competes with the Jewish holocaust, and has asked the United Nations to stop using it.)MY SOLUTION TO THE ISRAELI.-PALESTINE PROBLEM IS FOR JOURNALISTS LIKE YOU AND ME TO WRITE THE TRUTH, AND NOT SIMPLY IGNORE THE ATROCITIES AS SO MANY OF OUR COLLEAGUES AND ELECTED OFFICIALS DO!If journalists like Judith Miller, writing about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction in the New York Times, can beat the drums for war,, journalists speaking truth can also stop a war. This is what happened in the aftermath of Vietnam. (There is a new movie about Judith Miller called, get this, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH.) One journalist who speaks the truth, and is is almost never is invited to appear in the major US media is NOAM CHOMSKY, the prize winning Professor of Linguistics at M.I.T Chomsky critiqued Obama’s stance on Palestine three days after his inauguration on Jan 23rd:http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/23/noam_chomsky_obamas_stance_on_gaza =================================Chomsky said:"But in a broader sense—and this is a crucial omission in everything Obama said, and if you know who his advisers are, you understand why—Israel can defend itself by stopping its crimes. Gaza and the West Bank are a unit. Israel, with US backing, is carrying out constant crimes, not only in Gaza, but also in the West Bank, where it is moving systematically with US support to take over the parts of the West Bank that it wants and to leave Palestinians isolated in unviable cantons, Bantustans, as Sharon called them. Well, stop those crimes, and resistance to them will stop. Now, Israel has been able pretty much to stop resistance in the Occupied Territories, thanks in large part to the training that Obama praised by Jordan, of course with US funding and monitoring control. So, yes, they’ve managed to. They, in fact, have been suppressing demonstrations, even demonstrations, peaceful demonstrations, that called for support for the people of Gaza. They have carried out lots of arrests. In fact, they’re a collaborationist force, which supports the US and Israel in their effort to take over the West Bank. Now, that’s what Obama—if Israel—there’s no question that all of these acts are in total violation of the foundations of international humanitarian law. Israel knows it. Their own advisers have told each other—legal advisers have explained that to them back in ’67. The World Court ruled on it. So it’s all total criminality. But they want to be able to persist without any objection. And that’s the thrust of Obama’s remarks. Not a single word about US-backed Israeli crimes, settlement development, cantonization, a takeover in the West Bank. Rather, everyone should be quiet and let the United States and Israel continue with it."Chomsky also said:"JUAN GONZALEZ: Noam Chomsky, I’d like to ask you about the enormous civilian casualties that have shocked the entire world in this last Israeli offensive. The Israelis claim, on the one hand, that it’s the unfortunate result of Hamas hiding among the civilian population, but you’ve said in a recent analysis that this has been Israeli policy almost from the founding of the state, the attack on civilian populations. Could you explain? NOAM CHOMSKY: They say so. I was just quoting the chief of staff—this is thirty years ago, virtually no Palestinian terrorism in Israel, virtually. He said, "Our policy has been to attack civilians." And the reason was explained—you know, villages, towns, so on. And it was explained by Abba Eban, the distinguished statesman, who said, "Yes, that’s what we’ve done, and we did it for a good reason. There was a rational prospect that if we attack the civilian population and cause it enough pain, they will press for a," what he called, "a cessation of hostilities." That’s a euphemism meaning cessation of resistance against Israel’s takeover of the—moves which were going on at the time to take over the Occupied Territories. So, sure, if they—"We’ll kill enough of them, so that they’ll press for quiet to permit us to continue what we’re doing." Actually, you know, Obama today didn’t put it in those words, but the meaning is approximately the same. That’s the meaning of his silence over the core issue of settling and takeover of the Occupied Territories and eliminating the possibility for any Palestinian meaningful independence, omission of this. But Eban [inaudible], who I was quoting, chief of staff, would have also said, you know, "And my heart bleeds for the civilians who are suffering. But what can we do? We have to pursue the rational prospect that if we cause them enough pain, they’ll call off any opposition to our takeover of their lands and resources." But it was—I mean, I was just quoting it. They said it very frankly. That was thirty years ago, and there’s plenty more beside that." ===========================================In closing, I’d like to encourage your readers to subscribe to DEMOCRACY NOWat http://www.democracynow.org. You can have transcript of Democracy Now delivered daily to your mail box, just like the Black Snob’s .DEMOCRACY NOW is also offered FREE OF CHARGE for broadcast your local community radio or TV station.

  24. Sevenofnine says:

    Post script: It is unthinkable that George Mitchell, Obama’s representative in the Middle East, has no plans to stop and see the damage in Gaza, during his current tour. I think it has something to do with Obama’s position that Hamas being the terrorist organization so we can’t negotiate with them. Mitchell who represents Obama, is not going to let the facts on the ground such as of 1300 civilians killed, and the intentional destruction of UN Schools where women and children were taking shelter, change his mind. It’s like hear no evil, see no evil. A your head in the sand approach!Obama asks us to let him know when he is wrong. Now is a good time!

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