Monday, January 12, 2009

things go from bad to worse

Seventeenth-century representation of Jerusalem.

Things are not getting any better in Israel and Palestine. Almost a thousand Palestinians have been killed and Israel is expanding their offensive. At the same time, it seems that the Israeli Elections Committee has banned Israeli Arab parties. Josh Marshall gives some context here, but it is still disturbing.

Meanwhile it seems that almost all the discussion and reporting on the issue is one-sided and simplistic. Let me state my position: I am pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian, anti-Hamas and against current Israeli policy. I oppose what the Israeli government is doing now in the same way I opposed my own government's war against Iraq: not only is it immoral, heartless, and cynical, but actually increases the long-term security problems for Israel, much like our invasion of Iraq has weakened our own security situation.

I'd like to point out some voices for sanity amidst all the screaming. William posted the reflections of our friend David Kersh, and David also put them up on his own blog. J Street defines itself as "the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement." Richard Silverstein blogs at Tikun Olam, which is "a Mishnaic term meaning 'repair [or mend] the world'.'' Check out these resources. Let's deepen the conversation a bit.

And pray for peace.

UPDATE: Are the Israelis using chemical weapons against the civilian population? From the New York Times:

Palestinians interviewed in Gaza on Monday cited another reason for their flight: Israel soldiers, they said, are firing rounds of a noxious substance that burns skin and makes it hard to breathe.

A resident of southwest Gaza City on Monday showed a reporter a piece of metal casing with the identifying number M825A1, which Marc Garlasco, a military analyst with Human Rights Watch, identified as white phosphorus, typically used for signaling, smoke screens and destroying enemy equipment.

In recent years, experts and rights advocates have argued over whether its use to intentionally harm people violates international conventions.

Major Dallal would not say whether Israel was using white phosphorus, but said, “The munitions we use are consistent with international law.”

Still, white phosphorus can cause injury, and a growing number of Gazans report being hurt by it, including in Beit Lahiya, Khan Yunis, and in eastern and southwestern Gaza City. When exposed to air, it ignites, experts say, and if packed into an artillery shell, it can rain down flaming chemicals that cling to anything they touch.

Luay Suboh, 10, from Beit Lahiya, lost his eyesight and some skin on his face Saturday when, his mother said, a fiery substance clung to him as he darted home from a shelter where his family was staying to pick up clothes.

The substance smelled like burned trash, said Ms. Jaawanah, the mother who fled her home in Zeitoun, who had experienced it too. She had no affection for Hamas, but her sufferings were changing that. “Do you think I’m against them firing rockets now?” she asked, referring to Hamas. “No. I was against it before. Not anymore.”


crystal said...

I am pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian, anti-Hamas and against current Israeli policy.

Me too. Thanks for the links. I saw a pretty good post from about a week ago at Religion Dispaches - Israel in Gaza: Right but not Smart by Rabbi Michael Lerner.

cowboyangel said...

>Meanwhile it seems that almost all the discussion and reporting on the issue is one-sided and simplistic.

Many people would agree with that statement, though not in the way you intend:

LI rally supports Israel's military campaign in Gaza

Alan Mindel, 37, of Lake Success, one of the organizers of yesterday's event, said he was motivated because of what he called one-sided media coverage of events in Gaza.

"We turned on the news and there was no representation of the suffering that Israelis had," Mindel said.

I'm not sure what he's been watching. Palestinian TV, perhaps?

Meanwhile, politicians - many of them Democrats, instead of encouraging actual dialog, are at these kind of rallies. Al Franken finally wins Minnesota and immediately appears at a Pro-Israel rally. Gov. Paterson shows up at the one in NY with Chuck Schumer.

So I can write my senators - Schumer and Clinton - but what good would it do?

To even suggest that there may be two points of view in this conflict marks you as a terrorist lover or worse. It's the same brain-dead mindset that got us into Iraq. The shrill cry of war while demonizing those who call for rational discussion.

I can't even follow this story any more - it's too depressing.

Liam said...

Hi Crystal,

Thanks for the link, although he also uses that silly, inexact, and unhelpful comparison, "If Mexico attacked the US with missles..." Still, another sane voice.

Liam said...


Yeah, it's very sad. Once again, the Dems run sheep-like away from controversy. I did send emails to my senators, though I know that's a waste of time, especially in New York.

victor said...

From an outsider looking in, it would seem to me that too many gods are involved in this dispute or are they just lost souls and/or spirits aliens who simply believe that they truly are gods?

Whatever the case may be, it would also appear that these so called gods think that The Blessed Trinity is very passive indeed and maybe they also believe that one should do on to others what should be done to each other but it this case, let’s do "IT" first.

For what it's worth, it's just my Canadian $0.02 opinion.

God Bless,


Liam said...

What a surprise -- anonymous and puerile comments who refer to a Jewish blogger as "anti-Semitic" get deleted immediately. Have the guts to give yourself a name and leave the kindergarten comments at the door.

Liam said...

Let me make it clear that I was addressing someone who left a comment I deleted.