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.”