Thursday, November 15, 2012

Israel Bombs Palestine--again. November 14, 2012

Sorry in advance about the font, readers. I'm not sure what's going on.

Today, Wednesday, November 14, 2012, Israel attacked Gaza--and the attack is still going on as I write this. What happened was, "Israeli air craft carried out more than 70 air strikes killing 11 Palestinians, among them two children and one woman. In addition, 100 others were wounded among them at least 15 children and 18 women, according to medics." In fact, it's been going on since November 8, almost a week ago. How do Israel and the U.S. media "justify" it? "Palestine attacked first," they tell us. (Sounds like something kids say, no? "She started it! .... He started it!" Clearly, not all of us grow up.) 

Gaza & Israel
The reality, however, is that this is simply a continuation of the "irrational lust for violence that we've seen repeatedly from Israel." Israel's claim--and America's support of Israel's claim--that Palestine started it and that Israel was only trying to defend itself is an absurd, unethical, and unjustified claim that is far from the truth. Here, I'm going to quote Omid Safi, Professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University, who writes:
The Israeli “response/retaliation” narrative is a myth.    
This myth is a common one that depicts Israeli aggressive actions against Palestinian civilians always and only as a justified “retaliation.”    What this narrative leaves out is the broader context, one that goes back to the illegal Israeli occupation of Gaza, the economic choking of Gaza that has resulted in a 50% unemployment rate, and a deliberate Israeli policy of actually starving Palestinian civilians to death.      
What this “retaliation” narrative also leaves out is the much more recent history, including Israeli attacks on Gaza in November that preceded any Palestinian rocket attacks.
Given the vast amount of misinformation and the deeply entrenched nature of the “retaliation” myth, I am going to quote this timeline in full, which shows how over the last week it was actually Israeli forces that invaded Gaza and escalated the crisis.  Jadaliyya has a thorough listing of these Israeli attacks.   

Here's a timeline of Israeli attacks on Gaza since November 8th.

Following a two-week lull in violence, Israeli soldiers invade Gaza. In the resulting exchange of gunfire with Palestinian fighters, a 12-year-old boy is killed by an Israeli bullet while he plays soccer.
Shortly afterwards, Palestinian fighters blow up a tunnel along the Gaza-Israel frontier, injuring one Israeli soldier. 

An anti-tank missile fired by Palestinian fighters wounds four Israeli soldiers driving in a jeep along the Israel-Gaza boundary.
An Israeli artillery shell lands in a soccer field in Gaza killing two children, aged 16 and 17. Later, an Israeli tank fires a shell at a tent where mourners are gathered for a funeral, killing two more civilians, and wounding more than two dozen others. 
One Palestinian civilian is killed and dozens more wounded in Israeli attacks. Four Israeli civilians are also injured as a result of projectiles launched from Gaza, according to the Israeli government.
During an Israeli government cabinet meeting, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz urges the government to “cut off the head of the snake… take out the leadership of Hamas in Gaza.” He also calls for a cutting off of water, food, electricity, and fuel shipments to Gaza’s 1.7 million people.

Palestinian militant factions agree to a truce if Israel ends its attacks.
Israel breaks two days of calm by assassinating Ahmed Jabari, the head of Hamas' military wing. According to reports, at least eight other Palestinians are killed in Israeli attacks, including at least two children. Palestinian militant groups vow to respond.

Tell me this image does nothing to you.
As much as the politics behind wars can be manipulated so as to "justify" something as irrational, as inhumane, as cruel as an attack on the lives of other humans, we keep overlooking the simple point that should make everyone stand against all wars: the unnecessary loss of human life, thus the destruction of family life. We see heart-wrenching images of desperate, weeping parents holding their year-old babies in their arms, dead, burnt alive, destroyed, limbs scattered across the ground--in an attack on civilians. What kind of a human is not moved by such an image? Do there really live people among us who have no one to love and who are loved by no one to be able to look at those images and tear apart?

Emotions. "Don't bring emotions into this," people say. "War knows no emotions." Ahh - but that's exactly the claim we need to challenge! Guess who fights wars - that's right: humans. Guess who gets killed in wars - that's right: humans. Emotions cannot be separated from a human, whether male or female or anything else. Men might claim to not show emotions (in public), but the moment their child falls ill, gets kidnapped (God forbid), passes away (God forbid)--guess what happens: the fathers go crazy, as do the mothers.

How many more innocent lives does Israel intend to steal from Palestine? Forget the theft of land--what of the theft of life? What could be a grander, more unforgivable sin, a more despicable crime than the theft of life?

For caption, please click
Like many people, I often find myself wondering... does the Israeli military, Jewish by faith (and/or race) not remember the holocaust? Or have they somehow negotiated the memory of the holocaust so as to allow themselves to indulge in this vicious and terrifying war on Palestinians? How can it be that the rest of the world (Western world, rather) remembers the holocaust and even punishes anyone who denies the terror of the holocaust, but there goes Israel -- repeating history but with different groups of perpetrators and victims. Irrational? If this isn't irrational, I don't know what is. How quickly we forget our past! How wrongly, unjustly, irrationally we avenge our sufferings. No, what Israel is doing to Palestine cannot be seen as revenge. Firstly, it wasn't Muslims who committed the holocaust (Hitler was a Christian)--although that is not at all to suggest that Israel should be wiping off Christians and not Muslims. Secondly, what's going on between Israel and Palestine cannot be reduced to something as simple as revenge. This historical and complex problem needs to be explained in more detail, which I'll do in another blog post. This post isn't intended to be historical; it's more a commentary on Israel's attacks on Gaza since the last few days and how easily the U.S. media has either justified it or completely ignored it. 
Let us remind ourselves that the nation that fights "wars on terror" in other nations financially and morally supports the terroristic activities of Israel against Palestine. As Professor Safi notes, "The American response continues to be one of “condemning” Palestinian attacks, but remaining silence in face of Israeli atrocities.  Why the double speak?  Are the Palestinian lives worth any less than Israeli lives? Are they the children of a lesser God?" Why does this "great, democratic, progressive, anti-terror" nation of ours that is always fighting other people's wars with the pretext of supposedly "maintaing peace in this wonderful world of ours that we all share" not only never condemn Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians but even supports it greatly? It is high time we started to be more skeptical of the knowledge that is fed to us, of the secrets that are hidden from us but that are very much our business because the murder of any civilian, be it one or a billion, is ever human's business. It is high time we started turning to more than one source of information for a more honest, more fair understanding of what exactly is going on, who is behind it, and what our responsibility is as humans, as citizens of the one same world to help put an end to it. If it can happen to one nation today, it can happen to another today. Yesterday, we witnessed Hitler wiping Jews off the face fo the earth but fortunately failing; today, we see the survivors of the holocaust desperately trying to wipe Palestinians off the face of the earth. 

In an upcoming post on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I will attempt to discuss the historical bases of what's going on, what "Zion" actually is, who was behind pushing for "Zion" (initially, it was Christians, not even Jews), and how it got to where it is today. In an article after that, I will discuss some of the attacks, and their dates, that Israel has initiated on Palestinians. 
Remember: "If we don't end war, war will end us," rightly says a wise man named H. G. Wells. Or, as someone else said, "When the rich fight war, it is the poor who die." Today, they're coming for them; tomorrow, they'll come for you and me. Who'll fight for us when no one's left? How will we fight for ourselves? 
These are some painfully scary times we live in today. Do those of us who are living in a relatively peaceful environment wake up every morning and wonder what we did to be living in peace while our brothers and sisters not too far from us are suffering in violence that is in fact advanced by the country many of us love more than our dear selves (for those of us who are Americans)?
Peace be upon us all, may peace be upon all. I cannot imagine a more dire moment in history when a messiah was needed.... I really can't. Peace be with you, Palestine. Peace be with you. The world owes you so much love and help.... 

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