Hillary Clinton’s tight-lipped glare says it all. The expected ceasefire in Gaza today did not materialize. Israel still bombing, Hamas still launching rockets.
I watch as the hardliners on both sides reinforce each other — delegitimizing not Israel, nor Hamas, but the Palestinian Authority.
Worse still, they knowingly do so at the cost of other people’s lives.
I watch in wordless misery.
It is stunning to watch this. Sad, infuriating.
Part of me wonders if the people living there will ever rise up and toss these hardliners and their militants out. They aren’t going to leave on their own, and it looks to me like they have the same problem we do here- the squeaky wheels are given bullhorns, and everyone not on the fringe watches in near silence.
Wordless misery. That says it all. Dammitt.
OK- here’s my question for you.
What drives this war? I keep running into discussions online, and the language always seems the same. The Israelis I know make the very good point that the Palestinians are indiscriminately shooting rockets at them and that they can’t exchange land for peace.
On the Palestinian side the argument is that they want their land, they want the blockade to end, and that the Israelis use their armies superior technology and firepower to respond with indiscriminate killing… and that all the dead are “martyrs”.
Why does it seem to me that using the same language will inevitably bring the same results? Where are the moderates? Who is using different language to define the problem, and to produce solutions?
Right now I see the two sides apparently speaking different languages (figuratively in addition to the rather obvious literal aspect). How do they expect to create understanding without creating common language?
Ah, but what makes you assume that either the Israeli government or the Hamas leadership is interested in understanding? They do already have a common language, however: hardline irredentism.
Ah- I guess I should be more specific. I see posts and read a lot of stuff from people on the far sides of this issue. What’s the language, what are the stories, the talking points of the people who aren’t on the militant end of this stick? I’m sure they are out there; why aren’t they heard more and louder? Too hard to listen to reason when there is easy hyperbole that needs so much less thought?
And where do we find that reasonable language? How does one help spread it? How do I reply to my Jewish friends who state that it is not possible to trade “land for peace” and that inevitably leads to why all Israel does is defend its people, or the Palestinian sympathizers (sadly, I can’t say I have any Palestinian friends who are muddying up my social media) who post the “martyr” dogma.
Lavrans — You’re right, the moderates are there (and here), but as usual, out-shouted, drowned out by the violence, noise, and bombast of extremists. One thing that strikes me is how absolutist both Israeli and Palestinian partisans in the United States are, often arguing almost cartoon stances. The emotional investment is undeniable, but however deep our anger and disgust, we need to remember that it’s also ruthlessly manipulated by hardline irredentists on all sides. We all need to resist this, since as you say, it only makes it all the harder to have any kind of productive exchange — of words, let alone territory. It serves the interests of nobody but the hardliners, those whose greatest fear is the prospect of the difficult mutual compromises necessary for any kind of long-term resolution. Those who thrive, that is, on conflict — and who oppose the current (non-Hamas) Palestinian bid for full UN status, which I totally support.
How can we say…one side do this and other side do blah blah.
Any so called even handed analysis would be justification of mass killing by apparent powerful and aggressor.
We are deceiving ourselves and feigned to be naive.
That’s what I’ve been arguing, to some extent. That to use the common method, which is to count bodies and try to decide who’s actions are more justified can only lead to entrenched positions, rather than conversation.
Better, it seems to me, that the conversation turn to the common ground that is so much harder to find. It takes the work of reason and restraint- to not think about that boy when thinking of the wrongs, but to think about the real lesson of his death. His death isn’t a beacon to the evil of one side, and it’s not an example of the callousness of one side, nor is he a martyr to a cause- his death is an example of what happens when two groups are willing to ignore the consequences of their actions.
No act of retribution will bring him back.
Conversation is meaningless when weaker side could be slapped around to bow to unjustified demands…work of reason and restraint is luxurious fantasy in this case.
Stronger A would never kill the child of weaker B, if he knows B can also kill his child in retribution.
We as outsider should have enough courage to call a spade a spade..yes why not count the bodies…after all these numbers are human beings..lets decide who is aggressor by number of bodies then quit saying “Israel has right to defend”…Mass killing in so called self defence is no defence rather terrorizing the neighboring inhibitants of different race and creed….oops !!!…I should not have used “terrorist” exclusive copyright of west.
The best we can do from outside…to not give Israeliz any moral justification of mass killing as their right to defend.
Lets not bomb Israeli kids in retribution, at least make them feel guilty…let them feel what they have done…do not give them justification by calling it two side problem.
No one knew the power of benevolence, patience and defeat unless Imam Hussain gave his life in utmost humaneness.
And yet, Netanyahu’s line also has perfectly good reasoning behind it:
“The moment we draw symmetry between the [intentional] victims of terror and the unintended casualties that result from legitimate military action against the terrorists, the minute that false symmetry is drawn, the terrorists win.”
Both tear at the heart strings, both are rational seeming words. The Israeli’s have their “martyrs”, too. They know the terror of rockets and what it is like to lose a child. When Palestine complains about the blockade, the Israeli’s can complain about the Hamas leaders agreeing to a two party state, so long as “Israel isn’t one of the parties”. When Gaza complains about the blockade, Israel can complain about being surrounded by hostile countries who want them eliminated merely because they are Jewish.
You look at a child’s body and say he was killed by Israelis, I can’t help but note that it was two hands that killed him, one a Palestinian hand, the other an Israeli hand. Perhaps you can excuse the blood on that Palestinian hand, but I cannot see the difference in his blood no matter which hand it is on.
More importantly- how can you say you want peace if you want the children of Israel to feel shame? From outside I know that all you get with shame is anger.
International terrorist wins but not against Israel…they win against their own Muslims.
A people who are defenseless, innocent, out-powered and outgunned are being attacked and killed while the world watches.
Gaza is a prison, where the inmates are killed for very little provocation, if any. They are being attacked for existing. That is enough provocation. It is not only the misery of a brutal death, but also dying in the knowledge that the world does not care, or perhaps, is with the aggressor.
However, the world does not watch in silence. Worse, excuses are being made for the killers. The victim is being blamed. The murdered has brought it upon him. Can it be termed a war if only one side does all the killing? Nothing has been done to provoke the aggressor, yet it remains provoked, because it wants to be provoked, because it can. Innocent women and children murdered in cold blood. Even before the killing takes place, the apologists have the script ready. Sounds familiar, all of this, does it not? A state of affairs that is easy to condemn. It seems not.
Who made these Palestinians hostile..you sould not worry about hostile countries…they all sit when commanded to sit..they are obedient monarch of west installed as western interest Tyrant on their people.
How those Palestinians who give their land and home to Jews in the first place, becomes hostile.
Friendly neighbor doesn’t suit Israel…they need hostile neighbor as reason for further expansion…and to carry on as watch dog for western interest in oil rich territory.
All these Saudi kings and midget of Jordan and Arab Sheikhs does not fear west…geogrophically they are no threat but YES they fear Israel and that we call purpose served.
I wish I could cut n paste this kids smiling dead body
They took away his life but not his smile. His smile is a sad reflection of cruel reality of global politics of hate. Shame.
I also see all the blame is put on hardliners from both sides.
Plaestinian hardliners(Hammas) were recently added in the picture…History of Palestinian suffering is well before any hardliners exist.
We come up with such gems when we are not ready to face the reality but always ready to hide the truth
AJ- look at your words.
They are the words of recrimination, that ask to dredge up the crimes, the insults, the slights of the past. I have heard your line of reasoning, and the accompanying refrain from Israel.
I am not an Israeli, I am not a Palestinian.
My question is what you would do, what would you ask, if you were to make peace in the region. What would you ask in order to live in peace and without the sword of Damocles hanging over your neighborhood? How would you make it possible to have a neighborhood that is equally filled with Israelis and Palestinians?
What would you do to make yourself and your neighbors proud to have Israel as a neighbor, as an ally? What would you do to make Israel want to have Palestine as a neighbor, and to be proud of calling Palestine their ally?
We all know the past well enough- how do you get beyond the history to a place where both can live in harmony? That’s what I am curious about. I don’t need to hear about the recriminations, about the pain and shame and fear. I know those stories. I don’t know the stories about how that is overcome.
Pointing a crime with the culprit is not dredging the crime.
And truth should never be taken as insult…Yes past history establish the running course.
Apologist with ready script always come up with “Israel has a right to defend”.
Defend against whom…stone throwing kidz…and with assumption that neighboring Plaestinians are hostile…now we need history.
People are against each other due to race,creed and religion..Palestiniana happened to be Muslim.
Three time Jews were expelled from Jerusalem by Christians and all the three times Muslims welcome them back.
First Khalifa Umar Bin Khattab welcome them back then Saladin Ayubi and third time today’s Palestinians….all happened to be Muslim and Arabs. Historically they are not hostile towards Jews.
I am glad you point my refrain toward Israel, not Jews.
You right on spot ask for a solution…Although its not easy but very much possible…a greater responsibility lies on Israel….Hammas ready for 67 border…do you think Israel would agree.
Israel in 21st century can not aford policy of apartheid….one neighbor is rich with tall buildings and top notch schooling and best health facilities…other side is blocked even for necessary medicines and milk and food for babies.
For the sake of argument I buy that in the name of food, arms are smuggled into Gaza. Israel should take matters in its own hands and capture all the shipment and then supply on their own all the food and medicine to Gaza..that will win the heart of people there…first step necessary towards peace but eventually lead to lost effect of “hostile neighbor” rhetoric.
You know and all of us know Israeli blockade is nothing but to punish whole nation of Gaza…in my opinion Gazans are human being, hopefully you will agree with this opinion…no pun intended.
I wish I were a Jew to say all these words…my being Muslim will not compromise my zeal for justice.
We are human being, if we can not feel the pain of other human beings then we are apologist zombies, who is not ready to do the least he/she can do i.e. point the culprit and held him responsible.
May I suggest that justice is one thing, coexistence another? That there is no perfect justice in this world? That all sides need to compromise? [see here what I’ve written in the past about the impossibility of perfection.]
Lavrans has an excellent question: how do we get beyond history? Can we? Or are we doomed to keep digging the pit deeper and deeper? Are we so bound by the past that we can no longer imagine a future?
(I say ‘we’ with some trepidation, since whatever ‘we’ come up with here, it’s the people living there who have to do the hard work.)
Worth remembering too, AJ: I don’t know the percentage, but a sizable number of Palestinians are Christian, and have been for close on two millennia.
A solution I suggest has nothing to do with past…Lets win the hearts of people…treat them equal…a Palestinian baby died due to lack of medicine and food, should also be considered death of a human being..is it to much to ask….and all my suggestions addressed to those who think Israel has right to defend…a lesser hostile Palestinian is best defence.
I have another suggestion but that will earn me great disrespect from apologists….Lets equip Palestinians with 1/10th of arms Israel have…that will greatly reduce loss of life and better living conditions for Gazan…Israel won’t dare stopping their food supply in the name of arm smuggling.
I was not talking about perfection in anything…after all we are human being, we are endowed with senses and common sense and we can see the obvious…we don’t have to be rocket scientist to tell who is aggressor and who is suffering.
Lesley does not believe in perfection so she should not be believing in absolute imperfection…a whole nation is declared terrorist because their kidz can throw stones and they have few missiles too.
Their suffering is justified because their kidz are terrorist.
A killer always have a motive and justification for his act…we should not hold him accountable because our judgment against him could never be perfect…thats silly, though I was not talking about perfection…yes I was talking about the result of killer’s act…loss of human life and human suffering.
Palestinians are predominantly Muslim…many of them are African aborigine but still they are known as Arab…Lesley and I could never be on same page in any set of discussion.
When Will the Killing War in Iran Begin? It Already Has
“Economic sanctions are, at their core, a war against public health.” –The New England Journal of Medicine 
By Stephen Gowans
November 06, 2012 “Information Clearing House” – While campaigns are organized to deter the United States and Israel from acting on threats to launch an air war against Iran, both countries, in league with the European Union (winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize) carry on a low-intensity war against Iran that is likely to be causing more human suffering and death than strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities would. This is a war against public health, aimed at the most vulnerable: cancer patients, hemophiliacs, kidney dialysis patients, and those awaiting transplants.