Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It's Time to Condemn Israel and Require More Concessions for Peace

What came first, the Palestinian terrorism, targeting of civilians, and suicide attacks on Israel chicken or the Israeli targeting of civilians and brutal oppression of Palestinians egg?

The latest escalation of the problem occurred over the weekend when Israeli commandos stormed a humanitarian aid ship headed for Palestine and killed at least ten civilians.  The ship was attempting to violate an Israeli embargo of Gaza.  This horrendous act is just Israel following the script, though.  The next few scenes will inevitably go something like this:  Palestinians will react to the killings at sea with protests and violence; Israel will react to Palestinian protests and violence by entrenching further, demolishing a few buildings, tightening their grip on Palestine and the decades-long embargo leading to even more soul-crushing poverty and desperation; Palestinians will resort to suicide bombings and terror; Israel will crush a Palestinian uprising.  The rest of the world will have some harsh critiques for the script but allow the play to go on.

* For some reason I'm having difficulties embedding the video, so go watch it on Youtube here.

Glenn Greenwald, of course, does a masterful job outlined just why this latest attack is so repulsive, and the inept handling of the situation by the Obama administration, which refuses to join countries like Russia, Turkey, Brazil, France, Spain, and China in condemning the attack.  This was a boat in international waters delivering badly needed food, medicine, and building materials to Palestinian civilians who live in abject poverty and under dictatorial oppression.  The United States must send a strong message that human rights and basic human decency are of paramount importance, more important than Israel's right to oppress the Palestinians, and condemn this act.

I don't pretend to understand all the complexities of the Middle East conflict.  I don't think any American can fully grasp the centuries old dynamics that drive this mess.  I understand that Israel is a sovereign nation that has the right to defend itself and maintain its security.  I understand that Israel is our most important ally in that chaotic region, and that a strong Israel is a buffer for our own safety.  I also understand that Palestinians have just as much of a claim on the territory as the Israelis.  I understand that Palestinians are human, too, and the horrible weight of Israeli occupation under which they live is inimical to their basic human dignity and at the very least a major factor driving Palestinians to violence against Israel.

This attack by Israel, though, is the perfect time to take a harder stance and demand more action from Israel to resolve this conflict.  With so much international outcry, now is the time to press for lifting the blockade on Gaza, ending illegal Israel settlements in the West Bank, and the creation of a two-state system.  Only by giving Palestinians hope for a better future can peace be achieved.

And I've said it before and I will reiterate it now:  As members of the church, living the Gospel of Peace, we should be among the strongest voices for peace in this conflict and worldwide.  We should stand up and say that the atrocities committed by both sides must end and not fall into the trap of turning a blind eye to Israeli aggressions.  I would love for the church to call for a concerted effort among the members to gather and ship humanitarian aid to the Palestinians to relieve their suffering and demonstrate that Christlike love for neighbors and enemies alike.


Architect said...

I disagree. Now is not the time to condemn our best ally in the Middle East. In the past, Israel attacked one of our ships, the USS Liberty. I met one of the surviving sailors in Orange County, CA. Since the USA did not condemn Israel then, there is no need to condemn the country now.

Jacob S. said...

I don't think the Liberty incident, which was likely just an accident and occurred over 40 years ago, really has any bearing whatsoever on the current situation.

The fact is that Israel has a blockade on Gaza which is forcing the Palestinians into horrible poverty and hopelessness, thereby breading more radicals and extremists. If we want any progress at all in the Middle East this has to be dealt with. What better time than when Israel raids a humanitarian ship headed for Gaza and kills a dozen innocent civilians, including an American citizen?

This wouldn't mean that we sever ties with Israel or become their enemy, they would still be our closest ally in the region, it simply means we condemn the act and pressure Israel to make real strides towards permanent peace and stability.

Architect said...

While Israel's official position on the USS Liberty incident was that it was an accident, the sailor (EYEWITNESS) disagrees.

Before the creation of Israel, the region was poor - when there was no blockade. The USA has shipped billions of dollars to the PLO. Europe has shipped billion of dollars to the PLO. It is not lack of foreign money that keeps the people poor and hungry.

Hamas has made it clear that they want to kill Jews and take the land for their own. Hamas has launched over 4,000 rockets at Israel, like Hitler launched rockets at London. When you are at war, enemies try to cut your supplies. Israel has abandoned attempting to cut the supplies on land, so the only option left is to cut the sea suppliers. If Hamas runs out of rockets then the Israeli civilians will only have to worry about car bombs and suicide killers.

Peace in the Middle East may be a worthy goal, but it is out of our (USA) hands. If we ask Israel to surrender and give control to Hamas, the violence will not stop. Long before President Obama was elected, the region was at war and after he is long gone the wars will rage on. The only time when peace will come is after the great battle in the Valley of Armageddon. I have looked upon the fields and the battle will be the last before the end of the world, when Christ will come to save his people from a battle involving 200 million soldiers.

How should we treat our ally? We should cut off foreign aid and say that it is time for them to stand on their own and let them work out peace in their own way. We need to stop our micromanaging of their affairs. It just makes them look weak. If there is one thing that is very important to the cultures of the Middle East it is appearing strong. Hiding behind the USA does not make one look strong.

Eric said...

Israel is not a strategic ally of our country. It may have had some significance during the cold war but how it is a liability to us. Israel spies on us, got us into Iraq by AIPAC and the likes of Richard Perle duping Bush with false information. Our soldiers are at risk because of the criminal clique that controls Israel and their constant murder of Palestinians. The entire Arab world and the rest of the world sees Israel's war crimes and we have guilt by association. What a joke talking about the meager funds received by the PLO. Israel a first world country that receives over 3 billion a year from your tax dollars more than any other nation in the world and usually another 3 billion in grants and loans a year. Architect brings up the 4000 small caliber, basically "bottle rockets," that supposedly hit Israel. I ask Architect how many Israelis were killed. None! I repeat None. Now lets look at recent murder of Palestinians both Christian and Muslim during Operation Cast Lead. Over 1,200 were killed most of them civilians. And what gives them the right to destroy approximately 14,000 dwellings and over 80 percent of the infrastructure, water, electricity,sewage. The criminal state of Israel was punishing civilians for what Hamas has done. This is a war crime pure and simple. As far as the USS Liberty anyone that has done any honest investigation of the Liberty with an IQ that can light a dim bulb will come to the conclusion that it was not an accident but it was a deliberate act. Just read Attack on the Liberty by James Scott. Or do an internet search for "Dead in the Water" a BBC documentary on the USS Liberty. This was a false flag operation that for which Israel is infamous. Do an internet search for the Levon Affair when Israelis perpetrated the terrorist acts of blowing Up Western Hotels in Egypt disguised as Arabs or the blowing up of the King David Hotel which until recently held the dubious achievement of killing the most innocent civilians in this case British in a single terrorist act.

Architect said...

Eric, I agree that it is time to cut the Middle East off the dole. Let some other dumb country waste tax money on the perpetual war there.

War is not pretty. People die in war. Infrastructure is key, in allowing a state to wage war. The history of war involves civilians, since they are the resource from which the tax dollars spring that allow military operations. Civilians become the soldiers. It is a modern concept to try to minimize civilian deaths. High minded politicians sign treaties to forbid targeting civilians, but when the very survival of your political seat and country are at stake, the same politicians will go back to the basics of war. KILL, DESTROY, SURVIVE.

Is Hamas really threatened by Israel? What stays Nuclear Israel's hand? Is Israel really threatened by Hamas? Are the rockets really a problem?

If the Los Angeles gangs were firing rockets into Orange County (a couple a day) would I want the OC to attack? I think so. Even though the OC is a big place with lots of people, resources and such.