Regarding the situation in Gaza

So here’s the thing: I’m appalled. I’m sad. I’m troubled. I’m shocked. I’m proud. I’m glad. I’m astonished. I’m frustrated.

let me explain

I’ve been struggling hard with the question – why is it so difficult to explain Israels position? why do intelligent people in North America and Europe find it so difficult to identify with Israel’s perspective?

Israel’s IDF spokespersons’ office is bringing information and hard data from the Israeli view of the conflict. But the way of presenting – as powerful, compelling and concise as it may be – won’t do. Cynics will call this propaganda. Rationalists and post-modernists will say there is an equally compelling view on the other side.

One of the problems we have is that western media and – indeed I know I’m making a gross generalization – western society, tends to view the conflict as two sides fighting it out. A cycle of violence. The EU called for an immediate cease fire on both sides. The UN and other world leaders condemn Israel of “disproportionate use of force”, tacitly suggesting that there is a moral equivalency between the deliberate targeting of civilians and the the defensive measures taken to stop indiscriminate murder by rockets. (By the way, what would be a “proportionate” reaction that would be acceptable)? In the UK some in the media go further by proposing a body count as an obvious proof to who is the greater aggressor. You too bring up the question of why so many civilians are getting killed as doubt to the morality of this campaign.

That moral equivalency makes me angry. It makes me really mad. Because I am a side in this. Because my brother is deployed in Gaza at this moment. Because no country and no army in the world has taken so much care in protecting civilian and non-combatant life at times of war even at the cost of the lives of is own soldiers. Equating the willful murder of civilians with legitimate self-defense pursuant to Article 51 of the United Nations Charter is a moral crime.

Alas, therein lays the problem. We have a real problem taking sides. Our self image prohibits us from taking a side. But it is too easy to take the post-colonial, splendid isolationist perspective. If you ask me, it’s the “white man’s burden” in reverse. The West is not doing anyone a favor by “taking an even handed approach”.

In our trip through Israel I tried to give you an introduction to Israeli society – warts and all – so you could understand the nature of the sides in this conflict. I hope that your encounter with Israelis this week makes it clear that people like me/Dana (or my brother who is now deployed in Gaza) are not the type to purposefully try to kill civilians.

so why are 20% of the casualties civilian?

it is impossible for us to understand how a group of people will willfully endanger their own people, use them as human shields, abuse their rights as non-combatants and cynically exploit the sensitivity for human life.

Would you believe me if I told you that for Hamas (and Hizballah and their cohorts for that matter) the next best thing to Israeli and Jewish deaths are Palestinian deaths? That they exploit to hammer Israel in the international arena?

Hard to believe, I know. The Hamas purposefully take military action against Israeli civilian population from within Palestinian civilian population. The unfortunate result in this type of conflict is that Palestinian civilians are victims of their own terrorist leadership.

What if I told you that there is a greater battle at hand? One between right and wrong. Between moral and immoral. Between progress and backwardness. Between sanctity of life and the celebration of death. No less. 

Check out the following video of an interview with Wafa Sultan, an Arab woman, a psychologist. You can research more about this woman, fascinating indeed.

I’m not asking you take my word for it

So, as the long winded educator that I am, I put together some sources.

It starts with the Hamas Charter (https://www.terrorism-info.org.il/Data/pdf/PDF_06_032_2.pdf). This is an English version mind you, so it is substantially toned down than the original Arabic. Its a long document, article 7 is especially enlightening but I recommend you read all of it.

Next is a website (a Palestinian source) with more information about Hamas, their agenda and methods: https://www.teachkidspeace.org/

Next is the Israeli proclamation of independence. Another important and historic document. Paragraph 12 is of special interest: https://www.gov.il/en/departments/general/declaration-of-establishment-state-of-israel

These documents are important because they attest to the nature of the sides in this conflict. I know, it is just the one little flake at the tip of the iceberg, and I am being a bit repetitive… 😉  But it’s a beginning.

I’d also like to add an article from Charles Krauthammer on the moral issues:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/01/AR2009010101780_pf.html

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