Monday, December 29, 2008
Thoughts on Gaza from Sydney
Earlier this year, during a March attack against Gaza in which Israeli forces have killed at least 30 civilians, I wrote the following lines:
With that caveat, though. and though I know this comment will be viewed as needlessly provocative by some, the ghastly collective punishment that Israel is currently meting out to the Gazans seems could only seem to be viewed as a sensible foreign policy when one learned military tactics at the feet of Nazi Germany. If there is one thing that I have learned in reporting on conflicts throughout the world over the last decade, it is that you can't continually bomb civilians, kill women and children, drive people off their land, illegally build settlements and an apartheid wall and not expect that those people aren't going to seek revenge some day. And I think that any reasonable person could only conclude that the course Israel has been pursuing over the last 2-3 years, from its disastrous and brutal invasion of Lebanon until now, makes the likelihood of the destruction of the Jewish state in the Middle East greater, not less.
Watching the withering Israeli air attack on Gaza taking place this week, ostensibly aimed at neutralizing the Hamas Islamist government ruling the Palestinian territory (a government committed to Israel's destruction), it is hard to feel any need to retract those words. In attacks which have killed scores of Hamas fighters, as well as many, many civilians, including children, in one of the most densely-populated coastal strips in the world, Israel appears again to be pursuing a policy which is suicidal. In the name of defending its citizens against rockets that have, during recent weeks, killed two people, Israel has killed over 300 people killed in Gaza in the last three days, and has done a good job of playing into the hands of Hamas, who have seemed during recent years only too happy to serve up Palestinian civilians on a silver platter to the Israeli war machine.
It may be naive to hope that, with the incoming Obama administration, the government of the United States will cease pretending that Israeli lives are somehow worth more than Palestinian lives, but I feel that we must continue advocating that course of action, no matter how uncomfortable a spot that puts our new president in.
Though of mixed feelings on Bolivia’s president Evo Morales, I did enjoy one very memorable turn of phrase of his in recent years: If I can’t advance, push me.
Patriotism is sometimes pushing those, even those you greatly admire, to do the right thing.
May 2009 bring the peace to the Palestinians and Israelis that they have yet been unable to forge for themselves.