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October 19, 2006

Keeping Those Palestinians in Prison

If you read the LA Times today, you're probably shaking your head - incredulous that those amazing Israelis are able to withstand the onslaught of Palestinian aggression. You see, the Israeli army found several well dug holes between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. They assume these holes are used to smuggle weapons, and they're determined to stamp out this aggression before the Gazans become as powerful as the Lebanese in southern Lebanon.

Apparently, this story is balanced reporting on the military buildup in Palestine and Israel. For argument's sake, I'll accept the premise that the article shouldn't mention that Gazans are starving and rationing food because of the Israeli blockade. I'll accept that the article shouldn't mention that Israel is withholding Palestinian tax revenue - money that should be paying the salaries of Palestinian government employees. I'll accept that the article shouldn't mention that Israel's allies (the US and the EU) are withholding desperately needed humanitarian aid from Palestine. I'll accept that the articles shouldn't mention the sporadic nature of electricity and clean water in Gaza due to the bombing of an major Palestinian electricity plant by the Israeli army.

Okay, so I've accepted that no real background information should be allowed in the piece. But for goodness sake, must American writers always make Israel look like a defenseless stop gap against the Evils of Islam? Must this story always be told with Jewish Israelis wearing virgin, white hats while the Muslim Palestinians wear evil incarnate black hats?

Let's get something straight - Israel has the military power to blow its neighbors back to the stone age. Israel has this power because the US government, using US tax dollars, has armed it to the teeth. Israel is the ultimate US proxy army. US citizens accept this fact because we're Scared of Being Called Anti-Semites. Some of us also truly believe in the Book of Revelations; so we assume that Jews killing Arabs will lead us to the Promised Land (wherein Jesus returns to earth and all non-Christians (aka heathens) burn in hell. Some of us think we're really preventing the next Holocaust by perpetuating the racist state of Israel.

So I'm not really clear why so much ink was wasted warning us, yet again, about the evils of armed Palestinians. They'll never reach the level of armament the US government gives to Israel. Israel receives vastly more "foreign aid" than any other country in the world. This "aid" is primarily in the form of contracts with American war profiteers for guns, tanks, planes, bullets, missiles, and yes, nuclear weapons. Several generations of Jews have grown up believing that war solves problems. My people have been appropriated as the proxy army of the Christian crusaders. This is a serious problem.

Gazans live in an open air prison. The "guards" are killing them. Picking them off one by one - and murdering some innocent civilians in the process. Meanwhile, in desperation, some prison fights have broken out between two political factions. They're resorting to violence because the grand Quartet refuses to recognize them both as legitimate political parties.

I'm having difficulty seeing the justice in this picture. I'm having difficulty understanding how my religion, my ethnicity, my culture has been consumed by this vicious cycle of hatred. I'm having difficulty understanding why racist Jews exist. I'm having difficulty understanding why the majority of Americans think Israel is a "special case," and separate from the laws of separation of church and state. I'm having difficulty understanding how it furthers the cause of American global dominance to support a regime that fuels animosity and terrorism in the Muslim world. I'm having difficulty understanding how we're promoting freedom and democracy in the Middle East by denying recognition to the democratically-elected leadership of Palestine.

This whole thing doesn't make sense. As a Jew, I am less safe because Israel exists. As an American, I am less safe because the current administration fed us lies and took us to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a woman, I am less safe because the US government would rather make friends with war lords than stand up for women's rights, for UN Security Council Resolution 1325, for women's equal participation in decision-making processes.

I am less safe. And so are you. Let's work together to make this world a safer place.
Tip o' the hat to jews sans frontieres for inspiring this post.

For more on ways to challenge US policy on Israel / Palestine, see the WILPF US campaign website.

Posted by cj at October 19, 2006 11:13 PM


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