7.17.2006

Regarding the destruction of Lebanon by Israel, Judy from 'HEP' expressed my feelings so well, that I'm using them here ...

"...so long as it is OUR tax dollars that are funding the carnage and destruction, then we have every obligation to speak out when they are being used in this way. And I will. If we were not so readily funding these actions ... to our own national detriment ... and supplying weapons to the Israelis hand over fist, then I would say fine, let Israel do what it wants. But that is NOT the case. We provide the cover so that they can be as belligerent as they want, which is plenty."
JudyforDean | 07.15.06 - 6:20 pm |
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... a few of my thoughts ... 9-11 would not have happened if we hadn't been so blatantly supporting the Israelis. We do not allow the Palestinian and Arab positions to get serious consideration. And in this country we do not allow any kind of debate about the issue.

WEIGH IN! What are your thoughts on this horrific attack!?!

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14 comments:

~cj~ said...

In the very little reading I have done about this as of late, the first impression is "This is the last thing we need." I keep reading about the US's urges for ""restraint"" to both sides and its like the pot callilng the kettle black - at least that is my opinion. There is certainly a lot of things we could have done differently, as well as Isreal and Lebenon (and everyone else) - but now is the time to really work at resolution. Obviously that will not be easy, and I doubt quickly.

Eli Blake said...

I'm afraid I have to completely disagree with you (not the first time).

First, 9/11 would have happened anyway, and the reason is because of our involvement all over the place. Arabs in many cases see us as parasitical oil suckers who prop up unpopular monarchies and throw our imperialist weight all over the place. At best, Israel is just one of many of those places.

Second, there actually was a time when I agreed with you. But two things have happened that have changed my opinion, quite a bit. The first was when the Palestinians began sending twelve year olds to blow themselves up in restaurants. That was both the worst kind of child abuse and attacks intentionally aimed at civilians and only civilians. Frankly it pissed me off to the extent that I have since not had any qualms at all about supporting Israel.

The second reason is that when Israel has withdrawn from 'occupied territories,' (such as their withdrawl from Gaza late last year) the attacks don't stop. I've also learned that the P.L.O. was founded in 1964. Since there were no 'occupied territories' until 1967, its goal was then to completely abolish Israel. There is nothing that has convinced me since that they have abandoned or modified this goal. Also, when there is a cease-fire or a truce (as there has been on many occasions since 1949), it has been almost always the Palestinian or arab side that has been the first to violate it. The only exception to that rule I can think of is the 1967 war when the 'occupied territories' were captured.

Fred said...

What Eli said.

My only concern is whether Israel has gone too far. I support their right to retaliate, but knocking out the entire infrastructure of a country seems a bit too much.

Karen said...

cj~ right now it looks as if resolution is futile, hope i'm proven wrong.

eli~ 1st paragraph... we do suck up all their oil then we funnel the profits that oil produces to Israel.

2nd paragraph... "sending twelve year olds to blow themselves up in restaurants".

This is a direct result of the dehumanizing treatment by the Israelis toward the Palestinians because of the hatred they have for each other.

3rd paragraph... When Israel was formed it was at the expense of Palestine by a world organization that was riddled with guilt over Hitler's atrocities and the fact the rest of the world looked the other way. You would have thought Hitler was a Palestinian and therefore it was justified to take Palestine away from their people.

fred~ agree with your concern.

Pete Bogs said...

this is a bad, bad thing that's going on... all out of proportion to the inciting incident - the capture of three Israeli soldiers... I can't support Israel on this at all...

Eli Blake said...

Pete:

Out of proportion to that, I will agree. However, what is now going on is total war, and it is no longer about the capture of three soldiers.

Karen:

First point: We send about $3-5 billion per year to Israel. Our captains of industry profit in the hundreds of billions every year. The opressive feudal monarchies that we back up live very well on the deal, while ordinary people are starving and desperate. That has nothing to do with Israel, and to suppose that sans Israel we would be much loved in the Middle East is to spit in the face of reality. Heck, even Osama did not mention Israel in his first tape played after 9/11, citing instead American occupation of muslim lands (i.e. our soldiers stationed in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, etc.)

Second point: There is enough dehumanizing on both sides to go around. However, I find the concept of child soldiers disgusting when anybody does it (one reason I hope to see Charles Taylor spend the rest of his life in prison for his crimes). I also got ticked off at what were clearly intentional attacks on civilians. Now, granted, the Israelis are plenty guilty too-- they have been known to drop a five hundred pound bomb on an apartment building because one Hamas leader lived there. That said, bombing things like buses and restaurants when there isn't even the pretense of a military target in the area is what turned me against the intifada (about five or six years ago I was pretty much in line with what you are thinking, believing that Israel was not justified in attacking Palestinians. That changed, and I told you why.)

Third point: is an oversimplification and in fact largely in error. After being forced to leave by the Romans in 70 A.D., the Jews swore to return and continued to swear that over hundreds of years in other places. Many Jews began planning for a return to what they saw as their homeland as well once it became realistic to do so, and actually saving up to buy land there. By the beginning of WWII, there were very large numbers of Jews there, and they owned the land that they had bought and paid for. That doesn't mean that it wasn't also the Palestinians homeland-- that is one of the reasons this whole conflict is intractable (I wrote a post on it in December, Abraham had Two Sons.)

The only realistic solution is in fact to have two states. Trying to implement a one state solution would lead to an endless civil war, unless one side or the other won absolutely, in which case either all Palestinians would be forced to leave (as some radical Jewish settlers want) or all the Jews would be driven into the sea and drowned (as some arabs have proclaimed they will be).

O Ceallaigh said...

I hesitate to get into this debate, because the voices of reason have long ago been squelched. Each side has thoroughly demonized the other, and under such circumstances only victory, defeat or exhaustion will truly settle the matter. Until they've gotten a rest and can set to again.

Two books that I deem to be essential reading. I have mentioned both previously, for those of you familiar with my writing.

The first is Konrad Lorenz's On Aggression. It represents an attempt to explain patterns of human aggression in terms of the cognate animal behavior patterns that Lorenz spent a lifetime studying. There are many chilling parallels between the aggression patterns and those of other social animals - and they put paid to many of the wishful ideas that many outside this - or any other - conflict seem to have.

The second is Simha Flapan's The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities. Just as Robert Stinnett's volume Day of Infamy debunked, through exhaustive scrutiny of primary documents, many of the cherished myths and assumptions about the Pearl Harbor "sneak attack" that brought the USA into World War II, Flapan debunks many of the myths and assumptions about how Israel was founded, especially the "innocence" of its actions vis-à-vis the Palestinian Arabs.

Flapan, chillingly, states that "the Jews in Palestine projected onto the Arabs the vengefulness that they felt towards the Nazis", and characterizes the Zionist population as people who feel that they are engaged in a last-ditch defense, and therefore all actions are permissible. Flapan, a Zionist Jew originally from Poland and a government insider, presents a long catalogue of documents presenting the leaders of the fledgling Israeli state and their descendants as duplicitous manipulators, presenting a Janus face to friend and foe alike.

The Birth of Israel is a very sobering read. Especially since the state it describes, were it located at the tip of Africa, would surely be flogged for the sin of apartheid.

Eli Blake said...

O ceallaigh:

I hesitate to get into this debate, because the voices of reason have long ago been squelched. Each side has thoroughly demonized the other.

I don't know, certainly that is true of the combatants themselves, but not necessarily on the part of the rest of us. Karen and I disagree on this issue, but I can respect her opinion (and yours) while still giving you room to disagree with mine. It's too bad that the rest of the world isn't as civil as Karen's blog.

O Ceallaigh said...

Eli - I am grateful for places like this in which civil discourse can take place.

But, forgive me, I can't help thinking "big whoop". The four of us may as well be sitting in the corner pulling plums out of pies with our thumbs.

Meanwhile, the newspapers are counting tanks and planes and heads of soldiers, and millions of people on the ground and around the world are screaming "Death!" at each other in the peak frenzy of Lorenz's militant enthusiasm, prepared to perpetrate any atrocity (including concentration camps of nearly 60 years standing) in order to defend their last ditches.

And it's been going on ever since Joshua led Hebraic Jihad into Canaan, 1200 BCE.

misosmart said...

You have got to be kidding me. You can't honestly think that.

CROAK said...

Thank you Karen for renewing my belief in some liberal Americans are still thinking and caring about both sides.

Why Lebanon, I ask myself? As an Australian Lebonese ( Maronite Christian) said in an interview on Monday:"Why are they using Lebanon to perpetuate this punishment?"
His birth country is so fragile. It has been 'in the middle' so many times. His son is caught over there at the moment visiting his relatives.

If you are a soldier you should expect to be captured as a part of being in the military.

Civilians should never be bombed because of it.

To see the baby's body beside the blown up bus spiralled me into tears of a mother.

All of you! Stop it! Stop the bombing! Stop the hurt, the pain and the angst that will be generated for years to come.
Israel. You should know better!

Stop it NOW!

Karen said...

pete~ "I can't support Israel on this at all"...

...ditto!

eli~ First, I am not suggesting "that sans Israel we would be much loved in the Middle East". I am suggesting that with a friend like Israel we don't need any enemies. Osama did not need to mention Israel, Israel is the elephant in the room! He had 19 volunteers that never were interviewed on their motive, etc.

I am not guilty of my father's sins and should not be punished for them.

I am not guilty of my neighbor's sins and should not be punished for them.

Collective punishment ignores those tenets and a lot more. We should not allow it. When we do, we condone it, and in my opinion, become as guilty as Israel.

You stated earlier "when there is a cease-fire or a truce (as there has been on many occasions since 1949), it has been almost always the Palestinian or Arab side that has been the first to violate it."
I take issue with that. With every peace initiative and every negotiation Israel has always insisted the Palestinians stop all
hostilities for extended periods of time. From that point forward they would hem & haw and bicker and drag their feet, all the while subjecting the Palestinians to check point humiliation, the harassment from armed settlers, all the other hardships that a Police state imposes on its subjects, BUT MOST OF ALL they were always subjected to the drip drip drip of Settlement
expansion. THAT NEVER STOPPED during negotiations, it always increased, and WE CONDONED IT!

You state in "Abraham had Two Sons" "One has to question the wisdom of the Israeli government in not only building the settlements, but in then populating them with the most fanatical of Israelis, those most likely to be involved in tense relations with their Palestinian neighbors". I too question the wisdom of that, but not their motive. Thanks to us they have always been able to negotiate from a position of absolute power.

With so much power they see no need to settle for anything less than everything. They realize this is not possible, they have as much as they can hope to gain so they seek ways to sabotage the negotiations. The settlements, opening Muslim holy tunnels to tourism, Armed excursions to the Temple Mount (Ariel Sharon), those are just a few of the provocations they have enlisted in
that effort.

The one time they had a leader (Yitzhak Rabin) really trying to achieve a peaceful settlement, one of the settlers assassinated him.

o~ i will add them to my *must read* list.

misosmart~ ?

croak~ "Israel. You should know better!

Stop it NOW!"...

... amen sister!

Eli Blake said...

Karen,

As for your 'neighbor's sins,' Hezbollah has been given carte blanche to operate from Lebanon. If I come onto your property and punch you, and then retreat back onto your next door neighbor's lawn (who is simply letting me camp out there knowing full well that the reason I want to be there is to menace and attack you) then darn right, the neighbor is accountable. Of course you would be able to call the police, but internationally there are no 'police,' either the Israelis take care of it themselves or it doesn't get taken care of.

There are plenty in Israel who want to have peace. And unlike some of the other states in the area, Israel is not a monolithic state, but a Democracy that ebbs and flows. And not so long after the death of Mr. Rabin, Shimon Peres, a member of his party and who had pledged to continue to push for peace, came so close to winning the Presidency that he was ultimately defeated only by the margin from the votes of prisoners (in Israel convicted criminals in prison are accorded the right to vote, and for some reason they voted in ultra-nationalist hawk Benjamin Netanyahu in that election.)

However, what has underpinned much of Israeli policy in many governments is the whole question of security. And with good reason-- most governments are made up of people who remember the period 1948-1974, when Israel fought four separate major wars with surrounding states. In other words, maybe I have to walk home the same way you do, but if you have attacked me four times recently (well, OK, you attacked me three times and one time I saw it coming and sucker punched you first-- the equivalent of what happened in 1967), I'm likely to want to maintain a buffer zone.

I would agree that the settlements are a major impediment to peace and in the end they will all have to go. But as I've noted, even when Israel has withdrawn (i.e. from Gaza, as well as from south Lebanon, which they left in 2000), those areas have become staging grounds for rocket attacks and terrorist missions inside Israel itself, proving that 1. their concerns about security are in fact justified, and 2. the term 'occupied territories' when used by the Palestinians actually means everything.

harry said...

eli~ Re: "As for your 'neighbor's sins,' Hezbollah has been given carte blanche to operate from Lebanon." That is an oversimplification. Given carte blanch by whom? Hezbollah is not necessarily a dinner guest to the Lebanese! There more like uninvited thugs. Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, the West Bank & Gaza, and Israel all have one thing in common. They each have divided populations that don't like each other. Sometimes they muddle through, and sometimes if they can find a way, they kill each other. Thanks to Bush, the Iraqis are killing each other in great numbers. If Israel has it's way, soon the Lebanese will soon be doing the same.