Sunday, January 11, 2009

too hot, even for the bush administration?

the conflict in gaza is so controversial that i considered keeping my trap shut on the subject, but as others start to tread the treacherous waters of personal opinion on the matter, i feel that it may be time to put my own two cents in.

i am not under any delusion that the white house would condemn the actions of the state of israel, who are a long standing ally as we all know, and i don't think anybody could seriously consider hamas to be upstanding or legitimate in their attacks, but here is some brow-raising bits of information that i find rather appalling. since firing the first kassam rocket into israel in 2002, hamas has continued launching thousands of rockets into israel, causing about two dozen israeli deaths and widespread fear. these were indiscriminate attacks on civilians, these can be defined as war crimes. during roughly the same period, israeli forces killed nearly 2,700 palestinians in gaza according to the israeli human rights group b'tselem.

since december 27th of last year, the first day of the current war, the palestinian death toll rose to 870 today, an estimated half being civilians (275 children and 93 women), gazan medical officials said. thirteen Israelis have been killed. over 3650 people have been injured in the attacks, some being linked to white phosphorous, a gas that israel claims they are using as a smoke screens to hide military operations — "a permissible use in principle under international humanitarian law", but human rights organizations have long urged a world ban on the munitions, saying they cause undue suffering through severe burns, essentially having the same effect as napalm. a protocol to the 1980 Convention on conventional weapons forbids using incendiary weapons against civilians or against military targets amid concentrations of civilians. video of the alleged incidents and first account interviews of victims can be seen at the france24 website. also, here is some footage of gaza's main hospital and the scene there at the cnn website.

the people in heavily populated gaza strip (nearly 1.5 million people) have been affectively locked inside the borders, sorrounded by israel, the mediterranean sea and egypt, who will not allow palestinian refugees to cross their border. the people are without electricity and running water and food, the only relief coming in the allotted 3 hour cease fire every day, which the red cross claims is an insufficient amount. is this starting to sound like genocide to anyone else?

Even the white house seems shaky in their support of israel right now after not vetoing the united nations security council cease-fire resolution that passed Thursday night (which powerful pro-israel lobbying group, the american israel public affairs committee criticized them for).

if you would like to get started on your own investigation, i would suggest the new york times website (of course), the bbc gaza crisis: key maps and timeline and the human rights watch website.

this post is not an invitation for any anti-semitic banter. take that shit somewhere else! living in the united states has also taught me to separate the actions of a government state and the people that they govern.

on a lighter note, i am listening to

globalFEST 2009: Live Webcast from Webster Hall

taking place in nyc right now and it is great!

good night

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with you in the sense that you cannot possibly back any side when both sides appear to be committing war crimes. I reserve my right, quite honestly as I believe everyone should, to keep my judgement at 50/50 on the matter, since I dont know all the details. I'm not on the ground fighting or surviving, and neither are you. However, there are several issues, on both sides, that rub me the wrong way...

    The death toll is the first spot of soreness for me, since it is unusually high in such a short war.. (though, I firmly believe that if you are guaging a war based on death toll, rather than facts and progress made, then you shouldn't be making of profession of 'guaging' wars...) however, as we've talked about, I still dont believe the numbers are fully represented here, and, I dont think they ever will be. From the items that I have read, HAMAS seems to be playing a bit of a cat and mouse game (or what I like to call, playin' war... diry style!)... they have been sending bombs off from places such as packed market places, schools, busy and heavily populated areas, etc etc.. irregardless of where they have been hitting Israel, Israel has been sending bombs directly back to the previously incoming location, thus hitting every single civilian that has populated that original area that HAMAS has sent bombs from... I'm sure you've read it, but it's what they are calling human shielding, so to speak. HAMAS is walking Palestinians into sure death by HAMAS' actions. This is unacceptable in my opinion.

    On the flipside, it's been well noted and documented that leaflets have been dispersed in the heavily populated areas of the GAZA STRIP, by the Israelis, warning and cautioning people in those areas that Israel is going to be upping their attack in the coming hours/days/weeks and that those people, if they wish to be safe, should move. If Israel had any ill-intentions and was wanting to strictly accumulate collateral damage, why would they disperse these pamphlets? They wouldn't.

    I'm at odds in regards to the international outcry over the response of Israeli forces fighting back against HAMAS, whom made the first move to begin this current war... on one side, I see (and hear) HAMAS is sending several bombs to Israel and Israel is sending several hundred back. I can totally see how that could be an issue for many people around the world, making a judgement based on what is, or is not, fair war practices. However, let me try and put my thinking into a US frame of mine. If Oregon decided they were going to bomb Washington State and they sent 100 bombs to Washington, not provoked by Washington State, I HIGHLY DOUBT that Washington State would gather at the capitol building, all members of government, and count out the bomb respone that Washington state was going to have. They wouldn't be thinking "Now, they hit us with 100, let's make sure we hit them with something close to that..."... Washington State would be sending all their bombs, throwing rocks, having people line up near the Columbia River with guns and have them shooting at Oregon... everything! We would do anything to protect our people, our land, and our safety! Exactly what Israel is doing now.

    HAMAS has been quoted as saying that they would love nothing more than to see every single Israeli dead. And, they have this what(?), 8 year (off and on) war, to prove it. Israel, in my immediate mind, is defending their land, their people, and their safety. Who are we, as safe Americans (or even Europeans), who dont have to run from bullets or bombs on a daily basis, or live in fear, to judge?