I use this blog as a soap box to preach (ahem... to talk :-) about subjects that interest me.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Enough is Enough!

For how long are our governments going to put up with Israel's annihilation of Gaza?

The Israeli Army has hit UN refugee camps, schools, and hospitals, but the governments of Australia, the USA, and who knows how many other countries don't make a pip.

For how long political alliances and lobbying-driven expediency are going to justify our leaders' acquiescence?

Gaza has been blockaded since 2007.  This is inhumane and it should stop.  But now the situation has deteriorated past beyond that.  More than 1300 Palestinians have been killed, against 60 Israeli.  Every death is a tragedy.  Every death deprives a family of a loved one.  But most of the 60 or so Israeli deaths are of soldiers who entered Gaza to bring destruction, while the majority of the Palestinian deads are civilians, including hundreds of children.  Those with bloodied hands are Benjamin Netanyahu and his government.

How can anybody call such a massacre of innocent lives an assertion of Israel's right of self-defence?  Hamas should stop firing rockets into Israel.  There is no doubt about that.  But even if Hamas's deadly game were a disingenuous attempt to stoke the conflict in order to score political and diplomatic sympathies, it couldn't possibly justify Israel's response.

Gaza is one of the most densely populated regions on Earth, and now Israel has declared a No-Go zone covering 30% of the whole territory.  Additionally, Israel has destroyed the only power plant in Gaza, causing a permanent black-out in 80% of the strip.  Without electricity, the fridges don't work, and most Palestinians are then forced to go out to buy food every day, further endangering their lives in the process.

Self-preservation justifies a lot, but I am sure that many Israelis will be as horrified as I am at what is happening in Gaza.

During the second half of 1978, I was in Israel twice, for a total period of about two months.  During my first trip there, I was for a month in Degania Aleph, the first Kibbutz established in Israel, were I met the young lady who was to become my wife.  I have very fond memories of my staying in Israel and the last thing you could say about me is that I am an anti-Semite.

The resentment that is growing inside me is therefore not centred on the Jewish people, but on the criminal policies of the Israeli government.  I am a pacifist and don't condone violence, especially when applied to the weak and the disadvantaged.

Obviously, I don't only condemn the actions of Netanyahu's government, but also Hamas strategy of confrontation and, most of all, the suicide bombings that have become an almost-daily occurrence in the Middle-East.

But although I don't excuse the recourse to terrorism, I do understand it.  Perhaps more people should try to go beyong their one-way mindset and attempt to perceive the world from the point of view of suicide bombers.  Those young Muslims feel like cornered animals, and lash out in desperation.  The opulence of the Western world is for everyone to see on the TV screens, as is its moral decadence and its Hedonism, accompanied by hypocritical statements of values and virtues that have long be supplanted by greed and selfishness.  Of course an increasing number of young Palestinian (and Syrian, Egyptian, Lebanese, Iraqi, ...) are attracted to those who speak of honour, purity, and a sacred mission to rid the world of the sinners.  How can they resist that message, as misdirected and instrumentalised as it is?

We who live in rich western democracies should do our best to educate these youg people, give them hope, treat them with respect and compassion, not simply try to switch them off.  And we should, first of all, start work at home by electing full human beings to govern us, rather than puppets of multinationals or robots only capable of uttering slogans.

I am sick and tired of listening to politicians who never answer a question, who only follow the party lines, who treat human beings as if they were inanimate objects, and who don't listen to anyone when they are in government only to oppose everything when they are in opposition.  How I would love to be able to look at our elected representatives and feel proud of my country!

But I am digressing...

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