Friday, January 9, 2009
Isreal's rights and Israel's obligations
It's difficult for me to write with any kind of confidence about what's happening on the Gaza strip because it's a complex situation rooted in centuries of conflict, and I haven't done enough reading to even pretend to have a handle on it.
I do understand this. Israel has a public relations machine that sells their wars as well as the Pentagon has sold ours. And, by and large, the American press prints the press release.
In the first few days of the Israeli bombing, the LA Times printed a simpleton's guide to the conflict in which they reprinted the Israeli justification for bombing which has been repeated and repeated by the American press since the conflict began:
Over the weekend, Israel began airstrikes against the Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip, in response to rocket attacks against nearby Israeli communities launched after a six-month truce expired.
Of course, there was no mention that the Palestinians had been suffering though a devastating blockade which left them without enough food or medicine. And this was on top of Israeli-sanctioned occupation of Palestinian territory, severe restrictions on travel and trade, and a longterm repression of the Palestinian people by Israel.
A lot has been written about Israel's right to defend itself. Of course. But if that's the case then the Palestinians have the right to defend themselves too. Unfortunately, without the support of the world's munitions manufacturers, their means are less specific, more crude, and less effective then the massive show of force, and destruction, Israel is able to muster. And Israel has the support of the most significant powers in the Western world.
Fortunately, the web provides an opportunity to get other perspectives. None of it is pretty. And as a country, we seem content to take Israel at its word as they take us by the hand and lead us down the path to the third world war.
What to do?
Naomi Klein, whose thoughts and intellect I have great respect for, has an idea that might put Israel's lust for oppression into check.