Tuesday, January 6, 2009

No one's hands are clean

Every day dozens more die from Israeli bombs and shells. Every day images of death, destruction, and desolation are released from Gaza. Every day young boys recently orphaned by the Israeli campaign begin to identify with the adulterate version of Islam offered by Hamas. Every day Israel reasserts it's right to exist and it's right to defend itself from terrorist attacks.

Every day I toil with the idea of writing a diatribe on the Gaza attacks; every day I find myself with so much that I want to say and a complete loss on how to say it. The disproportionate response of the attacks; Israel's right to self-defense; Palestinians as pawns; the role of the United States; is a long-term truce a reality given that both sides refuse to acknowledge the other's right to exist? All of these topics bounce around in my head. The problem isn't writer's block; it's the fact that there is no concise and simple way to discuss the tragedy and hypocrisy on both sides. If I criticize Israel, I'm an anti-Semite - never mind that Arabs are Semites too. If I criticize Hamas, I'm an Islamophobe - never mind that they are a militant political movement not the spokespersons for the religion or even a sect of Islam.

My dilemma is the quintessence of the mutually exclusive views of the parties involved. It's almost a binary operator; you are either a 1 or a 0. The Western media gives us only two options: Pro-Israel or Anti-Israel. Hamas believes Israel has no right to exist; Israel refuses to give a two-state system any legitimate consideration. Pointing out the Israelis are using disproportionate force and violating international law by killing noncombatants is unacceptable unless you are willing to be loathed by most of America as a "Terrorist lover." Concomitantly, pointing out that the civilian deaths are largely unavoidable given the dense population and the willingness of Hamas to let Palestinians die for their "higher cause" will lead to being called inhumane, cold, and a typical ignorant American. It goes on and on ad nauseam.

The fundamental problem is that it's not cut and dry. Hamas is equally to blame for all of the deaths in Gaza. Israel is equally to blame for the damage and deaths caused by the rocket fire. The Arab nations are guilty of intentionally ignoring the Palestinian plight in Gaza; they have used the Palestinians as political pawns since the dawn of modern Israel, while at the same time proclaiming to be the protectorate of a persecuted population. The Jewish lobbyists are to blame for continually allowing Israel to over-react with absolutely no accountability or pressure to reform. America is to blame because we sell Israel their toys of death in a continuance of our Cold War strategy and then shake our finger when they use them to kill civilians. The ulema is to blame for fomenting religious and ethnic hatred towards Israel within the umma instead of finding legal precedent for condemning the bastardized Islam promoted by Hamas.

It's time to stop acting like there is a right and wrong side. Scores of people are dying daily. Most of the dead are innocent children. It's time to admit that unless we are willing to compromise and forego meaningless ideological and polemical suppositions, until we are willing to concede that neither Israel's nor Hamas' military responses are justified, will there ever be the slimmest hope of peace in the Holy Land. Until the world is willing to admonish both sides and hold steadfast in its opposition, the possibility of peace will only continue to erode until either the Palestinians or Israelis are wiped off the map.

Update: Commentary from CNN by Arsalan Iftikhar calling out both sides


Anonymous said...

I think you meant "Palestinian plight" not "Palestinian blight". Exact opposite meaning.

Neal Schuett said...


taco said...

People were wagging their fingers at Isreal all month for going on the offensive, but stories like this are why I continue to support Isreal even if they begin employing some heavy assault force.

It's clear to me that they are more unified and frank about their interests than Palestine.