Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Armed with Crayons

Question? What do ginger, jam, vinegar, nutmeg, chocolate, preserves, seeds, nuts, biscuits and sweets, potato chips,  gas for soft drinks, dried meat, plaster, wood, cement, salt, plastic, glass/metal containers, margarine, tarpaulin sheets, fabric, fishing rods, nets, buoys, rope, nylon nets, tractor parts, heaters, musical instruments,  paper, pens and pencils, note books, newspapers, toys, sewing machines, heaters, horses, donkeys, goats, cattle and chicks  have in common?

Answer: These are just some of the items listed as a threat to Israel and banned “for security reasons” from entrance into Gaza. The fact that these kind of things are necessary for any meaningful life is simply considered by Israel as a bonus.

When I shared this list with a friend, he said, “You can’t be serious.”  Whether I am serious or not is of little consequence, but believe it, Israel is serious.

When concerned people of conscience tried to bring such items as these into Gaza by boat, the flagship of the flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, was boarded by Israeli commandos in international waters who stormed the ship firing live ammunition, killing nine unarmed peace activist. Netanyahu explained, “Our soldiers had to defend themselves.” 

Jeremy Hammond quotes Sargent S., who shot six of the nine, “They were without doubt terrorists. I could see the murderous rage in their eyes.”       

When asked why the Obama administration hadn’t condemned Israel for killing nine peace activist, including an American citizen, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs replied, “Nothing can bring them back now.” Eric Cantor, a leading Republican  in the House of Representatives:

Called on the Obama administration “to veto any biased UN resolutions reining in Israel’s right to defend itself.” He didn’t bother to explain how an attack on an unarmed ship on a humanitarian mission in international waters that resulted in the killing of nine civilians could possibly constitute an act of self-defense.”[1]

Thomas Friedman summed it up by explaining that the victims wanted to die and had practically begged the commandos to execute them as part of a plot to make Israel “look bad.”[2] No one bothered to ask him for the source of his information.

Besides that, who could blame Israel? Those terrorists were armed with coloring books and crayons.

Thomas Are
December 17, 2016

[1] Cited in Jeremy Hammond, Obstacle to Peace, US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, (Worldview Publications, 2016) p.214.
[2] Jeremy Hammond, Obstacle to Peace, US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, (Worldview Publications, 2016) p.221.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Remembering Gaza

Funny thing about the human brain; it has a tendency to put out of mind those things that make us uncomfortable. But, to do so is a little like saying that “your end of the boat is sinking.” Who wants to remember such things as our slaughter of native Americans, slavery or our invasion of Iraq.  But, as it has been said, those who dismiss the past are prone to repeat it. And sooner or later, our conscience begins to disturb our peace.

The “sins” of the past are done and there is no way to un-ring that bell. However, our sin against Gaza is ongoing and we must not put it out of mind.

Gaza – that little strip of land in which almost two million people try desperately to scratch out a living. Gaza is completely surrounded and totally controlled by Israel which is dedicated to never allowing its situation to improve. Last year, the United Nations reported that Gaza “could be uninhabitable by 2020.”

Ninety-five percent of its water is unsafe to drink. Repeated bombing of its sewage treatment plants causes rampant water-borne diseases and bombing power plants leaves Gaza unable to produce electricity. Seventy-two percent of Gazan households suffer from food insecurity. All imports are controlled by Israel. The Israeli Defense Ministry has established mathematical formulas for how many calories each man, woman and child will be permitted to consume to keep them just at the level of survival, saying, “The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won’t die”. Gaza has endured three major military invasions leaving nearly 90,000 people displaced and living in rubble. Gaza is closed in by barrier walls manned with automated gun towers. Overhead warplanes constantly shatter the night with the deafening breaking of the sound barrier and the day by the constant buzzing of military drones.[1]

If Israel were treated in any way like Israel treats the people of Gaza, its leaders would be screaming to high heaven. But, Israel is safe. Few governments, including its victims, are so calloused and cold hearted as its Ashkenazi leadership to commit such crimes against its fellow human beings. Only by convincing yourself that you are “God’s chosen,” and interpret that chosenness as being for privilege and not for responsibility, by implying that all others are less deserving, less worthy and less human can you trick the mind into believing that what you are doing to other people is civilized.

Sooner or later, even the mind of Israel will run out of tricks and when it does, remembering Gaza, will destroy its hope for peace.   

Thomas Are
December 5, 2016

[1] Gleaned from, Countdown to the Next Chernobyl – Gaza, By Jeffery Abood, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, August, 2016, p. 13-14