Monday, June 18, 2018

NIKKI


There is much to be admired about Nikki Haley, but her blind excusing of Israel is not one of them. It seems that in her mind, Israel, no matter what it does, is innocent and deserving to be given a pass. Israel can do no wrong. If anybody says otherwise, she will not listen.

Last month at the United Nations Security Council meeting, she described Israel’s forces at the Gaza border. ”No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.”  When the Palestinian Ambassador tried to explain some context to her remarks, that the conflict at the border is a one sided massacre which has already killed hundreds of  Palestinians and wounded thousands more, including women and children, Nikki Haley got up and walked out. So much for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. Just forget it.

Another story that Haley refuses to remember is that of Arnon Sofer of Haifa University’s advise to 
Ariel Sharon in 2004:

Withdraw Israeli forces from within Gaza, seal the territory off from the outside world, and simply shoot anyone who tries to break put. “When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it is going to be a human catastrophe.” Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today… So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill, all day, every day.”[i]

The facts that Haley currently refuses to hear include a report that on one day, May 14th:

The Israeli army shot and killed 60 Palestinians in Gaza – including 6 children – and injured 3,000 others amid scenes of smoke, fire, teargas, dust, agony and blood.[ii]

The “brave soldiers operating with restraint” to whom she refers are of course snipers hiding behind barricades shooting unarmed civilians from a safe distance of 1,000 yards or more.

No problem for Nikki Haley. If Israel does it, and it seems harsh, just forget it.

Some wise soul has pointed out:

Erase memory and you wash away the blood from the perpetrator’s hands, you undo the done deed, make it disappear from history. Erase memories of atrocities and you tempt future perpetrators with immunity.[iii]

Nikki Haley is supposed to be our U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. To use one of Donald Trump’s favorite words, it is “unfair.” Actually, we have no ambassador to the U.N.  Israel has two.

Thomas Are
June 18, 2018



1 and 2 - Saree Makdisi, Kill and Kill and Kill,  Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 2018, p. 8

[iii] Miraslov Volf, cited in Justin Schwegel, The Greenhouse Propaganda – How Gazan History is Being Rewritten to dehumanize Palestinians. Mondoweiss.net, August 10. 2014

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Last Week in Gaza


Last week, May 15th  is said to be the bloodiest day of the recent demonstrations in Gaza. Israel killed almost 50 unarmed Palestinians.

While Donald Trump, Jared Kushner and Benjamin Netanyahu were celebrating the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem, just a few miles away, Palestinians were living in concentration camp like conditions. United Nations Human Rights Council leader Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein described the living conditions in Gaza as being:

Caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity; de-humanized by the Israeli authorities to such a point it appears officials do not even consider that these men and women have a right, as well as every reason to protest.[i]

Of course, Israel calls them “terrorists,” which provides an excuse to humiliate, and ignore their basic human needs.  Human Rights Watch tried to motivate the Israeli government into acting more responsibly by criticizing its brutal policies.  Instead of hearing the concerns of Human Right Watch, Israel kicked them out of the country.  Problem controlled.

What Israel cannot control are the demonstrations on the Gaza border. It tries to by shooting into the crowds of people. It would be comical if it were not so tragic. The IDF, the “most moral army on the globe” crouched behind earth berms firing into crowds of unarmed protestors across a fence, killing, at last count, 115 Palestinians and injured 13,190, since March 30th.  These numbers include 13 children killed and 2,096 injured, and over a thousand women wounded.[ii]

Why do Palestinians in Gaza continue to risk their lives to protest?  Why? Because:

Gaza is a prison, Gaza is a concentration camp, Gaza has been blockaded for a decade, Gaza’s occupation is a perennial crime against humanity, but most of all Gaza is a target. Gaza is a target because it suits the Israelis to have two million captive Palestinian men, women, and children (half of them are children) to despise, starve, deny medical supplies, reduce to inescapable and unlivable conditions, kill, and then brand as “terrorists” for not surrendering and disappearing from the face of the earth 70 years ago.[iii]

So, they demonstrate at the border, hoping someone will notice.

Thomas Are
May 29, 2018


[i] Bob Livingston, Editor, The Bob Livingston Letter,
[ii] Imemc.org article: Health Ministry: Israeli Army Killed 112 Palestinians, Injured 13,190 Since March 30th.  May 21.
[iii] William Boardman, Israeli Snipers Kill Unarmed, Defenseless People: Isn’t that Murder?  Reader Supported News, May 21, 2018.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Hamas Responsible


The headline said, “Hamas is Responsible for Gaza’s Hardship.” [i]

After I picked myself up from the floor, (Ignorance, especially when it is chosen and announced with pride), always overwhelms me.

Hamas responsible?  It was not Hamas that drove out more than 700,000 Palestinians in 1948, both Muslim and Christian, taking their homes and livelihoods. Many of them wound up as penniless refugees in Gaza. Israel did that.

And it was not Hamas that murdered Count Folke Bernadotte, the United Nations special envoy who mediated a “truce” not to Israel’s liking. Israel did that, too. And it was not Hamas that pulled off a sneak attack in 1967 against Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and the U.S in attacking the USS Liberty, an unarmed reconnaissance ship, killing 34 American sailors. And it was not Hamas that drove nearly two million Palestinians into the Gaza with limited access to water, food and medical supplies. Israel did that.

Hamas did not bombard Gaza to smithereens in December 2008-09, and again in 2012, and again in 2014, destroying homes, sanitation plants, hospitals and infrastructure.

And it is not Hamas who is shooting into unarmed crowds of Israeli soldiers. Since March 30, when the people locked up in Gaza started demonstrating against their occupation and abuse, sixty Palestinians have been killed and over 2,700 wounded by Israeli fire. Not one Israeli soldier has received a so much as scratch in this so called “conflict.”

When I was a child, my mother asked, “Who broke the window?”  I answered, “Billy did.”  I threw a rock at his head and he ducked.  If that makes sense to you, then I guess you can say, Hamas is responsible for Gaza’s hardship.

Thomas Are
May 15, 2018



[i] Letters to the editor, Atlanta-Journal-Constitution, Sunday, May 13, 2018.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Narcissistic Nation


Much has been written lately by psychiatrist and mental health professionals about the “narcissistic mind-set.”  Defined as:[i]

            One – It is all about me.
            Two – Other people don’t matter because they are not me.
            Three – Regulations and laws are irrelevant because they restrict my being me.

Most of it has been applied to the actions of Donald Trump. And I certainly see the rationale for this concern. However, I wonder if there should not also be a concern for a “Narcissistic Nation,” namely Israel?

            One – It is all about Israel

                        From the bombing of the King David Hotel to massacre in Shebra and Shatilla refugee camps, to the air strikes on neighboring countries, US politicians, media, and the religious right, all give Israel a pass on atrocities. Even an attack on the USS Liberty, killing 34 American sailors, avoids accountability. The American attitude seems to be, if it’s Israel, no questions allowed, no public debate. If it’s Israel, it is sanctioned, (blessed) in the sense of approved, not punished.

Two – Other people don’t count.

In keeping with the narcissistic mindset, other nations and people don’t count. Just think of Gaza. Two million people crowded into an “open-air prison,” deprived of clean water, food, medicine, electricity and meaningful work to do. But, to Israel, they are not Jews, so what’s the problem?  Even the non-Jewish Arabs of Israel are treated as second class citizens in their own country. They are not Jews.
                                   
            Three – No restrictions on Israel recognized.

                        It is phrased as Israel’s “right to defend itself.”  But in reality, it is a cover for Israel’s violence against its neighbors. It is not by mistake that Israel has never declared its borders, nor subjected itself to a constitution. The core of Israel’s society is its military might which does not even stand on its own, but is guaranteed and financed by the US.  Israel shouts, “The world is out to get us, because we are Jewish.”

I would argue that the world condemns Israel, precisely because it is NOT Jewish. Israel’s ancient prophets, from whom Jesus got his message and mission, had much to say about caring for the poor, protecting the weak, defending the oppressed, releasing the prisoner and forgiving debts. These are the polar opposites of the “narcissistic nation” now called Israel.

Thomas Are
April 22, 2018

           
[i] Dr. Decker, Trump’s Brain, an FBI Profile of Donald Trump. And especially, Bandy Lee, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, 27 Psychiatrist and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.  (St. Martins Press, New York, 2017.)

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Morals and Massacres


Israel claims to be the most moral nation on the globe with the most moral army.  I would settle for an “almost” moral nation but Israel is not even close.

I looked up “moral” in my dictionary:

Distinction between right and wrong, and the rule of right conduct.

I also looked up “massacre.”

The killing of a number of usually helpless or unresisting human beings under circumstances of atrocity or cruelty.

The history of Israel is much more identified with massacre than moral.:[i]

            1946. Zionists blew up the King David Hotel, killing 91 people.

1948. Zionists kill over 100 civilians in the village of Deir Yassin which frightened thousands of Palestinians to flee their own villages. The officer responsible for this massacre was Manachem Begin who was later rewarded by becoming Israel’s prime minister.

1948. More than 100 Palestinian men are rounded up in the City of Lydda and massacred.

1948. Hundreds of Palestinian civilians in the village of Al Dawayima, west of Hebron, killed in a barbarous manner.

1953. Israeli troops led by Ariel Sharon raided the village of Qibya in the West Bank killing 69  Palestinians, most of them women and children, in retaliation for a cross border raid that killed three Israelis. Sharon is called a hero.

1956. Israeli forces gun down farmers in Kfar Qasim returning from the fields who were unaware that Israel had ordered a curfew earlier that day. Forty-eight Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed including women and children.

1956. Israeli forces killed 275 Palestinians in Gaza..

1970. Israel killed 46 Egyptian children during a raid on a primary school in the village of Bahr el-Baqar, Egypt.

1982. The Sabra and Shatilla massacre of Palestinians in Beirut refugee camps while Israel Defense Forces controlled the area. Somewhere between several hundred to 3000 Palestinians are murdered under the control of Ariel Sharon, who was also rewarded by becoming Israel’s prime minister.

1996. The first Qana massacre too place when Israeli missiles struck a UN compound in Southern Lebanon in  a clash with Hezbollah killing over 100 civilians. Ten years later, in 
2006, another Qana massacre by Israeli missiles killed 36 civilians including 16 children.

2008-09. Israeli assault on Gaza killed 1400 Palestinians.

2012. Israel killed 160 Palestinians in Gaza. 2014. Israeli onslaught on Gaza killed upwards of 2200 Palestinians. This massacre is remembered for its “sniper killings” of unarmed people.

If you are like me and if you have read this far, you are sick of reading about the facts on the ground by the “most moral army on the globe.” That’s why it is hard, when reading today’s newspapers that Israel is simply defending itself when firing into unarmed Palestinians demonstrating at the border.

How much damage has been done to Israeli property? Zero. How many Israeli civilians threatened? Zero.  How many breaches in that precious security fence”? Zero.[ii] 

Don’t be fooled. Israeli violence has nothing to do with security. It is a basic lack of values that chooses massacre over morals and given Israel’s Zionist record, when forced to choose between morals and massacres, massacre will come out ahead every time.

Thomas Are
April 14, 2018


[i] This listing is gleaned from Mondoweiss, A Brief, Unhappy History of Israeli Massacres, April 1, 2018
[ii] Seven Things you need to Know about Israel’s latest Attack on Gaza.,  Mondoweiss, April 5, 2018.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

What's New


I tried. I honestly to goodness really tried to quit. I was going to leave blogging to younger minds with sharper insights. But, I made a mistake. I kept reading
Like today, I read that Israel shot and killed fifteen Palestinians who were demonstrating against the siege on Gaza and wounded a thousand.  The only way that Israeli troops could have hit that many was to have randomly fired into an unarmed crowd.

According to today’s newspaper

Israeli troops opened fire from across the border, killing at least nine Palestinians and wounding 491orhers in the second mass border protest in eight days. The deaths brought to at least 31 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire since last week.[i]

Among those shot down was Yasser Murtaja, a well-known 30 year-old journalist, wearing a flak jacket marked “Press” while holding his camera. The IDF does not target journalists, Israel announced. No investigation will be allowed.  Hamas has declared that in spite of the risks, it will continue its protest until Nakba Day, May 15th,. the day Israel was declared a state and pushed 700,000 Palestinians into refugee camps.

“So,” my neighbor asks, “what does Hamas want that is worth the risking of their lives?”
They want a lifting if the siege, access to clean drinking water, electricity more than a few hours a day and the right to live in freedom without being bombarded by Israel every year or two among other freedoms that allow human dignity. All of which Israel remains determined to never allow.

So, what’s new?  The fact that this clash has been reported in the mainstream US media for a week now, that’s new.  And worth recognizing.

Thomas Are
April 8, 2018



[i] Hundreds Attend Funeral of Journalist, By Fares Akman, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sunday, April 8, 2018. P. A-3.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Hanging It Up



I believe all writing is a combination of remembering and research.  Unfortunately, in my previous blog, THE PAULINE CAPTIVITY,  my memory went haywire and I went way off track. I “quoted” Paul as saying things he never said. I pulled an image from the Book of Revelation which was written long years after Paul was dead.

So, I have decided that it is probably time to hang it up and leave blogging to younger and sharper minds. I remember saying once that 85 year old men don’t write books and if they do, they shouldn’t. That also applies to blogs.

I am grateful to those of you who have hung in there with me in trying to keep the oppression of the Palestinian people before us.  That injustice continues and is even getting worse under Trump’s so-called leadership. 

Hopefully I can find other ways to add a little weight for the cause of peace through justice.


TOM