Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Israel is a Run Away Truck

To more and more people watching the carnage of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza last summer, it seemed that Israel is like a run away truck; picking up speed, engine red hot,  exhaust spewing out poisonous gas, racing downhill, no one at the wheel and heading for a crash. The question is, will we, the U.S., crash with it?

It seems that our congressional leadership is determined to keep its blinders on even as more people around the world see that we are on the wrong side of history.  

Last month, the Swedish Prime Minister announced that his country would become the first in the European Union to recognize Palestine as a state. A week later, the British Parliament voted 274 to 12 to do the same, saying that the British public is fed up with Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestinian land. Last month’s war against Gaza was the last straw.  Some of the moral concerns expressed by the parliamentarians sounded like a foreign language to our congress:

One lawmaker says that the occupation is “much worse” than apartheid in South Africa. Another says that the Balfour Declaration of 1917 now seems like a “sick joke,” because it never guaranteed freedom to Palestinians. Many members offer frank descriptions of Israeli detention of children and unending settlement expansion. Several describe Israeli actions in Gaza as war crimes. One mentions the use of terrorism by Mandela and Begin long before Palestinians used the tactic. Labor and Conservative members alike speak of the role of the Israel lobby in the United States.[1]

Of course, recognition does not solve much. In fact, it hardly solves anything. Recognition without rights is next to meaningless.  After a cease fire and recognition, Gaza will still need food and medicine, water and electricity. More than 450,000 people have been run over. According to the United Nations:

At least 2,168 Palestinians were killed, 519 children and 77 % were civilians.[2]  11,321 Palestinians were injured, 108,000 are currently homeless and over 1000 children will be permanently disabled.  142 families lost three or more family members in the same incident.  At least 220 schools were damaged, with 22 completely destroyed.  62 hospitals were damaged, 278 mosques (73 completely demolished).  Some of the mosques were historical sites that dated back to the 7th century.  The Gaza power plant remains inoperable - with electricity outages for 18 hours a day in most areas.
George Galloway,  member of Parliament, identified himself as a life time friend of Israel, abstained from voting on the Parliament’s recognition of Palestinian as a state because he said that such an act will not solve the major problems facing Gaza:

I cannot support this motion as it accepts recognition of the state of Israel, does not define borders of either state or address the central question of the right of return of the millions of Palestinians who have been forced to live outside Palestine. Israel was a state born in 1948 out of the blood of the Palestinians who were hounded from their land. Since then it has grabbed ever more land from the Palestinian people. In the last five years it has twice launched murderous assaults on the Palestinian people of Gaza, some 1.8 million people crammed into what is in effect a prison camp. In the wake of the most recent war on Gaza, Israel has announced its biggest land grab in the Occupied West Bank so far. Israel has defied UN resolution after UN resolution with impunity…[3].

Richard Ottaway, long time supporter of Israel said that Israel has made him “look like a fool. I have to say to the government of Israel that if they are losing people like me, they will be losing a lot of people.”[4]

Of course, it’s hard for the United States government to condemn Israel for its barbaric bombing of innocent unarmed people when we are providing the bombs to do it.

Marc Ellis asks:

What is to be thought of world leaders who know the score in private and continually lie in public? They are little better than the Israelis gathered on the border of Gaza who cheer each Israeli bomb strike.
            Maybe those Israeli bomb cheerleaders are not far off. Israel was born through violence. Israel has expanded through violence. Israel makes sure that there won’t be a Palestinian state through violence.[5]

What recognition does do is send a message to the world and especially to the U.S. Congress that Palestine has not yet been pushed under the rug.  It also sends a message to the people of Palestine that they have not been forgotten in spite of all the efforts of self-serving politicians, irresponsible media and silent pulpits. The British Parliament, along with Sweden and 130  other countries have said, we have not forgotten you.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said that the church (synagogue and Mosque) has three obligations to the State. First, to ask the State if its actions are legitimate. Second, to aid the victims of State despotism. And third, to jam the wheels of State when it runs over people.  When a mad man drives down a crowed street, we must put spikes in the spokes of the truck.[6]

Of course, the Israeli government never heard of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and couldn’t care less about the British Parliament. But, an increasing number of people both in the U.S. and around the world watched the news from Israel/Gaza and are saying, there is something wrong with this picture. And that angers Israel, which in itself makes me feel that we may be clogging the wheels of the Zionist truck.

                                                                                                    Thomas Are
                                                                                                    October 22, 2014

[1] Mondoweiss,  British Parliament Sends a Message to Obama:  The People see Israel as a “Bully., Oct. 15, 2014
[2] Palestinian Center for Human Rights
[3] George Galloway, Why I Cannot Support This Motion on Palestine,  Information Clearing House,  Oct.  14, 2014.
[4] Philip Weiss, British Parliament Votes Overwhelmingly to Recognize Palestinian State,  Mondoweiss, Oct. 14, 2014
[5] Marc H. Ellis, Burning Children, A Jewish View of the War in Gaza, (New Disapora Books, 2014) p.51
[6] Eric Metaxas,  Bonhoeffer, (Thomas Nelson, 2010) p.153-4. 

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