Tag Archives: Palestine

Picture this

To better understand what’s going on in the Gaza Strip, I wanted to find some point of reference to help myself understand the size of the area that’s being targeted by the Israeli military.

I live in a pretty small state, so I wanted to see how the Gaza Strip matched up size-wise with Delaware.

Even though we’re the second smallest state in the U.S., it’s no where close. We’re still nearly 18 times larger than the Gaza Strip geographically speaking.

OK, so I thought maybe New Castle County would be somewhat comparable to the size of Gaza since our county is by far the smallest in our tiny state.

Nope. New Castle is still about three times larger than Gaza.

My next guess was nearly spot on, though.

Philadelphia, the fifth largest city in the United States, has about the same land area as Gaza: 369 square kilometers to Gaza’s 365.

Now imagine hitting over 1300 targets with one of the most powerful militaries in the world in the city of Philadelphia.

Yeah, neither can I.

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History only repeats itself

The struggle of the Palestinian people to assert their own statehood and their right to exist is nothing new from a historical perspective.

For the last 500+ years, Europe and the Western world has permitted itself the privilege of deciding what does or doesn’t constitute statehood, and along with it the right to self-determination and the right to exist.

This is how Europe justified the genocide it committed in the Americas.

The West permits itself the same privilege today. You can see this when characters like Newt Gingrich are running around calling the Palestinians “an invented people” – as if he’s trying to give Eddie Izzard new material for his stand-up routines.

There are parallels between what’s going on today in Gaza and Palestine and the atrocities, for example, committed against Africans in the United States or the atrocities that Germany and Vichy France committed against the Jewish people in the Holocaust.

The first step to genocide and other like atrocities is denying the personhood of the targeted group. So white Americans, for example, told themselves that Africans aren’t really human. White Americans relied on fake science that turned other races into caricatures that we could denigrate and consider as “demonstrably” inferior to themselves. Germany under Hitler did something comparable to the Jewish people of Europe – blaming them for their economic woes and depicting them as a pest, a subhuman group that needed to be exterminated.

Today, the West is doing the same thing to Palestine by vilifying the people of Palestine as terrorists, by claiming that they have no legitimacy in self-determination because they are “an invented people”.

Obviously the cases are all different – and you could draw parallels elsewhere with a hundred other instances. But the pattern is always the same: In order to exterminate or subjugate, you must first denigrate. The Palestinians just happen to be the latest.

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How many need to die?

Somewhere around 40 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting over the last few days. How many more need to die before Israel is satisfied? How long will the U.S. sit on its hands and look the other way?

Imagine if Mitt Romney were president right now. He would be offering troops and air support.

Do anything you can, do everything you can – though there is nothing we can do.

I’ve been searching for petitions to sign to ease my conscience, to reassure myself that there are others outraged by what’s going on in Gaza right now. The heart-break is too much.

And while the world takes sides, our most naive hopes are the most sincere. I certainly don’t wish for Israel to fail – but I also certainly weep for Palestine.

There are two people going after one another. You see one throwing stones while they try not to get mowed down by a rocket launcher.

And which side do you choose?

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Something’s missing here

Something is missing from the Republicans and the Democrats’ talking points.

While Mitt Romney and the GOP try to make Obama seem anti-Israel because he isn’t willing to commit to a war in Iran, the Obama camp does little besides give lip service to the conflict in the Middle East. The one moment where I was shocked during his speech at the DNC was when Mr. Obama only stated that we are committed to the security of the Israeli people without so much as mentioning the Palestinian people. We already know that little to nothing is being done to resolve the situation – are we at the point now where we we’re so cynical that we can’t even give lip service to the Palestinian people?

A quick search of the Barack Obama website shows only one result for the word “Palestine” – and it’s a document titled “President Obama’s Unwavering Commitment to the State of Israel and the US-Israel Relationship”.

Palestine does get mentioned in the document and to give you some idea of how the President’s team talks about Palestine, here’s a quick except:

President Obama publicly called for a non-militarized Palestinian state. He has consistently
condemned Hamas and violence against Israelis, called for the immediate release of Gilad Shalit,
and supported Israel’s refusal to negotiate with Hamas before it recognizes Israel’s right to exist, rejects violence, and adheres to all existing agreements.

Of course, this is something akin to telling a man armed with a stick to drop it and stop resisting as a man twice his size continues kicking him in the gut while menacing him with a gun – and his gang of friends who are all standing by with guns waiting to help.

Can you hear that? Probably not, since no one will say a single word about Palestine for fear of being called anti-Israel by the far right.

If our leaders could synthesize the situation for their audience with sympathy towards both sides and present the same challenge to not just the Palestinians but also to the Israelis, I believe that they would have the support of the majority of Americans. As human beings, we want the same opportunities for everyone regardless of their nationality or where they’re born. Everyone deserves the chance at a life free of oppression, free of fear of rockets raining down on their home, free of the fear of a bulldozer showing up one day to demolish their home.

The two campaigns would do themselves both a service to speak to the best in us rather than playing on fears and misrepresentations.

Alas, Palestine. I am sorry. We have failed you.

 

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