Monday, January 12, 2009

Ending War in Gaza

I am increasingly upset at the Israeli military actions in Gaza, and at the overall approach to solving the issues between the Israeli government and their Palestinian neighbors. Notwithstanding the annoyance of Hamas' continuous rain of rockets (most of them harmless), the images of destruction, death, suffering, anguish, despair, starvation, deprivation, and rage of the Palestinian people in Gaza leads me to an uncomfortable conclusion that the Israelis have succumbed to the age-old adage that "the victims become the victimizers." The sheer scale and inhumanity of their actions is horrific, and completely out of proportion to the admittedly provocative aggression of Hamas.

But, without looking at the larger and historical picture, and without seeking to understand how and why members of Hamas would feel justified in sending rockets over the border in the first place, the underlying conflict can never be settled. In fact, the Israeli government's actions are only making matters worse, fanning the flames of Arab and Palestinian resentment into a seething, boiling rage that will certainly find a most destructive outlet.

I suggest that what is needed is a process of acknowledgment, accountability, and reparations--a process in which the best of human nature is given a chance to heal the wounds that have resulted from fear, greed, entitlement, ideology, racism, blame, and revenge.

(I smiled the other day at the thought that since the US has finally elected an African American to the White House, isn't it time for Israel to elect a Palestinian Prime Minister? This may sound ridiculous at first blush, but the parallel is not too far off the mark.)

I encourage you to take action on this. You can write to President-elect Obama via So far, he has been silent--and I only hope that he is holding his tongue for now because his views are radically different from those of the war-mongering Bush administration. Please take a few moments to write to him and offer an alternative approach to the criminal aggression endorsed and underwritten by the current administration.

Certainly, if peace could be attained in northern Ireland, peace can come to the Middle East. But it will take a massive expression of public opinion to change the present course.


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