Monday, November 13, 2006

U.S. Again Stands in the way of Justice for Palestinians

Despite the massacre in Beit Hanun, the recent shooting of Palestinian women at a demonstration, and other egregious acts, the US once again uses its veto power in the UN Security to prevent justice. (10 of the last 11 vetoes have been cast by the United States. Almost all of those were to do with the Israel-Palestinian conflict.)

How is it possible to imagine this is moral? The devastation of the lives of people trapped in Gaza is appalling. Reality is so disturbing. How many people, if they are aware of what is happening, can morally justify standing by while these acts take place? Is it that we don't really see what is going on? Let that not be the excuse: Here are some photos and some more (warning, graphic content).

More on The Middle East


Anonymous said...

The US wouldnt be standing in the way of this resolution if it were more balanced and not solely critical of Israel. Despite what the far left might think, Palestine's Hamas led government, those people who elected it, and the terrorists who lob missles into Israel bear a good chunk (if not the majority) of the blame for any civilian deaths caused by Israel.

Red Jenny said...

Blaming the victim... this is a common enough argument. Here's a few alternative versions: The poor are stupid/lazy/immoral and so their poverty is their own fault. The woman who was raped is at fault because she was dressed wrong/in the wrong place/wasn't careful enough. The dude got shot because he insulted the guy with the gun - the guy with the gun bears no responsibility for a completely disproportionate response. The occupation and constant killing of Palestinians is the fault of the Palestinians.

I don't necessarily believe that the Palestinian response is the best one but requiring them to turn the other cheek, to lay down and give up is totally ridiculous. I personally like Tariq Ali's idea of a mass movement of civil disobedience, like a general strike among all Palestinians in peaceful solidarity. I'm hoping eventually they'll go that route, because when it comes to violence and warmaking, Israel is far stronger. However, in the meantime Israel has brought them to their knees. A handful of extremists only have so much popular support because there's so little hope. There are daily attacks on Palestinians. Their children are being trapped, starved, killed. They are struggling for whatever scraps they can get.

If the US was so committed to bringing peace to the region, but just didn't like the wording of this particular resolution, I think they might have been able to table a positive alternative that isn't totally one-sided favouring Israel. They do have some slight influence in the Security Council.

Anonymous said...

The burden lies with the Palestinians to end the violence. Every time the Palestinians have given the Israelis a little respite from the violence the restrictions, and military action on Israel's part have been loosened. When Israel pulls back it gets no such guarantee--the attacks on it continue.

Your assertion that I am "blaming the victim" relies on the flawed assumption that Palestine is the "victim".

If my neighbour continuously attacks me, I will stand on his head until he promises to stop. I am still the victim in the equation. That is what Israel has done. The right of self defence is the right of every human being, acting alone or in concert. And any poverty suffered by the Palestinians flows from an unwilligness to make peace with the Israelis.

I certainly dont support each and every action taken by Israel but on balance I believe they are waging jus ad bellum. The Palestinians must bear the lions share of responsibility for their fate. Regardless of whether Israel's response to Palestinia attacks is "proportionate" or "just"; the Palestinians know it is what happens when Israel is attacked.

Red Jenny said...

"If my neighbour continuously attacks me, I will stand on his head until he promises to stop."

What if you occupied his house and he's just trying to get you out so he can eat dinner and go to bed? What if you not only stand on his head but kill his kid and dog and wife?

Israel is not the David in this equation, but the Goliath.

Anonymous said...

RJ - You are obfuscating cause and effect. Israel occupies the Palestinian territories because of attacks by Palestinians. Its not as if Israel is occupying the territories for no reason. That would make no sense.

Red Jenny said...

I think you are missing out on some history. I don't have time to go over it all now, but there are enough resources that are much better than I could ever be. Here's a start:

The Palestinians have tried a lot of non-violent resistance in the past and it hasn't worked. To be honest, I don't know if there's much they CAN do that would work. I don't condone suicide bombings, but the truth is, when you are desperate you try many tactics and that is ONE tactic tried by SOME people. What Israel is doing is escalating the violence, and they are justifying their expansionism, settlements, and resource theft by saying it is the Palestinians own fault.

Anonymous said...

RJ - I have read plenty of history thank you. Whether the Palestinians have tried any non-violent resistance or not Israel has had barely a moment of peace since it declared itself a state in 1948, so the precense of non-violence amongst the violence justifies nothing.

The settler movement was unfortunate yes, but Israel has made progress on that, and its my understanding that in terms of formal peace negotiations between Israel and Fatah, the border issues had been settled; and settling the dispute was dependant on the right of return--which the Palestinians must eventually concede they will NEVER get.

If the Palestinians were really desperate for peace they would STOP the bombings. It should be abundantly clear to them by now that they will never get their way with Israel by force. Israel, on the other hand, does not have that option. Even when they try defensive rather than offensive measures to ensure their security (ie the wall) the lefties get all up in arms about that. To hear it from you guys you'd think Israel doesn't even have a right to defend itself.

It is the Palestinians that stand in the way of peace in the ME.

Red Jenny said...

I appreciate what you are saying, but I have to say I think you are really looking at this from a one-sided viewpoint. The violence is awful, but Israel hasn't been doing enough to prevent it. They have been continually expanding the borders (look at the maps in 1948, 1967, and now), creating new settlements, and displacing more and more people. They escalate the violence and call it simple retribution.

The wall is a problem because it effectively turns the Gaza Strip into a concentration camp. There's a huge lack of trade, work, water, food, education! They are treated like second class citizens - humiliated, dehumanized. When people's lives are constricted ever more, they have fewer and fewer options.

It is important not to conflate the suicide bombers and extremists with all Palestinians, just as it is important to realize that the Israeli people is not the same as the Israeli government. There are a lot of peaceful people who just want to live their lives. The overwhelming majority want to negotiate.

Anonymous said...

RJ - with respect, your view is at least as "one-sided" as mine is, but I've heard it all before. I almost miss my undergrad. As a moderate-lefty myself I would get crucified by my friends for taking the view that I do on the ME.

You're right that the Palestinians are not all extremists and suicide bombers. But Palestine has democratic institutions, and the Palestinians have chosen to elect governments that are unwilling to take a stand with terrorists. In fact, the moment I threw my hands up in the air and gave up on them was when they elected Hamas. If the Palestinian people collectively took a firm stance against terrorism it would end. Culpability comes on a variety of levels. The society in which we live is not responsible for our personal conduct, but in certain situations there is enough blame to go around (ex. homelessness in North America).

The wall is a necessary measure and its unfortunate that it had to be built. I think what the left doesnt realize (and this is the reason I became so disillusioned with it) is that security will always trump other concerns and that is a natural human reaction. The safety of myself, my family, my community, etc. will always take precedence over the prosperity of another. Its folly to expect humans to behave any other way. If we dont want people to affect out prosperity by ensuring their own security their is an easy solution: Dont threaten their security.

On expansionism, yes I have acknowleged that the expansionist tendencies of Israel (driven by the ultra-orthodox settlers who Israel has finally confronted despite massive political unrest) in the past is unfortunate; but it has stopped, and there will be land swaps in a final settlement so it really should be a non-issue. There will be no more excuses for expansionism if the Palestinians cease their attacks and a final settlement is reached. It helps nothing to focus on the past. A sustained campaign of violence because of past grievances will not bring peace to the region.

Red Jenny said...

You're right that nothing I'm saying is new, and I doubt I will pursuade you to see things from my perspective. That's fine. I appreciate the dialogue. I also don't have time to address all your points, but I do have a few things to say.

You're right about the popular support for Hamas, that doesn't condone killing children because they might one day grow up to be terrorists. Support for Hamas does not equal ipso facto support for terrorism.

If Israel is permitted to defend itself, is not a population permitted to resist its occupiers?

You said: "It helps nothing to focus on the past". The problem is, it isn't past yet. Israel is STILL occupying and building new settlements, destroying or taking valuable cropland, limiting access to vital water sources, etc.

It isn't the past for the Palestinians in refugee camps. We can't go back to 1947. That's a reality. The compromise is 1967 borders.