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Push Obama on Palestine

topic posted Tue, November 25, 2008 - 6:15 PM by  John
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Gaza: Moving Beyond Political Activism

by Joe Mowrey / November 24th, 2008

www.dissidentvoice.org/2008/1...tivism/

As conditions in the Gaza strip approach a catastrophic level of deprivation, the world media, and in particular the U.S. media, remain largely silent. The United Nations, whose truckloads of food and medical supplies continue to be denied entry into Gaza by Israel, appears to be one of the few international voices of dissent concerning the collective punishment of 1.5 million human beings. This, despite the fact that more than 50% of the population in Gaza is comprised of children under the age of 15.

Israel claims to be defending itself against the crude, often homemade rockets which militant factions in Gaza fire randomly into southern Israel. Though it may be considered politically incorrect, this writer refuses to precede his remarks with the requisite, “It’s wrong for militant Palestinians to be firing rockets into Israel.” The ethics of Palestinian resistance to the Zionist colonization of Palestine and the dispossession of the Palestinian people is a subject for another article. The issue at hand is one of collective punishment. Regardless of the actions of certain factions in Gaza, the fact remains that Israel (with the approval of the U.S.and the world community) is depriving an entire civilian population of food, medicine and clean drinking water in response to the violent actions of a few among that population. By any civilized standard this behavior is wrong and should be condemned vociferously. To paraphrase the words of an alien from another planet in a not-so-great Hollywood movie of some years ago, every sentient being knows the difference between right and wrong.

Apparently not. Israel’s Foreign Minister and likely future Prime Minister, Tzipi Livni, recently dismissed the notion that Israel’s actions in Gaza amount to collective punishment and claimed those actions were a justifiable response to the rocket attacks on Israel. She stated, “The international community must be more decisive in making itself heard and in using its influence in the face of these attacks.”

To suggest that the international community should condemn “these attacks” by militant Palestinian factions, yet ignore the humanitarian disaster being imposed on Gaza by the government of Israel demonstrates a nearly incomprehensible level of hypocrisy. But more importantly, the fact that Jews are the ones perpetrating these unconscionable actions in Gaza is a tragedy of historic proportions. The Geneva Conventions, particularly those articles addressing the collective punishment of civilian populations, were largely crafted in response to the treatment of Jews by the Nazis during World War II. Has the sense of exclusivity and entitlement created by the Zionist experiment in Israel become so great that people there no longer see themselves in the mirror of their own history? The irony of Jews, among the most egregiously persecuted and maligned people in history, denying food to hundreds of thousands of children in order, allegedly, to insure their own security, is breathtaking. Who could ever have imagined such a thing?

As people of Gaza suffer, here in the U.S., the vast majority of so-called progressives continue to revel in the recent election of the first Black man to the Presidency. While Obama has garnered a great deal of political and financial support by pledging his unconditional support for the Zionist regime in Israel, he remains completely silent on the plight of the children of Gaza. Our first Black President not only refuses to speak out against the collective punishment of an oppressed people, he actively supports and encourages the regime responsible for this behavior. This too is a tragedy of historic proportions. Have we come this far in the struggle against racism in our country only to see Barack Obama put a minority face on U.S. support for violations of international law and essential human dignity by Israel? Again, one has to say, who could ever have imagined such a thing?

Each morning I peruse the alternative media online and hope to see at least some minor degree of outrage at the situation in Gaza. A small but courageous handful of progressive web sites dare to criticize Israel and speak out against the abuse of the Palestinian people. But for the most part, the glorious and powerful “NetRoots” movement is too busy congratulating itself on the so-called victory it has achieved in the recent elections, too busy celebrating the illusion of change which Barack Obama represents, to admit the absence of any indication of substantive change in U.S. foreign policy in Palestine or the Middle East under his coming administration.

Does it ever occur to those who so blindly and passionately rallied ‘round their candidate for the Presidency that they might now use their voices to encourage him to oppose the human rights abuses being orchestrated in Gaza? The sad reality is, not even a chorus of such voices is likely to alter the course Obama appears to have taken. He has surrounded himself with a familiar cast of armchair militarists, corporatists and hard core pro-Zionist zealots who will continue to give their unconditional support to Israel regardless of what barbaric tactics the government there uses to advance the colonization of Palestine. He is choosing to turn his back on the men, women and children in Gaza and the West Bank who suffer chronic malnutrition, desperate poverty, dispossession and daily humiliation at the hands of the Israeli military.

We should stand up in opposition to instances of human rights abuses whenever and wherever they occur. The situation in Gaza is only one on an unfortunately long list, locally, nationally and internationally. And U.S. government (that means you and me) support for and complicity in many such instances is no secret. If each of us were to do just one thing per week to address these issues, the result might surprise us all. Take a minute out from the long and endless chatter of day to day living and speak to a friend about the idea of social equality. Write one letter to the editor of your local paper in support of human rights. Spend just one percent of your online hours learning the truth about our complicity as U.S. citizens in the exploitation and degradation of other people and their cultures. Turn off your television. Go stand on a corner with a sign to protest war. Wear a button promoting peace and justice. One small thing at a time.

To those who became politically active, possibly for the first time, and expended their valuable enthusiasm and energy in order to see Barack Obama elected: thank you for being a part of history. Now why not try on the mantel of social activism? Write our President-elect a letter and suggest that he at least acknowledge the suffering of the people in Gaza. It is doubtful it will change him or his policies, but it may change you. And that truly is “change we can believe in.”

Every sentient being knows the difference between right and wrong. The question is, why do so few of us act on that knowledge?

Joe Mowrey is a Palestinian rights and antiwar activist. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his equally traitorous spouse and their four canine co-conspirators. He can be contacted at: jmowrey@ix.netcom.com.
posted by:
John
California
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  • Once again this article grossly misrepresents that facts on the ground and why is the author not equally condemning Egypt which also shares a boarder with Gaza. His use of the word “Zionist regime” tells it all.
    When Arabs start planting food instead of buying guns they will not need the world to feed them, They were given Israel best organic farms and what did they do smashed them to pieces with there hate not the “random missile firing minority militant but mobs of hate filled Arabs children that you speaks of included, they could have feed the whole gaza strip with what they destroyed. Wanton hate can not be given any ground that is not peace but madness.


    I could fill volumes of the humanity aid that the Jew haters get on a daily biases from Israeli kindness and can not list anything these people who voted in there government in (who by they way fired ten of thousands of rocket not random) have given Israeli .

    Sick sick sick

    If you want to pray, I will pray with you if you want to walk for peace, I will walk with you, if you want to help the either side by being part of the solution then I will support you. But if you want to continue to blame I can only pity you.

    • Unsu...
       


      "a daily biases from Israeli kindness"

      Jewish Settlers Attack Palestinians in Hebron

      In Israel and the Occupied Territories, Jewish settlers have unleashed a new wave of attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron. On Thursday, settlers shot at Palestinians, set fire to homes and olive groves, and defaced mosques and graves after Israeli troops evicted a group of settlers from a disputed Palestinian-owned home near a biblical site. Hebron resident Hussni Abu Issifan was among the Palestinian victims of settler gunfire.


      Hussni Abu Issifan: “The (settlers) attacked us at the house and fired live bullets on us with a handgun, and they shot my father. Then later, they set the house on fire. There was only a few meters between us, maybe one or one-and-a-half meters. He probably had his hand on the gun, as well, when he shot my father.”

      www.democracynow.org 12-5-2008


      Yosef,

      "If you want to pray, I will pray with you if you want to walk for peace, I will walk with you,"
      "When Arabs start planting food instead of buying guns they will not need the world to feed them"

      Love isn't harmonious with racism
    • - The Official Website of Ilan Pappé - ilanpappe.com -

      The Mega Prison of Palestine
      Posted By admin On June 16, 2008 @ 9:36 pm In Articles by Ilan Pappé | Comments Disabled

      In several articles published by The Electronic Intifada, I claimed that Israel is pursuing a [1] genocidal policy against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, while continuing the [2] ethnic cleansing of the West Bank. I asserted that the genocidal policies are a result of a lack of strategy. The argument was that since the Israeli political and military elites do not know how to deal with the Gaza Strip, they opted for a knee-jerk reaction in the form of massive killing of citizens whenever the Palestinians in the Strip dared to protest by force their strangulation and imprisonment. The end result so far is the escalation of the indiscriminate killing of Palestinians — more than one hundred in the first days of March 2008, unfortunately validating the adjective “genocidal” I and others attached to these policies. But it was not yet a strategy.
      However, in recent weeks a clearer Israeli strategy towards the Gaza Strip’s future has emerged and it is part of the overall new thinking about the fate of the occupied territories in general. It is in essence, a refinement of the unilateralism adopted by Israel ever since the collapse of the Camp David “peace talks” in the summer of 2000. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, his party Kadima, and his successor Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, delineated very clearly what unilateralism entailed: Israel would annex about 50 percent of the West Bank, not as a homogeneous chunk of it, but as the total space of the settlement blocs, the apartheid roads, the military bases and the “national park reserves” (which are no-go areas for Palestinians). This was more or less implemented in the last eight years. These purely Jewish entities cut the West Bank into 11 small cantons and sub-cantons. They are all separated from each other by this complex colonial Jewish presence. The most important part of this encroachment is the greater Jerusalem wedge that divides the West Bank into two discrete regions with no land connection for the Palestinians.

      The wall thus is stretched and reincarnated in various forms all over the West Bank, encircling at times individual villages, neighborhoods or towns. The cartographic picture of this new edifice gives a clue to the new strategy both towards the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The 21st century Jewish state is about to complete the construction of two mega prisons, the largest of their kind in human history.

      They are different in shape: the West Bank is made of small ghettos and the one in Gaza is a huge mega ghetto of its own. There is another difference: the Gaza Strip is now, in the twisted perception of the Israelis, the ward where the “most dangerous inmates” are kept. The West Bank, on the other hand, is still run as a huge complex of open air prisons in the form of normal human habitations such as a village or a town interconnected and supervised by a prison authority of immense military and violent power.

      As far as the Israelis are concerned, the mega prison of the West Bank can be called a state. Advisor to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, Yasser Abed Rabbo, in the last days of February 2008, threatened the Israelis with a unilateral declaration of independence, inspired by recent events in Kosovo. However, it seemed that nobody on the Israeli side objected to the idea very much. This is more or less the message a bewildered Ahmed Qurei, the Abbas-appointed Palestinian negotiator, received from Tzipi Livni, Israel’s foreign minister, when he phoned to assure her that Abed Rabbo was not speaking in the name of the PA. He got the impression that her main worry was is in fact quite the opposite: that the PA would not agree to call the mega prisons a state in the near future.

      This unwillingness, together with Hamas’ insistence of resisting the mega prison system by a war of liberation, forced the Israelis to rethink their strategy towards the Gaza Strip. It transpires that not even the most cooperative members of the PA are willing to accept the mega prison reality as “peace” or even as a “two state settlement.” And Hamas and Islamic Jihad even translate this unwillingness into Qassam attacks on Israel. So the model of the most dangerous ward developed: the leading strategists in the army and the government embrace themselves for a very long-term “management” of the system they have built, while pledging commitment to a vacuous “peace process,” with very little global interest in it, and a continued struggle from within, against it.

      The Gaza Strip is now seen as the most dangerous ward in this complex and thus the one against which the most brutal punitive means have to be employed. Killing the “inmates” by aerial or artillery bombing, or by economic strangulation, are not just inevitable results of the punitive action chosen, but also desirable ones. The bombing of Sderot is also the inevitable and in a way desirable consequence of this strategy. Inevitable, as the punitive action cannot destroy the resistance and quite often generates a retaliation. The retaliation in its turn provides the logic and basis for the next punitive action, should someone in domestic public opinion doubt the wisdom of the new strategy.

      In the near future, any similar resistance from parts of the West Bank mega prison would be dealt with in a similar way. And these actions are very likely to take place in the very near future. Indeed, the third intifada is on its way and the Israeli response would be a further elaboration of the mega prison system. Downsizing the number of “inmates” in both mega prisons would be still a very high priority in this strategy by means of ethnic cleansing, systematic killings and economic strangulation.

      But there are wedges that prevent the destructive machine from rolling. It seems that a growing number of Jews in Israel (a majority according to a recent CNN poll) wish their government to begin negotiations with Hamas. A mega prison is fine, but if the wardens’ residential areas are likely to come under fire in the future then the system fails. Alas, I doubt whether the CNN poll represents accurately the present Israeli mood; but it does indicate a hopeful trend that vindicates the Hamas insistence that Israel only understands the language of force. But it may not be enough and the perfection of the mega prison system in the meantime continues unabated and the punitive measures of its authority are claiming the lives of many more children, women and men in the Gaza Strip.

      As always it is important to be reminded that the west can put an end to this unprecedented inhumanity and criminality, tomorrow. But so far this is not happening. Although the efforts to make Israel a pariah state continue with full force, they are still limited to civil society. Hopefully, this energy will one day be translated into governmental policies on the ground. We can only pray it will not be too late for the victims of this horrific Zionist invention: the mega prison of Palestine.

      Ilan Pappe, [3] The Electronic Intifada, 5 March 2008

      Article printed from The Official Website of Ilan Pappé: ilanpappe.com

      URL to article: ilanpappe.com/

      URLs in this post:
      [1] genocidal policy against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip: electronicintifada.net/v2/art...6.shtml
      [2] ethnic cleansing of the West Bank: electronicintifada.net/v2/art...4.shtml
      [3] The Electronic Intifada: electronicintifada.net/v2/pri...0.shtml

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