On November 14 2012 Israel began their offensive on Gaza known as Operation: Pillar of Defense or Pillar of Cloud. As I learned from watching Harry Fear on ustream, the name “Pillar of Cloud” is a biblical reference to something which protected the Jewish People.
Later on November 20 (I think) Egypt brokered a cease fire between Israel and Hamas. At least they tried to. Hamas fired a few more rockets…
Pretty much as soon as the Israeli offensive began (prior to the cease fire) the entire internet and all of the social networks started buzzing about war crimes, murder, dead babies, and one-sided propaganda saying “hate the other side, hate the other side, hate the other side.” Now I’m not justifying what is currently going on for a second. It sickens me to be honest. However, I can’t help but think it’s more complicated than the basic memes I keep seeing. Meaning it’s more complicated than just “Israel blows the shit out of Gaza.” True that is essentially what’s happening (they have a larger military) but I’d like to ask why it’s happening? I also think it’s worth asking just how many Israelis support the aggression?
To address that last point I’m going to post this article as complementary material:
Israel is as Netanyahu does.
Coupled with the previous article is this video which describes the pro-Palestinian anti-war movement in Israel itself:
Inside Israel’s anti-war movement.
This video as well can elaborate even further on the group presented in the first video:
Israelis Soldiers refuse to serve in Gaza.
I can’t really comment much further from this perspective because even that seems to address the situation from a near-sighted point of view.
Before continuing any further I want to state my unfortunate declaration of neutrality on this. My reasons follow, but none of them are from a pretense of “Journalistic Objectivity.”
I do want to post this video though as it is a very good history of the Middle Eastern conflict:
Origins of Israel Palestinian Conflict
Now that I’ve posed that for discussion I need to examine this from the only perspective that really looks at the full situation and everything that might be overlooked.
TheFreeDictionary.com defines Genocide as “The systematic and widespread extermination or attempted extermination of an entire national, racial, religious, or ethnic group.”
Whether it is realized or wanted by Israeli citizens, this is what they are doing: A larger power exists in an area populated by many smaller powers. The smaller powers never wanted the influx of immigration which the larger power brought because many of the people who were originally there ended up as refugees, but the immigration happened nevertheless. It was at this point that the original people living there were faced with a decision. They could either assimilate into the new culture, or they could continue to resist. Obviously, they have continued to resist and I can’t really fault them for this response. However, in the age of bombs, guns, and rockets, the armed resistance of original settlers will inevitably provoke a defensive-offensive reaction from the larger power. A larger power armed with the same age of weaponry, only stronger, and a better funded artillery with more supplies to back it.
It must be acknowledged how people who are pro-Israel will say “we want peace, but how can we achieve this if they wont even recognize us as a state.” This is a legitimate point. At the same time, do we really think the Native Americans would have jumped at the opportunity to recognize the American colonies, and European culture, as their own. You can’t just tell the Gazans to do this either with Israel.
Now we need to address one particular of the conflict which is overlooked. A possible explanation for the higher casualty rates in Gaza as opposed to Israel. No, it’s not just excessive bombing. Unless I have been misinformed, Hamas puts their weapons facilities in the middle of civilian areas (which I believe is actually a war crime). Israel does not do this. The unfortunate consequence of this is when Israel bombs a weapons facility, civilians end up dead.
Nevertheless the conflict continues and as Israel is the stronger nation Gazans die in larger numbers. As time passes, we are essentially looking at a genocide by Israel as Gazan numbers decline gradually and Israel is still strong.
Now to bring in another aspect of the conflict to view it from a different perspective. When the European settlers came to the Americas and took land the same exact genocide happened as the colonies were created; and later in the name of Manifest Destiny. I think about 15 million Native Americans were killed. The rest assimilated, were allowed to stay on reservations, and opened casinos. The only real difference between the founding of the United States and what we are watching in Israel now is we have only read about the European settlers and Manifest Destiny in history books. To add insult to injury, history is always written by the winner. As a result most of us don’t think of the creation of the United States in such a negative light (thanksgiving?). In the case of Israel and the Middle East conflict, over the past 50 or so years we have watched the events unfold in the news, and in real time. With the spread of the internet over the past decade our exposure to the conflict has been that much more easily accessible. As there is no clear winner yet, and people have obvious loyalties to and connections with one side or the other, we end up in heated discussions where there is no common ground to be found.
History is written by the winner and the kinks have been worked out. The present is improvised and there are often a lot of mistakes to be made.
George Orwell said:
“Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past.”
Rage Against the Machine expanded with:
“Who controls the present now?”
All this said. Why do I declare neutrality? I declare neutrality because if I don’t declare neutrality I’ll have to be ashamed of the fact that I grew up in America for the sake of consistency. I can’t be ashamed of having grown up in America because I have had a very good life thus far. I’m very grateful to have grown up in this country and to have had whatever I did. Unfortunately, the greatest drawback to my having everything I do comes at the price of a genocide of the indigenous population that first lived on this continent. This same price is one which every developed nation in the world, including those which have protested Israel’s aggression, can claim for their origins as well.
Every developed nation in the world exists as a result of imperialism. European nations developed over time through pillaging, genocides, and expansion. The Roman Empire for example expanded by killing those indigenous tribes which did not wish to abandon their ethnicities and contribute to the “glory of Rome.” A vast roads network for communication was created from this expansion. This roads network ironically facilitated the spread of Christianity (a contributing factor in the fall of the Roman Empire). The next main empire was the British Empire. I’m sure we’ve all heard of the historic saying “the sun never sets on the British Empire.” That saying is no exaggeration. It’s ironic when the human rights we fight for, in the Middle East and around the world, couldn’t have been conceived of without the communication and educational systems established by those same empires which viciously violated those righteous values…
All things considered my resulting stance on the conflict in the Middle East is neutrality. Another position I will take is one which I think everyone can find some respect for:
I want there to be peace, freedom and coexistence in the Middle East. So long as there is peace it makes no difference to me what the region decides to call itself.
We all have to realize one other thing though. According to the video I posted earlier, which describes the history of the Gaza-Israel conflict, even with Israel gone there still wouldn’t be peace in the Middle East. Due to this fact, I need to pose a hypothetical question involving no personal bias:
Hypothetically, if Israel were not there, and the region was still in constant conflict…
Would you care?
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