Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Understanding the Israel-Gaza Conflict

My husband and I watched the news together yesterday. They were running another story about the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. Over the last several days, the news headlines have been consumed by the Israeli attacks.
My husband asked rhetorically, “Why did they start bombing now. Aren’t they ever going to stop all of their fighting?”

We sometimes talk about the problems in the Middle East and how the region has faced unrest for over 4000 years. His usual response is, “How can people kill each other over religion. I thought religion was supposed to stop War and Killing.”
Yesterday, the news reports talked about the bombing of UN Schools in Gaza. I heard one pundit ask, “Why are there people in schools? Surely they are aware of the bombings.” The on site correspondent in Gaza answered, “Of course the schools are not in session. However the people of Gaza took refuge in the schools thinking since they were UN schools, they would not be bombed.”
This aspect set my husband off. "Why are they bombing schools anyway?" The reporter responded, as if answering my husband’s question, “Israel says they have evidence the Hamas hide their weapons in schools and churches.” Now my husband sat and just shook his head.
I responded, “Well think of it this way. Suppose you are sitting in Manhattan and all the burroughs surrounding you hate you. Harlem, a neighborhood in Manhattan, hates you too. Harlem has a rogue gang that starts shooting missiles into other Manhattan neighborhoods. Local officials don’t or can’t do anything to stop them. The gang starts out small, then they start getting help from the burroughs. The missiles start getting bigger and you realize, through your inside Harlem contacts that Westchester, your biggest enemy that has nuclear weapons, is starting to build an underground subway system to feed the Harlem Hoods a growing and more powerful cache of weaponry that you know will make the hoods powerful enough to really hurt you and possibly destroy your burrough."
My husband turns and looks at me like I am talking about the “Gangs of New York.” And he said, “Ok. I get it. Israel thinks they have to do this to survive.”
“Exactly!” I answer. “Now remember, Manhattan is backed by the boys in Jersey! The burroughs are afraid of the Jersey Boys so they do not openly support the Harlem gang. They are especially fearful of the mob leader, Wacko-Mad-Dubya, WMD for short, who has a reputation for slaughter.” He’s nodding, understanding my analogy (and me) perfectly.
"I think what is curious about this move by Manhattan is their timing. The old boss, WMD, is leaving and the replacement boss is coming in," I continue. "The New Boss is said to be very smooth and diplomatic. Manhattan doesn’t know what he’s thinking yet. I think Manhattan is making their move now because, with all the confusion during the transition of power, no one will stop them. They will be able to rid the Harlem gang of all their weaponry and blow up the secret underground weapons subway from Westchester. Then when the New Boss comes in, Manhattan will play nice again and join in the Peace Talks with Harlem and the burroughs.”
So my husband nods and says, “Yeah! That sounds like a good move by Israel, I mean Manhattan.”
“I guess" I said. "I understand what Manhattan is doing, but what troubles me is all the innocent families and children in the Harlem neighborhoods that are getting hurt and being killed. They are the victims here. All dying! And for what? They weren’t doing anything wrong to begin with.”
“I know, but in the long run, this show of power will probably save lives. 'Might Makes Right' anyway and 'War is Hell.' Men have been at war from the beginning of time and always will be,” he said.
“Do you really think their actions will save lives?” I asked. “I forgot to add that even though Manhattan has the Jersey Boys, they also have the boys in DC and the states along the East Coast. In the meantime, Harlem and the Burroughs have the mighty Canada ready to pounce.”
“Huh?” he said. My last reference lost him.
“Canada equals Russia! DC and the East Coast equals Brittain, European Allies and the UN.”
“Oh, I got you. But we aren’t afraid of Russia anymore.”
“I wouldn’t be too quick to disregard them.”
We went back to watching the news and I checked out the news stories and op-eds about Israel and the Gaza Strip. I was still troubled about the deaths of innocents and the ferocity of the attacks on Gaza by air, land and sea.
As I read on, I saw several op-eds utilizing analogies similar to mine only using Tijuana as my Harlem example. Some writers and commenters responded, “We’d bomb the heck out of them and leave them a ghost town.”
I just shook my head over their predisposed opinions and rationalization of devastating their enemies.

I don’t pretend to know who is right or who is wrong in this fight. Nor do I agree with the concept of Might makes Right or War/Death is a constant. As much as I try to understand what is happening from an unbiased perspective, what troubles me most is the deaths of all of the innocents.

13 comments:

Dee said...

I also posted this on Daily Kos.

I am getting a little bit beat up over there.

But I refuse to take sides on this.
I am just seeking to understand.

Dee said...

As an fyi, this post/analogy is strictly regarding the current events/bombings and not the long history of the conflict in the region.

ultima said...

The question is: "How many rockets would have to hit Dallas, Texas before you would become an advocate for retaliation knowing full well that innocents would die?"

There is also the question about how innocent the innocents really are in the case of Gaza? After all they elected a Hamas government whose whole policy is to rocket Israel into submission. Israel tried to meet the Palestinians halfway by conceding the Gaza Strip when anyone looking at the map would say setting up that little strip of land as a separate part of Palestine is crazy. It would have made more sense to resettle the residents in a strip bordering the other part of Palestine.

This goes to show you how focusing the humanitarian aspects of a problem to the exclusion of other more far reaching issues is a losing proposition. There is a role for humanitarian considerations but this cannot be the paramount issue when there are other questions about things like the continued viability of one's country.

ultima said...

Gaza may be trying perhaps half-heartedly to control its own destiny but they are likely to learn, as all people do, that the consequences will not be what they apparently expected. The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of Hamas for any civilian casualties.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely correct with this statement, Ultima. Too bad the blind can't see.

"This goes to show you how focusing the humanitarian aspects of a problem to the exclusion of other more far reaching issues is a losing proposition. There is a role for humanitarian considerations but this cannot be the paramount issue when there are other questions about things like the continued viability of one's country."

January 7, 2009 3:05 PM

Dee said...

Ulty,
I am taking the middle of the road, moderate perspective on this. You should see the lashing I am taking by some on Kos. You might take a look at the over 100 comments I have on my KosDiary with this post (see my 1st comment).
I am not going back to the history of the issue because both sides believe they are right. I am just looking at this, most recent conflict.
As one moderate commenter there said, "there already is a workable solution, negotiated by notables of both sides, namely, the Geneva Initiative. All that remains is for the political leadership of both sides to possibly tweak it a little, and then sign on. Everyone, except fanatics on both sides, knows that this is ultimately the rough shape of an equitable solution. Unfortunately, the lunatics appear to be running the asylum."

Let's hope Obama and his diplomatic team will support a moderate position that is workable and acceptable by both sides.

Dee said...

Ulty,
What do you think about my this part of my analogy:

"I think what is curious about this move by Manhattan is their timing. The old boss, WMD, is leaving and the replacement boss is coming in," I continue. "The New Boss is said to be very smooth and diplomatic. Manhattan doesn’t know what he’s thinking yet. I think Manhattan is making their move now because, with all the confusion during the transition of power, no one will stop them. They will be able to rid the Harlem gang of all their weaponry and blow up the secret underground weapons subway from Westchester. Then when the New Boss comes in, Manhattan will play nice again and join in the Peace Talks with Harlem and the burroughs.”

Dee said...

There was one comment on Kos that struck me right between the eyes, like a lightning bolt. They said the US, NY specifically, was the only country in the world that multi ethnicity, multi religious belief can live side by side in harmony.

Wow!
And it is so true!

Dee said...

They said they could think of NO COUNTRY in the World, especially in the Middle East, this could happen.

ultima said...

I think that part of you analogy is right on the money. The Israelis aren't dumb. Their timing on this was impeccable.

What was your reaction to my analogy of Dallas?

Dee said...

Ulty,
This is a good question, but in order to answer, I would have to think of my history with them.

So I will go back to my analogy:
I have to remember that the city of Boston moved into Manhattan 60 years ago and forced all the Manhattanites to leave the city or move to Harlem. And it is the rowdy Yankee fans in Harlem that are hurling missiles into East Manhattan. They haven't done much harm yet but are very annoying. How much annoyance do I suffer to rationalize the deaths of thousands of innocent women and children just to get a few yankees and their cache of weapons?

Now if the Yankees started hurling bombs here in Dallas and causing devastation here, since I had no history with the yankees, then me, being a totally historyless city with them, would have a reason to react to stop them, isolate them and take away their weapons and put them in prison.

ultima said...
The question is: "How many rockets would have to hit Dallas, Texas before you would become an advocate for retaliation knowing full well that innocents would die?"

The Arizonian said...

This has really become a non-issue. The history between these people has been clouded and murky for some time. Those that defend either side are psychotic, in my opinion. I condemn both and probably one of the few that realize there is no tangible solution.

Israel plays the victim card well, showing their dead citizens for the world to see. But their tactics are what perpetuates this war, not stop it. Someone blows up a bus, Israel flys in with choppers and levels an (or several) apartment building(s). Then they cry victim if Hamas fires back....

But Hamas (which is an elected government in Palestine now) doesn't get a pass-by from me either. These guys need to learn to let small things slide. Yes, Israel broke the ceasefire first, just 6 days after it was agreed on. http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/5776

This is a gang fight. Nothing more or less. Maybe we should put a large dome over the region and let them annihilate each other into extinction. Then open "Pale-Disney-stine" in it's place... (/sarcasm)

Dee said...

Az,
I also will not take sides. However I do want the killing, especially of innocent people to end!



The Arizonian said...
This has really become a non-issue. The history between these people has been clouded and murky for some time. Those that defend either side are psychotic, in my opinion. I condemn both and probably one of the few that realize there is no tangible solution.

Page Hits