Tag Archives: Hamas

Gaza: All Obama’s Fault?

No surplus of scruples, in the Israeli Government…now they are not even trying to hide the fact that all 22 days of Gaza bombing may have been a last-chance effort at pounding Hamas and the Palestinians, before Obama could stop everything.

JERUSALEM (CNN) — Israel plans to have its troops out of Gaza as soon as possible […] The official, who declined to be named, said that the withdrawal could be complete before U.S. President-elect Barack Obama takes his oath of office in Washington at noon ET Tuesday — 7 p.m. in Israel — though commanders have not been given that deadline.

Why Israel Is Not The Palestinian Problem

Many thanks to the Editorial Board at the International Herald Tribune for publishing a letter of mine on the Jan 9, 2009 printed paper, under the headline “When governments fail” (a modified version of yesterday’s blog “Are Palestinian Lives Truly Worthless?“):

David Brooks’s analysis (“The confidence war,” Views, Dec. 7) is missing the fact that the very strategies of successive Israeli governments, the Palestinian Authority and now Hamas have been based on the utter disregard of the value of the lives of individual Palestinians.

This has been true especially in the last decade or so. One side casually bombs crowded residential areas from afar only to release increasingly hypocritical apologetic press releases afterward. The other side sends youths on suicide missions or unleashes them armed with stones to throw at armored tanks – while proclaiming that thousands and thousands of dead women and children are a price worth paying for victory against “the Zionists.”

As shown repeatedly during the last century, it should be the job of international institutions to push hard for the safeguarding of lives, especially when the local governments are clearly unable or unwilling to do so. But I am afraid that with the way things are going, we can only expect a future made of innumerable deaths.

I’ll expand briefly upon that to argue why Israel is not the actual problem for the Palestinians, at the moment.

True, most of the actions undertaken during the latest conflict situation by the Jerusalem Government are at the edge or beyond the very limits of International Law and War Law. It also does look especially fishy how the Gaza invasion coincides with upcoming Israeli elections…one of the luckily few occasions where a democracy makes liberal use of somebody else’s blood for a few votes more.

But that’s less important to Palestinians than the gigantic failure of their leadership(s) to do anything positive on their behalf.

Like it or not, when there is a war one side usually shows little interest in protecting the other side’s civilian lives (it depends on the war, and on the propaganda, but the overall trend is alas towards more civilian deaths). However deplorable, if Azerbaijan declares war against Armenia (just an example) it goes without saying that Azerbaijanis will rather kill Armenians, and Armenians Azerbaijanis.

Usually, that is accompanied by each side trying as much as possible to protect its own: therefore Azerbaijan will do its best to defend Azerbaijanis, and Armenia Armenians. Sometimes that doesn’t actually work out as proclaimed (see Russian botched kidnap rescue attempts) but one can assume that at least the intention is always there.

That is not what happens for Palestinians. They must be the only people on Earth deliberately put in harm’s way by their own leaders. I am sure that even the incredibly locked-up Burmese junta, and the paranoid hermit North Korean state-wide prison, would try to lower casualties among their own citizens in case of war much, much better than Hamas (or Fatah for that matters) have ever managed even to imagine, let alone do.

In fact, just like in Communist states of old (USSR famine in the 1930’s, China famine in the 1950’s), in the world as seen by Hamas people are not people, but pawns to use for a higher ideological purpose (namely, the destruction of Israel). Horribly, a dead Palestinian child becomes more useful to them than a live Palestinian child, as it does make Israel look an abominable entity that doesn’t deserve to seat among Nations.

Whatever Israel has done or is doing, things don’t have to be the way they are. Resistance is a natural reaction to occupation, but suicide (or worse: making sure some of yours get killed for your political advantage) is not.

As suggested in the blog and the letter to the IHT, we would go a long way towards improving the Palestinians’ situation if only we could protect the people from Hamas (and from Fatah).

Now of course one would have to understand what brought Palestinians in the Occupied Territories to a situation that is perhaps worse than Somalia’s and definitely makes Haiti looks like Heaven on Earth. One would not do wrong by considering the issue of politicide by Israel, but that is as relevant to today’s situation as reconsidering the opportunity of wearing warm clothes in a snowstorm is to somebody that has already caught pneumonia.

Are Palestinian Lives Truly Worthless?

I am not saying that I disagree (and I don’t) with David Brooks’ definition of how to find a meaning in each Israeli-Palestinian act of terrorism or war (“The confidence war“, IHT, January 7, 2009). But what is missing from Mr Brooks’ analysis is the fact that the very strategies of successive Israeli Governments, the PLO and now Hamas have been based on the utter disregard of the value of the lives of individual Palestinians.

This has been true especially in the last decade or so, with one side casually bombing crowded residential areas from afar only to release increasingly hypocritical “sorry” press releases afterwards; and the other either sending youths to suicide missions or armed with stones against armored tanks, or proclaiming without a second thought that thousands and thousands of dead women and children are a price worth paying for victory against “the Zionists”.

As shown repeatedly during the last century, it should be the job of international institutions to push hard for the safeguarding of lives, especially when the local Government is clearly unable or unwilling to do so. But I am afraid that until negotiations get centered around politicking rather than the basic rights of individual human beings, Palestinians (and Somalis, and Darfuris, etc etc) can only expect a future made of innumerable deaths.

L’Equivalenza Morale Tra Hamas e Israele (e noi)

Un altro giorno, un’altra serie di notizie su decine di morti, morenti e feriti in Israele e nei territori palestinesi.

Lascerò a chi ha tempo da perdere il decidere su chi ne vada incolpato.

E’ vero, ci sono più vittime dal lato palestinese, indicando che la risposta israeliana e’ stata schiacciante e sproporzionata, come se il valore di una vita umana dipendesse dalla nazionalità (una considerazione inspiegabimente accettata anche dalla leadership palestinese: gli scambi di prigionieri solitamente vedono una manciata di israeliani contro decine di palestinesi).

D’altra parte che scopo può mai esserci nel lancio dei razzi nel mucchio, da parte di Hamas, a caso verso luoghi abitati da civili? Nessuno, tranne il voler uccidere e terrorizzare, proprio perché sono civili: come se un comportamento del genere abbia mai fatto vincere una guerra.

L’apice della stupidita’ reciproca è rappresentata dal fatto che coloro che comandano da entrambi i lati sono determinati a brutalizzare la popolazione “nemica”. Allo stesso tempo, rappresaglia dopo rappresaglia, hanno come abdicato ogni speranza di recuperare la loro propria umanità… all’apparizione improvvisa di un comportamento virtuoso proprio fra i loro nemici.

È evidente che qualunque siano le cause della loro follia, sono quelli tutti direttamente responsabili di chissa’ quanti problemi e tragedie anche futuri che affliggeranno i loro propri bambini.

=========

Che cosa dovrebbe essere fatto per portare la pace a israeliani e palestinesi? È più che e’ evidente, e’ ormai una noia. Che la smettano di pensare che gli “altri” possano semplicemente andare via. Che capiscano che la terra è di entrambi le popolazioni e anche del resto dell’umanità. Che si distacchi Israele dalle fantasie messianiche, entrando nell’Unione Europea.

Ma quello non sembra suscitare l’interesse di nessuno. La speranza principale è che la situazione e’ peggiorata dal quasi-accordo del Presidente Clinton nel 2000, perché quando ognuno sa la pace è davvero vicina, ognuno cerca di arraffare tutto quello che puo’.

=========

Ma si tratta di un’analisi troppo facile.

Chi altri sta brutalizzando civili nel tentativo inutile di ottenere vantaggi militari e quindi politici in una guerra senza fine, e che e’ peggiorata esattamente perché e da quella brutalizzazione?

Siamo noi, della NATO.

Le vittime civili sono in Afghanistan, al giorno d’oggi e probabilmente ma meno evidentemente in Irak.

E non si tratta di una novità. Anche senza considerare la famosa, inutile strage di decine di migliaia a Dresda durante la seconda guerra mondiale, appena cinquanta anni fa il governo francese provo’ quasi con leggerezza a difendere il sanguinoso bombardamento di un villaggio tunisino di frontiera, durante la guerra d’Algeria.

Malgrado le nostre illusioni, le cose non sono cambiate da allora. Stiamo tuttora eliminando esseri umani come noi senza pensarvici troppo. Ecco qui la NATO fiera di usare i soldi dei contribuenti americani ed europei per uccidere operai che lavoravano alla costruzione di una strada. Mai, o quasi mai, notizie da caratteri cubitali.

=========

Sarebbe davvero ora che lasciassimo da parte le discussioni un po’ facete sugli affari degli altri, per dedicarci di piu’ e meglio alla nostra propria idiozia.

The Moral Equivalence of Hamas and Israel (and us)

Another day, another series of reports on tens of dead, dying and injured people in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

I’ll leave the sorting out of who’s to blame to anybody wishing to waste their time.

Sure, there are more victims on the Palestinian side than on the Israeli, indicating an overwhelmingly disproportionate response as if the value of human life really depended on nationality (a consideration unfathomably shared by the Palestinian leadership too: prisoners exchange usually involve a handful of Israelis to tens of Palestinians).

On the other hand what purpose can it be in the launching of aimless rockets by Hamas, randomly towards civilians? Apart, that is, from killing if not terrorizing them on purpose, because they are civilians: as if that has ever won anybody’s war.

The height of mutual stupidity is that people in charge on the two sides are determined to brutalize each other. At the same time, retaliation after retaliation, they have kind of abdicated all hopes of recovering their own humanity…to the sudden appearance of virtuous behavior in the other camp.

It’s fairly obvious that whatever the causes of their madness, they are all directly responsible for untold miseries that will befall on their own children.

=========

What should be done to bring peace to Israeli and Palestinians alike? It’s more than obvious, it’s actually boring. Stop wishing the others could go away. Realize the land is for the two of them, and for the rest of humanity as well. Decouple Israel from the messianic undertones, by getting it into the European Union.

But that doesn’t look like in anybody’s interest. The main hope is that the situation has worsened since the quasi-agreement with President Clinton in 2000, because when everybody knows peace is tantalizingly near, everybody rushes to settle the last scores.

=========

But that’s still too easy an analysis.  

Who else is brutalizing civilians in the futile attempt of getting a military and thus a political advantage in a never-ending war, worsened exactly because and by that brutalization?

It’s us from NATO.

The civilian victims are in Afghanistan, nowadays, and likely but less evidently in Iraq.

And it’s no novelty. Leaving aside the famously useless killings of tens of thousands in Dresden during World War II, just fifty years ago the French Government tried almost casually to defend the bloody bombing of a Tunisian border village, in the Algerian war.

Despite our illusions, things have not changed since. We are still eliminating fellow human beings without much of a thought. Here’s NATO proudly using American and European taxpayers’ money to kill road building workers. Never, or almost never, big news in our media.

=========

It is high time we leave aside idle discussions about other peoples’ business to mind about our own idiocy.