another perspective on israel and palestine

* Please take a few mins to view these pictures from the recent sitaution in Gaza.  Let me warn you that they are incredibly graphic and intense but lest our hearts grow hardened and desensitized:

As promised earlier, here’s another perspective on the tension between Israel and Palestine and why Israel should feel threatened and act in some way.  The article below in the NY Times is a good read as was the post I shared yesterday. I am not a radical Zionist since I don’t even quite know what that means anymore. As much as people try to cite history to support their views, I also believe that God chose Israel to carry out His plan of redemption for the larger world and while this many not include the totality of Israel from a political or statehood perspective, the “people” of Israel is still part of God’s future plans as well.  The important thing we need to all remember is that God’s plan of salvation, redemption, and grace is not just for one nation or people but the larger creation – including Palestinians.  Isn’t this the good news?

We’re all aware of the Holocaust but what do we really know besides numbers?  In my lifetime, I find it incredibly provocative that in the 38 years of living thus far and in the numerous places I’ve traveled around the world, I have always encountered some form of random prejudice and borderline animosity/hatred for Israel and/or Jewish people.  On occasions, I have asked these people – men or women, young or old, Western or Eastern – why they have such views and most don’t have the slightest clue.  But they do and worse, there are those who seek to eradicate their existence.  Why?  

This doesn’t justify Israel’s violation of human right or international guidelines but something for us to consider.  Peace and shalom.   I yearn for the day when God will restore all.  Until that day, may we wrestle and work towards that Kingdom.

Take 10 minutes to read this NY Times opinion column entitled, Why Israel Feels Threatened:

MANY Israelis feel that the walls — and history — are closing in on their 60-year-old state, much as they felt in early June 1967, just before Israel launched the Six-Day War and destroyed the Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian armies in Sinai, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

More than 40 years ago, the Egyptians had driven a United Nations peacekeeping force from the Sinai-Israel border, had closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and air traffic and had deployed the equivalent of seven armored and infantry divisions on Israel’s doorstep. Egypt had signed a series of military pacts with Syria and Jordan and placed troops in the West Bank. Arab radio stations blared messages about the coming destruction of Israel.

Israelis, or rather, Israeli Jews, are beginning to feel much the way their parents did in those apocalyptic days. Israel is a much more powerful and prosperous state today. In 1967 there were only some 2 million Jews in the country — today there are about 5.5 million — and the military did not have nuclear weapons. But the bulk of the population looks to the future with deep foreboding.

The foreboding has two general sources and four specific causes. The general problems are simple. First, the Arab and wider Islamic worlds, despite Israeli hopes since 1948 and notwithstanding the peace treaties signed by Egypt and Jordan in 1979 and 1994, have never truly accepted the legitimacy of Israel’s creation and continue to oppose its existence.

Second, public opinion in the West (and in democracies, governments can’t be far behind) is gradually reducing its support for Israel as the West looks askance at the Jewish state’s treatment of its Palestinian neighbors and wards. The Holocaust is increasingly becoming a faint and ineffectual memory and the Arab states are increasingly powerful and assertive.

More specifically, Israel faces a combination of dire threats. To the east, Iran is frantically advancing its nuclear project, which most Israelis and most of the world’s intelligence agencies believe is designed to produce nuclear weapons. This, coupled with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s public threats to destroy Israel — and his denials of the Holocaust and of any homosexuality in Iran, which underscore his irrationality — has Israel’s political and military leaders on tenterhooks.

To the north, the Lebanese fundamentalist organization Hezbollah, which also vows to destroy Israel and functions as an Iranian proxy, has thoroughly rearmed since its war with Israel in 2006. According to Israeli intelligence estimates, Hezbollah now has an arsenal of 30,000 to 40,000 Russian-made rockets, supplied by Syria and Iran — twice the number it possessed in 2006. Some of the rockets can reach Tel Aviv and Dimona, where Israel’s nuclear production facility is located. If there is war between Israel and Iran, Hezbollah can be expected to join in. (It may well join in the renewed Israeli-Palestinian conflict, too.)

To the south, Israel faces the Islamist Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip and whose charter promises to destroy Israel and bring every inch of Palestine under Islamic rule and law. Hamas today has an army of thousands. It also has a large arsenal of rockets — home-made Qassams and Russian-made, Iranian-financed Katyushas and Grads smuggled, with the Egyptians largely turning a blind eye, through tunnels from Sinai.

Last June, Israel and Hamas agreed to a six-month truce. This unsteady calm was periodically violated by armed factions in Gaza that lobbed rockets into Israel’s border settlements. Israel responded by periodically suspending shipments of supplies into Gaza.

In November and early December, Hamas stepped up the rocket attacks and then, unilaterally, formally announced the end of the truce. The Israeli public and government then gave Defense Minister Ehud Barak a free hand. Israel’s highly efficient air assault on Hamas, which began on Saturday, was his first move. Most of Hamas’s security and governmental compounds were turned into rubble and several hundred Hamas fighters were killed.

But the attack will not solve the basic problem posed by a Gaza Strip populated by 1.5 million impoverished, desperate Palestinians who are ruled by a fanatic regime and are tightly hemmed in by fences and by border crossings controlled by Israel and Egypt.

An enormous Israeli ground operation aimed at conquering the Gaza Strip and destroying Hamas would probably bog down in the alleyways of refugee camps before achieving its goal. (And even if these goals were somehow achieved, renewed and indefinite Israeli rule over Gaza would prove unpalatable to all concerned.)

More likely are small, limited armored incursions, intended to curtail missile launches and kill Hamas fighters. But these are also unlikely to bring the organization to heel — though they may exercise sufficient pressure eventually to achieve, with the mediation of Turkey or Egypt, a renewed temporary truce. That seems to be the most that can be hoped for, though a renewal of rocket attacks on southern Israel, once Hamas recovers, is as certain as day follows night.

The fourth immediate threat to Israel’s existence is internal. It is posed by the country’s Arab minority. Over the past two decades, Israel’s 1.3 million Arab citizens have been radicalized, with many openly avowing a Palestinian identity and embracing Palestinian national aims. Their spokesmen say that their loyalty lies with their people rather than with their state, Israel. Many of the community’s leaders, who benefit from Israeli democracy, more or less publicly supported Hezbollah in 2006 and continue to call for “autonomy” (of one sort or another) and for the dissolution of the Jewish state.

Demography, if not Arab victory in battle, offers the recipe for such a dissolution. The birth rates for Israeli Arabs are among the highest in the world, with 4 or 5 children per family (as opposed to the 2 or 3 children per family among Israeli Jews).

If present trends persist, Arabs could constitute the majority of Israel’s citizens by 2040 or 2050. Already, within five to 10 years, Palestinians (Israeli Arabs coupled with those who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip) will form the majority population of Palestine (the land lying between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean).

Friction between Israeli Arabs and Jews is already a cogent political factor. In 2000, at the start of the second intifada, thousands of Arab youngsters, in sympathy with their brethren in the territories, rioted along Israel’s major highways and in Israel’s ethnically mixed cities.

The past fortnight has seen a recurrence, albeit on a smaller scale, of such rioting. Down the road, Israel’s Jews fear more violence and terrorism by Israeli Arabs. Most Jews see the Arab minority as a potential fifth column.

What is common to these specific threats is their unconventionality. Between 1948 and 1982 Israel coped relatively well with the threat from conventional Arab armies. Indeed, it repeatedly trounced them. But Iran’s nuclear threat, the rise of organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah that operate from across international borders and from the midst of dense civilian populations, and Israeli Arabs’ growing disaffection with the state and their identification with its enemies, offer a completely different set of challenges. And they are challenges that Israel’s leaders and public, bound by Western democratic and liberal norms of behavior, appear to find particularly difficult to counter.

Israel’s sense of the walls closing in on it has this past week led to one violent reaction. Given the new realities, it would not be surprising if more powerful explosions were to follow.

Benny Morris, a professor of Middle Eastern history at Ben-Gurion University, is the author, most recently, of “1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War.”

23 Replies to “another perspective on israel and palestine”

  1. I am writing from an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem. I am an American and am spending a year here studying Arabic and Hebrew and volunteering in the West Bank in preparation to do a PhD. in Middle Eastern Studies at the UW.

    It has been a hard week. I worship in a Palestinian Church in Jerusalem. There were tears with the prayers this week.

    I teach ESL classes in a small town north of Ramallah. Yesterday my Muslim students wanted to know if I think Israel is ‘right’ in what they are doing in Gaza.

    The question of Christian Zionism is hotly debated in the church today but even a theologian as notable as John Stott has stated firmly that, “Zionism, both political and Christian, is incompatible with biblical faith.”

    Professor Gary M. Burge of Wheaton College and Graduate School says, “Few themes in biblical studies could be as important. Christian Zionism has brought to the church an interpretation of Israel and the Bible that future generations will criticize harshly. It is every Christian’s obligation to understand what they are saying and how it should be evaluated.”

    If all you know of the situation in Israel/Palestine is what you have seen on the news or heard in a few sermons then I strongly encourage you to take the time to eduate yourselves. American Christian theology regarding Israel has a life and death impact on the Jews and Palestinians who live here. This is not ‘arm chair philosophy’.

    It is not difficult to find information on Zionist theology in America. I would like to recommend a few books that challenge it.

    I highly recommend PALESTINE INSIDE OUT: An Everday Occupation by Saree Makdisi (nephew of Edward Said). Though it does not deal directly with the theological issues, the book was published in 2008 and so provides an updated and thoroughly documented account of what it is like to be a Palestinian living under occupation.

    A also recommend PALESTINIAN MEMORIES by Alex Awad, a pastor here in Jerusalem. You can find order information on the Bethlehem Bible College website It is one of the only books I know of that does both an exceptional job of detailing the history of these issues as well as dealing fully with the theological and ethical questions they raise. A high quality book that is worth every dime it costs.

    For further information including books and articles see

    I will leave in a few hours to join the Palestinian Christians from my church for a special dinner to celebrate the New Year. We will continue to pray for peace and justice in the Land.

  2. The Israelis have wisely declined a ceasefire proposal from France. Hamas is getting the stuffing blown out of them in the Gaza strip. Why would Israel want to give Hamas a break to regroup and rearm? Many people will claim there is a need for the ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid to enter, but that is already happening. Read the last excerpted sentence.

    Last update – 15:25 31/12/2008
    Israel decides to push on with Gaza op until ‘all goals reached’
    By Barak Ravid, Amos Harel, and Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondents, and Reuters

    Israeld decided on Wednesday to continue its offensive on the Hamas infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, according to the original plan of the defense establishment.

    Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told cabinet ministers, who reached their decision following a presentation by defense officials, that Israel would not conclude its operation until all of its goals had been reached.]
    “We did not begin the Gaza operation in order to finish it with rocket fire continuing like it did before,” Olmert said. “Israel has restrained for years and given plenty of chances for a calm.”

    “We knew what the price would be to enable people living in the Negev to recuperate and to live for some time without concern,” the prime minister added. “But Hamas breached the calm.”

    Israel earlier Wednesday rejected a French proposal for a 48-hour cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, which would have allowed a freer flow of humanitarian aid into the bombarded coastal territory.

    The decision was reached by the members of the “kitchen cabinet,” which includes Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

    Meanwhile, Israel decided to open the Kerem Shalom crossing to the Gaza Strip on Wednesday afternoon to allow 106 trucks filled with humanitarian aid supplied by foreign aid groups to enter the coastal territory. Full story here.

  3. PE – great post and thank you for bringing this to light to the broader Christian community…

    I feel like Debbie hit the mark square between the eyes, esp as an expat in the thick of it – @ a Palestinian church. Doesn’t that just summarize the tension of why this is no mere “armchair theology”? It is hugely important with missiological, eschatological implications. Sorry for throwing these big words around, but if I may clarify in brief – this thing called “Christian Zionism” is the key to completely misunderstanding everything – and I mean everything – about our faith, let alone praxis in gov’t and geo-politics and so forth. Historically, Christian Zionists have successfully lobbied the U.S. gov’t w/their completely errant hermeneutical slant.

    Of course one needs to submit a caveat – I’m not anti-Israeli nor a racist nor ant-state; but I am anti ideology – especially when it is errant to begin with.

    As regards what’s happening in Gaza right now – regardless of who shot first or fired rockets, is it so hard for us to understand that the Palestinian people were uprooted in the first place? Food for thought. They are feeling some kind of injustice, dare we illegitimize it?

  4. I know this is so random – and kinda DUM… but wouldn’t it be a whole NEW ball of wax… if on the stroke of midnight tonight (New Year’s Eve) that GOD turned everyone INSIDE-OUT… then we’d all be the same color….

    Somethin to tink about…

    From MEee & Mine… to U and Urs… Most joyous and peaceful New Year~

  5. I’m not buying it. It seems like Benny Morris is saying that Israelis feels threatened by everyone around them, so they take it out on the the smallest threat, and kill civilians.

    It’s like the small nerdy kid, who’s surrounded by a group of bullies, so he starts kicking a puppy.

    But that analogy doesn’t work because Israel isn’t a small nerdy kid, they’re like a high school linebacker with an older brother who’s an offensive linemen in the NFL.

  6. I have a very difficult time seeing how Israel’s actions are a part of “God’s plan of redemption for the larger world.” Being victims of prejudice does not provide a carte blanche to exercise disproportionate use of force and subjugation to the Palestinians. I understand that you have very strong opinions on racism as evidenced by your reaction to the Spanish basketball team, but an eye for an eye, or over 360 Palestinians for 4 Israelis does not seem to be a part of God’s plan of salvation, redemption, and grace.

    Although the NYTimes article is compelling, I agree with Cyra in that if we are to cite history as evidence, the history of conflict between the Jews and Palestinians did not start in 1967.

    Since you asked for movie requests in an earlier blog entry, I highly recommend Occupation 101. There are multiple free download sites on the web or I can give you my copy after service.

  7. @jeong: nice.

    i’m not saying that the current military actions are part of “God’s plan of redemption for the larger world.” not at all so you don’t need to think too hard.

    we know what God’s plan of redemption is and that is the person, work, and gospel of Jesus. but god did choose to intervene in human history through a group of people. and i am not equating His people as the totality of Israel.

    but i find it worth noting that throughout history, there have been various examples of people seeking to exterminate the jewish people. why do you think that is the case?

  8. Excuse the long post but you have hit a nerve….

    Jews and Muslims lived peaceful together in the Middle East for centuries. Jews were primarily persecuted by Christians.

    The Law given by God through Moses was designed to make them distinct from the people around them. This had the positive benefit of helping them maintain their identity as a people in various circumstances and so there was one people, in all the world, who could understand the significance of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. But, it also made them stick out as ‘Other’. And, as history has shown, it is always dangerous to be the ‘Other’. People are always looking for a scapegoat to blame for their problems. It is generally easiest to choose a clearly defined group.

    The current conflict between Jews and Arabs began with the Zionist aspirations of secular European Jews back in the late 1800’s. As I said, Jews and Arabs lived peacefully together in the Middle East for centuries before this.

    Many deeply religious Jews strongly objected to the secular Zionist goal of establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine right from the beginning. They objected for several reasons.

    1. They objected morally because they knew this could not be accomplished without bloodshed.

    2. The objected because they believed that the Scriptures taught that God himself was to establish the Messiah. They believed that the Zionist were trying to be their own ‘Messiah’ and that their actions were blasphemous.

    3. Some religious Jews objected because they feared that such actions would only lead to more anti-Semitism.

    The Ultra Orthodox Jews of Israel today still believe these things and are adamantly opposed to the military action of the Israeli government. Many Jews who live here today had nothing to do with creating the current situation. Many strongly oppose it and are grieved at the actions of their government and fellow Jews. Some are actively involved in peace and justice work for the sake of all people in this area.

    Zionism isn’t good for anyone here. Jews or Palestinians. Anger and racist attitudes are on both sides and are crippling for everyone.

    Palestinians have lost property, livelihood, and family members because of the occupation and they daily suffer oppression and humiliation as well. Many of them hate the Jews because of it. For some it leads to violence. Christian Palestinians will tell you that it is only through a miracle of God in their hearts that they are able to forgive and love their Jewish neighbors.

    A couple of weeks ago an Arab family tried to place their daughter in a Jewish daycare so that she would grow up knowing Jews and not hating them. Unfortunately, Jewish parents objected and the school did not allow the Arab child to attend. Many Israelis were horrified at the racist attitudes of their fellow Jews.

    Last week I tried to catch a cab home from a Jewish neighborhood back to the Arab neighborhood where I live. The cab driver pulled over but when I told him where I needed to go he scowled and drove off. He refused to drive into an Arab neighborhood which was only two miles away.

    Young orthodox Jewish men sometimes come into my neighborhood with baseball bats and destroy the Arab stores. The Arab owners can do nothing to protect their stores. The laws protect the Jews.

    Some Palestinians living in Jerusalem are afraid to leave their homes because aggressive Jewish settlers will come in and occupy their homes if they are left empty for any period of time. The law protects the settlers. Palestinians have gone out for a few hours and come home to find their homes occupied and they have no legal recourse to get them back.

    Such is life in Israel. Living in the midst of that kind of hatred and prejudice is obviously destructive for everyone.

    Jews have definitely been (and sometimes still are) persecuted. We should certainly be very grieved by that and do everything we can to communicate love to the Jews. In this particular case, loving the Jewish people means praying for them and calling them to righteousness and justice. Loving the Palestinians means praying for them, calling them to forgiveness and peaceful protest and calling on the US government to work for a just peace. If Jews and Palestinians continue on their current path they will only destroy themselves and any hope of living in peace.

  9. wow. I’m speechless.
    Quite incriminating if u ask me and just supports the claim that behind Zionism exists a racist, apartheid tendency. Something we in the faith community need to start calling out.

  10. I’m all for the state of Israel here in this modern crisis, but not because of any biblical text. Israel is a modern secular state with rights and civilized democratic systems etc. I think Hamas is a grave threat to the region and world.

    As for the common confusion among Christian Zionists, I encourage people to read this article that shows how Israel continued on via Jesus and the Nazarenes (and the later converts they then added to themselves):

    Identifying True Israel: Following God’s Faithful Down the Ages

  11. @debbie: thanks for sharing that. i have a few acquaintances that have spent some time there and they share even worse stories.

    i appreciated your last few sentences. i agree with you that if they “continue on their current path they will only destroy themselves and any hope of living in peace.”


    even if you don’t have a strong stomach, i’d encourage you to check out this link. the images are very very graphic but they need to be seen. we need to know what’s going on so that we’re not bystanders who cease to care.

  12. Anyone who seriously things peace can be achieved with a radical militant terrorist organization such as Hamas are living in a fantasy world. Israel is a democratic nation that at least abides by some semblance of moral authority. Hamas and other extremist muslim terrorist organizations use women and children as shields and indiscriminately bomb civilian targets intending to cause civilian casualties. Yes, Israel’s attacks targeted at Hamas terrorist infrastructure and leaders have caused civilian casualties but their is always collateral damage in war and they are not intentionally targeting civilians. The more folks apologize and rationalize away the existence of terrorist organizations such as Hamas the farther we get from stability in the middle east (let alone peace). BTW, even Bill Clinton says their could have been a peace deal during his presidency if not for the lies of Arafat who wouldn’t live up to his end of the bargain in the peace process. Neither the Palestinians nor their Arab neighbors want peace w/ israel. They want and have always pursued the utter destruction and annihilation of israel and its people as they reject the jewish state’s right to exist in any form. I’m proud America and the Christian faith community continue to stand together with our brothers and sisters in Israel as the rest of the world could care less about the fate of Israel.

  13. If the Mexicans started shooting rockets into Dallas because they decided to get upset over losing Texas will we ask the US military to just stand by and do nothing? If the native Hawaiians here in Hawaii started attacking white people because they lost their land will we ask the police to just stand by and do nothing? Have the Palestinian (terrorist) apologists here in the US ever thought about that?

    Just because Hamas has smaller guns than Israel does not make it the victim here. I find it amusing that those against Israel hate the western world (“death to the great satan!”) but ask for our help whenever Israel decides to fight fire with fire. No matter who is the rightful owner of whatever land, the Palestinians have not responded with peace despite Israel giving up land. This is more than just about land…it is about hatred that runs deeper than property lines and even religion. I don’t think Hamas and their brethren will cease their terrorism until every single last Jewish person is wiped off the map.

    Yes, there are Palestinian Christians who are hurt by this and by the policies of the Israeli government, but that’s a little off topic…the Palestinian Christians are not the ones in Hamas wearing the masks and shooting rockets at innocent Jewish civilians. That’s why the Israeli military isn’t targeting Palestinian Christian organizations.

    One of these days when world war breaks out with (Middle) East vs. West (hey, history repeats itself, eh?) Israel will be our only true ally there.

  14. Hi,
    I just visited your blog today for some Korean movies post, which was pretty good and useful, and I saw this post too.

    I have just some comments and questions:

    1- If you turn on your TV and you hear that FBI found Bin Ladan in your hometown, and they say since Bin Ladan is such a dangerous guy and is a potential threat to American citizens, so we want to bomb the whole city to make sure he wont scape this time, what will you do?????

    2- Comparing Israel-Palestine to Mexico and Texas doesnt make any sense. If you go and see your map in the past 60 years you can see how Zionists came to the area and pushed Palestinians back from their homeland. Most of them ILLEGALLY. If they really want peace, they should go back to their first borders, at least to the UN declared borders. Besides, if you see the Israelis attitude you can see they accuse every single country in the area to be a treat to them, unless they are her allies.

  15. 1) If Bin Laden was openly walking the streets of Honolulu professing his hate and desire to kill innocent people, the FBI wouldn’t have to bomb our city to get him. We’d take care of him ourselves instead of supporting his cause. That’s the difference. As long as the Palestinians continue to allow terrorist groups like Hamas to be in power, there will never be peace. You cannot extend your right hand for peace while holding a sword in your left.

    2) Like I said, Israel has given up land, and each time the Palestinians respond with continued violence. Why should they give up even more? The Palestinians (whether those in power or the terrorists) have shown that they will not follow through with the quid pro quo of land for peace. Every muslim country there is a threat to Israel. You don’t have to dig far back in the history books to see that.

  16. Frank, the Palestinians had their land taken away from them from the start – from day 1. Whether Israel gives them land back that doesn’t change the fact that stronger powers took land away from the weak in the first place – dispossessing them from their homes.

    And Frank you’re also awarded the verbal gaffe award for the day:
    “If the native Hawaiians here in Hawaii started attacking white people because they lost their land will we ask the police to just stand by and do nothing?” So what are you proposing, that ethnic cleansing is a good thing, even in the US?

    Cmon, you’re entitled to your belief but if you think this is all about a battle against an ideology of hate, you’re only getting it half-correct. That’s the kind of rhetoric that the former president was so guilty of.

  17. like so many issues, this is very tough but the bottom line for me is that it’s really hard to have peace talks when over 3000 rockets have been fired upon israel just in 2008. and that number is proudly corroborated by the hamas. add rockets from other groups to that number and is why i wrote that the hamas had it coming.

    what’s painful to see obviously is the palestinian people stuck in harms’ way.

  18. We’re way beyond peace talks here. At this point, peace talks are like sticking bandaids on a gunshot victim- appropriate to a point, but not all that helpful. Only much more radical policy revision- both cultural and political- towards reparations, redistribution, and economic development in Palestine will begin to sow seeds of peace.

    I’ll concede that Hamas obviously has some issues- you can’t expect to get much int’l credibility on a political platform of denying Israel’s right to exist; and yet I’m also tired of the one-dimensional portrayals of Hamas as merely hateful extremists.

    People forget that they swept the democratic elections almost three years ago, and that there are reasons that they enjoy largely popular support from the people. They’re the first on the scene to offer emergency aid, rebuild schools, help support families, etc. This doesn’t excuse launching rockets, but this type of behavior shouldn’t surprise us.

    Socioeconomic oppression always radicalizes a people group, and their resorting to violence is a natural reflex to the ghettoization they’ve endured for generations. Want to deradicalize Hamas? Offer them some viable political options, move from aid relief to sustainable development, and work towards more equitable living standards with their Israeli neighbors- a good start for Israel might be taking down the wall and actually enforcing settlement restrictions.

    Good schools, jobs, and healthcare for Palestinians aren’t going to make Jews and Muslims instantly stop debating who rightfully belongs on the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock, but it’s a decent place to begin if we’re going to move from the maintenance work of peace talks (which hasn’t seemed that successful) toward the real work of reconciliation, or at least peaceful coexistence.

    How should we go about this? I have no idea, but America has a lot of blood on its hands and some multilateral cooperation with the resources to back the rhetoric would be nice.

    My two cents.

  19. From PALESTINE INSIDE OUT by Saree Makdisi:

    “On assignment in Khan Younis (Gaza) in 2001, the New York Times reporter Chris Hedges witnessed Israeli soldiers not just firing at Palestinians demonstrators, but actually taunting Palestinian children – then killing them as they got within firing range. He writes:

    ‘It is still. The camp waits, as if holding its breath. And then, out of the dry furnace air, a disembodied voice crackles over the loud speaker.

    “Come on, dogs,” the voice booms in Arabic. “Where are all the dogs of Khan Younis? Come! Come!”

    ‘I stand up. I walk outside the hut. The invective continues its spew: “Son of a bitch!” “Son of a whore!” “Your mother’s cunt!”

    ‘The boys dart in small packs up the sloping dunes to the electric fence that seperates the camp from the Jewish settlement. They lob rocks toward two armored jeeps parked on top of the dune and mounted with loudspeakers. Three ambulances line the road below the dunes in anticipation of what is to come.

    ‘A percussion grenade explodes. The boys, most no more than ten or eleven years old, scatter, running clumsily across the heavy sand. They descend out of sight behind a sandbank in front of me. There are no sounds of gunfire. The soldiers shoot with silencers. The bullets from the M-16 rifles tumble end over end through the children’s slight bodies. Later, in the hospital, I will see the destruction: the stomachs ripped out, the gaping holes of limbs and torsos.

    ‘Yesterday at this spot the Israelis shot eight young men, six of whom were under the age of eighteen. One was twelve. This afernoon they kill an eleven-year-old boy, Ali Murad, and seriously wound four more, three of whom are under eighteen.

    ‘Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered – death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights and watched them crumple onto the pavement in Sarajevo – but I have never before watched soliders entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.”

    This is not an isolated incident. Israeli peace and justice organizations have carfully documented volumes of evidence. The military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has ‘terrorized’ the Palestinian people for 40 years (and long before). Groups like Hamas are born out of this environment as resistance movements.

    Makdisi writes, “The main problem with the hostility toward Hamas in the United States, in this sense, is that it has become so deeply ingrained that it clouds the possiblity of sound analysis, and Hamas is seen as part of a regional conspiracy of unacceptable “extremism,” rather than as the almost inevitable product of forty years of military occupation.”

    Don’t get me wrong. Hamas is bad. Really bad. But, it is extremely important to realize that with the occupation the Israeli government has created the soil from which Hamas has sprung. What else can you expect after decades of abuse and no hope for change in sight? It is nothing to die as a suicide bomber when you have nothing to lose.

  20. Frank, with regards to your comparison “if the Mexicans started shooting rockets into Dallas because they have lost land to the US.” This is only a tiny part of the story. Texas is not blockading Mexico, and preventing food, medicine, fuel, and humanitarian aid in to a population that is 80% refugees. Oh yeah, and controlling the borders, the air space, access from the sea, and ocasionally dropping bombs and killing Palestinians having family picnics on the beach… Let us stop assuming Israel is innocent, and defending itself, Isreal is defending its illegal occupation, Israel has NO BUSINESS controlling Gaza, whether it likes Hamas or not. In fact, Israel has basically given birth to Hamas, an organization that was born out of the Intifada… And the Intifada happened because of the illegal occupation.

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