Monday, January 12, 2009

a girl named Hope

Is it a coincidence that a Kadima spokesperson states that the Gaza offensive will "start to wind down" next week--the same week that Barak Obama is sworn in as US President? Is this invasion of Gaza, this terrible flaunting of international principles, partly an exercise to show Obama who sets the ground rules in US foreign policy towards the ME?

I hope Obama reads the open letter that Leila Halaby wrote him, asking him to examine the history and reality of Palestine like he has his own history: "Just as we took the time to get to know you, to understand your history, and to believe in you, I ask you to stop looking at today, at what is wrong with today, and to look at how it got that way." Citing Mohandas Ghandi, she asks Obama to recall that: "A confession of errors is like a broom which sweeps away the dirt and leaves the surface brighter and clearer."

As the US prepares to send a massive 300 ton arms shipment of ammunition to Israel later this month, I hope Obama reads Leila's letter, watches Arabic Al-Jazeera and reads other non-corporate media and ACTS with justice for the Palestinians.

We need a clean sweep to restore hope that the crisis in Gaza be resolved, and that it not just be one more incident amongst many that have come before and the many more to come if Israel continues with impunity.

Yesterday, amongst the distressing news coming out of Gaza, I read that a 14 yr. old girl named Amal died. That is, a young promising girl, one of the future visionaries of our societies, a Palestinian girl named Hope died. Hope died. That caught at my heart.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights is documenting each act of Israeli aggression, the damage it causes, and each death and injuring of the people of Gaza.
"This is a summary of crimes committed by IOF in the Gaza Strip during the last 24 hours."

This morning on CBC radio I heard an Israeli army spokesman, Captain Ron Edelheit, denying deaths of civilians in Gaza (Hamas exaggeration, he said), as well as defending the Israeli army's right to shoot at UNRWA staff and vehicles -- he said, UNRWA is not the UN. The commentator, Anna Maria Tremonti, asked him to confirm that so she was sure what she had heard--that it is ok for his forces to shoot at UNRWA? Anna Maria also asked him how can he explain the images of dead children, women, and other civilians? You can listen to podcast here; go to Listen to Part 1. This Israeli propaganda attempt failed badly!!! Anna Maria was excellent in quizzing him on his outrageous lies.

Small hope: 10 Israeli soldiers are choosing jail and the Israeli public's condemnation over entering the killing fields of Gaza:

"On "conscience’s grounds," the Israeli troops refused orders to head to the Gaza Strip, preferring a 14-day prison stint and rounding criticism from fellow soldiers and society at large.
No'em Levna, a first lieutenant in Israel's army, refused to serve in Gaza, saying, "We killed 900 Palestinians in 17 days, including hundreds of children."

"If violence must be used, it should be used minimally, and that isn't what’s happening," he added. "Killing innocent civilians cannot be justified. Nothing justifies this kind of killing. It’s devilish."

"It is Israeli arrogance based on logic. It’s saying, 'if we hit more, everything will be okay,'" he said. "But the hatred and anger we are planting in Gaza will rebound on us."

There are others in Israel, voices for peace, like Tamar Katz, who refuse to join the military and go directly to jail after graduating from high school. Tamar Katz explains she is one of the Shministim (the new Refusniks):

“I refuse to enlist in the Israeli military on conscientious grounds. I am not willing to become part of an occupying army, that has been an invader of foreign lands for decades, which perpetuates a racist regime of robbery in these lands, tyrannizes civilians and makes life difficult for millions under a false pretext of security.”

Hopefully, more youth like her take this action of non-violence.

"Most Israeli youth who graduate from high school go directly to military service. Some however go straight to prison. They are known as the Shministim (Hebrew for twelfth graders) and they are the new generation of Refusniks—Israelis who refuse to serve in the Israeli army in protest of Israeli policies in the Palestinian Territories."

Other Israeli soldiers refuse to engage in any actions that take place in post-1967 land appropriations and occupations of the state of Israel.

While these brave Israelis speak out and put their bodies in jail or bear the wrath of fellow Israelis rather than help the Israeli military carry out its work of ethnic cleansing, other people, including Canadians, like Sylvia and Jack Borden, go to Israel to help the Israeli army do their "job." Sar-el recruits volunteers from America and Canada. Incredibly, the Canadian Sar-El equates going to Israel with a winter getaway! "Winter's here
Think about spending part of it with Sar-El"


Merche Pallarés said...

I applaud the "refuseniks" of Israel. Very brave young people who refuse to attack Gaza. I joined their cause in Facebook. What you say about Canadians and Americans volunteering to fight for Israel it's because they are still SO brainwashed that they don't know the difference (maybe once there, they will realize what is really happening). In Europe it would be VERY difficult for Israelies to "draft" people to their cause. Hugs, M.

northshorewoman said...

Hello Merche,
yes, I believe that print and tv media are more comprehensive in Europe, and present more perspectives to allow people to form intelligent conversations and debates, not narrow thinking. However, there are racist and right wing people in Europe who see things in a dangerously simplistic way. I hope they are the minority, but I do hear of them making inroads in political offices at times.

I am glad many people in Spain are not so easily brainwashed. Maybe the political history of Spain has taught people to be informed.