Gaza: The Intractable Problem

image of a map showing Israel
Center of the Arab–Israeli conflict

The battle between Arabs and Jews flared up again this week with rockets being fired into Israel and Israel countering with air strikes and threats of invasion. I’m not a believer or a fan in either of the religions at the heart of the conflict but I can understand the arguments. I don’t agree with the US government official stance that Israel has the right to defend itself only because I reject the entire Israeli political and military policy to date. I agree with the need of the Palestinian people not to be treated as 2nd class citizens in the land their family has called home for centuries but I don’t approve of use of rocket attacks or terrorism. There will be a two state solution but the question is how many people have to die until that happens.

The land that is Israel is claimed by Jews and Arabs as a homeland. History gives both strong evidence in their claims.

Continue reading “Gaza: The Intractable Problem”

1st rule about Israel – don’t talk crap about Israel

From the recent muted response to the IDF attack on the Gaza relief ship to the OUTRAGE at some words about Jews in Israel expressed by the dean of the White House Press Corp, one thing is certain. The first rule about Israel is not to talk crap (true or not) about Israel.

The Gaza flotilla disaster couldn’t have come at a worse time for Obama’s image among Muslims and Arabs. After all, 9 Turks died, when Israel stormed a flotilla of ships carrying aid to Gaza in an attempt to break a 3-year-old Israeli blockade.

The Muslim world turned to the White House hoping for a stand that mirrors President Obama’s promises to the Muslim world.

“The White House is trying to understand the circumstances of what happened,” is what they heard.

Comparing this reaction and U.S. efforts to block a U.N. resolution against Israel and how other countries and nations around the world responded to the Israeli raid on the flotilla, many Arabs and Muslims found it easy to draw the conclusion that Obama’s Muslim love fest is over.

For Arabs wooed by Obama’s Cairo speech, flotilla response frustrating

And then last week Helen Thomas, veteran White House reporter had some strong words about the Middle East issue at a public event:

OFF-CAMERA: “Any comments on Israel?”

HELEN THOMAS: “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.
Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not Germany, not Poland.”

OFF-CAMERA: “so where should they go?”

HELEN THOMAS: “Home. Poland. Germany. America. And everywhere else.”

On the surface it doesn’t sound that bad but the Pro-Israel lobby exploded to the point that today – June 7th – Thomas retired effective immediately.

Crooks and Liars noted the pile on:

ADL rejects her apology because it does not “go far enough”. Craig Crawford and her agent dump her. Lanny Davis, always right in front whenever possible, condemns her. Ari Fleischer cries “Off with her head! (And her job).” Rick Lazlo piles on. Joe Klein wants her sent to the back of the bus room. Sarah Palin tattoos her as racist. A local high school replaces her as their graduation speaker. Red State froths. NewsMax has a field day. Winger blogs everywhere are blessed with outrage and attendant traffic. The din is so loud everyone misses her apology. The right continues to bearhug anti-semitic Pat Buchanan, who is routinely applauded for his support of right-wing causes. He doesn’t have to apologize.

Meanwhile, Hearst has not made a decision on whether she will keep her place as part of the White House press corps.

I am not going to defend what she said. I understand that it is hurtful and offensive to many. However…

She apologized, folks. This pile-on looks to me to be opportunistic and driven by RedStaters and Freepers out there who have a long-standing hate on for Helen.

Where Helen Thomas’ 57-year career is tossed under the bus alongside her apology–UPDATED

That essay makes important point. Pat Buchanan has made far worse anti-semitic remarks – actual anti-semitic remarks – and he has never been forced to apologize or forced to quit his job.

The same goes for people on the right like Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh make nasty anti-semitic and racist remarks all the time and the media yawns.

Not only is Thomas the victim of the strong pro-Israeli lobby it is also because the right – who controls the media – don’t like liberal views and will pounce on any gaff – no matter how minimal – and throw the person under the bus.

A reader of Talking Point Memo said it better than I could:

The fact that Jews were relentlessly persecuted by European Christians for seventeen hundred years by no stretch of the imagination gave them the right to go and do exactly the same thing to another innocent people. If Americans are so passionate about such a relic of the nineteenth century as the ethno-religious state, then by all means let us give New York to the Jews; Palestine was never ours to give away.

But what has been happening for the past seventy years is the Palestinians have been paying for the antisemitism of Americans and Europeans. Eight hundred thousand people were ethnically cleansed in 1948 in order to create the right population for a “Jewish liberal democracy” in the Middle East by quite your standard grade Ameropean imperialists. And the people of that colonialist state have been psychotically trying to get rid of the rest of the Palestinians ever since, in the name of their evil deities or whatever.

The Jews getting kicked out of Iran, Iraq, etc. was all a response to that original horrific example of Ameropean hubris. So the solution is not “along the green line” as you suggest, especially since the Israelis themselves have proven over and over again that they will never settle for this. The solution needs to be paid for by us imperialists, not our victims. If you really want to do some good, let’s start talking about U.S. government programs to resettle Jews in America.


As I posted on my twitter feed after the bloody raid:

Israel is like that crazy little brother or friend who knows you will defend him, so they will pick fights for fun.

Solution to Israeli and Palestinian problem one ticket away

President Obama starts a trip to the Middle East this week where he will speak in Cairo. It is a chance to restart our strained relations with the rational Islamic people in the area. One messy area that seems to avoid cleaning up all the time is the problems between Israel and the Palestinian people. There is a solution to the problem and President Obama wants both sides to “buy a ticket”.

The President drew some harsh feedback when he expressed the view that Israel needs to stop building settlements in disputed land and to prepare for a two-state solution.

In a column by Thomas Friedman, in the New York Times, Obama also sees what the Palestinians must do:

There are a lot of Israelis, “who recognize that their current path is unsustainable, and they need to make some tough choices on settlements to achieve a two-state solution — that is in their long-term interest — but not enough folks are willing to recognize that publicly.”

There are a lot of Palestinians who “recognize that the constant incitement and negative rhetoric with respect to Israel” has not delivered a single “benefit to their people and had they taken a more constructive approach and sought the moral high ground” they would be much better off today — but they won’t say it aloud.

When it comes to dealing with the Middle East, the president noted, “there is a Kabuki dance going on constantly. That is what I would like to see broken down. I am going to be holding up a mirror and saying: ‘Here is the situation, and the U.S. is prepared to work with all of you to deal with these problems. But we can’t impose a solution. You are all going to have to make some tough decisions.’ Leaders have to lead, and, hopefully, they will get supported by their people.”

Obama on Obama

I have never understood the “Israel is always right…” part of US foriegn policy. I understand their need to be safe but that seemed to be contradicted by the building of settlements, treating the Arab population as 2nd class citizens or worse, and their program of targeted killing of “enemies”.

I also never understood the Palestinians negative actions whenever some progress was being made. I understand they have been treated poorly by Israel but the circle of violence has to end some how and they give up the moral high ground when they let people like Hamas start firing rockets etc….

The obvious solution is to set up two states. Now we need each side to buy a ticket.