0515blog

Time To Decide

I hadn’t typed more than a dozen words when I suddenly felt overwhelmed and wanted to stop and change the subject but that would be a cowardly and disingenuous thing to do.

The topic at hand is the latest blood being shed largely by Palestinians at the hands of the ever more powerful Israeli Defense Forces. I’ve seen it before with the same scenario and I expect the same ending, intransigence and an even fiercer hatred of the Palestinians in Israel and a growing and more dangerous and better armed Hamas with their same goal as before, to end Israel and return Palestinians to their ancient homeland.

I feel utterly unprepared and uneducated to comment but when will I be sufficiently prepared or adequately educated to come up with an opinion that even remotely makes sense, probably never, if I take that approach. Nobody can understand all the facts, all the intricacies, all the emotions, all the history, because there is no one answer. But to take no stand is to be frozen and incapacitated by the spider web of conflicting and complicated information and to be imprisoned by indecision, ultimately leaving the decisions to others who may be as equally uninformed and guided by their own bigotry.

I am reminded of the Vietnam War when hundreds of thousands of people marched in opposition even though many probably had little insight into the war, why it happened, who was making the decisions, who benefited. A lack of facts wasn’t a problem because the protesters were reacting largely with their hearts as they saw the list of dead Americans and Vietnamese grow exponentially every day as the stated reasons became more and more absurd. It simply made no sense. So Americans marched and eventually the U.S. left Vietnam, but we’ll never know how much role the marches had in the decision of withdraw. Didn’t matter because the U.S. left a war that otherwise would probably still be raging.

In Israel, it is impossible to know which news reports are accurate and unbiased, which side is telling the “truth” about international affairs, Israeli politics, Hamas, the Palestinians, the tunnels, the Iron Dome, the Palestinian lobby, the Israeli lobby. It is dizzying and altogether tempting to just surrender, throw up your hands and leave the room.

A responsible person has to work hard to understand often complex issues and then come to conclusions but there comes a time when the responsible person simply says “enough” and takes a position. I have a Kafkaesque feeling when I read about the Israeli military strategy of “mowing the grass” and periodically destroying Hamas positions and leaders and then watching as Palestinian homes are bulldozed, children and mothers are shot dead and Jewish settlements mushroom in the Palestinian lands, while the powerful Israelis make no efforts at negotiations.

There is simply too much evidence that Israel has acted as the aggressor far in excess of the dangers posed by the most radical Palestinians. The Israeli fate was sealed the day it was granted independence from the British because as part of the new nation, the Palestinian had to be evacuated by any means necessary, or so went the rationale in Israel and this has remained at the base of the hatred.

The trump administration just wanted the Palestinians to go away while wooing other middle east nations to find economic reasons to work with Israel. The U.S. position has largely been to provide overwhelming aid to allow Israel to continually enhance its military but it is clear that the Palestinians are not going away and they should not go away. Even the Palestinians who remained behind in Israel and are Israeli citizens are often treated as third class citizens without the rights of Jewish citizens. Israeli ultra-nationalism has played a large factor in political decisions to continue and expand and fortify illegal settlements in the West Bank and Gaza and for the Israelis to take disproportionately provocative and dangerous measures as routing the Palestinians from the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, one of the holiest sites in Islam.

The leaders in Israel know it is to their benefit that people around the world fail to come to a decision, fail to stand and be counted on one side or the other and all the while, the Palestinians remain under the Israeli boot. But the new generation of Palestinians will demand fair treatment and hopefully the new generation of Israelis will act appropriately. It is time to say enough to Israel.

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Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer

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Phil Garber

Phil Garber

Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer

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