QUAL UPDATE: The practice qual went well with Erich yesterday. This instill a bit of confidence, though I am wary of hubris and am still studying my brains out. Which is why I am going a bit loopy. Three days left. Two days of studying. I am wreck.
Whatevs. Since it has been in the news a lot lately, I thought I would put in my two shekels about Hamas (not strictly the Palestinians) and Israel.
I think there is a lot of misunderstanding out there about what is going on and why. One of the major ones is that somehow Israel and the Israelis don’t care about the Palestinians or the Palestinian people. And by extension, American Jewry feels the same. This is quite ignorant of the Israeli peace movement and slaps the faces of the conscientious objectors in Israel. The situation is much more complicated. On both sides the argument there are extremist and peace movements. And sadly as time goes on, both sides seem to radicalize further. All it takes to destroy the hope for peace on either side is one rocket or one suicide bomber.
Additionally, the western world refuses to acknowledge that the present situation directly derives from *their* flawed WWII and post-WWII. Analogy between the situation in India/Pakistan is apt for what happened in Israel/Palestine. But that is too huge of a post to go here.
Basically, there are two main objections to the current engagement, both of which I empathize with: 1) the use of White Phosphorous and 2) the disproportionality of casualties.
1) So for most of yesterday the media was all a-buzz with the fact that Israel was using chemical weapons. If true, then yes the commanders who ordered it and everyone else ‘in the know’ should have to answer to an international war crimes tribunal. However, this was debunked more or less by the Red Cross today.
2) This gets into the motivation for the war. The argument goes that the Israelis have Hamas (not the Palestinians, remember) so outgunned that the 900+ total civilian and soldier deaths is not fair to the ~20 Israeli deaths thus far. Implying that having more Israeli dead would somehow legitimize everything. Ummm No.
But before we a-go stone castin’, let’s look historically. The Israelis have always had very low death rates in their engagements relative to the size of the forces they went against. I would argue that this is the only reason the state continues to exist today. The current numbers are not inconsistent. For rounding sake, let’s say this current war is at a ratio of about 50.
Now let’s do the numbers for America, shall we. There were approximately 3000 people who died as a result of 9/11. Iraq has had a Coalition forces death toll of around 4000. Afghanistan has a number that is close to 1000. So roughly as a result of one terror attack, we have 8000 dead. Iraq alone has somewhere between 100,000 and 1 million+ dead. This puts our US ratio at <10 - 100+! Voting for Obama doesn’t mean that these Iraqis didn’t die in your name or ‘unfairly’.
I guess what I am trying to say is that the situation is a lot harder to piece apart and understand than who shot a rocket at who, or who blew up whose house. And if you think that the western world has any credibility in the matter think again. The US maybe more so than others, but we were just as fooled by Arafat as anyone else. And that is only as long as we don’t judge others harsher than we judge ourselves (ie why we sat out of the UN’s condemnation last week).
Peace should be pursued for peace’s own sake.
*Also, food for thought, why do left-leaning in this country people support Hamas over the Israelis, yet not the Tamil Tigers of Eelam over the Sri Lankans?
**Also, I am a believer in Land-for-Peace and a Two State solution. Hopefully within my lifetime or sooner. I do not deny the Palestinians their sovereignty.