Saturday, January 10, 2009

my thoughts are a mess and tangled

On a purely humanitarian plane, there are simply no justifications for the ruthless extermination (and there is no lesser term that can be employed here) of unarmed noncombatants. It shouldn't stand that women, children and the infirm are killed on a now daily basis, especially in such tight quarters. It all amounts to genocide, similar in principle if not scale to the Albanian and Bosnian crises in the latter 20th century, to the targeting and killing of Jews during the second World War, to the Hutu/Tutsi war that still rages today. The only difference is that the Israeli army clearly has the upper hand in almost all the warfaring aspects that matter, and are given free reign to do as they please.

However, there is opinion that Hamas brought it onto the civilian population in the first place, by embedding themselves within the populace and by firing their rockets from civilian areas. That these non-Hamas victims are merely collateral damage that was entirely unavoidable. It's even been said that Hamas itself has restricted access to medical aid for the civilians, ratcheting up casualties to bolster their PR. Worse still is the attitude of some bloggers and disaffected who feel that all this killing is justified, because "Islamist" terrorists need to be dealt with by all means possible.

To truly appreciate what it means to live in Gaza, I guess it really would make all the difference in the world to actually be there and live the day to day life. To deal with all the Israeli and Egyptian checkpoints and border patrols, to deal with spotchecks and humiliating body searches. To live in a constant state of fear.

We can't blame the civilians. They have done nothing, absolutely nothing, to deserve their homes being destroyed within seconds of an attack. To lose their schools and hospitals. Does anyone remember the attack on the Jenin refugee camp less than a decade ago? Apache copters and tanks facing down children and the elderly?

Similarly, I don't support the killing of Israeli civilians either. It's not justified to take out a bus full of innocents, nor is it justified to fire rockets into populated areas, regardless of your situation. It's just... the proportionality aspect has been thrown for such a loop that just the idea of proportion is ludicrous.

In the end I think we have to deal with the reality that nothing but a two-state solution will have to do. Both Palestine and Israel have claims of sovereignity and right to land but the thing of it is, we've gone too far down this road (that nobody was really prepared for in the first place) for us to turn back and fix things by 100 or so years. There has to be a ceasefire, the killings have to stop, and both sides need to work things out diplomatically. Now more than ever Hamas needs to take a good look at what they can do to minimize blowback on the Palestinians (even if it means not shooting rockets into Israel), and Israel needs to stop this senseless murder, and to return some land back, to at least remedy the packed populations in the West Bank and Gaza.

The governments of both countries really need to change their policies. Otherwise, this time bomb will just keep ticking, perpetuating itself for another senseless slaughter. Although history tells us that one side will always lose so much more.

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