Sunday, January 04, 2009

Trouble in Gaza

After our local interfaith Thanksgiving gathering world peace took a turn for the worse with the terror in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), and now the Israeli military action in Gaza.

The Gaza action began while I was on vacation with my family in Disney World
(see my Facebook profile for pictures - you have to search I don't know how to create a unique URL for my facebook page,... yet). Then I discovered that on the Friday we returned, just hours before Shabbos, a demonstration against Israel was held right here in Columbia. Here is a link for that story: .

Then today the first thing I hear after Shabbos is over is that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) began ground action today in Gaza. The fighting is ongoing. Protest around the world against Israel are intensifying and plenty of videos about that are available for your viewing pleasure on YouTube. Here is one from the large protest in New York:

Interestingly enough the network and cable news noted that the Jewish counter protest in New York was small and overwhelmed by the anti-Israeli protest without noting an important fact. Today was the Sabbath and religious/serious Jews would be otherwise occupied.

Why would Israel WANT to go into Gaza? The real short answer is that Israel does not want anything to do with Gaza. Israel went into Gaza in response to increasing rocket attacks and all that entails. The statistics, the graphic is from Wikipedia, regarding the number of rocket attacks from Gaza from 2001 until this past November (when we were holding our local interfaith Thanksgiving) is pretty informative. Note the increase of attacks after Israel pulled out from Gaza and Hamas took control:

Hamas has not tried to curtail the rocket attacks but has encouraged them because the goal of Hamas is not coexistence but the destruction of Israel.

Here is a video from Fox News before the ground operation started:

Now for a video that you probably will not see in the popular media:

Around the world Israel is taking a public relation beating and the condemnation is still heating up. In the midst of all this emotion and knee jerk political correctness I want to examine the issue from a broader perspective. Please keep in mind that I was not only originally a supporter of the Israel withdrawal from Gaza but actually was naive enough to hope that Hamas might abandon terrorism and mature into a legitimate political organization to replace the corrupt Palestinian Authority.

Israel has done some incredibly stupid things and I do not support everything Israel does. But, as a Jewish person I support Israel, I support a two state solution, and an end to violence on both sides. What the world frequently ignores is that there is a large faction within Gaza, within Islam, which wants Israel destroyed. This is not a new development, but it is one the world frequently forgets.

Israel did not go into Gaza out of hatred, malice, or for fun. Israel will pay a heavy price spiritually, economically, politically, and in human terms. The decision to act militarily was made with much trepidation. Israel went into Gaza, reluctantly, out of desperation. Was going into Gaza the right thing for Israel to do? With G-d as my witness I don't know. I really don't. But, I understand it. I am sick of this conflict which has wrecked countless lives and wrecked the economy of Israel as well as the economic potential of the Palestinian people. I am tired of the animosity it creates in my community and I am tied of devoting time to worrying, writing, and talking about the conflict. Yet, I will not abandon Israel.

Right now it is easy to blame Israel for the misery of the Palestinian people. A misery which is very real but the blame is misplaced. Such blame ignores the historical realities of colonialism, and how the Palestinian people were used by other Arab nations as political pawns. The current excuse is that the residents of Gaza are victims of continuing Israeli control and aggression. The other view, my view, is that Gaza is like a crazy dance partner who insist they want to stop dancing but will not let go. A dance partner that pummels you regardless of if you hold them tight or try to push them away.

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