Hamas rocketeers, pictured above, have provoked their neighbour.
There have been alot of earnest analogies floating around cyberspace to rationalize Israel's bloody response to Hamas rocketfire, in one case even likening the dusty lanes of Sderot to the Champs d' Elysees of Paris and Gaza to Belgium! The official government line in Jerusalem is to blame Hamas's cowardly tactics of fighting behind human shields for the 1000 fresh deaths in Gaza, including more than 320 dead children, over the past 19 days. There's a layman's term for the IDF battle strategy of a relentless 3-week assault from tanks, attack helicopters, fighter planes and gunships: overkill.
To make sense of all these comparisons, Israelity bites is sharing a provocative piece of professorial writing which appeared, of all places, in the Moonie-owned Washington Times. A ninety-something formerly conservative Texas matriarch dared us to crosspost the editorial here. "Have you the courage -- the guts -- the journalistic integrity -- the compassion to publish this op-ed for the beneficial education of our electronic community? she asked."This one ray of light may shine through the Zionist fog. See if y'all would want to walk in the Palestinians shoes for a few months, what they have been wearing for 60 years. We will never be free until truth prevails." OK, ok Marge, here's your clip:
When Israel expelled Palestinians
By Randall Kuhn in the Washington Times, January 14, 2009
"Think about what would happen if for seven years rockets had been fired at San Diego, California from Tijuana, Mexico." Within hours scores of American pundits and politicians had mimicked Ehud Barak's comparisons almost verbatim. In fact, in this very paper on January 9 House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor ended an opinion piece by saying "America would never sit still if terrorists were lobbing missiles across our border into Texas or Montana." But let's see if our political and pundit class can parrot this analogy.
Think about what would happen if San Diego expelled most of its Hispanic, African American, Asian American, and Native American population, about 48 percent of the total, and forcibly relocated them to Tijuana? Not just immigrants, but even those who have lived in this country for many generations. Not just the unemployed or the criminals or the America haters, but the school teachers, the small business owners, the soldiers, even the baseball players.
What if we established government and faith-based agencies to help move white people into their former homes? And what if we razed hundreds of their homes in rural areas and, with the aid of charitable donations from people in the United States and abroad, planted forests on their former towns, creating nature preserves for whites to enjoy? Sounds pretty awful, huh? I may be called anti-Semitic for speaking this truth. Well, I'm Jewish and the scenario above is what many prominent Israeli scholars say happened when Israel expelled Palestinians from southern Israel and forced them into Gaza. But this analogy is just getting started.
What if the United Nations kept San Diego's discarded minorities in crowded, festering camps in Tijuana for 19 years? Then, the United States invaded Mexico, occupied Tijuana and began to build large housing developments in Tijuana where only whites could live. And what if the United States built a network of highways connecting American citizens of Tijuana to the United States? And checkpoints, not just between Mexico and the United States but also around every neighborhood of Tijuana? What if we required every Tijuana resident, refugee or native, to show an ID card to the U.S. military on demand? What if thousands of Tijuana residents lost their homes, their jobs, their businesses, their children, their sense of self worth to this occupation? Would you be surprised to hear of a protest movement in Tijuana that sometimes became violent and hateful? Okay, now for the unbelievable part.
Think about what would happen if, after expelling all of the minorities from San Diego to Tijuana and subjecting them to 40 years of brutal military occupation, we just left Tijuana, removing all the white settlers and the soldiers? Only instead of giving them their freedom, we built a 20-foot tall electrified wall around Tijuana? Not just on the sides bordering San Diego, but on all the Mexico crossings as well. What if we set up 50-foot high watchtowers with machine gun batteries, and told them that if they stood within 100 yards of this wall we would shoot them dead on sight? And four out of every five days we kept every single one of those border crossings closed, not even allowing food, clothing, or medicine to arrive. And we patrolled their air space with our state- of-the-art fighter jets but didn't allow them so much as a crop duster. And we patrolled their waters with destroyers and submarines, but didn't even allow them to fish.
Would you be at all surprised to hear that these resistance groups in Tijuana, even after having been "freed" from their occupation but starved half to death, kept on firing rockets at the United States? Probably not. But you may be surprised to learn that the majority of people in Tijuana never picked up a rocket, or a gun, or a weapon of any kind. The majority, instead, supported against all hope negotiations toward a peaceful solution that would provide security, freedom and equal rights to both people in two independent states living side by side as neighbors. This is the sound analogy to Israel's military onslaught in Gaza today. Maybe some day soon, common sense will prevail and no corpus of misleading analogies abut Tijuana or the crazy guy across the hall who wants to murder your daughter will be able to obscure the truth. And at that moment, in a country whose people shouted We Shall Overcome, Ich bin ein Berliner, End Apartheid, Free Tibet and Save Darfur, we will all join together and shout "Free Gaza. Free Palestine." And because we are Americans, the world will take notice and they will be free, and perhaps peace will prevail for all the residents of the Holy Land.
Randall Kuhn is an assistant professor and Director of the Global Health Affairs Program at the University of Denver Josef Korbel School of International Studies. He just returned from a trip to Israel and the West Bank.
An IDF soldier cleans the tank treads (photo AFP)
It's also worth noting that Israel, the Middle East democracy which touts its freedom of expression and holds itself up as an example for the Arab neighbours, has arrested some 714 anti-war protestors, overwhelmingly Arabs, for speaking out against the war in Gaza. There is an impressive martial unity in a small country where more than 90 per cent are beating war drums and consider this a defensive action to safeguard security. Around 12,000 Palestinian suspects currently are held in Israeli jails, some without trial for years.