It may be that Mohammad El Halabi has committed misdeeds -- time will tell -- but why should that derail all of World Vision's operations in Gaza? Before the end of August, World Vision had been forced to lay off all 120 staff in Gaza after the organization's bank accounts in Jerusalem had been frozen by Israel. The organization was simply no longer able to transfer money to Gaza.
Carmen Jarrah was compelled by a line of graffiti that she witnessed on the Israeli-built separation wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: "Now that I have seen, I am responsible." Smuggled Stories from the Holy Land her non-violent way of protesting the occupation and colonization of Palestine, of showing solidarity with the Palestinians, of saying, "Harper, you do not speak for me." She hoped to echo a message in a brochure produced by the Holy Land Trust that she brought back home to Canada, which says, "If a picture is worth a thousand words then an experience is worth a thousand pictures."
Now is the time for Canada to focus on long-term recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction in Gaza. Housing, health, water and sewage facilities, provision of social services, education, and psycho-social support are all areas where we can help. Canada must commit to long-term development programming in Gaza -- and a quick survey of some of Canada's NGOs suggests there are many positive and effective options for partnership.
The tragedy of friendly fire is perhaps the starkest proof that militaries can make deadly errors that are neither intentional nor illegal. In the same vein, civilian casualties are painful, but they do not automatically represent a breach of the international law so long as the distinction, proportionality, and intentionality are observed (and other rules of course).
The notion that truth is the first casualty of war has found expression in the ongoing fog of the current Israel-Hamas conflict -- where truth is obscured or masked by oft-repeated clichés such as "cycle of violence," false moral equivalences, or unconscionable allegations of Israeli "genocide." If we want to prevent further tragedies in this conflict -- let alone frame the basis for its resolution -- then we have to go behind the daily headlines that cloud if not corrupt understanding, probe the real root causes of conflict, and finally travel the road not yet taken to its just resolution.
I want us all to shut up until we are ready to stop being hypocrites. I ask that we stop justifying pain that in our own lives would be unjustifiable, unliveable, unkind. I am so ashamed of my people -- all of you whom I intersect with on social media, and even myself -- I barely hear anyone with the guts not to answer back, not to justify "their" point of view.
This is not a religious conflict, as many Jews and Muslims stand by each other in the Diaspora. Jews have stand against Islamophobia just as Muslims condemn anti-Semitism. Inspiring stories exist where Muslims and Jews have shielded each other from oppression. We have to eschew jingoistic propaganda, rhetorical questions and the blame games to listen to the voices that call for radical empathy. We need to hear the families of the murdered youth Naftali Fraenkel and Abu Khdeir who reached out to each other.
As a Jew, I feel sorry for Palestinians. Their plight is awful. They're at the mercy of a government who would see them dead if it would further their cause. You can be PRO Palestine without being ANTI Israel. You can be against this war and not be Anti-Semitic. Try to remember that when you ask Israel to lay down their weapons you're asking them to walk right into a gas chamber.
Should the government of Canada denounce the intentional and accidental slaughter of babies and other civilians caught in the crossfire between two military forces? It's a question as redundant as "does Red Lobster serve Lobster?" Yes. Of course the government, or any other organization run by rational and peace-loving people, should condemn such violence. The killing of civilians has always and will always be a reprehensible act. And yet Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird remain silent on the mounting civilian death toll in Gaza. It's baffling, since a quick peek at Baird's Twitter timeline.
As Muslims celebrate Eid, it's important to look at the past month during which the world has witnessed thousands suffer in Gaza, Iraq and Syria. We has Prime Minister Stephen Harper to speak out about these issues, but are disappointed. We must do more in the name of humanity, Prime Minister Harper.
The Harper government has mastered the art of selective morality. When it is convenient, Mr. Harper takes cover behind international law to attack those he disagrees with on ideological or religious grounds. And those with whom he has an ideological or religious connection, his government wilfully ignores their indiscretions. This selective application of morality is at odds with the principles of social justice, which all Canadians hold dear.