Official Palestinian incitement against Israel has been minimized or altogether ignored in the mainstream media. Instead, moral indignation and media condemnation has consistently been reserved for "settlements," the building of homes to accommodate an expanding Jewish population in Israel. Whatever one's opinion about the wisdom of building in disputed areas, the Oslo Accords do not prohibit Israel from building homes.
The UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs indicated that of the 158 Palestinians killed in the November Israeli assault on Gaza, 103 were civilians. Israel's deputy defence minister indicated that Palestinians would bring upon themselves a bigger "shoah" -- holocaust. Unitarian Chaplain Reverend Audrey Brooks questioned how Israel could inflict the horror of the Holocaust on the Palestinians. Time and again, Jews and Muslims, notwithstanding the narrative of bigots in their respective faiths, have reached out to each other.
The other day I found myself in a 100-year-old Anglican Church in Vancouver, in a place called rather fittingly, the Sanctuary. I was there to rehearse for a benefit happening the evening of Friday December 7th for Syrian refugee relief and emergency aid to Gaza, with funds directed to Doctors Without Borders and the ICRC's Middle East fund.
Whenever Hamas attacks Israel, who responds with the bombing of Gaza, opinions are wide spread. Often they are tainted by racism, xenophobia, and all out insanity. That is a huge problem when you look at America's relationship with Israel, and how many in Washington, and the media, side with the 62-year-old country.
If anyone can put a positive spin on this week's events in Israel and Gaza, I'd like to hear it. From where I sit there's absolutely no good news -- not for Israel and not for the future state of Palestine. Each side claimed victory after a ceasefire went into effect Thursday, but the reality is both sides came out losers. The sirens still sound, the bomb shelters are still inhabited and people in the south of the country are still living in near-constant terror. Iron Dome may stop missiles from landing, but it cannot prevent them from being launched.
Analysts and pundits will be all over themselves trying to find a "winner" in this conflict between Gaza and Israel. While the world's cameras and attention were turned to Gaza and Israel (and rightfully so), the Syrian regime sustained its killing of Syrians at the usual pace of over 100 civilians per day. Not only did Assad gain from having the media shift focus to one of the longest enduring conflicts of the region, the Syrian dictator also benefited from returning the anti-colonialist narratives to deciphering the Middle East.
Writing in The Jerusalm Post, Israeli Sharon Udasin quoted Nofar Gal, who lives near the border with Gaza: "The situation in the South has been very difficult not only for us humans but also for our pets." Predictably, her writing about an Israeli's pet dog triggered outrage in sensitive non-Israelis. The professionally sensitive -- liberal reporters -- were especially incensed.
As I'm sure you've heard, things have been pretty bang-bang boom-boom in the Middle East lately. A few days ago they started shooting missiles at each other hoping to settle grudges dating back to early November at best or the Old Testament at worst. The only real important question is who do the Canadian editorial pages support? Here's a hint: not Hamas.
Israel's assassination of Hamas military chief Ahmed Al-Jaabari on Wednesday sparked another tragic round of bloodletting in the Middle East. Civilians on both sides suffered. But this time, the conflict took a surreal, technological turn as both sides took to social media in an online war of words and images.
This week has seen an upsurge in violence between Israelis and Palestinians. In 24 hours, 79 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Arsen Ostrovsky asks, "My country is under attack, do you care?" The responses to his piece have been disturbing. Israel's occupation of Palestine is wrong. But a denunciation of illegal-Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians need not be prefaced by a resuscitation of each ill that Israel has inflicted on Palestinians. Victimhood must be inclusive.
The humanitarian challenges Palestinians face grow ever more severe; In terms of water, the situation is particularly difficult. Through a range of historical interventions, Israel controls the bulk of the fresh water resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The situation in Gaza is even more extreme, with a further 1.6 million Palestinians having access only to the very limited underground aquifer within Gaza, with only 5 per cent of the water safe to drink.
One of the great myths perpetuated by the media is that Israel stands alone, isolated in the international arena. On the domestic front here in Canada, members of our municipal, provincial, and federal political parties have proudly declared that they are Israel's BFFs. Indeed, much of the same is expected next week when Israeli President Shimon Peres arrives here in Canada.