Thursday, May 1, 2008

Israeli Insanity

Is it just me that’s facing the wrong way, or the world is generally insane? I think the old movie title had it right – “The Gods Must Be Crazy”.

In typically idiotic style, Israel has announced it is working with Palestinian President Abbas in an effort to shut down charities run by Hamas. Yes, Hamas is a sworn enemy of Israel. Yes, Hamas members keep lobbing missiles over the wall into Israel from the Gaza Strip. Yes, Hamas funds and trains people to fight against what they see as Israeli occupation of Arab land. Yes, Hamas would like to control the West Bank.

But also yes, Hamas has effectively won the hearts of the down-trodden citizens of Gaza and the West Bank, too, by providing housing, health care, food assistance and jobs. And also yes, Hamas leaders have been brought to office in democratic elections.

And also yes, though they consider him to be the face of Palestinian moderation, West Bank President Abbas has not always been Israel’s best friend, but he will accept their help to keep Hamas from unseating him. He fears that Hamas will attack his position and take over the West Bank as violently as they did the Gaza Strip.

But from my perspective, the bottom line is that Hamas has done more for the people of Palestine than the PLO (where Abbas’ political roots are) ever did or Israel has ever done. Hamas has been smart enough to recognize that you can win more popular support with butter than with guns, and it may be that they have also recognized that they can’t usually get the butter to the people without taking the guns to those who are standing in the way.

If Israel had half of Hamas’s savvy, they would not storm in and shut down the charities, they would walk in and top Hamas’s offer. Make the people an offer they can’t refuse – give them humane treatment. Give them work. Give them back their homes. Give them health care. Give them food or make it possible for them to buy their own.

THEN AND ONLY THEN will the missiles stop flying. Israel could be perceived as a beneficial presence and eventually the hostilities would cease even with the proviso that they maintain control of the most of lands they seized in 1967. Any concession now would be seen as magnanimous. They have so much to gain and so little to loose by beginning to treat their neighbors – albeit their conquered neighbors – with dignity.

The U.S proved the effectiveness of this position after WWII with the Marshall Plan. A great many Americans thought Truman was nuts for committing so much to the rebuilding of Germany and the rest of Europe and Japan, but every dollar invested came back tenfold, and the U.S. gained the admiration of nearly every nation on earth for a good fifty years until we began to sound more like pre-war Germany than post-war America.

Now, both the U.S. and Israel are stuck in the mind-set that they can somehow bomb others into submissive agreement with their goals. It is an age-old and insane proposition that we once overcame, and we need to do it again.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

The reason for going was to keep the crude flowing and raise a false flag abroad. – from a poem by Jack Evans titled 3500 Souls -

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