Wednesday, October 18, 2023

At Our Worst

The Israel-Hamas War is a case of humanity operating on its worst instincts. Eric Ifill writes:

I am embarrassed by the leadership of this country who have polluted what it means to be a human being, and it’s up to us to push back at the one-sided nature of their performative empathy. Who gets to be the victims of the Israel-Hamas war is directly connected to whose aggression can be excused as legitimate.

The attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians was barbaric:

On Oct. 7, Hamas launched a co-ordinated attack against Israeli military bases and civilians living near the border of Gaza. These victims experienced a horrific chain of events including Hamas militants murdering and kidnapping many Israeli civilians. As CNN explains, “Hamas gunmen killed more than 1,400 people, including civilians and soldiers, and took 199 hostages, according to Israeli authorities.” This strike at Israel was unprecedented in scale and tactics, and has been called the worst attack on Israel since its formation. CNN concurs that “Israel has not faced its adversaries in street battles on its own territory since the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.” The operation, “Al-Aqsa Storm,” as Hamas named it, was, according to the militants, “a response to what it described as Israeli attacks on women, the desecration of the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and the ongoing siege of Gaza.”

These are horrendous crimes that unleashed a spiral of violence from which victims will continue to suffer. There is no doubt about that.

But there are thousands of innocent victims on the other side. Note the language the Israelis are using:

This dehumanizing language paints Palestinians as sub-human, and therefore builds a narrative for their disposal. And like animals are how they are being treated.

The Palestinian residents in Gaza are under siege, and had only been given 24 hours to flee when the IDF bombed their only escape to Egypt, the Rafah Crossing. The Washington Post confirms: “Israel bombed areas of southern Gaza where it had told Palestinians to flee to ahead of an expected ground invasion, killing dozens of people.” This has created a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions for a people who continue to pay for crimes they did not commit. This is what is called collective punishment, and it is contrary to international humanitarian law. Médecins Sans Frontières, in its reprinting of the Practical Guide to Humanitarian Law by legal director Françoise Bouchet-Saulnier, highlighted: “International humanitarian law posits that no person may be punished for acts that he or she did not commit. It ensures that the collective punishment of a group of persons for a crime committed by an individual is also forbidden, whether in the case of prisoners of war or of any other individuals.”

There is a reason Mark Twain called us "the damn'd human race."

Image: CNN


Lorne said...

If people wee able to hold two conflicting thoughts in their heads at the same time, Owen, they would realize that none of this demands an absolutist position.

Anonymous said...

This latest situation is horrible Owen. The dilemma has been accentuated by treating Palestinians as sub-humans. They are not all members of Hamas, but certainly their mistreatment including building Israeli communities on their lands provokes a backlash. Palestinians have been attacked violently by many of those so-called settlers. RG

Owen Gray said...

People have got used to thinking that life is a zero-sum proposition, Lorne -- "I win. You lose."

Owen Gray said...

There can be no solution, RG, when people can't put themselves in their perceived enemy's shoes.

Northern PoV said...

"There can be no security without peace and there can be no peace without justice."

Owen Gray said...

Absolutely true, PoV -- and conveniently forgotten.

zoombats said...

Everybody has God on their side. Some feel a little bit superior and therefore view others as the Lesser, animals perhaps.

Owen Gray said...

It's not wise to assume you're on God's side, zoombats. But you can hope that he'll give you a little help when you need it.

Northern PoV said...

"Meanwhile, of course, the giant fossil-fuel companies have been making — I know this sounds like a broken record but what can I do? — record (oops, sorry!) profits. And keep in mind that, in the United States, the leaders of one of the two major political parties are wildly focused on supporting and expanding Big Oil and carbon-producing energy sources of every kind, while denying that much of anything I’ve described above is actually happening. Worse yet, according to the latest polls, their unofficial leader, Donald Trump, stands a rather chilling (or do I mean boiling?) chance of retaking the presidency in 2024 and controlling the government for at least four more wildly unpredictable, possibly ever more authoritarian years of carbon hell. Under the circumstances, you might indeed be able to kiss this planet goodbye.

War Is Us

And worse yet, with our increasingly dire global situation in mind, ask yourself this: How is humanity reacting to the deep dangers we now face? Are we focusing our attention on putting out the flames, so to speak? I’m afraid — despite the heroic efforts of any number of young people — the overall answer would have to be: Not on your life! Sadly enough, instead of facing the crisis of climate change head-on, much of humanity seems all too intent on starting fires of the kind that have defined us since time immemorial. I have in mind, of course, a different kind of planetary destruction entirely: war-making. In fact, sometimes that seems to be by far our greatest, if grimmest, skill and deepest nature."

War is Us - soon to be franchised in your country

Owen Gray said...

It appears, PoV, that progress is a myth.

Trailblazer said...

Sheesh, and I am two thirds through Human -kind by Rutger Bregman who writes with so much hope for us all!
I guess he had not figured that the immoveable objects that are Hamas, the party of God and Israel, the chosen people ,by god, with a little! encouragement from the Christian evangelists in the USA who cannot wait for Armageddon stirring it up a little!


Owen Gray said...

When it comes to human beings as a species, TB, it's unwise to be too optimistic.

e.a.f. said...

There might be less war is there was no religion. World might be a better place.

This time Hamas attacked Israel. Israel didn't start this round, however, in a manner of speaking they helped create Hamas. Hamas is not the Palestinian people but a group of individuals who are making a shit load of money while the Palestians go without.

The other Arab countries have also contributed to the problem. They have sat on their hands and have done nothing since 1948, except for their starting the 6 day war. If the other Muslim/arab countries were truly concerned they might have considered financing the Red Crescent to provide hospitals and health care Children have no schools to go to and the buildings and areas all of the people live in leave a lot to be desired. Quatar is doing a decent job of mediating, but it would be better if they paid for some infrastructure. The condition of the Palestinians sserves a lot of purposes and that isn't going to change.

As to the settlers moving in, that is in the West Bank, not Gaza.

The current problem is Bibi. He needs to go. He isn't interested in peace. He's interested in killing. He thinks it will keep him in office and so unreat is good for his political career. He also I suspect hasn't quite gotten over his brother being killed during the Raid on Entibbe.

Hamas most likely started this dance because they didn't want a deal between Israel and Saudi. None of this will end well for anyone especially the women and children of Gaza. As long as there is war, Hamas continues to receive money and remain in control of Gaza, corporations make a shit load of money selling arms, other countries have their agendas and Bibi continues to poison everything.

There are some in this world who will never consider the Jews as human or have a right to live. The Jews know it and hence Israel. This is just another struggle to stay alive. There will always be some group which wants to kill Jews, just look inside of our own country and the U.S.A.

Some people say, "never forget". Our Mom told us, "this can happen again".

Lets hope Biden remnains in good health.


Owen Gray said...

I concur, e.a.f. Let's hope Biden remains in good health.