12 January 2009

The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at
http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/ Please.
Wednesday January 7, 2009
A pall over New Year joy

The Palestinian problem is one of injustice, not about religion. And injustice cannot be overcome by more violence.

THE end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 probably ranks as among the worst ever. Just when we thought we could take a break from the turmoil and turbulence of the past year, we got no respite.

Perhaps most people will not care, but the invasion of Gaza by the Israelis cast a huge pall over the festivities for me.

Our reliance on international media agencies to get news on Gaza means that we get information that are either totally biased on the Israeli side or subtly biased.

Either way, the news tends to lay the blame on Hamas, which was democratically elected to rule the Palestinians, for “starting it all”. That limits people’s memory of things.

What started it all was a decision to send European Jews to Palestine to start a new country. The fact that there were already people there seemed to concern no one, not even to this day.

If you were living quietly in your home and someone just moved in and took over your home, I would think you have a right to get mad.

And if you’re then forced to live in refugee camps in your own land and starved of every basic amenity, forced to go through military checkpoints every day just to get to work, then you would be forgiven for getting frustrated and upset. It’s simply unjust.

As many leaders around the world have pointed out, the Palestinian problem is one of injustice, not about religion. After all, Palesti­nians are both Muslim and Christian.

Israel violates international law every day with no punishment, all the while blaming the Palestinians for “starting it all”.

How do home-made rockets compare with American-made missiles, F-16 warplanes, heli­copter gunships and tanks?

And while rockets may be terrifying, they are nowhere near as deadly as missiles. Since this invasion started, four Israelis have died compared with at least 500 Palestinians, mostly civilians, in the first nine days of Operation Cast Led.

Even Israeli columnists in Haaretz, the leading newspaper there, are questioning this incredibly disproportionate response.

Yet, without major supporters, Israeli could not possibly ignore international opinion. The US has unequivocally stated its support for Israel, calling it the US’ “greatest ally”.

What benefits to the US this alliance brings is a mystery. Even prominent American Jews like George Soros are asking why the US is so supportive of Israel when it gets nothing but grief in return.

What’s more, there are also charges that the United Nations is also complicit in this massacre by constantly emphasising that “25% of those murdered are civilians” and that “women and children” are being killed.

This implies that 75% of those killed are militants and not civilians, and that all men in Gaza can be described as militants, instead of teachers, doctors, workers and unemployed.

Amnesty International has also condemned the disproportionate attacks on largely defenceless peoples, listing out all the children killed by Israeli missiles.

On the other hand, the rest of us must also react in a reasonable way, no matter how angry it makes us. Injustice cannot be overcome by more violence.

Just as the Israeli missiles are not going to stop the Hamas rockets, neither is more violence, including suicide bombings, going to stop more artillery raining down on the long-suffering Palestinians.

But it behooves the more powerful side to stop first, because the less powerful has the right to defend itself against such attacks. But thus far, despite international calls for a ceasefire, Israel is ignoring them.

There are some of us who say that this is none of our business. That it’s so far away and, besides, all sides are unreasonable. But such thinking ignores the impact this conflict has on everyone around the globe.

This festering wound known as the Palesti­nian conflict is why so many people see the US as not living up to its democratic and human rights ideals.

Which is what makes life unsafe for Ameri­cans, because some people get angry enough to do crazy things. Which in turn makes life miserable for Muslims everywhere because they are then branded as “terrorists”.

Whereas Israel, which starves people and deprives them of the very basic necessities and forces 1.5 million people to live in what is essentially a concentration camp, gets away smelling sweet. Is that justice?

The world is all interlinked now; anything that happens anywhere in the world will sooner or later have an impact on everyone else. The economic crisis in the US is also far away but it still affects us.

If we ignore what is blatantly an injustice just because it is far away, does that mean that our concept of justice is selective?