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The On-going Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

By Lance Ciepiela  Posted by Lance Ciepiela (about the submitter)     Permalink
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The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity."  George W. Bush, State of the Union speech, January 28, 2003 (N.B.: Bush's primary speechwriter at the time was a theologian: Michael Gerson.) 
"When it comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict, the terms of debate are so influenced by organized Jewish groups like AIPAC that to be critical of Israel is to deny oneself the ability to succeed in American politics." Henry Siegman, former head of the American Jewish Congress
"I don't think there is such a thing as an independent Israel doing anything, because I think no matter what they do its our [American] money, its our weapons, and they're not going to do it without us approving it and if they get into trouble we're going to bail them out, so there is no separation between the two." Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), Dec. 28, 2008
"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." Albert Einstein (1879-1955) Physicist and Professor, Nobel Prize 1921
The year 2008 was not a very good year by any account, either financially or politically. Chaos and immorality have prevailed. Indeed, this was a year when fools and criminals in power proved again that we live in a very immoral world. First case in point: the insane Georgia-Russia war in which hundreds of people died because of the decisions of a few hotheads.  Second case in point: the savage bombing of the Gaza Strip by Israeli warplanes, after the government of Israel had imposed a military blockade of the Palestinian territory. Here again, the world more or less stood still as fools, criminals and accomplices allowed for the  killing of people  on both sides. 
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The Israeli attacks that began on Saturday December 27, 2008, are most reminiscent of what the government of Israel did to Lebanon during the summer of 2006. Both are examples of disproportionate retaliation to thoughtless provocations. 
Indeed, the use by the government of Israel of sophisticated American-made F-16 jets, AH-64 Apache helicopters and devastating US-supplied GBU-39 smart bombs to target numerous dwellings in Gaza Strip cites-with civilians making up an overwhelming majority of the more than 300 victims-is an immoral act. Bombing a city can only create a humanitarian catastrophe and it should not be allowed in any circumstance. 
With these planned-in-advance Christmas-New Year period attacks, when the world's political attention is the weakest, Israel is punishing the entire population of the Gaza Strip (1.5 million people) for the irresponsible behavior of a small group of fanatical Hamas leaders.  
But, no matter how this is phrased, nothing justifies collective punishment, an illegal doctrine used by the Israeli government time and again against the Palestinians while the world stands still.  
We understand the rationale: Such attacks are designed to coerce the Islamist Hamas government, (which seized power in Gaza less than two years ago in replacement of the Fatah government of the Palestinian Authority), to stop firing rockets in the direction of Israeli border cities and refrain from launching suicide attacks inside Israel. 
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Since Hamas doesn't have one percent of the military capability that Israel has, its  attacks on Israeli cities would appear to be most foolish and irresponsible. Indeed, there is no doubt that bombing Israeli cities is a terrorist act. But sadly, in this action-reaction drama, one has to keep in mind that Hamas' attacks on Israeli cities came after an Israeli military cross-border raid in Gaza in early November and after years of an illegal blockade of Gaza by Israel. That is the reason why both sides pretend they are attacking the other side in self-defense in this on-going drama. 
Nevertheless, even though the Hamas government seems to be run by defiant leaders who have launched rocket attacks against Israeli cities and targeted Israeli civilians, this does not excuse the Israeli government's disproportionate reaction in indiscriminately bombing a heavily populated territory with warplanes and attack helicopters. All this demonstrates how the world is lacking a moral compass and institutions capable of implementing rules of law and justice. Meanwhile, the law of the jungle continues to reign. 
The neocon-controlled U.S. government of George W. Bush, contrary to most other governments, has refused to ask for an immediate stop to the Israeli attacks. It is therefore an active accomplice in the carnage and it cannot escape its responsibility and involvement. 
As a matter of fact, anybody who remains silent while these barbarian acts are being committed becomes ipso facto an accomplice. This applies to most everyone at different degrees, the most responsible being those in authority. 
Rodrigue Tremblay is professor emeritus of economics at the University of Montreal 
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