Saturday, January 03, 2009

Israeli Attacks on the Gaza Strip 2008

When I first read reports of bombing breaking out in the Gaza Strip, I audibly groaned. I honestly didn't follow the news for the first few days of the air raids, because it would just be more of the same.

A "free" democracy is generally good at expunging the extreme elements from its society, for good or for ill. Two Muslim-majority countries very recently rejected Islamic extremism wholesale: Pakistan and Bangladesh. Islamist parties saw their support base decrease significantly in what, give or take, can be seen as accurate gauges of public opinion. These, in countries that have deeply entrenched conservative Muslim streaks.

Religious or not, Muslim or Jewish, you can depend on people to look out for their own interests.

None of this serves Israel's long-term interests.

A few very nice articles and essays on the matter:

Johann Hari: The true story behind this war is not the one Israel is telling 29th Dec. 2008
The Gaza Strip is smaller than the Isle of Wight but it is crammed with 1.5 million people who can never leave. They live out their lives on top of each other, jobless and hungry, in vast, sagging tower blocks. From the top floor, you can often see the borders of their world: the Mediterranean, and Israeli barbed wire. When bombs begin to fall – as they are doing now with more deadly force than at any time since 1967 – there is nowhere to hide.
Robert Fisk: Why bombing Ashkelon is the most tragic irony 30th Dec. 2008
[...] [T]he Palestinians who lived in Ashkelon and the fields around it – Askalaan in Arabic – were dispossessed from their lands in 1948 when Israel was created and ended up on the beaches of Gaza. They – or their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren – are among the one and a half million Palestinian refugees crammed into the cesspool of Gaza, 80 per cent of whose families once lived in what is now Israel. This, historically, is the real story: most of the people of Gaza don't come from Gaza.

But watching the news shows, you'd think that history began yesterday, that a bunch of bearded anti-Semitic Islamist lunatics suddenly popped up in the slums of Gaza – a rubbish dump of destitute people of no origin – and began firing missiles into peace-loving, democratic Israel, only to meet with the righteous vengeance of the Israeli air force. The fact that the five sisters killed in Jabalya camp had grandparents who came from the very land whose more recent owners have now bombed them to death simply does not appear in the story.
Yossi Sarid: If you (or I) were Palestinian 2nd Jan. 2009
There are no good and bad peoples; there are only leaderships that behave responsibly or insanely. And now we are fighting those whom a goodly number of us would be like, had we been in their place for 41 and a half years.
Thanks, JJ, for the links.


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I write essays in my spare time on things that are important to me. The ones that I feel are any good, or make any sense, I put them up here. :)