It makes me a little sick that we’re sending aircraft to Lebanon so that we can transport Americans to Cypress, yet we’ll probably continue to do nothing about the violence. Yknow, except for still giving Israel lots of money.
I was impressed to hear a Lebanese guest on the BBC world news this morning make a clear distinction between the Israeli people and the Israeli state. She was quite emotional–and who wouldn’t be?–but still managed to say, quite clearly, that she blamed the Israeli state, not the Israeli people, for the atrocious violence aimed at Hezbollah but hitting civilians along the way. A later caller from Haifa, recently bombed by what CNN.com calls “suspected Hezbollah rockets,” when asked who he blamed for the destruction, answered simply, “Hezbollah and the American government.”
In any event, it’s still infuriating the way so many seem to be glorifying Israel even in the midst of such overblown violence. According to a later report, Blair and the UN are calling for a cease-fire from Hezbollah and for Israel to tone down its perhaps disproportionate “counter-attacks.” Disproportionate sounds, to me, like an understatement.
I’m a little sad about the current goings-on. Granted, I don’t know very much at all about the strife-filled history of Israel and Palestine, but it’s clear to me that the current state of affairs is pretty terrible. Palestinian militants kidnap a young Israeli soldier? (Almost a reduncancy, as I understand it; those mentioned in the news are almost invariably young, their names accompanied by “eighteen year old” or “nineteen year old.”) Fantastic–let’s bomb lots of Palestinian buildings and move in the troops!
One of the things that bothers me the most is how clearly our media is villifying the Palestinians and taking great pains to make the Israeli army look like a bunch of swell guys. Every report I’ve heard (except on NPR, of course) makes sure we know that the Israeli army is hitting empty targets at night, taking care not to “unneccessarily kill cilivians.” Naturally this makes me wonder what would qualify as necessarily killing civilians, but I don’t suppose that report will be forthcoming.
Frustrated and wishing I knew more, I asked my sig fig why the US continues to support Israel without question. One part of her answer was that Israel has been a traditional “stronghold of democracy in the middle east,” which the US feels an obligation to support it. I suppose this makes sense–if we’re going to run around “nation-building” and “liberating” and all, supposedly fostering democracy and bringing light to previously dark dictatorships, we can hardly leave our democratic buddies hanging, much less criticize anything they do. So instead we sit back, make vague comments about how Palestine should really try some diplomacy, and generally do nothing.
Here’s my problem with this: the current state of Israel cannot be considered a stronghold for democracy. Not under the traditional definition, anyway, which as I understand it includes equality as a major tenent. (Ignore, for now, that democratic political structures and capitalist economic structures aren’t meant to coexist, since one promotes theoretical equality while the other relies on unequal distrubution of wealth.) The occupation of Palestinian land does not make Israelis and Palestinians equal citizens. That would be like saying Iraqis and Americans are equals.
Oh, but I shouldn’t make that comparison. After all, the clearly wronged Israeli army is bombing empty targets, while American soldiers like to rape and murder Iraqi civilians. Totally different situation.