Tag Archives: middle east

No peace in the Middle East (until all sides want it)

The conflicts between Israel and Palestine have been going on for such a long time, it’s difficult to know when one conflict stops and another one starts. The latest exchange of missile fire is no exception.

Operation Pillar of Cloud (or Pillar of Defense, depending on what report you read) officially began on November 14 “after Gaza militants fired over 100 rockets at Israeli cities and towns over the course of several days.” However, if one looks closer, they will see that both sides were involved in the aggression. Palestinian’s in Gaza were being shot by the Israeli military, Palestinian’s then detonated explosives near the Israeli military. On November 8, the Israeli military clashed with Hamas and during the raid a 12 year old Palestinian boy was killed by gunfire coming either from a tank or helicopter. The two sides exchanged fire for several days and then Hamas reportedly fired over 100 rockets into Israel on November 10.

There were supposedly talks of a cease-fire on November 12, which the Israeli military claims was broken after a dozen rockets were fired from Gaza. Responsibility for those launches was “claimed by smaller groups, including a radical Salafi organization that rejects Hamas’s authority.”

On November 12, Jason Ditz of AntiWar.com wrote, “The reality is that Gaza poses no real ‘threat’ to Israel. Even before getting the US to pump money into their Iron Dome system the rockets rarely hit anything, and if they did the glorified fireworks in the Gaza arsenal usually did minor damage to someone’s roof at worst. In addition to being the impetus behind more US aid, Gaza is also a chance for Israeli hawks to grandstand. A prolonged Gaza armistice would imperil that policy.”

I believe the Israeli’s knew this, which is why they assassinated Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari just hours after he received the draft proposal of a permanent truce agreement with Israel. John Glaser of AntiWar.com writes, “Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin, who helped negotiate the release of Gilad Shalit and maintained contacts with Hamas leaders, said the truce agreement included protocols for maintaining a cease-fire in the case of cross-border violence between Israel and Gaza.”

Baskin told Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper that provides “coverage of Israel, the Jewish World and the Middle East”, that senior officials in Israel knew about the pending truce agreement, yet approved of the assassination, knowing it would terminate the truce and escalate the conflict with Gaza.

Baskin said, “I think that they have made a strategic mistake, which will cost the lives of quite a number of innocent people on both sides.” In less than a week, nearly 50 Palestinians (mostly civilians) have been killed and hundreds injured; 3 Israeli civilians and no military combatants have been killed.. Baskin added that Jabari’s assassination “killed the possibility of achieving a truce.”

I agree that it was a mistake to assassinate the man with whom a cease-fire was being negotiated and agree with Ann Harrison, the Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme for Amnesty International, who said, “All sides have to step back from the brink in order to protect civilian lives.”

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An Open Letter to All Muslims

During the week of September 11, 2012, American Embassies in northern Africa and the Middle East were attacked and invaded after protesters watched clips of a video titled “Innocence of Muslims.” The film was allegedly made by a small group of Coptic Christians with the intent to “anger Muslims.”

An Egyptian business associate, Ahmed El Fiky, wrote the following, “I feel it is my duty to apologize and to tell you what happened exactly.”

He continued by saying: there are extremists in every faith, some Muslim extremists support Al-Qeada, however the Qur’an states there is no excuse for killing innocent civilians, “thus killing the innocent ambassador in Libya cannot be justified by Islam.”

He continued, “around 2000 or 3000 [demonstrators] went to the embassy to protest [o]n the anniversary of 9/11 which will make [Americans] think that they are celebrating 9/11. Some of them… [support]… Al Qaeda and they chanted supporting OBL, which shows how ignorant they are… Most of us are condemning what is happening at the embassy and condemning as well the murder of the innocent ambassador in Libya. Most of us are against Al Qaeda and we believe they are a bad image for Islam… I don’t have any hatred in my heart to Americans and I hope they don’t hate me… I apologize to you… Let’s love, let’s fight hatred everywhere. This was the message of my prophet whom these idiots at the embassy are claiming to follow.”

I commend Ahmed for posting this information along with his insights into the Muslim faith, and would like to send a friendly message to Ahmed and all Muslims.

I do not support the foreign policy of the government of the United States of America.

I do not condone the actions of the men and women in the American military, when those men and women kill and maim men, women and children in your country.

I do not consent to their actions and feel for the families of the millions of men, women and children killed over the years by the American military.

There are over 300 million Americans, less than 1% are in the military and an even smaller percentage are involved in making foreign policy. Clearly the actions of the American government, and by extension the American military, do not represent the views of all Americans.

I look forward to the day when a country supposedly acting on my behalf no longer has a presence in your country and no longer kills your family, friends and neighbors. Please do not confuse the actions of a small group of people as being representative of my views.

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