Remains of the Day, 1/5/09: Gaza and Israel

Here’s an update of what I’ve been reading most recently (you can see them as a comment at my lengthy BlogHer post where I spell out a lot of my thoughts on the situation):

First, Jack at Random Thoughts continues to provide daily and sometimes 2x/day roundups with excellent links from both the MSM and blogs, from across the spectrum.  Here is his update 9.5 (and that link includes links to all the other updates).

His roundup includes this post from a blogger in Bahrain but I would really urge you to look around that particular blog. I think that gentleman represents what it means to be Muslim and be secular and it’s in his presentation that I see hope – if it can get into action, into leadership. I could be wrong about the blogger, but that’s the sense I got.

Here is an interesting Newsweek column to which I can relate, Israel’s Arabs Are the Answer. If you’ve read some of what I’ve written regarding the time I spent in Israel in August 2008, then the sentiments expressed in the column will sound familiar: the wisdom of integrating, incorporating the Israeli Arab population 100%, on all levels.

If you need to be reminded as to why extremists such as Hamas, NOT the Gazan population in general or the Arab population in general, but groups which seek to impose particularly rigid codes of conduct often based on religious tenets on people who do not desire it, read this article about how a female Bangladeshi author fled to Paris. For people familiar with my blog, you know I have almost never used the word “Islamist” – I don’t really approve of it or even know so much what it means.  But I can tell you when I read about what is not acceptable treatment under a government and what is extreme to me.  And that story about the author is one example.  Having spent time in Israel, learning about the different Arab populations in the region, I am confident that there are far fewer interested in such rigid lifestyles than there are interested in a stable, secular existence.  The current conflict is completely conflating all that.

There are many photos and videos, from all perspectives, going around – if you google what you want to see, you can pretty much find it – pro-this, anti-that. Whatever.

Here is a Huffington Post item with photos that I received early this morning and here is a video called, Let’s Play Pretend, which many people find very provocative. Here’s a video showing where Gazans have hidden munitions.  Here’s a video in which Annie Lennox calls for an end.

The Muqata and Israellycool continue to liveblog the war.  People are calling it warblogging.  Sigh. But I guess that’s what it is.

Today, there were some cyberwar tactics going on – hacking Facebook, hacking other stuff.  Frankly, this crap is all foreplay.  Some parties want one-state, that’s all.  Other parties are willing to go for two-states if they can peacefully co-exist.  Some people want a binational single, secular country.  I don’t think it even matters if there are borders or not – either these people are going to learn to live with each other, or they are not.  It is entirely within their ability.

Part of the enduring problem is the failure for war itself to settle anything – ever, since the creation of the state of Israel.  The claim that the entire land mass has been occupied by people who call themselves Israelis (all religions and ethinicities) for the last 60 years requires that people ignore the 1948 war and armistice in 1949.  You can do that if you want to – but it really results in some serious problems in figuring out what to do with millions of people in 2009.

On the other hand, if you accept that war does lead to certain agreements once ended, then all the incursions since then, and their results, need to be accepted.  We can’t pick and choose which ones are legitimate and which ones aren’t.

And so this kind of lawlessness or abiding by law tug of war continues – because there isn’t even a common understanding – willfull or not – as to who possesses what, lawfully and that will be respected.

The problem I have with all of that is that we cannot turn back the clock.  We can make amends, we can make reparations, we can alter things now.  But enough with all the past stuff – which is all that’s being fought over in the social media, by the way.  The humanitarian concerns are all real, but those can be addressed if the populations decide that they want to resolve their situations.

But, again, if there’s no common sense of the ground rules for working it all out, then these people will in fact annihilate one another.

On a different note, I’m hoping to get some peaceblogging going in the form of a Wiki for Peace project. I’ll let you know when I get a little further along.

10 thoughts on “Remains of the Day, 1/5/09: Gaza and Israel

  1. Pingback: War In Gaza Update #10 « Random Thoughts- Do They Have Meaning?

  2. 1. Re: hope. To me, the Bahrain blogger’s posts represents hope that moderate Muslims will continue to express themselves and be found/heard. You projected your inferences onto mine.

    2. You wrote:

    “While getting social services may have been the voters’ priority (Fatah corruption was also an issue), voters knew that the goal of an Islamic state was part of the Hamas package. Their aversion (if any) to the latter wasn’t sufficient to outweigh their desire for the former.”

    Numbers are your friend. Stating your opinion rather than fisking is not.

  3. Since we agree that I didn’t mention Israel – why would I go look at what the guy says in his comments about Israel? It’s not what I was commenting on. So no mention. You put it in there, not moi.

    You titled your original blog entry “Remains of the Day, 1/5/09: Gaza and Israel.” You then linked to the Bahraini blogger’s entry about Gaza and Israel. In this context, the blogger’s view of Israel as an enemy worthy of a pan-Arab attack seemed relevant to me. As I said, “I’m not sure that I see much hope in [his words].”

    That was in response to your statement, “[I]t’s in his presentation that I see hope.” My thinking was that the blogger’s words about Israel were part of the totality of his presentation and were pertinent to your statement. It seems that you believe otherwise. So be it.

    [Palestinian v]oters knew [the goal of an Islamic state was part of the Hamas package]? Yeah? Well – I guess if you say so, it must be.

    According to a poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research conducted after the 2006 election:

    “In the view of 37% of the [Palestinian] public, Hamas won the parliamentary elections because voters wanted first and foremost an Islamic Palestinian authority that rules according to religious Sharia. But 36% believe that Hamas won because voters wanted first and foremost a clean authority that fights corruption, 9% said voters wanted first and foremost a strong authority that ends anarchy, and 7% said voters wanted first and foremost a fighting authority that resists occupation.”

    Does this prove voters knew before the election that Hamas wanted an Islamic state? No, but it very strongly suggests that Hamas’s goal of an Islamic state was common knowledge among Palestinian voters. It certainly was common knowledge among Western news sources, e.g., here and here.

  4. Anon:

    1. here’s what ya wrote:

    “You might want to check the comments following the blog you cited. The blogger explicitly calls Israel “this enemy.” Also, his primary objection to the Hamas attacks on Israel seems to be that Hamas is going it alone (”If it was the combined powers of Hamas, Hezbolla, the Egyptian Army, the Syrian Army, the rest of the Arabs, etc etc, then it makes sense going to war with Israel.”). I’m not sure that I see much hope in that.”

    Since we agree that I didn’t mention Israel – why would I go look at what the guy says in his comments about Israel? It’s not what I was commenting on. So no mention. You put it in there, not moi.

    2. This is your opinion, based on what, you don’t tell us.

    “While getting social services may have been the voters’ priority (Fatah corruption was also an issue), voters knew that the goal of an Islamic state was part of the Hamas package. Their aversion (if any) to the latter wasn’t sufficient to outweigh their desire for the former.”

    Voters knew? Yeah? Well – I guess if you say so, it must be.

  5. 1. Where did I mention Israel when talking about the Bahrain blogger?

    I never said that you did.

    Go read his other posts – like the one about women and covering up. Then you can talk about whether he’s more moderate or not. It’s all relative. I mentioned the speculation of being secular not of loving Israel.

    I did not talk about whether the blogger is “more moderate or not.” What I did say was that I didn’t see much hope in what the blogger had to say about Israel.

    It’s very telling of your filter for you to insert “Israel” into my thinking when it’s completely absent from that paragraph.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “very telling.” “Very telling”–of what?

    Also, I did not “insert” Israel into your thinking. What I did do was go to the blog entry that you cited. There I found a blogger who “inserted” Israel into his discussion by calling it “this enemy” and who also seems OK with a pan-Arab attack on Israel. If you wish to consider him a moderate, that’s your prerogative.

    2. Hamas received those votes for their ability to serve the social service needs of the residents – that was their priority IMO.

    Maybe. While getting social services may have been the voters’ priority (Fatah corruption was also an issue), voters knew that the goal of an Islamic state was part of the Hamas package. Their aversion (if any) to the latter wasn’t sufficient to outweigh their desire for the former.

    If you want debate, go read the myriad articles about the oppression Christian Arabs face from the more radical Muslim Palestinians in Gaza (there are troubles w/this in the West Bank as well) – they are all but gone from Gaza from what I’ve read and heard.

    With respect to my original comment this sentence strikes me as unrelated, but OK.

  6. I was traveling for much of the beginning of this and your blog has been a great way to get back on the train. As usual, you are wise and wide-ranging and a great help to thinking in more subtle terms about what’s happening…

  7. 1. Where did I mention Israel when talking about the Bahrain blogger? Go read his other posts – like the one about women and covering up. Then you can talk about whether he’s more moderate or not. It’s all relative. I mentioned the speculation of being secular not of loving Israel.

    It’s very telling of your filter for you to insert “Israel” into my thinking when it’s completely absent from that paragraph.

    2. Hamas received those votes for their ability to serve the social service needs of the residents – that was their priority IMO. To say what you say would be like saying people voted for John McCain because they didn’t expect him to last and they really just wanted Sarah Palin to become president.

    Oh – wait…

    Anyway –

    If you want debate, go read the myriad articles about the oppression Christian Arabs face from the more radical Muslim Palestinians in Gaza (there are troubles w/this in the West Bank as well) – they are all but gone from Gaza from what I’ve read and heard.

    Addiitonally, 76 leaves 57 other seats – 45 of which went to Fatah. That still represents a few hundred thousand voters, if not more.

  8. A couple of comments …

    His roundup includes this post from a blogger in Bahrain but I would really urge you to look around that particular blog. I think that gentleman represents what it means to be Muslim and be secular and it’s in his presentation that I see hope – if it can get into action, into leadership. I could be wrong about the blogger, but that’s the sense I got.

    You might want to check the comments following the blog you cited. The blogger explicitly calls Israel “this enemy.” Also, his primary objection to the Hamas attacks on Israel seems to be that Hamas is going it alone (“If it was the combined powers of Hamas, Hezbolla, the Egyptian Army, the Syrian Army, the rest of the Arabs, etc etc, then it makes sense going to war with Israel.”). I’m not sure that I see much hope in that.

    If you need to be reminded as to why extremists such as Hamas, NOT the Gazan population in general or the Arab population in general, but groups which seek to impose particularly rigid codes of conduct often based on religious tenets on people who do not desire it

    Hmmm … The Gazan population in general does not want Hamas to impose rigid codes of conduct? Doesn’t Hamas’s win of 76 of 132 seats in the Palestinean parliamentary elections of 2006 argue against your proposition? The Hamas charter clearly calls for the creation of a Palestinean Islamic state, so it’s not as if Hamas changed its spots after winning the election.

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