I have a dream for Israel/Palestine
By James Crombie at Jan 09, 2009
We are indeed, as John Pilger says, "diminished as a civilized society" by the horror of the events in Palestine, and by how we basically seem to be just looking the other way. See http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/commentaries/3737
Western moral tradition - including the "do unto others" of the New Testament and the Kantian categorical imperative - has been numbed.
Otherwise, the questions on every microphone and every keyboard would be: "What if the situation were reversed? What if a million and a half Jews were confined in an enclave like Gaza, surrounded by well-armed Arab armies? In such a situation, what would be the conduct we would require and expect of Arab commanders and ordinary Arab soldiers? If Arab armies were launched on, say, Tel Aviv, in the way Israeli tanks, planes and footsoldiers have been launched on Gaza, what would be our reaction?"
What has happened to putting ourselves in the other guy's shoes? (Did many people ever seriously believe in this? One wonders.)
Was not one of the reasons given for overthrowing Saddam Hussein his bad habit of launching murderous military attacks on Kurdish civilians? How is the attack on Gaza different - except perhaps for the question of scale? Dare I mention the SS attacks on the Warsaw Ghetto?
"I have a dream!"
In this dream, the United Nations is strong enough to send a force of a 100 or 200 thousand Blue Helmets to restore order and peace in Israel and the Palestinian territories. In this dream, all of Israel is occupied by the UN intervention force, perhaps also the southern part of Lebanon. In this dream, both Hamas and the Israeli Defence Force are completely disarmed, as well as the PLO and other militias and police forces within Israel and Palestine. In this dream, the Lebanese army withdraws from southern Lebanon and is replaced their by UN troops. Hezbollah is also disarmed. No one not wearing a blue helmet is allowed to carry a weapon. The model could be Kosovo. One may argue that Kosovo is not exactly a paradise just now - but conditions of life there are considerably better than in Gaza, not to mention an approximation to the rule of law. In my dream, the populations of Israel, Palestine and Lebanon begin to indulge in the more peaceful kinds of quarrels and controversies which characterize more fortunate lands - and do so by writing letters to the editor or hiring a lawyer and going to court, or by picketing in front of an embassy, instead of picking up an Uzi or a Kalashnikov or blowing up a school.
One last point: A large part if not the totality of the cost of financing a UN intervention force for Lebanon/Israel/Palestine could be financed by redirecting to UN Peacekeeping the amounts now spent by the US on military aid to Israel. Part of my dream is that this could actually happen.