|Gaza in the morning of 29 July 2014|
Since the article: "We Are Better Than This" by Hilary Stauffer in the Huffington Post only allows for a 250 word comment I decided to put my reply on my blog. Here it is:
So do I start with the good or the bad?
I am sorry to say that I am mildly unimpressed by Hilary Stauffer's attempt to intellectualise a complex human problem. And I am a little bewildered at the italicised poetic ditty at the end of each paragraph. There is an evident risk of a subtle smug self-righteousness weaving its way through this article.
On an intellectual basis Hilary Stauffer is on safe grounds by raising lots of reasonable and relatively indisputable affirmations. I guess experience as a "legal adviser" and as a "lawyer" would contribute to that. Many people wish the mob wouldn't go for their torches and pitchforks so readily but it is predictable and needs dealing with rather than dismissing. Of course both sides are wrong in some respects and I am often dismayed by this notion that finding something wrong with the other side appears to justify some other wrong on this side. Something missing is the realisation that we are all wrong sometimes and it doesn't prove that someone else is right.
Given that the whole situation with Israel and Palestine is a devastating tinderbox it is not enough to effectively excuse or justify one side or both with the implication of 'six of one and half a dozen of the other'. If it were as simple as that one could, I guess, let them get on with it. This vague amelioration avoids the fundamental problem that is giving rise to the unacceptable inhumanity.
There is unacceptable inhume behaviour happening. That is what first motivates people to react. Some (the approach that I wish to favour) are stunned and wounded by the human tragedy that is being perpetrated. Some (in my view sadly) appear to react to the fear it triggers in them and they dehumanise the victims whilst looking for justification to appease their pain (some might call it conscience). But, ironically, the majority of reactions, to give credit to the ditty, actually indicate that we are better than this. It is because we care, and fear for others as well as ourselves, that people have such strong feelings. So there is something that could be humanly (whether legally or not) called a crime being committed.
And here perhaps lies the crux of the matter. The Israeli government's slaughter of so many innocent civilians in such appalling conditions is wholly disproportionate and violent in the extreme. They are the sophisticated, powerful, educated, 'civilised' dominant partner. Israel is, by virtue of the relationship, the 'responsible' party. They have to find a better way.
I hear so much polarising, analogising and personifying of the situation one could be forgiven for forgetting this is about the dynamics of large populations and powerful vested interests. Some do tend to imagine themselves as Israel living in a house being threatened by their scummy, primitive and violent neighbours who would ransack their house and kill all their children given half the chance. Some imagine themselves as the Palestinians as the rape victim being tied up in the cellar and abused by a malevolent self interested psychopathic predator. But trying to disentangle the situation by cognitively flip-flopping about two possible analogies only really illustrates the apparent intractability of the problem.
One has to get one's head outside of the problem and see it from as many perspectives as possible. It then becomes clear that the violence must stop. Given the shocking level of slaughter (I calculated: 16 times worse than the blitz per day) by the Israeli army it is incumbent upon them to stop this right now. There is simply no legitimate excuse for this level of inhumanity. This is such an extraordinary imbalance of power that it beggars belief that anyone could suggest there is any semblance of equivalence between the parties or any 'argument' thereof.
I have read up on Theodor Herzl and Zionism and it is clear the philosophy is based on the strange notion that there is 'us' and the rest of the world. I am not a political animal or analyst but any philosophy, be it about nature, people, science or whatever that discards part of the whole as 'the other' is an incomplete philosophy doomed to failure. Unfortunately the concept or manifestation of Israel must 'belong' to its environment and that includes the people around it. The same applies to the Palestinians (much as they may wish Israel, as a state, had never been imposed on them). Israel is, of course, entirely funded by that superpower the USA (plus some). The USA, along with the UK and Europe are clearly building an 'empire' and control of the Middle East is vital. Although I don't for one moment suppose Israel could easily 'integrate' it certainly can't whilst it is an American outpost. So the summary is that the West (they have called themselves the New World Order) is forcibly imposing itself on the Middle East with Israel as the unfortunate front man.
Before the 'Jewish State' had even been manifest the Zionist philosophy was to spirit the indigenous population away by means of subtle appropriation of land and property and by denying the indigenous populating any employment. Not only is this announced in their philosophy but it is quite clearly evidenced in their behaviour. When the impoverished and subjugated population around them cry out that they want to destroy their oppressor there is no human justification for slaughtering their children because of some projected interpretation of what they might do if they were powerful. This is the response of a dominant oppressive regime to stifle any possible future imagined threat.
Israel has indulged in the use of illegal weapons including, but unlikely limited to, "White Phosphorus", "Flechette" and "DIME" against civilians. These are acknowledged transgressions. They have also indulged in behaviour that is internationally deemed illegal one way or another by targeting schools and hospitals which under the current circumstances are in no way justified by their feeble claims that there are weapons in those buildings.
The overview is clear and Hilary Stauffer would be better employed using her superior legalese to state the case against Israel because, in this instance, they are unequivocally wrong. If any Islamic state were doing this to Israel (after generations of impoverishment) it would be equally wrong. The fundamental issue is that this behaviour is not something the human race wants to indulge in - not consciously anyway.
It is such a pity to see such beautiful intellectual prose, with added poetic ditty, put to such sinister and feeble amelioration of such inhumanity. I am opposed to this insane slaughter and will remain so forever regardless of who is perpetrating it.