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Political Vacuum = Violence

November 10, 2006

I’m not an expert in politics, and certainly not within the context of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, but I do know a few things about violence. A great deal of my interest in the world centers around violence – which I would assert says much more about my surroundings than me as a person. Violence frames our lives as we speak globally; it is an ineluctable reality we either face and address or subsume beneath creature-comforts and consumption.

I was active in Model U.N. while in high school, and part of the activities involved developing positions toward various global conflicts. In tenth grade, representing the nation of Chad, I was posed with the problem of the interminable “Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” This is somewhat embarassing, but I honestly didn’t understand what all the fuss was about over there or which side to be on was “right”. The news was always so strange: Israel clearly had the might and killed Palestinians about 10-1 but they were always seen as the underdog. I investigated further, learning about the recent conflicts and wars and accords, but I didn’t see an easy way out. Ultimately I decided that recognition of Palestine as a state was necessary in any path to peace.

One thing about the elections we have to remember is that the world didn’t really change between the victories claimed on Tuesday night and the global realities encountered Wednesday morning. While many of us were smiling and congratulating ourselves, feeling as though democracy had been invigorated, Palestinian children half a world away stood looking at their reflection in a pool of blood in their neighborhood in Gaza Strip where Israeli soldiers attacked and killed 15 Palestinians, including 8 kids. Following the devastation in Lebanon over the summer, there is a looming political vaccum caused by a lack of strategy on behalf of both sides of the conflict in Palestine and Israel.
Palestinian children and blood pool

(AFP/Mahmud Hams)

This is but one example. (Hat tip to Mike Votes over at Born at the Crest of the Empire, must-read-daily blog you should visit.)

And we know about many many other issues, of course: Iraq foremost among them. I don’t wish to be a raincloud on such a bright week for us here in the States, but the fact is that we’re the global power sitting at the top of a royal shit-storm of war and conflict – America wanted it and this is what we have. Both Iraq and Palestine represent the horrible vortex of violence caused by the lack of strategy to resolve war, and both are situations largely in our hands.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 10, 2006 12:20 pm

    I can only agree, how one of the most militant and heavily armed nations in the world can manage to consistently portay itself as the victim is one of the mysteries of the modern age. And no change soon, Pelosi already prostrated herself on the altar of Israel militarism by proclaiming that the violence in Palestine has nothing to do with Israeli Occupation. I’ve heard similar pronoucements about Iraq from conservatives, the idea that somehow that anything bad can’t possibly have resulted from Israel/US’s foregn policy is a mantra among those who would wage war for peace. Gad save the innocents on all sides who perish as a result of this madness. Nice blog, lovely vocabulary, I had to look up ineluctable. 🙂


  2. November 11, 2006 12:24 pm

    One note. No matter what side of the Israeli/Palestine conflict you take, one of the most difficult things is finding an absolute truth about the events. Both sides have rights and wrongs about them, but both sides have very developed PR machines through the years of this largely political conflict.

    The reason I bring this up, is that as I dug for this photo, there was another scene with blood where it was obvious the Palestinians were setting up photo ops of desperation around it. There was a number of photographers set up in one place, and the Palestinians were almost “placing” people similar to these children in for the shots.

    One of the reasons I chose this one, is that I saw a different side angle and there was no such effort.

    My point is, that both sides go to great lengths to portray themselves as a victim.

    As a counter from the Israeli side, look at how they tried to frame the Hezbullah rockets (or the current Gaza rockets) as a massive threat, when in reality they are doing so little real damage.

    Throughout it’s life, Israel/Palestine has become more of a PR war than a war of weapons.

    (ps. my answer is a recognized Palestinian state and pre-1967 borders.)


  3. November 11, 2006 3:36 pm

    Agreed, all parties engage in politics and deception, such is human civilization. And I also agree, a viable Palestinian State is the only way out of this mess. Alas, barring a sea change in American or Israeli politics I don’t see Israel allowing that any time soon.


  4. November 13, 2006 4:32 pm

    Israel is extraordinarily rich. Palestine is extraordinarily poor. The Israeli’s have political and economic clout in this country far beyond anything that the poor Palestinians will. likely, ever have. They already have two strikes against them – ie, they are not white-looking, they are commonly associated with terrorists. Mix that with a nearly four decade media blackout and you have all the makings of an ongoing campaign of genocide.

    To pressure Israel into recognizing the Palestinian state, America would have to forego economic and political pressures – something she is loathe to do, particularly in the free-market märchenland we exist in now.

    From what I can see, there isn’t a single American politician with a resolute plan for resolving this conflict…in regards to what I stated above, there’s no particular reason to – The Israelis are our rich friends, the Palestinians are lowly panhandlers.

  5. November 14, 2006 8:28 am

    I wouldn’t call the situation in the occupied terrotories genocide. It’s not really accurate, moreover it will offend the people who most need to understand what is going on. I would chacaterise is as worse than apartheid, and approaching ethnic cleansing. So sad that we even have words for various levels of man’s inhumanity to man. Jesus wept.

    JMO Doug

  6. November 15, 2006 10:54 pm

    Thanks for all the comments.

    I thought about how the photo of the kids was produced, but isn’t every photo?

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