Friday, January 9, 2009

The War.

(photo of the West Bank, Palestine- in a time of relative peace a few months ago)

Check out this article from the NY Times today- lots of interesting stuff:
U.N. and Red Cross add to Outcry on Gaza War

This is chaos! What is going on?! I cannot believe how poorly things are playing out in Gaza. First Israel makes mountains out of mole hills and then when things go from bad to much, much worse, they only add fuel to the fire. I understand that the IDF and Israeli government is trying to put on a facade of humanitarianism by having scheduled ceasefires for a grand total of 3 hours every other day where people can go get help from groups that have come in for medical and other support, but come on! 3/48 hours to receive medical care, to get food, to try to find shelter- that is ridiculous. If we only offered food and care for 3 hours every other day in our hospitals, no one would make it. Not to mention that many of the victims in Gaza are trapped under fallen buildings, wounded, or are children who simply cannot get to relief stations are may not be found among the rubble and assisted in so short a time. And bombing a U.N. school- an elementary school!- don't even get me started. I had better stop before I say something rash, rather like our dear Vatican official- what a statement! (see the Times article for more info) I actually found some wry humor in how he said that, sure, Hamas was not exactly sending Israel "sugared almonds", but to respond in the way that Israel has is unthinkable.

Another crazy thing is how war is now televised in our modern world. There is all of this international pressure, because the whole world can see up close and personal into the tragedy and inhumanity of war. I wonder how the modern world would have reacted to the Civil War, the War of Independence, and so forth had they been able to witness it via satellite and what they would have tried to have done. Interesting.

And I don't know who is responsible for killing those relief workers, but seriously, that blows my mind. Whatever side you are on, you do not want the entire world to stop sending aid and help to those in need. Palestine is in dire need of the assistance, and Israel does not want to contribute to its current view of brutality. This has seriously gone too far.

Lastly, I just want to say that I have actually interacted with members of the IDF as well as Palestinian military members. At first their presence was shocking with their huge, loaded guns being toted around like nothing. When crossing the wall into Bethlehem, we were inspected by tough, muscular Palestinians with large guns and scowls on their faces. Looking at our passports, walking around and inspecting us and then they said, "Alright, thank you. Have a nice day" with real sincerity. I was left gaping. These are real people. They don't want to scare you, they are just doing their job and trying to protect their families. I liked this picture of IDF members (from the online NYT), some with kippahs, one on a cell phone- they are just people. That is why I can't stand the way that so few have such a significant charge over so many in this world who would have things a different way. These military members probably don't want to hurt relief workers, children, and civilians (although most Israelis do support the war). But this is their duty and it is tragic that it means sentencing their neighbors to death.

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