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Who Will Empathize With The Children Of Gaza


“If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that.  And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.” – Illinois Senator Barack Obama

With that simple statement President-elect Barack Obama expresses his compassion and sympathy for the government of Israel in their perpetual conflict with the Palestinians.  However, I do wonder how Mr. Obama would feel if his two daughters were going to sleep every night hungry because of a blockade that kept him from obtaining food.  How would Mr. Obama respond if somebody was preventing his daughters from getting medication they need to control allergies or for other ailments?  How would Mr. Obama react if there was somebody who kept his family in the dark refusing access to electricity or fuel?  Would these conditions be more acceptable or more tolerable for him and his family?

While Mr. Obama wears his compassion for Israel proudly on his sleeves, his compassion and empathy for the people of Palestine and in the Gaza strip competes with the chirping of crickets for silence.  The idea that the Palestinians are the only ones responsible for triggering this conflict is about as unfair as the racially generic but predominantly white community of America’s claim that the black community is more prone to criminal behavior based solely on one sided statistics and per capita numbers instead of an all encompassing understanding of cause and affect.

For the past six months there was a cease fire in this part of the world.  There were no rockets falling in the northern part of Israel.  There were no bombs falling in Gaza.  But while people enjoyed life free from falling bombs and suicide bombers, Israel maintained its blockade on the Palestinian people unhappy with the fact that these people exercised their democratic rights and voted for Hamas to run its government.  The people of Israel see Hamas as little more than a terrorist organization and decided to put the thumbscrews to the Palestinian people in order to influence them to select a different form of government.

It is true that Israel withdrew from Gaza.  But it’s also true that Israel refuses to let the Palestinian people control their own destiny or to exist as equals.  If Gaza does not comply it is subject to a punishing embargo designed to make the people regret their collective choice.  Israel may feign surprise and innocence to the rocket attacks, which is meant as a retaliatory action for a people who have to see their children doing without the basics other people take for granted with no end in sight.  The cease fire was honored, and yet no progress made on the blockade front.  Who is the real aggressor in this conflict?  Is Israel as innocent as they would like the world to believe?

It is a rather ridiculous notion that the Palestinian people want to erase Israel off the face of the planet is going to do it with the rather low technology rockets that would have difficulty hitting the ground if it weren’t for gravity compared to the United States military contractor sourced smart bomb technology of Israel’s arsenal.  While a constant rocket attack is nothing to be tolerated, neither is the systemic starvation and subjugation of an entire community of people.

At last count, well over three hundred fifty Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s four day bombing of Gaza and three times that many have been injured compared to five Israelis.  Dozens of Palestinian civilians have been killed in the past four days from Israel’s massive retaliation and the Israeli government has made no signal that the escalation of violence will be halted any time soon.  The message is that if anyone thought the people of Gaza was living in hell before, they ain’t seen nothing yet.  Those people can deal with their affliction and feel the wrath of the Israeli military at the same time now.  They will be bombed back into submission.

And if all that doesn’t work, judging by the public support of Israel by the American President and the President to be, a low yield nuclear device would probably be acceptable.  We can’t have other people in the Middle East thinking that they are entitled to the same existence as the people of Israel.  The Israeli people have a right to expect to be able to go to bed at night without rockets coming into their home.  Whether or not the people of Gaza can have the same expectations, as well as the expectation to food, medication, utilities and the other essentials to meet a civilized standard of life is a matter of opinion.

In the news this morning I saw a member of the Israeli legislature discussing Israel’s options as well as the potential for the American response.  Recognizing the fact that the United States is about to go through a presidential transition, one official dismissed the idea of angering the coming Obama administration.  The legislator quoted Mr. Obama’s statement at the beginning of this article.  Why would Israel worry about Mr. Obama when Mr. Obama made it clear that the United States is fully behind Israel?

The President-elect has never uttered a single word criticizing Israel’s actions against its neighbors in the Middle East.  Mr. Obama has never uttered a single word supporting Gaza.  Unfortunately, before he can even assume the presidency, Mr. Obama has again demonstrated his bias against any changes in the status quo.  All the slogans about a time for change are quickly evaporating into a political vapor of the same old same old.  People who continue to hope for a genuine peace in the Middle East brokered by an impartial Untied States government led be Mr. Obama are better off hoping Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny will visit their homes.

So the children of Israel can sleep well at night knowing Mr. Obama looks at them and sees them as he sees his own two daughters.  Such empathy and compassion sends a strong message of support.  Too bad the other children in the Middle East don’t have an American President who is willing to vocalize a similar compassion and a similar support.  What world leader stands ready to empathize with the children of the Gaza strip?


Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - Posted by | Barack Obama, Israel, Life, News, Politics, Racism, Thoughts |


  1. […] appear to have an attitude of “IIOKIIDI” (It Is OK IF Israel Does It). Of course, some bloggers that I regularly read actually “get it” and (correctly) take my favorite politician to task for appearing to “not get […]

    Pingback by 2009 Post Two « blueollie | Thursday, January 1, 2009 | Reply

  2. In the 40 years I have been following the news on the conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians it’s been difficult to have much hope for lasting peace. Time and again we see deliberate provocation on both sides. Israel as the stronger military power probably also has the most power to turn the situation around if there was the will to do so. Yet the most progress toward peace was made when Anwar Sadat of Egypt went to Israel to make peace. And the Palestinians perhaps also have some power to bring about peace, but that would require them to believe that it is possible to have peace with Israel. That’s a very hard belief for them to hold right now.

    I’ve heard it said frequently that the cultures in the Middle East (or, as I learned to think if it, in West Asia) respect strength and “giving in” too much as one might do in trying to negotiate a peace process, is seen as a sign of weakness. If this is true, it is very unfortunate as it leads to the kind of violence we have seen.

    On top of this, I have seen it to be true that a leader who seems to be too much aligned with the “enemy” is not fully trusted. So the Fatah movement loses credibility by being too moderate and too willing to give in to Israel. Similar things happen in Israeli politics when an Israeli politician seems ready to “give away” occupied territories. I kind of sense this tendency a bit even in your own reactions to Obama, though you might not see it this way yourself. But you can certainly see it happening elsewhere.

    Peace is probably the MOST difficult work there is. It involves building up trust between people not inclined to trust each other. It requires constant maintenance. It also requires a respect for the humanity of the other group and a belief that peace is possible.

    Comment by Betsy | Friday, January 2, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback Betsy,

      “I kind of sense this tendency a bit even in your own reactions to Obama…”

      Well, when Mr. Obama and I start firing rockets and dropping bombs on each other then I might be inclined to agree with you. However, since it hasn’t happened yet I really don’t think it’s a fair comparison here.

      I don’t have a problem with people from the black community who feel the need to reconcile with the racially generic dominant community that is predominantly white. To a certain extent, I do it everyday myself as I leave to go to the work environment. But when black people are totally conciliatory to the predominantly white community to the point they are ready to capitulate to the status quo and support racial stereotypes that reinforce the supposition that black people are more irresponsible, then the black community should suspect the motivations of such a person and not support him or her unconditionally without getting the same reassurance such a person offers other communities. I’m not sure you fully comprehend the nuances of my position.

      Nevertheless, it’s a natural response to suspect leadership that does nothing but make concessions to the enemy. Anyone can rollover and surrender. It is reasonable to expect leadership to put forth an effort for a favorable outcome for the people being led.

      I seriously doubt if people in the Middle East would prefer to see their children bloodied and killed under the collapse of a building destroyed by artillery rather than seek compromise to a political issue. I simply refuse to make the assumption that these people would rather fight to the death rather than seek peace. I understand that there are people on both sides who would make the choice to fight to the bitter end. I understand that there are people on both sides of this issue who point to their adversary with the claim that the other side only wants war. However, I believe that to claim that this is the way of all of these people is to make prejudiced assumptions on the whole based on the behavior of a few.

      Peace is not an option when one community makes the choice to starve the children of another community. There is no trust when one community makes the choice to subjugate another. Peace and trust are impossible when people don’t see each other as equals or even as human or as individuals instead of a monolithic whole.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, January 2, 2009 | Reply

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