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by tobybee

i often find that when things like this happen – when israel becomes more ridiculous, kills more people, becomes more upsetting – that i don’t write a post. i figure that the people who read this blog regularly are probably somewhat well informed, and don’t come here for the basic factual information, so they’ll/you’ll get the information elsewhere. i figure that there’s so much to say, that people are better off looking elsewhere. i figure i don’t know what to say, where to begin, where to end.

so i don’t know. as i start to write this, i don’t know where it will end. wait, this is too self-indulgent. it’s not about me.

i want to encourage you to read, and think, and read and think some more. it seems so clear – from spending so much time yesterday looking incessantly online – that what israel is doing to the palestinians living in gaza (as well as the increased surveillance and life interruption in jerusalem and the west bank) is not about increased safety or security or moving towards peace, but is instead about ensuring the very opposite.

Gershon Baskin, who negotiated the release of Gilad Shalit and who has worked to negotiate potential ceasefires, has written a piece explaining that Ahmed Jaabari, the commander of Ezedin al Qassam, the military wing of Hamas, the man whose assassination marked the beginning of this latest onslaught, was reading a ceasefire proposal the night before he was murdered. Baskin writes “The assassination of Jaabari was a pre-emptive strike against the possibility of a long term ceasefire. Netanyahu has acted with extreme irresponsibility. He has endangered the people of Israel and struck a real blow against the few important more pragmatic elements within Hamas. He has given another victory to those who seek our destruction, rather than strengthen those who are seeking to find a possibility to live side-by-side, not in peace, but in quiet.”
You should read his article.

You should read this post by Liam Getreu, and think carefully about the links that he points to.

You should follow Shahd Abusalama and Gaza Youth Break Out on twitter: they are amazing and inspiring and seem to be tweeting this war in real time, which is a shocking thing to witness.

You should watch Antony Lowenstein on abc news 24 from last night, where he gives a decent explanation of the context and critique of Israeli government/military pr.

You should read this writing by Michal Vasser, who lives in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, and who is being bombed from Gaza, and who says “don’t defend me like this”: “If you are interested in stopping the hostile actions from the other side – open your ears and start listening. If we are important to you – please stop defending us by means of missiles, “pinpoints” and “aeronautical components.” Instead of Operation Pillar of Defense embark on Operation Hope for the Future. This is more complicated, you need more patience and it is less popular – but it is the only way out.”

There’s so much more to read – these are just a few offerings.

You should understand the context – that Israel is headed towards an election that Netanyahu wants to win – and the larger context still – that Israel is an occupying power that is able to bomb Gazans from land, air and sea.

I grieve for all those who are being killed and injured – Palestinian and Israeli. Inevitably, most of those who do the dying are not those with the power to determine the situation in the present or future (although that’s perhaps a bit too simplistic, and responsibility for what a government and an army does must in some way rest with those citizens who do not challenge their government). Gazans are trapped (and Egypt must take responsibility for this too), and the Israelis who live close to the border are generally poor and black, hence left there as cannon fodder (as Joseph Dana pointed out on twitter, if the Israeli government wanted to save Israeli lives, they would evacuate everyone from the border areas. But they don’t).

I am angry and I am devastated. It seems clearer than ever that collectively, we need to find a way to challenge our fury and sadness into strategic political action. change needs to come. i am far from hopeful.