Sunday, December 28, 2008
  Why did Hamas attack?
Reports about the situation in Gaza are, as usual, so one-sided as to give an incomprehensible picture to the American populace.

We have been told in numerous reports why Israel has launched this new offensive in Gaza... hundreds of missiles raining down upon Israel. None of the news reports I have read even asked the obvious questions of 1) why did Hamas refuse to renew a cease-fire eight days ago, and 2) why have they been launching missiles at Israel, a seemingly futile gesture as only a handful of Israelis had actually been killed or injured in their attacks, and they gave Israel an excuse to retaliate, which has cost some 300 Palestinians their lives.

Since we all know that Hamas has been classified as a terrorist organization, we are left to assume the refusal to renew the cease-fire and the increase in missile attacks are out of pure hatred of Jews, the desire to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth, or some other unsupportable malice.

Perhaps these are actually the reasons behind Hamas's recent moves. One suspects, however, that it has a lot more to do with the terrible situation in Gaza created largely by Israel's closure of all border crossings after Hamas seized power in Gaza some two years ago.

Back in March, eight months ago, a consortium of British aid organizations found that conditions in Gaza were the worst in 40 years due to the near total blockage of that country by Israel. This consortium reported that "80 percent of Gaza's population is now dependent on food aid and that Gaza's power, water and sewage systems have collapsed."

"In four weeks, 65,000 jobs were lost. Ninety percent of the manufacturing industry was shut down," Michael Bailey of the Jerusalem OXFAM said. "Forty thousand people in the agricultural industry are finding it very hard to maintain their jobs and eight out of ten families in Gaza are dependent on food aid."

Bailey says 300,000 people in Gaza do not have regular supplies of water and 60 tons of raw sewage is discharged into the ocean every day because sewage treatment plants no longer work. He says many schools also do not have power. As a result he says Gaza's educational system has broken down, and children there fail basic tests in rudimentary subjects. Bailey and the other groups behind the report say they blame Israel for the situation because it controls Gaza's borders.

"We are saying that because Israel is still in control, it is still the occupying power even though they (Israel) are not inside Gaza; they control all the borders, the air and the sea space," Bailey said. "Therefore whoever is in charge inside Gaza, they are really powerless to control and economy that depends 90 percent on imports for any manufacturing or productivity."

As of this November, the crossings remained closed with few exceptions. A report by the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel reported that during November, only one crossing (Kerem Shalom) had been open for four days only (17, 24, 26 and 27 November), with limited quantities of humanitarian food supplies allowed through.

Latest UN figures showed that unemployment has risen to 49 per cent and that half of Gaza City’s residents receive water only once a week for a few hours. Homes are also without electricity for up to 16 hours a day.

American newspapers rarely, if ever, report on this terribly bleak picture. Or on both sides of the story. Israel says the closures were necessary because Hamas, which ultimately seeks an end to Israel itself and the return of all the land to Palestinians, seized control of Gaza and Israel cannot allow militant terrorists to import weapons by those border crossings. Hamas says the missile attacks are in response to Israeli closures, which violate international law, and because Israel violated the cease-fire when it blew up a tunnel that was being build to circumvent these closed border last month. Israel says it has to respond to missile attacks on its civilians and that it is justified in sending 100s of tons of bombs into mosques, medicine factories, police stations, and even schools because of them. And that despite the cease fire, it had the right to bomb the tunnel because for the same reason it had the right to close the border crossings in the first place. On and on and on, around and around and around in a never ending circle of blaming the other while continuing to commit atrocities.

Until we understand the endless circle of blame, and how each side refuses to take responsibility for continuing the cycle of violence, we will never be able to successful in brokering peace. Until each side stops and says, we have done horrific things in the pursuit of our goals, in some form of the Truth and Reconciliation process as we saw in South Africa, there is little likelihood of a lasting peace.

One can only hope that process begins sooner rather than later.
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"Since we all know that Hamas has been classified as a terrorist organization, we are left to assume the refusal to missile attacks are out of pure hatred of Jews, the desire to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth, or some other unsupportable malice. Perhaps these are actually the reasons behind Hamas's recent moves."

Its simple: Hamas wants to destory Israel. What would you do if a neighbor vowed to kill your family and then fired rockets at your house?
I'd move .... perhaps thats the solution?
Thank you,

I am on the side that both sides are stupid. Anyone who picks a side in this conflict is retarded, both sides are wrong!

The endless circle will continue because not one side is going to stand up and say 'enough is enough, we're done fighting'
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Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.

What I'm reading now

Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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