"Now the time has come to fight" were the words of the Israeli defense minister today following the bloodiest day on the Gaza strip in over 60 years. Air strikes were launched from Israel killing over 200 and injuring hundreds more. Morgues in Gaza are said to be running out of room and hospitals in Gaza city are saying that they are running out of supplies to treat the wounded. Aid groups operating in the area fear that Israel's attacks will cause a humanitarian crisis in a place where over half of the population depend on aid to meet their daily needs.
I've held back about writing about Israel/Palestine for a little while. Not only because at the root of it all I'm torn, but also because my opinions aren't always the most popular but here it goes.
Coming from a country where Church and State are separate I may have a hard time understanding the inner workings of a religious government, on either side. But to me this is an absurd fight that doesn't need to be fought.
We, the old WW2 allies, started this fight when we decided to carve out Israel and give to the Jewish people what wasn't ours to give. There was nothing altruistic or symbolic about it, none of the allied countries wanted them living here so we sent them back to their ancestral lands. The problem with that is that there were already people living there... but we didn't care. People can argue with me about this and say it's their land, it was theirs 2000 years ago so they should have it... If that's your argument then all of us in North America need to get on boats back to Europe and give the First Nations people back their land. We took it, carved out reserves, and we keep violating the land treaties to build highways and golf courses.
The other thing is this... The people of Palestine are pretty much stuck in their assigned territories, a lot of them displaced by Jewish settlers. If someone moved into my house and said it was their ancestral right and I had to move out. I'd be pretty pissed off too and I'd probably put up a hell of a fight.
But to add to this already volatile situation there's Hamas... Which at its roots doesn't like Jews and wants to hurt them. This also, is utterly stupid and I in no way support their actions against Israel.
The bottom line is that these two religions have a lot of things on common, they are from the same region and they share many of the same values. It's beyond my scope of comprehension that one would want the other eliminated. I really hope that this isn't just a ploy to help the outgoing Israeli Prime Minister retain his job after the February elections. What makes me even more mad is that Israel just brought a tank to a knife fight and they keep doing it. The people of Palestine have nothing and they keep being pounded into the ground. This will never pave the way for peace talks, it will only increase the likelihood of bloodshed on either side.
For more please see the Globe and Mail.