Skip to main content

A fragile truce (don't call it peace) has taken hold. Let's hope it lasts.

I wrote the post below before the truce, but it's not particularly pegged to recent events. Indeed, it's a scaled down version of a post I wrote almost four years ago.

As the dead bodies pile up, the otherwise estimable Charles Pierce throws up his hands. He can't take a position on this conflict because, he says, both sides suck. That's also why Kos won't touch the issue. At least they don't try to justify their neutrality by saying that if they took a position, people would call them mean names. An aversion to nastiness is one of the reasons David Atkins and Kevin Drum refuse to write about the I-P conflict.

Let me be clear: I would never argue that bloggers (or pundits) are obligated to comment on this issue or any other. It's a big world with a lot of important stuff. (I haven't seen a lot of blog posts about the war in Congo, either. I know I haven't written any.)

But to read these explanations for why they won't take a position -- and other commentary by liberals -- is to enter into a fantasy land where Palestinians live in freedom next to Israel. Scrubbed from the picture is Israel's occupation of the Palestinians. This occupation is at the root of the conflict and, if you're any kind of liberal, it should dictate your moral math.

First, let's dispense with the myth that Israel has given Gaza back to the Palestinians.

...[T]he Gaza Strip remains occupied, both effectively and legally – and is recognised as such by the UN. Israel is in control of Gaza's land and sea borders, territorial waters and natural resources, airspace, power supply and telecommunications. It has blockaded the strip since Hamas took over in 2006-7, preventing the movement of people, materials, and food supplies in and out of the territory – even calculating the 2,279 calories per person that would keep Gazans on an exemplary "diet". And it continues to invade the strip at will.
The blockade is collective punishment, full stop. And the impact on children in particular is horrifying. Forget for a moment the explosive violence, like drone strikes, that kills and injures children and consider the subtler, slower forms.
- Stunting, or long-term exposure to chronic malnutrition, remains high, found among 10% of children under five.

- Anemia, usually caused by dietary iron deficiency, affects most children in Gaza (58.6% of schoolchildren4, 68.1% of children 9-12 months) and one-third (36.8%) of pregnant women. If untreated, iron-deficiency anemia adversely affects child development and pregnancy outcome.

- Sanitation-related diseases with serious implications for child mortality, such as typhoid fever and watery diarrhea in children under three years of age, have increased at clinics serving refugees in the Gaza Strip. Gaza’s polluted water supply will have long-term health implications, but current monitoring is insufficient to measure the impact of untreated sewage and poor water quality.

If you believe people have the right to be free, if you believe in human rights and international law, if your sympathies lie with the weak, if you believe military occupation breeds extremity and terrorism, if you believe in peace through peace as opposed to peace through pummeling, you have a clear position on this issue whether you realize it or not.

You can trace the history of this conflict back dozens -- or, for that matter, thousands -- of years, you can weigh competing historical claims to the land, you can try to figure out who was responsible for the recent escalation or the failure of Oslo, but residing at the core of this conflict, against which other facts melt away, is the occupation.

People have to the right to live free from military domination. In demanding self-determination, Palestinians are not relying on archaic or secondary principles. As Edward Said put it:

This Palestinian insistence is no unique, decontextualized aberration; it is fully supported by every international legal and moral covenant known to the modern world.
The right to self-determination comes with no exceptions or qualifications. It supersedes all interests of the occupying nation. Defenders of Israel argue that unlike Hamas, Israel doesn't intentionally kill civilians. Often this is the entirety of their moral case. But this is sophistry. Israel does violence it knows will kill civilians, many more than are killed by Hamas. In any case, it is the responsibility of Israel to end the occupation, period, and Hamas's terrorism doesn't relieve it of that responsibility. Israel cannot deny Palestinians their right to be free from occupation in the name of security. (Talk about preemptive war.)

It would be terrific if a moderate, competent leadership emerged among Palestinians, but it's not incumbent on them to form a government to Israel's liking. Indeed, it's virtually unimaginable that a people under occupation would produce a strong moderate leadership. Occupation, as liberals know, breeds extremism, terrorism, and corruption. For Israel to demand a Palestinian government it trusts as a condition for ending its occupation is like demanding that people you're drowning stop complaining before you shut off the water.

So: don't focus on this issue if you're not so inclined. I mean, I heard something about the climate changing -- that might be worth a blog post or three. But if you write about this issue, American liberals, even for the purpose of explaining why you don't write about it, please stand with the powerless and reject bogus arguments about "self defense."

The issue is not about whether Israel has the right to defend itself. Of course it does. But what it doesn't have is the right to use disproportionate force in order to maintain an unjustified and illegal occupation and the subjugation of millions of Palestinians, which is the taproot from which these events spring.    

Originally posted to david mizner on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 12:55 PM PST.

Also republished by Adalah — A Just Middle East.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, Sharoney, SME in Seattle, Egg, Pat K California, Thumb, Lupin, Spit, JekyllnHyde, Alumbrados, Superskepticalman, Joe Buck, chrississippi, KeithH, RF, CJB, hazey, Sean Robertson, Mogolori, Odysseus, MadRuth, melo, Bri, Timaeus, assyrian64, native, mickT, kaleidescope, PeterHug, Shockwave, just another vet, wu ming, Pescadero Bill, Andrew C White, chuco35, cotterperson, LEP, Aspe4, jdld, oysterface, mslat27, gecko, TarheelDem, RFK Lives, Joe B, expatjourno, davelf2, Bugsby, INMINYMA, alain2112, opinionated, TheMomCat, missLotus, evilstorm, mint julep, srkp23, Agathena, ask, CalvinV, stevej, themank, chuckvw, cosmic debris, farmerhunt, roses, ovals49, Nate Roberts, Cedwyn, KathleenM1, celticshel, aitchdee, wader, Texknight, Mxwll, hangingchad, NYC Sophia, lucid, pat bunny, bula, dwahzon, renaissance grrrl, onemadson, lcrp, riverlover, migo, Matt Esler, JayBat, ybruti, xyz, lyvwyr101, Emmy, vacantlook, eve, slapshoe, eztempo, rmx2630, bibble, Brecht, nailbender, joanneleon, humphrey, ExStr8, historys mysteries, Skaje, ichibon, caul, JanetT in MD, corvo, Alice Venturi, Flint, Brooke In Seattle, YucatanMan, Dobber, Unforgiven, ratzo, vulcangrrl, uato carabau, Burned, Barcelona, Kayakbiker, sofia, lotlizard, blue jersey mom, ivorybill, babatunde, RichterScale, kaliope, LucyandByron, WisePiper, Shotput8, zinger99, Hugin, Pluto, bunsk, bookwoman, Unduna, grapes, mightymouse, Land of Enchantment, ChuckInReno, bently, begone, RJDixon74135, SoulCatcher, martini, third Party please, elliott, poco, esquimaux, 417els, DiogenesTheElder, Russgirl, cookseytalbott, mooshter, Dvalkure, kestrel9000, Scientician, zesty grapher, fou, Lefty Coaster, blueoasis, Blue Wind, SherriG, triv33, TalkieToaster, birdbrain64, eglantine, philipmerrill, real world chick, joe shikspack, Preston S, el cid, callmecassandra, NancyK, doingbusinessas, fiddlingnero, Compostings, shaharazade, Statusquomustgo, CharlieHipHop, leighkidd, kml, Little, Nulwee, ZenTrainer, jobird, Aaa T Tudeattack, cpresley, samfish, out of left field, Winston Sm1th, Ken in MN, Cat Whisperer, Debs2, Castine, offgrid, protothad, puakev, FishOutofWater, LillithMc, CTDemoFarmer, la urracca, tbirchard, Dave in Northridge, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, burlydee, suejazz, sfbob, heathlander, aliasalias, newpioneer, bnasley, Seneca Doane, artisan, Kentucky Kid, getlost, Aunt Martha, martyinsfo, crose, turthlover, bobswern, jnhobbs, gchaucer2, CT Hank, Wreck Smurfy, uciguy30, Chico David RN, leonard145b, Prof Haley, cacamp, Don midwest, Assaf, South Park Democrat, oxon, Terra Mystica, fb, paxpi, gundyj, gzodik, TruthFreedomKindness, MikePhoenix, scooter in brooklyn, Johnny Nucleo, poligirl, shaketheworld, bythesea, elwior, son of aeneas, filby, KJG52, jakebob, beltane, Happy Days, tofumagoo, royce, bluesheep, mofembot, Horsefeathers, emidesu, BYw, Karl Rover, SteveS Austin, Executive Odor, Quilldriver, Robobagpiper, briefer, sydneyluv, toom, David Futurama, ZhenRen, oldliberal, Celtic Merlin, Rei, BerkshireDem, Rhysling, McGahee220, J M F, Rick Aucoin, ARS, divineorder, dharmasyd, cantelow, bsmechanic, Carol in San Antonio, CanyonWren, weltshmertz, WakeUpNeo, Nailbanger, jennylind, SDuvall, candid psychiatrist, Canadian Green Card Alien, shopkeeper, mkor7, JesseCW, jmknapp53, ancblu, petral, RageKage, glitterlust, bfitzinAR, COwoman, Keith Pickering, moviemeister76, Flyswatterbanjo, DaNang65, haremoor, jfromga, mahakali overdrive, angel d, montecristo, citisven, French Imp, ruscle, Hunter Huxley, TruthandTrust, MixedContent, roadbear, David Harris Gershon, Crabby Abbey, angelajean, FrankCornish, LeftyAce, Lost and Found, sunny skies, Dexter, tellthestories, psychbob, samanthab, ItsSimpleSimon, Mike in Denmark, Mariken, ramara, nycjoc, Funkygal, Johnny Q, Floande, Anne was here, Oh Mary Oh, Wisdumb, Onomastic, Colorado is the Shiznit, atoilune, MidwestTreeHugger, allenjo, Lost Left Coaster, StateofEuphoria, slowbutsure, jardin32, Susipsych, Eclectablog, Zutroy, BillyElliott, CoExistNow, nezzclay, Alice Olson, tbutt, mrsgoo, soysauce, AgavePup, sethtriggs, Cinnamon Rollover, Wolf10, FistJab, muddy boots, abbotkinney, shaso, createpeace, Fire bad tree pretty, peregrine kate, stargaze, Safina, chira2, bluedust, mali muso, Andrew F Cockburn, gila, Friendlystranger, ratcityreprobate, SoCalSal, zenox, Mentatmark, No one gets out alive, Azazello, DawnN, Dream It Real, IowaBiologist, quill, isabelle hayes, sawolf, DeadHead, angry marmot, Mindful Nature, Siri, IndieGuy, dance you monster, Eric Nelson, S F Hippie, Lonely Texan, draa, 420 forever, sreeizzle2012, congenitalefty, InAntalya, Mr Robert, edebs, Hunter Acosta, mapamp, peachcreek, jan4insight, pot, johnthorpe, whizdom, parakeet, New Minas, rat racer, Rights of Bill, AZ Sphinx Moth, Robynhood too, BradyB, Portlaw, BobTheHappyDinosaur, Blue Dream, mygreekamphora, genXter, SwedishJewfish, JohnnyBoston, remembrance, Setsuna Mudo, mediancitizen, merrywidow, LeftArmed, goodpractice, averblue, emorej a Hong Kong, Alhambra, Smoh, ApatheticNoMore1966, rigcath, MRDFS, ChristineM, listencloser, shinobi9, Obamalover20122, Jilly W

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site