Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Truth in Advertising


Israel does not recognize
The Hamas government in Gaza –
But holds it responsible
For the attacks from there.

Israel does not recognize
The Hamas government in Gaza –
But demands that it
Guarantee the cease-fire there.

That is ridiculous. That is hopeless.
We must talk with Hamas.
The enemy in war is also
The partner in the cease-fire.

Ad published in Haaretz, January 30, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Time for You and Me to Be Responsible

Let’s set the record straight


Published: Tuesday, February 3, 2009 12:55 PM CST, The Tribune, Ames
To the Editor

So, “Hamas has broken the truce,” journalist-activist Alison Weir, of “If Americans Knew,” alerted those of us among her Internet audience that on Jan. 27, CNN (among others) loudly told Americans that Hamas had caused the first incident of violence since the Gaza/Israel Defense Forces cease-fire.

Remember when every bad thing that happened between Israel and the Palestinians during the Arafat years was his fault? With the scapegoat Arafat gone, it’s now Hamas’ turn to take the blame for every evil visited upon the Israelis and, to some degree, to the whole region and beyond.

Do any of you who have two or more children believe that everything that goes amiss in your household is always the fault of just one child? If you did and spanked just that one child over and over, praising the others as paragons of innocence, do you think your progeny would grow up understanding what it means to share, let alone justice and empathy for others?

For our own sake of understanding, let’s get the record straight. It’s looking back, I know, but it’s important for those who care about this fight and know that it takes two kids in the back seat to start a ruckus, never just one.

Before Jan. 27, Israel already had violated the cease-fire at least seven times, including the Israeli military killing of two Palestinian civilians and the injuring of at least five, a child among them.

Here’s what Israel, the “good child” among the two, did before our news told us that Hamas once again had caused “the first incident” to break the cease fire between Gaza and Israel.

• Israeli forces killed a Palestinian farmer in Khuza’a east of Khan Yunis on Jan 18.

• Israeli forces killed a Palestinian farmer east of Jabalia on Jan 19.

• Israeli naval gunboats shelled Gaza’s coast line, damaging civilian structures on Jan 21.

• Israeli troops shot and injured a child east of Gaza City on Jan 22.

• Israeli gunboat fire injured four to seven Palestinian fishermen on Jan 22.

• Israeli shelling set a Palestinian house on fire on Jan 22.

• Israeli tanks fired on the border town, Al Faraheen, causing damaging homes and farms, Jan 24.

Richard Falk, United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, is like the daddy who tries ever so hard to nurture all his children. He writes in The Nation, “Israel could recover in the legitimacy war by dealing directly with Hamas and taking its offer of a long-term cease-fire seriously. Israel could also show a willingness to engage in peace talks based on the 2002 Arab League Peace Initiative. Even at this late stage of the conflict, such alternatives offer both Israelis and Palestinians a promising, if perilous, escape route from the inferno.”

Let’s, at least, set the record straight and begin to see both sides of this wretched story. This horrendous “good child-bad child” story is an endless nightmare we need to awaken from once and for all.

Elizabeth S. Mayfield