At the intersection of writing and life with the author of the Cameron Ballack mysteries

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Holy Land Thing

Good heavens, I hate political posts. I'd rather discuss religion because it seems that the conversations I have with others on religion tend to stay civil, even with (especially with?) atheists. But politics seems to bring the axe shot down on a divided community in a very divided nation. 

But I think I should say a few things about the present Israel-Hamas struggle. I'll try to keep it as brief as an independent, neo-Libertarian, strict constitutionalist, common sense-ish believer in strong national security can make it.

Got all that? Good.

(1) Yes, I believe in the Palestinian people having a homeland. You have to see Palestinians through the reality that they are a mix of folks. It's not a monolithic Islamic bloc. That's why we have a group of people called Palestinian Christians (hello). Now, of course, it's nice to have a qualification and definition on what is a Palestinian (as that seems to get tossed in the garbage of uncivil debate). But the Palestinian peoples were around for awhile, getting displaced and bumped around and rejected by many nations...nations that don't--by the way--have the name Israel.

(2) There's a difference between the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership. A good corollary would be American labor union membership and union leadership. The former you may not agree with entirely but you sympathize with their basic needs. The latter you see as the snakes they are.

(3) The media war shrouds rather than clarifies this conflict. Israel is running a ground invasion, yes, but does anyone in their right mind believe that they are there to annex the Gaza Strip? It is true that tactical missile strikes have taken the lives of innocent victims as collateral damage, but to date, Hamas' legions have been the ones intentionally targeting the innocent in Israel...not that they've been able to get much in past the Iron Dome defense system.

(4) Israel does need to to several things, some of which on the surface appear paradoxical: (a) weigh how difficult the coming days will be, (b) stand firm in the face of relentless pressure of world media opinion, (c) balance the glove of restraint with the hammer of justice, and (d) continue to show the willingness to work with a democratically elected and principled pluralistic Palestinian state. 

(5) To evangelical Christians who are unabashedly pro-Israel: Good for you. Just remember that Israel is a vastly secular nation, and for every person there there is a different and variant worldview. And what sort of reaction would you have if dumped in the middle of an LGBT crowd in a bar in Tel Aviv? Hopefully, the grace and mercy of Jesus.

(6) To Hamas: What in heaven's name are you thinking? You hoard resources from the Palestinian people, cause them to live on beans in shanty towns, and use concrete and supplies to dig subterranean tunnels to Israel for the purposes of transporting personnel and weapons for a Rosh Hashannah slaughter? Supplies that could have gone to houses and shopping areas for your own people? Finances that could have gone to medical care for your own people? Does no one see the hypocrisy here?

(7) It's a mess, and it'll stay a mess until people learn the mess solves nothing. But I'd wager my assets that if Israel dropped their weapons in an unconditional cease-fire, it would solve nothing, and Israel would soon cease to exists. If Hamas stopped shooting, there'd be peace for longer than people might guess.

(8) Yes, I have the deepest respect and compassion for those who dream of a Palestinian nation of their own. And yes, I am without respect or compassion for those who seek to achieve that dream via terror.

I'm done.

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