Petition #1: The US should pursue diplomacy with Iran, not military action.
To my great relief, some in the US Congress have figured out that war against Iran would be a really, really bad idea (here are two good pieces on that: Experts Say Iran Attack Is Irrational, Yet Hawks Are Winning the Debate by Peter Beinart in The Daily Beast and Military action isn’t the only solution to Iran by Thomas Pickering and William Luers in The Washington Post).
Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Walter Jones (R-NC) are circulating what’s called a sign-on letter, asking Representatives to urge the Administration to pursue diplomacy in order to resolve our differences with Iran.
Word came out this morning that Khader Adnan has agreed to stop his hunger strike in exchange for being released by Israel on April 17 when his period of administrative detention is up, with a promise of no renewed extensions. For details about the case up to this point, you can read my post from last week, and for more on the deal he reached, click here for HaAretz’s story. I would also highly recommend that you read this excellent piece by Israeli national treasure Gidon Levy, in which he interviewed Adnan’s wife.
I don’t know what to think about it all, really. Adnan is still being held without charge, which is still illegal and flies in the face of both due process and the most basic notion of human rights — and he’s not alone: Click here for more on administrative detention and the 309 Palestinians held under its provisions (the highest number of administrative detainees since October 2009, and one of them has been thus held for five years). I have to wonder if the survival instinct, and possibly a desire to see his children again, kicked in. Or if maybe there’s more to the deal than we’ve heard. Or both.
At any rate, I’m glad that Israel/Palestine is not being plunged into violence this week. I confess to not being overjoyed, because I can’t help but feel that it’s just a matter of time before something sparks insanity, but maybe that’s just me being sick and tired of being an Israeli. I am surely glad that Adnan is alive, and that more blood isn’t being spilled right now.
Crossposted at Emily L. Hauser In My Head.
Lord, I am so slammed with work I was sure I would be posting less for a few weeks and instead I’ve turned into a posting maniac. Be that as it may, I really need to say this out loud:
Israel has a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad policy called “administrative detention” which allows the military to pick up whomever the heck it pleases and throw them into jail without charge, indefinitely (including Jews, and some have been arrested in this fashion). Technically, the cases come before a judge for review on a rolling basis, every four months if I’m not mistaken, but in practice, all that happens is that these cases get endlessly rolled over.
Which is to say: In addition to having a horrible, terrible, no good very bad system of military law that applies to, and only to, the Palestinians that Israel arrests for whatever reason (Israeli settlers are, of course, judged according to Israeli law) — Israel also has this system by which it can grab you for no reason and hold you for however long it likes, a system upon which it has been relying more and more. Currently more than 300 Palestinians are being held under administrative detention by Israel, one of whom is a
Gazan man from the West Bank named Khader Adnan.
As reported in The Guardian:
Dahlia Scheindlin is a terrific, American-Israeli public opinion analyst based in Tel Aviv who I saw speak at last year’s J Street conference. She was cogent and engaging and willing to tell the truth, to a room full of doe-eyed peace-seekers, about the Israeli public’s opinions about peace negotiations (which are not always as positive as we would wish, btw — they want a two-state peace, they just don’t want to trust the Palestinians to negotiate for it) (though she might put it differently. With, like, numbers, and such).
She also writes, and really well, for the genuinely peerless +972 online magazine (peerless, in that it is an outstanding source, and in that I don’t know that it has anything remotely like a peer in Israeli media).
The other day she posted what can only be called a cri de coeur, a cry from the heart appealing to her American Jewish family (in both the narrow and broad senses) to not betray Israel by betraying their liberal values:
Israeli Border Patrol - not exactly cops on the beat. (Source: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
I was particularly fixated last week on this story out of East Jerusalem (which, it should be noted, is a misnomer for the Palestinian neighborhoods and villages in and around Jerusalem which Israel is steadily Judacizing, many of which were not part of Jerusalem when Israel captured the city in 1967 but have since been unilaterally annexed):
Clashes erupted late Tuesday when the Israeli army entered the town in order to arrest a resident on charges of throwing stones. The arrest caused heightened tensions in the town and dozens of young residents gathered to confront the soldiers.
I am a child of the Watergate hearings.
By which I mean: I’m no fool.
I don’t believe that politics and running a country can be anything but an (at least) occasionally dirty business, I don’t believe politicians choose politics for purely altruistic reasons, and I certainly don’t believe that any of them don’t lie, or at least fudge the truth. I say this as a person who campaigned for the current President with the greatest sense of urgency, wept when he was elected, and continue to find him to be an inspiring figure. Has he lied to me yet? I don’t know. He’s probably at least fudged the truth.
Having said that: There’s lying, and then there’s lying. There’s “not purely altruistic,” and then there’s “utterly and cravenly opportunistic.” When I look at the front runners in the GOP field, that’s what I see.
Mitt Romney is famous for his “flip-flopping,” which is a terribly cute little way of saying “lying through his teeth.” The man chose positions that would carry him to power, and now that he wants a different kind of power, in a different venue, he’s chosen different positions. The position is not what matters – the power is what matters. He was for gay people before he was against them, he was for health care before he was against it, and let the chips and the human lives fall where they may.
And then we have Newt Gingrich.
Posted in Emily L. Hauser, Eye of Newt, International Shenanigans, Political Shenanigans, What the Crap!?
Tagged 2012 primary, GOP, Israel, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Palestine, primary, Republican primary, SHELDON ADELSON
That wacky Republican Party – is there nothing it can’t get wrong? Just the other night, we had Rick Perry all-but starting a war with Turkey, and lord knows the rest of them are itching for one with Iran. Why not be morons about Israel/Palestine too?
It’s been awhile since I blogged about my other country, and as Israel/Palestine is one of my very few clearly-defined beats, as it were, that’s a little odd. It was my intention to remedy that today, but what wound up happening is that I’ve been catching up on a lot of reading. You’ll find a wee round-up of links/my analysis below – starting with the news that the Republican National Committee has officially endorsed a foreign relations policy that is not only contrary to that of America’s elected government, but contrary to its own past Administrations.
(note: Not the child in question).
Back in the olden days, Israelis called the occupation “enlightened” — our army was the most moral in the world, after all, and our cause was just. The occupation was unfortunate, but we were doing the best we could. Right?
Last week, the Jerusalem police detained and interrogated a seven year old boy for throwing stones. Even when his father came to collect Muhammad, two hours later, they wouldn’t let him in the room. For three more hours.
Have the Jerusalem police, the Israeli army, and Israel’s political class done worse, and to seven year olds no less? Yes. Destruction of the seven year old’s home would be worse. Killing his parents would be worse. Killing the boy himself. Israel has done all this and more to Palestinian children, more times than we can count at this point.
But there is something to that image, of a second grader on a chair in a spare police office, his feet not reaching the floor, his face a blur of tears and mud and snot, his heart pounding, and all he wants is to go home, to be far away from these frightening men, some of whom are nice but some of whom are yelling, all of whom are keeping him from his Baba, his Daddy, all of whom represent so much that is wrong in his young life, why his mother cries at night and his brother can’t build a new house and his sister can’t get to university in the morning and his Baba’s friend was shot — it is an image that makes the breath catch in the throat. An image that makes clear just how seriously Israel takes the holy status of its Holy City.
UPDATE: Added Obama-riffic Vlogbrothers goodness, as a reward to #TFY for living with all my Israel/Palestine blather all the time — at the bottom!
Three years ago, Israel was waging war in Gaza. I had some pretty powerful opinions about it.
This evening, the boy (a 12 year old, it should be noted) discovered and showed me the video you will find after the jump, made the day after the war began by a person I’d never heard of: John Green, brother of Hank Green, and one-half of the (I’m coming to discover) extremely boss and Obama-supportive Vlogbrothers, who (I’m coming to discover) the boy really loves. And the thing is: This John Green dude has summed up the entire Israeli-Palestinian situation in less than four minutes.
I would argue that there’s a little boat-missing when he gets into the question of the connection between the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and al-Qaeda, and as an Israeli, I would argue that Israel has the larger share of responsibility at this point (greater power = greater responsibility, etc), but really, for a person to get this much this right, and all in less than four minutes? Wowza. And by that I mean: Huzzah.
And there’s a puppy. Because he couldn’t bear to talk about something so depressing without a little relief.