Dissent and Reprisal

When the Palestinian people elected a Hamas government, Israel decided that the Palestinians needed to be punished for making the wrong decision. The Palestinian people weren't happy with what they had, i.e. life restricted to the confines of parcels of land that ultimately are under the control of the state of Israel. After 40 years of often times brutal treatment and punitive measures imposed by the Israeli state, the fact that the Palestinian people decided to make their voices heard in the voting booth was unacceptable to the government of Israel.

When Hamas won, Israel pulled the plug on Palestine, it withdrew aid funds and set up an even stricter embargo on goods passing to and from Palestinian inhabited areas of Israel. Within a short time after the Hamas victory, Palestinian areas began experiencing shortfalls. Paychecks stopped coming through and shortages of food developed. To many, this constriction of the passage of goods and services into Palestine from Israel has been interpreted as a collective punishment (whether or not Israel says it is or isn't.)

I can imagine a day when I go to the polls to register my opinion and dissent. I can even imagine with the hyper-marketing of political campaigns and electronic voting being what they are; finding the candidate of my party - the party of dissent - the winner. Because of this, the powers that be decide that I am not worthy of the receipt of a pay check. I begin to grow hungry. Desperation creeps in and what happens next? The violence being perpetrated against me and my people becomes sufficient to draw a group of people from my community out into an act of retaliation.

It is simple. Take away my bread and I will starve to death. Or I will fight. The choice is mine and all of ours to make. So when a group of Palestinians (allegedly associated with Hamas) abducted Israeli soldiers, it was no surprise, given the duress under which the people have been driven by occupation and embargo.

What happened next was predictable. But the response of the Israeli military has lost all sense of meaning in its monstrous proportion.

We must urge Israel, Lebanon and Palestine; the USA, Iran, Iraq and Syria to join the global human community and take the extra efforts and steps needed to enforce an immediate and peaceful resolution to these conflicts. The people of the USA and Israel, as the nations in power, must take the lead in pushing for an unconditional cease-fire.

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Aldo Leopold: "We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."

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