Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Defense for Hamas

The United States Coverage of the current conflict between Palestine and Israel is skewed at every level, including the word choice of the reporters and editors covering the conflict. In CNN's most recent article from Jerusalem, titled "Israelis, Hamas clash near Gaza City, witnesses say," the skewing of Palestinian intentions begins in the first sentence:

"Clashes between Hamas militants and Israeli soldiers raged to the north and east of densely populated Gaza City early Sunday, the 16th day of an Israeli offensive, witnesses and medical sources said."

What is the difference between a militant and a soldier? I ask, before asking why the need to apply such a distinction. From we get some impartial answers:


1. vigorously active and aggressive, esp. in support of a cause: militant reformers.
2. engaged in warfare; fighting.
3. a militant person.
4. a person engaged in warfare or combat.

1375–1425; late ME < class="ital-inline">mīlitant- (s. of mīlitāns), prp. of mīlitāre to serve as a soldier. See militate, -ant


1. a person who serves in an army; a person engaged in military service.
2. an enlisted man or woman, as distinguished from a commissioned officer: the soldiers' mess and the officers' mess.
3. a person of military skill or experience: George Washington was a great soldier.
4. a person who contends or serves in any cause: a soldier of the Lord.
5. Also called button man. Slang. a low-ranking member of a crime organization or syndicate.
6. Entomology. a member of a caste of sexually underdeveloped female ants or termites specialized, as with powerful jaws, to defend the colony from invaders.
7. a brick laid vertically with the narrower long face out. Compare rowlock (def. 2).
8. Informal. a person who avoids work or pretends to work; loafer; malingerer.
–verb (used without object)
9. to act or serve as a soldier.
10. Informal. to loaf while pretending to work; malinger: He was soldiering on the job.

11. soldier on, to persist steadfastly in one's work; persevere: to soldier on until the work is done.

1250–1300; ME souldiour < class="ital-inline">soudier, so(l)dier, equiv. to soulde pay (< class="ital-inline">solidus; see sol 2 ) + -ier -ier 2

The lines here, by CNN reporters are drawn with specific reverence of the men and women who are fighting in the Israeli Defense Army. Yet there is no true difference between a militant and a soldier, except the implication that the militant fights willy-nilly without organization while the soldier is a member of an organized army.

To address the skewing, we need only understand its source. Palestine does not get recognized anymore as a legitimate nation, nor does Hamas, its democratically elected executive branch of government get viewed as anything other than a terrorist organization. In most cases that Hamas shows its militant desires, it has been prompted to do so by the constant passive aggression of the Israeli Regime that hordes its water supplies and interferes with the United Nations and other Arab countries trying to get fresh food and medical supplies to the sick and dying population of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza City itself has now been called a Ghetto and the treatment it has received from the Israeli military is a strong reminder of the Nazi Army's occupancy of Poland and its cruel treatment of the peoples living in the Jewish Ghetto. History does repeat itself. Shame on the house of those who do unto others what was done unto them.

With that skew aside, the CNN coverage does fairly assert that the instigators of this conflict are, in fact, the Israelis:
"Israeli shelling north of the city killed two people, sources at Shifa hospital told CNN.
Sunday's fighting came after one girl was killed and 49 other people were severely burned by fires caused by Israeli shelling in southern Gaza on Saturday, local hospital sources said. The shelling ignited several buildings, including a U.N. school, near the city of Khan Younes."
Israel denies that its attacks were upon these civilian targets. Nonetheless, civilians were killed and injured by the Israeli Defense Force, a force by the way which has state of the art weaponery provided to them by the United States to ensure that they could be more "surgical" with their military strikes.

Israel maintains that it is only defending itself against the rocket attacks of Hamas. According to CNN, which, despite my opening lambast is still one of the most impartial sources of news coverage that we can get in the United States---more than 3300 Palestinians have been wounded since the Israeli campaign to neutralize the "threat" of Hamas began on December 27th. Over 800 Palestinians have been killed, 235 of them were children, Gaza City has been bombed by Israeli F-16s, United Nations aid workers have been killed and injured and even a United States naval vessel carrying supplies to Palestine was sunk when it was "accidentally" rammed by an Israeli warship---all in the name of preventing Hamas rocket attacks. Since this conflict began, 13 Israelis have died and of that number 10 of them were militants.
Do the math, its not about numbers, its about life and the sacrifices that are being made every MINUTE! How many more people need to sacrifice their lives in the name of Israel's Defense? My suggestion is to write a word or two to your congressmen to get some action taken on behalf of the dead and dying---on behalf of the children who are suffering in ways you cannot imagine. If this all seems over the top, it is. There's only two choices---remain silent, or silence the violence. Not to be cute sounding, but to take right action for a good cause---Life and Peace.
What is the road that must be paved toward this good cause. Borrowing again from CNN:

Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said during a televised news conference Saturday night that his followers will consider any proposals to stop the violence if conditions are met: the Israelis stop their "aggression" and all crossings between Israel and Gaza are opened.
"These are our just demands, and with an open mind we will interact with any initiative," Mashaal said.

They just want some basic human freedoms. Let's give it to our fellow humans while we still have it in ourselves to give.

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