Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Peace, Peace, When There is No Peace

 Image result for us embassy jerusalem ceremony

They have treated the wound of my people carelessly,
    saying, “Peace, peace,”
    when there is no peace.
They acted shamefully, they committed abomination;
    yet they were not ashamed,
    they did not know how to blush.

Jeremiah 6:14-15a

 Because, in truth, because they have misled my people,
saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace;
and because, when the people build a wall,
these prophets smear whitewash on it.

Ezekiel 13:10

Yesterday Trump family members sat with Israeli officials as a new American embassy was opened in Jerusalem. This was a historical moment as the US shifted from Tel Aviv, where virtually all international embassies are located, to the city where the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, is located. While this may seem practical it is politically fraught because Jerusalem has continued to be a contested city from the standpoint of eventual Palestinian autonomy. Most nations, including Canada, have kept their embassies in Tel Aviv as negotiations continue over the possibility of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
 Away from this event Palestinian protests accelerated. There has been a concerted effort to draw international attention to the plight of the residents of Gaza and the West Bank who are now in what is effectively a walled prison with limited services and very little hope. Israel insists that the walls are necessary for national security and there are very real security issues. But the violence with which the Israeli army has responded to recent protests is horrific. Yesterday alone nearly 60 people were shot dead, a number of them children, and 2,000 more injured. The Israelis are using bullets which are designed to inflict catastrophic damage and a clearly marked journalist was one of the victims a couple of weeks ago. Doctors Without Borders describe what has transpired as a bloodbath.

What is truly sickening about this is that President Trump is crowing about the embassy move as a step toward peace. In what possible way can this be construed as anything other than pro-Israeli provocation which will escalate tensions? Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu certainly understands the implications and used triumphalist rhetoric at yesterday's ceremony. It all feels like Orwellian Newspeak, these smiling words of peace offered as people die.

It's important to understand that even though pundits feel that Trump has done this to appeal to his evangelical Christian base in the States, the move is not supported by most Christians in Israel, who are Arab. A couple of nut-bar "End Times" American preachers took part in the ceremony yesterday.

Image: Leila al-Ghandour's mother

Today on the 70th anniversary of Israeli nationhood the funerals for Palestinians who were killed yesterday will take place. As the families weep, the Jewish prophets cry out, "shame."
Here is a tweet from American writer Max Berger, who is Jewish.

Max Berger (@maxberger)
This is a horrifying day to be a Jew.

We dishonor our ancestors who yearned to be free for generations when our freedom comes at the expense of another people. If we are to be free, the Palestinian people must be free as well.

Those who deny their freedom deny ours as well.


Frank said...

One of the shooting victims, a Canadian Dr. Tarek Loubani of Palestinian heritage, who serves in London Ontario at both the university and as an emergency physician, according to reports in the Globe & Mail, was targeted by Israeli snipers. If these reports are true, this is insidious. It would have been a deliberate, targeted shooting. Not accidental in the least. Numerous other medical responders were killed and injured while attending to other victims. This would be a clear tactic to terrorize responders and deprive protesters of medical care, thereby increasing their likelihood of dying from their injuries. Absolutely and irrevocably disgusting.
And all completely preventable, if not for ideologically stunted and inhumane policies from the current white house administration in the US.

David Mundy said...

Thanks for raising Dr. Loubani's situation Frank. The medic who tended to Loubani was shot and killed later in the day. All of these medical personnel were wearing vests identifying them as such and there was a lull in the protests at the time they were shot. Your phrase "absolutely and irrevocably disgusting" says it all.