Tag Archives: Israel Defense Force

A Perfect Storm

David Barton  Source Right Wing WatchAbout a week ago pseudo-historian, David Barton, told the hosts of TBN’s “Praise the Lord” show that if the US did not support Israel God would afflict it with “extreme weather, droughts, productivity declines, and agricultural disasters.”  Many have become familiar with these inane decrees.  Storms and droughts are routinely blamed on the gay community or because of women’s reproductive freedom by religious extremists.  But with Israel’s recent murderous assault on Gaza, the specter of Christian Zionism is again asserting itself in American foreign and domestic policy.
Gaza City Photo AFPUnlike the nationalistic, and largely secular, form of Zionism that formed in the late 19th century in Europe, modern Christian Zionism is primarily an American phenomenon.  It gained prominence from the publication of the Scofield Reference Bible, an annotated version of scripture written by Cyrus I. Scofield.  He was an American preacher in the early 20th century, with a checkered past and dubious claims of being a theologian.
Cyrus I. ScofieldScofield’s rather peculiar brand of eschatology, or the fate of humanity, insists that the Jewish people “reclaim” Palestine.  The fact that most Jews have never been to Palestine and have no ancestral links to the land outside of religious texts, and that such a reclamation would displace millions of people already living there, are considered logistical problems, not ethical ones.  And even though Islam’s third holiest site sits on top of the Temple Mount, and has since the 7th century, it proposes the re-building of the Temple of Solomon.  In an attempt to obscure the antisemitism that belies its public face, Christian Zionism generally avoids addressing one part of this interpretation.  According to its doctrine, in the end scores of Jews will ultimately reject Jesus as the messiah when he returns, and be eternally damned as a result.  Unsurprisingly, this is not a talking point at conferences with Israeli heads of state.

The Rapture.  Source: Theological GraffitiIn their lust for Armageddon, Christian Zionists are pouring petrol on the tinderbox of modern geopolitics.  This is evident in their fervor to attack Iran and crush any prospects for peace.  They are galvanized by an unshakeable belief that we are living in the “end times” and that turmoil is unavoidable.  Ironically, due to human caused climate change and the ever persistent menace of nuclear war, humanity may very well be looking at its demise.  But to the Christian Zionist, bringing about an end in fire is not only inevitable, it is necessary to ensure the fulfillment of prophecy.

This is the primary reason Israel is so important.  It is why various evangelical foundations have been set up in the US to fund illegal, Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank.  It is why mission trips are arranged to these settlements to harvest grapes with colonists on the land they have stolen from Palestinians.  It emboldens hardline hawks in Tel Aviv to entrench apartheid and military occupation even more, while marginalizing the earnest efforts of Israeli and Palestinian peace activists.  And it is what has allowed them to dehumanize and ignore the plight of the Palestinians, and justify nearly every crime the Israeli regime has inflicted on them for decades.
John HageeBombastic minister and head of CUFI (Christians United for Israel), John Hagee, and television evangelist and head of  “The 700 Club” Pat Robertson, are emblematic of this movement, and they enjoy huge followings.  But perhaps most troubling is the connection and influence they have on foreign policy.  They have the support of the biggest, pro-Israel lobby in Washington, AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), and virtually every politician is loath to defy them.

Climate change plays an ominous role in all of this.  As it accelerates and worsens it emboldens fear mongering, denial, and scapegoating.   To the Christian Zionist, these events are punishments for the sin of opposing the Israeli regime.  And certain, out of historical context, scriptures, like Numbers 24:9 which says “Whoever blesses Israel will be blessed, and whoever curses Israel will be cursed,” are employed to drive this notion home to the faithful.  Science is simply not recognized in this equation because it does not match their scriptural exegesis. If it does not fit this religious narrative it is dismissed in explaining the erratic weather patterns, persistent droughts and rising sea levels that we are witnessing today.
Christian Zionism  Source Foreign PolicyChristian Zionism is an aggressive form of extremism that broadly effects ideology and policy in the American political establishment. It is certainly not a monolithic group of people and it does not represent all of Christendom; but the power of its leaders is both undeniable and menacing.  Movements like this are often derided and marginalized in times of calm.  But in times of upheaval, which are becoming more frequent, they have an astonishing way of taking center stage and influencing world events.  As the West negotiates with Iran in an attempt to avert a war with a nuclear armed Israel, global weather patterns are simultaneously becoming angrier due to our burning of fossil fuels.  And this is creating a perfect storm that may inadvertently guarantee that its most destructive prophecies are indeed fulfilled.

Kenn Orphan  2014

This is not defense, it is a massacre.

gazaForty one deaths in two days in the Gaza Strip from Israeli bombing. Today it is estimated at over 80. Over half of Gaza’s population are children, over 40% under the age of 14. Gazans do not have air raid shelters, emergency electricity, medical supplies or clean water; and they have no where to flee since the entire strip has been blockaded by Egypt and Israel. This is collective punishment of a captive population in the world’s biggest open air prison, and it is in violation of international law.

It is good that no Israeli lives have been lost yet in the last several days. But the media is portraying this as even sided. It is not. Israel has an army, navy and air force, Gaza does not. The rockets fired by militants, while deadly and reprehensible, in no way compare to the bombardment from Israel forces, that take out entire apartment blocks.

Demand Israel stop the siege!

Tuesday, July 8:

1. Mohammed Sha’aban, 24, was killed in a bombing of his car in Gaza City.
2. Ahmad Sha’aban, 30, died in the same bombing.
3. Khadir al-Bashiliki, 45, died in the same bombing.
4. Rashad Yaseen, 27, was killed in a bombing of the Nusseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.
5. Riad Mohammed Kawareh, 50, was killed in a bombing of his family’s home in Khan Younis.
6. Seraj Ayad Abed al-A’al, 8, was wounded in the same bombing and succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday evening.
7. Mohammed Ayman Ashour, 15, died in the same bombing.
8. Bakr Mohammed Joudah, 22, died in the same bombing.
9. Ammar Mohammed Joudah, 26, died in the same bombing.
10. Hussein Yousef Kawareh, 13, died in the same bombing.
11. Mohammed Ibrahim Kawareh, 50, died in the same bombing.
12. Bassim Salim Kawareh, 10, died in the same bombing.
13. Mousa Habib, 16, from Gaza City’s al-Shujaiyah neighborhood, was killed along with his 22-year old cousin while the pair were riding a motorcycle.
14. Mohammed Habib, 22, was killed with Mousa Habib.
15. Sakr Aysh al-Ajouri, 22, was killed in an attack on Jabaliyah, in northern Gaza.
16. Ahmad Na’el Mehdi, 16, from Gaza City’s Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, was killed in a bombing that wounded two of his friends.
17. Hafiz Mohammed Hamad, 30, an Islamic Jihad commander, was killed in the bombing of his home in Beit Hanoun, along with five of his family members.
18. Ibrahim Mohammed Hamad, 26, died in the same bombing.
19. Mehdi Mohammed Hamad, 46, died in the same bombing.
20. Fawzia Khalil Hamad, 62, died in the same bombing.
21. Dunia Mehdi Hamad, 16, died in the same bombing.
22. Suha Hamad, 25, died in the same bombing.
23. Suleiman Salman Abu Soaween, 22

Wednesday, July 9:

24. Abdelhadi Jamaat al-Sufi, 24, was killed in a bombing near the Rafah crossing.
25. Naifeh Farjallah, 80, was killed in an airstrike on the town of Moghraqa, southwest of Gaza City.
26. Abdelnasser Abu Kweek, 60, was killed in the bombing of Gaza’s central governorate along with his son.
27. Khaled Abu Kweek, 31, Abdelnasser Abu Kweek’s son, was killed in the same bombing.
28. Amir Areef, 13, died in a bombing in Sha’af.
29. Mohammed Malkiyeh, one and a half years old, died in a bombing along with his mother and a young man.
30. Amniyeh Malkiyeh, 27, Mohammed Malkiyeh’s mother, died in the same bombing.
31. Hatem Abu Salem, 28, died in the same bombing.
32. Mohammed Khaled al-Nimri, 22
33. Sahar Hamdan, 40, died in the bombing of her home in Beit Hanoun.
34. Ibrahim Masri, 14, Sahar Hamdan’s son, was killed in the same bombing.
35. Unknown
36. Sumoud al-Nawasra, a mother, was killed in a bombing along with her two children.
37. Mohammed Khalaf al-Nawasra, 4, arrived at the hospital “in shreds.”
38. Nidal Khalaf al-Nawasra, a child of unreported age, died along with Mohammed and Sumoud.
39. Salah Awwad al-Nawasra, was killed in the same bombing. His body was found under the rubble of the house.
40. Amal Youssef Abdel Ghafour
41. Ranim Jawde Abdel Ghafour, a young girl

Source: Israeli newspaper Haaretz and Al-Akhbar – Palestinian Refugees Right to Return

No Excuse

Palestinian boys watch a scene simulating clashes between Palestinian stone-throwers and Israeli soldiers in Gaza CitThere is grief in Israel today.  Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, had gone missing in mid June, and their bodies were found yesterday in a shallow grave in the occupied West Bank.   The grief in Israel echoes the grief of Palestinians whose children have been targeted far more often and almost always with impunity by settlers and by the Israel Defense Forces.  In March of this year 15 year old Youssef Shawamra was shot to death by IDF troops  as he picked wild thistles to be used for a meal.  In May Israeli forces killed Nadim Nuwara, 17, and Muhammad Abu al-Thahir, 16, in an unprovoked attack caught on CCTV.  And just this month Mohammed Dudin, 15, was shot to death by Israeli soldiers in the infamous “Operation Brother’s Keeper”.  And these are only a few cases.

The killing of any child is abhorrent, but looking at American media coverage, or lack thereof,  regarding such tragedies reveals an insidious bias and an endemic racism.  In the last decade thousands of Palestinian children have been killed or maimed by Israeli occupation forces and settlers, and many more have been snatched from their homes in the middle of the night and spirited away to military detention centers.  According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem and the UN there is ample evidence of torture and inhumane treatment at these facilities.  But this reality is obscured by the mainstream media.  It is as if they do not exist at all.

As Prime Minister Netanyahu begins his rampage of collective punishment in the West Bank and Gaza this lack of fair and unbiased journalism only pours fuel on the fire of animus and indiscriminate violence and fosters the myth that the conflict is equal.  Israel has a military, has occupied Palestinian territories for decades, colonized its lands and kept its population in a constant state of terror and oppression through home demolitions, destruction of fields and orchards and carving up properties with the wall of separation.  Israel controls the sea and air space and routinely fires on farmers tending their fields or fishermen attempting to bring in their catch.  When militants respond with rockets, Israel responds with collective punishment through bombings that level entire apartment blocks or critical infrastructure or the use of white phosphorus that blinds and burns children.

Of course the abduction and murder of these three Israeli teens is deplorable and the criminals should be found and punished.  But it should be noted that these boys were the children of illegal settlers in a region where settlers routinely harass and persecute the indigenous population, and vandalize property and destroy wells and farm land with impunity.  To ignore the conditions out of which this tragedy was born is nothing less than irresponsible, and as long as it persists the result will continue to be the same.

There is no excuse for the crime of harming or murdering children.  And as we mourn Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel whose lives were mercilessly cut short, we should take care to remember and mourn for Youssef Shawamra, Nadim Nuwara,  Muhammad Abu al-Thahirand and Mohammed Dudin, whose lives were also robbed of them by meaningless violence, and whose worth as human beings was not one bit less.

Kenn Orphan  2014

(Photo: Reuters)