Etan Thomas Headshot

Has Israel Become What It Has Hated the Most? 30 Questions

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1. Seventy Palestinians were killed on Sunday alone. The Palestinian death toll has risen to over 500 and, as reported by the Washington Post, "72 percent of those killed were civilians, not militants, and include a large number of women and children." The number of Palestinians seeking refuge with The United Nations has grown to over 85,000. Over 100,000 Palestinians have been displaced from their homes. Israel has attacked Gaza incessantly from the air, land and sea. Drones, F-16s, Apache helicopters, naval warships, tanks and artillery guns have bombarded the Strip day and night. More than 77 percent of the dead are civilians, over 70 of them children. What type of a human being looks at those numbers and calls it justice?

2. How many people have to die before the United States, The U.N., and the entire International Community has the moral courage to step in and says enough is enough? 

3.. No innocent child, Palestinian or Israeli, deserves to live in a situation where they fear being bombed or murdered. So whether we are talking about three innocent Israeli teenagers or over 70 innocent Palestinian children, no child deserves to be murdered.

Shouldn't the life of children be held as more valuable than a piece of land? Don't all children both Palestinian and Israeli deserve the right not to be forced to live in constant fear of being murdered in their sleep or at school or anytime they go outside their home?

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4. Isn't the bombing of entire neighborhoods in an effort to eliminate Hamas just as ridiculous as the notion of bombing all of South Central LA in order to eliminate the Crips and Bloods?

If the Israeli government actually viewed Palestinians as humans (which it doesn't appear that they do), wouldn't they see how absurd of a war tactic that is?

5. Should Hamas have accepted the proposed ceasefire Egypt had set forth in an effort to end an escalation of bloodshed ?  Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the terms but Hamas quickly rejected the proposal saying not only were they not consulted in the terms of any agreement but that the Egyptian initiative was simply a form of "bowing and submission" and "was not worth the ink it was written with." Was that the response Hamas should have had to the proposed ceasefire? 

6. Why wasn't the ceasefire bilaterally conducted? Was it more of a political ploy to delegitimize Hamas,  smear them, and shift blame for the forthcoming massacre onto them? Was Israel  going to execute ground invasion regardless? Did Israel know good and well that Hamas would not accept a ceasefire when they weren't consulted beforehand on the terms, and therefore knew that by accepting the proposed ceasefire that in turn provided Israel with the political excuse that they exhausted diplomacy? 

7. If Hamas knew that by rejecting the ceasefire, Israel would then begin their ground operations attack and slaughter hundreds if not eventually thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians mostly women and children, are they partly to blame for this massacre ? 

8. Is it logical to tell a population under siege what they should or should not accept?

9. How do you negotiate with someone who doesn't recognize your existence? (Just so I am clear i am referring to both Israel who doesn't recognize the existence of Palestine and Hamas who represents the Palestinians not recognizing the existence of Israel.)

10. According to the Middle East Monitor, "Some 45,000 Palestinians living in the Shuafat refugee camp and the suburbs of Ras Shehadeh, Ras Khamis, As-Salam and Anata in Jerusalem have had their water cut off for nearly three days."

So, Israel has the ability to cut off the Palestinian's electrical power and water anytime they choose?

How does one justify these blatantly inhuman actions by the Israeli government? Israel continues to paint themselves as the victims of Palestinian duplicity and violence, yet in this relationship, doesn't Israel hold the very power of life and death over the Palestinians every day?

11. You are NOT "Anti-Semitic" just because you don't agree with the policies of Israel. Nor are you "homophobic" just because you don't completely agree with the gay rights activist. Nor are you "misogynistic" or "anti-woman" if you don't agree with all of the opinions of feminists. Isn't it a weak argument for someone to say that if you disagree with me that must mean that you hate me and fear me?

12. What type of a human being can justify, condone, and view the bombing of hospitals and the killing of children as morally acceptable ?

13. Bill Maher tweeted .... "Dealing w/ Hamas is like dealing with a crazy woman who's trying to kill you -- you can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her"

In what world is this joke even remotely funny?

14. Minors make up 1/5 of the nearly 500 and rising Palestinians who have been killed. Despite Israeli military claims to be doing it's best to spare civilians by urging residents to leave areas that are about to be shelled or bombed as Hamas targets. It also accuses the Islamic militants of using civilians as human shields by firing rockets from civilian areas. But even if urged to evacuate where would the civilian Palestinians go? What safe place could they evacuate to?

15. Isn't America largely responsible for a majority of the issues, in that currently America is funding Israel to the tune of 8.5 million dollars every day in military aid while the U.S. provides the Palestinians with zero aid?

16. How many of our own domestic issues like education, health care, homelessness, veteran coverage, etc, could we fix with that 8 billion dollars a year?

17. Has two decades of U.S. Peace talks actually made things worse ? Has it been years of talking while Israel massively expands the Jewish settlements ? Should these even be called "Peace Talks" or more of theatre to cover a land grab ?

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18. The New York Times ran an article showing Israelis in lawn chairs with snacks such as popcorn and with their feet propped on coolers and sipping drinks and cheering while watching the bombs drop on the Palestinians. They were acting as if it were the World Cup or some type of spectator sport. It was absolutely disgusting. It reminded me of those pictures of black people being lynched or burned while the onlookers posed and smiled with their children for the camera. Now, I know this doesn't represent the overall sentiment of all the Israelis but my question is, what percentage of Israelis does this actually represent?

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19. In a highly unusual acknowledgement of the long-rumored strained relationship, the head of the Israeli opposition stated that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "loathes" President Barack Obama, and his hostile attitude to the US president constitutes a danger to Israel's well-being.

Netanyuhu has made crystal clear his position on even the possibility of a two-state solution. He all but ruled out Palestinian sovereignty and had a lot to say about the US approach to Israeli Security.  So the question is, was he ever even remotely open to the idea of a two state solution? Or was he just stringing President Obama along while his true allegiance was always with the settlement enterprise? Which of course is a very nice way of saying Israeli militant extremists who want to take all of the land from the Palestinians and completely push them off the map of existence. 

20. The constant claim by Israeli supporters is that Hamas stores missiles in schools and that they use human shields? Here is my question: The U.S. has built the Israeli Army to be one of the most powerful armies on earth, would the answer be a two-state solution where Palestine has an army of it's own that has to abide by the Rules of Engagement of the UN? It seems as though stripping one side of any power, resources, economic support, etc leaves them with no "diplomatic" possibility of doing anything. Is that an accurate assessment ?

21. Is it the extremists on both sides that keep this from ever becoming anything less than a bloody massacre? (And of course historically a slaughter by the Israelis since they are the ones with all the U.S, backed military power). And do those extremists who want to wipe the other side completely off the map outweigh the people who want a two-state solution?

22. A persecuted people (the European Jews not the Biblical Jews but the European Jews) fled persecution and anti-Semitic extermination from Hitler and Nazi Germany. They were in much need of a refuge and anyone with half of a heart would agree with that, but why build that refuge in a place where another group of people already live? Why not carve out some land in Germany the people who actually committed the crimes. The Palestinians were punished for something they had nothing to do with. And is that basically the moral quandary that is at the root of this entire conflict?

23. So from the UN partition plan, the Palestinians who opposed their land being snatched from under them for reasons they had nothing to do with were then called terrorists. So they were suppose to just pack up and leave peacefully? Isn't terrorism in the eye of the beholder?

24. Israeli forces erased over 400 Palestinian villages and towns from 1947-1949. Israel seized control of 78 percent of historic Palestine. And when 3/4s of the Palestinians who fled during this land snatch resistance and war tried to return to the new Israeli State they were permanently barred by the Israeli government. And over 100,000 of the people who hadn't left were relegated to second class citizens of the new state. So now, Palestinian refugees and their defendants number in the millions mostly in the Gaza Strip the West Bank and Jordan. Many are spread throughout the world with millions still living in refugee camps seeking to return to their homeland. Now, is there anything that is fair, ethical, or moral about that ?

25. Israel was created as a Jewish State. If was built on a blueprint of exclusion. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. Why was it acceptable and widely supported throughout the world for the Jews to have this separate state of their own, but not even a thought for the millions of Africans after slavey? We were simply told you're free now, so go and live on the same land as the people who despised you. We weren't even given our promised 40 acres and a mule. And not to compare tragedies, but why the level of worldwide support for one and not the other?

26. Isn't there a strong resemblance to Israel and apartheid in South Africa? The Israeli government wants maximum land and resources for Jews not the Palestinians living there. So inside of Israel Jews get special privileges. Including rights to land and housing while Palestinians are simply denied those rights and they still amazingly make up almost 20 percent of Israel's population. And America supports all of this? Isn't this the very similar if not almost identical to apartheid in South Africa?

27. Why hasn't Israel ever clearly defined it's borders? It still holds on to land in the West Bank and Gaza that they conquered in the war in 1967. They have built Jewish settlements throughout the occupied West Bank, building Jewish only cities and supplying them with infrastructure, roads and army camps, schools and even a college. So what exactly are the borders?

28. Military occupations are usually meant to be temporary, but after 40-plus years does this look rather permanent?

29. So on the West Bank Israeli and Jewish people live on the same land but two totally different and unequal systems of Israeli Law. The Jewish settlers dominate the natural resources including water and agriculture of the land and they are backed by the Israeli army. Furthermore, in order to maintain the occupation the Israeli Army has demolished thousands of Palestinians homes, captured more land, bombed homes, and punished resistance with raids arrests and assassinations all to gain maximum land while making life so difficult for the Palestinians that they will either leave or be too afraid to resist. Is there anything that is inaccurate in that statement?

30. Many years ago I attended an amazing camp called SEEDS OF Peace. A camp in Maine that brings Palestinian and Israeli children together in an effort to have them learn about themselves and view their enemy as human. Seeing those kids interact with each other gave me hope for the future. I know this issue has been ongoing long before me and will probably continue long after me. After hearing these young people dialogue with each other I had hope. However, that hope quickly evaporated once I left the confines of that camp. My final question is, does anyone have any hope for the future?

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