24 September 2013

Inside the One-State Box

A Facebook Friend brought an excellent article to my attention .  It was written by Yousef Munayyer and posted at The New Yorker website, 20 September 2013:

Thinking Outside the Two-State Box


Yousef Munayyer directs the Jerusalem Fund in Washington, D.C., and its educational program, the Palestine Center.

It is well worth taking a moment to read his article.  After reading it, myself,  I found myself taking exception only to the basic premise of who is standing in the way of progress.

The last paragraph is epic:  "Standing in the way of any progress will be two-state absolutists, who refuse to rethink and reevaluate failed policy and strategy because of an irrational or ideological commitment to it. This is dangerous stuff. Absolutism is innovation’s mortal enemy. It’s time to start thinking outside the Zionist box and look for solutions that secure the human rights and equality of all involved, and not simply the political demands of the stronger party."

However, as tempting as it is for me to want to blame the folks who support a two-state option, I don't believe they are the problem.  The problem, more precisely, is the Israeli people.  Replace "two-state absolutists" with "the Israeli people" and that's the solution.  Now before anyone get's livid, let me explain why . . . it really is quite simple.

Actually, there has been a one state solution for a very long time - two to three generations in reality - the entire time Israel has been occupying Palestinian Territory.  Israel has never intended to give up oPt, which is clearly demonstrated by all the hasbara, stalling, deprivation, and killing that has targeted Palestinians for over 60 years.  Yes, during that time some Palestinians have responded violently, in kind.  But that is not the issue anymore than the kid who finally punches the bully is the issue.  And, yes, I know, too, that technically "hasbara" does not mean "negative propaganda".   However, the fact is that Israel's public relations effort to make itself look good, as the noble victim, is most often at the expense of explanations that are twisted truth complex negative propaganda designed to blame the Palestinian people.

The political Zionist leadership  became the self-declared Israeli government in 1948 by declaring itself a nation in Palestine.  From day one their one-state solution, given as the choice to Palestinian people, was to leave or be killed.  There was consistent and frequent killing of Palestinian people a few at a time throughout the years, too many of them children; add to that the massacres of Deir Yassin, Jenin, Gaza, and the Sabra and Shatila Camps too, and it totally demonstrates that the 1948 absolutist mind-set of the Israeli government is still it's reality.

The only solution is a legal solution whereby Israel would stop violating International Laws (and Human Rights) regarding the way it treats an occupied people.  And nobody imagines Israel is willing to do that, let alone make reparations to the victims and their families because . . . the world has allowed Israel's deadly apartheid to continue.

Because the U.N. can not enforce International Laws, that leaves ONLY the Israeli people to make the Israeli government do what is right.  Even though the Israeli people have made progress, after 60+ years how likely does it seem they are willing to acknowledge the whole sordid reality - to the point of being  ready and willing to make their government do what is right?  I would like to believe that it is possible, but after 60 years I will not believe it until I see it.  Until the Israeli people are prepared to take a stand, the Israeli government will not stop the violating, the hasbara, the stalling, or the killing.  So . . .  it is actually the Israeli people who are standing in the way of progress.

What the Israeli people need to know is that should they choose to become the solution, they will have the worldwide support of all.  Without that knowledge how can they be expected to collectively summon the necessary courage?  Because until they do muster up the courage to be the solution that only they can be, they will remain the problem, even though at fault is their government.

Addendum:  Until the Israeli people collectively choose to be the win-win solution, their government will continue to victimize Palestinians.  Israel will continue to be destabilized, so too the entire Eastern Mediterranean region (known as Palestine for several thousands of years), and the larger Middle East region (including surrounding nations that do not speak Arabic) will continue to suffer and be destablized - the entire world in fact, because of an unnecessary, manufactured, one-sided, on-going war on an occupied people in violation of the Geneva Conventions.  We simply do not declare war on an occupied people.  When it does happen, the Geneva Conventions have a word for it: genocide.*
Only the Israeli people have the collective power to put a peaceful end to all the problems their government has created.  How much longer must the world wait?


*see: Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
in particular Article II which defines Genocide:

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

06 September 2013

United Nations Charter, Geneva Conventions, Protocols, and Related Documents

  • THE FOUR TREATIES OF THE GENEVA CONVENTION (I-III updated 1949, IV 12 August 1949).

    • I. Amelioration of the condition of the wounded and sick in armed forces in the field ICRC
    • II. Amelioration of the condition of wounded, sick and shipwrecked members of armed forces at sea ICRC
    • III. Treatment of Prisoners of War ICRC
    • IV. Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War ICRC

    Because the Fourth Geneva Convention calls for protection of civilians in time of war, it is particularly pertinent to the manner in which an occupying force is obligated to treat people in occupied territories.

    • Protocol I - Relating to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts [Chapter III. Journalists - Measures of protection for journalists] ICRC
    • Protocol II - Relating to the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts ICRC
    • Protocol III - Relating to additional distinctive emblems - universal character and protective value ICRC
    • Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCWC) Which May be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, as amended on 21 December 2001>
    • Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (pdf download from OHCHR)
      Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 39/46 of 10 December 1984 entry into force 26 June 1987, in accordance with article 27 (1)
    • Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
      Adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948. This is the "entry into force" document of 12 January 1951, in accordance with article XIII, of resolution 260 A (III) of 9 December 1948 approved and proposed for signature and ratification or accession by General Assembly. This is the "entry into force" document of 12 January 1951, in accordance with article XIII, of resolution 260 A (III) of 9 December 1948 approved and proposed for signature and ratification or accession by General Assembly. It includes a link to nations that ratified.

  • 04 September 2013

    Those Who Serve Our Nation

    Hello, good morning.  As usual, while watering the garden, ideas come to mind that I feel compelled to share, and ask what folks think.  I do realize that the perspective of the co-resident owners of my property, both permanent and nomadic (e.g.  cats, trees, bushes, flowers, edibles, lizards, birds, beetles, moths, grasshoppers, and the very few bees and butterflies compared to years past)  for whom I am caretaker, may be somewhat different than that of people, which is why I like to solicit the opinions of people other than myself.   So, here goes. 

    This is about current events . . .  specifically we might be able to most effectively influence our legislative body when it is being tasked to make a decision about the possibility of our nation engaging in an additional theatre of combat:  reinstate the draft - a universal draft.

    Most of the folks in government who are supposed to be, collectively, representing our best interests, have not served in the military.  So how is it that without that experience we can trust them, indeed how can they trust themselves, to be making decisions about going to war, especially when not taking into consideration what we, the people  have to say about engaging in what is little different in nature to folks in government than a remote geopolitical chess games that uses our troops and the targeted potential victims, as pawns? 

    It's not o.k. for a choice to enter combat to be made by these folks who are focusing in on the big picture of geopolitical issues associated with hoped for political gain for our nation, by defining those issues based on what is a faulty foundation of sketchy information that does not provide enough necessary facts, all together, to justify the assumptions being made upon which they are being tasked to make a decision.

    I have a solution that should result in the processes associated with considering any kind of combat, being far more likely to rely only on verified facts  along with the altruistic wisdom of those tasked by we, the people to make life and death decisions which will affect our nation, and the world in some way or another, for many decades to come - like combat always does. 

    Briefly, during the time I served, the military was working on  fixing the problems that had been identified during the Viet-Nam era.  As a result, one of those goals was for the military to be more family friendly, more family oriented, because after all it is entire families who are affected by the life of the service member.  So, acknowledgement of the importance of families resulted in more consideration of and support for military families who deal with unique challenges that must be handled properly when the service member is away or serving in combat.  And it is very clear there was amazing progress in reaching that goal.

    So, here's my suggestion.  Even with all the new technology being used on the battlefields, virtual and otherwise, we still need bodies, lots of bodies proportional to the amount of combat and occupying in which our military is simultaneously tasked by civilians, to engage.  Among the steps that could be taken to help in that respect, would be to reinstate the draft.  And in so doing it would also become mandatory for the children, grandchildren, or in some cases great-grandchildren of folks serving in government, to also serve a term of enlistment in the military.  Every able bodied  young man and woman in our nation within the specified age range who meets the specified standards, who has not yet served, needs to be required by law to sign up for a reinstated draft - period, end of sentence.  Of course bona fide exemptions must be defined and applied with less arbitrary favoritism than previously.

    I guarantee it would induce our legislators to be more careful about how they make decisions to go to war, and to more seriously consider the reality of the lack of wisdom in going to war, especially when it is not an act of defense, but instead unjustified aggression. 

    Reinstating the draft ought to also serve the purpose of many more citizens actually doing our collective job of being participatory citizens, in addition to voting, by educating ourselves about issues, questioning what does not sound right, discussing the issues with others, and taking our legislators to task by repeatedly requesting, as much as necessary, the accountability we, the people deserve from them, until we get it in ways that are actually satisfactory, rather than evasive and/or misleading.

    Draft you might be thinking?  Sure, no.   Americans would not like to see the draft reinstated, and I'm one of them.  I have able-bodied nieces and nephew of draft age whom I love dearly, and I do not want them to be drafted, nor extended family, friends, neighbors . . . in general, fellow Americans.  But when there is no end in sight to the need for troops, then there really is no other choice is there? 

    If there is to be no reinstatement of the draft then at least government needs to be more family oriented regarding folks who serve in government.  Instead of reinstating the draft let's simply make it mandatory for the children, grandchildren, or in some cases great-grandchildren of folks serving in government, to serve a term of enlistment in the military if they have not already done so  - every able bodied last young man and woman of them, within the specified age range who meets the specified standards. 

    Could there be a more heartwarming and supportive gesture in support of the folks serving in government, than to have their family members and other loved ones serve in the military, like Vice President and Dr. Biden's do?   It would demonstrate a belief in the wisdom of the difficult decisions the folks who serve in government must make.