February 25, 2009
By Nathan Harmon
Outside of a teach-in session about Gaza and Israel, a professor told me that here in America, we are about the future. A light started shining in his eyes. I felt inspired.
Today is a new day, but it seems that the past cannot rest in some portions of the world.. In Gaza, where the prophets once walked, there has been a terrible act of violence, carried out by Israel.
I must ask myself, am I playing a role in the destruction? I am afraid that, unfortunately, as an American, I am responsible.
I am responsible for the actions of this government, the United States of America, because I am a taxpayer and I vote. I place people in power that are supposed to serve me and the rest of “we the people.” I am also responsible for apathy and ignorance of international affairs, like wars, famine, and oppression.
When bombs fell on Gaza this past December, a month before President Obama’s inauguration, I barely noticed, thinking this is a thing of the past that really cannot be solved. This violence in the Middle East is the status quo.
But then, the casualty counts and the photographs and the videos of children in hospital beds barely alive or buried already repulsed me. The bombing continued and the ground invasion began. As the dust settles and the tentative cease fire continues, most continuing coverage of Gaza is erased by omission in the media.
About 1,300 Gazans were killed, within the closed borders imposed by Israel; and Israel does not allow enough sustenance for a fraction of the 1.4 million Gazans. According to the Nobel Prize-winning Jimmy Carter, in an interview with Democracy Now, Israel only allows 15 to 25 percent of the necessary fuel to enter Gaza, so Gazans faced starvation before the Israeli offensive began.
The Gazans killed in the offensive, including hundreds of children and innocent civilians, far outnumber the Israelis killed. And why is this? How come the Israeli offensive killed and injured so many more Gazans than rocket strikes did Israelis? Hamas still declared victory when the offensive was said and done.
How much U.S. foreign aid goes to Israel? According to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, 1/3 of our foreign aid goes to Israel. That is about equal to the foreign aid given to Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean combined. Also, the Israelis are exempt from the regular procedures involved in acquiring and spending this foreign aid. It is against the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act to provide money to violators of human rights and those who do not sign the nuclear non-proliferation act. Israel has defied the most United Nations resolutions of any country in the world, supported by the United States military aid and military/political power.
The vast majority of U.S. citizens are not gaining anything from the $10 million paid to Israel a day, especially when Israel carries out injustice after injustice and supercharged violence on people that cannot even afford basic necessities, much less sophisticated US-made weapons.
Movements to stop this aid of occupation have begun around the world and are widespread. SUSTAIN (Stop US tax-funded Aid to Israel Now!) and even Jews who are against the occupation have been seen and heard in the press lately. Actually, the vast majority of the world is already against this injustice against Palestine.
Let us prepare for a new day of peace in the Middle East. Let us be just. Let us be human. Let us be fair. And let us make sure, especially in times of economic crisis, that our dollars go to the right place and that unjust policies and tactics are not carried out in our name.