The profoundly depressing violence in Gaza, Lebanon and Israel continues unabated. Whilst heartbreaking war and conflict is hardly new in this region, or many other parts of the world, I can’t shake the feeling that this particular outbreak will hit us much more directly. I posted some thoughts on this piece a few weeks ago, followed by a few more posts giving links to many different perspectives and views about the conflict.
It is awful that all this time later, there is still no ceasefire. Although moves towards a ceasefire are finally starting to creak into action, the humanitarain crisis in many parts of Lebanon and Gaza is becoming extremely serious, with some hospitals being unable to operate, and the delivery of aid and fuel supplies being blocked.
There have been war crimes committed on both sides of the Israel-Lebanon border, but when our government stands arm in arm with the USA in condemning only one side, while supporting and encouraging the other, we are laying the groundwork for (and involving ourselves more directly in) an even deeper and wider sense of grievance and injustice which is likely to bear bitter fruit for many years to come.
This is not only a blind eye being turned to an enormous injustice, it is in some respects a calculated encouragement of it by not pushing strongly for an immediate ceasefire, let alone helping to arm some of the antagonists.
The deliberate targeting of Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure, with a quarter of that country’s population now refugees in their own land, and the calculated strategy of devastating Lebanon as a country is something which cannot be and should not accepted, even if one accepts that the bombing of civilians and a long-established UN outpost have all been accidental.
The insistence that people in the south of Lebanon abandon their homes or else be seen as combatants (and therefore targets) is simply unacceptable, particularly given that people from that region are well aware of recent history where people forced from their homes by Israeli forces have not been able to return.
Feelings of powerless in the face of unacknowledged injustice can very easily turn into anger, rage and worse. At such times it is important to find ways to reach out to people rather than lash out. That’s why I found this piece – A Time for Muslim-Jewish Solidarity – by Australian Muslim blogger and commentator, Ifran Yusuf, particularly laudable.