04
Mon, Mar

I Had A (Bad) Dream

VOICES

ACCORDING TO LIZ - The U.K.-based watchdog Airwars called out the 116 civilians killed in the October 31st Israeli bombing of the Jabalia refugee camp by name. Including 69 children. Entire families wiped out. Collateral damage.

How can the U.S. media, in a country where many call for teachers to be trained to protect their students with weapons, express horror when a cache of guns is found in a Gazan school?

In the UK, while its leaders may voice support for Israeli aggression, the vast majority of its citizens are strongly opposed.

Here in the U.S., despite a populace split between support for the Israelis or for the Palestinians – both of whom are suffering – not to mention the many who just want to bury their heads in their social media fantasy worlds, a huge majority want a ceasefire, not the obliteration of Gaza.

Too many Americans can empathize with the fear of Israelis whose houses have been invaded and children kidnapped: why do you think so many have stockpiled so many guns themselves?

But they can also empathize with the fears of Palestinians huddling in their homes or fleeing the overwhelming fire power of the Israeli Defense Forces pumped up by American armaments.

Some had families in WW2 London who suffered the same during the Blitz, or on the continent when the Allied war machine drove the Nazi battalions back to Hitler’s bunker.

If the Jabalia attack had been authorized to assassinate a senior Hamas commander – identified by the Israeli military as Ibrahim Biari who led a network of Hamas fighters from tunnels under the camp – and destroy his base, how safe are we in Los Angeles?

At any given time, there are hundreds of terrorists from around the world hiding out in our city. If one happens to have a brother-in-law living in the house next door, does that sign my death warrant?

There are lots of tunnels under New York and Los Angeles – subways, infrastructure access, drains and more. Many have the ladders and power cables so proudly displayed by Israeli forces under Al-Shifa.

Even if information is incorrect – a Hamas spokesperson denied there was any senior commander at the hospital complex – if there is no terrorist hidden in my neighbor’s basement, I am just as dead.

Given the “high number of civilian casualties and the scale of destruction” following Israeli airstrikes on refugees, an exodus they drove, the UN human rights office has determined that Israel may be guilty of war crimes driving growing demands for International Criminal Court action.

There is no easy answer, no clear right and wrong, and that in itself is sleep-disrupting. And if I, removed from decision-making on the situation, am so disturbed, think about how gut-wrenching it is to be on the front lines be they in Israel or the State Department.

The American dream inverted – the sense of helplessness overwhelming.

Not being in control, not having any control, is psychologically debilitating. And therein lies the real danger. With all strictures of normal society removed, anything can happen.Our worst nightmares for several generations to come as those who grew up in this horror will suffer from PTSD throughout their lives.

The Israeli occupation, tacitly approved by most western governments whose non-outrage has been unrelentingly in unqualified support for the settlers on the West Bank and the suppression of any hope Palestinians have for a future. Violence has become the only way to attract the world’s attention.

Just as ongoing protests against our own politicians may be the only way to get their attention and turn them away from unconditional support for the genocidal government now ruling Israel.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously pointed out that there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

Ongoing murder by a trained space age military of primitive communities because terrorists using Vietnam-vintage tactics on their oppressors are embedded in places that should be safe havens – hospitals, schools, places of worship, one’s own home – only spurs further backlash.

If it was your child bleeding to death in your arms, what wouldn’t you do?

All actions have consequences – the Hamas incursion was a direct result of Israeli actions, pressure that increased until it became unbearable.

The United States should be actively pushing the entire world to engage with the humanity of the Palestinian people. Their resistance, both the intifadas and spin-off terrorist organizations, arose from the desperation of a perennially oppressed people.

To reverse the paradigm, the world needs to create a place for the people of Gaza and the West Bank where everyone has value, where Israelis treat Palestinians, all Palestinians, with respect and kindness.

Shift attitudes to one where all people are assumed to have the same intrinsic worth as each other.

When perceived through a lens of love and compassion, people see each other differently and will respond with the same love and respect.

Punishment and oppression will always breed resistance, but kindness brings out the best in everyone and, as it grows, multiplies and reinforces positive behavior.

Many native traditions around the world clearly delineate ethical behavior: fighting is only justified when the cause is just. A good warrior is one who goes into battle with a heavy heart because there is no other action and that all peaceful means of resolution have failed.

What will be the consequences of America’s overweening sense of rightness that is so wrong, the absolute denial of its manipulation by a small country that it once championed when it was right to do so?

Has the dream that birthed the United States now become the nightmare of a blind bully, a Golem, who unflinchingly follows Israel’s lead, destroying its own image here and abroad?

(Liz Amsden is a contributor to CityWatch and an activist from Northeast Los Angeles with opinions on much of what goes on in our lives. She has written extensively on the City's budget and services as well as her many other interests and passions. In her real life she works on budgets for film and television where fiction can rarely be as strange as the truth of living in today's world.)