Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gaza Day 27

It is not at all clear that at least part of the reason Israel invaded Gaza wasn't to recover a single prisoner. Please recall that Israel invaded Lebanon in 2006, (causing multiple civilian causalities and destroying a large amount of its infrastructure) because of the attack on its border soldiers.
The war began on 12 July, when Israel launched waves of air strikes on Lebanon after Hezbollah killed three soldiers and captured two more on the northern border.
Fast forward to 2009:
Israeli Cabinet Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who takes part in security deliberations, told Army Radio on Thursday that Israel wouldn't let border crossings with Gaza reopen without a deal to free Schalit (an Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit, captured by Hamas in 2006. ed).
In line with the vast discrepancy of injuries and deaths in the current Gaza crisis (well over 1,000 Palestinian deaths, many of them children, vs the Israeli death toll at about 12, at least three from "friendly fire") we have Israel obsessing over a single soldier. In the meantime:
Many Palestinian families have relatives in Israeli prisons and prisoner releases are of supreme importance in Palestinian society. Israel holds some 10,000 Palestinian prisoners in all. (emphasis added)
Doesn't this bring to mind a prior conflict?
The War of Jenkins' Ear was a conflict between Great Britain and Spain that lasted from 1739 to 1742. Its unusual name relates to Robert Jenkins, captain of a British merchant ship, who exhibited his severed ear in Parliament following the boarding of his vessel by Spanish coast guards in November 1739. This affair and a number of similar incidents sparked a war against the Spanish Empire, ostensibly to encourage the Spanish not to renege on the lucrative asiento contract (permission to sell slaves in Spanish America).
We have not come very far, if at all, since 1739.

4 comments:

Vivid said...

Very interesting thoughts, thank you.

I am about to post some of my own thoughts on Gaza, which have been influenced by your recent posts. I'd like to use one of your Gaza photos (and of course link back to you): would that be OK?

Dr. C said...

Vivid,
Thanks for visiting. You can certainly use all of the pictures since they come from the Yahoo slideshows on Gaza:
http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Israeli-troops-invade-Gaza/ss/events/wl/122708gazastrike
Dr. C.

Felix Grant said...

In principle, I don't find "obsessing over one soldier" bizarre. Each individual is, after all,important; and Isra'el has, after all, built its modern history on a version of "no man left behind". Besides, states regularly use flimsy excuses for violence they wanted to unleash anyway (and Jenkins' ear is a good example).

What does strike me as bizarre is the public psychopathology of an electorate which is willing to be conned into sacrificing numbers of soldiers to regain one.

Aside to Vivid: good to see you in here, and I'll look forward to your Gaza thoughts.

ahmedag@pol.net said...

Dear Dr C
As an American citizen of Egyptian background, I was impressed to hear voices that managed to see the picture from a more balanced side. I don't expect the American foreign policy to change 180 degree, but I want it to live to the true values of the founding fathers and be a beacon for jusice and fairness. Looking forward for more thoughtful exchange of ideas, yours trult,