January 11, 2009

Israel, Gaza, and [the] US

I would like to make a quick note about the situation in Gaza as it is prominent in the news lately. First of all, most people will realize that there is nothing new going on here. Israelis and Palestinians have been bashing it out for decades. I could spend a lot of time talking about the history of this bashing. I could talk about the atrocities committed by both sides. I could present either side's case for its claim to ownership of the land. I could talk about the lopsidedness of the forces involved and those that suffer because of it. But it all is beside the point I hope to make. The point is: It's none of the United States' business.
And yet, the US government has been making it its business since the creation of the state of Israel. Sure, there are many reasons why, but none of them convinces me that it is in our national interest, security-wise or otherwise, to officially support Israel militarily or financially.
Israel can take care of itself. It has proven this for many years. Its enemies are vastly unequal to its power militarily. Israel cannot possibly need the military support of the United States. Furthermore, our support of other countries who are historically enemies of Israel has been counterproductive. Why do we continue to support both sides of an ongoing war? Are we not facilitating its perpetuation by our meddling?
These interventions have not made us safer or more prosperous as a nation. In fact, they have made us less secure by inciting hatred toward us in the Middle East and elsewhere. At the same time, our military ventures have placed undue strain on our financial resources, the consequences of which we are experiencing now.
Another point I would like to make is about Iran. Some have recently suggested that Iran has been supporting Hamas against Israel and that we should intervene to stop this. Frankly, I cannot understand this argument, even if the accusations are true. If we oppose Iranian (foreign) involvement in an area that Iran deems necessary to its interests, why should we not also oppose our own involvement in the area? Is this not a gross contradiction in principle?
Now, I do not wish to take sides in this conflict. Experience and research has shown me that there is not truly a side to which justice belongs and therefore I could commit myself. However, even if there were, this would not justify the intervention of our government in affairs over which it has absolutely no authority.
I am hoping to get some response to this post. What are your opinions on the conflict? What do you know about its history? What do you think the role of the United States should be, if any?


Liz said...

While I haven't done a ton of reading on the history of the conflict, I have learned a good amount in Hebrew classes (and not only the Israeli side). My personal opinion is pretty much in line with what you said, Ben: both sides have done stupid things and I'm not sure either is "right." I am considerably disturbed, however by the difference in casualties in the current conflict. I have always been bugged by the US's staunch support for Israel, even when they're doing things that are obviously overstepping or provoking. It just seems like we should let them do the stupid things they're going to do without having to give so much vocal support. I don't think there's anything wrong with having Allies, and perhaps even supporting them if they're being attacked, but the way things have gone over the last 10-15 years....

BEN said...

Yes, I am also quite disturbed when I hear that a few Israeli civilians have minor injuries from the rockets, while almost 1,000 Palestinians have died (mostly women and children). There have been a few Israeli deaths, but they are all soldiers who actually went into Gaza, so they wouldn't have died either if Israel hadn't gone into Gaza. Anyway, the disproportionality of it all does seem to weaken the Israeli argument of self-defense.

Taylor and Stephanie said...

I also agree. It's very difficult to say who's right, what we can say is they are both wrong for continuing to kill each other without any real desire to stop or forgive.

We don't need to help Israel out at all. They are plenty powerful to take care of themselves. Which always makes me chuckle when I hear things like "we need to attack Iran before they get nukes" Israel won't let Iran get nukes. Lets just stay out of that mess.