I believe that the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
I believe all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of kinship, love and tolerance.
I don't believe in distinction of any kind, such as
- race, colour, ethnicity, nationality
- sex, gender identity
- sexual orientation
- language, culture
- religion, spirituality
- political opinion
- any opinion
- origin (social, national or any other kind)
- age
- weight, size
- looks, beauty or lack of it
- disability or illness, visible or invisible, of mind or body
- property, wealth
- birth
- other status or identity

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Just talking...

A Swedish social democratic politician thinks Israel's attack on Gaza during the last days of 2008 was the "genocide of the year". I commented on this, pointing out some of the incidents where more people have been killed, people who have NOT been shooting rockets at other people, during 2008. I went to Genocide Watch, Stop Genocide Now, Genocide Intervention Net and Genocide Info, and for some reason none of these sites reckon Gaza as a genocidial problem.

Navi Pillay, UN's High COmmissioner for Human Rights, when asked whether the Israeli Government’s blockade of Gaza and prevention of humanitarian aid from reaching the territory’s Palestinian population was genocide, said it was up to the courts to examine, on a case-by-case basis, whether genocide had occurred.
(Navanethem Pillay is a judge from RSA and was working as an attorney in RSA frm 1967 to 1995, providing legal defence for opponents of apartheid. She was born 1941 as a daughter of a bus driver from a poor Indian section of Durban, so she knows very well the apartheid problematics.)

Genocide is defined as certain acts committed with intent to destroy a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.
War is not a genocide, though genocide can happen during wartime.
Efforts to kill all the members of Hamas, Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad, Al-Aqsa Martyrs and what ever they call themselves is not a genocide.

Gaza blockade fulfills the definition in that it is "a certain act" - "inflicting on the group conditions of life" and "serious bodily or mental harm", and because the people living in Gaza are almost only Palestinians. The problem lies in "intention to destroy". (In fact, Hamas IS involved in genocide by its clearly expressed intention to empty "Palestine" of Jews through violent means. Their effectivity and resources are totally irrelevant.)

I don't think Gaza blockade counts as genocide. It doesn't make it ok, naturally, but things doesn't need to be super horrible to be bad. I dislike exaggerations and sensationalism. Makes me think "if the situation isn't bad enough as it is, but must be colored, magnified, boosted and retouched, then the situation probably isn't bad at all."

I neither think the current attack on Gaza is a genocide. IF the Palestinians hadn't used the time to shooting rockets on Israel, THEN I might agree. IF Gaza had used the opportunity of Israel leaving the area to build up the area, to build the port, to open up for a peaceful interaction with Egypt, Europe, Jordan and other countries - it wouldn't have needed to do any business with Israel.

(Might have been a good idea to accept the water offer though. How many of you know that Israel has offered to GIVE water to Gaza from the same desalination plant that provides water to southern Israel? That Gaza refused to accept anything from Israel? That Gaza shoots at the desalination plant? That Gaza dumps untreated sewage in the Mediterranean to "punish" Israel? How many of you know that Israel STILL funds Gaza's sewage treatment plants, provides them with all the necessary parts and the fuel needed to run the plants, but that Gazans sabotage the plants, because of this and because it harms Israel? How many of you know that Israel reuses sewage water to water the agriculture, while Palestine uses pure drinking water? How many of you know that Gaza refuses to accept any desalination plants, even though USA and Israel are willing to build them, for free, simply because it is USA and Israel who are offering this deal. How many of you know that Gaza demands a waterline from Jordan and West Bank aquifiers even though Jordan needs to water almost the whole Jordania and it would be water economically sounder to desalinate sea water?)

It didn't. President Abbas tried, but Hamas used the time to complain, to accuse, to attack.
Sure, Israel froze the tax money, BUT ONLY FOR A YEAR. President Abbas managed to negotiate forth the payment of the money, which was supposed to go to humanitarian needs. The Palestinians used the money to pay the salaries in stead... No "Pro-Palestinian" has mentioned that the tax money has been paid to PA, as it was supposed to.
Sure, some other countries, among them EU, stopped giving monetary aid to Palestine as well, but it was conditional. Hamas would have gotten the money, if they'd only recognize Israel, renounce the violence and respect earlier agreements. Hamas refused.
Now, Israel exists. Israel is a fact. You don't have to like the fact, but to refuse to acknowledge a fact for a principle, when the people you have promised to govern fairly and well is starving...? Stupid, fundamentalist stubborness.
Renounce the violence? Easy. No-one expected more than "we won't attack, but we will defend ourselves when attacked". Hamas thinks that's not fair... Neither do the "Pro-Palestinians". As said, "truce a la Hamas: we may try to damage you as much as we can, you may not even think of responding."
Respecting earlier agreements? A government that won't respect the deals and agreements the earlier governments have committed to, is not worth the positition.
Hamas was not ready for a political assignment. It's still just a terrorist organization. "Resistance fighters" are not good politicians. The expectations and qualifications are too different. (Fatah and President Abbas are a good example of that a "resistance fighter" can BECOME a politician. One needs to be mature enough to overlook the personal emotions and grievances, stop reacting and start thinking.)

Nevertheless, I read this here:
"Fundamentally, genocide is a product of the type of government a country has. There is a high correlation between the degree of democratic freedom a people enjoy and the likelihood that the government will commit democide. Modern democratic governments have committed virtually no domestic genocide. Those governments that commit the most genocide have been totalitarian governments, while those that committed lesser genocide have been partially or wholly authoritarian and dictatorial. "
Israel is a democracy. Might be a selective democracy, but it is a democracy. I also read this:

Defending Israel from democracy, by Jonathan Cook, Electronic Intifada

It is a very interesting article, made me think of several things...

Palestinians' birth rate is higher because they are in such a difficult situation - economical crisis, war makes people breed. If Israel wanted to diminish the births, Israel should better their situation, especially the women's situation. The more educated and socially free a woman is, the lesser children she'll have.

If Israel was a true liberal democracy, not only for Jews but for all of its citizens, the Jews wouldn't need to worry about being fewer than non-Jews. I'm Finnish and we used to be under Swedish rule. Today we have a Finnish Swedish minority, with a clearly defined own culture and language. Finland is known all over the world with its Swedish name. Finland has two official languages. I don't see any problems in taking this course in Israel.
Let all who want call it Israel and all who want call it Palestine.
Make Israel and Arabic the official languages (as Philistine is forgotten).
Let everyone live where they want to live.
In my mind, when both parties want the land "from the river to the sea", both parties should share it. Not fight about which piece is mine and which is yours and what should this speck of dirt be called.

"I have been arguing for some time that Israel's ultimate goal is to create an ethnic fortress, a Jewish space in expanded borders from which all Palestinians will be excluded."
That's what the Pro-Palestinians want. "Palestine will be free (from Jews) from the river to the sea".

"That was the purpose of the Gaza disengagement..."
What ever the "malicious plans" of Israel were, Israel LEFT Gaza and did not put Gaza in blockade at that time. Gaza got a very nice opportunity to build up, to heal, to fix, to mend, to develop, to prosper. One should actually look a little closer at the Palestinian responsibility in all that.

Hamas IS Israel's enemy. Claiming anything else would be stupid. Israel has no obligation to try to make things smooth for Hamas. No state is obligated to have good relations with other states. Hamas doesn't NEED to recognize Israel, Israel doesn't NEED to recognize Hamas as the governing party of Palestine. As simple as that.
Claiming that the Palestinian people wanted Hamas is not quite true either. Yes, Hamas won the democratic election of Palestine - with about 5 units. They didn't get even half of the votes. Meaning that at least 3/5 of Palestinians did NOT want Hamas. Many who voted for Hamas would not vote for them today.

"The Bedouin in the Negev are being reclassified as trespassers on state land"
Obviously no-one really wanted the land, except to be able to call it one's own... There are some Nabatean ruins there. When the Romans came, the population consisted mostly of Nabateans and Bedouins. Even though it was part of Greater Israel, and there has been Jews living in the area for at least 4000 years, they have been very few and they were mostly herds...
What is happening in Negev with the Bedouin is really upsetting. Reminds me of the fights between the Sapmi people and the governments of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia. The Bedouins have been living alone, in peace, in Negev for the last 1000 years, and they haven't damaged the "sensitive nature" during that time, so claiming that they'd do that is ridiculous and preposterous. Bad Israel!

"a loyalty scheme to deal with the remaining Palestinians: pledge an oath to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state or face being stripped of your rights and possibly expelled."
Come on, now! Either you want to be a citizen of Israel or not. If not, don't expect to be able to live in Israel and have the same civil rights as the citizens. That is not a sign of some elitist genocidal plan, but totally normal state policy. The citizens of ANY country have rights non-citizens don't have, and that's exactly as it should be. At least the Palestinians living in Israel Proper have the right to become Israeli citizens. Palestinians living in Lebanon have no right to become Lebanese, Palestinians living in Jordan have no right to become Jordanian.

Now, if you don't want to live in Israel, why should you? If you want to live in Palestine, you should be able to live in Palestine. If Palestine is supposed to be "within the -67 borders", that doesn't include Israel Proper. If you want to live in Palestine, but currently live in Israel, you HAVE to move. This too is a simple fact, not some "ethnic cleansing sceme". Now, taking the Jewish settlers out of the West Bank and replacing them with the Palestinians currently living in Israel Proper who doesn't want to become Israelis - what wrong with that? In what way is that "ethnic cleansing"?

I read about Azmi Bishara, I read about Tali Fahima and I read about Zakaria Zubeidi.
We have a politician who "called for "expanding the sphere of resistance" against "Israel's dictates" so that "people can carry on with the struggle." Bishara praised Hizbullah as a "heroic" example of "Islamic resistance." Eh...? When he was facing the trial, he chose to flee in stead of stand, like Sheikh Raad Saladh, who also sat his three years in prison and is more popular today than ever.
We have a Jewish woman, who went to Jenin to help the Palestinians. "The girl who crossed the line".
As far as I know, she hasn't done anything bad, just stupid. (I'm not talking about going to Jenin and trying to help the children. That's not stupid.) Sounds more like Israel's Jane Fonda. She got three years, she too. Later when Zakari Zubeidi requested a leave from his house arrest to get some ward to his hurt eyes, she called him "the whore of the security service". She has been calling people this and that, and probably she thinks terrorism is the way to go for the Palestinian people. "Intifada visar vägen (Intifada shows the road)", as they were chanting here 10 years ago in a demonstration against Israel. Unfortunately, Intifada shows the road to hell - for all. None of the intifadas have brought anything good to the Palestinians. Intifada shows the road to the Wall. Intifada shows the road to Gaza's blockade.
Is it wrong? Does it warrant being thrown to jail for three years? I wouldn't be surprised if she was just like every other "Pro-Palestinian" I've met. It is interesting how easily good intentions and compassion can be turned into hatred and rigidity. Three years in jail, won't work. On the contrary.
"...like in the Fahima case, the fact that he identified with the enemy during wartime..."
Excuse me? If I identify myself with the enemy, I will identify my country with my enemy as well. Then if I get convicted for being an enemy of the state, I should agree.

"the Basic Law on Freedom and Human Dignity, intentionally does not mention equality anywhere in its text."
Why would it? It says "any person", "all persons", "a person". A person is a man, a woman, white, black, blue, Palestinian, Arab, Jew, Muslim, Druze, a child, an old person, handicapped, politician, priest... a person. Any person. "There shall be no violation of the dignity of any persont", "There shall be no deprivation or restriction of the liberty of a person".

Main point, I think, is that I don't believe Israel needs to have the majority of Jews to be the Jewish state. The idea is to give a land to people with no land. A place to call "home". It doesn't matter if my home is shared by others, as long as I can come home when the going gets tough. It doesn't matter who leads the country, if he/she isn't giving his/her own people any benefits. It doesn't matter who watches over the holy places as long as I have an access to them and it is guaranteed that the holy places aren't denigrated. So it doesn't matter if the Jews are a 1/3 minority of Israel.

But Israel seems to think otherwise. The Arabs seem to think
otherwise. Pro-Palestinians seem to think otherwise. So, the time being, Israel MUST have the majority of Jews to be able to stay a Jewish state.

About the Jordan Israel peace treaty 1994 - " the dangerous and false Zionist claim that “Jordan is Palestine.”"

Actually it is not false nor Zionist. We are talking about the British mandate of Palestine, which included both Trans-Jordanian Palestine and Coastal Palestine. "Trans-" means meaning "across", "beyond", "through". More than 70% of the British Palestine was on the "other side" of Jordan.

Interesting is that this FACT is called "dangerous and false Zionist claim". It is because the Jordanians know well, that they live in the land area put aside to be given to the Arab inhabitants of the British Palestine, and that Israel - the "occupied areas" included - is the land area put aside to be given to the Jewish inhabitants of the Ottoman empire - all according to the agreements made before WWI and the war against the Ottoman empire - all the people living in the Ottoman empire who would help Great Britain and France against the Ottomans would be rewarded with a land of their own. If people knew this, they might not be so eager to think there is a Palestinian people whose land was stolen BY THE JEWS, when in fact it was "stolen" by Arabs.
Arabs never acknowledged the Jews' right to get their reward in land for what they did to aid the Brits and the French during the breakage of the Ottoman empire. In fact, the Arabs never acknowledged ANYONE ELSE'S RIGHT TO LAND EITHER.

"The Middle East like many other regions of the world, is heterogeneous and comprises of numerous ethnic, national, religious and linguistic societies, groups and sects. Much of the troubles facing this region revolve around the treatment or mistreatment of its minority population. Most of the post-Ottoman states are yet to evolve a national identity that would encompass and reflect their multi-ethnic social composition."
-- Alternatives Journal, Minorities in Middle East

Circassians, for example, are a people who asked for a state of their own, and was turned down by the French and later by the Arabs. Assyrians don't have a country of their own and are persecuted in the countries they live. Kurds don't have an own country. Palestinians are discriminated against everywhere in the Middle East, not only in Israel. Jews are being discriminated against everywhere in the Middle East, except in Israel, and in some cases even there. (Some of the ethnic Jews immigrating from Russia are antisemites, some orthodox Jewish groups discriminate every non-orthodox Jewish group.)

P.P.S. "Antisemite" is a misnomer, meaning, it has nothing to do with the Semitic people or people speaking Semitic languages. It means explicitly "Jew-hate". It is well established and there are no reasons to change the meaning of the word to include all "Semitic" people - or to exclude the Semitic people from suspicion of being antisemitic.
In fact, people who hate all Semitic peoples are very few. 99% of them are very selective and hate either only Jews, only Arabs or only Palestinians. People who hate all Semitic people usually hate everyone else too.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Xian logic

Pope Benedict XVI formerly known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
and Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez of Chile

A week ago the Pope compared homosexuals and transsexuals (and transgendered people) to global warming and pollution - something human beings have to be saved from...

About three weeks ago, a Chilean cardinal said Madonna (the pop artist) offends God - thank God for people like Augusto Pinochet.

"this woman is visiting and with incredibly shameful behavior provokes a wild and lustful enthusiasm. Thoughts of lust, impure thoughts, impure acts, are an offense to God and a dirty stain on our heart"
-- Cardinal Jorge Medina

Well... Jorge, if that is what you think when you look at her, you shouldn't, perhaps, be looking at her. You might need to dig out your own eye.

Lust is only one of the seven deadly sins. I find it interesting how some Xians tend to forget this.

One of the others is greed, or "Avarice".
"Avarice is a more of a blanket term that can describe many other examples of greedy behavior. These include disloyalty, deliberate betrayal, or treason, especially for personal gain, for example through bribery. Scavenging and hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all actions that may be inspired by greed."

Another one is wrath
"Wrath (or anger or "Rage") can manifest as vehement denial of the truth, both to others and in the form of self-denial, impatience with the procedure of law, and the desire to seek revenge outside of the workings of the justice system and generally wishing to do evil or harm to others. The transgressions borne of vengeance are among the most serious, including murder, assault, and in extreme cases, genocide."

In my mind Pinochet &Co's show of both avarice and wrath - and envy and pride as well - is more a stain than Madonna's show. Madonna, her lyrics or behavior has not inspired me to impure thoughts or acts. Pinochet's crimes against humanity, his cowardly avoidance of legal consequences to his hideous acts, the "hero worship" of "his" people, a cardinal praising a greedy and hateful villain, that inspires me to "impure thoughts" - I get angry every time I think of the... Yuk. There just aren't words ugly enough to describe the...
Yeah... talk about impure thoughts.

Salvador Allende had something Pinochet wanted...