MEL GURTOV – â€œThe problem with the Middle East is that you can try to turn your back on it, but it wonâ€™t turn its back on you,â€ said Martin S. Indyk, former US ambassador to Israel. And it hasnâ€™t: once again, Israelis and Palestinians are at war.
MAIREAD MAGUIRE – How can we explain that in the 21st century we are still training millions of men and women in our armed forces and sending them to war? There are more choices than war or peace, there are multi-optional choices and a civilian-based non-military diplomatic-political policy has more chance of succeeding in solving a violent conflict.
AJAMU BARAKA – The U.S. is conducting a curious humanitarian war against ISIS in Syria. While Kobani, the largely Kurdish district that straddles the border with Turkey is being attacked by ISIS forces and facing the very real possibility of mass civilian killings if it falls, U.S. military spokespersons claimed that they are watching the situation in Kobani and have conducted occasional bombing missions but that they are concentrating their anti-ISIS efforts in other parts of Syria. Those other efforts appear to consist of bombing empty buildings, schools, small oil pumping facilities, an occasional vehicle and grain silos where food is stored to feed the Syrian people. Turkey also seems to be watching as the Kurds of Kobani fight to the death against ISIS.
STEPHEN KINZER – Todayâ€™s conflicts illustrate the declining value of conventional military power. For many decades, the United States dominated the world mainly because we had the most potent military. We still do â€” but that no longer brings the dominance it once assured. For much of history, power has been won on the battlefield. Victory depended on your army. If it was bigger, stronger, and better led than the enemy, you would probably win. That charmingly simple equation is now evaporating
DR. TOM H. HASTINGS – More than any other time in the history of the conflict over the tiny ancient land we call Israel and Palestine, voters from a land across the sea hold unused power to change the basic course and outcomes of that conflict. At this time, those voters–who are also largely taxpayers–are keeping the conflict hotter and more bloody by their failure to prioritize the issue.
ABBA SOLOMON and NORMAN SOLOMON – Over the weekend, the New York Times sent out a clear signal: the mass slaughter of civilians is acceptable when the Israeli military is doing the killing. Under the headline â€œIsraelâ€™s War in Gaza,â€ the most powerful newspaper in the United States editorialized that such carnage is necessary. The lead editorial in the July 19 edition flashed a bright green light — reassuring the U.S. and Israeli governments that the horrors being inflicted in Gaza were not too horrible.
WIM LAVEN – A riveting letter is making its rounds from Dr. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor volunteering in Palestine. In it, Dr. Gilbert describes his first-hand account of Israelâ€™s boots on the ground in Gaza – the sounds of F16s, drones and Apache helicopters, â€œSo much made and paid in and by US,â€ blended with the screams, the smells, the sight of shivers and blood. He pleads, â€œMr. Obama – do you have a heart? I invite you – spend one night – just one night – with us in Shifa â€¦ I am convinced, 100 percent, it would change history.â€ Like President Obama, Iâ€™m complicit in this campaign of aggression in Gaza. We all are. The U.S. is using our money to pay for Israelâ€™s party of death.
KATHY KELLY – Last week, newly-arrived in Athens as part of the U.S. Boat to Gaza project, our team of activists gathered for nonviolence training. We are here to sail to Gaza, in defiance of an Israeli naval blockade, in our ship, “The Audacity of Hope.”
ZACHARY ROBINSON – To answer those who still believe that “humanitarian intervention” can take the form of cruise missiles, bombs and attack helicopters launched by the armed forces of the (former?) colonial powers — this is what real humanitarian intervention looks like.
URI AVNERY – We are in the middle of a geological event. An earthquake of epoch-making dimensions is changing the landscape of our region. Mountains turn into valleys, islands emerge from the sea, volcanoes cover the land with lava.
People are afraid of change. When it happens, they tend to deny, ignore, pretend that nothing really important is happening.
PAM RASMUSSEN BAILEY – I am living right now in northern Gaza. Israeli F-16s struck early this morning (1 a.m. Feb. 9). These were the closest I have ever been and the blasts were so loud and close I felt them in my bones. The child who was killed lived just a couple of streets over. The revolt in Egypt is crucial, but the world must not forget Gaza.
IPPNW — The following is a joint statement from the Palestinian and Israeli affiliates of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) on the recent violence at sea. This statement is the product of unique and powerful collaboration, with physicians transcending political and ideological divisions to speak out with a common voice for peace and humanity.
NORMAN SOLOMON — When Israel attacked the Gaza aid flotilla, Congresswoman Jane Harman was engaged in a parallel assault. Israelâ€™s government relied on the efficacy of violence; Harmanâ€™s campaign was counting on the power of paid media. In both cases, the targets were advocates of human rights for Palestinian people.
JEAN ATHEY: We are in the Middle East, seeking a nonviolent solution to the blockade of Gaza. Free Gaza actions are occurring all over Cairo, and so the police, who are often in riot gear, have had a busy day â€” they show up wherever we go. They are incredibly young, maybe 18 or 19. Typically, they surround us with moveable steel fences, which they line up behind and they watch us with what seems to be curiosity, not malice.
NANCY HEDRICK: Recent activism and awareness-building events around the Israel-Palestine issue and the ongoing siege in Gaza are in contrast with an unfortunate vote in Congress to support belligerent actions by Israel once again.