Since the Israeli propaganda machine is fully intent on the “If HAMAS would stop firing missiles, we would stop defending ourselves” propaganda line, here is a little response I shared with a friend.
Yes, as a person committed to the power of nonviolence, I am opposed to HAMAS’s missiles, and do think they should stop immediately. Period.
And yet… I also have to add, and in the same breath add the following: There are profound problems with the “if HAMAS would stop, then Israel would stop” argument. It assumes a moral equivalence, it assumes a political equivalence, and it assumes a military equivalence. It affords Israel the unearned and undeserved place of “Israel is only retaliating” that is frankly complete untruth.
What’s missing? History.
If someone is genuinely interested, they would have to begin with the following two facts:
1) How did Gaza come to be one of the most densely populated places on Earth? Through the forceful “population transfer” (today we call it ethnic cleansing) of half of the indigenous Palestinian population in 1948. Palestine has gone from a place where 96% of the land was inhabited by Palestinians in the late 19th century to after 1948 and after the occupation of 1967 to where Palestinians have less than 22% of their land. That also includes the West Bank, where Palestinians live under a barbaric occupation that the South Africans like Desmond Tutu have said is worse than apartheid. (So that 22% is not even 22%.) So before someone gets to say “If only HAMAS would top”, how about saying “If only Israel would stop the occupation”, “If only would Israel would actually afford all of its citizens regardless of ethnicity the exact same level of rights and privileges.”
2) Having stated my opposition to HAMAS’s missiles (which let’s remember, have not killed anyone in this war, unlike the Israeli bombings using 800 tons of explosives), we are talking about the fourth largest military in the world–Israel–being backed by an American Empire that spends more on the military than the next 12 countries combined. So before someone objects to HAMAS militarism, how about getting the plank out of their own eye, the Israeli and the American?
May there be peace, may it be a just peace, and may it start with each of us.