15 January 2009

How Long is the Gaza Attack Going to Go On?

A friend of mine chastised me yesterday for not posting on the subject of the Israeli attack in the Gaza strip. Fair enough-- I had not done so before because it didn't seem "St. Louis" or "Catholic" enough to fit the blog mission, but the killing of thousands of people who can do little to defend themselves is worth decrying, and is certainly a Catholic issue.

The Israelis bombed a UN building yesterday (by "grave mistake")-- and only the fact that war is not a joking matter prevents me from commenting that it may be the only good outcome of the attack so far.

The Vatican is calling for a cease-fire. I pulled this VIS story from the Archdiocesan website:

Gaza: Cease-Fire and a Return to Negotiations

VATICAN CITY (VIS)—The Vatican released on January 12 an address by Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, C.S., Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations at Geneva, delivered during the ninth special session of the Human Rights Council, on "the grave violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian Territory, including the recent aggression of the occupied Gaza Strip."

The English-language address, delivered on January 9 and touching on such subjects as solidarity with victims of extreme violence and appeals for a cease-fire and a return to negotiations, intended to express the Holy See's "solidarity with both the people in Gaza, who are dying and suffering because of the ongoing military assault by the Israeli Defense Forces, and the people in Sderot, Ashkelon, and other Israeli cities who are living under the constant terror of rocket attacks launched by Palestinian militants from within the Gaza Strip, which have caused casualties and wounded a number of people."

The archbishop mentioned the initiative taken by patriarchs and heads of Churches of Jerusalem who declared January4 "as a day of prayer with the intention to put an end to the conflict in Gaza and to restore peace and justice in the Holy Land." He also recalled the pope's comments during the Angelus on that day and his meeting with members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See on January 8, during which he reiterated "that military options are no solution and that violence, wherever it comes from and whatever form it takes, must be firmly condemned."

"It is evident," Archbishop Tomasi went on, "that the warring parties are not able to exit from this vicious circle of violence without the help of the international community that should therefore fulfill its responsibilities, intervene actively to stop the bloodshed, provide access for emergency humanitarian assistance, and end all forms of confrontation."

"At the same time," he added, "the international community should remain engaged in removing the root causes of the conflict that can only be resolved within the framework of a lasting solution of the greater Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the international resolutions adopted during the years."


KC said...

Sometimes it is necessary to tell our friends to get their own blogs. Your initial instinct was the correct one. This subject is an intractable one that cannot receive justice in a simple blog post. There are virtues and vices on both side. All that said, Israel at least phones ahead when they send rockets to military targets that are purposely placed among civilians. Hamas does not call ahead and sends rockets (to the extent they can aim them) into strictly civilian areas.

Alison said...

Everything, as Joseph Sobran once put it, is a Catholic issue. Still, it is your blog and you should write what you want.
That being said, it was not an "Israeli attack." They were returning fire.

Anonymous said...

The death ratio in the ongoing Palestinian/Israeli conflict is about 700 to 1, guess which is which. Thats not war, thats murder. The two previous posters are to indoctrinated, to cowardly and to repulsive to bother with. The American mind hasn't just closed, its become insane.

Cato said...

If a mere recitation of facts as found in the MSM is "to (sic) repulsive to bother with", then, why did you?

Br. Andrew M. McAlpin, O.P. said...

The Hamas Charter states that Israel must be destroyed. The Gaza Palestinians voted Hamas as the political leaders. You reap what you sow. I am not defending war, but this is no surprise. The Middle East Islamic nations continue to use the Palestinians in order to goad Israel into war. It is a no-win situation for Israel.

Anonymous said...

Yes those Palestinian children certainly had it coming, I hate them. And the Israelis always phone ahead, its not their fault the Palestinians dont have phones, or electricity. And if a starving child threw a rock at me I wouldnt hesitate to run him over with my car, its just returning fire. Well I'm off to the abortion clinic to protest the wanton destruction of the innocent.

thetimman said...

This topic does raise the blood pressure a bit. The biggest problem is that we in this country aren't well informed about the situation on the ground. Any country has a right to defend itself from attack, but this action is not designed to defend, but to preemptively neuter.

Certainly, Brother Andrew, Israel is in the crosshairs. But certainly, the Gaza action is like shooting fish in a barrel. It needs to stop.

I am not a fan of Islamic jihad, to say the least-- as anyone reading this blog could tell in about .00002 seconds. But this is not your classic "just war".

Anonymous said...

Birds Linked To al-Qaeda Attack Plane
January 16, 2009, Matthew Good
Yesterday, in the skies over New York, birds believed to be linked to al-Qaeda attacked US Airways flight 1549. Thankfully, due to the actions of veteran pilot Chesley Sullenberger III, the plane completed a textbook emergency water landing in the Hudson River, after which all 155 souls on board were rescued.

According to US intelligence agencies, numerous radical Islamic websites posted a statement by Ayman al-Zawahiri claiming that the birds had been trained at a secret al-Qaeda run camp in Pakistan. Unnamed US intelligence sources have said that they believe that the operatives most likely arrived in the US in the fall and covertly assimilated themselves into the migratory patterns of North American birds.

The White House has yet to confirm the link between the birds and al-Qaeda, though it is believed that the FBI has taken several hundred birds into custody since the incident and is holding them at an undisclosed location.

Br. Andrew M. McAlpin, O.P. said...

It is a difficult situation for Israel because Hamas continues to reject peace initiatives and threatens suicide bombing at the same time demanding open boarders. Humanitarian aid keeps being sent in and no one reports it. Schools are wired with bombs. The world needs to stand firmly against Hamas or no peace will ever be possible. As has been stated time and again by the IDF, the Palestinians are not the enemy nor the target.

This is why I will put out this idea in regards to the just war theory: this fits proportionality in that the goal is an end to rocket launches into civilian lands in Israel and an end to terrorist groups who threaten and destroy even their own people. If the enemy does not surrender, the expedition must continue.


StGuyFawkes said...

Hamas deliberately places their arsenals under hospitals and in other civilian areas sure to bear the brunt of the Israeli attacks.

Hamas wants civilian deaths. THey do this so that even if they lose they win in the publicity war against Israel.

I agree with Br. McAlpin. Peace will only come when Palestinians are willing to vote Hamas out of office.

Ask yourself, what other choice does Israel have other than to open themselves up to self annihilation.

BTW Sobran is one of the wittiest Catholic writers in America. He's also an anti-semite of the worst kind.

thetimman said...

Brother Andrew, I'm on a work deadline, but I will come back to this-- others need not wait.


I don't think Sobran is an anti-semite. That name is too easy to throw around if someone opposes Israeli foreign policy.

StGuyFawkes said...


Take a look at the Sobran quotes William Buckley assembled in his late work "In Search of Anti-Semitism".

It's enough to get you past the idea that Sobran is merely a critic of Israeli policy.

Buckley's contention is that Sobran passes the threshold of spirited disagreement by concocting arguments against Israel that are clearly unbalanced while being the product of a balanced mind. THis is evidence of prejudice.

Also, he's published essays in anti-semitic publications and I can't give him a pass on that.

When a respected public intellectual gives credibility to a small anti-semitic publication by providing an article and a byline he must take on some of the burden of believing what the readership believes.

My point is that if you contribute to "The Spotlight" you can fairly be called a supporter of anti-Semitism (and goosestepping bunds) even if your article was a recipe for bunt-cake.

thetimman said...

St. Guy, I will look at it again, but I read it at the time, and I was not convinced by Buckley's arguments. I remember at the time being disappointed in Buckley on that issue. I think the anti-semitic bogeyman is an easy, easy label to mask an unwillingness to engage in the arena of ideas. But, like I said, it was a long time ago and I will have to refresh my memory on that. I will write back when I get the chance to digest it.

Anonymous said...

Buckley published articles for years in the pornographic magazines Playboy and Penthouse, by your measure, and by mine, he can fairly be called a supporter of pornography.

Latinmassgirl said...

Brother Andrew,

I agree with you. Well said.

StGuyFawkes said...

TO the Anonymous who posted at 1/16/09 18:08 regarding William F Buckley allow me to agree.

My position is that any writer who contributes to a controversial magazine must bear some of the burden of that magazines "raison d'etre".

Joe Sobran has graced the stages of Holocaust Deniers and to some extent must share the burden of their lunacy.

So also by the same logic does Mr. Buckley share with Mr. Hefner the burden of being a pornographer.

YOur logic is impeccible and I agree with it.

Buckley's choice of publishing in Playboy always disappointed me.