Friday, January 9, 2009

Hamas VS Israel, Classic Abuse Dynamics

THE Gaza Strip has been turned into a "concentration camp" by two weeks of Israeli bombardments, said a senior Vatican official.

Cardinal Renato Martino, the Vatican's justice and peace minister, was quoted by the online Italian daily Il Sussidiario.

"Let's look at the conditions in Gaza: these increasingly resemble a big concentration camp," said Cardinal Martino.

Cardinal Martino said it was in neither parties interest to carry on fighting and urged both to show more willingness to hold peace talks. (Except that both parties do think it's in their best interests to carry on the fighting.)

"If they can't come to an agreement, then someone else should do it (for them). The world cannot sit back and watch without doing anything.

"We Christians are not the only ones to call this land 'holy', Jews and Muslims do so too. The fact that this land is the scene of bloodshed seems a great tragedy," he added.

Israel's offensive on Gaza has killed almost 700 Palestinians, including 220 children, and injured 3000 since December 27, according to Gaza medics.

Aid agencies have declared a total humanitarian crisis in Gaza, owing to the ailing stocks of basic food, water and medical supplies. (Made worse by the fact niether the Red Cross nor the UN will deliver any more supplies until the Israeli's stop accidently shelling their vehicles.)
In response Israel said the comments were "based on Hamas propaganda".

"Making remarks that seem to be based on Hamas propaganda while ignoring its numerous crimes ... does not bring the people closer to truth and peace," foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor. (One man's inhumane ghetto is another man's propaganda. Where have we heard this before?)


Cardinal Martini isn't quite right. Gaza is Israel's very own Warsaw ghetto more so than a concentration camp.

A friend of mine said he thought the relationship between Israel and Palestine was like that between an abusive husband towards his wife. First there is the build up of tension, then the explosion, then a phoney honeymoon, and then the cycle starts again. I think he has a point.

This is a cycle that has been going on way too long. It's time the West quit confusing the State of Israel with historic Jewish persecution. The behavior of the State of Israel does not reflect in any way, shape, or form that Jewish history. Or does it? I think it does. It reflects the exact opposite of that abuse dynamic. Israel has become that which it hated, and is now acting the part of the victim turned predator. Hence it made the Gaza ghetto.

I don't know if the current political players in either Israel or Hamas could psychologically survive without each other conveniently acting in ways that raise the tension, tip the scales to explosion, and then engage in a phoney honeymoon phase. The danger of this is that the explosions generally become more violent and happen with more frequency. The vast majority of Palestinian and to a lesser extent Israeli civillians, are like the children caught up in domestic violence, they can't leave, there is no where to go, and so they must endure with in the abusive relationship.

Cardinal Martini is correct when he says: "If they can't come to an agreement than someone else should do it for them. The world cannot sit back and watch without doing anything."

Someone intervening is generally how domestic violence dynamics are finally broken. That someone is generally not vested in either side of the domestic pair. That someone should be a united UN, and maybe that's finally happening as the US gave up it's opposition to the UN's general resolution even though it abstained in the voting. But resolutions and hand wringing are not terribly effective in stopping abusive relationships.

The UN has to act and not only end this cycle, but find a way to prevent another; and that will take a US government that can make the distinction between the actions of Israel the Nation State, and the Jewish people.

In the meantime, Israel is becoming the darling of the neo nazis. How ironic.


  1. "Someone intervening is generally how domestic violence dynamics are finally broken."

    In the case of domestic violence the guns would be taken away I believe. The US continues to supply weapons to Israel.

    Of note, on TV MSNBC the other night there was a commercial on Oberman's program showing missiles going into Jewish neighborhoods. Of course they do not show what Israel is doing to Palestinians. The commercial was put out by some Christian & Israeli group that have collaborated against the Hamas "threat." Could be the work of the Pentecostals? I wrote down the web address but cant find it now.

    The word is awyack - take ya out and put fu in its place and this issue makes me want to scream it!

  2. good day Colleen. . . the dynamics do seem like domestic abuse. . .the attraction and repulsion with it's ongoing dark grip. . .mercy! mercy!

    here is another story of Paulo Coelho that also makes a good point that might apply here. . .

    the situation with Palestine and Israel is so layered i cannot even attempt to understand it complexity. . the world has waited for the lotus to emerge from that mud for too long. . .I think the reason we have not seen the flowering of peace emerge is because there are many SACRED COWS eating the lotus buds. . .

    and oh too often the sacred cows are cash cows underneath!

    Alessandra Marin tells the following story: the Grand Master and the Guardian shared the administration of a Zen monastery. One day, the Guardian died and a replacement had to be found.

    The Grand Master gathered together all the disciples in order to decide who would have the honor of working at his side.

    ‘I am going to set you a problem,’ said the Grand Master. ‘And the first one to solve that problem will be the new Guardian of the temple.’

    Once this briefest of speeches was over, he placed a small stool in the middle of the room. On it stood a priceless porcelain vase containing a red rose.

    ‘There is the problem,’ said the Grand Master.

    The disciples looked in some perplexity at what was there before them: the rare, sophisticated designs on the porcelain vase and the elegance of the flower. What did it represent? What should they do? What did this enigma mean?

    After a few moments, one of the disciples got to his feet and looked at the master and at his fellow students. Then he walked resolutely over to the vase and threw it to the ground, shattering it.

    ‘You are the new Guardian,’ the Grand Master said to the student.

    And as soon as the student had returned to his place, he explained.

    ‘I made myself perfectly clear. I said that there was a problem to be solved. Now it does not matter how beautiful or fascinating a problem might be, it has to be eliminated.

    A problem is a problem. It could be a very rare porcelain vase, a delightful love affair that no longer makes any sense, or a course of action that we should abandon, but which we insist on continuing because it brings us comfort.

    There is only one way to deal with a problem: attack it head on. At such moments, one cannot feel pity, nor be diverted by the fascination inherent in any conflict.’

    ( surely, we need radical peace in the Middle East . . .perhaps all the extended families could stop being co-dependent and stop funding the war. . . don't know Colleen i am a simple thinker, and becoming more so all the time. War does not beget peace. . . .)

  3. The point you both make about distant family enablers is right on and one I was going to put in the post myself.

    One doesn't help a domestic violence situation by giving the perpetrators more guns, as all the assorted different family relatives are doing in this case, aptly demonstrating just how co dependent all these other relations have become.

    Maybe the first start on the road to peace will be when these co dependent relatives, like the US, admit to their co dependence. That would be radical.

  4. No doubt, the neocon fundamentalist enabler Fr. Richard Neuhaus, would have been on the side of the weapons enablers and those with the weapons.

    It is interesting to note that when I was born again in Christ that doing a search on the internet brought me to Neuhaus' writings. I even subscribed for a while to First Things. On the surface the writing seemed harmless, but compared to the writings of Thomas Merton he was no match, not even close in his understanding of history, politics, the deeper spirituality I have come to identify with and understand.

    My father might have agreed with Neuhaus and they both died at age 72 very rapidly of cancer. I am happy to say at least that my father was a real father of many children and he was not responsible for leading his children astray into a banal form of spirituality and a very divisive and ugly form of politics in the Church that is the legacy Fr. Neuhaus seems to have left by the revelatory comments generated.

  5. All of the pontifications about how to solve the middle east situation are fine as as far as they go, however, they are bandaids and nothing more.

    The only way for there to be any peace is for both sides to start telling the truth.

    For the arab side to start being truthful about how they teach classes, yes classes to their children on how to hate israelis. For the arab side to be truthful that they are committed to one thing, destroying israel. To be truthful about which countries are supporting them in their hate campaign and what that support is.

    For the israels to do the same.

    Making analogies really is useless rhetoric. The core problem is hate on both sides, hate that is being used as a tool by outside influences to support outside interests. Hate that is being fanned by those inside both governments who simply refuse to let the past 5000 years of hate die.

    The situation in the middle east is a clear expression of old testament justice, on both sides, and what that will ultimately lead to. The irony is that hate is blind. If israel were to be destroyed, the hate of the arabs would not be unabated, it would simply be turned on someone else. If the arab menace to israel was eliminated, it would not make the israelis more secure, they would simply focus their insecurity on another target.

    If we must use an analogy, a more appropriate analogy is two rival gangs battling over disputed territory.

  6. I guess if we're going to get to the bottom of the truth barrel, we'd have to realize that both sides of the abuse dynamic are functioning from self hate, and that too is a consequence of Old Testament theology.

    Life is given no respect when one fundamentally hates themselves. One can then use innocent civilians for shields and kill enemies at a 100-1 ratio.

  7. Colleen, your final comment about the neo-Nazis and Israel really strikes me. This is information I hadn't run across and am glad to have.

    It has been interesting to me to watch my statewide free newspaper blog, Arkansas Times, after the election of Obama. Interestingly enough, the hate rhetoric has dramatically diminished. It's like the habitual haters are now floundering around for a new way of stirring hate.

    Which convinces me that there are groups in our midst that, quite simply, thrive on hate, feed on it, try to stir it anywhere they can. I suspect that many of these groups find the equation of menace with a dark Arab face a perfect formula to keep people hating.

    And so they have to see Israel as the persecuted good guy to make the equation complet.

    What has perturbed me for years now is the willingness of Israel and many of its supporters to get in bed with such folks.

  8. Bill, I read an article the other day in which the author maintained the rise of the neo right was inherently based in Southern racism. The author maintained that the Republican Southern Strategy was racism dressed up in different language with a different attack focus-economics slavery. I won't go into all the details, but the author made some good points.

    I too was struck hard by the notion that neo nazi groups in Britain are using their support of Israel in a Machiavellian attempt to gain ground amongst centrists by using the broader based 'fear of Islamic terrorism'.

    But I am just as much struck by the use of Israel vs Islamic terrorism by the Apostolic Evangelicals, who are also children of Southern racist theologies and who also want to provoke war between Israel and Iran.

    I absolutely think the timing of this offensive was purposeful and will undoubtedly cease shortly after Obama is innaugurated. In one sense it's the last major repercussion of the Bush years, and maybe another where the price is paid generationally.

  9. Colleen. . . i have thought and said this for years. . .

    "the author maintained the rise of the neo right was inherently based in Southern racism. The author maintained that the Republican Southern Strategy was racism dressed up in different language with a different attack focus-economics slavery"

    i admit with shame i grew up in the Texas Panhandle known to be one of the most bigoted and politically conservative in the country. . .i was bounced on the knees of the local KKK Grand Wizard as a small child, our nearest country neighbor. . .Most every Sunday i sat around a table of old neighbors and family telling horrific racist stories. . .

    The Southern stereotypes of KKK which we have been given an image of does not a completely fit the reality of what i saw and experienced as i grew up. . .There is more complexity and layers. . .I know the belief systems held by southern racism. . .

    One of the layers that has struck me in trying to understand the hate groups is predominance of fear and pathological inability to express any emotion except anger. . .

    Just my two cents worth. . . but i think the origins of the Southern racist is a powerful image of the shadow aspect of unexpressed and unhealed feelings of people that immigrated to a new world. . .people that came for survival. . . people cut off from their roots. . .their cultural identities. . .

    I think the shadow for Southern racism, Israelites, and the Palestinians have shadow material that is very similar. . .Full of fear, insecurities and chronic inability to express feelings such as grief, sorrow or any feeling that would indicate vulnerabilities. . .With the underlying belief that something outside of themselves means security. . .

    All the religious cloaking and clinging, that "God is on my side", "only my God", "not your God", translates into the exclusionary belief in "specialness". . .and what is the shadow side of "specialness"?

    Perhaps,once again fear. . .Is not the entire Patriarchal religions each based on specialness?. . .

    Colleen isn't all that we see in the Middle East with the three Patriarchal religions, with Christians both protestant, and Catholic, Muslims, and Jews an exhibition of Patriarchal specialness of exclusiveness?. . .

    Then the unhealed wounding gets exploited by greed (more) at every level. . .Then the question, what is the origin of greed? Is greed not a belief in scarcity, once more pointing back to fear. . .

    I think Patriarchal religion is a dangerous, necessary, critical, and temporary stage of evolutionary consciousness. . .The egoic born with the onset of Patriarchal religions was necessary for the individual leading to the collective individuation of consciousness. . .But the danger and the dark side of Patriarch and the egoic is tragically illustrated with all that has gathered in the Middle East. . .

    I don't think the problems in the "Middle" East is going to find peace until there is a powerful collective that continues to shine light into the dark shadow side of egoic with all its fears and how we project those into the outer worlds. . .

    The Middle East is a personal problem, a collective problem, a world problem, and a critical dangerous stage in whether we will evolve beyond to a place that is viable for all. . .

    The egoic/patriarchal uses the power of domination because of fear of it losing its crown. . .Some day mankind will become submissive to "that which is greater". . .Which is unity, wholeness, and interconnectedness. . . that which is life affirming and sustaining. . .and whose foundation is love and inclusiveness. . .small i and mine. . .

  10. In reference to Southern Racism, it needs to be kept in mind, that the Bush family is Southern, there fortune was made in the South, they are the darlings of the South. When we add that to the picture, many things make a lot more sense.

  11. The situation in Gaza really upsets me. I've been, not to Gaza, but to Israel and the West Bank, and I saw first hand what was happening on both sides.

    My brother, who was there with me, said to me on the plane home that this is a war without an end with the way the country is currently segregated. On the one hand, you have the Israelis, who require every person to serve in the military. They have so many soldiers, they don't have enough places to put them, so they send them into Palestine and tell them to set up checkpoints and look for Palestinian terrorists. The Israelis go in, then, with automatic expectations of finding lower class human beings. On the Palestinian side, they see the Israelis as bullies. They can't travel short distances without being stopped. They get guns stuck in their faces without provocation. They are rounded up and thrown into jail without charge or trial, then beaten and abused and tortured. The Palestinians see the Israelis as thepeople who keep destroying their refugee camps, who send snipers to kill 10-year-old girls playing with dolls near their windows, etc. They hate, because of what's happened to them, and the Israelis become suspicious and domineering.

    I read somewhere, I can't remember where, that tyrants create their own worst enemy, and that they fear the people they repress, knowing one day someone in that mass will rise up and fight. Personally, I consider Israel a tyrant, and I think that instead of continuing to support them, as a country, and give them money, we should hold them accountable for their human rights abuses and their crimes.

    That's not to say I think Palestinian violence should be condemned. I dislike all violence.

  12. "I think Patriarchal religion is a dangerous, necessary, critical, and temporary stage of evolutionary consciousness. . .The egoic born with the onset of Patriarchal religions was necessary for the individual leading to the collective individuation of consciousness. . .But the danger and the dark side of Patriarch and the egoic is tragically illustrated with all that has gathered in the Middle East. . .

    I don't think the problems in the "Middle" East is going to find peace until there is a powerful collective that continues to shine light into the dark shadow side of egoic with all its fears and how we project those into the outer worlds."

    Forget the scriptures and religious traditions, if more people understood the dynamics of ego projection civilization would move forward much more quickly. We live in a world in which fear is denied in every sense except that of exploiting it.

    Shining light on the shadow side of ego and culture is so very important, and so is removing the individual filters we all have when shining our own light.

  13. Amanda your reaction to having been in Israel is becoming the American experience of Israeli existence.

    I know I did not really understand how bad the situation was for Gazans until some friends of mine came back from the Middle East this summer. Eye witness first hand accounts take this out of the realm of national politics and into the realm of tyranny in the name of national politics. Your voice is important.