The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace also provides links to some excellent articles. Between people like this, and my Gaza friend hiding in his basement in a wasteland but still speaking of rebuilding and forgiving, I feel chastised for giving way to despair too easily. This is the true religion.
But if you are a US citizen, please answer yes or no: "if my government provides the guns and the funds, if Congress by a 90% majority supports the war, if my president and secretary of state stated their support for the war, are we--yes or no--ourselves at war against Gaza?" I think it's important in a democracy to know when you are at war.
This is a tragic story only if Arab lives matter. But do they?
This is only a catastrophe if God loves all people in the same manner. But does He?
This is only a stain on our conscience if we are our brothers' keepers. But are we?
Now - on to my forecasting abilities:
Even though "making predictions is difficult, particularly about the future," here are my fearless predictions about the coming weeks with regards to Gaza:
January 16th to January 19th:
- Massive escalation in casualties and destruction by the IDF in Gaza.
- Hamas, Jihad, and whomever shoot rockets toward Sderot, time permitting.
- The PNA / Ramallah restates on occasion it's not happy with Gazans being blown up and threatens to release another condemnation.
- UN continues to say progress is being made toward a solution.
- Egyptians continue to hold all kinds of meetings. Tea is provided at breaks in the patio.
- EU and everybody else agitates around the idea that it's not cool to blow up Gaza and Israel should go easy on the phospore.
- The USA already voted 90% in favor of a House Resolution stating its approval of current activities in Gaza (conducted with its money and its weapons). It is currently otherwise quite busy with the economy and Washington DC preparations for the inauguration. Please call back in a few days.
- Barack Obama is inaugurated as the first Black American President in history.
- The civilized world bids farewell to the previous President, who is on record as being "disappointed" that there were no WMDs in Iraq--bummer! Eight years ago same exiting president found that Ariel Sharon was a "man of peace." 98% of the literate world will not really regret him.
- Israel congratulates President Obama. Shoots a few things and people in Gaza, but nothing really special.
- Gazans seem to boycott watching the inauguration on TV. Unless it's because there's no electricity .
- President Barack Obama makes an eloquent statement about the need for hostilities to stop in Gaza, the necessity to protect Israel against rockets and terrorism, the importance of protecting civilians in Gaza, and commits to engaging full force to finding a resolution to the conflict
- Hillary Clinton boards an airplane for somewhere in the Middle East, probably Israel, or Egypt.
- Phone calls are made (and reported) from the White House to Ehud Olmert (exiting Israel PM), Ehud Barak (Israeli Minister of Defense and aspiring new PM), Tzipi Livi (Israeli Foreign Minister and aspiring new PM), then Abu Mazen (PNA President although his term has expired).
- Nobody calls Hamas in Gaza. First we don't speak to them, then phone lines are down in Gaza and - detail - most of the leadership will be dead by then. But some calls are made (secretly) to Syria, who will pass the message.
- Israel bombs a few more things, but the Washington Post reports that after a call from Obama or Clinton, it commits to slowing military activities in hope that terms for a truce will be found.
- Ehud Olmert states that it really really doesn't have anything at all against Palestinians. Some of his good friends happen to be Palestinians, actually...
- Hostilities cease.
- Basic terms of a truce are agreed upon in Cairo.
- The UN and the EU are asked to come up with bright ideas about how to run Gaza - well, by "running" we mean jump start and rebuild, but avoid working with an elected government. Brilliant success of Iraq is suggested as a template. Hillary Clinton shows great mastery of Middle Eastern affairs and flies to all kinds of places. A fair and balanced ratio of visits to Israelis and Palestinians is computed. As a sign of great urgency, visit to Yad Vashem is postponed until next month. Clinton is even seen smiling at an Arab child.
- The Washington Post reports on page A5 that a total of 600 children died in the war, including 3 in Southern Israel. A picture of a grieving Israeli mother is provided side by side with the picture of a grieving Palestinian mother. Take that, Fox News!
- Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, 'Tzipi' Livni all give press conferences committing to providing assistance to the civilian population in Gaza. 'Bibi' Netnanyahu comments that Israel should be ready to resume bombing if need be. Tzipi Livni proves her moderation by saying Hamas has been crushed and efforts should now go to developing good Palestinian governance in Gaza. Tony Blair wears a new tie for a photo-op and sounds concerned.
- A road map to a road to a map to rebuilding a road where a map can be displayed is drafted by the world community to figure out what the heck to do with 1.5 million Gazans (minus 1,000-2,000) now that there's no government and no police. President Obama thinks for a second that maybe someone in Gaza should be consulted - Rahm Emanuel assures him he's got friends in Tel Aviv who can do that, so don't worry about it.
- Elections in Israel bring a new government coalition led by the first woman Prime Minister since Golda Meir. The Washington Post prints profiles of Golda Meir and Tzipi Livni.
- Commentators write that Palestinians now have a unique opportunity to embrace peace.
- Barack Obama makes a really good speech on peace.
- Tony Blair misses the speech for unknown reasons, notices that President Abu Mazen's term has expired and asks around about what to do about that.
No one has a clue what Ahmed and Layla will be ten years from now.
Benjamin Netanyahu has a dream where he's the PM and it's his turn to launch a widescale military intervention. Maybe against Nablus this time. Ah! Give it a couple years...
ps: please don't blame ME for the cynicism. Lord, G-d, Allah, have mercy on us.
ps2: scroll down and read the letter from the Director of PMRS about the health situation especially for women and children in Gaza.