Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Israel (Again) Violates Human Rights

Dear Sen. Bayh:

While this letter has a more important purpose, let me first praise you for a lifetime of distinguished political service to the state of Indiana. Hoosiers would be well-served to have someone such as yourself back in the governor’s office. To be frank, Governor Mitch Daniels just is not getting things done. You have had a successful tenure in the senate by any standards, so I commend you for that as well.

I must also take notice of how early in the race you endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton for president. I have to also admit that I back Sen. Barack Obama, but that is not the point of this letter. I only bring up this point because, as I’m sure you are aware, this early endorsement has many talking about thoughts of a vice-presidential run for office with Sen. Clinton. I must believe these rumors as well, especially given the presidential exploratory committee you launched, however brief it was. As beloved as you are in Indiana, however, you would do well to raise your profile on the national stage, and I have an issue that maybe you could use.

As an educated person, you are no doubt aware that Israel has had a troubled existence as a nation. Times of peace have been few and far between for the little nation since its founding in 1948, and much of this has been due to the aggressive actions of the Israelis, which merely aggravate an already tension-filled relationship with its mostly Muslim neighbors. While I don’t doubt that Israel needs a strong army to defend itself from a host of nations, or even the hostile factions within its own borders, that would like to see Israel erased from the map and the historical record, this does not excuse acts of aggression, such as the Six-Day War in 1967, or overreaction, such as the dismantling of Lebanon this past summer. The older example holds a little more weight in this letter, though, because it pertains to land grabbed during these aggressive wars. Israel has clung to these bits of land no matter what the cost to themselves, causing a whole host of issues. The crisis has only grown worse has of late. It is quite sad that these abuses by Israel go unreported because of another needless war in the region involving our own boys.

As, again, you are no doubt aware, the Gaza Strip has been somewhat of an Achilles’ heel for Israel. To give it up would make Israel look soft at home, but holding on to it has been an antagonistic source for neighboring nations, to speak nothing of the people who live there. The problem, though, has come with how Israel has treated the people of this region. In fears of terrorist bombing and the like, Israelis have been committing human rights violations for years. This trend has only continued with the latest story from Amnesty International. The report claims that Israel has shut off basic services to the already poverty-stricken region, including electricity and food shipments. “Amnesty International [and I] acknowledged Israel’s right to take measures to protect its population from rocket and other attacks by Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, but condemned the Israeli authorities’ decision to cut off essential supplies to Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants.”

The problem is, of course, that the region is already in a terrible economic state. To go along with these deaths from denying foreign medical aid, there will doubtless be more senseless deaths among the innocent, the elderly and children, from cutting off these services. Those who are carrying out the attacks on the Israeli populace are one of the least affected by such actions. Food, already a scarce resource, is now going to be even harder to find as even international aid is turned away. Food that is already in the country, a supply that already falls short of need, will now spoil and go wasted, as refrigeration will be impossible without electricity. The sick will no have access to what meager medical care exists because of the power outages. The ones that are always most affected by food and medical shortages are, of course, the very young, the very old, and the very sick. These groups, as you might imagine, are not the most likely to participate in any terrorist plots, and thus not likely to launch rockets at Israelis.

There are other problems with the strictly closed borders. Beyond that of the medical problems mentioned earlier, students that would otherwise be making a much-improved living to help conditions in the Gaza Strip are not allowed to leave to find these jobs to make the necessary money to help their families. The citizens are left to rot in their little strip, left with little to no hope and resources that fall far short of what is needed.

People in this country have been blindly supporting Israel out of mostly a religious affiliation. It is time to stop and make Israel accountable for these sorts of actions. They have gotten a pass for their overly aggressive military and foreign policy, and now are having their human rights violations overlooked simply because politicized fundamentalist Christians have some sort of apocalyptic vision involving Israel. This cannot continue. To stand up and show the backbone to make Israel accountable would not only help save many lives in the region, but assuredly make you look like a more attractive choice to the general populace of the United States.


Aaron L. Parrish
First off, let me apologize for this posting's lateness. I was busy with Bachelor stuff tonight and this slipped my mind until now. Secondly, for those of you who might know, this letter has not changed since getting it back today, despite its suggestions. I would just like a change to defend my choices in the possible (though probably futile) hope that I will get that last point. First off, there is the word order in the first paragraph concerning ". . .Daniels just is not getting things done." I suppose that Dr. Brewer would like to see "just" and "is" flipped, but I put them in this order to put the emphasis on "is not," which seems stronger than splitting it with "just." If anything, "just" should have been removed completely, but I'm willing to stick to my guns over a single point. Secondly, there is an appeal for more direct action. I suppose this is mostly out of a feeling of pessimism, but, to me, having an American senator merely to recognize and condemn actions by Israel is just fine by me. That would be more of a step than has been taken in the past. The international community, through the UN, mainly, has condemned Israel, but taking such a stance in this country is political suicide, based soley, on what I can tell, that Americans generally like Jews more than Muslims. Just having someone of some influence bucking that trend would make me happy enough. I also worry about the ability of a senator to come up with solutions to such problems, as they seem to have trouble enough doing what they are already charged with.

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