We are not satisfied with neutrality

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Kira Walker /Senior Staff

I can see why people still believe that Israel wants peace. Recent news coverage concerning the attacks on Gaza frequently echoes Israel’s right to self-defense and emphasizes the state of Israel’s humanity in warning Palestinian civilians of imminent assault. I can see why, depending on what news you hear, you might not know that a cessation in violence was in place prior to its being broken by Israeli forces near the border of Gaza, where indiscriminate shooting resulted in the Nov. 8 death of a 13-year-old boy playing football. I can see why, depending on what news you hear, you might believe that Israel’s aggression on Gaza really began with the legitimate targeting of an operative of Hamas and that the damage done was merely the necessary outcome of justified attacks.

But what mainstream media outlets will not tell you is that the Hamas operative targeted by Israeli leaders was in the process of negotiating a long-term truce with Israel. Nor will they tell you that this man’s extrajudicial killing on Nov. 14 in a known civilian area came after what is claimed to be a draft proposal of a truce between Israel and Hamas to hold their fire.

Mainstream media outlets are not, furthermore, likely to discuss the constant buzzing of surveillance drones, the relentless thunder of missiles and bombs from air and sea on a people without an equivalent military or state of their own. It was not a war in Gaza. It was not a conflict between two equal sides, but an assault by one power on an oppressed people as a form of collective punishment. Moreover, it was an assault resulting in the injuries of nearly 1,000 and the deaths of 160 Palestinians from just eight days of air strikes between Nov. 14 and Nov. 21. It was an assault through which an estimated 105 fatalities were civilian, including the deaths of an estimated 34 children, according to a blog named PalestineFromMyEyes, documenting the names and ages of people killed during the ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Yes, these Palestinian civilians may have received warnings to avoid targeted areas. But these civilians of Gaza were in reality prevented from going virtually anywhere due to Israeli control over airspace and borders and a naval blockade deemed illegal by international humanitarian law. Though Israel no longer has a physical presence in Gaza after supposedly withdrawing from the area in 2005, Gaza is still under unofficial Israeli control.

As it stands, an estimated 1.7 million Palestinians are still confined to the 140 square miles constituting the Gaza Strip. Though the terms of the recent Nov. 21 ceasefire finally call for an ease of movement between Gaza and surrounding areas — a ceasefire which, coincidentally, the Israel Defense Forces violated two days later in Gaza by shooting at Palestinian farmers — it remains to be seen whether those in power will formulate more explicit guidelines for actually pursuing this goal, or for ending the forced diet of Palestinians in Gaza, or for ceasing the prevention of these civilians’ access to clean water.
Okay, but why should we care about their circumstances? Why should we care about the relationship between Palestinians and Israeli policy, especially when the ongoing occupation of the former is painted by government and media propaganda as a genuine form of self-defense?

In light of the recent conflict in Gaza, I’ve been bombarded with sentiments from my peers proclaiming neutrality to the issue, insisting, if not on the legitimacy of the action of Israeli officials, on impartiality in a messy contention between what some might believe to be two equally terrible sides.

The fact of the matter, however, is that we are not neutral in the ongoing conflict. As UC students and as members of the U.S., we comprise two substantial bodies that do not dissociate from both parties involved, but who actively support one side.
As a statewide system, the university currently has an investment of an estimated $2 million in Hewlett Packard as of December 2011, which is suspected to provide occupation technology that facilitates Israeli control over checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza. Though this system is purported as a means of security for Israelis, most checkpoints are based inside the West Bank, with at least 62 effectively isolating Palestinian communities.

The university also supports a $4 million investment in Caterpillar Inc., whose machinery operates in the demolition of Palestinian homes in occupied territories and in the construction of the separation wall and Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

As a nation, the U.S. supplies the state of Israel with $3.1 billion in annual foreign aid, much of which provides advanced military technology that then ends up being used against Palestinians in the occupied territories. Though the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act prohibits assistance to any country in consistent violation of human rights, funds from American taxpayers end up contributing to the illegal occupation of and apartheid discrimination against Palestinians.

If we really favor neutrality, shouldn’t we dispute such an obvious investment in one side? It would appear that a stance of true impartiality requires the discontinuation of contributions to the power of a single faction.

I wonder, however, whether we really ought to be satisfied with neutrality. As students of a campus renowned for progressive activism, and as members of a nation that insists on itself as a proponent of such principles as liberty and justice, are we not obligated to actively oppose clear instances of injustice and the absence of freedom? Should we not advocate for the equal rights of others, regardless of such criteria as the basis of race? Perhaps if we examine the true complicity of neutrality in systematic acts of wrongdoing, we may realize that only by actively working toward peace can we oppose and eventually defeat systems of oppression, wherever they may exist.

Ley Cerezo is a sophomore at UC Berkeley.

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  • JohnSkookum

    I do not care AT ALL what happens to the Palestinians.

  • MorganFreiheit

    It’s high time ASUC debated a resolution to divest from Israel.

  • reality

    50,000 people killed in cartel violence in Mexico since 2007

    50,000 Syrians dead since the outbreak of major violence FSA vs Assad

    ~50,000/month dying in Congo since mid 2004 (3 million + dead official figures)

    145,000+ political prisoners in gulag-style labor camps for life in North Korea

    LET’S DIVEST FROM ISRAEL Y’ALL OMFG

  • Arafat

    ‘The only religion I respect is Islam. The only prophet I
    admire is the Prophet Muhammad.’ — Adolf Hitler

  • Arafat

    The Palestinians would spin George Orwell’s head around.

    They slit Jewish children throats and are cheered by their
    demented brothers and sisters and leaders and imams for doing so.

    They indiscriminately blow-up Israeli buses and then get
    streets named after them for doing so.

    They then whine, bitch and complain when Israel builds a
    separation barrier to protect her children from inhumane psychopaths who are
    praised for killing three-month old children.

    A sicker more pathological society would be hard for George
    Orwell to have imagined.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^

    The Palestinians are professional victims.

    They shoot thousands of rockets into Israeli town centers
    shouting out “Allahu Akbar” as the rockets leave their launch platforms.

    They shoot thousands of rockets during Israel’s rush hour
    and when school lets out invoking Allah’s good will that the rockets kill women
    and children.

    They then whine, bitch and moan when Israel targets their
    bloodthirsty terrorist rocket-making-and-shooting thugs who cower behind
    women’s skirts and alongside school children underneath their school desks as
    they hide from Israel’s attempt to bring justice to these
    child-murdering-Islamo-facists.

    What a truly pathetic, hypocritical, despicable people the
    Palestinians are. George Orwell would
    vomit at the thought that their behavior is rationalized by the intellectual
    elite.

  • Arafat

    Are people who support Hamas akin to people who supported
    the Nazis?

    Seems to me they are.

    Nazis destroyed all the Jews of Europe. Hamas never stops talking about destroying
    Jews.

    Nazis depicted Jews as beneath contempt just as Hamas
    does. Nazis blamed Jews for all their
    problems and so does Hamas.

    Seems to me the only difference is Hamas does not have the
    military required to really kill off all the Jews of Israel. If they did have these weapons everyone knows
    they would use them as indiscriminately as the Nazis did.

    I wonder what sort of person supports an organization that
    is today’s Nazis. What moral and
    intellectual blindness do these Nazi worshippers suffer from?

  • Arafat

    ‘You must learn
    from Nazi Germany to grasp the true dangers of Islam today.’
    — Alfons Heck,
    Former Hitler Youth Officer

  • Arafat

    While Muslims in Syria kill women, children, elderly
    indiscriminately – up to 40,000 people and counting – we devote our anger on
    Israel for we are anti-Semites in sheep’s clothing.

    While Muslims have killed up to one million in Sudan, and
    counting, we devote our anger on Israel for we are really just anti-Semites
    pretending we are humanitarians.

    While Muslims in Mali have forced 500,000 (and counting)
    people into refugee status – as they have done in the past year – we devote our
    anger on Israel for we are anti-Semites pretending to be for social justice.

    While Muslims kill off what remains of the ancient Hindu
    population in-and-around Pakistan we devote our anger on Israel for we are like
    the Germans during the 1930s – people who needed a convenient scapegoat to
    escape their own feelings of frustration.

    While Muslims have wiped out all the Buddhists from their
    ancient homeland in Afghanistan we devote our anger on Israel for it’s easy to
    pick on Jews and we are shameless hypocrites engaging in man’s oldest
    prejudice, anti-Semitism, while pretending to be holier-than-thou.

  • Sprinkles

    12,000 rockets, Ley.

    Hamas has been targeting Israeli civilians non-stop for over a decade with those rockets.

    The Hamas charter makes it clear that they do not want a single Jew left in the Middle East.

    What would any other country do? Ignore those thousands of rockets? Wait until there was a massacre before reacting? Sorry, but Jews don’t just roll over and die for their enemies anymore.

  • I_h8_disqus

    Ley, what news source of yours actually thinks that Israel is bombing Hamas to keep them from righting up a truce?

  • Calipenguin

    “Gaza is still under unofficial Israeli control.”

    That is a lie. Without that one lie, the rest of Ley Cerezo’s op-ed makes no sense. Gaza is a strip of land surrounded by water, Israel, and Egypt. That’s right, there’s a border with Egypt. The same Egypt that is ruled by the Islamic Brotherhood, which is the terrorist organization that created Hamas in the first place. Israel has every right to protect its borders and keep Gaza terrorists and Iranian weapons out. However, Israel doesn’t tell Egypt’s Islamic Brotherhood what to do. Thus people in Gaza are free to travel through Egypt if the Egyptians allow them. Israel has no say over that border.

    • L

      Clearly you missed the part about Israeli-controlled checkpoints being placed within the West Bank. These checkpoints aren’t intended to secure Israel’s borders. They are intended to isolate Palestinian communities and, along with the presence of Israeli settlements, further diminish these Palestinians’ ability to live without fear of harassment and arbitrary expulsion.

      • Calipenguin

        The West Bank was shared by Jews, Muslims, and Christians for half a millenia so how can you now claim it should contain only Palestinians? Don’t Jews have a right to live in the West Bank too? The checkpoints are designed to combat terrorism, often facilitated by transport of weapons from one Palestinian village to another, and often directed against Jews living in the West Bank. In any case, you didn’t disagree with me about Gaza so I take it you now also acknowledge that Israel is not the only country that enforces a border with Gaza?

  • Tony M

    Of course the writer isn’t satisfied with “neutrality”. Ley Cerezo is clearly siding with the terrorist organization Hamas that has NO interest in peace for either Israelis OR the residents of Gaza which it claims to represent. Hamas doesn’t WANT peace. Its purpose is to use the Palestinians as sacrificial pawns in the Arabs proxy war against Israel.The dumb bunny college students who fall for this nonsense that the plight of the Palestinian people is the fault of Israeli injustice need to stop blindly believing all the crap shoveled their way by left-wing activists, and start thinking for themselves.

    • peepsqueek

      To add to that: The question of Statehood was resolved with the 1947 U.N. partition plan (a Jewish State and an Arab State living side by side in peace). Six Arab armies invaded the newly formed Jewish State, in an unsuccessful attempt to destroy it. Palestinian Arabs now seek statehood via a path they have rejected for Israel all these years, while still not recognizing Israel’s right to exist.

  • MorganFreiheit

    It’s long past due that ASUC start debating divestment from Israeli brute force.
    How many more Gaza massacres are acceptable to the UC-Berkeley community?

    • Tony M

      Morgan, if you’re so worried about “massacres”, please show us where you posted any outrage or condemnation of the recent bus bombing, which unlike the Israeli’s targeted strikes against known Hamas weapons positions, was a deliberate targeting of civilians. Not that you’re about to respond because we know that you, Morgan Freiheit, are a pathetic coward and moral cretin. You portray some events out of context while totally ignoring others solely for the sake of pushing your anti-Israel agenda.

    • Calipenguin

      Hamas recently massacred six suspected informers without a trial. How much more of this Muslim-on-Muslim murder is acceptable to the UC-Berkeley community?

      • Stan De San Diego

        Cowardly little snivelers like Morgan Freiheit will never answer those questions. It’s all about blaming Israel for all the problems of the Middle East, not dealing with reality.

      • peepsqueek

        Did you expect a right to fair trial, a trial by a jury of your peers, a right to face your accuser in a Court of Law, the right to fair representation by legal counsel? Yeah, lets be neutral, sarcasm intended.

        • Calipenguin

          There are actually Cal students who would side with governments that deny a fair trial to the accused?? Tell me that ain’t so. And these students claim they are for justice in Palestine?

    • peepsqueek

      Should we start divestment from the other 28 conflicts and border wars in the world today involving repressive Islamic regimes?

      DEAD SEA, Jordan: The United Nations relief agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said Monday it needs $53 million (41 million euros) in donations to provide aid to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in war-torn Syria. “In Syria we have an ongoing appeal for $53 million for six months,” UNRWA head Filippo Grandi said, adding that the agency faced a shortfall of $68 million (52 million euros) in its funding for next year.

      “We have around 300,000 to 500,000 (Palestinian) people who have been impacted by the conflict, and they require humanitarian assistance,” UNRWA director for Syria Michael Kingsley told a news conference in Jordan’s Dead Sea region.

      Government troops and militia groups known as Janjaweed had moved to crush rebels who complained that the region’s black African ethnic groups had been neglected by the Muslim central government. The Janjaweed, backed by government troops, carried out widespread killings of civilians. The United Nations estimated that the conflict displaced 2.7 million who were believed to have fled their homes in the face of atrocities and the destruction of villages.

      Where is the outrage at the continuing humanitarian crisis’ in the Sudan, Chad, Somalia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Syria, and other Muslim Countries that we keep pouring humanitarian aid into the never ending crisis’. How did Palestinian Arabs become the darling of both far left causes and far right political Islam at the same time?

  • Dan Spitzer

    Give poor Ley a Fail in the realm of logic. There is absolutely no benefit for Israel when Palestinian civilians are killed because Hamas or Islamic Jihad fires a rocket from a highly populated area of Gaza toward Israel’s towns and gets in response what any aggressor deserves. All nations have the legitimate right to defend their citizens and during the recent aggression from Gaza, the Palestinians rained 1300 missiles aimed not toward Israeli military targets but rather at any sites where civilians could suffer the consequences.

    As for the Hamas military leader and the justification that he was trying to negotiate “a lasting truce with Israel,” the only “evidence” we have of that comes from–wait for it–those fine, upstanding pro-genocidal Islamofascists, Hamas. How naive could you be, Ley, to buy into that propagandistic rubbish? The Hamas military leader in question had, over the years, trained and armed scores of suicide bombers and missile projectors whose actions resulted in the murder of hundreds of Israelis. He richly deserved his demise.

    Hewlett Packard and Caterpillar products are sold throughout the world, not just Israel. On the other hand, the sole source of the long-range missiles Hamas fired toward Tel Aviv and Jerusalem come from that pillar of freedom and democracy, Iran.

    And finally, Ley, you give yourself away as a true anti-Semite and ideologue when you apply the ludicrous and utterly inappropriate term, “apartheid,” to Israel. Even Jimmy Carter, no friend of Israel, acknowledged that he was simply engaging in hyperbole when he used that term which he said wasn’t remotely applicable. Anyone who knows how apartheid was truly used in S. Africa realizes that when it is applied toward Israel, the author is speaking from pure and utter ignorance.

    • Bed O Inn

      it’s really hard to stoop down to your level, Dan. having read your hateful and extremely distasteful comments on every article that deals with this issue, i’ve begun to question whether you actually believe the ridiculous shit that you write, or if you do it for the sole purpose of maliciously inciting controversy. get a fucking life

      • Guest

        Dan is an Islamaphobe who believes the racist bullshit he spouts.

        • Dan Spitzer

          So Bed O, Guest and Freeheit, given that you support the Palestinians who openly advocate Jewish genocide (see their duly elected leaders clearcut party covenants), you correspondingly do as well. It’s hard to believe in this day and age that anyone at Cal would openly advocate the liquidation of Jews, but you clearly do and it doesn’t seem to bother you a whit.

          Moreover, it would be hard to believe that anyone in Berkeley would support second class status for women, the honor murder of teenage girls, the brutalization of gays and the suppression of dissenters. But you, as supporters of the Palestinians who regularly practice all of the above, are therefore complicit in these sexist, racist and fascist beliefs as well.

          Why are you so bigoted, misogynist, anti-gay and such hater of Jews? Please tell us pray tell.

          And if to be opposed to such garbage practiced by so many Muslims world-wide makes one an Islamophobe, count me and all who believe in freedom and hate sexism and bigotry vs Jews as a proud Islamophobe.

          • Pro-Palestine

            http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/11/30/responding-to-un-recognition-palestinian-state-israel-to-build-3000-new/

            The Israelis sure like being confrontational. They are clearly in the wrong.

          • Stan De San Diego

            But shooting rockets at Israeli citizens is NOT “confrontational”?

            You pro-Palestinian types certainly have interesting double standards.

          • Calipenguin

            Building homes is not being confrontational. It merely emphasizes the fact that no piece of land belongs to only one religion. A million and a half Muslim Arabs live inside of Israel and enjoy many freedoms there. Why can’t Jews live in the West Bank?

        • Calipenguin

          Islam and Judaism are religions. The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has nothing to do with race. There are Muslim Arab Bedouins as well as Black Ethiopian Jews in the Israeli military who understand the need to kill Palestinian terrorists before they can hurt Israelis.

          • peepsqueek

            Even an atheist Jew still has a cultural heritage which includes a language, a coin, traditions, and a cultural homeland. Arabs, Arabic, and Islam come from Arabia. The West Bank is the cradle of Jewish civilization, the birth place of David, Solomon, and Jesus.

            After the Jordanians captured the “West Bank” including East Jerusalem in 1948, they forcibly evicted all Jewish residents who were rightfully there. They uprooted Jewish cemeteries, using the grave-markers for pavers and other projects. They destroyed almost every synagogue. Later Jews have rightfully returned.

            As for Gaza: The periodic removal of Jews from Gaza goes back at least to the Romans in 61 CE, followed much later by the Crusaders, Napoleon, the Ottoman Turks, the British and the contemporary Egyptians. However, Jews definitely lived in Gaza throughout the centuries, with a stronger presence in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Again, every last Jew has been removed from Gaza in 2005 to secure peace with Palestinian Arabs, and Hamas began to fire rocket within a week. Why???

      • Tony M

        How about dealing with facts instead of merely smearing Dan as “hateful”? He’s not the one condemning a small country surrounded by hostile enemies for defending itself, unlike cowards like you.

  • Justin

    It’s david and goliath all over again, America is handing david an AK-47 when goliath is just trying to sit down and fucking rest.

    • Dan Spitzer

      More jibberish from Justin, who makes about as much sense as a Ham-Ass leader sitting on a nest of desert needles.

      • Guest

        lol are you going to attack people at http://www.dailycal.org/2012/11/30/letters-to-the-editor-nov-30/ too?

        • Dan Spitzer

          Ask and ye shall receive.

          BTW, you don’t mean “attack people,” do you? I suspect you mean “attack bigots” which I am pleased to do.

          • Justin

            bigots? I am not satisfied with Dan’s neutrality

          • Tony M

            And we’re not satisfied with your blind refusal to deal with the facts.

    • Tony M

      Justin, you’re clueless. Do you not know that Hamas has been firing rockets at Israeli cities? Or is your anger at Israel directed at the fact that they dare defend themselves from such attacks?

      • Justin

        Of course, but the death count is somewhere around 3 in Israel and 150 in Gaza, yeah that’s really not even close in count, plus the people of Gaza live in 149 sq/ mi with 1.5 million people that cant go anywhere… more nonsensical and tasteless scrutiny from Dan and Tony

        • Dan Spitzer

          Hamas doesn’t give a fig about the people of Gaza. Otherwise, they won’t have fired over 1300 rockets toward Israeli schools, libraries and cities. Did they really believe the Israelis won’t respond? What nation does not safeguard its people, other than the Palestinians, the Syrians, and other Muslim thugocracies?

          As for numbers, the Germans and Japanese aggressors lost far more people than the Palestinians have over the past half century. And 40,000 Syrians have died as the Assad dictatorship and its opposition which includes Islamists like Al Queda butcher one another in the time honored Muslim way.

          • Stan De San Diego

            True, but you won’t read any condemnation of Assad by brain-dead drones like Justin, who have had their small brains stuffed full of mush in their various victim studies programs.

        • Calipenguin

          Why should it be a fair match? So you can enjoy watching a bloodbath on both sides? Should we give the Taliban heavy tanks, F-22 fighter jets, and nuclear submarines so they can fight us on even terms?

        • Stan De San Diego

          > Of course, but the death count is somewhere
          > around 3 in Israel and 150 in Gaza

          And most of those who are dead are the terrorists responsible for the attacks on Israeli citizens, good riddance. As far as the collateral damage, that’s unfortunate, but at one point the Palestinian people are going to have to ask themselves why they chose a militant terrorist group to represent them. Hamas chooses to use Palestinian civilians as human shields, and Palestinians suffer the consequences. Life’s a bitch sometimes…

          • peepsqueek

            Hamas continues to target Israeli civilian populations knowing full well what the known response is going to be. Therefore, the prime cause of these deaths falls on the shoulders of Hamas.

        • Sprinkles

          Should a country really have to wait for a bloodbath before retaliating, especially when civilians have been targets since the beginning? We’re not talking about throwing rocks, Justin. There have been thousands and thousands of rockets launched from Gaza at Israeli civilians in the past decade. You bet that if, say, the government of Mexico was firing rockets at Texas (hypothetical, obviously not going to happen), the United States would retaliate immediately, not say, “Oh, it’s only a few people dead, whatever.”

    • peepsqueek

      Goliath is the banner of Islam that flies over 99.9% of the Middle East land mass.

      Goliath is 57 declared Muslim States (OIC) that vote as a bloc at the United Nations General Assembly.

      Goliath is 22 Arab States (Arab League) who will not give citizenship to so called Palestinian Arab refugees, not the people who left Israel proper 65 years ago, but to their offspring.