A couple of weeks have elapsed since Gaza was “drawn into the center of Mideast strife” and the chorus of outrage has grown louder, with several Nobel peace laureates calling for a military embargo against Israel and a US Secretary-of-State famous for his “who-moi” moments giving an impromptu shot across the bow from a hot mic. Will it matter? Does it ever?
The cravenness of some US-based newspapers on the situation is just mind-boggling. I don’t like blaming “The Media” for every last open pothole in Middle East politics because there are many good reporters working on the ground who have their hearts and minds in the right place.
But the headlines have been nauseating. “Hamas: Israeli soldier captured” screams CNN, reserving a mention of 87 dead Palestinians for the subtitle. “2 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza clash” says the Washington Post, adding “Death toll tops 330 as Hamas militants step up attacks.” As a friend commented on Facebook:
The 330 Palestinian lives (the overwhelming majority of which are innocent civilians) are not as worthy or important to the American press as 2 Israeli lives. In fact, they do not even deserve to be named (Palestinians). Whereas the Israelis are named and described as having been “killed,” the Palestinians are just “dead”– either they mysteriously stopped breathing, or they are responsible for their own killing, or Hamas is to blame (as is insinuated).
If you want to help in a small way, here is a list of aid organizations. Beyond the present crisis, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement — which has emerged as one of the most visible and effective methods of nonviolent advocacy for Palestinian rights — is organizing a military embargo petition. Read more here.
Finally, here is Hanan Ashrawi, one of the most eloquent spokespersons for her people’s rights, discussing the situation on ABC News.
ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid): An NGO with offices in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Jordan, working in the region since 1968.
PCRF (Palestine Children’s Relief Fund): A non-political, non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the medical and humanitarian crisis facing Palestinian youths in the Middle East, since 1991.
MAP (Medical Aid for Palestinians): Delivers health and medical are to those worst affected by conflict, occupation, and displacement. Offices in Beirut, Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Gaza City.
UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency): funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, providing assistance for some 5 million registered Palestinian refugees.
Oxfam: Fighting poverty around the world.
KinderUSA (Kids in Need of Development, Education, and Relief)