Chicago’s dueling rallies: Pro-Palestine vs. Pro-Israel

 

July 20, 2014 Pro Palestine Rally, Chicago

July 20, 2014 Pro Palestine Rally, Chicago

 

Pro-Palestine Chicagoans flooded the streets on Sunday, July 20th, for a rally “to show their support for the Palestinians who’ve died and the thousands of others who are still in danger.”  The rally focused on the recent tensions between Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza, and the dead and injured as the conflict with Israel heightens.  On Tuesday, July 22nd, the pro-Israel faction will gather outside the Israeli consulate in downtown Chicago to show support for Israel.

No matter what side you’re on – if any – there seem to be limited good guys to hail in any of this.  As the Rude Pundit wrote,

“According to the UN’s Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as of the end of the brief cease-fire by Israel to allow Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to get food (which caused a run on banks and grocery stores) and medical attention, just prior to the start of a ground invasion:

‘An estimated 57,900 children who have experienced death, injury or loss of home over the past ten days require direct and specialized psychosocial support.’

‘The total number of people in need of shelter assistance due to destruction of or damage to their homes is estimated to be 96,400 individuals.’ ‘

‘50% of sewage pumping and treatment centres are no longer available.’

‘More than 30,000 people in Al Junaina and Al Salam area remain without water for the past seven days as result of damage to the main pipeline.’

‘In total, 84 schools have been affected by shelling due to their close proximity to targeted sites and are in need of repairs.’

This is not to mention the 23,000 who need food assistance, the destruction of farms, the damage to hospitals, and the damage to the water pumping system in the entire Gaza Strip.  At least 250 Palestinians are dead and nearly 2000 are injured, 70% of whom are civilians, so, you know, take that as your moral compass allows it.”

Those backing Israel note that the Israelis give warnings before bombing, that they’ve accepted the peace proposals (Hamas rejected Egypt’s attempts to broker a peace deal), and that what they’re targeting are not civilians, but the tunnels which fuel the economy of Gaza.  On the other hand, 550 Gazans have been killed – as compared with 25 Israeli soldiers and two Israeli civilians.

This conflict appears to be unstoppable militarily – and yet, the concept of sitting down at the table and hammering out a peace agreement seems unrealistic at this juncture.  The goal, as noted by the NY Times, is about Israel and Hamas eradicating each other, “not a two-state solution.”

Though Hamas has rejected Egypt’s attempts to broker peace, Egypt is still working on an amended peace deal between the two factions, saying that it might be willing to amend its “truce initiative” to end the fighting in Gaza to accommodate Hamas, “provided that all involved parties approve.”  Both sides have pledged to keep fighting as long as necessary:  Hamas’ leader in the Gaza Strip said it won’t agree to any sort of unconditional cease fire with Israel, while Israel is pledging to keep fighting.

Without some sort of peace agreement, this conflict will escalate – and it’s certain that no peace proposal on earth will completely satisfy either side of this bitterly divided region.  Some Republicans, of course, are blaming President Obama – and being Republicans, they believe nothing but full-throated support for Israel from the President will do, and if it includes heavier U.S. involvement in the region, so be it.  They ought, however, to heed the words of Benjamin Franklin, who said, “There was never a good war, or a bad peace.”