By Anonymous (not verified) on November 19, 2012

It is with the greatest sadness, mixed with frustration, and a sense of helplessness, that many people around the world, myself included, have watched on television the horrific scenes of death and destruction perpetrated, yet again, by the latest Israeli military assault on Gaza and its besieged, mostly young population.

The question on many people lips is: "When is the Israel government going to stop this bombing and continual wars and threat of war, against the Palestinians, and its neighbors, admit that there will be no military solution to the Palestinian Occupation, and begin to talk seriously with their enemies, in order to solve the problems for the sake of the Palestinians, Israelis, and indeed the whole of the middle east and world?"

Watching Israeli bombs landing on Gaza and hearing the death toll rise, with hundreds of people injured, many of the world's people realize -- in spite of all of Israeli and Western media propaganda -- that this is Israel's continuation of its illegal policies toward the Palestinians: war, occupation, the siege of Gaza, the building of illegal settlements and the confiscation of Palestinian land.

The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, argues Israel's 'right to defense' and the Obama Administration continues, yet again, to support this bogus claim, and pledges to oppose those who would question Israel's illegal policies.

The Israeli government and military do not have a right to carry out indiscriminate bombing and killing of Palestinian civilians, nor under international law. Israel has an obligation to abide by international law and uphold the rights of occupied Palestinian people, and since it refuses to do so, third-party governments have a legal responsibility to take action and see to it that Israel is not allowed to act with impunity.

The retaliation of Palestinian militants with rockets (at the moment, little more than projectiles as I witnessed one day whilst at Eretz crossing in Jerusalem when one flew overhead from Gaza to drop in the field beside me, and simultaneously an Israeli Jet Fighter flew into Gaza to drop bombs on cities) is a crime against the Israeli people, and serves to create terror and fear in the Israeli families living along the Gaza border. These actions are illegal and counter-productive setting back the efforts for a peaceful solution.

Many Israeli/Palestinians know there is a non-military solution, which can break the continuing vicious cycle of violence. What is missing is the serious political will of the Israeli government, to be brave, have courage, and move away from militarism and war. And the Western powers must insist that Israel upholds international law.

The Israeli/Palestinian people can lead the way, by their own nonviolent movements, including the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns, to bring about real political change, and give peace a chance.

We can all do something for peace in the Middle East.

Mairead Maguire won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.


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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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