Q: In a statement Monday, Vice President Biden said the U.S. is consulting with other nations "on new ways to address the humanitarian, economic, security, and political aspects of the situation in Gaza." What are the religious and moral considerations in determining those "new ways," especially in light of Israel's raid on an aid flotilla from Turkey bound for Gaza.
I don't subscribe to the conventional wisdom that the "Gaza flotilla" was a watershed event in the Middle East. And the facts contradict the presumption that the residents of Gaza are suffering wholesale life-threatening deprivation. They have been deprived of certain materials that Hamas has consistently diverted from peaceable use to waging war on Israeli civilians. So it is hard to answer this question in its context. But I do have an answer.
The religious and moral context of alleviating suffering in Gaza begins with an insistence by the world community of humanitarians and peace activists that Israel's right to exist be affirmed. As long as the "partners" in delivering goods and supplies to the residents they "govern" are on record as demanding the dismantling of Israel by any means necessary, it is disingenuous to suggest that outsiders have some special responsibility to offer aid and comfort to them.
If the goal is comprehensive compassion and fairness, then let's hear Turkey and and other concerned parties begin by speaking truth to Hamas. If Hamas' cooperation and moral conduct are forthcoming, then I will join the chorus of people demanding changes in Israel's policies. Only then I suspect there won't be a need for one.________________
A Prayer for Israel in Troubled Times: http://shefanetwork.org/prayerforisrael.pdf
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
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