Posted by: Liza Rosenberg | January 2, 2009

The Choice of Israel

There is something you need to understand. I, along with many other Israelis, am disturbed by the loss of so many innocent Palestinian lives. The situation is not a simple one, and the rules of war are not so easy to follow when one side purposely chooses to endanger its own population. In an ideal war, if one can say such a thing, armies would battle other armies, and do their utmost to ensure that civilians are not in harm’s way. Israel now finds itself in the unenviable, untenable situation of not only having its own citizens targeted, but also having an enemy (and by enemy I mean Hamas and the other terror groups in Gaza, not the Palestinian civilians) that has actively and shamelessly chosen to fight from a position of using its entire civilian population as human shields. Despite Israel’s actions, it would not be unreasonable to say that Israel cared more about the Palestinian civilian population than the Hamas leadership does. That being said, because Hamas fights dirty, does that mean that Israel should not fight at all? What would be considered an acceptable amount of time for Israel to be held hostage by the whims and fantasies of a band of well-armed terrorists who are prepared to fight to the death – the unrealistic death of Israel and the death of their own civilian population?

It should be obvious by now that whenever Hamas wants something, whether it be something from Israel or the international community, or whether they are simply trying to find a cause around which to rally and unite their own people, the method they always opt for is to escalate the violence against Israel. They goad and push until Israel feels it can no longer exercise restraint. The scenario that unfolds is predictable and painful, inevitably more so for the weaker side. Sanctions haven’t worked, nor have ceasefires. Hamas will not recognize Israel and they have repeatedly stated their desire to continue the current fighting. They seem to be under the misconception that they can “win”, and unless their idea of winning is watching Israel turn Gaza into a mass grave for innocent Palestinian civilians, they surely must understand that a victory over Israel is not going to happen. Their vows to continue this dangerous folly and not give in clearly prove how they have utterly abandoned their own people.

And when you ask whether the Israeli government has hesitated about sending in ground troops because of the losses that would be incurred, the answer is yes. Obviously, it’s not the only reason, but it’s certainly a factor. Unlike the Hamas leadership, the Israeli leadership feels a responsibility toward its own citizens, whether they be soldiers or civilians. It is horribly, horribly unfortunate that Hamas does not feel the same responsibility. Or rather, perhaps they do, but only when the dead Palestinian in question is a high-ranking member of Hamas. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed, and the only death that has raised the ire of the Hamas leadership is that of senior Hamas official Nizar Ghayan, assassinated in a pinpoint attack by Israeli forces yesterday.

So, where does that leave Israel? Everyone is full of suggestions for what Israel should not be doing right now, but no one seems to be able to come up with any ideas for what we should be doing. We are condemned for applying sanctions, we are condemned for closing border crossings. We are asked to show restraint when Hamas decides it is no longer interested in a ceasefire (and may I remind you that during this ceasefire, the odd rocket was occasionally fired into Israel), demonstrating their resolve by firing more than 100 rockets into Sderot and other southern communities in the days leading up to the ceasefire’s expiration date and the immediate days that followed. How would you expect your government to act if rockets were raining down on your town?

With regard to citizens remaining in these communities under fire, while many have left, others simply cannot afford to go. Their whole lives are there – homes, family, jobs. Many of them do not have jobs. Unemployment in these peripheral areas is high and money is tight. Even in good times, the economy in Israel’s periphery was never thriving, so try to imagine how much worse it must be now. And there is another issue that must be factored in. Should the government be setting a precedent of emptying entire towns? Hamas has shown that they are capable of reaching locations that are farther and farther away from Gaza. Should those towns be emptied as well? Do we just bow to the will of Hamas and allow them to dictate where in sovereign Israel we can and cannot live? To do so would be outrageous.

As for Israel’s borders being secure, I believe most Israelis would say that our borders are only as secure as the strength of our military or the resolve of our neighbors. Hezbullah’s rocket fire and subsequent incursion and abduction of soldiers in the summer of 2006 triggered a war. Gilad Shalit was serving on a base within Israel when he was kidnapped and taken to Gaza. And border fences can only go so high. The repeated firing of rockets over the border from Gaza is what led to the Israel’s decision to fight back on more than one occasion.

I wish that innocent Gazans did not have to die, and I wish that their leaders felt as much compassion for these deaths as many Israelis do. I wish there was another way, but sadly, I don’t think there is, not now. As an Israeli, I am not prepared to sacrifice my own life, the life of my child, my family, my friends or my fellow citizens in order to keep the population of Gaza safe. Sometimes, it is simply not enough to want peace and quiet, to want to believe that we can achieve these goals. We cannot live in peace as long as Hamas holds us all hostage, leaving us no room to compromise and no choice but to fight.

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Responses

  1. This is well written, but there are the usual familiar patterns.

    – Anything beyond the fence is nothing to do with me
    – Palestinians not happy with their lot has nothing to do with me
    – My peace of mind is paramount

    Israel is an amazing experiment, but it is in a precarious position by choice. Don’t blame any other nation, or the people you subjugate for this.

    Most of us British have a degree of sympathy with terrorist neighbours, but killing 100’s of people for strategic advantage is still murder.

  2. You have an obvious talent in writing, so I applaud you for that.

    However you need to look beyond Hamas itself and see why it is becoming such a strong force among Palestinians and others.

    Palestinians have been oppressed and suppressed by Israel for a very long time. You cannot deny that can you? The countless of checkpoints, the limited amount of electricity, the limited amount of water supply (that has left some places relying on RAIN WATER). It’s like living in a prison, a cage.

    Land is taken away, houses are bulldozed, families thrown out.

    Then there is discrimination set into the system. Many motorways/high ways (call them what you want) are built for Israelites only. Getting to work can take up to 2 hours, thanks to the chains that have been set upon the ordinary Palestinian.

    80 precent of the population is living on aid from foreign countries. 80 PRECENT.

    The sick cannot get out, help cannot get in, and many people wonder why people go nuts?

    We applaud freedom, we cherish freedom, yet people in Gaza live like animals, pushed out into a small area (Gaza is one of the most populated areas in the world) with bars around them. When you see this happening, even the most civil person can *click*

    Im not justifying attacks from Hamas, but at the same time, people need to know why other take such actions. Just like you said,

    “We cannot live in peace as long as Hamas holds us all hostage, leaving us no room to compromise and no choice but to fight.”

    Now re-arrange that;

    “We cannot live in peace as long as Israel holds us all hostage, leaving us no room to compromise and no choice but to fight”

    The palestinians want to be free.

    You presented one side, I very briefly showed you the other.

    Keep up your writing.

    Until next time,

    Mamashaal (( desi diva ))
    http://www.mamashaal.wordpress.com

  3. DE: I’m sorry. “The usual predictable patterns?” First of all, if that’s the message you got, I can’t help but wonder if you even read the post. You are so far off-base that I don’t even know where to begin. I truly am sorry that the Palestinian people are suffering, and if you had taken the time to go through my blog at all, you’d know that. That being said, I don’t believe that Israelis living in the south should continue to suffer as they have for more than eight years because the Hamas leadership have allowed their people to suffer even more.

    As long as Hamas is in control, no one will have peace of mind.

    As for Israel being an “amazing experiment”, I don’t even know where to begin. Israel is not an experiment. It is a country. How dare you call it an experiment! That is so outrageously patronizing that I am fighting every single urge I have right now to respond even more harshly than I am now. As far as it being in a precarious position by choice, what a load of crap, unless you mean that by daring to exist we have chosen to put ourselves in a precarious position.

    Israel is far from innocent, but by absolving the Palestinians of all responsibility for the current situation, you are not only doing them a tremendous disservice, you are displaying a degree of bias and ignorance that sickens me, as does most of your comment.

    When you pompously refer to “most of us British” having a degree of sympathy with terrorist neighbors, all I want to do is laugh. Or maybe cry. I really haven’t decided yet, since that sentence is devoid of any real meaning. It must be dreadful for you all over there, what with France and Ireland creating such headaches for you. Have those Scots been bothering you?

    Go back to your armchair, please.

  4. Mamashaal: Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I would be pleased if you would also take the time to read other blog entries that I’ve written in the past, as I think you’d be pleasantly surprised to discover that I actually agree with nearly everything you’ve written in your comment.

    I’m not happy about the current situation, and it pains me that so many innocent Palestinians are being killed. Perhaps we could have had a partner for peace in President Abbas or previous Palestinian presidents (though not Arafat, I think), but we managed to screw that up by not doing anything to strengthen their power. For now, I have a hard time believing that there can be real peace talks that will bear fruit as long as Hamas is in charge in Gaza (don’t even get me started on the Israeli government…).

    I honestly believe that there are many people on both sides who simply want to live quietly in mutually respectful peace. I am one of them. Hamas is holding us all hostage. When they were elected, I understood why – at the time, they represented a sort of change for the better. Now, I think they only represent themselves.

    What are your thoughts about what I’ve written in this comment? I would be very interested in hearing your opinion of Hamas. If you’d prefer to take this offline, feel free to drop me an email using the link in the sidebar.

  5. I will more than happily read the rest of your blog entries and I am very pleased that I found your blog. It is necessary for us people on ground level to have a mutual dialogue and try to get the situation in OUR hands rather than the wrong people in politics.

    I agree with you when you say that political “friendship” has been weakened as we didn’t do anything to strengthen it.

    As for Hamas, it is a very tricky and delicate subject. Let me say straight away that I do not sympathize with Hamas as I feel that suicide bombing is a disgrace upon the face of Palestinians and Islam together. Also, the fact that they don’t “accept” Israel as a state is also worrying and naturally by doing so they are shooting themselves in the foot.

    However, having said that, Hamas is responsible for things like social welfare. They construct schools, hospitals and spend about 60 or 70 billion dollars in running many relief and education programs, and they funds schools, orphanages, mosques, healthcare clinics, soup kitchens, sports leagues, libraries, mosques, education centers for women(!!!)

    What person in their right mind wouldn’t be happy for such things in Gaza?

    So I can understand when people sympathize with Hamas, they are “freedom fighters” for many.

    Now Hamas is considered a terrorist organization, so saying that I support Hamas would be stupid. But truth is I don’t support Hamas, I in reality never have, mainly because I feel that their approach to Israel is wrong and their method of negotiation is wrong as well. But I will not deny that I applaud Hamas for their work on social welfare.

    I agree with you very, VERY much that Hamas is starting to get out of control and steer away from the initial reason they were elected, but sadly enough, Palestinians find a form of hope in Hamas, a way to freedom from the occupation of Israel. I do not blame them.
    Like the Danish Prime Minister said, “If I was oppressed, I would also probably join an uprising group”

    I acknowledge the people of Israel. Why shouldn’t I? But I do not hide the fact that I believe in a independent and free Palestine where Palestinians are unshackled from occupation and can live freely without curfews and checkpoints like the rest of us.

    Too much blood has been spilled and too many parents have buried their children. Both Israelites and Palestinians have suffered. Enough is enough.

    I do not know about you, but I believe in a Israeli state and a separate Palestinian state. Thats my view.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this overly-long post. I have a tendency to get carried away!!

    Until next time,

    Mamashaal (( desi diva ))
    http://www.mamashaal.wordpress.com

  6. Mamashaal,

    Have you ever wondered whether there could be a correlation between providing social welfare and terrorism? I do that a lot. Mainly for two reasons: If people depend on your handouts, and only on yours, they are your allies. Chances are high that they will follow you pretty much everywhere, even to death. Especially if you present them an enemy to blame for everything which goes wrong. It is an old trick, Stalin used it as well as the Nazis.

    The other reason is something I watched in the nineties in Gaza and in the West Bank. Foreign aid money came in to boost economy, there were start ups, small business, jobs and income for the ordinary people, international projects for industrial plants, etc. pp. Many people saw a chance to get a decent life away from welfare money, and there were the beginnings of political pluralism. Start uppers were not willing to pay “protection money” anymore, and more and more asked for a party who cared for econimcs, infrastructure, a decent educational and health care system etc. pp.

    Then the political leaders of the Palestinians called for the second intifada. The suicide bombings started, the martyr babble was everywhere, even in the kindergardens, rockets were launched, drivers on higways were attacked, more than one thousand Israeli civilians were murdered, and that did not stop till the fence, the checkpoints and the Israeli only highways were set up and the Palestinians were excluded.

    Gone were the start ups, the small business, the industrial projects, the jobs and the income for ordinary Palestinians. The only ones who have cashed in on the second intifada and its results are the political leaders: literally (Gaza alone receives foreign aid relief in the billions per year, and as it does not seem to reach the ordinary Palestinians, it must end up elsewhere) as well as politically. If there should be people in Gaza who aks their government where all the foreign aid billions go to and why the parliament does not care for economics, a decent infrastructure, educational system, health care etc. pp., they do not hit the headlines.

    I might well be on the wrong track. What is your view?

    J.

  7. Just to reply to what you found particularly annoying.

    I didn’t say Israel was not a nation. I just said it was an experiment. I’m not the first to use that term:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/sale03032003.html

    There was no intention to be insensitive, I guess perspective is quite different this far away. Apologies.

    I am in no position to absolve anybody – but Israel are in a position of responsiblity over Gaza, as is obvious. It is usual to blame the responsible party for trouble – and again I doubt I am unique to point tis out.

  8. DE and Mamashaal,
    Israel is far from perfect and what innocent Palestinians are going through is horrible. But Liza is right when she says what is Israel supposed to do? The terror pre-dates the 1967 occupation…what was the excuse then? When Israel opens the border crossings and terrorists attack them, then what? Israel leaves in 2005 and the rockets begin, then what? What should Israel have done then? If Israel opened the borders, is there any doubt suicide bombings and smuggling of more weapons would begin? Has anyone paid attention to what Hezbollah has been doing since 2006, building up their arsenal of weapons? Where is the UN? Seriously, why are you guys not complaining that they have more weapons than they did in 2006? How short is the world’s memory?

    Israel media, bloggers, the country itself takes responsibility for mistakes, makes concessions, admits wrongdoings……will any Palestinians or supporters take responsibility for ANYTHING? Where is the internal Palestinian arguing, debating, dissent? When rockets fly into Israel for eight years and NO ONE says a thing, how can anyone defend that? What possible explanation is there? My Israeli friends are all over the map with many of them upset at Israel, mourning for Palestinians, hoping for alternative options. But when no supporters of the Palestinian cause can take ANY responsibility for ANYTHING (and I don’t know you two so I’m speaking generally), forgive Israel supporters for having a tough time swallowing criticism when the world did not give a damn or even notice.

  9. The comments are more interesting than usual. I don’t often see a comment from “the other side” than seems reasonable to me (mamashaal).

  10. What I find most disturbing is the fact that the IDF hasn’t defined its exact objective for this current assault (since no bigwig has so far called this shenanigan a “war”, I really have no idea what else to call it).
    I was looking frantically over the newschannels for any kind of serious rationale for the assault only to hear this echoing mantra: “We wish to show Hamas that Israel is not to be trifled with”.
    This, to me, is not an military objective. This is what you might call “playing games”, and in these particular games, people die.

    This doesn’t, in fact, help you or me in any way. I’m not saying we should just shut up and let Hamas have its way, but I AM saying that even if the IDF *should* do something, it’s incompetent in doing the *right* thing.

    Personally, I think that the best way to fight this war is not with tanks and fighter jets. We have more than 1.5 million people who are poisoned on a daily basis to hate our guts. The only way to change the situation is by appealing to the *minds* of Palestinians. And by appealing to the minds, I don’t mean getting to their mind through a bullet to the head.

  11. Anonymous,

    Yes, “us guys” do expect Israel to do the right thing by default. You are the responsible party, with the vast U.S. defence spending to prove it. This compares with the Palestinians who have limited freedom, resources or choice – and even less good choices.

    Doing the right thing is not easy, nor is it necessarily going to improve things in your lifetime. You have every right to build for a safe future. But if you want a totally painless peace right now, you may be living on the wrong continent and time.

    Supressing Hamas militancy while accepting Palestinian aspirations is indeed Israels problem, which the world should recognise. But if you decide that your “right for peace” means killing 100s of people, then you must expect criticism.

    The world sees now a nuclear state about to crush its weak subjagated neighbour. And much of what you write appears to seek justification for this. I’m sorry if this is hard to swallow.

  12. J,

    I understand your view and agree with you too, however, I cannot blame the Palestinians for hanging on to Hamas. If you are the sole provider and fight for what you call freedom, people will follow you no doubt. But when someone starts taking away the people’s freedom, cuts the electricity and water supply, inserts curfews, drops bombs on you, not only will the people agree with you, but will also join in in whatever you do.

    The Second Intifada is a 50/50 split, all depending on who’s side you look at. The Israeli, no doubt, mourn the 1000 people lost, while (many) Palestinians mourn the 5,500 people lost and see
    the Second Intifada as what the name suggests; “to shake off”, in the context to shake off the Israeli occupation. In my eyes, the Second Intifada has harmed both Palestinians and Israelites.

    As for foreign aid, a nation/people cannot live on foreign aid alone, nor can they prosper (Aid was suspended in 2006 as you may recall and it caused poverty to double.) The people can merely survive, and that is not good enough, nor is it acceptable. As I mentioned before, 80-86 precent of the Palestinians live on the foreign aid, while the rest goes to relief programs and schools etc. while the other crucial elements like water, electricity and land are sparse, limited and mainly controlled by Israel. According to statistics, unemployment in the Gaza strip has risen under Israeli siege. And I don’t even think I should pick up the issue of Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

    A people can only do so much. No country can grow and prosper if it is presented by obstacles in countless of amounts.

    There is no one-way solution to this. Don’t get me wrong, the Palestinians are not 100 precent innocent, but when you see who has the upper hand here and the fact is that Israel has committed countless of human rights violations and international law violations. That’s everything from the checkpoints to the Israeli settlements, so for me, the Palestinians continues support to uprising isn’t a surprise. In fact, if they didn’t support some sort uprising, I would be surprised.

    The facts and the statistics push me and countless of Palestinians in the direction of having the opinion that there should be one liberated Palestinian state that constitutes Gaza, West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. But the least would be obeying at least Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

    “The right to freedom of movement provides that people are entitled to move freely within the borders of the state, to leave any country and to return to their country.”

    Until next time,

    Mamashaal (( desi diva ))
    http://www.mamashaal.wordpress.com

    ps. Anonymous, I will reply to you in a bit…I need too cook not to mention that my back and fingers are aching..

  13. DE,
    That is completely unfair. It is insanity for both parties not to accept responsibility. When you strap on a bomb to kill civilians, or cheer in the streets when innocents die in Israel or in 9/11, or don’t do anything to stop those from firing rockets from your house, or don’t raise your voices to try to bring democracy or overthrow your government….ANYTHING to bring about internal change rather than just blaming the other party….you must be open to criticism. Unfair to suggest otherwise. Seriously, when Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, it was making a bold unilateral concession. The Palestinians did NOTHING in return…NOTHING to show it was interested in anything but wiping Israel off the map. And most Israelis (I think) believe or hope that most of the Palestinian people are not responsible for the actions of their leadership but come on….if they are not raising an eyebrow when rockets are being fired from their land into Israel for eight years, they must be held somewhat responsible.

    Israel is not trying to kill 100s of people. They are warning civilians to leave their homes before bombing places where missiles are coming from. They are sending in humanitarian aid immediately after their strikes. They have been warning Hamas for months that they would be fighting back. They are doing everything they can to minimize civilian casualties. If they were really interested in genocide, killing all the Palestinians, don’t we think they’d be doing a better job at it? Nuclear power has nothing to do with this conversation….if anyone thinks Israel doesn’t need every capability to protect itself in a region that wants it destroyed, he’s crazy. But this is a country that sends soldiers door to door to minimize mass casualties (see Operation Defensive Shield in Jenin), not a country that’s going to nuke its neighbors. Most of the world looks at weak vs strong when maybe it should be looking at right vs wrong.

    Again….Israelis see nuance, grey area, mourn for Palestinians, take responsibility for mistakes….things I think you want to see in ANY type of relationship. If one party refuses to do ANY of these things and ONLY point the finger at the other, I think that says a whole lot about that party. Would you tolerate that attitude in a romantic relationship?

  14. Interesting discussio. I included this post in a round up of posts and news about the war in Gaza.

    On a side note, Egypt controlled Gaza for 19 years. Why don’t we ever hear criticism about their “occupation.”

    I have always found it to be curious.

    In regards to Hamas and their position as a social welfare organization, that is all well and good but it doesn’t excuse their behavior.

    It is really hard to advocate for discussions with an entity who is sworn to eradicate you. In fact it is fool hardy to speak unless you have real potential to come to mutually agreeable solution.

    I’ll join the chorus of saying that Israel has made plenty of mistakes and should be criticized. But it has to be balanced.

    And the reality is that much of it is not. And that makes dialogue very difficult.

    So we can come back to the chicken and egg scenario and argue about who did what to who first and so on.

    But in regards to the current operation, Hamas is far more culpable than Israel. You can’t throw rocks at a beehive and get upset when the swarm attacks you.

  15. Didn’t the Americans ask the Palestinians in Gaza to have a democratic election? And the Palestinians, however misguidedly, elected Hamas.

    In Gaza, we have 1.5 million people living in a “holding pen”, unable to live normal lives. It’s all very well to talk about the 2005 disengagement, but if we are still controlling their borders and airspace, what does it really mean to them in practical terms?

    It is most unfortunate that we Israelis cannot negotiate with Hamas.

    The Palestinians seem unable to pull themselves out of their hole, other Arabs have no interest in doing so. It seems to me that we, the Israelis, have to do something about the festering time bombs in Gaza and the West Bank, for our own survival, and I don’t think this means the current military action.

    We have to stop building on disputed territory in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, pull out of the West Bank, declare a Palestinian state ourselves, and then make war against it. Not an “operation”, but war.

  16. mamashaal,

    The relationship that Israel has with the Palestinian arabs is hardly romantic, more prisoner / guardian.

    If a prisoner commits suicide, the Prison authority is still considered culpable. By incarcerating someone, you also take responsibity for their well being. And it is an unuasl prisoner that loves his jailer.

    When Israelis vote for Likud, I assume it is because they believe that their security would be improved by a more aggressive military. I doubt it is because they just like the anti Arab vitriol that some hawks use. A similar process is probably going on with Palestinians choosing Hamas. Except their choices are drastically reduced. Over time one would hope that both sides consistently opt for less combative leadership.

    And yes, you are correct. Israel is not trying to kill 100s of people. They have killed 100s of people. Again, apologies for bluntness but this is why a ceasefire is urgently required.

  17. (Last post should be addressed to Anonymous)

  18. Jack,

    Yes, there is more focus on the Israeli occupation than the Egyptian occupation because many people see the Israeli occupation as more harsh and “inhumane” than the Egyptian. The Palestinians are in worse conditions under Israeli occupation rather than the Egyptian. There are countless of statistics to approve of that..

    Of course it does not excuse Hamas’s behavior, yet, it can be understood why the Palestinians cling on to Hamas, as I mentioned in the previous posts.

    It’s a bit difficult to have a balanced argument, frankly. You can of course always blame Hamas and the average Palestinian to be “hot-blooded” but then you have to see behind their anger. There will be foolish, no-reason idiots as there always are, but much of the time, you can find hard evidence to why there is so much bitterness from Gaza. Facts, statistics, events, the numerous and countless of breaches of International/Human Rights Laws…

    You are right in that matter that if you poke at a beehive, you can expect the bees to come after you. The palestinians can say the same thing. They believe that the Israelites have stolen land, stolen the right for freedom etc, so now it’s their turn to fight back.

    Until next time,

    Mamashaal (( desi diva ))
    http://www.mamashaal.wordpress.com

  19. Hi Mamashaal,

    Of course I can understand that the people in Gaza and the West Bank are upset about the limitations on their daily life. That is one of the reasons why I would like to learn about their ideas and plans to get out of the disaster.

    For a disaster it certainly is. As you say it, the death toll of the last ten years is in the thousands, the restrictions on mobility are harsher than ever, the economy is a mess, and an incredibly high number of people depend on foreign aid (which actually increased in 2006, despite the statements of the main donor countries, but that just as a side note).

    Looking at those facts, I suppose we can safely say that violence has not enhanced the Palestinian concerns. Therefore, I can hardly imagine that the support for the “militants” should be as ubiquitous among the Palestinians as the mass media depict it. I guess there are people in Gaza and the West Bank who are fed up with violence and have been so for quite some time, and I would like to learn about their assessments and considerations. What do they regard as an effective strategy to achieve a sovereign Palestinian state? What are their plans to make that state prosper? How do they syndicate to promote their ideas? What are yours?

    I am aware that this is not the optimal moment for asking such questions. But then, and sadly, this one seems to be as bad or good as almost any other one in the last decades.

    I am looking foreward to hearing from you.

    J.

  20. DE, you are correct-it is not a reciprocal relationship. I will give you that. But look at the history. Israel LEFT Gaza! Every time borders are open, what happens? Bombs and missiles are smuggled in and those border crossings WHICH ARE OPENED FOR FOOD AND AID are attacked! This is not a minor detail, this is why the borders are closed! This is why the army is destroying tunnels every day! Hamas EXISTS to destroy Israel. Everyone forgets that Israel pulled out 3 years ago….did Gaza do ANYTHING? Israel leaves Lebanon, gets attacked. Israel leaves Gaza, gets attacked. Do you see how it’s not so black and white?

  21. […] thank you. And if you are curious about mainstream sentiment toward the war, I commend the blogs of Liza and Israeli Mom. Both express regret for the suffering of Palestinians, alongside a belief that the […]

  22. Anonymous,

    The overall situation is not black and white – but the current action is definitely wrong. Its not evil, its just very wrong. I only wish Europe would use its own forces to intercede, but of course we will not.

    When an organisation has a purpose that it can’t possibly execute, its fairly obvious they will negotiate or collapse. I remember everyone was so surprised when Yasser Arafet accepted the existence of Israel. And when South Africa stopped Apartheid. All nonsense dies eventually.

    Hamas are now desperate, so god knows what they will do. One only hopes the people of Gaza have more patience, forgiveness and less vengence than the Israelis. But they have probably learnt their lesson – the weak die first.

  23. DE,
    Well, I wish you would acknowledge some of the questions I ask. You also write that an organization negotiates or collapses when it can’t execute its purpose. You are right….except that only if you think like a Westerner. I’m American, you’re European (I think)….but Hamas is not. That’s why I think much of the Western world is against Israel. Our Western liberal Judeo-Christian logic just doesn’t apply here. Hamas isn’t interested or understanding of compromise, democracy, responsibility….they don’t value life and care about improving their situation like you and I do. They are more interested in someone else’s suffering than their own advancement. This is not just rhetoric, I promise you. The Middle East is not the West….many of the countries here do not share the values that you and I hold. HAMAS DOES NOT CARE HOW MUCH THEY HURT….the more they suffer, the more resolute they come, not less.

    I would ask you to really consider anything I am saying before responding.

  24. Hi Liza, long time no see 😉

    Good stuff. You may find this interesting:

    http://simplyjews.blogspot.com/2009/01/form-despised-to-despised.html

    It is not mine, so I feel that I’m not being self-serving here. Anyway, I feel that in a strange way it correlates with these last posts here.

    Cheers.

  25. Anonymous,

    OK, I will try not to use the classic “you are asking the wrong questions” line.

    “Israel left Gaza and things got worse”

    The only thing Israel left was a vacuum that Hamas is now filling. Israel physically moved from the area – but never dealt with the geopolitics. If one treats random rockets from Hamas as a “major” issue, then there will always be “major” issues. The only issue that matters is viable statehood for both sides. Instead, Israel are just bludgeoning their problems.

    Retreating was the easy bit. The rest takes time.
    Meanwhile, Israel have used their control over the borders and wall to effect a stranglehold. And people do not act rationally while being strangled.

    “Hamas isn’t interested or understanding of compromise, democracy, responsibility”

    Its very hard for a first world economy to compromise with a weaker one. Additionally, Israel and Hamas seem to have a box of things marked “no compromise”. To keep a pristine Jewish only state will probably be costly.

    Full democracy is a nice-to-have but not required to live with a neighbour. I don’t really know how secular Palestinians really feel about Hamas, but it probably is not so different to left wing Israelis living under Likud.

    Hamas have shown quite a bit of responsibility in managing the the strip – but that isn’t actually what you mean. You mean, why haven’t they agreed to develop Gaza into something better to live in – like Israel do. Well, remember when you said I thought like a Westerner?

  26. […] you. And if you are curious about mainstream sentiment toward the war, I recommend the blogs of Liza and Israeli Mom. Both express regret for the suffering of Palestinians, alongside a belief that the […]

  27. Jack,

    It seems the only logical explanation would be to not cling to militants as they seem to impose violence, but again, there are many Palestinians whom have given up hope getting “their message” through by diplomacy. After all, it really hasn’t gotten them anywhere. They are still in the mode for survival.

    Also it is rather clear that USA has always backed Israel up in, what I assume, everything. There is no official critique of Israel from American politicians and anyone found doing so is labelled as a “Israel-hater”. As an old gentlemen said in a John Mccain rally: “Is it true that a vote for Obama is a vote to the death of Israel?” And Obama had answered later: “Israel will remain a friend of the USA, no matter what happens”.

    And the vast support of the Israeli action by American politicians and the silence from many Western governments doesn’t give any hope..

    As I have stated before, when all options seems to run out, humans tend to follow any option that is left, even if its the last thing they would normally do. Hamas is such an example.

    Personally, even though I can understand why many Palestinians cling to Hamas (“They throw us out of our own land, and when we defend it, they call us terrorists?” as said by a Hamas follower), I believe the only way to get a free Palestinian state is when the world backs Palestine up. Sadly, the term “Palestine” has become equal to “Hamas” in many Western countries. You will be surprised at how little the average person knows about Palestine and the palestinian people. So the only way get Hamas out of power, is to ensure the people of Palestine that there are people who agree with them and will help them in the pursuit of freedom. Financial help and aid of-course is needed to kick-start the economy, but most importantly it’s necessary for Palestinians to have control on their own resources, like the olive trees, the land, the water and electricity supply. Once they have that, getting on feet will be easier.

    Once the shackles are broken, the Palestinians will prosper for sure and can finally live like the rest of us do.

    I’m in process of writing a new post about this issue..it will be up in a few days time.

    Until next time,

    Mamashaal (( desi devi ))
    http://www.mamashaal.wordpress.com

  28. Give me a break. Comparing Hamas to Likud. This is why I never waste time with talkbacks. I’m done.

  29. Anonymous,

    You need to relax. And you need to see the facts from the other side.

    It will help you understand the issue better. There are people who are as passionate about Palestine and Palestinians as you are of Israel. Keep that in mind.

    Until next time,
    Mamashaal (( desi diva ))
    http://www.mamashaal.wordpress.com

  30. Of course, I have made no comparison between Hamas and Likud.


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