Analysis: Europe's plea for peace ignores the Gaza reality

Discussion in 'Israel and Palestine' started by toomuchtime_, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. toomuchtime_
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    toomuchtime_ Gold Member

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    While European leaders gathered twice Sunday in Egypt and Israel to hail the fragile Gaza cease-fire as an opportunity to revive Middle East peace efforts, the Hamas leadership-in-exile gathered in a Damascus TV studio to essentially state: Not over our dead bodies. Or, more accurately, not over Gazans' dead bodies.

    Its heroic resistance fighters had withstood the might of the Israeli occupation forces for three full weeks, said members of the Hamas leadership-in-exile, seated around a black table bearing a map of all of Palestine. Now, said Hamas spokesman Moussa Abu Marzouk, it was consenting to a tentative cease-fire, but only if Israel vacated Gaza within seven days.

    Otherwise, the invincible rocket crews would again be called into action, and the valiant assault on Israel would recommence.

    Just like Hizbullah in 2006, Hamas was either astonishingly cynical in provoking Israel's Operation Cast Lead onslaught by escalating its rocket fire, or it was astonishingly stupid. Either it anticipated the crushing Israeli military response and didn't care about the consequences for Gazans. Or it failed to appreciate what it was about to let Gaza in for.

    Either explanation reflects dismally on Hamas. And try as it might, unlike Hizbullah, it cannot even credibly claim that it inflicted high Israeli losses, pummeled large sections of the country with 100-plus rockets per day, wrought despair and confusion on the Israeli home front or exposed an incompetent Israeli military and political leadership.

    Again, unlike Hizbullah, it cannot credibly claim to have fought bravely against the IDF. Its fighters, rather, melted away into the deepest recesses of civilian protection. And while the likes of Marzouk and his colleague Khaled Mashaal sounded consistently indomitable from the comfort and safety of the Syrian capital, the local Gaza leadership simply hid.

    But will the people of Gaza, who chose Hamas as their leadership three years ago, internalize any of this? The fragile denouement of Operation Cast Lead saw Egypt and Israel graced by the presence of so many world leaders on Sunday that they barely had room to put their elbows on the shared table at Sharm e-Sheikh. They took so long to make their speeches in Jerusalem that all three Israeli nightly news shows cut away to other stories.

    The European leaders put on a public display here and in Egypt that was designed to underline the illegitimacy of Hamas and its Iranian and Syrian backers. The inclusion of Turkey's President Abdullah Gul at the Egyptian gathering highlighted that, ultimately, Hamas remained beyond the pale, despite all Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's vicious criticism of Israel these past three weeks.

    But will Gazans get the message? Or, confronted with the ruins all around them, will they instead redouble their hostility to Israel, forgive Hamas what was either cynicism or foolishness, and rededicate themselves to helping their elected Islamist leadership to eventually prevail over the Zionists? One after the other in Jerusalem on Sunday night, the dignitaries from Europe declared that the cease-fire was not enough - not an end in and of itself. The unstable truce had, rather, in the words of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, opened "a window of opportunity" to a broad Israeli-Palestinian peace.

    Each of the guests had their own stresses and nuances. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who had slammed Israel on the very first day of Operation Cast Lead for its "disproportionate" response to eight years of rocket fire, was by far the most critical, declaring, in apparent contradiction of his professed support for Israel's right to self-defense, that "the IDF's role is not in Gaza."

    He was "not out to lecture Israel," Sarkozy went on, and then did precisely that: "What is at stake is the future of the State of Israel," he declared with tremendous passion. And what was needed was "a major international conference," built on "trust" and the current "glimmer of hope," to "hammer out a great final peace plan" and "make peace this year."

    Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown was characteristically more circumspect. Unlike Sarkozy, he recognized that "permanent peace may seem a very, very distant prospect."

    But, like the French president, Brown, too, said he could "see a road" opening up in the direction of a permanent accord.

    Any such road, however, must of necessity run through Gaza. And there, Hamas is vowing to regain and then strengthen its capacity to hurt Israel. There, the Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin warned yesterday, Hamas will have the Philadelphi Corridor weapons smuggling operation back at full strength in two or three months if Egypt does not radically bolster prevention efforts. And there, as President Hosni Mubarak emphatically told his VIP guests on Sunday, Egypt will not allow a single foreign adviser, monitor or soldier to assist in the anti-smuggling work.

    Tony Blair echoed his successor Brown and the other European leaders when he stated on Sunday that "the cease-fire won't hold" unless there was a new effort to move toward a two-state solution. But long-since sobered by his work as the international Quartet's Middle East envoy, Blair added a caveat that was not stressed by the guests in Jerusalem. A new peace effort, he said, required a new Palestinian unity based on consensual Palestinian support for a two-state solution.

    What Blair left unspoken, on the day that the Hamas leadership in Damascus celebrated its victory and set out its conditions for maintaining the cease-fire, was that so long as Hamas dominates Gaza, there will be no such consensual Palestinian support for viable peace. And as of Sunday night, with the IDF starting to pull back after three weeks of Operation Cast Lead, Hamas has every intention of continuing to dominate Gaza.

    Analysis: Europe's plea for peace ignores the Gaza reality | Confronting Hamas | Jerusalem Post
     
  2. Godboy
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    Godboy Gold Member

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    Now we will wait and see what happens. Will they continue to fire rockets (i think they will)? If they do, Israel should go back in and mercilessly punish them, and repeat the process until they get the point.
     
  3. toomuchtime_
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    toomuchtime_ Gold Member

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    Well, that may be necessary, but what if with the help of the US, Egypt and the European powers that have promised Israel their support, Hamas can be cut off from weapons supplies from Syria and Iran? Without new weapons coming in, Hamas couldn't keep up any attacks for long and an added benefits of doing it this way is that all this combined effort legitimizes Israel's claim that Iran is a state sponsor of terror, puts Israel and the US on the same mission to cut Iran's and Syria's ties to other Arab countries and gives weight to the fear that if Iran obtains nuclear weapons, it will give them to one of the terrorist groups it sponsors.

    If the violence in Gaza goes on it will serve as a distraction from Iran's role as a state sponsor of terrorism and the danger Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons presents to the world. Another consideration is that Obama has said he believes the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian terrorists should be addressed as a part of a regional approach, essentially what the Bush administration has been doing without all the fanfare, and this coalition that has come together to stop Iran and Syria from sending weapons to Hamas fits nicely into that approach.
     
  4. Godboy
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    I think you would be expecting too much to assume they wont at least smuggle some rocket components through. The Palestinians will ultimately have to decide if they want peace or not. They know what rocket attacks agaisnt Israel brings them now, so it should be a simple choice, unless they are a flawed people, wacked out on religion and anti-zionism, and if thats the case, they will deserve all the bad shit that comes their way.
     
  5. HelloDollyLlama
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    Everyone has known for decades what the final Palestinian-Israeli peace deal would look like. All the Palestinians had to do was sign on the dotted line, and they'd have a country right now. Instead they gave us Hamas -- they are the only people in history stupid enough to deliberately, democratically elect a terrorist government, when electing grownups instead would have given them their own state.
     
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  6. jillian
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    Is that like "lather, rinse, repeat...."?
     
  7. toomuchtime_
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    toomuchtime_ Gold Member

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    There is no question that the Palestinian culture as it exists in Gaza is a sick culture based on hate and fear that reveres suffering an death and at least for the foreseeable future Israel will have no choice but to use harsh measures to protect its civilians against attacks from the militants, especially Hamas, in Gaza, but Hamas is only a part of the hostile configuration arrayed against Israel which includes Hezbollah, Syria and especially Iran. By agreeing to try to stop the attacks from Hamas by working with this coalition of the US, Egypt, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and other nations in Europe to prevent Iran from smuggling weapons in to Hamas, Israel is able to focus the world's attention and energy on neutralizing the dangers the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas axis presents. So does it better serve Israel's national security interests to deal with the dangers from Gaza alone through direct military action in Gaza or to deal with it as a part of a coalition that sees the attacks from Gaza as a part of a greater threat from Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas and tries to neutralize that greater threat?
     
  8. Godboy
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    Assuming you were able to stop all weapons smuggling into Israel, im not sure whether that will help Israel or not. Lets face it, hardly anyone paid attention when they were being atacked by rockets, imagine their position if the rockets stop falling?

    While a proper blockade would drastically reduce the illegal smuggling, i doubt you could put a complete stop to it. Even in our own maximum security prisons, people are able to smuggle in all kinds of stuff.

    I read that it will only take Hamas a couple months to replenish their rocket supply without a real blockade with Egypt fully on board. Since this started, the Israeli military destroyed thousands of rockets, so one must assume that replenishing their supply means they will smuggle thousands of rockets in that time. With that said, lets say you are so successful with your blockade, that you put a stop to 99% of what came into Gaza (Hamas should be able to get at least 1% of what they used to), that still means they are smuggling at least 10-20 rockets per month.

    If Hamas simply limited their rocket attacks to once per month, and 10-20 rockets at a time, it would still have the same fearful effect on Israeli citizens.

    I would also add, Egypt doesnt seem keen on the idea of anyone, other than themselves, monitoring their borders.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2009
  9. toomuchtime_
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    toomuchtime_ Gold Member

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    There are lots of problems but the real threat comes from Iran, not from Hamas. Without support from Iran, Hamas would only be a problem for the Palestinians, not for Israel. If Israel can focus the international help that has been promised to end the smuggling on Iran as the source of the weapons it may be more important in the long run to Israel's national security than dealing with Hamas directly and losing this international support against Iran.
     

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