Gaza: the rights and wrongs

Discussion in 'Israel and Palestine' started by strollingbones, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. strollingbones
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    strollingbones Diamond Member

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    Israel's war in Gaza

    Gaza: the rights and wrongs
    Dec 30th 2008
    From The Economist print edition

    Israel was provoked, but as in Lebanon in 2006 it may find this war a hard one to end, or to justify

    THE scale and ferocity of the onslaught on Gaza have been shocking, and the television images of civilian suffering wrench the heart. But however deplorable, Israel’s resort to military means to silence the rockets of Hamas should have been no surprise. This war has been a long time in the making.

    Since Israel evacuated its soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip three years ago, Palestinian groups in Gaza have fired thousands of rudimentary rockets and mortar bombs across the border, killing very few people but disrupting normal life in a swathe of southern Israel. They fired almost 300 between December 19th, when Hamas ignored Egypt’s entreaties and decided not to renew a six-month truce, and December 27th, when Israel started its bombing campaign (see article). To that extent, Israel is right to say it was provoked.

    Of provocation and proportion
    It is easy to point out from afar that barely a dozen Israelis had been killed by Palestinian rockets since the Gaza withdrawal. But few governments facing an election, as Israel’s is, would let their towns be peppered every day with rockets, no matter how ineffective. As Barack Obama said on a visit to one Israeli town in July, “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.” In recent months, moreover, Hamas has smuggled far more lethal rockets into its Gaza enclave, some of which are now landing in Israeli cities that were previously out of range. On its border with Lebanon, Israel already faces one radical non-state actor, Hizbullah, that is formally dedicated to Israel’s destruction and has a powerful arsenal of Iranian-supplied missiles at its disposal. The Israelis are understandably reluctant to let a similar danger grow in Gaza.

    And yet Israel should not be surprised by the torrent of indignation it has aroused from around the world. This is not just because people seldom back the side with the F-16s. In general, a war must pass three tests to be justified. A country must first have exhausted all other means of defending itself. The attack should be proportionate to the objective. And it must stand a reasonable chance of achieving its goal. On all three of these tests Israel is on shakier ground than it cares to admit.

    It is true that Israel has put up with the rockets from Gaza for a long time. But it may have been able to stop the rockets another way. For it is not quite true that Israel’s only demand in respect of Gaza has been for quiet along the border. Israel has also been trying to undermine Hamas by clamping an economic blockade on Gaza, while boosting the economy of the West Bank, where the Palestinians’ more pliant secular movement, Fatah, holds sway. Even during the now-lapsed truce, Israel prevented all but a trickle of humanitarian aid from entering the strip. So although Israel was provoked, Hamas can claim that it was provoked too. If Israel had ended the blockade, Hamas may have renewed the truce. Indeed, on one reading of its motives, Hamas resumed fire to force Israel into a new truce on terms that would include opening the border.

    On proportionality, the numbers speak for themselves—up to a point. After the first three days, some 350 Palestinians had been killed and only four Israelis. Neither common sense nor the laws of war require Israel to deviate from the usual rule, which is to kill as many enemies as you can and avoid casualties on your own side. Hamas was foolish to pick this uneven fight. But of the Palestinian dead, several score were civilians, and many others were policemen rather than combatants. Although both Western armies and their foes have killed far more civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, Israel’s interest should be to minimise the killing. The Palestinians it is bombing today will be its neighbours for ever.

    This last point speaks to the test of effectiveness. Israel said at first that, much as it would like to topple Hamas, its present operation has the more limited aim of “changing reality” so that Hamas stops firing across the border. But as Israel learnt in Lebanon in 2006, this is far from easy. As with Hizbullah, Hamas’s “resistance” to Israel has made it popular and delivered it to power. It is most unlikely to bend the knee. Like Hizbullah, it will probably prefer to keep on firing no matter how hard it is hit, daring Israel to send its ground forces into a messy street fight in Gaza’s congested cities and refugee camps.

    Now cease fire
    Can Israel have forgotten the lesson of Lebanon so soon? Hardly. If anything, its campaign against Hamas now is intended to compensate for its relative failure against Hizbullah then. With Iran’s nuclear threat on the horizon, and Iranian influence growing in both Lebanon and Gaza, Israel is keen to remind its enemies that the Jewish state can still fight and still win. Precisely for that reason, despite its talk of a long campaign, it may be more receptive than it is letting on to an immediate ceasefire. Its aircraft have already pummelled almost every target in Gaza. Further military gains will be harder. A truce now, if Hamas really did stop its fire, could be presented to voters as the successful rehabilitation of Israeli deterrence.

    But a ceasefire needs a mediator. Mr Obama is not yet president, and George Bush has so far hung back, just as he did in 2006 while waiting for an Israeli knockout blow that did not come. This time, he and everyone else with influence should pile in at once. To bring Hamas on board, a ceasefire would need to include an end to Israel’s blockade, but that would be a good thing in itself, relieving the suffering in Gaza and removing one of the reasons Hamas gives for fighting.

    After that, Mr Obama will have to gather up what is left of diplomacy in the Middle East. It is not all hopeless. Until this week, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, was talking to Israel about how to create a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. But Mr Abbas presides over the West Bank only, and little progress is possible so long as half of Palestine’s people support an organisation that can still not bring itself to renounce armed struggle or recognise Israel’s right to exist. Since Hamas is not going to disappear, some way must be found to change its mind. Bombs alone will never do that


    Gaza: the rights and wrongs | Gaza: the rights and wrongs | The Economist
     
  2. RodISHI
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    RodISHI Gold Member

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    I do not think making any deals with terrorist will work in any manner. It is akin to giving a butchering bully your lunch money and inviting them to come back tommorrow for more.

    If these organizations cared anything about the children they would not set up situations where children are in harms way.
     
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  3. Sunni Man
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    Sunni Man Diamond Member

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    Rod please reread the article.

    Israel has had a blockade on Gaza for the last 6 months of food, water, fuel, medicine, etc.

    The home made rockets were used to draw attention to the suffering of the half starved people.

    Israel forced the Palestanian people to resort to drastic means to get the worlds attention.
     
  4. RodISHI
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    RodISHI Gold Member

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    Sunni, I wish no harm to the people in Gaza or anywhere else. I even know that many in Gaza have suffered at the hands of Hamas. Fact is that is where the people of Gaza need to rise up and say "enough we want our children to live."

    If we want to live in a world of peace we all must demand peace and truth. I personally will never bow to a bully. I'd rather go home and tell my Lord I stood for peace and Lord they refused it.

    You have said yourself Sunni that you stand with others to take Israel away from the people who now own it have you not? Since that is your proclaimed agenda you choose that lot that comes with that statement.

    In that you are not seeking a peaceful resolution. When the people of Gaza rise up and say we refuse to accept the agenda of terrorism then they will have a right to demand peace.

    If you wanted to use the road through my land to terrorize me I will also stop you at my property borders.
     
  5. Sunni Man
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    Sunni Man Diamond Member

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    Hamas is Not a terrorist organization

    The were democratically elected by the people and are very popular.

    People act like the Palestanian people are being held hostage by Hamas

    That is a lie.

    Hamas fights for the people and the people back Hamas.

    Besides who else can the people turn to help them and their struggle for Justice?
     
  6. DavidS
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    DavidS Anti-Tea Party Member

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    Riiiiiiiight. You see, the "Palestinian" people wouldn't be starving if they didn't go to war against Fatah. Do you hear any stories about "Palestinians" in the West Bank starving? No. Why? Because for more or less, they've made peace with Israel and instead of figuring out how to kill innocent civilians, they are figuring out how to build their economy.

    And uh, what about the rockets BEFORE the blockade occurred?

    Oh and by the way, if someone was really concerned about hunger and they wanted to get the world's attention, they wouldn't have kicked out Abbas, who Israel has been willing to deal with for a long time. You see, Abbas is welcome here in New York City and inside of the UN. In fact, he was just here yesterday. Now, why is it that Hamas' representatives aren't allowed in the UN?
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2009
  7. DavidS
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    DavidS Anti-Tea Party Member

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    The article was written before the ground invasion. Israel has taken very minimal losses. This "war" will be ended once Hamas ends. We're doing a very good job of seeing that that occurs sooner rather than later.
     
  8. sky dancer
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    The US has a 'special relationship' with Israel. We need to have a 'normal relationship' with Israel.

    There is a great deal the US can do to influence and help Israel moderate the response in this situation and to broker a two state solution.

    For 16 years, both the Clinton and Bush administrations have ignored the settlement expansion into the south.

    For Israel's benefit, we have to be a friend to the nation of Israel in another way than what we've been doing for the last 16 years or there will be no Israel. Israel will self-destruct because they have created a South African apartheid situation which will lead to the same demise as what happened in South Africa.

    The US lack of leadership has contributed to the causes and conditions of a Hamas group being able to take over the Palestinian leadership.

    This time, too many other countries are getting in the mix, and this could blow the Middle East war all over the world.

    We cannot allow this conflict to worsen and spread. The suffering is unbearable.
     
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  9. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    Why should Israel "moderate" its response. An appropriate response is one which gets rid of the threat. Hamas has said its only goal is to destroy Israel. Israel's appropriate response is to de-fang the terrorists.

    Frankly, I think taking 3,000 missiles before responding was pretty moderate.

    Not an issue here. It's irrelevant to the fact that Hamas sent thousands of missiles into Israel... one issue at a time.

    You can't create an "apartheid state" of people who aren't your citizens. Israel gave back the Gaza... told them to set up a government. Instead of using its resources to create a civilized society... they used it for weaponry.

    Israel has to have a result that gets rid of the tunnels used for smuggling weapons in from Egypt and gets rid of Hamas' ability to bomb it's people.

    There's really no other reasonable response. No matter how "moderate" you wish the response could be.
     
  10. RodISHI
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    RodISHI Gold Member

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    Your barking up the wrong tree there Sunni.

    Israel will not be driven into the sea or destoryed by Iran, Syrian backed Hamas.

    If there are people who are in Hamas who have any other agenda that is a true call for peace and justice I suggest leave Hamas and start an organization with peaceful agenda that seeks a resolution to live in peace with their neighbors.

    If you recall properly Satan came in by intrigue and false promises also.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2009

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