Monday, January 5, 2009

Five critical questions to decode the news about Israel / Gaza / Hamas

OK - friends told me that they noticed a change in the language of my entries, that I have drifted to a more emotional, less analytical tone. Good point. So, let's try to engage with analytical distance (while I let my friends handle tanks in front of their house).

There are questions we need to ask if we want to be able to fairly assess the news coming to us and to judge the situation. I have listed the top five (below), which seem to underlie most of the assumptions of articles and commentaries in support of the current Israeli intervention in Gaza:

1- Isn't Hamas dedicated to the ultimate destruction of Israel and "pushing the Jews back into the sea?" And if that's the case, what choice does Israel have but to abolish the threat, no matter what the human cost?
2- Hasn't Israel shown itself willing to live in peace beside a Palestinian population organized under a viable state? So, why is it being threatened and why shouldn't it defend itself.
3- Even if we feel sorry for the Palestinian people (and these days everyone feels "sorry for the Palestinian people," even Ehud Barak), isn't it the corruption of their leaders which have forced this dead-end situation and pushed Israel to intervene militarily?
4- What is happening in Gaza is terrible, but what choice did Israel have when Qassam and Katyusha rockets were shot at civilians in Sderot and now Ashkalon? Which country in the world would tolerate such threats on its population?
5- Why haven't Palestinians chosen the non-violent route to achieve statehood and freedom? It seems this would work much better than what has been tried in the past.

Many commentaries implicitly address these questions in a way which can only then justify Israel's actions anywhere from a "least of all possible evils" to "heroic struggle."
I will use future entries to provide short answers to these five questions / set of assumptions.

But I will give you already my conclusion already about where this is all leading. When you have killed the last Hamas militant (if you could) and destroyed the last workshop where those stupid primitive rockets can be built, and anihilated the last thread of a police / security force in Gaza, and obturated the last tunnel allowing Gazans the free circulation of goods your forces have forbiden for years, you will have a pile of rubble, under the rubble a pile of bodies - men, women, children, militants, non-militants, ex-militants, future-militants ("Dieu reconnaitra les siens"), piling up the bodies for burrial you will still have 1.4 million people (I'm betting on less than 100,000 dead right now), half of whom under the age of 15. What you won't find underneath all this is a path to conscience and a path to peace.

There is a path to peace, but you can't drive there in a tank.
Click here and here for past commentaries on this path.

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