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Monday, December 29, 2008

Israel vs Hamas

How can we not talk about this ongoing tragedy? On the other hand, is there anything new and relevant to say?

The cease fire came to an end and Hamas resumed firing rockets into Israel. Israel responded with major air attacks and the threat of a ground invasion.

Even if we agree that Israel was in the right to respond, there is the question of proportionality.

But, in the end, it gets down to the question of whether a "two-state" solution will work in that part of the world. Can an independent Israel and an independent Palestine exist side by side. We have been heading in this direction for years. President Clinton thought it was at hand by the end of his presidency. It didn't happen. President Bush specifically made the "two-state" solution US policy and then tried benign neglect for a while. That didn't do it.

The Washington Post gives us two headlines this afternoon, "Israeli Defense Minister Refers to 'All-Out War'" and "Food and Medical Supplies Grow Scarce in the Gaza Strip." The growing shortage of supplies should not be a surprise to us.

This may be an opportune time for the Israelis to act--it is in the interregnum between the US election and the US inauguration. On the other hand, for Hamas it might be opportune also, in that they might hope that the incoming President, seeing the human disaster that is unfolding, will put pressure on Israel to concede more. But surely they don't believe that the new President will pressure Israel to fold and go elsewhere? That would seem to be a non-starter. Yet, the disestablishment of Israel does seem to be the Hamas position.

And maybe this isn't about us at all. Elections are coming up in Israel in February. Hamas is in a constant struggle with the official President of Palestine. If all politics is local, per the late Speaker, Tip O'Neill, then maybe this is just a local squabble.

However, the reverberations of the rockets and bombs being exchanged can be felt in faraway places.

For the rest of us, in those faraway places, right now there is only prayer.

Regards -- Cliff

1 comment:

C R Krieger said...

Commenting your own post seems a little silly, but the post is a baseline and this is an update. Someone pointed me to this article, by Barry Rubin of the GLORIA CENTER, out of Israel. The author's view seems to be that Israel prospers in the long run by educating its youth, rather than making martyrs out of them.

His other point is that for Hamas there is no give and take. It is all about pushing Israel into the sea, so to speak.

On the other hand, someone else claims that this is a too simplistic view and that Hamas is very sophisticated and not like al Qaeda. Further, this authority claims that Hamas has accepted the two state solution and the 1967 borders.

As I learn more, I will update.

Regards -- Cliff