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How can you possibly oppose this war?

Someone asked me an innocent question: “What is the position of Israelis who are against the war?”

There are obvious answers.

First, this is a disproportionate war that harms huge numbers of civilians. The IDF is bombarding an area that it has already imprisoned by occupation from 1967, and then through suffocating border, movement, import and export control since 2007. Its residents have been stateless since 1948. It is attacking by air, land and sea, while Hamas attacks civilians in Israel through rockets and now through terrorist infiltration, at an increasingly frenzied pace.

Right-wing nationalists attacking left wing activists during a protest in center Tel Aviv against the Israeli attack on Gaza, July 12, 2014. The protest ended with the nationalists attacking a small group of left-wing activists with little police interference. Three activists injured and one right-wing person arrested. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Right-wing nationalists attacking left wing activists during a protest in center Tel Aviv against the Israeli attack on Gaza, July 12, 2014. The protest ended with the nationalists attacking a small group of left-wing activists with little police interference. Three activists injured and one right-wing person arrested. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Second, escalation breeds escalation. The south of Israel has not been at peace for a decade, but in this war, the whole country is under attack. And “Protective Edge” made things even worse for the south; all the Israel casualties so far – as of today two civilian deaths, numerous wounded (including children) and one soldier killed – have been in the south. “Code Red” warnings in Sderot all these years were awful, but death is worse. On a good day, there is suffering in Gaza; now the death and destruction there is indescribable.

Third, most of the stated goals of the war seem impossible to fulfill. Israeli Foreign Minister Liberman’s blustery call to take down Hamas is hot air, unless Israel wants to full-out occupy Gaza (it doesn’t) or watch even more extreme groups take over. Destroying the “infrastructure of terror” also falls apart upon close inspection, since, as I have heard some say, “you can’t kill an idea.” The stated goal of the ground operation is to destroy tunnels into Israel where terrorists have tried to infiltrate over the last few days (following the air war). I certainly support preventing terrorists from reaching Israel. But tunnels can be destroyed, as many of the Rafah ones were by Egypt late last year, without going to war.

Fourth, the political and social consequences of the war will be a disaster in the short, medium and long term. In the short term, Hamas could easily become stronger, having become the defiant face of military resistance against Israel as diplomacy crumbles.

Palestinian women cry after Israeli air strike on Gaza Strip. (photo: Activestills.org)

Palestinian women cry after Israeli air strike on Gaza Strip. (photo: Activestills.org)

In the medium term, the best hope for the two-state political resolution in years is dead: that was the Fatah-Hamas agreement, which removed Hamas from government and could have led to elections. Jerusalem Post writer Gil Hoffman, speaking at a Limmud conference in Australia just a few days before the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens, optimistically predicted that peace talks would resume immediately following Palestinian elections.

           Read +972′s coverage of the latest round of violence

None of that will happen now. The chances of a negotiated two-state agreement are even lower than when the Kerry talks broke down, if that’s possible. The internal Palestinian reconciliation process appears dead in the water. Once again, Israel will spend the next decade saying there is no partner, because if Hamas gets stronger, Mahmoud Abbas only gets weaker.

In the long term, I shudder to think about the souls of people who lost two, three, or 18 family members to Israeli bombs. The sobbing father who begged his child to wake up because he had brought new toys; the woman who told her sister in England to stay away and live, so that at least one of the family members would survive. I see what national trauma has done to the Jewish people more than 60 years following their darkest moments. The manifestations of Palestinian suffering in future generations will be terrible.

The fifth and final reason to oppose the operation is that previous wars have failed. Operation Cast Lead in 2008/9 begat Pillar of Defense in 2012, begat Protective Edge in 2014. Hamas was not toppled, Gaza was not disarmed. The only thing changing is the accelerating pace of the wars.

****

But those reasons fall flat in the face of another simple question: past and future notwithstanding, what else can Israel possibly do when Hamas is firing rockets at its civilians? At me? Of course we prefer a political resolution in the long term. But first we must stop the aggression against Israelis today. “Ein ma la’asot” –  there is no other way.

This is the argument made by friends, family, the news, the cabinet, elected Parliamentarians of the left and the right alike.

Here is my extremely unpopular answer. There is no such thing as today devoid of yesterday and tomorrow; it is a fiction. The measures of the last ten days grow directly out of the measures in recent years. They will have devastating consequences in years to come. My criticism of this war is not “I told you so,” because some of us have warned for years that the status quo is illusory. Opposition to this war means finding a different response to predictable situations, so that there won’t be a next time, and in two years Israelis won’t have to say “this is no time to analyze the past.’”

Mourners at Dror Khenin's funeral. Khenin was killed near the Gaza border by mortar fire while delivering food to Israeli soldiers. (photo: Activestills.org)

Mourners at Dror Khenin’s funeral. Khenin was killed near the Gaza border by mortar fire while delivering food to Israeli soldiers. (photo: Activestills.org)

Finally, what do those opposed to the war propose instead? Israel already agreed to a ceasefire that was rejected.

With humility, because I simply don’t have perfect answers – find me someone who does – here are two observations:

First, Cast Lead ended with a unilateral, not agreed upon, ceasefire. The idea has already been raised by some commentators, as well as Meretz leader Zehava Gal-on, but has so far been ignored.

Second, like in 2012, there was another way: the reconciliation deal could have been cautiously welcomed; rewards and incentives could have encouraged Hamas pragmatism. The murder of three Israeli teens did not have to be disguised as a hostage-rescue effort for three weeks and leveraged to provoke the predictable violence of Hamas. Wrongful escalation from both sides could have been contained – of course, a Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement would be the best mechanism for that. Eventually Palestinian elections could have been held; stabilization could have followed.

They say the best treatment is prevention. But nobody seems to care.

Update: Since the publication of this article, Israeli media has been given permission to report on two more soldiers who were killed earlier today.

Related:
PHOTOS: Police arrest 30 Palestinians in anti-war protest
This is a war of choice. Netanyahu’s choice
On dual standards and the hypocrisy of peace

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Kolumn8

      In other words, you want Israel to stop defending its citizens from rockets fired by terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

      With humility let me point out that you have provided no answers as to how to stop rockets being fired at you yet have spewed out a whole litany of BS criticism against attempts to do so.

      You are being fired at. There are people trying to defend you. You choose not to support them.

      Reply to Comment
      • Jan

        When you place a million and a half people in the world’s largest concentration camp with no exit, bomb them at will, shoot them at will, place them under a terrible siege, destroy their water and sewage systems what do you expect? Do you expect the people of Gaza who were expelled from their homes in Palestine to love those who expelled them and brutally occupied them for years? Do you know that Sderot was built near the ruins of the village of Najd, one of the more than 400 villages destroyed by Israel after 1948. Some of the people in Gaza once lived in Najd before Israel expelled/ethnically cleansed them into Gaza.

        I don’t like Hamas and I wish that there was no Hamas but the birth of Hamas has to be laid right at the feet of the Israeli occupation. There was no Hamas until after 20 years of brutal occupation had passed. During those two decades Israel demolished thousands of Palestinian homes, jailed, deported or killed hundreds of Palestinians, built illegal settlements that took the lion’s share of the water of the West Bank aquifers. Did the Israeli occupiers expect the Palestinians to take their terrible treatment forever? DId they expect them to accept being occupied forever? If they did they were either fools or evil.

        Maybe you don’t remember that when Palestine was occupied by the British, Jewish terrorist groups, Irgun and Stern Gang, were formed to fight not only the Brits but also the Arabs. British soldiers were attacked, bombs were placed in Arab markets and Arab theaters, the King David Hotel was bombed while peace mediator Count Folke Bernadotte was assassinated.

        Occupation and terror from occupiers breeds resistance and, unfortunately, the people of Israel living under the mostly ineffectual rockets from Gaza are also the victims of the Israeli occupation.

        Reply to Comment
        • CigarButNoNice

          “Occupation and terror from occupiers breeds resistance…”

          This is something for the Arab imperialist occupiers of Jewish land (anywhere in the Land of Israel) to ponder. As long as Arab colonists keep stealing lands rightfully belonging to the indigenous of this land—the Jewish people—they must expect resistance to their oppression. No justice, no peace!

          Reply to Comment
          • Esha

            You are talking out of your butt….

            Reply to Comment
        • Sonnehuhr

          Jan, Israel did not place 1,5 million Palestinians in a concentration camp. Palestinian Arabs started the 1947 civil war and bore the consequences of losing their war of genocide against the Jewish people. They who sought to demolish the nascent Jewish state, instead smashed their own society. This was poetic justice. Only some 160,000 Arabs fled to Gaza in 1948.

          Since then, Gazans have constructed their own prison. Gazans kept themselves poor from 1948 to 1967. They did not develop a state or build an economy as Israel did in the same period. The average earnings for Gazans was less than $7.00 per month. Under Israeli administration the average income increased over 2000 percent.

          Gazans enjoyed the most amount of freedom and peace under Israeli administration after the terrorists were rooted out of Gaza by Ariel Sharon in 1970-71.

          In the 1970s to the mid 1990s the ordinary Gazan had freedom to travel to Israel and the West Bank. 40% of Palestinians found employment in Israel. Gazans were employed and had businesses in the joint economic zones on the 67 lines with Gaza. Israel supported Palestinian business. Israel increased Palestinian water resources by 100% and electrified the Palestinian territories. Under Israel Administration schools and universities were built. Infant mortality rates plummeted and Palestinians lived longer because of the tremendous increase in the quality of healthcare brought by Israel to Gaza and the West Bank.

          The transfer of Gaza to the PA and unending terrorist attacks by Hamas and other terrorists led to the Gaza separation fence being built keeping terrorists in Gaza. It led to Palestinians being excluded from the Israeli marketplace. It lead to the closures of the economic zones. It also ended the economic advancement and build up of infrastructure which Israel had built up in Gaza during its administration. Under Palestinian administration the water resources have been fouled by improper drilling of wells and failure to build water treatment and desalination plants. Palestinians failed to build the electrical infrastructure for Gaza energy requirements. Palestinians failed to improve their medical facilities to handle the great increase in population between the end of Israeli Administration and the present time, instead investing their money in corruption and armed resistance.

          When Israel left Gaza, Hamas could have renounced violence and built a new Singapore. Instead they built a new Somalia.

          Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          Blah blah blah. Israel left Gaza. Hamas used that freedom to import thousands of rockets and to build hundreds of tunnels. Each tunnel has the equivalent of an apartment building that wasn’t built in terms of labor and materials. Each rocket is a small business that wasn’t started. It makes these prioritization decisions because the primary objective of Hamas is to attack and destroy Israel.

          I couldn’t care less if you think that their terrorism is justified. I have read a sufficient number of your posts to know that you would celebrate were Israel to be destroyed. In practice you would basically like to see me dead and would comment on such event by justifying it. That is your sick right though it does make you a horrible human being.

          In any case, Hamas’s goal is to murder me, a civilian. The job of the government that rules over Dahlia and over me is to protect us from rockets. Dahlia seems to suggest that she doesn’t much like rockets being shot at her but can’t support any efforts to stop them.

          That is just stupid. Moreover, it is moral cowardice, since in the interests of keeping her hands clean she chooses to criticize any and all actions that might realistically prevent rockets from being fired at her. This is the problem with much of the modern left. It sits on the sidelines and feels sanctimonious while throwing moral indignation at anyone that is actually on the field.

          Reply to Comment
          • Peter

            How exactly would Hamas “destroy” Israel? Israel is one of the great military powers, and can be “destroyed” by a small group of poorly armed terrorists? Israel brutally occupies a society for years, controlling everything from its water supply to food and electricity, Israel kills ten times the number of people it loses, and Israel is the victim? You’re deluded.

            Reply to Comment
        • Elisabeth

          Thanks Jan. Great comment, well-informed and balanced. But to deaf ears here I am afraid.

          Reply to Comment
        • Cathy

          Well said

          Reply to Comment
    2. Goldmarx

      The only thing that would satisfy Bibi and Ayelet Shaked – total mass suicide. Shaked openly called for genocide (Eva Braun speaks Hebrew!!), and Bibi may like the natural gas reserves just off the Gaza Coast.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Lo

      One fact that has become even more salient in recent years is the reality of Israel as a regional superpower. Befitting its status, Israel has tremendously more freedom to maneuver in both the tactical and strategic spheres.

      What is also evident is that the Israeli state, for all of its economic and military dominance, has been completely unable to reach a fully desirable resolution with the Palestinians through force of arms. They might be able to buy a year or two of relative quiet through periodic “mowing the lawn”, but this approach does not remove the antecedents of Palestinian resistance, not does it improve Israel’s tattered international standing.

      Based on Israel’s simultaneous preeminence in the region and its hideous lack of policy success vis-a-vis the Palestinians through repeated military efforts, I think it is incumbent on Israeli elites to accept the reality of their situation and push for a radical departure from orthodox strategy (or lack thereof).

      Reply to Comment
      • Sonnehuhr

        Force cleared Gaza of terrorists in 1970-71. Force crushed the Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank in 200-2005. Force ended the conflict in Sri Lanka. Force ended the conflict in Serbia.

        Force can end the Gaza problem if Israel continues with its self defense and roots out Hamas.

        Reply to Comment
        • Piotr Berman

          Let the force be with you. Welcome to the Dark Side.

          Reply to Comment
    4. arb

      Netanyahu and his cabinet were opposed to this war. Unfortunately, the Palestinians forced them to fight back. And when you fight back, you fight to win.

      As for the nonsense about the Palestinian “reconciliation,” perhaps you should reread the Trojan Horse story? Hamas isn’t going anywhere and is certainly not planning to abdicate its role to Fatah. Their idea of reconciliation is to take Judea and Samaria’s Palestinian-controlled areas from Fatah and the PA, just as they did in Gaza. Based on what we are seeing in and from Gaza, having Hamas take over the Judea and Samaria would lead to a horrendous war or series of wars. Since the author of this article opposes this war, presumably she would be opposed to a war magnitudes of times bigger. So a little strategic thinking will help her to understand that we can hate this war but understand that if it prevents a bigger one that embroils Judea and Samaria, perhaps this is bitter medicine that is better taken now than the disease that could follow if it isn’t.

      Reply to Comment
      • Reza Lustig

        Go sell your “bitter medicine” line to the parents of those four kids. And your “blame Hamas for our bombs” line. I want to watch them ride you out of town on a rail.

        Reply to Comment
        • Jonathan

          I’m sorry but that is not a very good answer. I agree with the article, but I think you must address the points that “Arb” raises. He speaks of the fear that most Israelis have of a radicalization, driven by Hamas, into the West Bank. This is a key point. The support that Israeli governments get from the people directly or indirectly comes from these kind of fears.

          Reply to Comment
        • Arb

          Those boys were killed after Hamas decided they would honor Israel’s cease fire by shooting fifty rockets at Israeli civilian communities in less than 6 hours. Those boys’ lives were lost because Hamas launched a war against a much stronger foe and then decided not to take an honorable out by stopping to fire rockets.

          Every death. Every injury. Every destroyed property. Everything that has happened to Gaza since 2006, a year after Israel exited fully and completely from this territory – the very same action that the world is clamoring Israel to do now in Judea and Samaria – is the fault of Hamas with their rockets and their attacks on Israel.

          Every single one.

          Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            WHAT ceasefire? The brief lull in airstrikes? Did that come with a formal offer of a ceasefire? Or are you talking about Generalissimo Sisi’s non-deal?

            Once again, yes it’s all Hamas’ fault for not being good children and surrenduring politely, and being unhappy about being in the world’s largest open-air prison, and being cross over your arrest of their members for something they didn’t do. And of course, it’s all the Gazan civilians fault for voting for the “wrong” party. They made you do it.

            As my dad’s family in the old country might have said, “Lig in drerd.” Ask somebody who speaks Yiddish to translate that for you.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn8

            Which part of “cease-fire” is it that is hard to understand? Let me break it down for you. There is “cease”, which means to stop. Then there is “fire”, which means shooting. That is all that a “cease-fire” is.

            Hamas wants to turn a cease-fire into some form of surrender negotiations where the stronger side is made to offer concessions to the weaker side.

            If Hamas wants to be treated as something other than a permanent enemy of the State of Israel the first step is for Hamas to announce that it recognizes Israel and is interested in negotiations. At the moment Hamas is dedicated to Israel’s destruction and it would be retarded to grant it the opportunity to obtain more weapons and money because it is quite obvious that they will spend it on building more rockets and more tunnels. Any extra money will be spent on organizing cells in the West Bank to try to sneak into Israel to massacre Israelis on buses and restaurants. At some point in the near future Hamas will inevitably use those weapons to attack and kill Israelis. Every concession to Hamas is equivalent at the moment to allowing it to prepare to kill more Israelis. Gaza civilians inevitably suffer in the process.

            Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            I’m sure that’s how things went in Korea; the Americans just stopped shooting, and then the North Koreans (out of the goodness of their hearts) just sort of politely reciprocated and everything was dandy.

            Putz.

            Both sides have to agree to an end to violence. You are hypocritical for expecting Hamas to do what you yourselves would never ever do in the same situation; lay down your arms, completely without conditions of your own for doing so, and just hope things work out for you.

            What is also hypocritical (and arrogant to the max) is expecting the other side to be “reasonable” and surrender because they are “weaker” than you.

            All reason and moral logic points towards giving Hamas what it wants, which is not much at all (an end to the Gazan civilians being trapped and having no contact with the outside world, and the release of people who were wrongfully arrested), for the purpose of stopping the civilian death toll in Gaza from rising any more than it has. You won’t. Why? Hamas’ charter (a worthless piece of paper), and your own desire to “win.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Arb

            Kolumn8 addressed most of it but I’ll just respond to one of your comments: yes, it is very much the fault of Hamas.

            Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            Why, for responding in a predictable way to a blunder (blaming them for something they didn’t do, and deciding the best course of action was to go in guns blazing) that you had to have known they’d react badly to?

            Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            No, it is very much your fault. Your government used those three kids’ deaths to cynically scuttle the agreement between the PA and Hamas, because apparently ending Hamas is the one and only priority Israel has at this point, trumping the safety of civilians and diplomacy. They reacted in a predictable and expected way to being punished and attacked for a crime they did not commit (the deaths of the three young men), and your government used it as an excuse to go into full-on psycho mode.

            Is Hamas committing crimes by putting innocent civilians in danger for the sake of psychological warfare? Yes. Yes they are; even if you started it.

            Reply to Comment
          • Arb

            You can’t change the facts, dude. 50 rockets in March, 10 in April, 2 in May, 150 in June before Israel responded with this operation.

            Hamas started this. Hamas used its people as shields. Hamas has built tunnels hiding rockets and fighters under civilian buildings. Hamas ordered and threatened its civilians not to leave areas where Israel sent warning of pending attacks.

            Hamas are the Palestinian face of the Muslim Brotherhood, of ISIS, of genocidal and religious mania. And you are their defender.

            Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            May 2? So, what, Bibi took a break from the rescue operation/political purge he had the IDF on, suddenly remembered a bunch of rockets launched over a month ago, and then decided to get revenge for them? That makes absolute sense.

            And, once again, where exactly are the Gazans supposed to go, barring jumping in the Mediterranean, camping out in the Sinai and trying their luck with the Egyptians?

            Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            Also, Wikipedia has the first rocket attack in May of this year as having been on the 1st, with none more until the 21st. All in all, the rockets in May killed nobody, and caused very little damage. Hardly enough to justify the abattoir you’ve made of Gaza.

            Reply to Comment
          • Arb

            Interesting that you focused on the 2 in May and ignored the 10 in April, 50 in March and 150 in June before the operation began. Could you be more transparent?

            As for where Gazan Palestinians should go? To parts of Gaza not under attack. The more pertinent question for you is “Why would Gaza, with no place to go for its civilians, actually attack a much stronger foe?”

            Answer: It wants the world to see dead Palestinians, because otherwise, Hamas will become irrelevant.

            And you are their spokesperson on this site.

            Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            I misread your comment, and assumed you were referring to a rocket attack on “May 2.” As wikipedia has it, still nobody was killed; a middle-aged lady was slightly injured taking cover, and some property was damaged in one or two of the attacks. Still hardly justification for what is going on now.

            I suppose the IDF has kindly marked areas of Gaza on a map with “DO NOT BOMB,” for civilians to run to, and has informed the civilians of these areas?

            You still have the annoying habit viewing the Gazan people as being like the Borg Collective or the Geth from Mass Effect; an amorphous mass of drones who, through a hive-mind, orchestrate terror attacks and share responsibility for collectively deciding to attack you, and may be punished at your pleasure.

            It’s funny that you claim Jews love life more than Arabs. If you loved their lives, you would put making sure they are not in danger over your government’s geopolitical designs. And you wouldn’t make excuses when they are put in danger by your actions, like the cigar-chomping bad guy general in a war movie who insincerely laments “collateral damage,” but doesn’t demonstrate this sympathy.

            Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            PS: I incorrectly accused you of accusing Arabs of loving life less than Jews. Your co-thinkers have said it many times, however.

            Claiming that Gazans (you didn’t mention them as being separate from Hamas) are putting up with this purely to be attention-seekers is beyond callous.

            Reply to Comment
          • Arb

            You got your second comment wrong as well. I don’t have the patience to correct you every single time, please read more carefully. Or at least work on comprehension skills.

            Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            “Don’t have the patience,” or just can’t?

            Reply to Comment
          • Arb

            “Can’t?”

            Yeah, you’re a real man. With the maturity level of a middle schooler.

            Reply to Comment
      • amy

        Who are you kidding when you ask about preventing a “larger war”????? Hamas is hardly in any position now or anytime in the foreseeable future to wage a larger war for more lands in Israel. That’s ridiculous. You must know that. Israeli leadership needs to find some mature individuals who can understand the concept that when we continue trying the same things all the while expecting different results- that is the very definition of insanity. Something new must happen and by new, I mean something which does not involve the military, settlement building or let’s just ignore them and they will go away.

        Reply to Comment
        • Sonnehuhr

          Hamas has been trying to export their ideology to the West Bank for many years. They have rehabilitated their charitable centers whereby they sell their ideology of destruction of Israel by violent resistance. Hamas has set up cells in schools and universities.

          They tried to export their missile technology to the West Bank. In 2013 they tried to establish a command centre for attacks in Hebron. Israel smashed the ring and arrested 20 Hamas members who were involved in this endeavor. In the 18 months before the current escalation the Shin Bet prevented some 140 terrorist attacks planned by Hamas. In March of this year Israel captured its commander in Hebron, who had directed terror attacks including suicide bombers. Israel continues to interdict monies sent from Doha to Hamas operatives to set up terror cells and carry out attacks.

          The fact is if Israel did not have a presence in the West Bank, Hamas will have defeated Fatah in a military coup and would be firing missiles at central Iarael from the hills of Judea and Samaria.

          Hamas needed to be cut down to size or completely defeated. There can be no compromise with a terrorist entity which calls for Israel’s destruction and a genocide of the Jewish people.

          Reply to Comment
        • Arb

          “Who are you kidding when you ask about preventing a “larger war”?????”

          Who am I kidding? When the US forced Israel to allow Hamas to run for elections in Gaza, Israel was opposed but, as usual, had to comply. Within a year, Hamas had violently taken over for the PA, killed and maimed many Fatah members and began their role as purveyors of advanced weapons and warmongers against Israel.

          They have been struggling for years to achieve the same in Judea and Samaria. Between the PA’s forces and primarily the IDF’s actions, this has not happened yet. However, it is at the forefront of their agenda and if they succeed, they will do exactly what they’re doing now: divert all resources to developing warfare capabilities. And every time they decide it’s politically wise to launch a war, they will.

          However, unlike Gaza, Judea and Samaria cover much more territory and are withing proximity of significant Israeli population centers as well as Israel’s airport.

          In this war, they have been able to launch 1300 rockets by now, including rockets launched after Israel’s ground offensive began. Can you imagine what they will do if they could control Judea and Samaria? Obviously you can’t, but some of us, far less naive than you, know exactly how this will play out.

          Israel shouldn’t have to pay the price of becoming another Syria or Iraq just so naive fools, who don’t understand what Hamas is or what the Palestinians want, can feel better about themselves.

          “Israeli leadership needs to find some mature individuals who can understand the concept that when we continue trying the same things all the while expecting different results- that is the very definition of insanity.”

          Right. They offered peace in 2000 and got a war. They offered peace in 2001 and the war became more vicious. They offered peace in 2008 and got a war from Hamas and a diplomatic war from the PA. They went to talks for peace last year and they got…a war.

          In other words, peace talks lead to wars and the insanity is to continue to try to act nice when apparently the one thing that has not been tried is crushing the opposition.

          “Something new must happen and by new, I mean something which does not involve the military, settlement building or let’s just ignore them and they will go away.”

          Settlement building is perfectly fine and does not cause wars. Otherwise, how do you explain what preceded 1967 or what is presently happening in Syria and Iraq? The military is also fine, otherwise how do you explain that Israel has been able to thrive while its neighbors with weaker armies have not? As for “ignoring them,” nobody is ignoring anybody.

          Stop being naive, just like the author of this article. Stop defending people who want to murder and destroy. Just stop it already, you are only causing more war and harm.

          Reply to Comment
    5. After so many years of the same thing year after year, the present is the future. Israel will dissolve in self loathing violence and Palestinians will simmer in brooding anticipation elsewhere. That is what Israelis wanted, isn’t it? The Hamas of today will NOT be the Hamas of a future day. Israel will be powerless to deal with what Hamas shall become.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn8

        You mean they might start blowing up civilians on buses and in restaurants? They already did this. You mean they might start shooting rockets at school buses? They already did this.

        Your comment is an expression of the obsession among Westerners to rationalize and balance all actors in a conflict. Hamas is a terrorist organization that has as its goal the destruction of Israel. In order to achieve this goal Hamas is interested in massacring as many Israeli civilians as possible. Its ideal outcome is an Islamic State where Jews are massacred or expelled. That it is presented as some kind of rational actor in Western news is a travesty because at its core it is no different from Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

        We don’t care what Hamas shall become. We know what it is and it can not get any worse.

        Reply to Comment
    6. dina osullivan

      Obviously a cease fire would have been the best answer to stop the bombing on both sides, but it didn’t happen for whatever reasons.So now, what is Israel to do, back down and let Hamas continue to send rockets into southern Israel?They can’t do that and protect the people so this war goes on and on again and again as in the past.Yesterday does predict today’s war. It is endless until there is some agreement for finding a suitable answer for the Palestinians that will not harm Israel.Certainly someone in this world must have a solution.

      Reply to Comment
      • Rich

        Dina – I guess the crux of the matter is this “It is endless until there is some agreement for finding a suitable answer for the Palestinians that will not harm Israel”, particularly your last 5 words.

        How many different views would there be on what would/wouldn’t ‘harm’ Israel? It appears to me that this conflict has and always will have land and reparations at its core. So would the removal of all settlers from the West Bank ‘harm’ Israel? Would the cessation of building new settlements ‘harm’ Israel? Would the re-drawing of boundaries to more reflect the original intentions of the 1948 agreement ‘harm’ Israel? Would the returning of displaced Palestinians ‘harm’ Israel?

        I have seen quotes attributed to Begin and Ben Gurion which talk of how – whilst the initial territory of Israel would be relatively small – it would eventually consume the whole of Palestine. They are quoted in terms of how the displaced Palestinians should never be allowed to return.

        Surely the state of enmity will never end if there is not some truthful recognition – and reconciliation – of what happened right back at the start. Without that, I have no doubt this conflict will never end and the ripple effects will continue to cross the globe as they do at present.

        Reply to Comment
    7. A fine piece written in the proper spirit.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Allen

      Just a comment: Anyone who speaks of Hamas as a monolithic bloc is not exactly well-read on internal Gazan politics.

      Like Sinn Fein and the IRA, the politicos often think pragmatically whilst the wild-eyed fanatics with the guns think they can fight and win.

      IMHO –
      Israel should fully annex and absorb Gaza, give all who want to go to the West Bank free passage and a stipend to get them settled. Search their baggage well, of course. No weapons allowed.

      Give them a year to resettle, grant the remaining folks full citizenship (and treat them as such, along with the Bedouin for a change). Then go house to house and disarm everyone, slowly, and with as much care taken to avoid noncombatant casualties as if every building were filled with Jewish schoolchildren hostages.

      Reply to Comment
    9. A friend and colleague in Gaza asked me to post this because it it didn’t go through when he tried: “Great piece at 972 mag, not because I’m Palestinian, but you clearly made your point. What do you expect from the Palestinians in Gaza who have been under Israeli siege and blockade since June 2007. Israel claims it withdrew from Gaza in 2005, why then it continue its siege and blockade against Gaza. Palestinians in Gaza prefer to die in a war with Israel, rather than forced into a slow death.” Mkhaimar Abusada (Professor of Political Science, al-Azhar U, Gaza)

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      • Arb

        Tell the good professor that currently in Judea and Samaria there are a total of 11 checkpoints remaining down from 2007′s 500. Ask him how many rockets have been launched at Israel from Judea and Samaria vs. Gaza during that period. Ask him what the PA says about Israel and what Gaza’s government says. Perhaps then all of this will become very clear to him. He doesn’t need to die in a war or be forced to a slow death (hyperbole anyway since Gaza’s population is growing at an enormous rate), he simply needs to convince his government to focus on becoming peaceful, stopping all rockets from Gaza permanently and throw away the expressed desire to destroy Israel. The Gazans could fake it like the PA does…

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        • Rich

          As someone who lives in the UK, I find myself continuing to seek some sort of enlightenment, truth and balanced perspective from the reports and pictures and wildly differing opinions published on this latest conflict.

          It’s tough to offer an informed, reasoned, balanced opinion on something happening NOW that relates to a conflict that is considerably older than I am (and I’m 47).

          I KNOW that my own opinions are coloured somewhat by history. Many British troops were killed in bombings in Israel by Jewish resistance fighters in the 40′s and I have always pondered how many of these troops fought in WW2 and maybe saved Jewish lives in the process. In the context of Israel/Palestine, it is a very small but clear illustration of how history colours our perceptions of today.

          I also struggle a little with when people call Israel a Jewish state. Is it more reasonable to expect it to be called a Zionist state? In the same way that I would take issue with people calling ISIS a Muslim rather than Islamic organisation/state. I really don’t know how important that differentiation is but I am aware though that some Jews disagree with the state of Israel.

          The key difference though is that Israel exists and I know is focussed on maintaining its existence and protecting its civilians. ISIS and many other groups, it seems, are focussed on obliterating that existence.

          I know the Israeli response to this latest conflict LOOKS disproportionate but it seems to me that Israel has been fighting to survive since it was created. Within the context of groups wanting to kill Israelis and obliterate the state – IS there really EVER a proportionate response?

          I also see much said about the original 1948 map and how much territory has now. Isn’t there more context to this? Are they just land grabs & a hungry expansion of the Israeli empire or are they to protect what Israel has and responses to previous wars?

          Anyway, I responded to your comment because I found your responses to this article informative and well articulated. Your views and (strong word) allegiances are clear but there is also a sense of balance and perspective within your responses.
          I would like to think there could be a peaceful solution to this in my lifetime but I know the reality is that will not happen. Very sad.

          I will continue to seek balanced articles that provide a sense of perspective and insight. Anything approach the truth will, of course, be much harder to find.

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    10. JaneI

      This is an interesting article. It’s great to hear an Israeli voice that is not repeating the talking points that we hear constantly in the heavily censored (at least when it comes to Israel) American media.

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    11. Bilal

      Netanyahu has waged this war and the last few ones not to protect Israeli citizens. He started this war to mainly protect the royalties of some of the oil rich gulf states. All the rhetoric about protecting Israelis is none sense. Netanyahu knows all well that he would accomplish nothing with this war just as was the case in the previous ones. The more wars Israel launches, the more it exposes it’s weakness and loses international support. Israel is about to lose its best ally, the US Administration, if it hasn’t already. Israeli leaders know that the best way to protect Israelis is by ways of a negotiated settlement with the Palisinians including Hamas. However, neither Arab leaders nor some of religious fanatics in the US who support a never ending conflict between Jews and Muslims would want such settlement

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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