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Why Israel won’t sign any ceasefire that’s fair

A fair ceasefire would bring major relief for Gaza, which would mean Hamas wins the war.

The ceasefire that the world is now pushing for – one that, as UN chief Ban Ki-Moon put it, not only ends the fighting but also ends Israel’s “chokehold on Gaza” – is one that the Netanyahu government will not accept. It should accept it, because Gazans have the right to be free, but it won’t. Its rejection of John Kerry’s offer on Friday – which reportedly would have allowed the Israeli army to go on destroying Gazan tunnels even during a week-long ceasefire – is a sign of this.

Secretary of State John Kerry with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, September 15, 2013 (State Dept. Photo)

Secretary of State John Kerry with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, September 15, 2013 (State Dept. Photo)

If Israel agrees to end the war on terms that grant major, transformative relief to Gaza, that largely lift the blockade on the Strip and allow Gazans substantial freedom of movement – which is what Ban and even Kerry are talking about – then Hamas wins the war.

And this Israeli government will not allow that, not only because of false national pride, but also because if Hamas wins freedom for Gaza, it will take over the West Bank, directly or indirectly. The Palestinian Authority will collapse – to be replaced by Hamas or the Israeli military, either scenario being a nightmare for Israel – or the Palestinian Authority will refuse to go on playing Israel’s cop and begin demanding freedom for the West Bank, too.

As Noam Sheizaf wrote, Israel could agree to a ceasefire that ended the chokehold on Gaza if it was ready to end the occupation of the Palestinian territories altogether, in the West Bank as well. But it’s not. And so the only ceasefire the Netanyahu government will agree to is one that gains Gaza nothing or, at most, finds Israel throwing it a bone, thereby teaching Hamas and the rest of the Palestinians that firing rockets at Israel – even under extreme Israeli provocation – gets them nothing but a lot more pain.

So long as the Israeli government is committed to ruling the Palestinians, any meaningful  relaxation of that rule as a result of Palestinian pressure amounts to a Palestinian victory, an Israeli loss, and an Israeli invitation to the Palestinians to apply more of the kind of pressure that won them that first victory – in this case, violence. If this pro-occupation Israeli government agrees to anything close to allowing Gazans to control their own coast and airspace, to move to and from the West Bank by land through the Israeli border crossings, and if it releases the 58 West Bank Hamasniks it rashly and wrongly imprisoned again last month, Hamas would almost certainly keep the peace in Gaza – but the West Bank would likely explode. And if that were to happen, Gaza would probably break the ceasefire and join the fighting.

Palestinians march during a protest against the Israeli attack on Gaza in the Qalandyia checkpoint near Ramallah, July 24, 2014. (photo: Activestills)

Palestinians march during a protest against the Israeli attack on Gaza in the Qalandyia checkpoint near Ramallah, July 24, 2014. (photo: Activestills)

It’s really all or nothing – either Israel goes about the business of freeing the Palestinians, or it better clamp down on them good and tight for as long as it can. And since this government is not ready to do the former, doing the latter is its only option.

So when Ban says “this effort – peace effort – cannot be the same as it was the last two Gaza conflicts, where we reset the clock and waited for the next one,” and Kerry says “people in Palestine, the Palestinian territories and people in Gaza have a right to feel free from restraints on their life, where they can barely get the food or the medicine or the building materials and the things that they need,” Netanyahu and his cabinet just tune out. They’re not interested. That’s not the ceasefire they have in mind at all.

The only one they’re interested in is the kind Egypt put forward at first – a return to the status quo ante, with Gaza back in the sewer, and nothing more than vague, toothless assurances to discuss Gaza’s complaints. Hamas didn’t agree to it then, and ever since, with the scenes of mounting death and destruction in Gaza, world diplomacy has shifted toward Hamas’ position (a ceasefire that at least loosens the blockade substantially) and away from Israel’s position (a ceasefire that keeps the blockade in place).

So as the war nears the end of its third week with over 1,000 Gazan deaths and 43 Israeli deaths, the effort to end it is at a stalemate. If and when this will be broken, no one knows. But once again, the ball is in Israel’s court, and once again, Israel is freezing it.

Related:

What does Israeli ‘acceptance’ of ceasefire really mean?
Israel has alternatives to this war
Why do Palestinians continue to support Hamas despite such devastating losses?

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    1. ish yehudi

      I think that the manner in which this round is closed is very crucial– and while the morals call for ending the siege– the pragmatic side of me (and several Palestinian activists I’ve talked to) says that if it ends with gains for Hamas (like ending the blockade) then violence wins-the narrative that Israel only understands force (not that theres not truth also in that, but) and diplomacy and the PA lose. SO because of that- I think Israel needs to find a way to humiliate Hamas (pretty tricky given their support in the media). But if I want to arrive to a less-violent next stage of the conflict, having Hamas come out with relief on the siege is going the wrong direction– unless there is also an agreement of hamas to disarm and I’d like to believe that thats not just fantastical, but…

      Reply to Comment
      • Muhammad

        At what of the lessons learned for Israel? It seems that the lesson to be gained by Israel is that it can periodically provoke a war with Hamas, kill 1000 Palestinian, and when it is done simply return to the status quo of permanent occupation. Right now U.S. Republicans and Democrats are fighting over a bill to provide increased funding for Israel. So Israel gives up nothing and gets a pay raise as reward. Hard to see how that takes us to a less violent next stage.

        Reply to Comment
        • junesxing

          Please read the Hamas charter. It states definitely that it is the obligation of every Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim to kill Jews and wipe Israel from the face of Palestine.

          How could you expect Israel to trust Hamas in any way?

          Reply to Comment
          • Hans

            Check the charter again. Hamas has changed this point. This argument was true in the past, but is no longer.

            Reply to Comment
          • Michael W

            Hans,

            Can you please link to the changed Hamas charter? I can’t find it.

            Reply to Comment
          • David

            Hamas is full of lies and deception. In 2010 Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal stated that the Charter is “a piece of history and no longer relevant, but cannot be changed for internal reasons.” This is just the kind of duplicitous language you expect from virulent anti-semitic liars.

            Reply to Comment
      • Reza Lustig

        Have you considered that, if the blockade were to go, the people of Gaza would lose a major reason for supporting Hamas (or considering it a lesser evil)? Anyhow, this isn’t the time to play chess, this is the time to consider peoples’ rights.

        Reply to Comment
        • BR

          ^ this

          Reply to Comment
        • ish yehudi

          Reza- of course i’ve considered it- and thats what I want more than anything— except for one thing. If removing the blockade comes now- it becomes a victory for violent resistance, and a slap in the face for negotiation. That’s the bottom line.
          SO its true- the blockade needs to be lightened (until Hamas is actually disarmed, it will be impossible to convince Israel to remove the blockade, and with very legitimate reason). But for me– and my people, and all people who believe in a non-violent path to tomorrow– empowering Hamas/ rocket-firing is the wrong move.

          Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            In the long run, Israeli security shouldn’t be a higher priority than the rights and dignity of the Palestinian people. If an oppressor wants safety, they shouldn’t be an oppressor in the first place. Maybe in the short run Hamas will look like the winner, but lifting the blockade will assure they (in the long run) go the way of the Provisional IRA.

            Reply to Comment
          • Guy L.

            @Reza-
            Have you considered the thought that lifting the blockade might actually strengthen Hamas and garner more popular support for the movement ?
            It’s actually one of the points in the article above…

            I really don’t think you can compare Hamas to the IRA because the IRA never claimed that all of the British isles are theirs.

            No offense meant, but it looks like your seeing this in a very clear cut way. Good Guys vs. Bad Guys.
            The Cinematic General with the chewed up cigar stub in his mouth vs. the Brave Fierce Eyed Freedom Fighting Revolutionary.

            There’s a huge grey zone that you seem to miss, and a lot more questions to be asked.

            Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            Does anyone, outside of of the Zionist echo chamber, really take Hamas’ charter seriously anymore? Maybe the IRA was a bad example; let’s say, the Vietcong.

            Either way, I’m not endorsing Hamas; I’m endorsing sovreignty and dignity for the Palestinians. Like Larry said, the obvious and morally right course of action for Israel is to take this as a cue to end the occupation completely, thus robbing Hamas of it’s reason to be in the eyes of the Palestinian people. When it comes down to it, they back Hamas against Israel because, to them (regardless of the truth) Israel abuses them and robs them of their dignity, not becaue they are hard-wired to be anti-semitic. They want to have the sovereignty and freedom necessary to go about their lives, not annihilate the Jews or whatever. Of course Israel would refuse, out of a sense of nationalist insecurity, thus setting the stage for another intifada where they can invoke their “right to self-defense.”

            It’s a vicious cycle, stemming primarily from a combination of Israeli jingoism, refusal to acknowledge the viewpoints and grievances of the Palestinians and learn from past mistakes, and power-drunkenness.

            I propose this: were the blockade to be lifted, economic prosperity would spur the development of Gazan civil society (political parties, trade unions, student groups, etc.), and thus give the people breathing space to re-consider Hamas’ value as peacetime rulers. Should Hamas try to obstruct the creation of an independent civil society, they will almost certainly be met with hostility and grassroots opposition. I’ve read elsewhere on this site that a lot of Gazans are critical of them already, but back their campaign against the IDF because of the blockade. This can be expanded to the entire “future” Palestine.

            Compare this with the issue of the Libyan and Syrian revolutions; I remember criticizing the revolutionaries, from a secular leftist perspective, for having a visible contingent of Islamist factions, and no “progressive” (i.e. secular/leftist) factions. The response from others was that Libyans and Syrians had never had a chance to develop such “progressive” groups because there had been no civil society independent of Gaddafi and the Assads. The most important thing is that they get breathing space to build them.

            Reply to Comment
          • Oren Aviv

            ” it becomes a victory for violent resistance, and a slap in the face for negotiation.”

            And if it stays in place “it becomes a victory for” violent subjegation and occupation of palestinian civilians”, and a slap in the face for negotiations”s that have failed time and time again.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Sonnenuhr

      It would be sure suicide for Israel to abandon the blockade of Gaza before Gaza is demilitarized. The Telegraph released news that Hamas has made an arms deal with North Korea to ship more missiles to Israel via Iran, Sudan and the Sinai. A little more than a week ago Israel bombed a Hamas shipment in a warehouse in Sudan.

      The United States did not negotiate with al-Qadea. Hamas is a terrorist organization of extremist Muslims whose reason for existence is the elimination the Jewish state and a genocide of the Jews.

      Israel needs to finish the job and demilitarize Gaza or keep the blockade in full force.

      Reply to Comment
      • rose

        Sonnenuhr you should first study a bit of history and to understand the origins of this blockade. I hope so much that people like you will live the life of the others in their coming life. So so much.

        Reply to Comment
      • albert

        Sonne since u are very good in israeli history can u tell me why lots of Jewish ppl are against state of Israel and ? You need to understand that palestinians are defending their land from non Jewish ppl who come from all over the world and they have far more rights than any arab there. Living in usa we dont know much about details and harassment zionist are doing but once american born dies there killing kids its all over the news. Why are u bombing the schools and hospitals why wont u lift the siege of gaza why are u taking Palestinian land ? Why dont u tell us about 5 Palestinian boys killed prior to incident where 3 Israeli boys were kidnapped (hamas never said they did it) why dont u tell us that every 3 days Palestinian kid gets killed. Not to mention 60 out of 65 human right violation u broke ? Entire world knows ur state is criminal only usa is with u but days are numbered. Have to mention that honest Israeli ppl are suffering and are against ur wrongdoing. Miko peled son of idf general Norman finklstain and many more just not to forget 50 Israeli reservist sign petition refusing to join the dirty killings Israel is committing against helplessKids and civilians. Shame on u wake up because world is waking up and zionist time is running out.

        Reply to Comment
      • Reza Lustig

        The Telegraph article cites “Western security officials,” and the suspicions of IDF commanders, without naming any names. That’s one knock against your theory. The other is that (at least on the first page) a google search turned up entries mostly on news websites like Newsmax, WorldNetDaily, The Blaze and breitbart.com. Any American, with political views outside the lunatic fringe of the conservative/”libertarian” right, would explain why these are not credible news outlets.

        Reply to Comment
        • Zen

          As a Libertarian, your assertion that we’re all, or even mostly “fringe” is rude and untrue. I don’t consider any of those legitimate news sources, and the Libertarian party is probably the most anti-war political party the US has.

          Reply to Comment
    3. holz

      Netanyahu should say that he will only ease the blockade if Hamas or any other ruling authority in Gaza renounces violence. It is a legitimate claim supported even by intnl community, but highly unlikely to happen. Than the ball is back on Hamas side.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Sonnenuhr

      Coming Life? What mumbo jumbo are you spouting. You only live life once. It is what you make it. The Gazans have made their own lives a living hell by choosing to try and eliminate the Israeli state.

      Now to history. In 1947 Palestinian Arabs tried to commit genocide against Palestinian Jews and prevent the emergence of the Jewish state. Over the next 19 years Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza did not seek to form a nation state but decided to try to continue attempts at destroying Israel. In the years 1950 to 1953 Israel suffered 64,000 attacks and infiltrations by Palestinian Arabs, Jordanians, Egyptians, Gazans and Syrians. Israel responded harshly to Arab attacks and infiltrations.

      Between 1956 and 1982 Israel fought 4 wars against Arab forces and humiliated them in every conflict. At the core of these conflicts was the desire to kill Israelis and eradicate the Jewish state, its population and institutions.

      Gaza after 1948 served as a base for Egyptian forces and Palestinian terrorists to carry out acts of murder, rape, shootings, robberies, lootings, destruction of infrastructure, destruction of crops and every conceivable outrage. In 1970 to 1971 Israel cleared Gaza of its terrorists and a quiet period existed for two decades. In 1989 Hamas began its acts of terrorism kidnapped two Israelis and killing them. This was the beginning of Hamas’ reign of terrorism which mushroomed in the 1990s after Israel allowed the terrorist organization of Arafat into the West Bank and Gaza.

      While Israel administered Gaza and the West Bank and into the mid 1990s Palestinian Arabs and Jewish and Arab Israelis had freedom of movement to go travel between Gaza, the West Bank, Judea and Samaria, Jerusalem and inside greenline Israel. 40% of the Palestinian population found employment in Israel. Israel set up economic zones in Erez and Krem Shalom to help Arab businesses and boost Arab employment.

      This all came to end with Palestinian terrorism. First Rabin and Peres began to construct the Gaza fence in 1995. Hamas bombed the economic sectors out of existence. They attacked the crossing points and killed civilian contractors providing services to Gaza. They attacked Israel in a cross border attack and killed two soldiers and abducted a third. Hamas then fought a civil war against Fatah and ejected them from Gaza. The EU monitors left Gaza and Israel imposed its blockade.

      Hamas, Fatah and the other Palestinian factions bombed Israel and bombed Peres and peace out of office in 1996 and then in the second intifada sent their youth and their young men and women to blow up Israeli children and civilians and themselves up as suicide bombers.

      In 2004 Israel pulled out all of its citizens and soldiers from Gaza and left a hi tech greenhouse business for Gazans. The Gazans tore up the greenhouses and used the former Israeli communities as military bases to fire rockets at Israeli citizens. Gazans chose war and not peace.

      Since the end of the intifada Hamas and other terrorist organizations have rebuilt their abilities to wage terror. Prior to the current conflict Israel interdicted 283 terrorist attacks against Israelis in just the last 18 months. 45% of these attacks were planned by Hamas, including 28 kidnapping attempts in accordance with Hamas instructions to their operatives.

      Then in March a Hamas operative killed an Israeli police officer when he sprayed the officer’s car on his way to celebrate a Seder meal. He was killed and his wife and child injured. Then Hamas succeeded on its 29th attempt to Kidnap Israelis.

      Then when Israel conducted a police action to round up members of a terrorist group so that they could not carry out more terror and kidnapping attacks, Hamas escalated the matter into a war drawing Israel into Gaza.

      Reply to Comment
      • Reza Stephen Lustig

        Enough with the freaking history lesson. On and on and on, like broken record…

        Reply to Comment
    5. Omar Amin von Leers

      Larry
      thanks for stating the reasons why the international community must support Hamas

      Reply to Comment
    6. Craig Vale

      I can’t help but think of the handful or so of survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising that call Israel home and I often wonder what their thoughts are concerning the siege of Gaza and where their sympathies lie. As difficult a choice that confronts them, I have to believe that in their hearts they too have empathy for the plight of Gazan’s who live their daily lives under the boots of the IDF.
      Forced to live like animals , Israeli officials feign indignity and outrage when Gazan’s act like animals. What other choice is left them as a plethora of negotiations has led to nowhere, the settlement activity is an affront to all their efforts to resolve the issues confronting them and Goliath continues to beat down even the smallest of aspirations of Gazan’s to have some sense of normality in their daily lives.
      The occupation crushes not only their homes, their family members, but dreams as well. With the 2nd generation to be forced to live under occupation and the severe restrictions encountered in everyday life how do you stem the hatred that is reinforced from cradle to grave ? This is all Gazan’s know and experience. Every aspect of their lives is in the hands of Israel. How do Israeli’s expect Gazan’s to act ? Are they to meekly accede to the oppressor who for a century has stolen their lands, burned their houses , killed their livestock, cut down their olive groves and murdered their children ? I’d be curious indeed to hear the thoughts of the ghetto survivors. Hamas is little different from the Irgun. One mans freedom fighter is another’s terrorist. It’s always been seen that way and there is no reason to think that will ever change. It is within the power of the Israeli government to put a stop to this but a perverted sense of pride would never let them obey UN Res 242, so the fight will continue until massive external powers get their acts together and collectively demand change backed up by a legitimate threat to boycott all that is Israel.

      Reply to Comment
      • Nooki

        You are unbelievably delusional. Hundreds of thousands died in the Warsaw ghetto alone, none of them fired rockets on anyone. I suggest you join Erdogan’s Propaganda team, as your detachment from reality and far fetched historical comparisons could go along with his saying that Israel is “10 times worse than Hitler”, while at the same time denying the genocide of ~2.5 million Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians perpetrated by Turkey.

        Palestinians in Gaza could improve their lives significantly and easily by disarming themselves. It seems though that they rather invest in weaponry and tunnels than in their future.

        The IDF’s civilians-militants kill ratio is very reasonable for a confrontation between a regular army and militias who make urban areas their stronghold. I suggest you check the casualties numbers of the US Marines battle in Fallujah (2004), where the Al-Qaeda militants (whom I’m sure you see as brave freedom fighters) were not even as well barricaded as Hamas was in Shujjaiya and other places.

        Reply to Comment
    7. Kiwi

      The article below from Naomi Ragen is an adequate response to all the nonsense here:

      http://www.naomiragen.com/israel/dont-cry-us-israelis/

      “All this criticism comes mainly from the European press: The Guardian, the BBC, papers in Italy, Norway, France, and don’t forget America: The New York Times, CNN. And I’m thinking: Gee, the British should understand. After all, they lived through the blitz, Nazis raining bombs indiscriminately down on them, the way Hamas is raining bombs down on us. And when the brave pilots of the RAF aimed their bombs at Dresden and killed 300,000 men, women and children, they didn’t throw down leaflets telling people to politely evacuate; didn’t send their soldiers to knock on doors to see if they’d followed the leaflets instructions (as CNN complained Israel failed to do at an UNRWA school, which was probably hit by a Hamas bomb anyway).”

      Reply to Comment
      • Phugues

        As a reminder to this nonsense: remember the King David Hotel bombing, an attack carried out on Monday July 22, 1946 by the militant right-wing Zionist underground organization, the Irgun, on the British administrative headquarters for Palestine.91 people of various nationalities were killed and 46 were injured.
        Maybe UK people remember that, too …, including its efficiency: Gaza rockets haven’t reached that score yet…
        And as for the comparison between Nazi bombing of London with today’s Hamas rockets which hardly cause any actual damage, it is, to put it moderately, besides the point. The casualties suffered by both UK under 2nd WW and Gazaians today and in the former “defensive” IDF operations since Gaza whithdrawal are out of proportion with Israel’s sufferings due to these rockets. But the point is: some commentors, like S. Plaut and Kiwi, seem to be thinking that only israel-jew suffering is worth counting so that out of any proportion retaliation for any damage inflicted by others (necessarily “terrorists” – But wasn’t the king david hotel bombing a terrorist attack? and if not, on what ground?)is justified. Where from this privilege? As Chosen People, is it the case that they have the right to expel, submit, exploit, torture, oppress … and slaughter in case of resistance?
        By the way, congratulation for the excellently accurate analysis delivered by this article.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          “Hamas rockets which hardly cause any actual damage”

          Oh the no damage story again.

          Now tell me this, Phugues: is that why the various European airlines ran for cover and called off their flights to Israel as soon as they heard that a rocket destroyed a house near the airport?

          Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            Good. It saves the civilized world the trouble of slapping your asses with no-fly zone, until you decide to be good boys.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Civilized world?

            You mean the deaths of Afghan and Serb civilians at the hands of NATO is civilized. But the deaths of Arabs while Jews defend themselves is not civilized?

            That’s not civilization. That is hypocrisy. And individuals like you in particular excell at hypocrisy, Reza.

            Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            Actually, a lot of people were against that war as well, and thought it was a pretext to break up Yugoslavia. But yeah, seeing Israel actually suffer the consequences of its actions for a change would be awesome. Even ifNATO has to do it.

            Reply to Comment
          • Arieh

            Would you at least care to change your terminology about “the civilized” world?

            Or do you wish to remain a conspicuous hypocrite?

            Know what I mean pal? You were against NATO which was guilty of causing civilian deaths but you call them civilised while at the same time you betray your hatred of Israel for being responsible for civilian deaths while you ignore the provocations and crimes of Hamas entirely, make you a king size hypocrite.

            Reply to Comment
    8. Will G-R

      One also has to consider what would happen to Netanyahu’s government if international pressure built up to the point where he had no choice but to start relaxing his chokehold on the Palestinians. The coalition would be forced to reorganize with Likud guarding its right flank rather than its left, the hard right would have to start deciding once and for all whether to participate in the naive/compromised/treasonous mainstream political process or go it alone, and there would almost certainly be routine violence erupting between organized or quasi-organized right-wing groups and the IDF. Ironically enough, this would be be a pretty perfect mirror image of the process that has resulted in Abbas and Fatah losing ground to groups like Hamas among the Palestinians — the common ingredient, I suppose, being irresistible pressure from a militarily/economically superior outside force.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Actually, there is another way. Right now, Israel is losing the propaganda war, as well it should since it provoked this war with Hamas by lying about their role in the kidnapping and murder of Naftali Frankel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrah. Israel will not be able to wash away that stain. But it could recoup a little moral high ground by implementing a cease fire and challenging Hamas to hold a vote. Hamas should be challenged to put two questions to the people of Gaza:

      1) “Should Hamas agree to a cease fire with Israel?” If the Gazans vote yes then Israel should release all who they have arrested in the aftermath of the brutal kidnapping and three teenagers except for those who we are charged with this act of terrorism. Israel should also promise to improve the conditions of other Palestinians who it continues to hold in prison.

      2) “Should Hamas dismantle its rockets and the rockets of fringe groups and do all it can to discourage violent attacks against Israelis in exchange for lifting the blockade by Israel and Egypt?” If Gazans vote yes and Hamas follows the will of the people, then Israel should lift the blockade, pledge to persuade the Egyptians to lift their blockade, and help Gaza develop economically.

      I discuss this in more detail here:

      http://themessinglink.com/Cease_Fire

      Israel will put Hamas on the spot by challenging them to hold a vote. If they refuse, then this may cost them support of their people and they will look bad in front of the eyes of the world. If they agree, then maybe, just maybe, this would be the first step towards Hamas disarmament.

      Reply to Comment
      • Nooki

        The last thing the Israeli government or any Israeli citizen for that matter cares about is recouping what ever you think is the moral ground.

        As for “losing the propaganda war”, what is the indication of that? Riots by Muslim immigrants in Europe?

        Reply to Comment
    10. Guy L.

      First of all, I’m not a “part of the Zionist” anything. I’m also not a “You people”, not a “Hasbara School Graduate”, or whatever else.
      I learned my history partly from a Palestinian refugee family that fled Ramallah in 67, and partly from my grandparents and great grandparents- which were here in 48 (and for about 5 generations prior to 48).
      I got my political education after sharing an apartment with activists- including one of the writers for 972, a reporter (and documentary filmmaker) for a not-so-pro-Israeli news network, and one of the most rabid and fanatic communists I’ve ever met.
      So I simply have an opinion which might differ from yours- it does not make me a “part of” anything.

      As far as comparisons go- the Vietcong isn’t a very good example either. Actually, I think Hamas can be best compared to the National Jewish Movement from the 1930’s-1940’s- a.k.a pre-Israel Zionism.
      Think about it for a second:
      Both gained popularity due to a national catastrohpe.
      Both are extremely nationalistic and militaristic.
      Both are attempting to free their homeland from a vicious colonial, occupying, invading force.
      Both bombed civilians.
      Both would simply like to get their land back, and settle down in peace (while completely ignoring the actual people that are currently living in the land).

      Antisemitism has nothing to do with it.
      Simply put- we as Israelis don’t have a right to be here. Not because we’re Jews, but because we stole this land and it should be returned to its rightful owners.
      The colonialistic Zionist regime should be dissolved, and the lands that the Zionists took by force should be given back.

      Which does sound nice, dandy and romantically revolutionary. But when you think about it- this means kicking people out of their homes, taking away their rights to self determination, dignity, and sovereignty.

      Lifting the blockade is the moral thing to do, but have you ever considered that “The Other Side” is also not the epitome of justice and ethics?
      If the end goal is to dissolve the Zionist state of Israel and to rebuild historic Palestine, which is obviously something that us nasty Israelis will not like too much, what guarantee do we have for an end to hostilities?

      If “ovreignty and dignity for the Palestinians” is defined as dissolving Israel (not killing all Jews, mind you- simply erecting Palestine instead if Israel, taking the land away from Israelis and giving it back to the Palestinians) would you still think that simply lifting the blockade over Gaza and being nice would accomplish anything other than more violence?

      Reply to Comment
      • Kiwi

        What a rambling and confusing post.

        If I would believe what you believe, Guy, I would just slash my wrists and do away with myself.

        I am not Jewish by the way but I believe that on balance, Israel is right. Why? Because the Jewish people have the right to a national homeland. And historically Israel was the land of the Jewish people.

        Moreover, the idea that this war is over land, is just ludicrous. Israel represents about 0.5% of the lands that 22 Arab nations already own. So the idea that any part of the Arab people are short of land is just laughable. Only people who are ignorant or who hate Jews believe in that kind of justice.

        It is a bit like saying that Bill Gates must have $100 dollars back from a homeless destitute person or Bill gates would miss the money. That would be a joke. A bad joke.

        Reply to Comment
        • Guy L.

          I am Jewish, and I am Israeli- and I believe that you completely missed the point of my post. Completely.
          Partially my fault- because it was supposed to be under one of Reza’s posts and I mis-clicked it.

          As you’ve said- I do have a right to live here, I was born here after all.
          And this war is precisely over land. Not over religion, or anything else. It’s not about freedom or equal rights either.
          Some people strongly believe that my home belongs to them, and I strongly believe that it doesn’t.

          Having said all that, I still disagree with some of the things you said.
          Why can’t the US give Kansas back to the Native Americans?
          It respresents a fraction of the amount of land in the USA and they can simply move to Oregon or something. They share the same language and culture after all.

          And Australia should give Sydney to the Aboriginal people and just move to Melbourne, for exactly the same reasons.

          Reply to Comment
          • Kiwi

            Guy

            I have a lot of Jewish friends and I like Jews. But you people have a fatal flaw, you are too hard on yourselves. You always want to see everything from the other party’s point of view even if the other party wants to kill you. Don’t you people know that thinking like that is dangerous to your health?

            Well, I shouldn’t say all of you but too many of you for your own good.

            Now hear this: The Jews are the equivalents of the native Americans, not the Arabs.

            In any case, most Jews except a few fanatics agree with the idea of the two state solution and they offered it to the Palestinians twice in the last 14 years. The Arabs on the other hand have been holding out for the one state solution, ONE Arab state. That makes them greedy and wrong because they deny Jewish rights while insisting that only Arabs have a right to self determination.

            The Arab story of a secular democratic Jewish/Arab state is pure BS. Not a single such state exists where Arabs are a majority. Add Hamas to this mix and they are just talking about pure fairy tales. If Israelis would be stupid enough to fall for such an experiment, Jews would quickly end up losing their heads, literally!

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          • frank messi

            I’m not convinced empathy is the reason for all the Israeli bloodshed.

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          • Arieh

            You are just not sure. Period.

            In your make believe world, Israel just woke up one morning with a bad hair day and it initiated bloodshed against the blameless Hamas because Israel just felt like it …

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          • Ira T.

            Guy – For what it’s worth, both the U.S. and Australia have in fact granted a lot of land to Indians and Aborigines, respectively. Conditions in these reservations are often not the greatest but they do exist. (In the U.S. things have gotten better since Indians were allowed to open casinos, which generate a lot of revenue for them).

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    11. Dr. Mom

      Most farmers think its a bad idea to let a fox guard a chicken coup. Yet apparently 972 magazine feels that is a good idea. The “US” plan was formed with the advisement of Qatar (a country where US service men and women are confined to base due to safety issues and a country that is home to countless Hamas members) and Turkey (a country who supported giving arms to Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization). Now why would Israel not want to accept a plan with their recommendations?

      After WWII, Germany, the country that started the war, was not given a say in post-war decisions. Likewise, Hamas should not be given a say either.

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    12. Ira T.

      Isn’t it a little naïve to assume that Hamas would “keep the peace” in almost any cease-fire scenario? We are talking about a regime that has fired 2,600 rockets into Israel during times of “peace” and whose charter continues to call for the destruction of Israel.

      Israel is not blameless here but honestly, Hamas is continually shooting itself in the foot with its foolhardy strategy of continually trying to attack Israel. If Hamas were to take a page from Gandhi and embrace nonviolent resistance, it would gain the moral high ground worldwide, and Israel would eventually have no choice but to lift the blockade. But Hamas can’t seem to swallow its pride and accept something like this.

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      • Goldmarx

        Advocates of Palestinian non-violence have been arrested by Israel on manmufactured charges of terrorism (see: M. Barghouti)

        As Larry Derfner has pointed out, Abbas is no closer to achieving a Palestinian state despite years of cooperating with Israeli security, and that is why there has been no eruption of violence in the West Bank by the Palestinians (until, perhaps, right now).

        Finally, leading members of Bibi’s own party have called for either ethnic cleansing of Gaza (Feiglin) or outright genocide (Shaket). Bibi has not disavowed their statements. Why would Hamas disarm in face of an enemy bent on their annihilation regardless?

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        • JohnW

          “As Larry Derfner has pointed out, Abbas is no closer to achieving a Palestinian state despite years of cooperating with Israeli security”

          … and because Abbas:

          1. Refused to give up the so called right of return.

          2. Refuses to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

          3. He insists that Israel should return to the 1949 armistice lines (the 1967 boundaries).

          In other words, he wants Israel to give up too many things without being willing to give anything in return.

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    13. Mahomed Hameed

      Israel has always tied the noose around its own neck. Its belligerence will eventually cost it credibility which is fast waning. The US, it’s most credible partner is also almost on the brink, as the US itself is poised to lose its own credibility in its partiality. What ever Israel decides, the end game will be at it’s loss whether she continues her belligerence or eventually gives in. Judging by the marches around the world she is fast losing support from ordinary people that previously accommodated or even supported her. No country can survive by its military might only, and Israel has to realise the glaring facts that confronts her. The world would not allow a people seeking freedom to be blockaded forever, and the starkness of the situation is apparent in news clips and in social media around the world, which ordinary people are shocked at.
      It would take wisdom and compassion with courage to resolve this issue for humanity – for what Israel is gaining now is its prowess in warfare, but it is fast loosing its humanity to join the ranks of a pariah state.
      The ball game is changing dynamically, and if Israel does not accommodate these changes it will have to learn its lessons the very hard way!

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    14. Reality Check

      Now write an article about how the Palestinians, or Hamas, won’t sign a peace agreement that’s fair to Israel.

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