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Why there is no room for diplomacy in Gaza

With or without a ceasefire, the brutality of the last week will be revisited upon the Palestinians of Gaza – a fact that, unsurprisingly, leaves no room for diplomacy.

It should come as no surprise that Hamas Tuesday de facto rejected what by all accounts was an Israeli diktat – disguised as an Egyptian ceasefire proposal – to end Israel’s relentless assault on the organization and its base of operations, Gaza. Following a week of near-constant Israeli bombing, the brunt of which has been borne by Palestinian civilians, the Egyptian proposal featured none of the demands on which Hamas had been most vocal, chief among them an end (or, at least, a demonstrable easing) of Israel’s blockade and the release of Hamas members detained by Israel at the height of its now month-long military campaign in the West Bank. Many of those detained had been swapped for former Hamas hostage Gilad Shalit. But this time around, Hamas could make no such bargain.

Short of bartering the lives of more innocents, what will move Hamas towards a deal? The question is especially urgent now that Egypt’s one-sided proposal has failed. As nearly two million Palestinians await an end to their third full-scale bombardment in just over five years, Egypt remains the only country that has successfully served as an intermediary between Hamas and Israel. But the prospects of another Egyptian-brokered ceasefire look dim.

Farouk mosque of an-Nuseirat Refugee Camp lies in ruins after being struck by Israeli bombs, Gaza Srip, July 14, 2014. The mosque was hit two days before.

Farouk mosque of an-Nuseirat Refugee Camp lies in ruins after being struck by Israeli bombs, Gaza Srip, July 14, 2014. The mosque was hit two days before.

This time, Egypt’s proposal came a full week after this latest lopsided exchange of violence began. That’s a week too late for the nearly 200 Palestinians who have been killed to date, or the more than 200,000 who have had to flee northern Gaza in the face of an impending Israeli ground invasion. The lag is a sure sign of Egypt’s true intentions: it has little interest in sparing the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Hamas – even if that comes at the expense of more civilian lives. After all, the Sisi government has sentenced hundreds of accused Brotherhood members to death in summary trials of its own.

What about the Americans? Can they broker a deal? With the US reinstating military aid to Egypt last month – and simultaneously dispatching Secretary of State John Kerry to lend diplomatic heft to the alliance – Hamas can no sooner count on the Americans for mediation, at least not on its terms. In any case, Kerry has little sway with Israel. Since his failed bid to jumpstart negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis – a failure he pinned on the latter’s obstinacy over settlement building – there has been no love lost between him and Benjamin Netanyahu. One example of this is that the Israeli prime minister, reeling from recent American moves toward a détente with Iran, flat-out ignored Washington’s preference to continue engaging with a new Palestinian government, one formed as part of the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal last April.

That leaves only one possible intermediary: Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Early reports indicated that Abbas was Israel’s sole interlocutor leading up to the Egyptian proposal, a move that may well crush his own political ceasefire with Hamas. Abbas said an interviewer last week that he prefers “to fight with wisdom and politics,” not rockets. But his tactics have done nothing to protect Palestinians from Israel’s onslaught in Gaza and throughout the West Bank. And that, in turn, has stripped him of legitimacy among Palestinians.

An Israeli mobile artillery piece sits near the Gaza border, July 13, 2014.

An Israeli mobile artillery piece sits near the Gaza border, July 13, 2014

Hamas knows as much and seems to have jettisoned any hope of meeting Abbas half way. Even though it maintains that the Hamas leadership had nothing to do with the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens last month, its de facto rejection of the Egyptian proposal means that whatever Abbas had in mind by way of “wisdom and politics” is completely irrelevant to the group now.

For now, Abbas remains in charge of the Palestinian Authority, but his title earns him no sway with Hamas. Its leaders know all too well that if the first responsibility of government is to protect its constituency, the Palestinian Authority can do no such thing. More to the point, Hamas knows that Palestinians themselves are increasingly disaffected by inaction in Ramallah, and the group has nothing to lose by distancing itself.

Ultimately, no one has done more than Netanyahu to strip Hamas of its incentives for a negotiated outcome while at the same time exposing the Palestinian Authority’s impotence. The Israeli premier’s dubious achievement fulfills his promise – a full six weeks before the three Yeshiva students were kidnapped – to cut off talks with the Palestinians over the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal.

Now that he’s kept his vow, how many more Palestinians must die before Netanyahu reins in his rampage? To judge by the sentiments of those around him, the killing – entire families annihilatedmore than 1,200 homes destroyed, schools and hospitals targeted – has only just begun. Here’s Knesset member Ayelet Sheked, for example, who had this to say about Gaza’s mothers just before the bombing began:

They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the[ir] snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.

In other words, with or without a ceasefire, the brutality of the last week will be revisited upon the Palestinians of Gaza – a fact that, unsurprisingly, leaves no room for diplomacy.

Related:
What does Israeli ‘acceptance’ of ceasefire really mean?
‘They left us no choice’: On military escalation and its Israeli rationalization
How Netanyahu provoked this war with Gaza

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    COMMENTS

    1. Reza Lustig

      It takes chutzpah to refer to unborn and newborn children as “little snakes.” For all Zionists complain of Arab anti-semitism, they sure do seem to identify with the enemy and his propaganda tactics.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Arb

      Hamas started this and they got the war they wanted. You and your fellow propagandists can make up all the stories you want but at the end of the day, this war exists for one simple reason: Hamas launches rockets at Israeli civilian centers.

      Each one of those rockets is a war crime that you defend and excuse. Each one of these attacks is Hamas putting the people it is governing in danger. Each time Hamas ignores a cease fire or request to stop firing, it is ensuring the damage to Gazans continues.

      And let’s be completely clear that there is absolutely no justification for any of this. If the blockade was so terrible, how did Hamas manage to upgrade its rocket arsenal? How did it manage to build tunnels requiring tons of concrete? Answer: because it had the resources and used them on arms and prospective attacks instead of improving its people’s lives and showing they want to live in peace. Why did they prioritize war? Simple, Hamas cares more about destroying Israel and killing Jews than it does about actual Palestinian statehood or even good governance of the territory they control. And that, Samer Badawi, is what you continue to support with your propaganda articles.

      Reply to Comment
    3. JohnW

      “Egyptian proposal featured none of the demands on which Hamas had been most vocal”

      This is utterly absurd.

      Imagine Nazi Germany making such demands towards the end of the war as Berlin was besieged by
      The allies:

      – End the blockade of Berlin.

      – Release all German prisoners.

      We will then agree to a cease fire. But we won’t renounce our Nazi ideology and our goals to conquer all of Europe. And after we will manage to regroup, we will continue to fight for our goals.

      They would have been laughed at and ignored. But apparently when such demands are made by Hamas against Israel, according to some people this is not only not funny but it is perfectly logical.

      Idiots …

      Reply to Comment
      • Reza Lustig

        I’m calling Argumentum ad Hitlerum on this.

        Reply to Comment
      • Reza Lustig

        Actually I think I will bother with this.

        Your analogy is blown sky high by the fact, firstly, that the Nazis had an industrialized, highly-trained, mechanized armed forces and intelligence apparatus.

        Hamas is an insurgent group/political party, and does not, to date, have a similar fighting force.

        And I ask what Robert Fisk asked: if the Brits didn’t see the need to call in airstrikes over Dublin in response to the IRA shelling British areas, what’s the rationale for air strikes over Gaza? “They started it?” Grow up.

        Reply to Comment
        • Goldmarx

          An excellent point, since the IRA killed lots of women and children.

          Reply to Comment
        • Arb

          The IRA launched rockets into Britain? The IRA sought Britain’s destruction? The IRA was backed by multiple nations surrounding Britain that had been at war for decades with Britain?

          Quoting Fisk about anything is an automatic “wrong.” That’s why we refer to dishonest news stories (generally about Israel) as “fisking.”

          Reply to Comment
          • sh

            “The IRA launched rockets into Britain? The IRA sought Britain’s destruction? The IRA was backed by multiple nations surrounding Britain that had been at war for decades with Britain?”

            Look it up. The IRA placed car and truck bombs in the streets of Britain, bombed buses, shops and anywhere they could including conference halls. And like the IRA in its time, the Palestinians are demonstrably not backed by multiple surrounding nations, despite their hypocritical verbiage.

            Reply to Comment
          • Arb

            “The IRA placed car and truck bombs in the streets of Britain, bombed buses, shops and anywhere they could including conference halls.”

            First of all, I specifically used the word rockets. There have been 10000 rockets launched at Israel in the past decade. However, if you want to get specific, then I’m willing to play along.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provisional_Irish_Republican_Army_campaign_1969%E2%80%9397#Casualties

            That’s a list of IRA casualties throughout the course of their campaigns. You will note that of the two lists provided (different authors), both show approximately 1/3 of the dead to be civilians. The rest are British military, police or paramilitary.

            If you read Seán Mac Stíofáin’s interview with Frontline, he expresses deep remorse over a bombing in which 4 out of 9 dead were civilians and states unequivocally that no civilians should have died and their deaths are regrettable.

            Compare that to Hamas targeting primarily civilians and handing out candy on the streets after a successful attack. Obviously, while there were some IRA attacks where there were no identifiable military/police/paramilitary targets, these were the predominant targets.

            “And like the IRA in its time, the Palestinians are demonstrably not backed by multiple surrounding nations,”

            Really? Then where did Hamas get their longer range rockets? Why were tunnels permitted by the previous two Egyptian administrations? Why are ships with arms from Iran being sent to Gaza? Why did Qatar just send $400 million to the Arab Bank to send to Hamas to pay its people? Who led the charge at recent UNSCR meetings that put out a statement about this operation which doesn’t address the Hamas attacks, if not the Arab League and Muslim Bloc? Demonstrably unsupported? I think you are seriously mistaken.

            Reply to Comment
          • Reza Lustig

            Thus far, the IRA’s car bombs and bar/cafe bombings ended more innocent lives than Hamas’ glorified bottle rockets.

            The IRA were responsible for bombing civilian targets, as previously mentioned, and actually shelling Irish towns/cities controlled by the Brits. Tell me honestly that Bibi wouldn’t have been baying for blood, had he been the British PM at that time.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “Tell me honestly that Bibi wouldn’t have been baying for blood, had he been the British PM at that time”

            So what? Baying for blood would be/is a natural reaction when terrorists and criminals who were “democratically elected” by Palestinians (as Jan aptly said), shed the blood of Israelis or even try to shed it

            Reply to Comment
          • Arb

            Well, Britain didn’t have Iron Dome. Israel does now.

            However, if you go back a couple of decades then you will find thousands of Israelis murdered and injured by Palestinian attacks. This is fair considering that the 600 civilians murdered by the IRA in its total existence is far less than Israel has suffered at the hands of Fatah and Hamas just since Israel offered the Palestinians peace and a state.

            Reply to Comment
    4. Mike Panzone

      “this war exists for one simple reason: Hamas launches rockets at Israeli civilian centers”

      And why does Hamas launch rockets?

      Reply to Comment
      • JohnW

        “And why does Hamas launch rockets?”

        No special reason. Just to try to implement what is in the Hamas charter:

        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas_Covenant

        “The charter states that “our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious” and calls for the eventual creation of an Islamic state in Palestine, in place of Israel”

        Step 1: Force Israel to lift the blockade by threatening to bleed to death from Israel’s retaliatory barrage for the hundreds of rockets that they fire on Israel on a daily basis.

        Step 2: After that, they Would be able to arm themselves to their teeth.

        Step 3: Keep on attacking Israel but using the latest rocket technology instead of the current ones.

        And Israel should just co-operate with that innocent plan without lifting a finger to prevent it because that would be collective punishment, right?

        Wrong!

        Reply to Comment
        • Goldmarx

          “No special reason.” Wow, that was so funny I forgot to laugh.

          Hamas does it for self-defense, either of Gazan or (now) West Bank Palestinians. Israel fired the first shot in this latest round minutes after the Unity Government was formed in April.

          Reply to Comment
          • Arb

            Except that there were 50 rocket attacks on Israel in March.

            Oops.

            Reply to Comment
          • Goldmarx

            Except those rockets came from Hamas’ opponents in Gaza, not from Hamas itself.

            Earlier this year, Bibi himself stated that Hamas had observed the ceasefire from 2012 until then.

            Reply to Comment
          • Arb

            Hamas opponents can get 50 rockets launched in a month? Are you kidding? Nobody gets away with that in Gaza unless Hamas wants them to.

            Reply to Comment
          • Goldmarx

            They why did Bibi say what he did?
            Are you saying he was wrong? Stop the presses!

            Reply to Comment
    5. JohnW

      “Your analogy is blown sky high by the fact, firstly, that the Nazis had an industrialized, highly-trained, mechanized armed forces and intelligence apparatus.”

      Nazi Germany was a spent force by the time the allies were besieging Berlin.
      They were as weak as Hamas by then. They were not even a shadow of their former selves.

      But don’t let the details get in the way of your silly argument.

      Reply to Comment
    6. JohnW

      I think that the point that this Reza dude is trying to make is:

      The weaker the side is, the more outrageous demands they can make against the stronger side without having to even give up an inch off their own unacceptable goals. He must be one of the jokers whom I mentioned in my first post.

      Pathetic. Just pathetic.

      Reply to Comment
      • Reza Lustig

        How are Hamas’ demands “outrageous,” other than the fact that they are Hamas’ demands?

        Reply to Comment
        • JohnW

          “How are Hamas’ demands “outrageous,” other than the fact that they are Hamas’ demands?”

          They openly admit that they aim to destroy Israel and replace it by a Muslim Arab state.

          Right now they are militarily weak because of the Israeli blockade which prevents them from being able to acquire advanced weapons on a large scale.

          They demand that in return for a cease fire, Israel should lift the blockade. But in return they are not willing to formally renounce their intention to destroy Israel.

          Not only is that demand unreasonable. Unreasonable because no country would allow a sworn enemy to acquire the opportunity to be able to try to convert their threats to reality, but their demand is also absurd.

          Because it is absurd, it is also unconscionable because obviously it thawrts the possibility of a cease fire. It therefore causes civilians on both sides to suffer. In fact their own side suffers even more.

          But hey, dude, if you believe that Hamas’s demands are reasonable, don’t listen to me. I say that because I know that you won’t anyway. Such is this world. Too much stupidity in it.

          Reply to Comment
          • Goldmarx

            Hamas’ demands are reasonable because they are the elected representatives of their people, and for those people to maintain a reasonable standard of living, those demands should be met.

            If Israel doesn’t like the wording in Hamas’ charter, it should enter into negotiations with Hamas. But Israel never has offered to negotiate with the organization that it helped spawn and finance; that’s why Sharon unilaterally withdrew from Gaza rather than make a peace treaty with Hamas. He wants Hamas to maintain its charter so that people like you can point to it and say, “Oooh – Nazis!!”

            Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            “He wants Hamas to maintain its charter so that people like you can point to it and say, “Oooh – Nazis!!”

            LOL.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “If Israel doesn’t like the wording in Hamas’ charter, it should enter into negotiations with Hamas”

            Assuming Hamas even wants to negotiate which is already a bridge too far, how would such negotiations unfold? Something like this:

            Israel: Dear Hamas, what do we need to do to convince you not to kill us?

            Hamas: Cut your own throats.

            The end.

            Reply to Comment
          • Goldmarx

            Wow, such a brilliant rebuttal – I recall similar rebuttals before Rabin and Arafat negotiated the Oslo Accords.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “Wow, such a brilliant rebuttal – I recall similar rebuttals before Rabin and Arafat negotiated the Oslo Accords.”

            Oh me gawd ….

            And how did that work out Goldman? Did it bring us peace in our time? Or a second Intifada after Barak’s peace offer in which he made far reaching concessions?

            Talking about brilliant rebuttals, your’s certainly is not one of those.

            Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            “Hamas’ demands are reasonable because they are the elected representatives of their people”

            … and therefore it is reasonable for them to expect Israel to step aside and allow themselves to be eliminated more easily?

            LOL.

            How about this?

            Israel has the right to say NO, NYET, NON, LO because they too are the elected representatives of their people and they too need to ensure the well being of THEIR people. Oops I mean survival …

            Reply to Comment
    7. Sonnenuhr

      I wonder if Samer, who lives in Washington far away from the rockets and missiles being fired by Hamas, read the editorial of the Washington Post yesterday. The Editorial blasted Hamas for purposely causing the death of Gazan civilians in order to obtain concessions:

      “Hamas probably calculates that more deaths will prompt Western governments to pressure Israel to grant Hamas’s demands.”

      The Post states that the right response is not to give in to Hamas’ demands but to hold them to the proposed Egyptian ceasefire proposal.

      “The right response of the international community is not to surrender to Hamas’s despicable tactics but to continue insisting that it unconditionally accept the cease-fire proposed by Egypt.”

      The bottom line is that Hamas is a terrorist organization which has no legitimate demands. It can stop the war by agreeing to the Egyptian cease fire proposal and then disarming.

      Reply to Comment
      • sonia

        Sonnenuhr, I suggest you read to read this article, that goes a bit deeper than the Washington Post:

        As I write this, Israel continues to escalate its air attacks on the Gaza Strip, killing more than 100 Palestinians, of whom at least half were civilians; injuring more than 600; and displacing about 2,000 people from their homes. (The numbers vary widely by source and change by the minute.) The Israeli military has reportedly mobilized 40,000 reservists so that it can ramp up still further if it so decides. The justification for “Operation Protective Edge” is retaliation for rockets shot toward southern Israel, with some landing in Gazan fields, others intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome system and a few making it in. (A full accounting is elusive, with varying reports in the media, often short on verifiable facts and long on emotional rhetoric.) To date, some Israeli property has been damaged, but no casualties and two injuries are reported.

        It’s those Palestinian rockets that that are dominating the headlines, and that cause even normally sympathetic progressives to waffle in their condemnations of Israel’s ongoing collective punishment of the 1.7 million people corralled in Gaza. Yet there is very little direct, probing discussion of the topic. Is the line between provocation and retaliation really that clear? Is the use of violence to fight violence by some Palestinians somehow abnormal or unique? And what proportion of the population in Gaza is actually involved in the rocket attacks or supports the practice?

        It’s time the peace community engages in this discussion, not just among ourselves but with those for whom the fight for liberation is real rather than academic: the Palestinians of Gaza.

        Provocation vs. retaliation

        Israel charges, and the media dutifully reports, that the provocateurs are Hamas and other groups in Gaza, typically labeled “militants” or “Islamists” (both code words for “terrorists”), unlike the more noble-sounding “rebels” or “resistance fighters” of Syria (which the U.S. government supports). But the question of “who started it” is not a simple one.

        The Gaza Strip has been under Israel’s control in some fashion for 47 years, but with suffocating intensity since 2007. Israel strictly limits travel in and out; controls the supplies that come in, including a ban on most construction materials; and prohibits virtually all exports, thus crippling the economy and triggering one of the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the Arab world. One could call such long-term, repressive conditions a continual provocation. I am reminded of an observation made by Michelle Alexander in her seminal book on mass incarceration of American blacks, The New Jim Crow:

        “The easy answer (to “criminal acts”) is to wag a finger at those who are behaving badly…But the more difficult answer – the more courageous one – is to say yes, yes we should be concerned about the behavior of men trapped in ghetto communities, but the deep failure of morality is our own…Are we willing to demonize a population, declare a war against them, and then stand back and heap shame and contempt upon them for failing to behave like model citizens while under attack?”

        In the shorter term, the question of “who started it first” depends greatly on when you start the clock. Take any rocket attack from Gaza, and go back in time a few weeks or months. You’ll quickly find an Israeli act of aggression –raids, shootings or abductions. An example: The current rocket fire flared following the mass arrests and nine deaths of Palestinians in the West Bank, committed by Israeli forces in retaliation for the abduction of three Israeli settler youth. In the two weeks before that tragedy, however, Israeli forces abducted 17 teenage Palestinian boys in the occupied West Bank. The youngest was 13. Some were dragged at gunpoint from their homes and family under cover of dark; others were seized from the streets in broad daylight.

        It’s a game of tit for tat, except one side is the world’s sixth largest arms exporter (11th in terms of “global firepower”) and the other an imprisoned slum with a poverty rate of 70 percent.

        Palestinian violence in perspective

        I respect those in the peace camp who are unilaterally opposed, on principle, to the use of violence, particularly when non-combatants are targeted or treated as “collateral damage.” I share their belief that fighting violence with violence only perpetuates and exacerbates a dehumanizing spiral. But history has shown that when there is oppression, some individuals will choose that route; it’s the norm, not the exception.

        Our own American Revolution was certainly far from a non-violent reaction to repression, although the famous pacifist Howard Zinn argued that alternative approaches were not adequately tried. And although the movements for Indian independence and civil rights for South African and U.S. blacks had Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr., each of those leaders and their followers had counterparts that chose more war-like tactics.

        But perhaps the most ironic parallel is the tactics chosen by Jews living in British Mandate Palestine in the 1930s-40s, as they struggled to carve out their own country. The Jewish leadership created the Haganah to guard Jewish farms and kibbutzim. Later, the role of the Haganah (rather like the Palestinian Fatah party) changed dramatically. It became a much larger organization, encompassing nearly all the youth and adults in the Jewish settlements, as well as thousands of members from the cities. However, many Haganah fighters objected to the official policy of havlagah (restraint) that Jewish political leaders had imposed on the militia. This policy appeared defeatist to many, who believed that the best defense is a good offense. In 1931, the more militant elements of the Haganah splintered off and formed the Irgun–a group widely labeled a terrorist organization and responsible for the murder of many civilian Palestinians as well as British soldiers. Perhaps their most famous attack was the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, which served as headquarters for the British administration. Ninety-one were killed and 46 were injured. One of the Irgun leaders was Menachim Begin, who later became the sixth prime minister of the new state of Israel.

        The point: Palestinians should not be held to any higher standard than the rest of the human race. Contrary to popular perception, most Palestinians do not engage in violence. But there always will be some who believe there is no other way.

        The people and the rockets

        Israel says its massive air strikes and impending ground incursion are meant to eliminate Hamas. But even if you think it is feasible and morally permissible to assassinate an entire party (one which is made up of different factions, including members who are quite moderate and open to discussion), there are 1.7 million people who live in the Gaza Strip. And most are not militant Hamas acolytes. An April 2013 poll by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center found that more than 80 percent of Palestinians (including those in Gaza) supported nonviolent means of resistance against Israeli occupation. Moreover, support for firing rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israel stood at just 38 percent, with the popularity of Hamas at only 20 percent.

        Those results fluctuate over time, however, in response to “facts on the ground.” For instance, polls in December 2012 found support for both Hamas and rocket resistance on the rise. If presidential elections had been held then, pitting Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas against Hamas’ Ismail Haniya, the latter would have won, claiming 48 percent of the vote.What had occurred at that time to influence public opinion? Gaza had just emerged from the “eight-day war,” in which Israel pounded the Strip with air attacks. I visited Gaza immediately after the hostilities ended, and support for Hamas was indeed surging, despite the litany of grievances I had heard previously (and that was quick to return). The reason was simple: A people who had lost all sense of “personal agency” after more than seven years of blockadeand international failures to enforce laws such as the Fourth Geneva Convention (which bans collective punishment) had re-gained a modicum of dignity by fighting back. The same dynamic is repeating now.

        Here are just a few of the voices of the young people (under the age of 25), who make up 65 percent of the population of Gaza and are being shaped by the years of oppression:

        “If history can prove anything, it proves that civil, political and human rights are demanded by those who are deprived, and not granted by those who hold the keys,” says Mohammed Alhammami, a young man from Gaza now studying at Franklin & Marshall College in Cincinnati, OH. “The U.S. colonies turned to war to force their British overlords to recognize their independence. The Palestinian case is no different. The only way to stop this cycle is to grant the deprived their civil, political and human rights — justice and equality. Nothing more, and nothing less.”

        Sarah Ali, a teaching assistant at the Islamic University of Gaza and a contributor to the short-story collection, “Gaza Writes Back,” agrees: “Most of us are just filled with anger. Rockets help us keep the little dignity we have, and they show Israel that bombing civilians has consequences. Peace negotiations with Israel have proved futile over and over again. Israel has only expanded its illegal settlements across the West Bank. BDS (the movement for boycotts, divestments and sanctions) is excellent, but whether people admit it or not, it’s mostly violence that works with Israel. For instance, the 2012 attack on Gaza stopped, and we got some concessions (such as an easing of restrictions on fishing and farming) because Israel asked Egypt to negotiate with Hamas to stop the rockets.”

        Saeed El Housieni, a boy who attends Gaza City’s American International School, adds, “I personally do not support the idea of facing violence with violence. I don’t support the rockets coming out from Gaza, especially when they’re launched toward highly populated areas,” says. “I think that that the best solution would be a truce followed by a recognition of the existence of one another, opening the borders and co-existing together. Yet, we have to do something to change this unlivable situation — which leaves us with the other remaining solution, which is sadly violence.”

        Some Israelis themselves have come to recognize that the true source of their insecurity is not Palestinian rockets, but the occupation. And therein lies a ray of hope:

        “The deterioration is first and foremost a result of the illusion that…the Palestinians will accept everything that’s done to them and won’t respond, despite the rage and frustration and the worsening economic situation,” writes Yuval Diskin, the chief of Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, from 2005 to 2011, in a Facebook post.

        Reply to Comment
        • Thank you. Fighting the propaganda machine is like David fighting Goliath, and we probably do it simply because it seems like such an unfair fight. Please don’t stop.

          Reply to Comment
    8. gal shalev

      The number of casualties on either side is just but one factor in determining which side is the righteous one. Based on the “number of casualties” line of reasoning the Allies were the villains in World War 2 because more Germans were killed than Americans.
      Hamas:
      1. Uses close to its maximum military strength
      2. Uses humans to protect weapons
      3. Has the maximal intent of causing as much damage as possible.

      In contrast, Israel:
      1. Uses a very small amount of its artillery
      2. Uses shields to protect humans
      3. Tries to make the strikes as surgical as possible

      Inevitably there will be collateral damage in asymmetrical warfare. Rest assured that Israel gives advance notice through various channels to the civilians to evacuate areas that are Hamas strongholds. That is unprecedented.

      Also, for all intents and purposes, Israel left Gaza. The co-founder of Hamas, Mahmoud Al Zahar said so:
      http://hudson.org/research/8739-gaza-not-occupied-says-hamas-so-where-is-the-un-
      Therefore, Israel can treat Gaza as a hostile entity

      Reply to Comment
    9. Jan

      From the moment that Hamas won a free and fair election in Gaza, Israel placed a siege on what is known as the world’ largest outdoor prison. Israel never intended Gaza to be anything but a place to warehouse Palestinians. The illegal settlers were removed so that they could go to illegal settlements in the West Bank.

      Over the years Israel has often used targeted assassinations to kill members of Hamas. They have killed many civilians as well and I am not even including Cast Lead which took the lives of over 1400 Palestinians.

      There isn’t room in this comment to put all the incidents in which the IDF killed civilians but here are just two.

      On September 12, 2010 Israeli shells killed a 91 year old Palestinian farmer, his 17 year old grandson and grandson’s friend as they walked on their farmland in Gaza.

      http://mondoweiss.net/2010/09/91-year-old-and-his-grandson-among-three-farm-workers-killed-by-israeli-shells-in-gaza.html

      In May a 12 year old boy went on his family’s land in Gaza to collect herbs to sell. Israel had placed a fence on the family land and when the boy saw a hole in the fence he crawled through to get the herbs. A trigger happy IDF thug shot the boy dead as he ran away.

      Israel says it has a right to defend itself. Why don’t Palestinians have the same right?

      Reply to Comment
      • JohnW

        Oh dear. It is the same formula being played and replayed over and over again.

        1. Hamas: Our aim is Israel’s destruction.

        2. In order to demoralise Israelis, and to keep the pot on the boil, Hamas fires hundreds of rockets into Israeli population centres.

        3. Israel responds to try and stop the rockets.

        4. Civilians too inevitably die in Gaza.

        5. Riff-raff in magazines like these raise hell about how evil Israel is for inflicting “collective punishment”.

        6. Western governments apply pressure on Israel to agree to a cease fire.

        7. Hamas sets additional conditions before it agrees to a cease fire, like the lifting of the blockade.

        Add water, mix and redo all over again.

        If Israel falls for this again, it is playing a mugs game. It should do whatever it takes to finish this. The only way this nonsense will ever finish is if Israel will squash Hamas in the same way that Nazi Germany was squashed. A lot of Germans too died in that war and the world still did not stop. Nor were the allies blamed for those deaths. The Nazis were.

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    10. I am in support of Moshe Feiglin’s solution to the Gaza-Hamas problem.

      1. Warn the arab civilians that they have 24 hours to leave Aza and reach sinai.

      2. then, let the IDF strike with full force – using ALL its conventional power.

      3. Annexing Aza to Israel.

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      • Goldmarx

        Are you being sarcastic or are you an actual Judeo-Nazi like MP Ayelet Shaked?

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    11. Average American

      No there is no diplomacy. There is only The Jews. No one is more important. Not Palestinians, not UN, not US Congress. The Jews formed The Jewish State of Israel, so The Jews and Israel are inseparable concepts. So when “Israel” invades Gaza, it’s The Jews invading Gaza. The mission of The Jews, and the reason for the existence of The Jewish State Of Israel, is to control all of The Land Of Israel, which by the way is much bigger than the current State of Israel. Israel won’t stop, won’t care what it has to do, and glorifies itself in doing it. The West Bank and Gaza are just a warm-up. It’s Jewish Lebensraum, exactly like Aryan Lebensraum, same brutal tactics, same racially superior attitude. The only difference is spin.

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      • Gustav

        If you want a Nazi, Goldman, just look at the post before mine. The one by this American fellow who just came back from a cross burning party.

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