Where’s the dialogue with Palestinians?


by Sunny
30th December, 2008 at 8:42 am    

David Aaranovitch writes a somewhat balanced editorial in today’s Times, pointing out the idiocy of Israeli foreign policy in all this:

The historian Tom Segev, writing in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, yesterday reminded readers that “all of Israel’s wars have been based on yet another assumption that has been with us from the start: that we are only defending ourselves”, but that “no military operation has ever advanced dialogue with the Palestinians”. He wasn’t saying that Israel hadn’t the right to stop the rockets from being fired from Gaza, but that it would get the larger process precisely nowhere.

Adamant though I am about the need to combat Islamist violence, it is hard not to see Western and Israeli policy towards Gaza since Israel’s unilateral withdrawal in 2005 as one huge strategic error. There was the refusal to deal with the Hamas Government elected in January 2006, the siding with Fatah in the subsequent internal dispute, the imposition of an effective blockade on Gaza that amounted to collective punishment. The capacity of Hamas to govern, or fail to govern, in the eyes of the Palestinians was thus never tested.

In some ways this policy towards Hamas, though wrong, was understandable. But the failure of Israel to proceed in any substantial way with easing the conditions for Palestinians on the Fatah-controlled West Bank, or the commencement of a policy of dismantling West Bank settlements before an agreement, meant that no encouragement was given to the opponents of Hamas either.

Well, he’s being generous, but the last paragraph is spot on.


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  1. Squanderer — on 30th December, 2008 at 10:16 am  

    The problem is that both sides do not acknowledge the right and existence of the other which allows these meaningless wars to continue. Israel’s Gaza bombardement will hardly change the status quo and you cannot bomb people to negotiate peace if that indeed is Israel’s purpose.

    As Segev rightly alludes, military adventures of killing 300 random innocents only protects one’s selfish interest to contain the other whilst claiming the moral high ground-that is until the international world urges ‘restraint’.

    Even the dialogue that will ineveitably follow will not produce tangible outcomes. History shows that the various peace accords urged Israel to dismantle its settlements -it took a couple down and multiplied countless others and built a Wall too. Security for a state does not come via military bombardment of a political party that (wrongly) uses Qassam rockets -it comes through a genuine desire on respecting for the right of the other to exist, co-existence and dealing with elected representatives it may not like.

    Remind me why Israel is bombing Gaza/Hamas again?
    1. Negotiate peace with Palestinians
    2. Remind Hamas that places in Israel like Sderot ought not to be bombed by Qassams otherwise Israel will retaliate. 2 dead Israelis will create 300 dead Palestinians.
    3. Remind the world that despite its defeat in Lebanon in 2006, it is still a military force in the region.
    4. Preparation for the Feb 09 Israeli elections. 81% of the Israeli electorate support the war on Gaza.

  2. Kulvinder — on 30th December, 2008 at 2:13 pm  

    Theres been some discussion about whether the Israeli timing is to do with the uncertainty about Obama coming in or the upcoming elections.

    Whilst the former would be atrocious – and ultimately self-defeating – real-politik the latter would be the utterly repugnant use of innocent lives on both sides to further political ambition. I’m shocked Israeli politicans would be so callous.

  3. blah — on 30th December, 2008 at 4:36 pm  

    Kulvinder

    “Whilst the former would be atrocious – and ultimately self-defeating – real-politik the latter would be the utterly repugnant use of innocent lives on both sides to further political ambition. I’m shocked Israeli politicans would be so callous.”

    LOL you clearly dont know Israeli politicians too well

    War criminals and terrorists to a man/woman

  4. marvin — on 30th December, 2008 at 4:37 pm  

    killing 300 random innocents

    Not true. What are the current UN estimates of civilian casualties?

  5. Steve M — on 30th December, 2008 at 4:42 pm  

    62

  6. marvin — on 30th December, 2008 at 4:46 pm  

    Most were members of Hamas security forces but the number included at least 64 civilians, according to U.N. figures

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ioi_0jtO9RjMwPNRoXNCndRPRq3gD95D4AQO0

  7. marvin — on 30th December, 2008 at 4:55 pm  

    Cheers Steve M.

    And many refer, on PP, to it as a massacre of innocents, a holocaust or a concentration camp.

    11 MILLION innocents were killed in the Holocaust.

    The average life expectancy for a male in Gaza is 72. Not too shabby. I wonder what it was in a concentration camp?

  8. Steve M — on 30th December, 2008 at 5:01 pm  

    In fairness, posters on PP are not referring to it like that.

  9. blah — on 30th December, 2008 at 5:20 pm  

    marvin

    “11 MILLION innocents were killed in the Holocaust.

    The average life expectancy for a male in Gaza is 72. Not too shabby. I wonder what it was in a concentration camp?”

    As an Israeli academic once said “the Israelis have convinced themselves that as long as they dont put all the Palestinians in gas chambers and kill them they cant be Nazis”

    Tony Greenstein
    “Genocide in Gaza – Gaza is burning as the Warsaw Ghetto is replayed in miniature”
    http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2008/12/genocide-in-gaza-gaza-is-burning-as.html

    If Gaza is so great (not too shabby) -why dont you go and live there?

  10. marvin — on 30th December, 2008 at 5:44 pm  

    Steve M

    Sid, initially compared it to the Holocaust, Ms_Xtreme recently compared it to to a concentration camp. Squanderer just said 300 random innocents were killed. Sunny said on the other thread “mostly innocents”

    Tony Greenstein. Ah what a moderate balanced person he seems to be. When he’s not assaulting people for being zionist-mossad-cia spies

    Why the fuck would I want to live in Gaza? Hamas are pushing for Sharia punishments. As a non-muslim alcohol drinker who recognises Israel, I would last about 5 minutes before I get killed.

  11. marvin — on 30th December, 2008 at 5:51 pm  

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2008/10/25/tony-greenstein-man-of-violence/

    Hamas already murder Fatah members, homosexuals, ‘collaborators’ and occasionally terrorise non-muslims, and women having unapproved relationships.

  12. blah — on 30th December, 2008 at 6:02 pm  

    marvin

    “Why the fuck would I want to live in Gaza? ”

    you were the one bigging up how great life is in Gaza

    “Hamas are pushing for Sharia punishments. As a non-muslim alcohol drinker who recognises Israel, I would last about 5 minutes before I get killed.”

    Youd have problems getting alcohol because of the blockade and would be in much more danger of being killed by Israeli bombs.

    But since youre a white guy your death wouldnt be “collateral damage”

  13. Steve M — on 30th December, 2008 at 6:06 pm  

    marvin, I like to think that in the course of a debate like this one, we can modify or moderate our views as we listen to opposing arguments. Call me naive but what else is the point of this?

    During this horrible war my preference so far has been to spend more time here than on HP because I’m tired of the extremists on both sides that I find there. Nowhere’s perfect.

  14. Rayyan — on 30th December, 2008 at 6:29 pm  
  15. comrade — on 30th December, 2008 at 6:44 pm  

    Most were members of Hamas security forces but the number included at least 64 civilians, according to U.N. figures

    No, most were memembers of the Gazen scurity forces.

  16. Steve M — on 30th December, 2008 at 6:44 pm  

    Of course they were innocent.

  17. Rayyan — on 30th December, 2008 at 6:51 pm  

    So then it makes no sense to pretend like it’s just Hamas who are being targeted in these airstrikes. This is collective punishment, and arguably the worst kind; where the supposed targets actually benefit from the violence caused, and all that is achieved is the unnecessary deaths of innocent people.

  18. Steve M — on 30th December, 2008 at 7:03 pm  

    No Rayyan. It is Hamas who are being targeted but some civilian casualties are inevitable (I think 64 so far). In this particular case the girls’ house collapsed when a Mosque containing arms was hit and blew up.

    It is too early to say “all that is achieved is the unnecessary deaths of innocent people”. That can only be analysed retrospectively.

    I don’t quite understand what you mean by “the supposed targets actually benefit from the violence caused” but if you are referring to the PR value that Hamas derives from casualties then yes I agree and that’s another reason why Israel tries as hard as it does to avoid civilian casualties.

  19. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 30th December, 2008 at 7:32 pm  

    that was a pretty good article, thank you for adding it.
    Israel itself is becoming less and less innocent.
    At the same time it is important to separate people from politics – religion too.
    As I have also seen protests inside Israel, over not only the acts of it’s Government, but citizens as well.

    http://israelipalestinian.procon.org/viewanswers.asp?questionID=530
    If this map is an accurate reflection, what a sad truth it reveals ….
    http://tinyurl.com/9o4mx5
    an NYC march was a pretty good mix of people including Jews against Israel.
    http://www.doublestandards.org/jaz1.html

    Technically it is not “Israel” that is always being attacked with bombs from hamas….

    I hate to admit I can see how the jews as nazis is a fair comparison at present. :(
    Still I don’t understand how arguing over past actions or who has died more, leads forward in any way …..
    the question should be what do we do now?
    And I’m sorry but to do that Israel may first have to abandon its settlements inside Palestinian territory.

    This is OT but I have to add – as a person whose grandfather spent 3 years the concentration camp bergen belsen – not as a jew but an Italian soldier, I get a bit pissed off when people somehow ignore the other millions of people who lived through or died in the hell that has been named the holocaust! Learn your history please!

  20. Squanderer — on 30th December, 2008 at 7:51 pm  

    In the meantime whilst Marvin marvels about the numbers, the 62 killed -cited by the UN – are innocent WOMEN and KIDS.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7804218.stm
    The UN has called for an investigation into the attacks, which are causing heavy civilian casualties. It says at least 62 of the Palestinians killed so far were women and children.

    The density of the land which amass 1.5 million Gazan civilians in a tiny land mass means that Hamas will store their weaponry in civilian areas -whether we like it or not.

    My point is that if the democratic state of Israel cites its right to protect itself and its people, can the Palestinian have that legitimate right too? Is massacring 300 innocent people a proportionate use of force?

    Miliband -our foreign secretary said on today’s World at One with one breath about how one is a democratic country adn the other a terrorist organisation and defeating Hamas politically. Hang on, if Hamas was elected by its people then who is Miliband to say otherwise. He’s just parroting the Israeli line..

    Interviewer: Benyamin Netanyahu, their former Prime Minister, maybe a future Prime Minister, says you can’t negotiate with them, you have to defeat them and if the West wants to stop terrorism then it should side with Israel in this case, let Israel complete this he said.

    David Miliband: Well of course, Israel is a democratic country and Hamas is a terrorist organisation. But this is about how do we secure the security of Israel as well as justice for the Palestinian people and I believe that you can defeat Hamas, but you have to defeat them politically. And the way to defeat them politically is to deliver on the two state solution that in the end is the only hope for the Middle East.

    http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/newsroom/latest-news/?view=News&id=11453037

  21. S Johal — on 30th December, 2008 at 8:01 pm  

    I guess these victims of the bombing weren’t innocent then:

    Most people who were killed were policemen, who had probably joined for economical reasons, as there’s hardly any other employement.

  22. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 30th December, 2008 at 8:08 pm  

    Squanderer,
    I understand what you wanna say, but I’m not sure its true or the whole truth.
    It’s pretty known hamas and other groups use children. sorry but they encourages child martyrs. why do you think that might be? maybe next they should included puppies and kittens….
    I also wouldn’t say hamas is elected …look deeper.
    they staged a pretty violent overtake …. they do have a president …. and the US and other countries work with him in ways to fight hamas …. lets try to find some facts.

  23. Sunny — on 30th December, 2008 at 8:39 pm  

    Most were members of Hamas security forces but the number included at least 64 civilians, according to U.N. figures

    Marvin, you were pretty pissed off and affected by the London bombings right? How many people died then?

  24. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 30th December, 2008 at 8:46 pm  

    does anyone ever look back at the recent current events that lead up to now ?

    you kind of have to laugh when you read this stuff ….http://tinyurl.com/9p4rhe

    hamas claims the other groups are working with the US and Israel …?
    Of course they are! Thats what the people who really want peace do!
    I also found one said The PA were cracking down on outside hamas financial support, and another one said they were prosecuting police who havent used enough force against hamas …. hummmm things are starting to come together ….

  25. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 30th December, 2008 at 8:49 pm  

    does anyone ever look back at the recent current events that lead up to now ?

    you kind of have to laugh when you read this stuff ….http://tinyurl.com/9p4rhe

    hamas claims the other groups are working with the US and Israel …?
    Of course they are! Thats what the people who really want peace do!
    I also found one said The PA were cracking down on outside hamas financial support, and another one said they were prosecuting police who havent used enough force against hamas …. hummmm things are starting to come together ….

  26. Squanderer — on 30th December, 2008 at 9:19 pm  

    Queen of Fiddlesticks
    “It’s pretty known hamas and other groups use children. sorry but they encourages child martyrs. why do you think that might be? maybe next they should included puppies and kittens….”

    I’m not defending Hamas per se and saying how their recruitment policy is worthy of applause. By killing kids and families the israelis have only themselves to blame as violence only begets violence and the cycle of Hamas child recruitment for future ‘martyrs’ will continue. Thus, Israel is creating a sitatution whereby its security can never be guaranteed if it follows current policy.

    Also you say
    I also wouldn’t say hamas is elected …look deeper.
    they staged a pretty violent overtake …. they do have a president …. and the US and other countries work with him in ways to fight hamas …. lets try to find some facts.

    erm…Hamas was elected. I think you’re confusing your politics
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4650300.stm
    They staged a coup of sorts last year against the Fatah party…2 different issues.

    Underlying all this is that noone -West or Israel- wanted to deal with the elected Hamas party and this explains why we are where we are….

  27. S Johal — on 30th December, 2008 at 9:27 pm  

    Most were members of Hamas security forces but the number included at least 64 civilians, according to U.N. figures

    The UN did not say the rest were guilty.

    What crimes where these police officers guilty of gaingst the Israel,State, was it association . Does this mean, that every employ of the Hamas adminstration is legimate Target. According to Irael they are. It was nothing more then cold blooded massacre of the innocent.

    I also wouldn’t say hamas is elected …look deeper.

    Even the West admitted the election were fair. Maybe not to their liking

  28. Don — on 30th December, 2008 at 9:36 pm  

    Am I right in thinking that the ‘innocent civilians’ figure excludes adult males?

  29. blah — on 30th December, 2008 at 10:03 pm  

    Rayyan

    “So then it makes no sense to pretend like it’s just Hamas who are being targeted in these airstrikes.”

    Dont you know that Israel has special bombs which before they annihilate a human being check if he or she is a member of Hamas. If they are a member of Fatah or not a member of Hamas the bombs wont kill them

    Thus those children were clearly Hamas members

    ” This is collective punishment, and arguably the worst kind; where the supposed targets actually benefit from the violence caused, and all that is achieved is the unnecessary deaths of innocent people.”

    What I dont get is who the Israelis think will take over if Hamas collapses. Theyll just be a void and armed gangs like Iraq. How will Israel negotiate with them ?

    Israel is a nation which has gone insane

  30. S Johal — on 30th December, 2008 at 10:05 pm  

    Kulwinder

    I’m shocked Israeli politicans would be so callous.

    Just type in Sabra/ Shatilla massacre, But first have your heart checked by your GP.

  31. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 30th December, 2008 at 10:54 pm  

    yes Squanderer, but that was in 2006. We are now a day away from 2009.
    A lot has happened since then.
    This post asks where is the dialog with Palestinians?
    If you really want to know the answer to that it is easy to find … cause it is there!
    Loud and clear!
    and I have only tried to offer a piece of it.
    All this focus always on hamas, why?
    How about some support for all the work that is actually being done for a change?
    If people started giving just a bit of credit and support to those who really want things to get better, maybe it would start getting better.

    http://tinyurl.com/8uq3gd

    S Johal
    What is the point of adding that into the discussion?
    20 years later it relates how to finding solutions now?
    It doesn’t.

  32. marvin — on 31st December, 2008 at 12:23 am  

    If the UK was under existential threat by all neighbouring countries, and miltias from France and Ireland were launching rockets in to UK towns then I would expect the UK to react violently against the enemy apparatus to seek to diminish or destroy the threat.

  33. marvin — on 31st December, 2008 at 12:35 am  

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7804470.stm

    More than 400 people have been killed by Ugandan rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo in attacks since Christmas day, aid agency Caritas says.

    Where’s the outrage. We’re all guilty.

  34. Rayyan — on 31st December, 2008 at 5:49 am  

    Why havent Harry’s Place, Nick Cohen, Melanie Phillips, Iain Dale or anyone else who takes that stance attempted to organise a demonstration about Uganda? Yes what is going on there is terrible; so why aren’t you mobilising the outrage? Protesting about one thing doesn’t mean someone doesn’t care about another. That’s just nonsensical reasoning.

    By your same “logic”, Israel has now given Hamas the green light to send more rockets, in retaliation to these latest attacks which have killed civilians. See? What you are saying doesn’t make sense, and is just an excuse to justify even more killing.

    “This boy hit me in the playground, he does it every day, so I took a gun and killed him and everyone in his family and their extended family, and so on and so forth”

    Grow up

  35. Rayyan — on 31st December, 2008 at 6:10 am  

    “Israel tries as hard as it does to avoid civilian casualties.”

    I think the whole world can see that is a complete and utter lie.

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