Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Aftermath of the Mavi Marmara Massacre

The aid flotilla to help relief the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the ensuing massacre of 9 peace activists on the MV Mavi Marmara by Israeli Naval Commandoes brought the world spotlight on the illegal siege of Gaza by the Israeli Government that has been going on for more than 3 years.

The siege of 1.5 million Gazans does not help Israel at all, in fact it is damaged in the eyes of the international community, even Mr Obama the US President say that it is unsustainable. There must be a way for Israel to solve its problem with Hamas and their rockets without having to use more force on top of the already violent force that it has already used.

Refer to the Goldstone Report.

Here is an Op-ed from the New York Times by Amos Oz which laments the use of force by the present Israel Government, it makes for intense reading:

Israeli Force, Adrift on the Sea
Published: June 1, 2010
ARAD, Israel

FOR 2,000 years, the Jews knew the force of force only in the form of lashes to our own backs. For several decades now, we have been able to wield force ourselves — and this power has, again and again, intoxicated us.

In the period before Israel was founded, a large portion of the Jewish population in Palestine, especially members of the extremely nationalist Irgun group, thought that military force could be used to achieve any goal, to drive the British out of the country, and to repel the Arabs who opposed the creation of our state.

Luckily, during Israel’s early years, prime ministers like David Ben-Gurion and Levi Eshkol knew very well that force has its limits and were careful to use it only as a last resort. But ever since the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel has been fixated on military force. To a man with a big hammer, says the proverb, every problem looks like a nail.

Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip and Monday’s violent interception of civilian vessels carrying humanitarian aid there are the rank products of this mantra that what can’t be done by force can be done with even greater force. This view originates in the mistaken assumption that Hamas’s control of Gaza can be ended by force of arms or, in more general terms, that the Palestinian problem can be crushed instead of solved.

But Hamas is not just a terrorist organization. Hamas is an idea, a desperate and fanatical idea that grew out of the deso-lation and frustration of many Palestinians. No idea has ever been defeated by force — not by siege, not by bombardment, not by being flattened with tank treads and not by marine commandos. To defeat an idea, you have to offer a better idea, a more attractive and acceptable one.

Thus, the only way for Israel to edge out Hamas would be to quickly reach an agreement with the Palestinians on the es-tablishment of an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as defined by the 1967 borders, with its capital in East Jerusalem. Israel has to sign a peace agreement with President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah government in the West Bank — and by doing so, reduce the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip. That latter conflict, in turn, can be resolved only by negotiating with Hamas or, more reasonably, by the integration of Fatah with Hamas.

Even if Israel seizes 100 more ships on their way to Gaza, even if Israel sends in troops to occupy the Gaza Strip 100 more times, no matter how often Israel deploys its military, police and covert power, force cannot solve the problem that we are not alone in this land, and the Palestinians are not alone in this land. We are not alone in Jerusalem and the Palestinians are not alone in Jerusalem. Until Israelis and Palestinians recognize the logical consequences of this simple fact, we will all live in a permanent state of siege — Gaza under an Israeli siege, Israel under an international and Arab siege.

I do not discount the importance of force. Woe to the country that discounts the efficacy of force. Without it Israel would not be able to survive a single day. But we cannot allow ourselves to forget for even a moment that force is effective only as a preventative — to prevent the destruction and conquest of Israel, to protect our lives and freedom. Every attempt to use force not as a preventive measure, not in self-defense, but instead as a means of smashing problems and squashing ideas, will lead to more disasters, just like the one we brought on ourselves in international waters, opposite Gaza’s shores.

Amos Oz is the author, most recently, of the novel “Rhyming Life and Death.” This was translated from the Hebrew by Haim Watzman. read more here.

With the current Israeli cabinet led by Netanyahu, a cabinet dominated by extremist settlers supporters who are adamant to build more settlements in Jerusalem and who thinks nothing about shooting peaceful activists conveniently identifying them as “terrorrrisst”, this is a cabinet who does not aspire for peace, with this cabinet Israel’s goal of peace with its Arab neighbors will only be a mirage in the dry desert.

Israel needs to search deep within its soul to find the courage to engage with Hamas and Fatah for a lasting peace otherwise Israel will in the opinions of many, become a burden and a liability on its chief protector and benefactor the United States and shunned by the International Community.

What is more, a seemingly trigger happy nuclear bomb capable Israel which does not heed the advice of its own allies and friends is a clear and present danger to the middle east and the world.

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