Israeli Offensive Paves Road to Peace

7 Jan

The Israeli offensive that steamrolled into the Gaza strip on December 27th is a real step toward ending Middle East violence.   It is also a real step toward ending the Middle East.  And that is one sorry way to halt the seemingly never-ending conflict.      

In a March 2008 post, The Hangover deconstructed Israeli-Palestinian violence in sociological terms.  Conflict theory and historical perspectives were applied to understand what could bring an end to the conflict:  Creation of a Palestinian state and the conceding of occupied land.  However, Israel has once again chosen another path.  In response to Hamas rockets constantly being shot into their country, the Israelis have (ironically) launched a blitzkrieg into Gaza, an area populated by 1.1 million Palestinians, 50% of whom are children.   To date, over 600 Palestinians have been killed, a quarter of whom are confirmed civilians.  Six Israeli soldiers have also died.  One million Palestinians are without electricity, 700, 000 without water.   Yesterday, Israeli mortars took out a school being used as a shelter, killing 30.  To say that Israel has its boot on Gaza’s throat is an understatement.

The strategic objective of this attack is to end Hamas’  firing of rockets into Israel.   It’s proven effective.  Only fifteen were fired yesterday.  Apparently, progress is being made.  Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated:  

“We hope this fighting will be a swift episode.  We have no interest to endlessly drag it on, but only if two basic principles are reached we will be in a position to end it: The complete cessation of the (arms) smuggling and Hamas losing its ability to fire rockets. I have sworn not to allow our great nation to withstand any situation that will require the mercy of those who fire out the rockets.”

Once again, this is a short-sighted, brawn-over-brains policy.  To end the rocket fire under current conditions, the Israelis will need to occupy Gaza.  And there’s nothing in the history of Israel-Palestine relations that indicates a force-fueled cessation of conflict will be more than temporary.   So what will Israel gain?

Regardless of which country is “right” and which is “wrong,” each resident of Gaza will consider this offensive the same way the Polish and French regarded the Nazi blitzkrieg.  Each dead Palestinian has relatives, friends, workmates.  Each survivor becomes a potential future terrorist.  In World War Two terms, those fighting the occupiers were called “the Resistance.”

The great fear of statesmen around the world is that terrorists gain the means and  materials to create a weapon of  mass destruction.  Whether this is a nuclear, dirty, chemical, or biological weapon remains to be seen.   But as time progresses, the chances of such a device being acquired by terrorists becomes more likely (despite the efforts of the United Nations, Jack Bauer, and various intelligence agencies).  If a WMD does fall into Palestinian hands, there will be one target:  Israel.  

The current Israeli offensive will come to its definitive end when that WMD is deployed.   It might not happen next week or next year.  The bomb might not drop for decades.  But unless Israel stops fostering the conditions that perpetually create terrorists, it will happen.  All those in the region are under siege.  

At some point a Palestinian terrorist (or resistance fighter), perhaps one whose child has been ripped to pieces by an Israeli mortar, will push the button.   Maybe then—when the region is leveled, covered in radiation, or suffering from anthrax—compromise will be possible, provided there’s anyone or anything left to contest.

13 Responses to “Israeli Offensive Paves Road to Peace”

  1. Chilly Nate January 8, 2009 at 9:52 am #

    A good nuking is just what that region needs. Before that happens maybe we can try and get the innocent civilians out of there, perhaps by advertising half price all you can eat deli buffet in Egypt, children eat free.

  2. Chilly Nate January 8, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    I guess my last comment was a tad harsh, but I must say I agree with The HO’s views and at the same time I’m sick and tired of turning on the news and seeing childen, from both sides, seriously injured or killed. It makes me want to puke up my corned beef on rye.
    The solution? Stop watching the news.

  3. aaron, of course January 8, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

    Quick. Name the only 2 soveriegn nations that are condemed for defending themselves against invasion and/or attack. If you guessed the US and Israel then you’ve won the Booby Prize!
    I’m always puzzled by the counter-intuitive argument that by killing a terrorist you beget more terrorists. We seem to accept, as our Esteemed Host espouses, that a Palestinian killed by an Israeli rocket, bullet etc. would/could lead to that Pal’s sons/friends/family aquiring some sort of WMD and ‘pushing the button’, while we don;t accept the opposite, like an innocent Israeli killed by a missile launched by Palestinians whose child ‘pushes the button’, or an American child who lost a parent in the 9/11 attacks ‘pushing the button.’ Why do we hold these people to a different standard by forwarding the ‘don’t make them mad’ idea? That strikes me as you’d treat a child, not an equal.

    Israeli citizens have been targeted for years. Palestinians have been shooting missiles into Israeli towns, hitting schools, shopping malls, homes etc and killing innocent Israelis for years, and you don;t hear 1 peep from our biased ‘media’. These cowardly terrorists hold 1.1 million peaceful Palestinians hostage by hiding among them, setting up shop next to schools, hiding caches of weapons in Mosques etc.

    ‘But unless Israel stops fostering the conditions that perpetually create terrorists, it will happen’ REMEMBER: It’s Israel’s very existence that’s ‘fostering the conditions’. Should Isreal WMD itself?

  4. alguschip January 8, 2009 at 3:50 pm #

    Aaron, put yourself in a Palistinian’s shoes. How would you view the Israeli offensive? What would your reaction be?

    Northern Ireland is a great case study for the Middle East. It wasn’t until Britain decided to involve Irish Catholics in the government (the politcal process) that the violence stopped. The equivalent here is the establishment of the agreed-to-in-the-1950’s Palestinian state and the retreat from occupied land. Until those things happen, there were always be violence.

  5. Chilly Nate January 8, 2009 at 7:24 pm #

    The people of Gaza freely elected Hamas to govern them, that’s democracy. Correct?
    Quick, name two soveriegn nations that were not happy with those results. You are correct, the USA and Israel.

  6. Sir Martin Wagstaff January 9, 2009 at 6:43 pm #

    fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity

  7. Kevin Whitworth January 11, 2009 at 9:52 pm #

    I like the Northern Ireland reference, and I happened to agree with
    you. Great post, Al.

  8. george in the sticks January 18, 2009 at 1:52 am #

    While I admit to having no reasonable solution to the conflict in the Middle East, assuming that a pox on both their houses falls under unreasonable, I find the reference to the Northern Ireland issue dangerously simplistic. The solution to the issue in the North, and let’s all hope it continues to hold, is far more complex than merely inviting Sinn Fein to come and talk. To boil one element–among many–to its simpliest point: the parties at hand were convinced (or at least open) to the idea that more could be gained outside the solution of the bullet than with it. My sense is that not nearly enough folks in control of the triggers in the contested regions in the poor benighted Levant have reached that point. Part of the solution to the North was not that the provos could have a forum to talk but that the unending support for the RUC and others did, in fact, have an end.
    Best from the Flatlands.

  9. alguschip January 18, 2009 at 12:51 pm #

    In NI, it’s not that Sinn Fein got to talk, It’s that they gained access to the political process with votes. The IRA destroyed its weapons and British troops left Belfast. Both sides made concessions. Of course, not everyone is holding hands and skipping through Ulster tossing daisies.
    The bottom line is that Britain lifted its boot off of the Northern/Catholic throat and good things happened.

  10. george in the sticks January 19, 2009 at 1:10 am #

    Perhaps, but there are flaws in the analogy. The Brits were able to remove the boot/impose negotiating pressure because of distance; both geographically and psychological. London’s a fair way from Derry or Belfast and it became easier politically and mentally to cut the Loyalists loose in the North. I suspect such a course would have been harder to pursue if, for example, Scottish nationalism took the form of violence in the Middle East, or even that of North Ireland. Also, in the conflict in the Levant the boot is not on the distant colonial oppressor, but on the immediate neighbors involved in the conflict. The role of the US is not analogous to the Brits in Northern Ireland despite the close friendship and military and economic support. The Loyalists in the North played a pivotal role in supporting and collapsing governments in Britain for centuries, as their political weight slipped their hold on the British sympathies declined. There was, quite simply, less political use for the North in the greater UK. Simultaneously, support in the Republic for the violent elements of the IRA was waning. The hard men of the RUC and IRA recognized that the support of their violent activities was declining and the pressure to seek other methods came from outside and inside their communities. To return to Gaza, there is not sufficient pressure internal to either community to abandon the gun: Land for peace has not achieved the stability the Israeli’s seek, and the rise of Hamas is partly driven by their appeal to those who refuse to accept what they perceive to be half a loaf. And thus far, nobody has shown sufficient leverage or interest in changing this relationship.

  11. aaron, of course February 9, 2009 at 11:50 am #

    Just had some time on my hands
    The last line of this story reads ‘Since the Jan. 18 ceasefire, Hamas militants have launched 40 rocket attacks on Israel, although no one in Israel has been injured in any of the attacks.’

    And then we end up with this:

  12. alguschip February 9, 2009 at 4:59 pm #

    Who wrote the Wiki article? Could be anyone, that’s why Wiki is not a great source.

    Isreali troops are still in Gaza. It’s no wonder they’re still firing the rockets.

  13. aaron, of course February 10, 2009 at 3:14 pm #

    I agree @ Wiki, but the point is the sheer numbers of rockets that have been launched into Israel by Hamas.

    Am I correct in concluding that you’ll always hold Israel responsible for everything over there? Even though Hamas violated the cease fire that was agreed to, Israel is still to blame (even though unconditional withdrawal was not a condition?)

    When’s the next post?

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