Tuesday, 13 January 2009

A blogger's view on the Gaza conflict

This blog has been such a blessing to me over the past year, as it's put me into contact with informed people from various spheres of life. I'm currently struggling to understand what is going on in Gaza. Kevin Edgecomb, author of the excellent blog biblicalia, has recently shared his views on the Gaza conflict, in response to my post A dialogue on the current Gaza invasion.I thought it was eloquent and interesting enough to deserve its own post. I'd also love to hear from others on this issue. Is Kevin right? Is he missing something? Are we all being brainwashed by the wrong media?

The shellings into Sderot began after Israel unilaterally decided to evacuate its settlements and end occupation of the Gaza Strip. This required the forced relocation of thousands of Israelis, and the end of profitable farms and orchards, to the detriment of the Gazans as well. This unilateral attempt at making peace has achieved nothing except putting Israeli communities in range of shelling from the Gaza strip. So, that was a stupid mistake. Relatedly, many of those families that were moved from the Gaza communities of Gush Katif and elsewhere have yet to be provided their government-promised new homes. This was a lose-lose situation for the Israelis all around. They have ruined the lives of thousands for nothing. Their attempts to make peace, following the suggestions bourgeois hand-wringers around the world, have failed repeatedly. Now, with Iranian Grad rockets having been smuggled into Gaza through the tunnels from Egypt, and these being used to extend the range of the attacks on Israel, the only response possible is the elimination of such a threat, through whatever means necessary. And, in keeping with international law, they are completely in the right, because of those continual mortar and rocket attacks over the last three years.

I've noticed another peculiarity in much of the coverage, calling Hamas' takeover of Gaza a coup. It was no such thing. They were elected by the majority of Palestinian voters to be the government of the Palestinians. (This should also give one pause, finding a populace with such a disgusting preference in representatives!) The Palestinian Authority (Abbas and the other "Tunisians"--the corruptocrats who followed Arafat around in his Tunisian exile and returned with him after the now-defunct Oslo Accords), however, was and is favored by the international powers, because they at least have the courtesy to lie to diplomats and pretend that they really want peace rather than the destruction of "the Zionist entity." PA/Fatah is no less culpable for suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks than Hamas is. (These, of course, were ceased not through any diplomatic skill, but through the construction by the Israelis of the security fence/wall, so that these terrorists couldn't just literally walk across the border to perpetrate their inhuman crimes.) But the PA now gets good press. It's just that diplomats prefer them for their diplomatic duplicity, and the news cycle (and apparently most of humanity) has a memory of approximately 24 hours.

So now in Gaza, we only have the two sides. One is Hamas, driven by a fanatical religious hatred of the Jews, their entire reason for existence being tied to the elimination of Jews. Number two, Israel, is the longest-lasting democracy and most vibrant economy in the entire region, which has been under assault by terrorists-cum-neighbors for the better part of forty years. And yet, this one little country is under so much more scrutiny than any other whenever it attempts necessary defense of its citizens, that they are required (and not only by outsiders, but by their own citizens) to jump through any number of nearly impossible hoops to effect that defense, and still they are cursed. Who has ever heard of phoning all the inhabitants of targeted buildings, telling them all to get out before they are bombed? It is extraordinary. It is also unnecessary. No other nation would ever have to do such a thing. And still, the outcry against Israel is vicious. It's pathetic. If this were fiction, I would throw it away as being completely unbelievable. And yet this is reality.

For a very different evaluation of the situation, see Avi Shlaim's article.


Anonymous said...

Amid your recent posts, which have done so well to respect to complexity of the situation, this is like a whiff of something noxious. Hamas (who in this post replaced the Palestinian people themselves, who otherwise don't appear*) is evil, fanatical, driven by madness; Israel is peace-loving, big-hearted, self-sacrificial. If this were fiction, I would throw it away because of its stupid moralism--and indeed it is fiction. The beautiful, thriving, easy-going, even-tempered, self-sacrificial country KE describes exists only in his imagination.

Anonymous said...

I apologize if that last comment was a bit sharp and trollish. The post sounded too much like propaganda to me, and I reacted. Here's yet another reason to doubt the idea that Israel is a thriving democracy:

Israel bans Arab parties from running in upcoming elections

Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

Thanks for the compliment, Philip. I really do appreciate it.

Brian, it likely stands better as a comment in the original post, where it appears in response to particular things. It should be seen in its context.

There are other Arab parties represented in the Knesset. Did you know that there have even been Jewish parties that have been banned from running? That doesn't hit the news. It's a democracy in that the system works and it's certainly thriving, judging by the number of parties and by voter participation. That's an objective fact. But some groups put together parties to present extreme views that can be considered incitement to religious or racial violence, a very touchy subject in Israel, obviously. Since that's illegal, those parties can't run. They can change their platform and try again in the next election. But they won't end up shot dead in a Gaza gutter because they won't support Hamas.

Phil Sumpter said...

Hi Brian, thanks for your thoughts. I agree that the Israeli's are not as innocent as they are sometimes made out to be. One of the issues I've been having is with the Shlaim article I linked to. Kevin has kindly responded to that with another well-written post here.

Phil Sumpter said...

Sorry, it wasn't a post, it was a long comment in the comment thread.

Phil Sumpter said...

Concerning the article you link to, you may want to check out this recent Ha'aret editorial, which makes the following statement:

It is precisely the intense "debates between the extreme right and Arab parties that exemplify Israeli democracy and its ability to include such disparate factions under one roof."