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Posted by on Nov 20, 2012 in Featured, International | 21 comments

Israel should rethink its strategy against Hamas in Gaza (Guest Voice)

Bill Day, Cagle Cartoons

Israel should rethink its strategy against Hamas in Gaza (via The Christian Science Monitor)

Since Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006 and subsequently took control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, Israel has dealt with the “Islamic Resistance” through a policy of non-recognition, political isolation, and military containment. The recent escalation of violence in…

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  • slamfu

    That is a list of perfectly reasonable steps to take, but sadly neither side, especially Hamas, seems to be going in for much in the way of practicality. Both sides seem quite happy to keep this bloody, decades long stalemate going as it has been. Someone on one side is going to have to make an unprecedented show of faith towards peace, in the face of decades of hatred and mutual mistreatment, for anything to actually happen.

  • sheknows

    Agreed Slamfu. The show of faith I believe will have to come from Isreal though. Hamas is not willing to budge. Hamas just stated that they want Isreal to back off and for the isolation to cease. Also the death of Jabari has ignited a huge arsenal of vengeance within the organization.
    If Isreal truly wants to establish peace, they must begin by ending the airstrikes and stopping the blockade. They cannot expect these citizens to live in an “open air prison” without being resentful and angry. That is precisely how radical elements get into power. No one better than the Jews should know what it is like to be massed together like cattle and treated like they do not have any rights.
    Both sides are distrustful, and especially Isreal, being surrounded on all sides by arab nations. As long as Isreal lives in fear, they will continue to take the hard line when it comes to peaceful negotiations, but if they make the first move now and grant the terms of Hamas, they will have done all that could be done to end this bloodshed.

  • SteveK

    Imagine Massachusetts and Connecticut as Israel and Rhode Island as Gaza.

    They all have nice ocean views and seaports but Massachusetts and Connecticut (like Israel) don’t want Rhode Island (Gaza) to become self-sufficient so they don’t allow it to use its seaports and have placed Rhode Island residents under 24/7 military internment.

    Rhode Island (like Gaza) wouldn’t like that very much and, since the rest of the world has turned a blind eye to what Israel has done to them, some of the Rhode Islanders strike out.

    Massachusetts and Connecticut don’t understand why Rhode Island is constantly harassing them. Little pop-guns against F-16’s, Sherman Tanks, and Nukes are not an attack, its harassment.

    Maybe if Massachusetts and Connecticut (Israel) allowed Rhode Island (Gaza) citizens to regain their human dignity and allowed them to improve their living conditions to something better than a walled in prisoner-of-war compound you never know… A little peace might break out.

  • SteveK

    Imagine Massachusetts as Israel, Connecticut as Egypt and Rhode Island as Gaza.

    They all have nice ocean views and seaports but Massachusetts (Israel) doesn’t want Rhode Island (Gaza) to become a successful, self-sufficient state so they don’t allow it to use their seaports and have placed Rhode Island residents under 24/7 military internment.

    Connecticut (Egypt) goes along with whatever Massachusetts (Israel) because they’re afraid of their F-16’s, Sherman Tanks, Nukes, and penchant to violence.

    Rhode Island (Gaza) doesn’t like this very much and, since the rest of the world has turned a blind eye to what Israel is doing to them, some of the Rhode Islanders strike out.

    Massachusetts doesn’t understand why Rhode Island is constantly harassing them. (Little pop-guns against F-16’s, Sherman Tanks, and Nukes) is harassment. Strafing residential neighborhoods and killing women and children… Now that’s an attack.

    Regarding a little show of faith… Maybe if Massachusetts (Israel) allowed Rhode Island (Gaza) citizens to regain their human dignity and allowed them to improve their living conditions to something better than a walled in prisoner-of-war compound you never know… A peace might break out all over the area.

  • slamfu

    Well if in your example Rhode Island had an official line that MA doesn’t actually exist, vowed to destroy it, and had actually initiated 2 attacks on MA, I’d understand MA’s actions. We can go back as far as you’d like, doesn’t change the situation now. Where is Israel going to start negotiations with a group of people that can’t even get past the phase of thinking Israel has a right to exist? I mean that’s just pigheaded stupidity at this point.

  • sheknows

    Slam, the entire world knows Isreal exists. It is now Isreal who won’t allow Gaza to exist. The cease fire never really was, with Hamas taking pot shots at Isreal off and on, and finally escalating. My thinking is that these problems will continue and just get worse until Isreal lifts the embargos.
    My dad who was Jewish, likened the middle east to a giant family dispute. Relatives scream and yell and say alot of things in anger, but they are just words.This goes on and on, somedays getting along..others arguing. (Semites are very emotional people). It gets very personal when they fire rockets and kill people though.
    Gaza is a double boiler with the steam building. If Isreal doesn’t adjust the valve, it will blow.

  • SteveK

    slamfu I suggest you read the Wikipedia article: Israeli–Palestinian conflict

    Pigheaded stupidity is feeling the need to continually throw out of the Israel “doesn’t actually exist, vowed to destroy it” strawman. Again… Read the article.

    The Israeli Government (NOT the Israeli people) has used the position you describe saying Palestinians don’t exist and it has done everything in it’s power to destroy them.

    Any comment you have on the living conditions forced on the citizens of the Gaza Strip by Benyamin Netanyahu would be appreciated.

  • SteveK

    And then again maybe Israel doesn’t want us to know the truth…

    Israeli airstrikes kill 3 Palestinian journalists

    A number of journalists have been killed over the years while covering fighting between the Jewish state and the Palestinian militant group, but not in targeted strikes that Israel acknowledged.

  • SteveK

    From the B’tselem Israwli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories

    Initial Findings: 41 of the Palestinians killed by the Israeli military up to the night of 19 Nov. were civilians, among them 19 minors.

    Initial B’Tselem investigations indicate that 105 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip between the launch of the Israeli military’s “Pillar of Defense” operation on the afternoon of November 14, 2012 and the night of November 19. Initial investigations indicate that at least 41 of those killed were civilians, among them 19 minors, and 11 women.

    B’Tselem will continue to investigate the incidents in which civilians have been killed in Gaza, and to review reports coming in even now regarding additional incidents in which civilians have been killed or injured.

    Three Israelis were killed in the course of the operation up to the night of the 19th, as a result of rocket fire from Gaza by Palestinian militant organizations.

    105 / 3 Huh… Israel better get going if they want to keep up with their average of 100 dead Palestinian to 1 dead Israeli.

    9/29/2000 – 9/30/2012

    1. Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces in the Gaza Strip 4660
    2. Israeli civilians killed by Palestinians Gaza Strip 39
  • jdledell

    slamfu – Don’t forget, Israel was the birth mother of Hamas. Israel encouraged the formation of Hamas, thinking that a religious organization would be easier to deal with than the nationalistic PLO. Over the years Israel had numerous connections and contacts with Hamas. Hamas started out mainly as a religious and social support organization. Relations with Israel cooled during the 1980’s and the Oslo Accords. Hamas was against Oslo, feeling that it was too one sided.

    Hamas since it’s founding has never been in favor of Israel as a Jewish state. However, they do recognize Israel as a sovereign state and have negotiated directly with Israel on numerous occasions, especially on prisoner exchanges. Hamas would like the entire territory of Gaza, Israel and the West Bank to be one Islamic country but failing that would agree to Israel with 1967 borders as long as Palestinian refugees were offered the right of return or compensation. While the Hamas Charter is a foul document, remember it has never been adopted by a Hamas government.

    Now, one can disagree with Hamas’ proposed solution (which I do) but it certainly could be a basis to start serious peace negotiations. In my view, Israel’s current policy of refusing to deal with Hamas is short sighted. There is NO MILITARY solution to the problem of Gaza and the West Bank. A political solution must be found. The Palestinians are not going to disappear but continue to grow as a demographic force. Israel’s future can be captured with one statistic – currently the majority of Israeli babies being born are to Palestinian Israelis and the Ultra-Orthodox. The latter refuses to fully participate in Israeli society and is essentially unschooled in anything but religious studies. Over the next 100 years that is going to cause a slow death of Israel as a vibrant, self-supporting country.

    Gaza’s economy is strangled. They cannot import raw materials for manufacturing and exports are almost nil. Sure some weapons and commercial goods come through the tunnels, but they cannot support a modern state of 1.7 million people. People without hope sometimes doing stupid and desperate things. Israel has never once provided any hope to the Gaza people. The best Israel has ever offered is if you stop shooting missiles at us, we will stop bombing you but we are NEVER, NEVER, NEVER going to lift our total embargo on you.

    Someone, somewhere some how is going to have to sit Haniyeh, Abbas and Netanyahu locked in a room with a goal to get all the parties out of this stupid, self-defeating box they all have put themselves into.

  • sheknows

    Yeah well, like I said before, you can’t fire rockets into that area without hitting people. I am sure Isreal will deny it’s fair share of killing like it’s just firing harsh reprimands instead of rockets.
    Netanyahu doesn’t seem like the most likely of persons to be compromising. Just my intuition, but he is more of a hawk than a dove when it comes to peace. He has a stubborn streak in him that I think Obama sensed right away. I understand his needing to be a strong leader for Isreal, but not a rigid one. That is getting them bupkiss.

  • I agree with SteveK& sheknows. Israel is a bad guy here. They are engaging in a form of apartheid and their actions are destroying the lives of civilians in Gaza.

    Is Hamas an innocent? Of course not. But Israel is wrong for what they are doing.

    There needs to be a two-state solution. Basic human rights need to be restored to the Palestinians. Israelis must move out of Gaza & the West Bank but are free to fortify their own border as they see fit. Palestine must accept Israel’s right to exist & stop instigating violence. It would be best if Hamas & Netanyahu step down from office. Instigating nations like Iran need to STFU & GTFO.

  • And a pox on the original author for not adding the economic situation in the article. This is not just a military conflict, this is not an episode to be judged in isolation. Something that frustrates me about some columnists…

  • rudi

    Forget about which side is right, this is all about an Israeli election and Nutinyahoo’s reelection.
    What are hundreds of live worth compared to Likud winning this election.

  • slamfu

    Really guys? Hamas accepts that Israel has a right to exist? Go to google and just type in Palestininan quotes and you will produce a VERY long list of major Palestinian players who say just the opposite. I just want you guys to know that I am REALLY familiar with whats going on over there, and what has led to it over the last 100 years. I am well aware that Israel treats Gaza like a prison camp. That their economy is totally screwed as a result. I get it. Jdledell said up there that there is no military solution to this, and well, you are wrong. Israel does have a military solution, they have been implementing it for 44 years. They have dominated and controlled the lives of the Palestinians since 1968, and they can keep it up FOREVER. Their nation grows and prospers while that of the Palestinians remains locked in war and poverty. The game plan of Hamas hasn’t ever changed, despite the fact that it hasn’t really provided any results. They still think the answer is what amounts to petty mayhem. Launch rockets, blow up buses, blah blah blah. Seriously guys, look at the whole picture. Who is motivated to make progress here? Who needs to be flexible given the circumstances? Who has the most to gain from a peaceful solution? Who can you trust to make a deal with?

    I’ll bet you guys even if Israel gave them total freedom back, recognized Hamas as a legit govt, ended the blockade, even flew in supplies and food and whatever, freed prisoners, Hamas would be still launching rockets within a week of any deal signed. You know its true. Still, I think Israel should make the first move. Its a sign of strength to do so.

  • SteveK

    Well slamfu as jdledell has family in and regularly goes to Israel I think I’ll take his version of what is and is not happening over there… Thanks anyhow.

  • jdledell

    Slamfu – Israel cannot keep up this status quo – it will kill the country. I consider myself a Zionist – I want Israel to be a Jewish homeland, a safe haven for my people, forever. However, serious cracks are emerging in the country’s foundation. Emigration of the best and the brightest exceed those coming in from Aliyah. The wealthy and educated Israelis send their children to America or Europe to avoid IDF service.

    As I indicated, the majority of births are now Arab or Ultra-Orthodox. The former usually are stuck in crappy schools and the latter learn primarily religious studies. While the Israeli government tries to cover up the cracks if you spent any time in Israel, this is the problem people talk about – much more than what to do about the Palestinians. Between 55% and 60% of the Israeli Arabs and Ultra-Orthodox live below the poverty line and this is the segment of the population that is growing the fastest.

    One last point. I would guess that just as many Jews feel that the Palestinians should not exist as Palestinians feel about Jews. You have to be there to hear the conversation. You can get a glimpse of it reading the comments to JPost articles and other Israeli newspapers, especially the Hebrew ones. With regularity, Knesset members speak about “flattening Gaza” “exterminating the Vermin” moving all of them to either Egypt of Jordan etc.

  • dduck

    Thanks for the clarity, JD.

  • SteveK

    Curious as to why (in our ‘cut and paste’ world) people have become so lazy that they devolve screen names into initials.

    It’s NOT JD DD it’s jdledell dduck… That’s who he tells us he is… Is that such a reach?

    Cut and paste if you can’t type but respect the person you are talking to with their ‘name’… Too much to ask? Too difficult to understand?


  • dduck

    _____ you, _______ .

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    _____ you, _______ .

    Whoever tried to write that comment, his or her “__” key must have gotten stuck.

    Needs to buy a new keyboard.

    I am sure he or she meant to say. “Happy Thanksgiving to you, Steve”

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