Monday, 5 January 2009

Israel should listen to its enligthened voices

It seems incredible that there are people who are willing to swallow the Israeli hawkish view wholesale. It is not the only view from those either within Israel or outside who have an understanding of the conflict. There are those who see the monumental short-sightedness of Israel's current actions in Gaza and can also see the future misery that it will cause.

The most stupid manifestation of this is the attempt to pin blame for this situation. Who is right and who is wrong now? Who has historical responsibility? Surely Israel has a right to defend itself? These questions are roads to false justification of the unjustifiable and extreme suffering. Israel's security and the security and well-being of the Palestinian people require a different approach. Just take the issue of self-defence. Yes, of course Israel has the right to defend itself against rocket attacks. It is ridiculous to suggest otherwise. Will this action in Gaza protect itself? From rocket attacks, yes in the very short term. But it is only matter of time before some other form of terror replaces it. And the rocket attacks will return in time unless a genuine peace can be crafted. So where does the question, 'surely Israel has a right to defend itself' get you? Nowhere.

I quoted Tom Segev and referred to Waltz with Bashir in my last post. Since then we have had excellent pieces from Daniel Barenboim and, this morning, Rabbi Michael Lerner.

Israel is busy recruiting for Hamas- or whatever vein of extremism replaces it- and other radical groups in its current actions. America (the Bush administration) is truly isolated in its failure to call for a cease-fire. The echoes of 2006 are obvious and the result will be the same- Hezbollah still thrives. Of course, the real target here is Iran: Israel wants to send it a 'clear message.' What is that message? Arm yourself to the hilt and fund any group that can effectively attack Israel because Israel will resort to disproportionate military responses in any situation of conflict. Is that really the message we want a proto-nuclear Iran to be receiving?

Finally, there have been superficial attacks that these arguments constitute an anti-Israel position. This is the greatest nonsense of all. It is, in fact, a strongly pro-Israel position. It is only by pursuing a vigorous and diametrically opposed strategy that Israel can achieve peace and prosperity. Encrouaging Israel to continue down the path it set in 1967 is ultimately to strengthen those who seek to eliminate it and against the interests if its people. That is a naive pro-Israel position- better to be realists in this brutally real situation.

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