My own position on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict has been one of distaste for either side. I find I am sympathetic to motivations and unsympathetic to rationalizations for violence. I don’t think the Palestinians or the Israelis have a sound basis for the acts of violence they commit.
I had been thinking of writing a post about the efficacy of rocket firing. What Jeff recently wrote hits the nail on the head (emphasis mine):
Apologists include not only those who defend Israeli violence, but those who defend whatever diminutive forces are still launching rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel. This has nothing to with the right of an occupied people to resist – such rocket attacks are not resistance. The rocket attacks from Gaza have no logical basis. Engaging in war, engaging in violence, should at the least have a rational basis in the expectation that it will improve one’s situation. However, it is abundantly clear (and has been for some time) that not only are such attacks not improving the plight of Gazans, but with a grand total of 5 fatalities, while providing a pretext for Israel to respond, are almost completely ineffective while increasingly contributing to the decimation of the civilian population of Gaza. One might even suggest that those behind the rocket attacks are in collusion with Israeli military planners, so ineffective are such tactics.
Why do they fire rockets? Why engage in such counterproductive actions? Its incredibly suspicious. Its as if, whoever is firing the rockets, wants Israel to escalate.
The rub is that if the Israelis are behind it, the rocket firing is both expected and lauded by Hamas (so it would blend in). If Hamas is behind it, then how high a civilian cost are they willing to pay to slowly de-legitimize Israel’s statehood? It would take hiding in civilian homes when firing rockets to a whole new level of vile. Perhaps Hamas is simply pulling a Bush and hoping a little warfare and a common enemy will bolster their support.
My gut instinct is that what Hamas should be doing is staging massive acts of civil disobedience. They should be engaging in actions that leave the world with no recourse but to offer support. Because make no mistake. With the invasion and the rockets and bombings aside, the Palestinian people are oppressed. They are oppressed by the Israelis, and by the surrounding nations who are in various degrees complicit in the state of isolation and poverty the Palestinians are boxed into.
By the same token, one might ask of Israel what it stands to gain by invading? Its costing them their legitimacy:
The original Zionist concept of a collaborative, diverse haven for an oppressed class of people has mutated into an ultra-militaristic state which has violently oppressed the people whose land was taken for that purpose. No state has an inherent right to exist (did the Soviet Union? Do countries whose borders have been drawn by occupying forces?), and for many well outside of the Middle East, Israel is losing any legitimacy it may have possessed.
Jeff is absolutely right. And all the invasion will accomplish (as he notes further down in a post I recommend reading in its entirety) is inciting more reciprocal violence. Israel should, rather than resorting to violence, shame and deligitimize Hamas for the attacks. As it stands now, any such efforts would be so concentrated in their hypocrisy they might prove fatal upon observation by rational people.
What do you think? What should the Palestinians be doing, right now? What should the Israelis be doing, right now? What should the US and the UN do?
Posted under Politics
This post was written by Dan on January 8, 2009