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A GAZA PEACE November 23, 2012

Posted by wmmbb in Israel-Palestine.
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The establishment of a peace settlement that stops the overt political violence, at least for now, between Palestinians and Israelis is very desirable.

The wanton killing of civilians and children with the tools of war has stopped. A real peace must be based on justice, mutual respect with forbearance, and human dignity.

Historian Juan Cole graphically points to the background.

Juan Cole identifies ten things that should be done, including lifting the blockade on Gaza, providing citizenship to Palestinians, and letting the UN Security Council Israeli behavior. He observes that he does not expect these things to happen, but nonetheless the power elite in Washington and Tel Aviv should be mindful of the longer term implications of the existing policy, which seems to be working a treat. Juan Cole writes:

I’m not stupid or naive. I know that almost none of these 10 points is likely to be realized. All I’m saying is that these steps are would would be necessary for the achievement of peace. They won’t be taken, and therefore intermittent wars, bombings, attacks, and the blighting of human lives will continue. The US will likely at some point suffer further for these failures, just as it did on 9/11, which was launched in part to punish Washington for its treatment of the Palestinians. Given how many of our liberties we lost with 9/11, you worry that another such large-scale attack will finish off the constitution altogether.

That point is why George W. Bush and Barack Obama have not really served US interests well in the Middle East, since neither Iraq nor Afghanistan is at the center of the region’s geopolitics. Both have kicked the can down the road, just as Mitt Romney admitted he would do. We know that US politicians behave in this way because the Israel lobbies, including those of the Christian Zionists, are a successful single-issue interest group. But in attempting to ensure that the Israeli right wing is never impeded in its ambitions, they are dooming Israel. Eventually the region will just become too hot and nervous-making for most Israelis, and more will begin leaving every year than coming in. Over time they will be diminished, as the once-dominant Christians of Lebanon have been, through out-migration. Unfortunately, this scenario will unfold over decades, and will cause us all a lot of headaches on the way.

The Editorial in The Guardian observes:

Outside the confines of an Israeli election campaign, it is hard to see the last eight days of aerial bombardment of Gaza as a tactical success. What started from the Israeli defence establishment’s view with a moment of elation – the pinpoint strike on the car of Hamas’s military commander Ahmed al-Jaabari – ended with Hamas and other militant groups breaking two taboos: firing rockets repeatedly at Tel Aviv (not even Hezbollah during the height of the second Lebanon war did that); and returning to the tactic of bombing buses. If the agreement announced on Wednesday night holds, Hamas is hardly ceasing fire while in full retreat.

Without minimizing any of the deaths involved, and the real terror that was inflicted on the Gazan Population, reinforced even now after the ceasefire, by the omniscient sound of Israeli drones, the situation now perhaps does not reflect the defeat by Hezbollah of Israel’s overwhelming military force, but neither has been an emphatic political success for Netanyahou. The Americans, the military suppliers of Israel, have sought to excommunicate Hamas, the elected government of Gaza, but in practice have had to used Morsi and the Egyptian Government as an intermediary. To villify Hamas for the use of political violence is simply gross hypocrisy, beyond the capacity of the fawning, biased, Western media to comprehend.

Ewen Macaskil and Peter Baker in The Sydney Morning Herald report on reaction among Israelis to the peace agreement:

‘This is a pause, not a peace,” said Ya’ara Menachem, a 41-year-old resident of the southern Israeli city of Sderot. ”We don’t believe in ceasefires any more.”
”We didn’t live under this rocket fire, which disrupted our lives and our children’s lives, just to buy another couple years of quiet,” said Chaim Levin, another Sderot resident.
”We wanted to see the (army) go into Gaza. I don’t care, let the army do whatever it takes, just make sure there are no more rockets.”
A snap poll on Israel’s Channel Two news found that 70 per cent of the Israeli public did not support signing a ceasefire with Hamas, 24 per cent were in favour and 6 per cent were undecided.
In Gaza City, Palestinian Samer Mazar said he was holding off on moving his family back to their home near the border with Israel.
”I want to see if the ceasefire holds up first,” he said. ”We do not trust them when they say it is over. We have to see it first.”

There is much unfinished business, along with the economic costs for both sides, including for example for the Israelis of the costs of their “Iron Dome Missile Defence”. Political violence, the distinctive feature of the Zionist enterprise, seems to have met constrains, although the Israeli navy continues to corral the Gazan fishermen and the sea blockade will presumably continue. One imagines the fear of rocket attacks will continue. Iran now may be off the agenda, but the far greater slaughter in Syria continues.

Thomas Easaw has a Song for Gaza:

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