In an op-ed An Israel Without Illusions, David Grossman, writes “Israel can rightly claim that no country in the world would abstain from responding to incessant attacks like those of Hamas, or to the threat posed by the tunnels dug from the Gaza Strip into Israel.”
This is simple false. Israel’s reaction is illegal under international law, counterproductive as history has proven1 and barbaric (against Jewish ethics).
Second, Israel has not only a vast military power at its disposal, it is also in charge of a siege of Gaza. This is – at least – a bargaining chip to reduce rocket fire if one wants to protect one’s civilian population. Diplomacy has been proven to be effective.1
The Gazans resp. Hamas do not have many options. They can accept slow death and nobody cares, neither Israel nor the international community or they can symbolically “defend” themselves by shooting rockets that are on a militarily scale mostly just “[…]annoying but not lethal”2. Israel – apart from on-going siege– newer kept the truce and attacked over and over again, acts of aggression that Gazans are entirely helpless against.
To compare Israel’s bombardments that are known to kill dozens each time to rockets that might kill (0.1% chance) in the context of siege and occupation and Israel’s options (i.e. diplomacy) is a strange distortion of reality.
Grossman writes further […]who can fault Israelis for expecting their government to do everything it can to save children on the Nahal Oz kibbutz, or any of the other communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip, from a Hamas unit that might emerge from a hole in the ground?
I fully agree on the intent but not on the means as the means Israel uses are counter-productive to to goal. Egypt destroyed a thousand tunnels without killing a single human being3, what shows that there is no reason to use militarily aggression to destroy those tunnels. These military action are illegal, barbaric and escalate the situation.
Grossman continues “Many Israelis who have refused to acknowledge the state of affairs are now looking into the futile cycle of violence, revenge and counter-revenge,[emphasis added] and they are seeing our reflection”. Grossman has yet to understand the tremendous asymmetry of the conflict. Israelis count rockets shoot at Israel, Gazans count dead bodies … 4. Occupation for 47 years, settlement building, checkpoints, arrests, house demolitions, etc.
The left is increasingly aware of the potent hatred against Israel — a hatred that arises not just from the occupation — and of the Islamic fundamentalist volcano that threatens the country. It also recognizes the fragility of any agreement that might be reached here. More people on the left understand now that the right wing’s fears are not mere paranoia, that they address a real and crucial threat.
This reminds me to US stating Nicaragua poses a security threat to the US. The main threat is Israeli neo-fascism that has reached the mainstream as we can see in the recent events. Israeli society has become self-righteous to an extend not imaginable 10 years ago. The simplistic military propaganda working on mere schemes of language5 is sufficient for most, context is ignored and capacity for self-criticism is entirely absent. Vices are openly celebrated6. It is the neo-fascist volcano that threatens Israel – a volcano that lies now in the centre of Israel!
“There is no military solution to the real anguish of the Palestinian people, and as long as the suffocation felt in Gaza is not alleviated, we in Israel will not be able to breathe freely either.”
I fully agree that there is no militarily solution to solve the root conflict, however, the current mindset of the the masses in Israel and the dedication of the government to prevent a two-state solution at all cost, make a indefinite occupation and even a Gaza siege not at all impossible. US’ backing of Israel in the UNSC and Europe incapacity to take true actions against Israel will tolerate the indefinite occupation and siege and sacrifice Palestinian rights for business as usual. The status quo will just continue until Israel’s impunity is ended: No more dollars from the US, no more UNSC vetoes and sanctions from the EU.
2Zbigniew Brzezinski on MSABC. The 15’000 rockets killed as many people in 10 years as Israel did in a single strike last week in Shujaya; http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/12/30/678505/-Dr-Zbigniew-Brzezinski-smacks-down-Joe-Scarborough-AGAIN
4The 24 killed in between the wars (2012) not counted
5The “differences” between Hamas and Israel is depicted mostly in absurdly simplistic statements suggesting that Hamas is the exact contrary of Israel. “they put people on top of the house, we put them under the house”, “we protect people with bombs, they protect bombs with people”. A society having gone completely blind for context and perspective seems to take refuge in solving the crossword puzzle …
6A sign stating “Hating Arabs is not racism, it’s moral values” was posted on facebook in Israel and got thousands of thumbs up.