Thursday, January 08, 2009

Excellent article on Israeli-Gaza war by former President Carter

This is a largely evenhanded discussion from former President Carter in today's Washington Post. My one quibble is that Israel was not hitting the Gaza tunnel on November 4, 2008 because it was a "defensive" tunnel, but a tunnel to smuggle weapons that were to be used to attack Israel. Just as I often consciously use the phrase "military contractors" instead of "defense contractors" when discussing our nation's armament manufacturers, so too should Carter have avoided use of that word "defensive," which is most often a propaganda word.

Still, I think Carter shows what many might say is surprising (less so to me) sympathy for Israeli residents who were subjected to the Hamas rocket bombings.

I remain in Israel's corner, much to the consternation or surprise of some of my fellow liberal-left folks, because one continues to see that Hamas has shown no interest in a true cease-fire and is enjoying using the suffering of the Gazan people as propaganda in its continuing war against Israel. Those reasonable Hamas leaders, who know peace is good for all, must step up to say they will negotiate a long-term cease fire with Israel and promise in good faith to take steps to stop rockets from being shot into Israel. In short, those Hamas leaders must take the chance of being shot in the back by violent extremists--the way Israeli Prime Minister Rabin took the chance for peace and was killed by a Jewish extremist (a Rabbinic student, in fact).

ADDENDUM: Three must read articles on the NY Times op-ed yesterday morning, as well. One is by Nicholas Kristof, who makes clear what I've said for years, which is that Israel is partly responsible for creating Hamas through its consciously oppressive occupation policies, and its divide-and-conquer tactics against the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) during the 1970s and 1980s. The next article is by Gordon Lichfield from the Economist who covers the Middle East. He rightly says Israel must help rebuild Gaza and show another side besides bombing. The third is by Rashid Khalidi, and he writes a strong brief for Palestinians, but again spins the November Israeli attack on the tunnel as if the Hamas folks were not planning to commit an imminent attack on Israel.

As I continue to say, where are the strong voices putting pressure on Hamas to accept the Egyptian-French cease-fire proposal Israel said it would accept two days ago? This talk about Israel, Israel, Israel as if Hamas are merely errant, abused children, is increasingly frustrating as Hamas continues its wild west movie death-threat rhetoric and continues lobbing rocket attacks into Israel--and again, most importantly, saying it will not enter into a cease-fire with regard to its attacks.

(Edited)

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