There’s a long-standing narrative, made prominent again over the past few weeks, that Israel cannot work with Hamas, cannot legitimize or recognize them in any way, because Hamas has repeated stated that its goal is the destruction of Israel. This is written in the Hamas charter and has never been revised or repudiated.
Thus, it’s taken as a given amongst those who support Israel that there’s nothing to be done as long as Hamas remains in control in Gaza and that Palestinians who support Hamas do so because they support Israel’s destruction. All that Israel can do, it seems, is to continue its blockade and oppose any efforts by Palestinians to bring Hamas into a unity government with Fatah. Hamas, Israeli politicians and their supporters claim, represents an existential threat to Israel and, as such, cannot even be considered a potential partner for peace until it formally rejects its long-standing opposition to Israel.
When did Israel become so uncharacteristically rigid in its thinking?
Let’s be honest: It’s not like Hamas is the first group to pose an existential threat to Israel. The PLO did so before Hamas, as did numerous countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The organizations and states actively sought Israel’s destruction for decades. Egypt and Jordan, for example, are neighboring states with fully-functioning militaries that formally declared war on Israel several times throughout the country’s history. And yet Israel made peace with both countries. Those peace agreements were very difficult and very costly for everyone involved, but they’ve endured for decades now. And the PLO/Fatah provides a model for normalizing relations between Israel and representatives of a dispossessed people who advocated armed struggle against Israel. The Oslo process hasn’t exactly lived up to its promise, but there remains an opportunity for representatives from Israel and the Palestinian Authority to negotiate together rather than to bomb one another.
Years ago, the PLO, Egypt, and Jordan were seen as existential threats and then one day they weren’t. One day their leaders viewed Israel as completely illegitimate and promised its destruction; the next day, they were sitting down to negotiate with Israeli diplomats. Obviously this is an oversimplification; it took a lot of back-channel negotiation, commitments from third parties, and — most of all — it took courage from politicians on both sides to see one another (and the situation as a whole) in a different light. But, importantly, it also took Israelis saying to themselves, “Peace is more important to us than anything else. Maintaining a constant war footing is bad for us, so maybe we can find a way to talk to these people who keep saying they want to kill us and maybe they’ll stop wanting to kill us.” This takes courage and it takes will and it takes creativity.
So, I guess what I’m saying is, this whole thing about Hamas representing a credible existential threat to Israel is just laziness. Israel found a way to negotiate with people who were better equipped to carry out their threats in the past. I can’t imagine anyone today actually believes that Hamas is ever going to succeed in destroying Israel, so then this is just a more palatable way of saying, “We’re just not willing to think very hard about how to make peace with the Palestinians.” Or worse, “It’s better for us not to make peace, actually.”
If Israel insists, as the Bosnian Serbs did in Sarajevo, on using the weapons of industrial warfare against a helpless civilian population then that population has an inherent right to self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. The international community will have to either act to immediately halt Israeli attacks and lift the blockade of Gaza or acknowledge the right of the Palestinians to use weapons to defend themselves. No nation, including any in the Muslim world, appears willing to intervene to protect the Palestinians. No world body, including the United Nations, appears willing or able to pressure Israel through sanctions to conform to the norms of international law. And the longer we in the world community fail to act, the worse the spiral of violence will become.
Concerning the U.S., and Israel, and your endorsing Paul Craig Roberts' libelous and unfounded claims. The US is probably one of the most generous countries in the world as well as most stringently self policing. We also happen to be one of the most highly visible, therefore any of our short comings are amplified the world over. We are not perfect but we are not the greatest threat to World Peace. People in our country are more freedom and opportunity than most. Just ask an immigrant. cont...
(cont.) Per Israel: Let’s just be real. The conflict is religious. You cannot deny that. And the Jews have a longer and more deep rooted historical connection to the land than any other civilization or people ever. Not to mention that the “Palestinian” cause is none other than people with a genocidal agenda against Israel using poor Palestinian refugees as a proxy to fight Israel politically. There is all sorts of history to support this. See early maps for Jewish Palestine an Arab Palestine (Jordan)…
1. A simple reblog of someone else’s quote should not be automatically considered an endorsement.
2. Having said that, short of the Hitler and Stalin references, if I’m honest I would tend to agree with the general assessment that a) the rest of the world does not view the United States with the same rosy outlook as we do ourselves, and b) the governments of the United States and Israel have, in recent history certainly, not cared a whole lot about what the rest of the nations on earth might think about our approach to, shall we say, “conflict” resolution.
3. It is possible to have more “freedom and opportunity” in America than most other countries and still be making continual grievous errors with regard to foreign policy and our generally misguided attempts to install democracy or enforce morality worldwide.
4. Are you saying that Jews have a deeper history—and deserve “the land” more—than displaced tribes in Africa or the diverse indigenous peoples of the Americas? I’m not claiming the Jewish people are making up claims about genocide or eradication, but is it not even worth asking the question “If Israel is so concerned about misplaced people groups and the rights of the historically oppressed, what are they doing to improve that situation in their own back yard?”
5. I think it’s safe to say your generalization of “the ‘Palestinian’ cause” is in need of some nuance and perspective. I’m not saying the people in control of Palestine, or even everyday Palestinians themselves, are free from culpability in this conflict. What I am saying is that to portray Israel as blameless here in all aspects of the racial/religious/geopolitical conflict that has been boiling for millennia is, in my mind, the same as saying America is exceptional in every regard and by our virtuous intent we are absolved of any wrongdoing… and it is striking how often the jingoistic nature of those two fundamentalist mindsets exist in the same person simultaneously… indeed, a Venn diagram for the two would seem a near-perfect circle lately.
6. I think the conflict is more political in nature than religious, as you assert. Then again, religion at the nation-state level really is about power, control, land grabs, politics… so, maybe you’re right, but I suspect that’s not what you meant.
7. I find the extremely cozy nature of US-Israeli relations to be deserving of the skepticism thrown our direction by the rest of the world. Imagine for a moment you’re someone other than an American or Israeli and you have a front row seat to the military dominance and unsurpassed wartime technology of these two superpowers… I just think some perspective is in order here. If that view makes me “anti-Israeli,” well… I just don’t know what else to say other than I guess I’m anti-American, as well… which is to say: laughably false and an immature retort, imho, but whatever.
8. I’m open to being shown evidence that I’m incorrect about any of this, but for the record I should note that I’ve got a busy few weeks ahead of me and I’m slammed at work of late, so if people want to comment or weigh in I’m down with all of that… I just can’t promise a timely response, and it’d be great if we kept the name-calling and assumptions about one’s character in check in the interest of respectful dialogue. I repeat: simply reblogging a contentious quote should not imply wholehearted and unequivocal endorsement.
What you just rev logged about Israel/The U.S. is bullshit and you know it.
2. So, reblogs (or “rev logged” posts…??) always mean agreement or support of the opinion presented?
3. Color me unsurprised to find out that was “bullshit” from a person whose tumblr handle and name refers to a Hebrew patriarch.
4. It’s always fascinating to find out from total strangers on the internet what I should “know.”
5. Are you interested in actual dialogue about an impossibly complex problem? Or is anyone who doesn’t proclaim their unfettered public support and undying loyalty to your own position automatically castigated and rendered an idiot unfit for serious ideological debate?
EDIT: 6. I like your band. Yay, common ground. Something on which can build! :)
This bullshit has been confirmed. I cannot be any clearer — what Israel is doing to the Palestinians is so very wrong, and to say so is not anti-Semitic.
"You realize that it’s impossible to be moral in an immoral situation." — Gavner Gvaryahu
Why… after 45 years, does Israel continue to occupy territory in Lebanon, Syria and Palestine? Why has Israel been able to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, disregarding every international treaty, while Iran is threatened with pre-emptive attack for undertaking nuclear research? Why has Israel been the subject of more UN Resolutions than any other country in the world? And why has the USA vetoed virtually every single one of them? Why when the USA has been the pioneer of the ‘Two State’ solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, based on the rule of international law and 1967 borders, did it then deny Palestinians UN recognition? Why is there such a close relationship today between Evangelicals in America and the State of Israel?
Some vitally important questions, it would seem.
when i see an israeli jew on fb writing on an acquaintances wall to “fucking kill them all” in reference to the palestinians, I wonder if he can even pause for a moment to wonder about that kind of thinking and his people’s history?
someone has to go first and take a step. b/c each side can point to pain and loss in their families, we’ll otherwise keep going round and round and round. And i don’t see how that first step can be by anyone other than those with the power in the region.
i’m not hopeful…
I don’t get.
Any of it.