Saturday, January 10, 2009

Stopping the Violence - Making Lasting Peace ??

As a concerned Jew - I can not look at things simply in some ways, while seeing things very simply in other ways.

Just because Israel is in my estimation Wrong - in invading Gaza and was Wrong in trying to Economically Strangle Gaza - most particularly from November 5, 2008 on - (though also prior to then,) doesn't mean that Hamas is "right" or "good".

Obviously the Rockets - and the seeming Willingness to Sacrifice Civilians - "for the cause" is "wrong" for Hamas to do.

Hamas being "wrong" does not justify Israel being - "more wrong".

Assume for a moment that most of us share common goals of:

1.) Wanting an end to the rocket attacks in Israel,
2.) Ending the killing in Gaza, and
3.) Gaza moving towards being a a semi-independent, if not fully independent state (or part of such a state) living in lasting Peace with Israel.

It is unclear to me how such goals can possibly be achieved through military means. I can not imagine how violence directed against Israel will end through military force. Perhaps the rockets will be stopped in the moment with a "military victory". If this occurs, does anyone not believe that the violence will recur in a similar or new form against Israel - until or unless my third goal (above) is beginning or established.

The "pullout" from Gaza - several years ago did not do this. It left Gaza under extreme pressures from its dire economic state. It faced such pressures both from its citizenry as well as from Israel (who wanted and want Hamas out of power).

When it is believed that the Israeli pullout from Gaza provided the means for "peace" in Gaza - related to my third goal (above), we end up stuck in an endless cycle of violence with the U.S. pushing and Israel struggling to control and/or eliminate Hamas.

Hamas is trying to keep the pressures on - with Israel as "the enemy". Rocket attacks are a Logical means of keeping (and increasing) its power within Gaza.

Hamas can not solve the crushing problems it faces internally without Substantial outside assistance and cooperation and a tremendous amount of Difficult Work.

Radical forces - such as Hamas - will react to their weaknesses and problems - "logically". Now -logically means keeping things focused upon a Clear Enemy - Israel.

Hamas has no clear means to push for Peace.

Both Hamas and Israel - have a need for "winning". They need to save face - having a need to pull back - without "losing".

For Hamas - to stop the rocket attacks now and to Attest that they will have ZERO violence against Israel unilaterily (without preconditions) - as the U.S. clearly is pushing it to do ---- is surrender in total --- trusting a future (that based upon past experience gives them nothing except an absence of direct military aggression).

It will logically lead Hamas and Gaza to chaos. It will have no way both to Save Face and to deal with the catastrophic conditions that worsen each day. Obviously there will be some humanitarian aid with a unilateral ceasefire, however it will also clearly not end the dire poverty and hopelessness that has been Gaza's reality for decades.

For Hamas to unilaterily agree to "peace without preconditions" - would be to say: "We were 100% Wrong and Israel was 100% Right!"

That would be an impossible task. Far, far more realistic would be for Hamas's Leadership to end up as "Martyrs" - killed by Israeli Bombs (along with far too many civilians).

Israel has a real need for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and even Syria to help the Gazans and most importantly serve as a buffer to help create Peace. This is a difficult task for other Middle Eastern countries to do. They do Not want Radical Islamic forces - such as Hamas - to threaten their own leadership within their own countries. Egypt, in particular, has a lot to lose if it takes Gaza as its "own" or otherwise is closely allied with it.

Muslims - throughout the Middle East (and Christians within these Areas) are getting increasingly angry at both Israel and the U.S. as the death tolls rise. Their peoples' anger can not readily be dealt with by their governments. The anger is spreading to countries such as Turkey which are allies of the West.

In the U.S. - Nothing substantive will likely happen until January 20th, when Obama becomes our President. Even then it is unclear if much will change. Obama's moves as President-Elect have been on "higher priorities" - and he's not yet assembled his Middle East "experts" to handle things with him there.

Iran - seems clearly to be Israel's biggest threat in the Middle East.

To really cope with Iran - both the Israelis and the U.S. - really need strong ties with the other important countries proximate to it. Egypt in particular is very important. Egypt in particular is stuck now - between anger amongst its people and a need to Not import Hamas's strengths into being a threat to its leadership.

To really, really build towards peace - we - wherever we live - need to do our best to Make Peace. It is in Israel's (and the U.S.'s) best interests that Gaza become stronger - economically - with jobs, as well as with adequate medical care, sufficient food, improved housing, etc. It needs an economy that will grow - and help end the push towards the radical religious leadership of Hamas.

There is no guarantee that Hamas will lose power if such a major change takes place! It is, however, the Only way that is realistically possible. Hamas's repressiveness - and its attempts at provoking Israel will continue and Grow - absent a New Reality - which in the end should result in either:

1.) Hamas becoming a (reluctant perhaps) partner in diplomacy and cooperation with others
2.) Hamas losing power (as Fatah did) - because its leadership doesn't produce results.

Certainly there are no guarantees - of Peace! It is clear, however, that the status quo with its repressiveness and stalemates will only worsen things.

We say that we want the Palestinians to be "reasonable" and "moderate" and similar. We purportedly want Abbas and/or his allies within Fatah to lead towards a "Moderate Palestinian State" in both the West Bank and in Gaza.

In the West Bank in recent times there have not been suicide bombers terrorizing Israelis. There has been relative Peace in the West Bank under the "moderate leadership". Where there has been violence often it has been perpetrated by Israeli Settlers.

What is the cooperation with the Israelis giving moderate Palestinian West Bank leadership?
*Is moderate leadership moving the West Bank into becoming an independent Palestinian state?
*Is moderation leading to the Israelis stopping the expansion of their West Bank settlements?
*Is moderation leading to stopping the land confiscations for the Wall separating Arabs from the Israelis?
*Is moderation leading to stopping the construction of the Wall and tearing down what has already been built?
*Is moderation leading to it becoming easier for West Bank residents to move within their country and not have huge delays at checkpoints when they can get through at all?

Absent successes by Fatah in the West Bank - now - Are we going to Wonder - a year or two from now - why Hamas and other radical forces are taking over power in the West Bank (as well as Gaza).

It is said that there is increasing foreign investment in the West Bank. I can Not believe that this will be enough to allow it to "prosper" and for its people to be accepting of the status quo.

I hope that we will find ways to assist Gaza, Israel and the West Bank - in making Peace - Now - that can grow into a Lasting Peace.

We have a lot to do - to build trust - so that risks will be taken to make peace. We have a lot of healing to do in rebuilding property lives, hopes and hearts.

We are not "wrong alone" - in what we do and don't do. We can change what we are doing and not doing. We can't control what others do and don't do. Hoping for Peace - is not Enough. Helping create Peace - is what we must do.


Anonymous said...
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Mary Cuevas said...

hi geo,
great post.:)

naomi klein wrote a great article in the nation. check it out on line.:)
she talks about a boycott.