Filed under: opinion | Tags: america, blockade, diplomacy, Elections, fatah, gaza, Hamas, Israel, posted by zionismlives, tunnels
Ok, so the battle for the safety of Israel’s citizens is over—for the moment. But the war between Israel and its enemies continues and will continue if respect for human dignity and diplomacy is not undertaken by both sides of the conflict.
In the most recent war, we can all (hopefully) agree that Hamas did many awful things including continuing rocket fire on Israeli civilians, using Palestinian civilians as shields, and keeping the war going despite the heavy casualties in their population.
But, I will claim (and many reading this will no doubt disagree with me) that Israel has acted in ways that I am ashamed of. It continued the complete blockade of the Gaza Strip, despite the fact that the blockade is a major excuse by Hamas for its shameful rocket attacks. This complete blockade, having been in place for more than 18 months (since Hamas’ violent takeover of the Strip in June of 2007), is a big reason why there are so many tunnels from Egypt to Gaza. With the normal ways to get goods out of the question for Gazans, they searched for a means to get basic goods to their people and thus make a living. The solution came in the tunnels that Hamas soon utilized to smuggle rockets and arms into their land.
Israel also created a complicated travel system in Gaza during the War that prevented many humanitarian supplies from getting to their intended targets. I cannot and will not deny the fact that Israel and other countries and organizations pledged lots of supplies to the civilians of Gaza, but I will maintain that the vast majority of those who needed the help were unable to get it. This is because of the active military actions in the Strip and the lack of communication between IDF forces and humanitarian suppliers. This pushed Gazans to blame Israel, not Hamas for their troubles because to them, Israel both destroyed their homes and denied them access to medicine and such. Israel, I know, was not out to hurt the civilian population of Gaza, but it did not justly deal with the realities on the ground that civilians were going to be hurt because of Hamas’ despicable tactics.
This leads me to my overriding point: There are certain realities that we must deal with in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Yes, Hamas is an organization that supports terrorism and has pledged to destroy Israel time and time again. But it also happens to be the political group that won the majority of the Palestinians’ support in elections in 2006 and the group in charge of a portion of the Palestinian State in a 2-State-Solution scenario.
Yes Hamas broke the most recent (and the past) cease-fire by shooting rockets into Southern Israel. But, Israel has continued the complete blockade. In addition, I would much rather live with 1 rocket a day than 40, and the very fact that Hamas made cease-fires proves that it is more willing to sit down at The Diplomatic Table then most people give it credit for.
Yes the blockade of Gaza prevents weapons to be brought in on food-trucks and makes sure suicide bombers cannot get to crowded Israeli restaurants. But, that blockade is denying millions of peaceful Gazans economic opportunities and they must turn to Hamas—the only functioning organization in Gaza—for jobs.
The old reality was that we can pressure Hamas to give up its struggle through sanctions and military strength, but that policy has failed, time and time again.
The true reality of this conflict is that Israel, America, and the international community must deal with Hamas as the legitimate political power in Gaza and try and get a coalition government of Hamas and Fatah to work together to progress towards a secure peace. Use Israel and America’s Arab-World allies (Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan) to get Hamas to become more moderate and stop putting all of our hopes on the corrupt Fatah government.
Peace cannot be achieved with just one-half of the people being represented because then the other half will not agree and the conflict will go on. All sides need to be represented and all sides need to meet at the table.
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