Friday, August 01, 2014

Some remarks about the war in Gaza and Israel


  • As much as I have criticized and will continue to criticize the policy of this government and its predecessors regarding the Palestinians (since I am absolutely convinced that if there is a solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, that solution can never be a 100 % military one, and should be largely political) I give my support to Binyamin Nethanyahu and the army commanders in this war.
  • As I wrote in an article in Dutch (see the first posting of 24 July), I believe this war can only be actually won  if Israel realizes that its settlement policy, which can/will never be accepted by the international community, hurts us in oh so many ways and should be ended. Israel has to have internationally recognized borders and to invest all of its resources in the Jewish state within those borders, rather than investing in what is for all sakes and purposes a lost cause.
  • Just to be clear: Gaza is not occupied territory. One of the reasons why Israel has every possible right to defend its border with Gaza is that the State of Israel has been under constant attack from Gaza (which functions as a state, no matter how dysfunctional).
  • If this war is a war of choice, then Israel did not choose it. On the contrary, it probably waited too long to respond to the ongoing rocket attacks and tunnel digging by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and whatever other names the terrorists label themselves with.
  • Several days ago Brazil recalled its ambassador from Israel. Only recently, President Dilma Rousseff had no qualms about posing with a big smile on her face with Vladimir Putin, who has been trampling human rights in his country for several years now, and who in all probablility can be held responsible for the murder of almost 300 people on board flight MH17, or about cooperating with Qatar, which has become one of Hamas' main sponsors. The people of Brazil are blessed with such a wise and sensitive president.
  • Also, a Malaysian athlete wore a glove in solidarity with the people of Gaza during the Commonwealth Games. Very touching, but wouldn't you expect him to express solidarity first with people closer to him? For example, those on board the Malaysian Airways flight that was shot down over the Ukraine? See the cartoon by Tom Janssen: if you want world attention, start a fight with the Jews. If you can't do that, hardly anybody will give a damn about your fate. 
  • Not that I think that most people who claim to feel for the poor people of Gaza actually care about them. If their feelings of sympathy were genuine, they would also demonstrate for the poor people of Syria (Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, etc.), as well as for everybody in Israel who is threatened constantly by Palestinian rockets and mortars, AND against Hamas who terrorizes not only Israel but also and particularly the poor people of Gaza.
  • Turkey has become an enemy state for all intents and purposes. Israel should change its policy accordingly.
  • Look at the high number of officers among the IDF soldiers who have fallen or been wounded in this conflict. Many if not most of those soldiers would still be alive if Israel was less cautious towards Palestinian civilians in its attacks against Hamas and other targets. Of course there still are way too many civilian casualties (every such casualty is one too many), and I am sure that in a few cases more could have been done to make sure that civilians were not hurt, but unless you look but don't see and listen but don't hear you cannot claim that the IDF is an immoral army. At least not less moral than the armies of the USA, the UK, France, Germany, or any other more or less civilized country (notice that I did not mention Russia), none of which has ever had to fight a war similar to the one Israel is fighting today. I don't envy Nethanyahy, Moshe Ya'alon, Benny Gantz, or any of the army commanders in the field, who every day have to make tens if not hundreds of complex decisions that involve carrying out their mission, facing an enemy that loves to sacrifice its own people, protecting their own men and the citizens of Israel, and trying not to hurt innocent Palestinians.
  • Please let's stop using the word ceasefire until we have one that holds for at least 24 hours on both sides.

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