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In an interview yesterday, Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni said something that I thought warranted repeating. She said this, of Hamas: In order to fire a rocket at Israel, they need the ability and the motivation to do so.

This warrants repeating because it’s so true. Israeli leaders just don’t seem to grasp this (or perhaps, the Israelis whose votes the leaders need don’t). Ms Livni herself is no exception, seeing as she followed up on her nugget of wisdom by saying that the assault on Gaza will take away the motivation. This is a lot less wise, and consequently not worthy of a quote.

However, her first statement is correct. The only way that the Israelis and the Palestinians can work their issues out is to take away the ability and the motivation. As Israel has already thoroughly established, it is impossible to take away the ability. They’ve tried blockading Gaza. People came close to starving to death, there was almost no electricity, hospitals could barely function, and what happened? Oh yeah, there were still rockets. This blockade, one that barely allowed food into the territory, couldn’t stop the rockets.

What Israel has to do — and what Ms Livni’s soundbite recognises they must do — is to take away the motivation. They have to ensure that people in Gaza don’t want to attack them. However, they seem to have no idea how to do this. In the minds of the Israeli military, terrorising civilians is a great way to stop people attacking them. After all, if the civilians are all terrorised, they won’t dare join Hamas. And if no one joins Hamas, the Israelis win! Hooray!

This strategy doesn’t work. It’s never worked, and it never will work. Israeli actions don’t beat Palestinians into submission; they inspire them to fight. When Palestinians are killed in vast numbers, when their homes are bulldozed, when there are constant airstrikes and raids, when they’re shot at, when they’re starved half to death, when they’re denied essential humanitarian supplies, and when they’re forbidden to leave their territory, why would you expect them to put up with it?

It’s not that I support Hamas, or even that I think Israel is illegitimate. I think Israel has a right to exist, and I also think Israelis should be able to live in peace with their neighbours. However, I think Palestinians deserve the same things. Palestinians shouldn’t have to deal with Israeli domination. They should be able to live peacefully, too.

Israel is much more powerful — hence more destructive — than any Palestinian opposition could hope to be. This entire crisis illustrates Israel’s disproportionate use of force. Hamas fires rockets at Israel, yes. But how many people have they killed in the last few weeks — less than ten? How many have the Israelis killed in Gaza? More than that, do you think?

Hamas also has no way to negotiate with Israel. Since 2006, it has actually been floating the possibility of a “long-term truce” and has been much softer in its anti-Israel rhetoric. Israel isn’t interested in peace with Hamas; they just want to destroy Hamas. Hamas’ charter insists on the destruction of Israel, but its actions suggest they’re prepared to negotiate. It agreed to the ceasefire that lasted six months, and it stuck to the ceasefire despite the Israeli blockade. It’s Israel who isn’t interested in speaking.

Scattered thoughts indeed, but this is what Ms Livni’s interview made me ponder. What does everyone else think about the issue?

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3 Comments

  1. Excellent post Jess. You bring up several good points that will make (or should make) people stop and think about what is actually taking place in Gaza; thank you for doing so.

    ~ Mythos

    http://mindofmythos.wordpress.com

  2. Honestly I don’t know what the best solution here is. Ppl thinking that firing missiles at other country will make them stop but it doesn’t. The scale of the violence just escalates. They just become angrier and retaliate.

  3. I almost don’t want to talk about this topic because it has been such a controversial topic in my university lately. A lot of Palestinian students have staged rallies telling people to urge the US government to stop “Israeli Terrorism” and as a response, Israeli students have staged their own rallies saying that people must remember how their people were during the Holocaust and how the US must continue to support Israel because it’s the only democracy in that part of the world.

    For me, the solution is rather obvious. Stop trying to kill each other… Each attack makes the other side just more angry and then there are counterattacks… The attacks just never end. I understand that it’s easier said than done and there are reasons why it’s hard for them to stop fighting but I still can’t quite grasp the concept of why it just can’t be done.


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