Reflections on “Reflections on Gaza”

Last year, Barack Obama made the comment that “no one has suffered more than the Palestinians.” Personally, I would have thought the Jews would also be likely candidates for the title, what with that whole Holocaust thing around World War II, and being constantly attacked by Palestinians, and all that.

So maybe Israel isn’t too popular in the civilized world right now. The uncivilized one either, actually. It seems like people are going a bit hard on them though. I mean, there was massive public outcry about “breaking international law” when they Israel invaded Gaza. Never mind that Hamas broke it months ago (and continues to break it) by repeatedly firing rockets from Gaza into highly populated non-military related Israeli areas. The word “terrorism” gets tossed around a lot, but Hamas activity does seem to fit the bill.

That’s why I’m slightly confused when I read things like this.

  • Dropping leaflets asking civilians to stay away from dangerous places is bad? I mean, it seems like an obvious thing, but Hamas keeps staking out in heavily populated areas. It’s not exactly propaganda either…
  • I’m not entirely sure why Israel is  denying journalists access to the strip. They might be concerned about Hamas getting too much information about their military activity. If you’ll remember, the US did something similar two days into the Iraq invasion. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying it’s understandable.
    • Alternatively, they might just want to avoid inevitable headlines like, “Journalist Killed as Israel Continues Gaza Terrorism”
  • The Britain/France analogy doesn’t work, because Britain hasn’t been launching missiles into high-population civilian areas in France. They also haven’t been using civilians as human shields and setting up command centers in populated civilian apartment buildings.
  • Hey, if militants in a school are lobbing mortars at you, there are only so many options. It was tragic, and Israel should have a better plan for such situations, but at least some of the blame should go to Hamas here. What did they think was going to happen? It didn’t improve the world’s opinion of Israel when they tried it. It’s just messy all around.

So, right. I’m definitely not the best person to be making commentary on international affairs. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.


4 Responses to “Reflections on “Reflections on Gaza””

  1. 1 phanboy_iv January 11, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Considering that the Palestinians had foreign powers carve a hunk out of their land and give it to what were essentially foreigners, the historical reaction of groups like Hamas is kinda understandable. But care must be taken here, as it must be remembered that not all Palestinians are Hamas. Not all believe what Hamas does. Many do, but don’t believe in Hamas’s methods. The English created the problem, the UN exacerbated it, and the US has historically taken Israel’s side politically because of misguided and incorrect Dispensationalist theology.

    And no, unfortunately a solution does not seem to readily present itself.

  2. 2 James January 12, 2009 at 12:39 am

    Yes, I understand that {Palestinians} != ({Palestinians} n {Hamas}).

    Disbelief of Hamas activities is a good reason for Israel to let in outside journalists, though I’m sure some people will say that only biased reporters were allowed through when/if that happens.

    The solution for the current situation seems rather evident. Israel has repeatedly stated that they’ll be more than happy to live in peace with outside parties when aforementioned outside parties stop trying to slaughter them. That doesn’t seem like a particularly unreasonable condition.

  3. 3 phanboy_iv January 12, 2009 at 4:51 am

    It’s not unreasonable, but it’s tenability is doubtful for several reasons. First, rhetoric from governments, be they Palestinian, Israeli or American, should never be taken at face value.

    Secondly, there’s the resentment the Israelis feel against certain elements of Palestinian culture, as well as the resentment Palestinians hold against Israelis for similar reasons, on top of the whole territory disenfranchisement thing. Also, Jerusalem is a crucial center for both peoples that neither will give up control of willingly, and history is not rife with examples of opposing groups successfully sharing major cities.

    Thirdly, yes, Israel says that they’d be willing to live in peace if Hamas stopped shelling them, but they know good and well that will not just happen, and the tactics they seem to be practically dedicated to involve bombing dissidents out of existence, which will inevitably lead to collateral civilian deaths, and serve to increase resentment among Palestinians. A very American tactic, actually.

    Israel says “we’ll be happy to live in peace when they stop trying to kill us”, and their actions append the subscript: “and we’ll achieve that by bombing the crud out of Gaza and killing them first.”

    Like I said, no solution readily presents itself. It’s a classic case of both sides saying “We’ll stop if they stop!”, and while this can be dealt with when children are the ones involved, with nations it gets a great deal trickier.

  4. 4 phanboy_iv January 12, 2009 at 5:00 am

    Oh, and not to mention that most of the facts about that school attack come from the Israeli government, and since Israel won’t allow them there, no journalists can verify the facts. There could very well have been a tactical blunder of some kind, and Israel is not willing to risk bad PR by having it found out. When journalists or aid workers are barred from a place, whatever the official government reason is, odds are it’s a cover-up of some kind.

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