Why?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

7 comments

The world has been watching the ongoing assault on Gaza by Israeli forces in retribution over the capture of a single Israeli soldier. Israel recently intensified its actions by striking the office of Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas. Israel has been firing rockets into Gaza, knocking out roads and power supplies in an offensive that could displace up to 25,000 Palestinians. With a Palestinian humanitarian crisis looming, the question must be asked, “Why?”.

I’m not going to pour into the eternal debate about whether Israel or Palestine is right or wrong. In my opinion, both groups have performed atrocities upon each other, so in this situation both sides are wrong. I love both Arabs and Jews, but I support neither groups “cause” against each other. And I don’t care who did what to whom first. My question of why boils down to this: with Israel holding all the guns, why in the heck would the Palestinian government do something stupid by capturing an Israeli soldier?

Now before you hop post a long-winded comment explaining the history of injustices against Palestinians, allow me to finish. I am very aware of the unfairness of the situation. I know that Israel has thousands of Palestinians locked away. I can’t comment on their innocence or guilt or by what means they have been judged, but I know that some have done nothing more than throw rocks at Israeli soldiers. Such incarceration seems quite unfair and a bit hypocritical in light of the current situation, but despite the apparent moral conundrum we have here, but it really doesn’t matter. We aren’t dealing with theory or ethics, but rather with reality. We have to look at the realistic expectations of what can be done.

What good can come of assaulting a stronger, better prepared Israeli army? What is the use of throwing rocks when you know they will be throwing bullets in return? Molotov cocktails against hand grenades? Crudely fashioned car bombs against tanks and missiles? A famous Chicago mobster, Al Capone, once said, “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.”

So what do Palestinians hope to accomplish? Attempts at making statements through action ends up looking like madness in light of the consequences. Is it really worth tossing a rock at a soldier when it lands you in jail or gets you shot? How about blowing up a restaurant, only to have attack helicopters destroy a city housing block in retaliation? What has been proven then? That Israel is a big, bad, unjust meany? That seems like a high price to pay just to make a statement.

In the end, there are only two foreseeable courses of action. The first is for the people on both sides to declare a ceasefire (and not one of those “for looks only” ceasefires that last 5 days until some idiot takes matters into his own hand and does something stupid), ignore past offenses for the time being, and try to work out the situation through international mediation. In this scenario, the Palestinian people will continue to be the ignored step-child, living in impoverished conditions with a modicum of rights and abilities, but the violence and bloodshed would stop.

The other action is to keep on with the current acts of retribution. One side snubs, the other threatens, which leads to posturing until someone does something stupid, setting the powder keg on fire. Considering the firepower of Israel in this situation, the Palestinians are always going to come out on the losing end of this stick. Are the consequences worth it?

7 Comments:

Anonymous onzlo said...

I agree, but then what else can they do? Should they just wait until Israel one day decides that Palastinians are humans as well and they deserve to share the land with them? I just don't see it happening....

I don't know what's the solution to this, only that the situation gets worse and worse, and while the whole world is up in arms about the kidnapping of an on duty soldier by a gang, no one says anything about the kidnapping of 7 democratically elected civilian ministers by a national army! (or the murder of I dont know how many since the Gaza raid began?!)

7/04/2006 6:51 PM  
Anonymous Fadi said...

well put Dave, if only palestinians go beyond anger, vengeance, and I-so-want-to-wipe-Israel-out-of-existence attitude, and move on to rationale, logic, let's-make-the-best-out-of-what-we-have attitude the middle east would be a better place..

7/04/2006 8:56 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Onzlo, I understand your frustration, and Israel might do exactly what you insinuated (wipe them off the map), but why give them an excuse? What we have now is a pissing contest that goes so far back that no one can pinpoint when (or who) actually started it.

7/04/2006 9:33 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Fadi, I agree completely. The violence might not end with a rational, peaceful course of action, but at least the Palestinian people would be blameless. If things continue on their current course, the violence and suffering will surely never end.

7/04/2006 9:38 PM  
Anonymous MAK said...

Why?

A few reasons:

1) Perhaps because nations are not defeated when high casualties are at stake, but when the will to fight for a just cause is eradicated… I’m against demoralizing resistance if that had happened in France during WW II, Nazi’s would have had a lot more influence …
2) Or because peace was given a chance but led only to small-scattered lands with a million roadblocks…
3) Because when you want real peace between two parties both parties should accept what is offered at the table, refugees want to go back to their homes and a real state with actual borders and power over its citizens should exist for its citizens to be contempt with loosing a great deal of their land and water…
4) Because sometimes you want to fight back the even it means you are going to loose more lives, in a culture where honor & dignity are valued more than life and material gain…
5) Above all because logic is not what resistance is about, try telling a man whose wife was “arrested” kidnapped from inside her house without a trial for over a year that he should leave the Israeli’s alone and sleep a happy man and focus on peace and no retaliation… maybe because its unfaithful to indulge in saving the rest and forgetting the imprisoned without trying to fight back even if it means the rest will suffer, after all that is what holds a nation together… standing together in face of injustice instead of leaving everyone to his fate…
6) Maybe it’s a cause worth dying for… a dream worth keeping alive…

Maybe these words are a bit too dramatic for the taste of some, but its something people in the middle east can relate too… because after all it’s a nation raised on words like “Be patient, because your enemies are hurt as you are hurt, but you hope from God what they don’t”.

7/05/2006 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't blame all palestanians. Blame the new boy to the block. Recently outed by the democratic process. Don't know how to play the game out in the open. Functioned great in the shadows and in hiding. Don't call all the shots. And learning fast who is the Daddy.

7/10/2006 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, come back!! I miss your blog so much!! Pretty please!!!!

8/26/2006 2:11 AM  

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