Israel versus Palestine? Who do you support?

 

 

TDJ Community Question.

 

 

Once again, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict erupts after innumerable peace broken proposals sponsored and signed by different western nations. (Waste of time, in my opinion) –Religious based problems are politically absurd!

The IDF use of excessive force has set Israel’s reputation down the drains and under scrutiny on the eyes of some western countries; but after a blow up attack organized by Hamas with rockets, Israel’s retaliation is somehow justified. 

Hamas with the help of Hezbollah, has activated the continuous crossfire lines on the western side on Gaza’s strip. Hamas hides from innocent Palestinians trying to get media attention to support their cause while Israel kills innocent civilians. 

A few facts:

–Zionist (Hill Top settlers) constructing illegal settlements in Gaza, who follow the dangerous teachings of Rabbi Kahane. 

–Palestinians radicals constantly provoke Israel on its perimeters by throwing rocks and using other dangerous weapons.

–Zionist taking personal revenge on innocents Palestinians, after an Israeli has being attacked by the other side. 

–Hamas disgusting propaganda targeted to youths, regularly broadcast on Palestinian TV, promoting suicide bombings and hate.

–Israel’s control of water supplies, energy and food products to upset Palestine. In times of war Israel cuts supplies and basic needs to thousands of innocent Palestinians. 

–Palestinians democratically allowing Hamas (Terrorist organization) to be on parliament and indulge in revenge the fundamentalist way by using Suicide bombings…etc.

–Palestinians treated as second class citizens in Israel. 

–Palestinians not officially recognizing Israel as a state, but rather as an occupying force. 

–Israeli forces destroying and bulldozing houses of innocent civilians to prove a point. 

–Hamas hiding their terrorist members inside houses of Palestinian civilians. 

The questions is?

 

1) Are you pro-Israel, neutral or Pro-Palestine? And why?

2) What should Israel’s response be when attacked by missiles?

3) Do you condone Israel’s brutal ground response inside Gaza?

Does Israel need a more humane strategy when entering Palestine in times of conflict?

4) Is Hamas a coward organization that doesn’t represent the Palestinian cause, but rather uses it to promote Islamic fundamentalism? Does Hamas represent the Palestinian cause considering the majority voted for them?

5) In short words: What is the best solution, if any, to solve the never ending conflict on the Holly lands? Or is a waste of time?

 

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Shabnam Sultana Nina.

She has the experience of providing training to the different professionals from NGOs, government sectors and  hospitals in Bangladesh)

“The conflict between Israel and Hamas culminates in a blood shaded tragedy of Palestine Civilization. Unfortunately Israel and Hamas are at war in the Gaza Strip again. Israel is answering back to Hamas murdering many armless civilians and innocent children at Gaza strip.

When humanity is at stake there is no way and no question to ignore it at all. Arguments are not that much important next to life.

Israel is bombing the refugee camps; schools … crowded places of Gaza street. The 21st century civilization is stunningly shocked seeing the children crying with their broken legs , wounded faces , lost body parts… broken homes , broken hearts.

The world knows , Gaza City is one of the most compactly populated places in the world belonging a population of about 1.6 million. The government of Israel knows that any attack from air or land could cause a huge damage of human lives. The density of population is unnaturally woven here. Without hitting the civilians no operation cannot be executed, Israel knows that. And they deliberately hit the civilians that is threatening to the whole world.

Keeping it in mind that the way of terrorist acts are out of any recommendation, it might be clarified that Hamas is an elected party adored by the Palestine people.

There might arouse a question: Why Hamas is firing Rocket to Israel. Is that only to complicate the relationship between two nations continuing generation-long antagonism or anything else that Hamas wants do for it’s civilians? In one sense, Hamas is reluctant to be pacified with the Palestinian agreements with Israel in the past. The other part of the coin is indicating that Hamas would like to remove the blockades sustained by Israel at Gaza, which creates many crises to the Gazan People.

History unfolds that since 2007, the obstruction maintained by Israel severely restricts all border crossings and naval pathways into the Strip. In addition, it trammels access to food, water, electricity, gas, construction materials, and other needed things. This might be a political technique by Israel, but hampers humankind. At the same time the economy of Gaza is falling apart for these restrictions.

This is an indispensable reason for Hamas to act enemy against Israel. If we look back at Hamas’s terrorist’s activities it’s obvious that they create disasters to Israel; might be a paradoxical amalgamation of politics and Islamic fundamentalism.

In this connection, I must say the terrorists do not belong to any religion. Islam does not support terrorist acts. In addition, I believe, surely no other religion supports so.

Humanity is above everything. Human Lives are precious than anything.

We cannot condone them who forced many Jews to death in gas chamber during 2nd world war, who killed many people during Vietnam war in 1950s, who dropped atom bombs to Hiroshima and Nagasaki during 2nd world war; still the nation is carrying the cursed impact of radiation generation to generation.

We cannot condone them who killed savagely the innocent Chinese people during 1937 at Nanjing. We cannot pardon them who killed unanimous huge number of people and raped women and children during the Liberation War of 1971 in Bangladesh.

So, we cannot overlook the frenzied attack by Israel to the unarmed Gazan civilians, especially when the children are meeting most dreadful and unwanted present and future.

It’s a blood ridden game. Israel excels in power game definitely. Definitely they are much stronger than Hamas. To secure safety for her people Israel should seek help from world leaders and UN; that might mitigate the generation-long antagonism.

The inhuman attack to the unarmed civilian by Israel cannot be ignored.

Though it is very unfortunate that Hamas is turbulent to hurt Israel, murdering innocent children and noncombatant civilian cannot be a logical strategy from Israel. They must find some other humane strategies.

Let UN do something! How to bring back peace between these two nations that should be taken care by UN leaders.”

 

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Angela Liu. 

( Managing Technical Recruiter, Events Consultant and former Title I School teacher with Master’s in Educational Leadership at University of Maryland)

The question of whether I’m pro-Israel or Pro-Palestine is a hard one to answer.  Inherently dangerous in that question is its positioning of stance as one that is for or against a people-based entity.  A “right” answer in this context can never be black and right.   What I can say is that I deviate from the United States government’s pro-Israeli stance—one that has effected our government, alongside the rest of UN, in failing to support non-Israeli, Arab state resolution efforts; overlooking recurring Israeli government violations for over half a century while committing over half of total foreign military financing to Israel; fueling a consistent Middle Eastern Arab perspective of Israel as the biggest threat with the United States as a second runner-up; and fueling sentiments of distrust, anger, and Intifada-propensities that manifests in humanist-based revolts against perceived imperialist dominance.

Let’s start with the Palestinian Israeli conflict as it stands today with Israeli’s ‘ground incursion’ into Gaza.  Israel statedthat the objective here is to destroy terror tunnels.  Yes, this perhaps disrupts the conduit through which weapons/military material such as longer range rockets from Iran reaches Hamas. But the strategic advantage here is the opportunity of damaging the overall Hamas infrastructure and the basic medicine, construction supplies to Gaza civilians struggling under a 40%+ unemployment rate and shortage of aforementioned needs.  In keeping with these facts, the Hamas’ trumpeting objections to recent propositions have essentially been objections to the status quo—that is, border crossing restrictions that have sharply limited basic, sustenance-level goods and aid.  (Oh, and the allegations that the Hamas weren’t even consulted parties on the cease-fire proposal.)  In the 8-day Israeli operation led out in Gaza in 2012, Israel’s Interior Minister stated “the goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.”

Alright, so basic goods aside, still, the danger of weapon smuggling and, even, abductions.  The Israeli-trumpeted stance has rang tunes of ‘limited’ and ‘short term’ in its vision of this incursion to destroy these tunnels.  Yet, a day into the incursion, there were already talks of possible extensions.  For what?  Dry statistics over the last several weeks show a 200+ to 2 ratio of Israeli to Palestinian casualties with the majority being civilians (and, mind you, this ratio has been jarringly reminiscent of ratios in similar conflicts in the past few decades); a clear military superiority in deflecting most of Gaza’s missile launches with the Iron Dome. Israeli’s Gaza-based opposition has a military capability that’s comparably laughable; it’s emasculating on Israel’s part to say that Gaza is an actual threat.  A need to invade as a tête-à-tête measure, doesn’t tactically add up.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon was quoted as regretting the Israeli offensive and, alongside French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, urging the state to restrain themselves in civilian-casualty-related moves.   Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan denounced the ground incursion as an act of terrorism and genocide on the part of Israel—echoing his categorization, years ago, of Israel as a terrorist state for its treatment of Palestinians.  (The Turkish state has often been a desirable model of emulation, amongst a number of Arab countries.  Turkey has shared a [albeit wavering] partnership with the US and NATO allies while, at times, questioning their motives.)

Even if Israel’s allegations of the Hamas using civilians as human shields stands, Israel has struck over 1500 Gaza targets within a densely populated (and impoverished) strip of land. And, maybe, Israeli military gave phone/flier warnings to civilians near/within Israeli military targets minutes (yes, minutes— what expansive, epochal units of time) before their own strikes or those mini mortar bombings before the actual bombs (in Jon Stewart’s words, “amuse bombs”) but, then, they’ve had incidences of striking prior to warned times and targeting civilians on the basis of being related to accused family members via ‘lawfully sanctioned” punitive home demolitions.

Perhaps, the Hamas has rightful allusions to terrorist identifications but what about Israel? The United States government has quite loosely defined terrorism as activities/acts ‘dangerous to human life or potentially destructive to critical infrastructure or key resources.’  I’m not clear on how it negotiates this meaning when dealing with the endangerment and destruction of life and core infrastructure wrought from both sides—leading me, with my limited resources, to surmise (alongside the majority of Arabs polled) that the final negotiated designations are products of ‘special interests.’

To my discredit, I’ve sifted through only enough information on the Hamas group to document redundant encounters of polarized sentiments ranging from the Hamas’ militant, self-destructive obstinacy, violence and suicide bombings, to their reputations for social service delivery and building bases of support lending to political party involvement (Hamas won majority of seats in the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council elections; from 2008 to 2010, member of Council on Foreign Relations/Board of Directors of Human Rights Shibley Telhami’s pollings showed that more Arabs in every country threw their support to the Hamas versus the US-backed Palestinian Authority).   The Human Rights Watch has documented war criminal activity on all involved parties.   The ends doesn’t justify the means; nor does the beginning justifies the move towards those means.  At the same time, the beginnings are important for us to gain kernels of perspective.

So, let’s heat up the kernel, sit back, and watch: From 1947 to 1948, the UN designates over 55% of the region to an Israeli population at most half in volume to the Arab’s—on the pretext that Jews (for the most part, displaced thousands of years ago) would emigrate.  No kidding, Palestinians didn’t embrace this designation.  A year later, state of Israel has “bloomed” from 55% to 77% of the territory.  And, you have the broad-scale expulsion and ‘ethnic cleansing of Palestine’ (authored and termed by Ilian Pappe) replete with city/village-wide depopulations, mass slaughter, land/home demolishment, enclosures by separation walls, curfews/checkpoints, imprisonment and torture without cause (and, even in present day, within the past month, detaining about 700 Palestinians for undefined, renewable periods of up to half a year without due process, charge or trial).

It’s the invisible Holocaust repeated—even, referenced by Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai in the 2008 conflict when he warned that the Qassam rocket fire “will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah.”  (Shoah, in Hebrew, means Holocaust.  Google it; Wikipedia it to find that H word horrifically and unquestionably emblazoned in the search results.)  Again, cue US definition of terrorism—as acts ‘intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population… to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction…”  The human rights and economic injustices persists through the decades; between 1955 to 2013 there were 77 UN targeted resolutions on Israel—indicative of 77 formally/globally recognized violations—as opposed to one targeted resolution on Palestine: touching upon attacks, raids, and bombings on Lebanon, Syria, Karameh (Jordan), Tunisian; violating Lebanon’s sovereignty; continuing the proliferation of  settlements/’outposts’ in occupied territories; failing to abide by Forth Geneva Convention terms, etc.

“It’s not you; it’s me.” Besides the aforementioned establishment of itself as an oppressive regime, Israel has numerous documented incidences of sabotaging opportunities for resolution.  So, call the Hamas self-destructively stubborn or what you will, but here outlines some of the ‘windows’ of glimmering (if not wholly bright) outlooks for de-escalatory dialogue and Israel’s response: Israel mowed over Camp David negotiation terms by carrying on with Palestinian land confiscation and settlement-building.  Israel rejected PLO’s 1988 renunciation of terrorism and efforts to dialogue until it saw militant groups as a greater threat to its secular counterpart.  In the 2006 conflict with Lebanon, Israel opted for an airstrike escalation over an Arab League summit led by Egypt.  In 2002, and, again, in 2007, it rejected the Arab Peace Plan (endorsed by all Arab states save for Libya) calling for “an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including recognition of Israel, peace agreements and normal relations with all the Arab states, in exchange for a full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967.” (Middle East Research and Information Project committee’s “Primer on Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict”)

Foreign Policy journalist Mark Perry (in “You Can’t Kill Hamas, You Can Only Make It Stronger”) captures the tense climes of a world of states increasingly troubled by the disparity in their principles and reconciliatory shortfalls: During a Tel Aviv conference earlier this month, Philip Gordon, White House Coordinator for the Middle East, called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu out on Israel’s dehumanization of Palestinians in its ongoing occupation: “How will Israel remain democratic and Jewish if it attempts to govern the millions of Palestinian Arabs who live in the West Bank?” Gordon asked. “How will it have peace if it’s unwilling to delineate a border, end the occupation, and allow for Palestinian sovereignty, security, and dignity?”

Dial back to February, at the Munich Security Conference set ostensibly for talks on the Ukraine crisis, where John Kerry got an earful from the European Union representatives on Israel’s non-commitment to the peace process—with warnings that the EU “was willing to support efforts to delegitimize and boycott it.”   Kerry relayed to Netanyahu that Europe was fed up and done listening to the US on the matter.  The response? A very condescending finger-wagging from the Israeli secretary of state; subsequent allegations of Kerry as a proxy for “anti-Semitic forces,” and a frustrating question on why Israel would turn on “a country that’s one of [its] last friends in the world.” Anti-Semitic? The radicalizing rhetoric brings to mind such on the Hamas as part/parcel, in nature of being, with the ISIS movement or other ‘radical’ groups.   (This should really make you think twice about taking these rubber-stampings at face-value.)

So, maybe, “It’s not just you me; it’s also me.”  So, yes, about six decades into the oppression, during the second intifada, you behold the genesis of suicide bombings from these dubbed ‘militant,’ ‘extremist’ groups.  So, yes, there are, in fact, long standing acts of violence against the sanctity of human life, from people within Hamas or various other groups just as there has been from Israel.   But we need to understand these wrongs—while remaining wrongs—in the fuller historical context.  Decades of cyclic and, ultimately, failed peace processes and a sense of hopelessness, distrust, and humiliation have played into peaceable to violent uprisings and quells against the former.

In “The World through Arab Eyes,” Shibley Telhami aggregates a decade’s worth of polling data.  He finds that “every major regional political movement since 1948 has made Palestine and Jerusalem a central theme of its origin and narrative” and that the issue “remains a ‘prism of pain’ through which most Arabs and many Muslims [anywhere from 70% to 86%, to be precise] see the post 9-11 world.  In a 2006 poll amongst Arab countries,  the Shiite Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, won voted acclaim as the most admired world leader (even amongst Sunni-majority countries) because of his unapologetically vocal stance against Israel.  In 2009, his ranking was usurped by Turkish minister Erdogan: Erdogan embodied a similarly decisive stance but perhaps, more vividly so, in his storming out of a World Economic Forum debate after denouncing Israel’s offensive against Palestine.  Arab countries see Israel as a derivative of American power, an engine of oppression, a subject of their ‘prism of pain.’

Telhami’s polling data in 2011 also shows that, while over two-thirds of Arabs in six Arab countries, and a lesser but still prominent 43% of Israeli Jews, supported the two-state solution, the majority believed the two-state solution would never be successfully realized.   It’s been a solution talked to death.  Seemingly simple answer: A two-state solution with separated political franchises but shared, open economic zones and borders.

The death is always in the details—from the question of how to draw up the two-state borders, to the Israeli skittishness against the right of Palestinians to return (but, we know, dependent upon where they’ve ended up in refuge affects their choice to return and, then, there’s the option of financial restitution), to the status of Jerusalem (‘easy’ answer: some unique status as a site/capital for both).   And, we need outside nations to step up their hand in mediation; the U.S., sometimes as a price of backing Israel, has done quite a bit of pussyfooting here.  If I got a penny for every person naming the two-state model as a solution….well, you know.

Decades of variegated pundits, leaders, leagues of states, coalitions, regional and global movements— in acts of brilliance or flawed strokes—couldn’t bring us any closer.  There’s a heavy history here that coalesces into stories and processes of the political and the personal, the religious and the material from different points of identities.  There hangs heavy, as a breath, that status quo that is both intolerable yet seemingly indomitable.

In the Greek myth of Sisyphus, the gods condemn a king to ceaselessly roll a boulder up a mountain.  He is the ‘absurd hero’ in mental and physical recursion of his burden although some look at the struggle as something meaningful in and of itself, with this very perception as a means of reclaiming one’s own fate.   My hope is that, like Sisyphus, we know the night in the reverse of victory and understand the ‘heights’ in the toil.

 

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Peter D. Rosenstein.

(He is a non-profit executive, journalist and Democratic and community activist. His background includes teaching; serving as Coordinator of Local Government for the City of New York; working in the Carter Administration; and Vice-chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia)

“1)     Are you pro-Israel, neutral or Pro-Palestine? And why?

The simplistic answer to this would be to pick one side or the other. That isn’t the answer that makes sense. I support the State of Israel and I would also like to see a Palestinian State. Israel has a right to exist and not face continued rocket bombardment by the Hamas in Gaza. Because Israel has such overwhelming military strength they must also be careful on how it’s used to retaliate. But they have a right to retaliate.

The picture also becomes less clear when it appears that the Palestinian government can’t control those who are sending the rockets into Israel. I believe that Hamas- and they might have no control over their militants, missed an opportunity to accept a cease fire which Israel accepted. It is the people of Gaza who then suffer the most.

2)     What should Israel’s response be when attacked by missiles?

Israel has every right to retaliate when attacked by missiles. No nation would accept that kind of an attack and not respond. The concept of turn-the-other-cheek is not acceptable when rockets are launched against your people. Again there is a responsibility that Israel has as a civilized nation to try to keep civilian casualties on its enemies side to a minimum. But it is clear the Hamas are hiding in the general population so that they must take a major responsibility for the civilian casualties on their side if they are in essence using them as human shields.

3)     Do you condone Israel’s brutal ground response inside Gaza?

This is a question that someone has to ask the world as well. Do we condone Hamas sending rockets into Israel and trying to kill people sitting at café’s in Tel Aviv. The fact that there is shield- or so called Iron Dome – which has shot down some of those rockets over Israel doesn’t absolve Hamas from the responsibility of aiming to kill civilians in Israel.

At some point Israel has a right to defend its people and to go after the perpetrators in Gaza who are hiding among innocent people. That is not Israel’s fault that they do that. But as I have said I believe Israel has the responsibility to be as surgical as they can be in going after the Hamas militants but that won’t guarantee that innocent women and children may die. It is tragic and should be stopped but Hamas could stop it tomorrow if they wanted too.

Does Israel need a more humane strategy when entering Palestine in times of conflict?

Israel needs the most humane stragtegy they can find while still protecting their own population. It would be good to ask Hamas if lobbing rockets into civilian areas of Israel is the most human strategy they have for moving their people forward.

4)     Is Hamas a coward organization that doesn’t represent the Palestinian cause, but rather uses it to promote Islamic fundamentalism? Does Hamas represent the Palestinian cause considering the majority voted for them?

That is an interesting question. Clearly they represent those that voted for them. But the reality is what one of the women in Gaza said who lost a child said when speaking of Israel – she blamed Israel for the death of her child but said Hamas was responsible for the deaths of even more of her family.

It is clear that Hamas is a terrorist organization, or at least some of the militants that claim they do what they do in the name of Hamas. Hamas leaders could denounce them but they don’t. If Hamas represents the Palestinian cause I feel sorry for the Palestinians because thus far it appears they have only made life worse for them or at least have not made it better.

6)     In short words: What is the best solution, if any to solve the never ending conflict on the Holly lands? Or is a waste of time?

It is never a waste of time to try to make life better for people and the Palestinian people have suffered much over many years. I think that we need to continue to work toward the two state solution and to work toward seeing that Israel and Palestine can then live in peace. Once there is a Palestinian nation I believe the world needs to come to their aid to build a vibrant economy and education system for the future. The world must continue to work on this so that young people can find some hope for the future.”

 

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Fadi F. Elhusseini.

(He is a Political and Media Counselor in Turkey and served as a Diplomat at the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.He is an Associate Research Fellow (ESRC) at the Institute for Middle East Studies- Canada. He was the Executive Director of the Palestinian Council on Foreign Relations)

“A new Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, not the first and won’t be the last if the political equation in that region does not change. Throughout the previous aggression’s Israel launched on the Gaza strip, several military goals were declared. This time, “Protective Edge” operation comes in a different context, with new domestic, regional and international circumstances. These conditions, by and large, are more prosaic and complex that have been key elements in determining Israel’s goals from this operation, as part of a larger strategy that goes beyond the war itself.A clear change in the map of World Politics underlined a rising Russian role. With Russia’s fundamental stance in the Syrian crisis and the evident US and EU bewilderment toward the issue of Ukraine and Crimea, the political weight of Russia can be barely overlooked anymore and the fading US influence has become a fact.China has revised its position and role in the Middle East and opted to stay away from the limelight, maintaining at the same time its interests but with lower voice.

This was seen the best way to stop its depleted popularity in the region in the aftermath of its obvious position supporting the Syrian regime.  Regionally, this war comes when the events of the Arab Spring continue to surprise all observers. The fall of the Muslim Brotherhood, coercively in Egypt and voluntarily in Tunisia, the escalated crisis in Syria, the unprecedented chaos in Iraq, Yemen and Libya are a case in point. On the other hand, Iran managed to defuse some of the international pressure and has been successful in reviving and preserving the diplomatic track of its nuclear file.In Israel, a volatile coalition has been facing mounting domestic criticism. Several domestic travails and economic difficulties made many Israeli intellectuals and politicians to call repeatedly for dissolving the current government. In Palestine, the aggression on the Gaza Strip comes shortly after the long awaited national reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, a new deadlock in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations (Israel has been widely blamed for this stalemate), and a wave of violence in the West Bank, started with the incident of killing three Israeli settlers and followed by the murder of a Palestinian teen in cold blood.

Israel had constantly asked the Palestinian authority to choose between reconciliation with Hamas and peace with Israel. For this reason, Israel could not hide its irksome from the Palestinian reconciliation and the unity government, threatening the moderate Palestinian authority of serious circumstances. With Israel’s exaggerated stance against the Palestinian authority, its closest allies called upon Israel to put the Palestinian new government to the test and to give it a chance.In light of the noticeable decay in Israel’s popularity, living day after day in an international solitude, its frustration folded with the international position, especially the American, who welcomed the Palestinian unity government. Hence, it would not be bizarre to see Israel’s leaders accusing the Palestinian authority of isolating Israel internationally.In this vein, one should concede that the Palestinian leadership has succeeded recently in building bridges of trust with both the people and the governments around the world.

The international community has become closer to the Palestinian narrative on peace from that one of Israel and international campaigns to boycott Israeli institutions and products expanded to include civil societies, universities and official positions.Considering the above, a decision by the Israeli government to seek a way out of its domestic crisis and international dilemma becomes unimpeachable. Intriguingly, any internal cohesion (home front) depends mainly on a sense of fear from an external threat and, hence, making up an external crisis is not a novel strategy by decision makers; but what would be the destination in this chaotic region and critical time?

Iran; although there is a wide anti-Iran sentiments in Israel and a considerable popular support for a military strike on Iran, polls showed Israeli’s lukewarm to the Sisyphean task of attacking Iran unilaterally. What about the Northern Front?

Hezbollah; in spite of the sizable insomnia caused by Hezbollah to Israel’s leaders, they are fully aware of the strategic, logistic and military capabilities Hezbollah enjoys. More so, Israeli leaders are also aware the Hezbollah’s venture in Syria and the losses they received there have not exhausted Hezbollah enough to evade any surprises; But, what about the Southern Front?

Palestine; Whether the story claiming that Israel ‘fabricated’ the killing of the three settlers (according to this story, the three settlers died in a car accident in Israel and the government hided their death in order to use it later to corner the Palestinian Authority and Hamas) is accurate or not, Israel was interested in picking a fight with the Palestinians.

Since the Palestinian side is the weakest link, the Israeli decision maker is circumspect that any escalation and bloodletting would neither bring huge damage and losses nor wide attention, considering the bloody regional conditions and international chaos.Israel has blamed Hamas for concocting the killing the Israeli settlers (Hamas did not claim responsibility, when it usually does). However, Israeli settlers did not give the Israeli government the time to benefit from this incident when a number of settlers burned a Palestinian teen alive.Hence, Israel decided to transfer the battle to the Gaza Strip, aiming at involving Hamas (at the helm of resistance in Gaza) officially in a confrontation that does not intend, of course, to end Hamas. One may notice the sequence of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip; targeting unpopulated open areas at first and gradually developed to strike almost every spot in the Gaza Strip. The required confrontation- which goals were not outright said- aims to drag Hamas and the other groups to react and fire more rockets at Israeli towns.

Fully aware of the limited losses from the Palestinian rockets, the Israeli government succeeded, despite some criticism, to huddled together its people against the threat coming from the Gaza Strip and to distract the attention away from any domestic problems or diplomatic or international crises.Gains have not stopped at the domestic level. With every rocket fired from Gaza, the Israeli government gets closer to other goals.

The US, French and other international positions were just a case in point. Tellingly, whereas most of the actors in the international community started to accept the Palestinian position and reprimand the adamant stands of Israel- who became a quasi-loner state, the rockets fired from Gaza brought them back to the Israeli barn, announcing that Israel has the right to defend itself, regardless of the excessive use of force and the horrifying death toll among the Palestinians.Not limited to these gains, “Protective Edge” operation gave the Palestinian new unity government that bothered Israel, a heavy blow. Any plans of this new government to implement the reconciliation and to prepare for national elections have gone unheeded as the priorities have changed by the provisions of a fait accompli. Also, Israel bet- as it has always done- on the contradictory positions among the Palestinians on how to deal with such aggression, which would increase the chances for setback in the reconciliation.

The only military goal Protective edge would achieve is debilitating and draining the capabilities of the Palestinian resistance groups in light of the limited stock of weapons and the continuity of the siege and closed tunnels between Gaza and Egypt.Thus, Israel would accept/ accepted the cease-fire, without any further conditions. Unexpectedly, Hamas refused the Egyptian cease-fire initiative, taking the Israeli government to unplanned scenarios- a ground operation.

The longer the operation lasts and the more losses Israel receives, the more likely that Israel would seek new terms and amendments on the 2012 truce so that it can be adduced in Israeli street.As per Hamas and the Palestinian resistance, they will not accept languishing in the besieged Gaza strip anymore and thus will not consent to the terms of the 2012 truce. Finding a port to the outside world has become sine qua non- either through the Rafah border, or a sea port or even an airport. It is obvious that neither Hamas nor the disgruntled and weary people in Gaza would accept to return to the by gone detestable era.”

 

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Ranjit Gupta.

(He is a retired Indian Foreign Service officer. He was a member of the Prime Minister’s National Security Advisory Board for the term 2009-2010. He is currently a Distinguished Fellow of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies and a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies)

“The creation of Israel was a Western imperial-colonial venture to expatiate their own guilt but its creation is a historical reality which cannot be obliterated – history is not about fairness but about the exercise of power in one’s own interest.

The less powerful have to learn to live with realities until these change over time which has also happened throughout history.

The Israeli – Palestinian standoff is the world’s most enduring and intractable geopolitical conflict. Even in the most unlikely event of a conclusion being arrived at on the merits of the case in a theoretical debate, that does not help, because the consequences flowing therefrom cannot be translated into reality on the ground, which is created by hardliners in Israel and extremists amongst the Palestinians.

Statesmanship and vision is totally lacking on both sides. Continuing Arab disunity and lack of even substantive interest in, let alone meaningful support for, the Palestinian cause on the one hand and the US Administration’s steadily diminishing influence on Israel on the other have dramatically reduced any possibility of arriving at a solution any time soon.

Very sadly and most regrettably misery and bloodletting is going to continue for the foreseeable future. The only way a solution can be arrived at is by an agreement between the five Permanent Members of the Security Council on a fairly detailed blueprint which is imposed on the ground by fiat.

However, arriving at an agreement between the P -5 is almost impossible to envision in current circumstances; it may happen when the situation becomes so utterly horrendous that there will be no option left.

Until then, even harbouring a hope for a solution is delusional. Extremely sad, but this is the grim reality!”

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Barry Shaw. 

(Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues, The Strategic Dialogue Center, Netanya Academic College, Israel)

“I am 100% pro-Israeli and a proud Zionist.

Israel is the expression of the self-determination of the Jewish people after thousands of years of rejection and persecution. It is expressed through Zionism, the movement for the return of Jews to their homeland.

As it clearly states in the League of Nations resolution of 1922 and the Mandate for Palestine, it is the re-establish of the National Home of the Jewish People.  Notice the word “re-establishment.”

This was further enshrined into the UN Charter.

The attacks on Israel by Hamas showed the real intent of the Palestinian movement, which is to damage and destroy Israel. It has nothing to do with Jewish settlements in Judea & Samaria. Not one settlement was targeted by Hamas in this conflict. It is the presence of the Jewish State of Israel that is offensive to them,

This war was inflicted on us, but also on the people of Gaza, by Hamas and its partner Islamic Jihad. Both are officially designated as terrorist organizations by the international community. So what Israel is facing is a war on terror, radical Islamic terror that is determined to eradicate Israel. For them, the presence of a Jewish state is an abomination.  That is the racist, religious, anti-Semitic root of the conflict.

As such, Israel expects the international community not only to declare Hamas as an outlawed terrorist organization but that also all elements of Hamas are declared illegal. This must include it’s so-called political wing.

It must be clear to everyone that peace is impossible between Israel and the Palestinians if Hamas is allowed to retain control of Gaza, and influence on the West Bank, Hamas is the obstacle to any possible peace agreement. For this reason it must be banned.  If this is done, Israel must be allowed to do what is necessary in degrading and destroying the Hamas infrastructure, removing all weapons, arresting and imprisoning its leaders, and allowing the Palestinian Authority to assert its control over the Gaza Strip.

Their administration should be protected by NATO forces. The Gaza Strip must be a demilitarised zone. Both Israel and Egypt will open their borders with Gaza and help with supplies and the reconstruction.  This must be done with a Palestinian Authority that it will recognize and respect Israel’s right to exist as the Jewish state at the end of a signed and permanent peace agreement.”

 

Claude Nougat. 

(Passionate traveller (80 countries+) 25 years experience in United Nations: project evaluation specialist; FAO Director for Europe/Central Asia)

“There are no best solutions and everybody bears the blame here, some more than others.

This could turn into a 100 Years War unless the West (and I include Russia in this definition) intervenes.

America has a huge responsibility here since it protects Israel (and has allowed it to get nuclear weapons – something it won’t allow Iran; in my view, nobody should be allowed nuclear weapons). But the rest of the developed world is also responsible for letting the situation get out of control.

Back in April when Hamas and Fatah had at last gotten together and create a (nearly) united Palestine, there was a glimmer of hope since both sides had agreed to recognize Israel and there was no Hamas member in the new Palestinian government. But Israel jumped on the agreement and would not let it stand.

People in Gaza had hoped their situation would improve but that did not happen.  The Gaza city employees that should have gotten paid, never got paid because America continued to view them as part of a terrorist organization (Hamas) and therefore deemed any payment illegal, even if funnelled through the United Nations.

With the last hope gone, Hamas resumed its war on Israel and Israel fought back without regard to proportionality (nearly 300 Palestinians killed to 2 Israeli). Another new aspect needs to be factored in here: Hamas feels cornered, it has also lost Egypt as an ally now that the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood are either pursued or locked up.  Any way out? None, unless the West, as suggested in a recent NYT op-ed, moves in and imposes peace on both parties.”

 

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Arik (Oren) Smila.

(He is the co-founder and executive director at Diplomacy.co.il, he is a Masters degree graduate from Tel-Aviv University at the field of Diplomacy studies)

“As an Israeli, you would expect a pro-Israeli response from me. And yes, my response will be mostly against Hamas, however it is not coming from a place of the Israeli side, but from the Palestinian side.

We all watch the news and the day to day developments in Israel. We all saw the tens of daily rockets raining Israeli cities, terrorizing Israel’s citizens. We all saw the tragedy of innocent Gaza children losing their lives as casualty of a war they have nothing to do with.

The Palestinians in Gaza are trapped. Hamas had built a complete social infrastructure that offers the only solution for a decent life in Gaza. Should they refuse to receive this much needed help, they will find themselves in a position that will make their survival very difficult. Hamas uses the funds contributed to Gaza as he pleases.

Most of it is being directed to the leadership, and some of it is being channeled to building kindergartens, schools,clinics, and other social services. These services do not come without a price, should you be interested in education for your daughter, you’ll have to support Hamas, should you like to work or get health services, you’ll have to support Hamas. There is no apparent reason to oppose to this organization because it seems that the people of Gaza don’t fully understand the repercussions.

Israel have been wronged Gaza for many years, avoiding to provide for basic human needs created a vacuum that Hamas took advantage of fairly easy. You can always count on leaders to take advantage of their best resources in order to stay in power and Hamas is no different than the others. Israel’s believe as “to not help those who wish us death” backfired and it is dealing with the results ever since Hamas took power.

Hamas has a bulletproof political system that allows them political freedom regardless to what the Palestinian people of Gaza think. Hamas can drag the violent conflict for months and still will stay in power (that is unless Israel will succeed in assassinating all of the leadership). There are no fair elections, there is no local criticism, there is no strong opposition. Hamas is claiming to fight in the name of the Palestinians but he is causing them more harm then good, in war time and in ceasefire.

In regards to the Israeli reaction to the missiles, I don’t believe that Israel had a better option. Imagine any other country being fired with missiles and not retaliating as Israel does? London under missiles, Paris under missiles, Washington under missiles? Can any of these cities stay for long under an attack before their governments use their full arsenal at their disposal to defend them?

Many say that the sides are not equal in power and Israel is much stronger that Hamas. Yes, that is correct. But this is not a basketball game. Israel has the right, according to the Geneva convention, to defend it self and could use all of it’s sources in order to do so.

Israeli defense forces are using pamphlets and phone messages to warn innocent civilians from an attack approaching, no other army is doing so nor has never done it before. Israel is treating civilians and injured Hamas members in Israeli hospitals. needless to say that Hamas is not doing so. A ground action is needed and it has proven itself within the past two days. 13 underground tunnels were discovered under Gaza and the count continues.

War is a continuation of diplomacy in different measures. The worst ones. However, it is very easy to criticize and accuse without knowing all the facts. Hamas is placing children next to missile launch sites to avoid counter attack, that is a fact. The more civilians and especially children are heart from Israeli attacks, Israel will suffer from international pressure and seem as the aggressive side. Hamas has no value to Palestinian life in Gaza, they are all pawns in it’s chess gams against Israel.

In regards to the question if the conflict will see it’s end in our generation. Sadly, I don’t believe so. Israel and Mahmud Abbas can reason over most major issues including the core 4 questions but he is very limited in his jurisdiction as he only control\represent the west bank. Hamas will have to be out of the picture in order to reach a full peace agreement. You make peace with enemies, but not the ones ideologically believe you have no right to exist.”

 

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Jose Luis Chalhoub Naffah.

(He is a political scientist with a masters in international oil trading and an independent politics consultant on politics and geopolitical risk based in Venezuela focusing on Russia AMD Middle East issues)

“1.) Based on my lebanese backgrounds, and the sufferings inflicted by the Israeli state on Lebanon, Palestine and the whole arab world, I must say that I dont agree with the actions taken by the Netanyahu administration, even more so given his ultra nationalist position. In other words, all things linked in Israel to the LIKUD party is antiarab and antipalestinian, but more extremist. Lets remember the Ariel Sharon strongest than ever position against Palestine. So in this conflict one cannot be neutral, on the contrary, there´s a position and stance to be taken. And one other thing is that extremism on both sides is pretty much dangerous, and in times like these, where things seem to spiral out of control, moderation has to come on the table.

2.) Militarily speaking, disproportionate is the best word that comes to mind. Everybody knows the superiority that the IDF has compared to that of the HAMAS, logistically and militarily speaking. The death toll is always higher in the palestinian population, and that´s the consequence.

Israel has a massive support from the White House, the Pentagon and all the israelí lobby in the US political establishment, so it has the best advantage in this conflict, even if in any time in history, HEZBOLLAH defeated the IDF in Lebanon. If the most ultraconservative and ultranationalist are in power in the Israeli government such as in this case the likes of Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman, even if the international community claims for a cease fire and moderation, the response from Israel always will be overwhelmingly superior than that of the palestinian community, and the HAMAS.

3.) HAMAS was elected by Palestinian people in general elections, and even if it´s an islamic party, it reached power in democracy, US style. What about if in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, if democracy was seriously promoted by the White House, Islamic parties reach power? Should they be called “terrorist”?

I definitely don’t agree with the very hypocritical double-edged and double standards foreign policy by the White House for the Persian Gulf and the Middle East. Remember what happened in Algeria in the 80¨s where after the Islamic Front won the elections and then bloodshed ensued. Why? Because nobody wants this, and nobody strictly speaking of the US and the EU. There are extremism and terrorism in both sides of course, but HAMAS authorities were democratically elected so be it.

4.) If the LIKUD is on power in Israel, i would say its just wasting time, because of the lack of political will of these people to reach a final agreement with Palestinian authorities. Of course, foreign powers and interests in either side will be decisive to reach either a happy ending  or let this thing roll and roll again for the years to come.

And one more thing added to this explosive cocktail is the energy factor: both Israel and Gaza have natural gas and in Lebanon as well, so we have religion, territorial claims, politics, and now energy, and of course, the always present industrial-military complex adding flames to nurture conflicts just to increase profits, no matter the death tolls, so its very hard to find a solution with such a blurry landscape like this one. And the saddest thing, is the ones that suffer the most are children, no matter from which side of this conflict. I wonder that the UN is doing now? Or the Arab League?

 

Catherine Haig.

C. Bonjukian Patten.

(I am a Financial Consultant with my own Bookkeeping/Office Management LLC working in the Greater NYC Area for clients in a cross section of industry)

“Admittedly I do not know a lot about Israel except to say that first England and then the United States carried that country and then committed to it’s existence which blocked Palestine to any land on the Gaza.

At least that is my understanding. However as much as the Palestinians seem like David to Goliath (Israel) Hamas has damaged any reconciliation with Israel and doesn’t deserve any recognition as a country.

It is a total waste of time in my opinion because there is no solution unless they (the Semitic brotherhood) walk down that same path and come to an understanding.

I also think any other countries involvement will just result in disaster for the rest of our planet.”

 

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Steven Hansen.

(Publisher and Co-founder of Econintersect, is an international business and industrial consultant specializing in turning around troubled business units; consults to governments to optimize process flows; and provides economic indicator analysis based on unadjusted data and process limitations)

“1) Are you pro-Israel, neutral or Pro-Palestine? And why?

I am pro looking at accurate information

2) What should Israel’s response be when attacked by missiles?

take out the attackers. this is a two way street – Palestine can also respond in kind.

3) Do you condone Israel’s brutal ground response inside Gaza?

it seems to me that Israel has continually escalated this conflict to higher and higher levels. as Israel is the stronger – it seems the responses are meant to punish Palestine much more than they are published.

Does Israel need a more humane strategy when entering Palestine in times of conflict?

At this point – there is a lot of history which are ingrained in the minds of all in the region. You simply cannot view any incident in isolation. If one uses their army (regular soldiers) against irregulars – there will be always be human rights violations (combatants and non-combatants wear the same clothes).

4) Is Hamas a coward organization that doesn’t represent the Palestinian cause, but rather uses it to promote Islamic fundamentalism? Does Hamas represent the Palestinian cause considering the majority voted for them?

It seems to me your question itself shows bias – and I am not sure whether this entire series of questions is not engineered to elicit an anti-Palestinian bias. I think both Israel and Palestine encompass terrorist organizations. Anyone who has visited Israel knows you cannot have two major religions significant holy sites within a stones throw of each other – and not have a fundamentalist response from both sides.

5) In short words: What is the best solution, if any to solve the never ending conflict on the Holly lands? Or is a waste of time?

The USA needs to stay out of forming an opinion or helping anyone. USA actions appear to most in the middle east as pro-Israel – making any actions to help “solve” suspect. there is now almost 100 years of conflict – and i see no solutions which all parties can accept. For now, unfortunately, I see no solution other then to let both sides wear themselves out.”

 

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Barah Mikaïl.

(He is a senior researcher at FRIDE. Prior to joining the organisation, he was senior researcher on Middle East and North Africa and on Water Issues at the Institut de Relations Internationales et Stratégiques (IRIS))

“1) Are you pro-Israel, neutral or Pro-Palestine? And why?

Neutrality is impossible in the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The obvious is that we have an occupier on the one hand, and an occupied on the other hand. So my stand is that the 21st century cannot witness anymore situations of occupation. This is why the creation and the recognition of a Palestinian State is more than a requirement: it is a legitimate right for Palestinians that has been recognized by the UN resolutions.

2) What should Israel’s response be when attacked by missiles?

Violence brings violence. Nobody discusses the right of Israel to its own security. The question is whether the methods that Israel is using are an efficient answer; clearly, no. Israel rejects any peace talks arguing that it will do so the day Palestinians recognize its right to exist. The fact is that Palestinians are not challenging the existence of Israel, and the few of them that do so have a threatening rhetoric first and foremost.

As for the rest, we have had several periods of calm over the last decade; Israelis could have taken them as an opportunity to build on positive prospects and agree on what future they could foresee with Palestinians. But obviously, the contradictions of the Israeli political scene are what they are, and it is hard to believe Israelis are really willing to end their occupation of the Palestinian territories. This will only bring more frustration on the Palestinian side, with more radicalization and more violence.

3) Do you condone Israel’s brutal ground response inside Gaza?

Israel’s brutal “response” to Palestinians is not justified. If Israeli arguments concerning their anti-terrorist motivation and their willing to dismantle tunnels were right, then why are we witnessing the killing of so many innocent civilians that include children playing on Gaza’s beaches? It makes no sense, and the argument of “collateral damage” just doesn’t fit with the situation that we are witnessing, the way it hardly fit in the past.

Does Israel need a more humane strategy when entering Palestine in times of conflict?

Israel needs to take a brave decision and to consider that its duty is to give Palestinians a State. This would be part of the human attitude that is required indeed when it comes to addressing Palestinians.

4) Is Hamas a coward organization that doesn’t represent the Palestinian cause, but rather uses it to promote Islamic fundamentalism? Does Hamas represent the Palestinian cause considering the majority voted for them?

Hamas did represent the Palestinian vote when it was elected in 2006. Though many surveys showed that Hamas popularity had decreased meanwhile, it could still pretend to a 40% popularity a month ago. The Israeli violent operations can only contribute to increase the popularity of Hamas and to strengthen the organizations that are even more radical than Hamas.

As for the rest, Hamas is an opportunist organization, the way every political party or movement can be. But this does not make Hamas more evil than other organizations are or could be. Hamas has a particular ideology, but it is its proclaimed struggle against occupation that brings its votes and popular support. Hamas may manipulate religious arguments for political objectives, but its denunciation of the Israeli occupation coincides with an ongoing reality.

5) In short words: What is the best solution, if any to solve the never ending conflict on the Holly lands? Or is a waste of time?

This conflict must be solved, but Israelis and Palestinians will not head for that alone. The United States remains the most influent actor because it can have leverage on Israel, the most powerful protagonist. Joint efforts between the US and the EU would even bring more consequences. If other meaningful actors decided to join such a move in favor of peace, then Israelis and Palestinians would have no other choice than to head towards a resolution of this painful and threatening conflict.

This time around I have decided to take on your questions in the exact numerical order they are posted.

 

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Adil F. Raja. 

(He is an independent Political and Security analyst from Pakistan with a diverse background in Governance, International Relations, Special Ops and International Security/Political Consultancy)

“1) I am definitely Pro-Palestine, why, because I am a humanitarian who is against the apartheid policies on which Israel was created and is being run. Distinguished scholars and humanitarians like Nelson Mandela and Gandhi stated it clearly in their writings to support this argument.

2) Israel being attacked by rockets which are neutralized anyways by their Iron Dome Air Defence system should be to change their path and ideology based on apartheid, genocide and rule of might over right. I don’t see that happening by the way.

3) Israel’s ground assault on Gaza and brutal massacre of innocent children, women and elderly is a disgusting act of terror against an oppressed nation cornered by Israelis themselves having left with no other option but to “blow themselves up”.

4) Hamas and its actions are a natural reaction of an oppressed nation who are subjugated to the terror tactics of a mighty enemy that is the Zionist regime of Israel. Israel is supported by the global corporate media influenced deeply by the Global Zionist Empire which controls most of the financial power hubs based on capitalism of the western world hence are in a position to dictate policies to the western governments.

The way AIPAC controls and runs the US congress and influences the US administration is a point in case for any thinking mind, if there are any, and I am sure they are many. In the case of Palestine vs Israel, the global corporate media owned and influenced by the Zionist lackeys have led the wide world to believe, that Israel is not an occupation force but the innocent party having the right to exist, may it be over countless dead bodies of innocent Palestinian children, women and men. Hamas and it’s tactics are mere acts of desperation and resignation to life and its beauty in a situation where they are subjugated to a systematic genocide by Israel in the greatest Land Grab in the history of mankind.

5) The only solution to the conflict is “Peace as a way forward” starting from the grass root level. This can only be achieved by returning the latest occupied territories to Palestine by the Israelis confiscated through force in last two decades at least. And allowing the establishment of a vibrant economy in the state of Palestine by the Israelis. The Jewish settlers should be withdrawn to Israeli main land and the holy city of Jerusalem must be declared as an International City under an indigenous multinational administration and governed such as the Vatican City is.

This is the only way forward, but it seems Israelis want to continue on the path of the systematic holocaust by wiping off the Palestinians through controlled genocide as it is happening for past five to six decades. This path will ultimately lead to the annihilation of the grater part of middle east and the destruction of Israel and Palestine both by a growing anxiety among the wide Muslim world against the Israeli apartheid against the Palestinians shamelessly supported by the US administration which is in any case shackled by the whims of the AIPAC and its likes…”

 

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Raphael Cohen-Almagor.

(D. Phil., Oxon (1991); Chair and Professor of Politics; Founder and Director of the Middle East Study Group, University of Hull (2008 – ) human rights and peace activist;  Raphael was Visiting Professor at UCLA (1999-2000), Johns Hopkins (2003-2004), and Fellow, the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars (2007-2008))

“The Israeli society has been living since birth in abnormal conditions. Sixty six years after its establishment, Israel has no internationally recognized borders; some of its neighbors do not accept its very existence; security was and still remains Israel’s toughest challenge. Since its establishment, Israel has had to fight. From 1948 until now, some 23,000 Israelis were killed in wars and terror attacks. This loss is felt in every home in Israel, given the size of the population. On the eve of Israel’s 66th Independence Day, its population was 8,180,000 people.

Israel’s objectives are to continue its existence, to provide a home for the Jewish people, and to uphold the political prerogatives of nationality. Facing an unequal balance of power, unfavorable geo-strategic conditions, and constant threats of physical annihilation, Israel was forced to develop a strong army that could withstand the siege. Violence is a constant present, perceived as inevitable, and the periods between wars are perceived as latent wars.

Until now, Israel experienced seven wars: the 1948 Independence War; the 1956 Suez War; the 1967 Six Day War; the 1969-1970 War of Attrition; the 1973 Yom Kippur War; the 1982 Lebanon War, and the 2006 Hezbollah War. In addition, Israel had faced a Palestinian uprising (Intifada) that lasted six years (1987-1993), and since September 2000 it has been under constant terror attacks launched by various Palestinian factions. Terrorism is not a new phenomenon. Israel has been facing terrorism since its inception but the last few years have been particularly harsh. Sometimes, as in July 2006, it reaches the scale of a full-fledge war. At present, the threat of yet another full-fledge war is in the air. At the time of writing (July 18, 2014), it is not clear how this military operation will end.

In 2005 Israel evacuated Gaza, aiming not to return. Prime Minister Sharon saw Gaza as a test case, leading to a two-state solution, first in Gaza and then expanding to include the West Bank. The Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2006 reshuffled  the cards. Hamas does not recognize Israel and its right to exist. Israel does not appear on its maps. Hamas is firmly committed to the destruction of Israel.

The relationships between Israel and Gaza may be likened to a zipper. Every once in a while, one of the sides escalates the situation, the zipper is opened, both parties embark on a round of violence, hitting each other hard. The “politics of numbers” is taking its toll, until the number of casualties reaches an intolerable height. Both parties then decide to close the zipper without real agreement. They only agree to cease violence for a while but they do not address the core issues. As a result, after a certain period of time, the zipper is opened again.

Living under the threat of violence and terror is anything but easy, or normal. You cannot really get used to it. When violence erupts, it takes you by the balls and shakes your entire world. But even in this abnormal living, when tranquility is non-existent, you expect some minimal norms of civility and common decency. When the enemy is breaking these minimal norms, common sense is then losing grounds and radicals have more leeway to dictate realty.

The abduction and killing of the three Israeli school boys, Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaar, has shaken Israeli society. Once again, the brute reality has hit hard in the face: Israelis are facing a bitter enemy, full of hatred, who celebrates death, who knows no boundaries, who wishes to destroy you wherever you are, no matter how innocent and young you may be. There cannot be any reconciliation, not to mention peace, with such an enemy who does not recognize your very existence, who abhors norms of civility, who seeks your destruction even if this demands tremendous sacrifice and loss of human lives from its side. In such periods, when hope is lost, sentiments take over and blur the mind. Calls for revenge, for exacting a price from the enemy, rule supreme.

Israeli politicians had to respond to this senseless killing. Prime Minister Netanyahu is not a trigger-happy leader. He is a risk-averse leader. Until the abduction and killing of the three youth, he has shown caution in the employment of violence. Netanyahu authorized a measured response. Israel targeted Hamas terrorists as the organization is deemed responsible for the abduction of the three slained school boys. Dozens of air strikes were launched against Hamas targets. Hamas retaliated with rocket fire on Israeli towns. While Israel targets terrorists, Hamas targets everyone, any Israelis wherever they are. On July 7, 2014, nearly 300 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel towns and cities, including a barrage of about 80 projectiles. On July 8, 2014, Israel responded with a military operation against Gaza. The offensive, dubbed “Operation Protective Edge,” is aimed at striking Hamas and ending the rocket fire.

My family and I had lived under rocket terror in 2006. We know how it feels. The siren goes off. You have a couple of minutes to seek shelter, wherever you are. The siren might go off a number of times in a single day. Living becomes disturbed, under constant stress. People fear for their lives. It is very unpleasant. It is awful. No one, but no one, no matter one’s nationality and/or religion, should live in such abnormal reality.

We are worried about our family and friends in Israel. We speak to them on a daily basis. They are concerned about their well-being, and especially about the well-being of their children. At the same time, the Israeli public is tired of the constant Hamas violence and wishes the government to provide a solution. People are willing to endure if an action can be taken to make Hamas desert violence.

The word “peace” is not mentioned. People realize that peace is a far-fetched dream when dealing with radical Hamas. The words mentioned are “we need to be tough”, “we need to teach them a lesson they won’t forget”, “we need to be resilient and eradicate the rockets”. Unsurprisingly, similar words are uttered by the enemy despite its great loss. Presently the death toll in Gaza is said to be 264 Palestinians, the majority are innocent civilians. Hamas has posted testimonials of citizens that “Israel does not frighten us” and “Israel withstands Hamas rockets”. As always, Hamas is willing to suffer heavy losses. But for what?

On July 15, 2014, the Israeli Cabinet accepted Egypt’s proposal for a cessation of hostilities with the Gaza Strip. While Israel accepted the Egyptian proposal, Hamas did not. Hamas continued to launch rockets on Israeli civilians. Yesterday, on July 17, Israel saw no other option to stop the terror rocket but by opening a ground operation into Gaza.

When the dust is settled, and the bad winds will relax as another wave of violence will come to a closure, there will come the realization that the only thing that violence breeds is more violence. The “zipper relationships” between Gaza and Israel of endless rounds of violence can hardly be said to constitute nay solution. In the short-term, this round of violence is likely to play to the hands of extremists on both sides. Hamas power is likely to rise, especially in the West Bank where Palestinians were not subjected to the IDF might.

I hope the Gazans will elect for a different way of reconciliation over violence. In Israel, Lieberman’s Israel Is Our Home, and Bennett’s Jewish Home are likely to increase their popularity among the Israeli public. But in the long run, peace was and still remains the key for Israel’s security. And, in turn, two-state solution is the key for peace. In the post-Hamas era, two-state solution is the promise for a decent, normal future for both Israel and Palestine. Israeli leadership should aspire to settle the disputes with the Palestinians in a fair, just way. The Palestinian government needs to replace violence and terrorism with diplomacy, and be able to have full control on the monopoly of weapons. Without such a monopoly, the Palestinians will never have sovereignty and they will never be perceived as worthy of having an independent state.

President Barack Obama has recently said: For all that Israel has accomplished, for all that Israel will achieve, Israel cannot be complete and it cannot be secure without peace. It is never too late to seed the ground for peace—a true and living peace that exists not just in the plans of leaders, but in the hearts of all Israelis and Palestinians.”

 

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Nicole Horelt. 

(She is a freelance writer from Canada with a strong interest in geopolitics and foreign policy. She’s written with emphasis on the topics of Israel, the Middle East peace process, the EU, and has continued interest in the unique politics of the SCO, Eurasia, and international Arctic issues)

“In response to the first question posed, the ‘why’ of it is sought first; this portion of the answer challenges a persons discernment and love for the truth. Though this writer respects all opinions and listens to all views, it is clear that there is only one answer; one truth: Scriptural and Historical facts speak for themselves, there is no Arab ‘Palestine’. Nor, should there ever be as there is no case for it, only continued propaganda fuelled by the underlying germ of global antisemitism – disguised behind many veils, both light and dark.

The truth is that Israel has stood, is standing, and will continue to stand as the nation G-d has designated as the home for the Jewish people forever. The One True Judge: G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob supports this stance in the Holy Scriptures of the Law, the Torah, and entire Bible and International Law supports what the EU and others in the Int’l community say’s it Doesn’t, according to their own false interpretation of it. (‘there is no justice in this world, only men’s interpretation of it’)

Due to continued global political pressure knowledgeable of Israel’s peace-seeking nature, in the spotlight and the germ of antisemitism at the ready to infect and spread in the nations, false peace treaties are pushed

at Israel with partners who don’t seek real lasting peace.

To answer the second and third question, when Israel is terrorized with missiles, Israel must respond to eliminate the threat. There is no such thing as a ‘proportionate response’ against terrorism!  What other country is questioned in such a way and why ?  What other country takes such measures to protect civilians before strikes against terrorism targets, what other nation is more humane than the IDF in their responses against terrorism? They are not perfect, no one is, but their strategy is close to it, and should stand a s example of how an army should act.

Hamas and all those who voted for them are represented in detail by what is written in the Hamas charter. It can be found online. Summed up, they are for not for true peace, but for jihad.

The best solution would be 1.for the Int’l community to leave Israel alone to deal with those who live inside its borders with no strings attached.  Stop the BDS pressure and allow Israel an exit out of EU’s ENP ‘more for more’  plan with steps connecting ‘more’  Israeli integration (into the EU single market/economic trade zone)’ in reward for ‘more compliance’ by Israel.

The steps agreed upon in this plan are unfairly imbalanced with her ‘neighbours’ , and connected to the current middle east ‘peace plan’ according to the EU’s false interpretation of Int’l law. The pressure of financial isolation looms over Israel if non-compliant with it.

2.Let those Arabs (many Arabs are citizens of Israel who love it there)  and Jews who truly love peace get along and build their own bridges.

3. Finally, since the root of this conflict is Spiritual in nature, it can only be solved in a Spiritual manner with the return of the LORD: “For He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness And the peoples with equity.” Psalm 99:8”

 

Ronald Bleier.

(Freelance journalist based in New York where he edits the DESIP website. His articles have appeared in Left Curve, In These Times, Middle East Labor Bulletin,The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs)

“There is already credible evidence that the murder of the three teens that has been the pretext of the current attack on Gaza was a false flag operation conducted by the Mossad. In addition to terrorizing and oppressing  the Gaza population, the current bombing program  and invasion is  meant as  punishment of the Palestinian people for daring to oppose Israeli oppression by attempting to unify their governments. That is why so many civilians and their infrastructure is targeted.

A telling bit of evidence that the teens’ deaths was a Mossad operation  is the emergency phone call to the police made by one of the teens when  he realized that they were being kidnapped. The quick interruption of the call by shooting the boys was not inconsistent with what could be expected of an experienced  Mossad operative.

If the murder of the teens  was really an Israeli black operation, it would only be yet another example  of the  theory that for Israeli policymakers  the problem is that there isn’t  sufficient terrorism to cover  their  ruthless intentions. It’s hardly a secret that Israelis intend to reduce the non-Jewish population to 20%  or less in Eretz Yizroel, of  the ever-changing boundaries. They made great progress in 1948 and 1967, amounting to the expulsion of about 1.5 million Palestinians and perhaps 70,000 to 90,000 Syrian Golanis. Ever since then they’ve settled down to the long haul, making life as difficult as possible for the millions of non-Jews they want to remove.

Critical to their purposes is the full support of the United States.  In George W. Bush and Barack Obama they have finally found U.S. presidents who are as cold towards the Palestinians as they could wish.  When Barack Obama was elected, he chose to allow the December 2008-January 2009 Cast Lead operation to go forward and to continue until the very last moment — minutes before he took office.

When will the current Gaza operation end? It will end when Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama agree it will end. It could end today (7.19.14) with a phone call from Obama.”

 

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Frank Palatnick.

( He was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 for ” networking global education administrators in order to understand other countries, cultures and specifically students in order to create a pathway to a sustained peace.) 

“1) I am neutral. Even though I was brought up in a Jewish household ( now I am an Atheist ), I do not bring my upbringing philosophies to my work. As a global facilitator I understand that I must see all factors in a situation. The wholistic approach is used in teacher, legal and judicial training academies around the world. Ethically, I cannot take any sides.

2) based on the concept of ‘ Violence begets Violence ‘ I feel that Israel should find a more peaceful modality to prevent further hostilities. If someone slaps me, I will turn the other cheek. Bringing an offending/belligerent party to the International Criminal Court, in my opinion, would be the most rational approach to the problem. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ( Article 15 ) ” Everyone has the right to a nationality ” and ” No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his/her nationality nor denied the right to change his/her nationality “.also the U.N. Resolution 181 created and established the partition plan for Palestine and Israel.

3) Israel needs a more humane and peaceful strategy.

5) The solution: I am attempting to do that as we speak. After World War II, specifically in 1956, President Eisehauer suggested that a civilian approach to the world problems be used. He therefore created and established an international organization that would ” exchange individual civilian experts in many fields and arenas in order to find a more down to earth approach that would attempt to solve many political and diplomatic issues and problems “. It was to be known as ‘ People to People Ambassador Programs ‘.

In 1998 I was invited to be an education administration ambassador. I was sent to China, Australia and Jordan. I learned a lot about one culture’s understanding of another culture. They were seeing it as a generalized concept. Everyone was understanding the paradigm ‘ Those Americans……….. ‘ or ‘ Those Israeli’s ……. ‘ or ‘ Those ( fill in the blank )……. ‘. As I became more experienced and therefore understood more I found that the paradigm/mindset should be ‘ Individuals are individuals ‘ . Each one of us has different experiences based on the fact that I, and only myself, have my own experiences. Individuals interpret their experience/s in their own way based on their upbringing.

After taking courses in ‘ Pre and perinatal psychology ‘ , which includes epigenetics, I came to the conclusion that our understanding and approach to our environment was due also to our ancestors. Of course, that wasn’t set in stone. Based on neuroplasticity, the brain/mind can always change. However, if our peers and immediate societal relations stay the same, that original mindset will stay the same. I have made it my business/career to attempt to alter the understanding of the Middle East whether they have a terrorist mindset or not.

As we speak I am currently dialoging with government officials in Palestine and Israel through electronic modalities I.e. Email and efax. They include the Director of Teacher Training and ex Minister of Justice of Palestine as well as an ex Member of the Israeli Knesset. I am trying, with some success, to get them to understand that (1) Individualism is the proper understanding of society (2) Empathy is a more successful mindset than hatred and (3) Nuclear holocaust is not the answer based on the movie ‘ The Day After ‘.

I am also trying to inculcate the frameworks found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as other legal frameworks found in the Manual of Human Rights for Judges, Prosecutors and Attorneys in the minds of Palestinians and Israelis. There is a facilitators guide for that manual. I am using that guide in its entirety to facilitate the understanding that it is about individual rights. Everyone is endowed with inalienable rights as a human being. We cannot afford to understand group philosophies. That can be and is dangerous to our continuance as a society.”

 

Jaime Ortega-Simo. 

(The Daily Journalist president and founder) 

“Morally speaking, I support innocent people from each side. killing to prove a point to someone else is just plain wrong! because one way or another, its all based on biased opinion and personal beliefs.

I am against the occupation of settlements from the Zionist regime, which secular Jews are having a hard time containing on Israel’s western borders; the movement is growing everyday larger in members, and there is an internal war that secular’s have to fight against in order to neutralize the rise of the ultra orthodox community.

I believe the IDF, should punish more severely the Zionist and Hill Top movement, who are taking land segments from Palestinian territory only to feed their ultra orthodox Ideologies. Palestine is infested with illegal settlements occupied by Kahanist as of today, which I personally blame the IDF for not removing with more incisive determination.

Palestinians have the right to protest against such occupations, and Netanyahu cannot complain against their demands because they have grown tired of Israel’s inefficiency to take down illegal settlements.

The rockets launched into Israel come out of frustration. So I support Palestine based on a political basis. Israel’s excuse to attack Gaza, is based on the disappearance of 3 Jewish kids; in contrast, Israel has killed many more Palestinians on a one-on-one basis than what the media reports. Overall its not a fair war.

Israel is a democracy, but when it starts to indiscriminately kill innocent civilians to prove an uncessary point, they simply look like a tyrannical regime that is blood thirsty for revenge. Israel doesn’t stand out for democracy, if it continues its military strikes. They are “humane” ways to solve problems, its not all based on retaliation and destruction. Palestinians hate Israel, and giving the current circumstances, rightly so.

However, the problem where the Palestinian cause starts to crumble is based exclusively on their religious beliefs.

I don’t support Islamic ideologies and despite their propaganda to paint a beautiful world, I don’t think Islam is a ‘peaceful’ religion by any stretch of the imagination (specially historically speaking); And no matter what part of the world you look into, even as of today (2014), with Islam always follows conflict of interest opposing other belief systems (its almost a norm everywhere).

You just have to watch and hear the persecution of Christians, Hindus, Bahais, Buddhist, Atheist, homosexuals, women, non believers on different parts of the world; who either get kidnapped, tortured or killed for not following Islamic laws.

I don’t want to witness the day when a western democratic culture is torn away by a 7th century believe system, that doesn’t deem necessary to adapt and adopt our present model of society with all its applied rules. I think that the adaptation of Islam is dangerous for the future of democratic nations, since Islam instead of adapting, uses democracy to try to conquer via ‘ideological propaganda’ the hearts of lower class citizens as an strategical advantage to their cause. Historically, everyone targets poor people to grow larger in numbers because a sandwich with a cute label, can transform into a future vote if you play your cards right.

Case and point! One has to look at the Islamic Brotherhood, and how they successfully used democracy, feeding the needy in the streets of Alexandria and El Cairo for decades. After they defeated the regime, used ‘elections’ and called the peasants to promote their Islamic agenda to win seats in congress as an exchange to their decades of kindness. Trying to transform Egypt into a Talibanic state. They also used the secular youth to achieve their goal to expel Mubarak from power, and when Morsi won, they rebelled and turn their back to kill secular activists.

I am pro ‘El-Sisi‘! And HAMAS, did not accept the peace treaty sent by El-Sisi, based exclusively on his hard stance with the Islamic Brotherhood; supporting religious based decisions over political decisions. HAMAS wants peace not based on a political view, but on a religious outlook.

HAMAS is a Islamic fundamentalist based organization, backed by Al-Shabab, Al-qaeda, Al-Nusra, The Brotherhood…And its Hezbollah the Iranian fundamentalist organization the one supplying HAMAS with weapons. So its one fundamentalist organization supplying another — Not a Walt Disney story!

Palestinians must understand that their belief system pushes the Israel-Palestinian cause back to an empty wall, ‘specially’ when they vote for an organization that supports radical Quranic beliefs. When terrorism strikes in Europe ,or the US, everyone naturally (despite their view of the Palestinian cause) goes against them and their party because it is viewed as a terrorist organization. And that helps and fuels the Israeli propaganda against terrorist organizations.

So, on a religious basis, I can’t morally support the Palestinian cause. It goes against democracy, and against western laws achieved by its citizens after centuries of progress.

Anyone who is serious about peace must look at the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in its complete entirety without picking just one slice that supports their personal opinion. Its much bigger than just one problem.

Israel needs to pull back their troops from Gaza immediately, take down the illegal settlements build from the hand of the Zionists, treat Palestinians more humanly and not as second class citizens. They might not own the land now, but they have been there for millennia and should be respected. Israel should also not cut supplies to their Palestinian counterparts because its inhumane and intolerable morally speaking. Revenge doesn’t solve conflicts, that’s why ‘I don’t stab my neighbor if he drops trash in my garage.’

Palestinians on the other hand, have to abide and respect Israel as its a ‘real country‘, and treat it not, as an occupational force. Palestinians must not vote for ‘radical Islamist organizations’, who look outside the world of politics, into a religious cause to support their inner ideologies which are of no good use for politics.

If Palestinians vote for HAMAS again, then Israel in response holds the right to treat them as a terrorist organization, and not as a peaceful political party, since they represent the votes of the Palestinian majority. In no western culture that would be allowed because it could mutate into a systemic cancer, and the results would be no other than the expulsion of that country from NATO or from any other importance western alliance.

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