First of all, before I dive into the rhetoric, let me begin by saying I hope everybody had a fantastic holiday season and New Years.
As I relaxed during my vacation, things heated up considerably between Israel and Palestine. We saw a week of air strikes followed by a massive ground invasion of the Gaza strip. As ‘official’ casualties stand, 4 Israeli’s are dead and roughly 400 Palestinians are dead, most of them Hamas members. This is obviously a huge story, and represents several things for Israel. The events have been and will be discussed to death – and people continue to endlessly argue about the why, the how, the what of how evil/cruel/ruthless either side is. Truth be told, we will not know the real answers until this is over. But, Israel is entirely justified in their actions, and are going about this as carefully and powerfully as they should be.
It’s important to look upon these events with a sense of perspective – Israel and Hamas greatly mistrust each other. They have been fighting for years, and both sides have dirt on their hands. However, Hamas has proven itself over and over again to be a ruthless regime that cares little for the good of their people. As part of their charter, their stated goal is to annihilate Israel, to keep up the fight until they have taken back all of ‘their’ land. As part of the truce that expired, we saw continuous rocket fire over the entire sumer. Hardly the stance of a country that wants to make peace. Hamas leaders, in the past, and especially when this past ‘truce’ was ratified, have openly, even proudly stated that any peace achieved would be used to gather strength and to prepare for fighting Israel. It is easy for many of us to underestimate such statements, dismiss them out of hand – but they take themselves seriously. They use any and all means to battle, as we see when they masterfully employ propaganda to further their goals. When they were given Gaza, they made sure that infrastructure was destroyed in order to perpetuate Palestinian’s constant state of misery – this misery and poverty makes them very susceptible to being manipulated and used as tools in a far greater agenda. We also cannot forget the fact that Hamas is openly backed and supported by Iran – an accepted enemy and rival of Israel.
The government of Hamas is not interested in peace. They oppress their countrymen, and have forced Israel to act as harsh as they have the past year. The borders are closed for a reason – Weapon smuggling is rampant, and UN refugee camps have been used as centers for inciting hatred, violence, producing suicide bombers, and building weapons. Israel has every reason to want to control the flow over their borders, because they have been abused in the past. Egypt keeps their border closed as well – they do not want to get involved, and have other motives – which results in no supplies getting through except through smuggling tunnels. Egypt, like much of the arab world, sees the Palestinians as a useful thorn in the side of Israel. There are many reasons for this – there’s plenty of bad blood with Israel over past, lost wars, and with all the attention focused on Israel, they can maintain their oppressive regimes with little scrutiny. They will protest, trumpet loudly about the evils of the zionists – but they will only go so far, and we have seen them waffle and waver this past week.
Hamas must be toppled, and Israel has to step up to the plate and assist the Gazan state in rebuilding infrastructure and restoring normalcy to the area. Israel has already stated that their sole goal is to destroy Hamas, they have no intention of long term occupation. Gaza now belongs to the Palestinians, and it will stay that way. I urge all of you foaming at the mouth to condemn Israel to watch, wait, and observe events closely these next few weeks – roughly a week ago, Israel opened a border crossing, and we have seen them specifically target Hamas military targets. Civilian deaths result, despite the precision weaponry, because Hamas deploys in population centers. But, as Israel fills the region, and kicks Hamas out (Hamas has no chance of winning this fight, something I will discuss soon) we will likely see an outpouring of aid into the area.
I hope that I’m right, and I hope that this conflict is resolved as soon as possible. Not only is it dangerous for Israeli’s and Palestinians, it’s crucial to remember that as long as this conflict goes on, the world’s eyes will be averted from all else. Now is the perfect time for malevolent forces and regimes the world over to make bold moves and further their goals, and they’ve already begun.
A good overview of the overall situation, and yes, I read this AFTER I wrote this post. (Courtesy of a fellow digger)
http://www.honestreporting.com/a/gaza2008primer.html ((Unfortunately dead link, goes to main page))
EDIT 6/10/13: Removed old announcements, dead link warning