Friday, January 9, 2009

'The war isn't over, but Israel has lost'

The lessons of Gaza
Andrew J. Bacevich, The Boston Globe: Israel's return to Gaza constitutes a tacit admission of strategic failure now stretching back four decades.

Israel's weeklong turning point
Gideon Lichfield, The Economist's Jerusalem correspondent: When the question the world is asking is not 'Who's right?' but 'What works?' the consistent impression Israel leaves is that it kills people because, at best, it simply doesn't have any better ideas; and at worst, because some Israeli leader is trying to get the upper hand on one of his or her rivals.'

Jeet Heer, National Post: Why are young Jews so harsh in their criticism of Israel? The only honest answer is Israel's terrible human rights record. The wanton slaughter in Gaza is merely the latest in a long litany of Israeli atrocities, all of which help the Jewish state win some short-term victories while making long-term peace impossible.

The Georgia Straight: 'As Jews, this is the moment for us to take a just stand, to think back to our own history and to remember that "never again" means never again for anyone,': Mia Amir, a member of Jews for a Just Peace. 'I believe it is important for Palestinian organizers that Jews are present in this work because our presence helps challenge the idea that criticism of and opposition to Israel is anti-Semitic, which it absolutely isn't.'

We feel that it is important to speak out as Jewish youth in Canada and to denounce what Israel is doing in our name... Even though there have been approximately 100 Palestinian deaths for every Israeli killed by rocket fire, we recognize that Israeli Apartheid also leads to Israeli casualties. The blame for these deaths lies with Israel -- if there were no occupation and no apartheid policies, there would be no rocket fire.

Juan Cole, Informed Comment: The Israelis are both an army and a settler movement... When threatened by an indigenous population trying to expel it, settler colonialism is vicious... The lives of the indigenous population are viewed as worthless before the interests of the colonists. Settler colonialism is unstable in the contemporary world because of the facilities subject populations have for mobilization and resistance. Conflict between colonizer and colonized has only ended in one of three ways: 1) The expulsion of the colonists, as in Algeria; 2) the integration of the colonists into a nation that includes the indigenous population, as happened in South Africa; or 3) the expulsion of the indigenous population as with the Trail of Tears in the nineteenth-century United States.

Tony Karon: Repeating behaviors that have produced catastrophic failures and expecting a different result is insane; and when a person's psychotic behavior puts himself and those around him in immediate physical danger, the responsibility of those who claim to be his friends is to restrain him... The alternative to war, ignored by Israel but patently obvious, is simple: It will have to negotiate with Hamas...

Israel, quite simply, is not a normal society. It is a country without fixed legal borders... 80% of today's Gazans are refugee families, who were driven out of homes and off land they owned inside what is now Israel in 1948, and forbidden by one of the founding laws of the State of Israel from ever returning. Is it any surprise then that the basic default position of Palestinian politics has always been to refrain from 'recognizing' Israel in the sense of simply abandoning their own claims to homes and land stolen from them by Israel's very creation...

What would Ehud Barak do if it had been his father or grandfather who'd been forced off a farm in Ashkelon and now found himself in the hellhole of Gaza? You already know his answer. And that answer will remain the same (even if Barak would never dream of admitting it any longer) as long as justice and dignity is denied to the community that gave rise to Hamas... If the madness is to be stopped, Israel and the Palestinians will have to be told where their borders are, as part of an internationally enforced, fair settlement that gives the parties no choice.

Incoming administration will abandon Bush's isolation of Islamist group to initiate low-level diplomacy.
Image: Eric Gaillard/Reuters