By  Daoud Kuttab
Three years ago the Israeli army initiated a major military offensive against the people of the Gaza Strip with the aim of stopping the shelling from Gaza and the release of one of their soldiers that was held in the strip. 

Over 1,400 Palestinians, many of them women and children, were killed, thousands were injured, and public, private and internationally owned properties were damaged as a result of the attack that came from land, sea and air.

Both publicly stated goals failed in this criminal war against a defenseless population and lightly armed militants. 

Shelling from Gaza has continued intermittently since the war. It slowed down considerably as a result of a unilateral decision by Hamas, and could end immediately if Israel were to deal with the Islamic movement. As to the captured Israeli soldier, the Israelis were forced to do what Hamas offered them from day one, to trade him for imprisoned Palestinians.

Israel and to a lesser extent, Hamas, were accused by renowned UN appointed international jurists of having committed war crimes. 

Following extreme pressure on him and his family the head of the UN commission South African judge Richard Goldstone, later wrote an opinion article changing some of the conclusions of the committee he headed. He never made any official change in the report that was submitted as an official document to the United Nations.

The Israeli-imposed siege on Gaza has continued and has been publicly justified by major world countries even though this siege was and remains totally illegal. No international body has approved the restriction of movement of people and goods into or out of the Gaza strip. 

An international effort to break the siege has resulted in a de facto loosening of this siege. Unfortunately this effort has cost nine Turkish peace activists. Israel's relations with an important NATO member has since collapsed due to Israel's refusal to apologize for killing Turks in international waters.

While the slight easing of the siege (especially in regards to badly needed building materials) has resulted in the beginnings of a rebuilding campaign, much more is needed. The hundreds of millions of dollars pledged at the Sharm al Sheikh conference for the rebuilding of Gaza have slowly trickled into the populated strip but have gone mostly to or through international organizations such as the United Nations Refugee Works Agency.

Whether it has been the result of the Arab Spring (especially in as far as Hamas's Damascus headquarters) or for other reasons, Hamas has slowly experienced discernible change since the breakout of the war. Ruling and governing can do a lot to soften any movement's ideologies. The fear of losing in future elections can do amazing things for softening the sharp edges of any movement.

In this respect, the Palestinian reconciliation efforts have produced some unprecedented changes in the political discourse as well as in the daily actions of the Hamas movement and government. Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal is now proclaiming his movements' change of resistance strategy.

The militant movement is now committed to prioritizing nonviolent resistance in all its activities. This position is translated on the ground in Gaza by the movement refraining from launching missiles towards Israel and in arresting or otherwise preventing any individual or group from doing so. This is explained as necessary for the higher interest of Palestinians in Gaza.

Politically the Hamas movement is slowly removing all the issues that caused it international isolation.

By agreeing to join the PLO Hamas is indirectly recognizing Israel, which the Palestinian Liberation Organisation officially did on the eve of the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Internationally, the world community will not be able to justify continued isolation of Hamas even if Israel insists on such an isolation. After all, US and other western leaders have publicly stated their willingness to work with the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists who have won elections or power in Tunis, Libya and Egypt.

Gaza at the end of 2011 is not the same as it was at the end of 2008, both negatively and positively. 

The Arab Spring requires that the current siege and all its effects are once and for all removed so that Palestinians in Gaza can live normally with the ability to move in and out of the strip. Also, Palestinian goods and people from the West Bank should equally have the right to move unfettered to the strip without the illegal and immoral siege restricting them.

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my appologies.. but u seem to be giving off teh wrong impression  - others have gotten the same impression... what is a "bi-national movemnet"?

sorry , again, for my poor English. read here -


What exactly do you stand for.

What should be done about Gaza?

What should be done about terror?

What should be done about kidnappings?

What should be done about Jaffam, Acco ,Haifa?

If we agree to all these and do nothing about terror, kidnappings and self defense-WILL WE HAVE PEACE?


I want, I wish,  my country to be the honest one it had been until the occupation. Only people who live here can tell the real differences.

What "occupation are you referring to , the one in 1948 or the one in 1867? We were very honest until either and for our honesty we were invaded by 6 Arab armies in 1948 and terrorized between 1948 and 1967 and than the Arabs told us to learn how to swim as they were going to push us into the Med. But I guess nothing has changed for some Israeli loving Jews. But that last comment is really laughable as the Israelis living there have elected a RIGHT wing government and the Left has been almost killed off. Hardly anyone wants to end the "OCCUPATION"  and no one wants to depose Natanyahu because there is no "peace talks". So I guess Israelis do know the real difference.

Irit. Right, you do not agree with everything that "Hamas does" and what about the charters of Hamas and the PLO? I have looked through all the archives of Mepeace and have not seen a single condemnation by you of the rockets ,stabbings or other deeds by the Palestinians but I do see a lot of ink about those dastardly Israelis and the IDF making the lives of Gazans and Palestinians a living hell (My transliteration). So what does that mean as to your preoccupation with Gaza ,Judea and Samaria as compared to Sderot and other cities in Israel being rocketed?

Do you complain to the Palestinians in these Bi-national meeting? I bet not, but you do complain about the IDF, if one can correlate your writing here.

So please lets stop with some manufactured righteous indignation for pointing out what I perceive to be reality as spoken through your posts. I am not writing about you but rather reflecting on your posts. If you think that I am unfair that debunk my impressions and show me who you are.

You may not find much of my writing here - there is somewhere else I am writing. 

You do not know me, or my activity - but you judge me.

You self-righteous and insulting. You address me as if I am on trial.

 I have no wish to talk with you.

Have a good day.


Running away when someone does not agree with you is in fact a sign that one does not believe in their convictions. You would be better served to show me where I have been wrong and where I have misjudged or insulted you. Disagreeing with someone is certainly not an insult. You made a statement and I called you on it but instead you just ignored it and changed the subject and showed your righteous indignation as if no one has a right to his/her opinion.

We disagree  and I have no problem with that.

BTW, I am frequently in Israel and have friends and colleagues in very high places so I am familiar with the State of affairs in Israel and am very actice in the Jewish/Israeli community in Toronto.

IRIT  Ghazi brought up an article by Barry Rubin  and here is a snippet. It fits in nicely what I said about-Running away as in the following post to you.

But here’s the relevant part for all of us: my colleague explained that there had been about 300 comments to that article, some positive and most negative. And, he recounted, not a single one of the negative responses cited a single fact. They did not say, for example: “Oh, you’ve gotten the numbers wrong,” or “Here’s a critical point you missed.”

No, the theme of every attack was that “only a fascist would say this” or “you cannot say such a thing.”

What these people were saying is that they don’t have to argue with you or pay attention to what you are saying. They can just close their eyes, put their hands over their ears, and scream: “Liar! Evil person! You have no right to disagree with us or else we will destroy you.”

If there is to be peace in the world we must stop the blaming. Do not forget that wars start with words, then they evolve into mass genocide. If we are going to talk about these issues we must look for solutions, not perpetuate the same vitriolic arguments that start these conflicts in the first place.  SOPORIFFICK LOVES YOU PEACE FOR INFINITY OO

The problem is Israel is shooting fish in barrel well hamas is randomly hoping to hit something. This isn’t a war it is one group blasting the shit out of the other.



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