mepeace.org

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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The idea of "war crime" is just a way for the Palestinians and one-side Palestinian to fight the Israeli power, we need to recognize that Israel is stronger many folds from the Palestinians so why os the missile strategy is used? 

The Solution is a Palestinian state and we cannot have Palestinian state that continue to resist the existans of the Israeli state. 

To Build Palestine we need to start from the Palestinian capacity to run civilized state,

really it was very baad dayes

So many words have already been said about the poor life, the injustice and the must- to-change, of Gaza's situation.

For the new year, I do wish for this change to be happened.
                             I do wish better  days for the people of Gaza, with the IDF out of their life.

                             I do wish them normal  quiet life, jobs to make their living, and every mean to survive.

The IDF will be out of their life when Hamas and Affiliates stop rocket and mortar launchings into civilian areas of Israel and when Hamas stops trying to invent ways to kidnap IDF soldiers.  When this occurs, if it ever occurs, the people of Gaza will live better lives.  There is nothing Israel wants more than security from Gaza intrusions.  Let's hope. 

there are two for a tango. it is not all the Palestinian's side fault...

let's hope indeed.

Irit.

Really? How is it Israel's fault? Too many IDF soldiers there, too many Jews living there, the fence that was built?

Maybe Israel has not been forceful enough after they left Gaza and after Gilad Shalit was kidnapped? What would you like to have happened after these two Goodwill gestures by Israel?

comon man i lived in ashdod where rockets used to hit from gaza the only  scary thing of it,is  its  high sound  that prevented us from sleeping  those rockets are like baby toys! we need to stop  finding excuses for the IDF  just  to stop the blame from being put  tell me somthing have you ever watched clips of when families on the beach  get killed i mean they were not a hamas nor the babies where shooting rockets  you guys are shooting humans  and that is not right  both sides  should stop the violence but  remmmber  when you slap somone  they will slap you back

Irit

I am taken aback by the one sided comments made by an Israeli Jew. I do not have a problem with what you said other than correct your mistaken statement that the IDF is somehow in the lives of Gaza. Simply erroneous and completely untrue.

What I disagree with is your omission of Rockers at Israeli cities by the Palestinians  from Gaza as well as the money being spent on rockets and other armaments that would in effect offer jobs and a means to survive as well as build infrastructure. The firing of these rockets is the cause of their not having a quiet life but it is miniscule as compared to the suffering on Israeli communities adjoining Gaza.

The only way that this can change is to abandon the Hamas and PLO charters and stop firing and acquiring offensive weapons.

Irit is an Israeli Jew. She would have done military service, and she has lived her entire life under the threat of war. Without a proper peace settlement, any children Irit has will also do active military service. This kind of life style is an offence to the sensibilities of any intelligent Jewish Girl. Irit has no country but Israel in which she can live. the same can be said of every Palestinian refugee - the 5 million. They were illegally transferred from their homes, and like Irit, have no where else to live.

 

You are a Canadian male Jew. You live in a different world, a world that is very safe and comfortable. You have a family, and you can be confident your family will inherit the benefits of your labour. Irit cannot have this confidence or surety, and you are doing nothing to enhance her country’s potential for a long-term peace solution. Instead, you are pushing Israel in the direction of a One State Solution, which is fine, from my perspective, but it must be stressful for Irit to think of such a solution, although I suspect she would rather One State than perpetual war, and international disgrace for Israel, which will start to roll in as the world begins to take stock of Israel’s intransigence over a proper peace deal.

 

The refugees of Gaza, and elsewhere are from Israel, and until Israel pays them good compensation, or allows for their return, there will be conflict coming from these people. It is not the people of Gaza with which you are at war. It is these refugees, who are not ever going to be able to settle in Gaza or any other Arab country, unless they are given the resources to be independent, as they once were, before the Israeli military forced them out of their homes and places of work.

 

You can go on arguing about Hamas being evil, but everyone knows that the enemy is always evil, so you prove nothing but your unwillingness to negotiate a fair deal.

 

 

Susan - I am an Israeli Jew, I went to the army and so will my children.  This in no which way does "This kind of life style is an offence to the sensibilities", It is a fact of life that you have to get used to when you live in a bad neigborhood. I can only dream for peace but I do not trust my neigbors to the degree that I am willing to give up my army which protects me from those who try to harm me.

Sussan. It is very rude to speak for someone other than yourself and I am sure Irit does not need a lawyer.

Irir, as you describe her, is not the Israeli Jewish thinking at this time and Jews and Israelis are dismayed and disappointed with the Palestinians for electing a terror group to lead them and for not protesting or disagreeing with this group about the killing and maiming of JEWS. It is a fact that Israelis have elected MK's that are more Nationalistic and Right wing as a result and have all but killed the Left that supports Palestinians. There is talk about another war in Gaza as a result of the rockets being accumulated and fired at Israeli cities. Irit is too preoccupied with Gaza to worry about Sderot and other cities in Israel where Jews are being killed and maimed and property destroyed and where school children are worried about going to school.

If Gaza was peaceful than I would consider negotiating , but under the current circumstances that is not even an option. But we must defeat that evil emanating from there and the Palestinians themselves MUST prove that they are peaceful and wish Israel no harm.

The Arabs have 22 States that do not want the Palestinians while Jews have no other country.

Sp please let Irit speak for herself and than she can be judged by her words and not through a THIRD party( (YOU)

What you said, Kingsley, about the Arabs having 22 States that do not want the Palestinians while Jews have no other country, is misconstruing the truth.
The Jews are free and welcome to live in most countries.  Not so, the Palestinians. It is they, the Palestinians, who need a country – at the very least, Palestinians need the whole ½ of their country that was allocated to them by the UN, back in the 1940’s.

 

Let’s talk about why the other Arab countries do not want Palestinians. It is because Israelis hate the Palestinians and Israel has bombed Arab countries for no reason other than those countries had Palestinians living there - Palestinians who were intent on reclaiming land that had been stolen from them by Israeli Jews.

Palestine should never have been divided. It has been a total disaster, with no end of wars, mayhem and human rights abuses. Israel should have lost its membership in the UN when Israel took most of Palestine and then refused to allow the refugees to return. This is what would have happened if we lived in a world that was ruled by democratic countries.

Never forget, every problem experienced by Palestinians is the direct result of Jews having commandeered their country and forced out the Palestinians, who still have nowhere to live, after more than 60 years. They will agitate for a place to live until they acquire one. No one ever stole a country from the Jews. It was the Jews themselves who had migratory habits, and spread themselves throughout the world, as they still do today.

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