If the situation continues on the basis that Israel says that the Arabs must make the next move and the Arabs say Israel must make the next move, then nothing will change and thousands more innocent lives will be lost. Is that what we really want?
Furthermore, I specifically said that Israel's move should be towards the UN by way of fulfilling its obligations and seeking the necessary guarantees to protect its legitimate interests. This would not be a concession by Israel towards the Arabs or Palestinians but full participation by Israel in the UN by accepting its responsibilities and demanding its legitimate rights.
In some ways, it can be said that the Palestinians and Arab States have already put some effort along the lines I have mentioned.
They have been successful in getting countless judgements through the UN and the ICJ based on international law to the effect that Israel must withdraw to the pre-1967 borders, end house demolitions and forced displacement of local residents, dismantle the wall, stop collective punishments, extra-judiciary executions etc etc.
The Palestinians and some Arab States have also put some effort along the lines of recognising Israel: Both Palestinian and Arab leaders have publicly agreed to recognize Israel in her pre-1967 war borders. Jordan and Egypt have already signed peace treaties with Israel.
Once Israel fully complies with its obligations, there will be no further hesitation by any Arab leadership in recognising the State of Israel, so what is Israel waiting for?
Can it really expect Palestinian or Arab full recognition of a State of Israel that defies international law, continuing to illegally occupy Palestinian territory and failing to treat all residents of the region it controls equally, depending on their religion and national identity, effectively practising apartheid?
The onus in this respect remains on Israel to become a state that can be legitimately recognised in the region, then it will be recognised with great enthusiasm.
Anyhow, if you believe that working with the UN will bring us to the same state, then there is nothing to lose and everything to gain - worst case scenario is that the situation does not change for the worse, best case scenario is that the entire conflict is resolved.
I'm not sure where to start, Ramsey,beyond that, rather than buying into various narratives, you could go to primary sources, especially on the subject of what it legal and illegal. Journalistsic mantras don't actually serve as factual reality.
Firstly there are the rights and obligations of UN membership, something that, despite the media's misconceptions and misrepresentations, Israel has been pedantic about. As a member state, the UN doesn't "protect" you. You simply have the right to defend yourself against attack. Israel exercised that right, after trying everything short of lying down and dying, for the three years after it turned Gaza over to the Palestinians. Furthermore, your faith in the UN is somewhat misplaced. Israel has tried everything you suggested and more. Its complaints to the UN have fallen on very deaf ears, and probably rightfully so in some ways. Hamas is not a member state and so the UN cannot exercise any control over it by definition.
You're wrong about the ICJ. Israel is not a member, and therefore the ICJ has no jurisdiction where Israel is concerned, nor has it ever dealt directly with anything to do with Israel beyond responding to a UN Genral assembly request to offer legal advice regarding Israel's security fence. The Arabs have certainly successfully brought in lots of UN General Assembly resolutions condemning Israel for anything under the sun. I'm sorry that you see that as a positive. They have ignored Darfur, Sudan, Rhawanda, and most of the most horrific genocides in the world, but have spent countless hours over a fence. Great. Positively marvelous. They have special fulltime people, "special investigators" whose sole job is to dig up dirt about this tiny country the size of some Texan farms, and report back to the UN.
The UN hasn't told Israel "to withdraw to the 1967 lines". If you check the text of every resolution you will find exactly the same language, and that is that "final borders will be decided between the parties". That is simply the way it has to be because the 1967 line isn't a border, it's an armstice line that simply delineates where fighting stopped. Borders are things that need to be agreed upon between neighbours, and that makes all the sense in the world, because otherwise they'll always be disputed, and wars will never end.
I understand that you personally simply want Israel to move to the 1967 lines. Perhaps you even believe that the logical outcome is peace. International obligations require that Israel stay until it can hand over the policing to another body from that population to take charge, THis requires peace agreements, and agreements on borders, as prescribed by various UN resolutions like 242.
When you say Palestinian leaders "have publicly agreed to recognize Israel in her pre-1967 war borders", I'm wondering which leaders you mean. Hamas, the Palestinian goverment couldn't make it clearer that their only purpose for existing is to get rid of Israel (oh, and Egypt, and kill Jews the world over). How did you miss all that? It's no accident that Israel is in Gaza. Abass, too, made it abundantly clear at Annapolis that he would "never recognise Israel as a Jewish state". Article 12 of the Fatah constitution demands "Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence" ... it is something Fatah's El Aksa grigades live and die for. It's probably why they were fighting alongside Hamas in Gaza while Hamas was killing and torturing Fatah members. I guess it's about priorities. I won't even touch on the other members of the PA .. Islamic Jihad, PFLP, DFLP etc
So, who speaks for the Palestinians, Ramsey, and with whom can Israel make a deal? You can't be blind to the string of events that have led from tens of thousands of Palestinians working in Israel and the Palestinians having an enviable healthy lifestyle prior to Oslo, and the rapid downward spiral since terorists were installed as their leaders, who had finally found the perfect base from which to attack Israel. If you truly seek peace, gert rid of every last one of these terrorists who seek nothing beyond destroying and let the Palestinians find their own voice, determine their own future, and you'll be surprised how quickly peace comes knocking. Don't berate the Israelis for defending themselves ... they can't do anything else. Please, just give the Palestinians their lives back.
Once Israel fully complies with its obligations, there will be no further hesitation by any Arab leadership in recognizing the State of Israel, so what is Israel waiting for?
Israel wait for seeing the conditions of the quartet for Palestine source:
According to its statement, the Quartet expressed its support for Salam Fayyad and his government, which it said "reflects the January 30, 2006 Quartet principles," referring to the three conditions set down by the international mediators 18 months ago following Hamas' election victory. The three conditions for acceptance were: accept Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and adopt the previously signed peace agreements.
In terms of the Palestinians' right to freedom of movement, the Quartet emphasized "the importance of creating circumstances that would allow for full implementation of the Agreement on Movement and Access, particularly in view of the impact of crossings on the Palestinian economy and daily life."
THe Quartet is really meaningless: the US dictates terms. I would liketo see them insist THAT ISRAEL withdraws to 1967 borders, Israel recognize right of Palestine to exist, Israel renounce violence, and Israel adopt all previously signed peace agreements (they didn't, e.g. they did not freeze settlements). Only then they can demand the occupied do the same and commence more equal negotiations.
The fact is, although you many of you seem to hate HAMAS, they are the legally elected leaders of the Palestinian people! Israel and her allies, namely America refuse to talk with HAMAS, because they use violence to achieve their objectives. Yet America and Israel use violence to achieve theirs?!?! I invite you all to think about the amount of blood the US and Israel have on their hands from their bloody history! In this case why should anyone listen to the US? Why wait on their every word? This is the double standards of the world today, which is poisoning the lives of many innocent human beings!
It's a shame to see so much ignorance, as the world seems content to follow and believe the lies of Israel and the US blindly!!!
Thank you for discussing this, as it is not easy issue and it has emotional stress.
I do not think that our situation would be better if Israel and America will not have double standard and act for their interests and ideology as Hamas do. If they would not have this double standards, we would not have any one survive from Gaza, Israel and America can make Gaza flat plane of nothingness,
The double standard is sometime complex standard, Israel has through its democratic political system more voices that influence its behavior, there are "we against them in war" approach as the Hamas, and as the Hamas it support using force against the enemy. but Israel has valid and influential voices that seek peace and cooperation with the Palestinians, and they push Israel behavior to be more into "human rights" understanding.
Hamas also is not a monolith and I think we can recognize many Hamas supporters who have more complex standards and they can see how peace agreement with existence of Israel is a better next stage then the continues war state we are in.
unfortunately, the settlers in Israel convincing the Palestinians that all the Israelis do not seek peace and willing to accept free autonomous Palestinian state as the Hamas violent-resistance group are convincing the Israelis that all the Palestinians are terrorists.
I think we can recognize that Hams as Israel and America do not have clean record ... and I propose we need different approach then to prove that one of the side is Evil. I invite you to see that this is a common goal of all of us to get out of blame game and avoid violence; parallel to that respect the Palestinian authentic resistance and progress to self determined Modern national state.
Hi Basil, I think part of the problem in communicating about these things is the loss of context, and context is so very critical. How did a blockade come about, and what could Hamas do to stop the blockade, if it wanted?
I'm sure that you know that there was a time when tens of thousands of Gazans commuted to Israel to work, and the population of Gaza was thriving. It wasn't the election of Hamas that changed that, but what Hamas did. Infiltrating suicide bombers with the workers simply convinced Israel to close her border and stop those workers from entering Israel. Instead the jobs went to Philipinos. So Hamas began smuggling bombers across the border, Israel built a fence. Hamas had the chance to build a wonderland in Gaza ... Forbes magazine recently reported on just how many billions were poured into Gaza, with virtually all of it going to either bank accounts or weapons.
Where you get it wrong, Basil, is that the missiles came before the crossing closure and not the other way round. In fact they started flying within hours of Israel's withdrawal from Gaza. On most days border crossings were closed because Hamas bombed them with mortars.
I think the thing that you may find difficult to accept is that Hamas has its own agenda which includes nieither the welfare of the Palestinians, nor even a Palestinian state ... in fact they oppose the concept of any states, and share that with their parent group, the Moslem Brotherhood, who have been trying to bring Egypt down since the 1950s. It is the very reason they are so opposed to Fatah, which does favour a Palestinian state. The booby traps Hamas left in schools and homes, happy to blow up the Palestinian residents together with any Israelis entering make their lack of regard for the Palestinian population abundantly clear. For them that populations best fate is as martyrs to the cause, and it's what they have been brainwashing Palestinian children to that end for years, using cutsey Mickey Mouse mock ups and other "lovable" characters.
Please don't close your eyes to this context, as you do neither the Palestinians, nor these discussions any favours in either ignoring them or glossing over them.
I believe that peace is possible, but am also convinced that this possibility won't see the light of day until Hamas, and like-minded terrorist groups who would rather see the Palestinians suffer than Israel survive, are gone from the scene, and people who actually represent Palestinian interests and care for the Palestinians are involved.
Basil, it's not a chicken and egg thing. Who did what is a matter of record, as is who intiated and who responded. Israel left Gaza three years ago ... the rockets began within hours of that. Israel didn't respond. With enough rockets, Israel began bombing the empty fields from where they were launched as a warning "look, we can hit where you're launching from, please stop". I think you know the rest.
What is harder to understand is that each time Israel opened the crossings to aid, Hamas bombed them to get them closed again, hijacked much of the aid and sold what it didn't use for its "fighters" at blackmarket prices ... and nobody seemed outraged. Throwing Fatah representatives off Gaza's highrises didn't bring much condemnation, and the recent executions of Palestinians accused of possibly collaberating (some in their hospital beds or jail cells) seems to get little response. What will it take for people to condemn them and for Palestinians to recognise that Palestinian interests aren't that high in Hamas priorities. Getting rid of Israel and the other nation states like Egypt and creating an Islamic state throughout the Middle East is their primary stated interest.
Perhaps. Basil, you should be asking yourself "why is Hamas so focussed on bombing the electric generator in Ashkelon that provides some 80% of Gaza's electricity?" I think you'll find it's for the same reason that they bomb the crossings and shut down Gaza's electric plant that provides a pittance, in order to issue pictures of "the Palestinian parliament meeting by candlelight". It was a pity about the sunshine streaming in through the drawn curtains.
There is only one goal, destroying Israel. Only one means, creating a generation of martyrs. To that end we have TV shows with cute creations advocating martyrdom, sermons in mosques advocating martyrdom, school texts for primary students, advocating martyrdom, and great efforts are made to intensify Palestinian suffering whilst blaming the Israelis, in order to achieve more martyrs.
Am I the only one who can see that the sooner the Palestinians can shuck off all the terrorist groups and have representatives who truly represent them, the sooner they will save their children and attain a lifestyle they so richly deserve, or will when they take their destiny into their own hands?
Have fun reading this lot and sleep well tonite!~
AUDIO: ISRAELI SOLDIERS SHOT PALESTINIAN CIVILIANS IN COLD BLOOD - TOP
Quil Lawrence, The World, PRI, 1/21/09
Two weeks ago Khaled Abed Drabo was trapped inside his house several days into the Israeli ground offensive. Artillery shells hammered his neighborhood east of the Jabaliya refugee camp. Three tanks parked outside his front door, and loudspeakers announced that civilians should leave the area.
Khaled says that’s when his wife, mother and three daughters stepped outside the front door waving white flags. They stood on the front steps for five minutes waiting for instructions from the Israeli soldiers only 10 yards away. But instead, Khaled says, a soldier appeared on one of the tank turrets, raised his rifle and began shooting. All three of the girls fell.
Khaled’s mother was shot in the upper left arm and abdomen. Recovering at her brother’s house, she tells the same story. “The soldier shot us slowly aiming at each one.” The women fled back into the house dragging the bleeding little girls. Suad, 7 years old, died immediately from bullets to her chest. 2-year-old Amal survied a few moments longer. “She was asking her mother for candy and chips. Then her mother asked her: ‘Do you love me?’ She said: ‘Yes.’ Then she died.” (MORE)
ISRAEL ACCUSED OF EXECUTING PARENTS IN FRONT OF CHILDREN IN GAZA - TOP
Israel has refuted allegations of war atrocities in Gaza after Palestinian children described how their parents had been "executed" by Israeli troops.
Murray Wardrop, Telegraph, 1/21/09
One nine-year-old boy said his father had been shot dead in front of him despite surrendering to Israeli soldiers with his hands in the air.
Another youngster described witnessing the deaths of his mother, three brothers and uncle after the house they were in was shelled.
He said his mother and one of his siblings had been killed instantly, while the others bled to death over a period of days.
A psychiatrist treating children in the village of Zeitoun on the outskirts of Gaza City, where the alleged incidents took place, described the deaths as a "massacre".
Rawya Borno, a Jordanian doctor, said civilians, including children, were rounded up and killed by Israeli troops. . .
A boy named Ahmed said he was trapped for days in the wreckage of the shelled Samouni family's house.
He said: "My mother was dead beside me, she was clutching my brother Nasser and they were dead. My brother Itzaq was bleeding for two days and then he died. My brother Izmael bled to death in one day. My uncle Talal was bleeding for two hours and he died. God bless them."
Dr Borno said: "It's a massacre. They collected them from their houses. They knew that they were civilians. They were children." (MORE)
PART II: PALESTINIAN US COLLEGE GRAD LOSES 2 BROTHERS IN ISRAELI SHOOTING; FATHER WATCHED SON BLEED TO DEATH AFTER ISRAELI TROOPS BLOCKED AMBULANCES - TOP
Democracy Now, 1/22/09
We return to the heart-wrenching tale of Amer Shurrab, who lost two of his brothers on the same day in an Israeli attack in Gaza. Amer is a Palestinian from Khan Yunis living in the United States. He recently graduated from Middlebury College. On Friday, his father and two brothers were fleeing their village when their vehicle came under Israeli fire. Twenty-eight-year-old Kassab died in a hail of bullets trying to flee the vehicle. Eighteen-year-old Ibrahim survived the initial attack, but Israeli troops refused to allow an ambulance to reach them until twenty hours later.
ISRAELI RIGHTS GROUPS DETAIL ALLEGATIONS OF ARMY ABUSE IN GAZA - TOP
Attacks on Medical Workers, Hospitals Charged; IDF Cites Acts To Shield Civilians, Blames Hamas
Nathan Jeffay, Forward, 1/15/09
On January 14, Israeli human rights groups issued a detailed report alleging serious human rights violations by Israel’s military in its three-week campaign in Gaza against Hamas. But Israel rejected the allegations and continued to notch up its effort to lay the blame on Hamas for the harm suffered by civilians during its military effort.
The coalition of nine human rights organizations, which included Physicians for Human Rights, the Israeli section of Amnesty International and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, charged that Israel’s conduct “constitutes a blatant violation of the laws of warfare and raises the suspicion, which we ask be investigated, of the commission of war crimes.” (MORE)
FINAL TOLL OF GAZA WAR: 1,330 DEAD, 5,450 WOUNDED - TOP
Agence France Presse, 1/22/09
Israel's war on Gaza killed 1,330 people, at least half of them civilians, and wounded 5,450 others, Palestinian medics said on Thursday in a final toll of the offensive.
Among the dead were 437 children under 16, 110 women, 123 elderly men, 14 medics and four journalists, according to Muawiya Hassanein, the head of Gaza medical services. (MORE)
GIDEON LEVY: GAZA WAR ENDED IN UTTER FAILURE FOR ISRAEL - TOP
Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 1/22/09
On the morrow of the return of the last Israeli soldier from Gaza, we can determine with certainty that they had all gone out there in vain. This war ended in utter failure for Israel.
This goes beyond the profound moral failure, which is a grave matter in itself, but pertains to its inability to reach its stated goals. In other words, the grief is not complemented by failure. We have gained nothing in this war save hundreds of graves, some of them very small, thousands of maimed people, much destruction and the besmirching of Israel's image.
What seemed like a predestined loss to only a handful of people at the onset of the war will gradually emerge as such to many others, once the victorious trumpeting subsides. (MORE)