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Tom Segev in Haaretz: Trying to 'teach Hamas a lesson' is fundamentally wrong with french translation published in "Libération" Newspaper

Here is one of the most interesting thing i have read about the massive attack against Gaza...

Trying to 'teach Hamas a lesson' is fundamentally wrong
By Tom Segev


Channel 1 television broadcast an interesting mix on Saturday morning: Its correspondents reported from Sderot and Ashkelon, but the pictures on the screen were from the Gaza Strip. Thus the broadcast, albeit unintentionally, sent the right message: A child in Sderot is the same as a child in Gaza, and anyone who harms either is evil.

But the assault on Gaza does not first and foremost demand moral condemnation - it demands a few historical reminders. Both the justification given for it and the chosen targets are a replay of the same basic assumptions that have proven wrong time after time. Yet Israel still pulls them out of its hat again and again, in one war after another.

Israel is striking at the Palestinians to "teach them a lesson." That is a basic assumption that has accompanied the Zionist enterprise since its inception: We are the representatives of progress and enlightenment, sophisticated rationality and morality, while the Arabs are a primitive, violent rabble, ignorant children who must be educated and taught wisdom - via, of course, the carrot-and-stick method, just as the drover does with his donkey.
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The bombing of Gaza is also supposed to "liquidate the Hamas regime," in line with another assumption that has accompanied the Zionist movement since its inception: that it is possible to impose a "moderate" leadership on the Palestinians, one that will abandon their national aspirations.

As a corollary, Israel has also always believed that causing suffering to Palestinian civilians would make them rebel against their national leaders. This assumption has proven wrong over and over.

All of Israel's wars have been based on yet another assumption that has been with us from the start: that we are only defending ourselves. "Half a million Israelis are under fire," screamed the banner headline of Sunday's Yedioth Ahronoth - just as if the Gaza Strip had not been subjected to a lengthy siege that destroyed an entire generation's chances of living lives worth living.

It is admittedly impossible to live with daily missile fire, even if virtually no place in the world today enjoys a situation of zero terror. But Hamas is not a terrorist organization holding Gaza residents hostage: It is a religious nationalist movement, and a majority of Gaza residents believe in its path. One can certainly attack it, and with Knesset elections in the offing, this attack might even produce some kind of cease-fire. But there is another historical truth worth recalling in this context: Since the dawn of the Zionist presence in the Land of Israel, no military operation has ever advanced dialogue with the Palestinians.

Most dangerous of all is the cliche that there is no one to talk to. That has never been true. There are even ways to talk with Hamas, and Israel has something to offer the organization. Ending the siege of Gaza and allowing freedom of movement between Gaza and the West Bank could rehabilitate life in the Strip.

At the same time, it is worth dusting off the old plans prepared after the Six-Day War, under which thousands of families were to be relocated from Gaza to the West Bank. Those plans were never implemented because the West Bank was slated to be used for Jewish settlement. And that was the most damaging working assumption of all.



Vouloir donner une leçon au Hamas est une grande erreur
Tom Ségev historien israélien. Texte publié par le quotidien Haaretz. Traduit de l’anglais par Edith Ochs.



La chaîne israélienne Channel 1 a diffusé un montage intéressant samedi matin. Ses correspondants se trouvaient à Sderot et à Ashkelon, tandis que les images sur l’écran provenaient de la bande de Gaza. Ainsi, involontairement, l’émission envoyait le bon message : un enfant à Sderot est le même qu’un enfant à Gaza, et quiconque fait du mal à l’un ou à l’autre est un individu malfaisant.

Mais l’attaque contre Gaza n’appelle pas, d’abord et avant tout, une condamnation morale. Elle exige quelques mises au point historiques. La justification qu’on en donne et les cibles choisies sont un remake des mêmes a priori fondamentaux qui se sont révélés erronés tour à tour. Cependant, Israël continue de les sortir de son chapeau encore et encore, une guerre après l’autre. Israël frappe les Palestiniens pour «leur donner une leçon». C’est un leitmotiv qui a accompagné l’entreprise sioniste depuis ses débuts : nous sommes les représentants du progrès et des lumières, d’une rationalité distinguée et de la morale, tandis que les Arabes sont une foule primitive et violente, des enfants ignorants qu’il faut éduquer, auxquels il faut enseigner la sagesse par la méthode, bien sûr, de la carotte et du bâton. Tout comme le paysan avec son âne. Le bombardement de Gaza est également censé «liquider le régime du Hamas», conformément à un autre lieu commun qui a accompagné le mouvement sioniste dès le départ. Il est possible d’imposer une direction «modérée» aux Palestiniens, une direction qui renoncera à promouvoir leurs aspirations nationales. Par ailleurs, Israël a aussi toujours cru que la souffrance des civils palestiniens amènerait nécessairement ceux-ci à se dresser contre leurs leaders nationaux. Cette supposition s’est révélée fausse à chaque fois. Toutes les guerres d’Israël reposent sur un autre a priori qui nous a accompagné, là encore, depuis le début : nous ne faisions que nous défendre. «Un demi-million d’Israéliens sont sous le feu de l’ennemi», hurle un bandeau à la une du quotidien Yedioth Ahronoth, comme si la bande de Gaza n’avait pas été soumise à un siège prolongé qui a détruit les chances de toute une génération de mener une vie qui vaut la peine d’être vécue.

Il faut reconnaître qu’il est impossible de vivre sous le feu de missiles quotidiens, même s’il n’y a pratiquement aucun endroit au monde aujourd’hui où la terreur soit réduite à zéro. Mais le Hamas n’est pas une organisation terroriste qui tient les habitants de Gaza en otage : c’est un mouvement religieux nationaliste. Une majorité de Gazaouis croit à cette voie. Certes, on peut l’attaquer et avec les élections à la Knesset en perspective, cette attaque pourrait même amener une sorte de cessez-le-feu. Mais il y a une autre vérité qui vaut la peine d’être rappelée dans ce contexte : depuis l’aube de la présence sioniste sur la terre d’Israël, aucune opération militaire n’a jamais fait progresser le dialogue avec les Palestiniens.

Le plus dangereux de tout, c’est le cliché selon lequel il n’y a personne avec qui discuter. Cela n’a jamais été le cas. Il y a même des moyens pour parler avec le Hamas, et Israël a quelque chose à offrir à cette organisation. Mettre fin au siège de Gaza et permettre la liberté de mouvement entre Gaza et la rive ouest pourraient réhabiliter la vie dans la bande de Gaza.

En même temps, cela vaut la peine de dépoussiérer d’anciens projets élaborés au lendemain de la guerre des Six Jours, d’après lesquels des milliers de familles devaient être réimplantées de Gaza sur la rive ouest. Ces projets n’ont jamais été mis en œuvre parce que la rive ouest a été programmée pour recevoir des implantations juives. Et ce fut l’hypothèse de travail la plus préjudiciable de toutes.

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I agree with Trying to 'teach Hamas a lesson' is fundamentally wrong ... I we see it is wrong to 'teach Israel a lesson'

our problems is gaps in world view, the Israelis think that if they will hit hard the Hamas it will learn but Hamas does not in a position of learning, they prepare their "doom day" weapon - people to kill themselves a martyrs to teach Israel a lesson same as Hizbullha did. This is why the so eager that Israel will enter with its ground force so they will kill more Israelis and be killed by it.

Hamas tactic is humanistic shame. as we can understand why Israel need to stop its action - Hamas is responsible too and we cannot take one side while civilians are being killed.
Dear Neri, there are many gaps about israeli-palestinian conflict for 60 years... I don't understand why israeli people don't listen to your own excellent historians, like Tom Segev or Shlomo Sand... You know my opinion about it... can you see the gap between a State with a very powerful army and the nuclear bomb in one side, managing the blocus of Gaza for many monthes and a non-State, a non-viable territory, occupied by the army in West Bank, where civilians can't live normally, on the other side... No balance...
Don't forget also that Hamas during the eighties was encouraged by Israel Government to "disturb" PLO... For many of my pacifists israeli friends, what's happening right now is a war crime...

Happy new year even if this end of 2008 is so sad and so bad...
Trying to teach anyone a lesson is a waste of effort. Only those who want to and can will learn, providing the appropriate environment exists.

Interestingly enough, over time, some people here seem to have learned some things. Enough? Of course not.

And yes! I too wish all a healthy and more peaceful 2009, and a year where we all continue to really learn.
hmm "a lesson" with 400 killed is not very funny :( . Fortunately you have suppressed your :) after your first sentence... When Tom Segev, as historian, was speaking about a lesson, don't forget that "lesson" was the word used by any colonialist country when they punished native population... like American army taught lessons to Amerindians, like french army taught lessons to Algerians... So it's not really a lesson, ok ?
My formal education is lacking Vincent. :OTOH it may just be possible that even I understood all that.

Clearly you too can never be "taught": politically or in any other sense. But I knew that!
Vincent wrote: "hmm "a lesson" with 400 killed is not very funny".

Are you trying to teach me a lesson Vincent? Don't really know why. I also know and realize and understand that a ""a lesson" with 400 killed is not very funny".

Shall I (blame-game-like) now respond with ""hmm "a lesson" with 400 killed 8000 rockets with 10's of thousands terrorized is not very funny" ?

Could we all learn something from such a ???? original and ???? response?

Am I trying to teach? Or am I helping some to learn? Or am I just talking with and/or to and/or at myself? ;-)
please please Paul, ignore what i can write here or anywhere... Many people here have tried to explain to you that you had a twisted vision of israel-palestine conflict... You have never been there, you live in Australia it's not easy for you to understand maybe, you just repeat what you read on internet... at least try to read some good books... But i really can't waste my time to explain to you... So i just prefer you ignore me as i ignore you... Please, don't write on my messages, i'll never write on your messages, ok...

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