Sunday, December 28, 2008

Israeli Air Strikes on Gaza, death toll rising.

I once read, somewhere...probably in something by Noam Chomsky or maybe something by Al Franken that some committee or some group (likely Dick Vader Cheney's doing) that a recommendations was made that the United States should respond to any attack on it's assets or soil with a response so powerful and so vengeful that it borders on the irrational...just so that anyone who might want to attack the U.S would clearly know that the U.S response would likely destroy all opposition.

That seems to be what Israel is doing in the Gaza strip in response to Hamas rocket attacks. No one is disputing that Hamas has been killing Israelis and shares a great deal of the blame for disrupting the peace, but Israel's response seems to be way over the top.

The number of dead is now at 275 according to CNN and the hospitals are overflowing with 600 people injured in the last day . On the other side, the Israeli government is claiming that 110 rockets have been fired into Israel since Saturday (again, in the same article).

Arab Backlash

What concerns me (other than the deaths of hundreds of people) is how the Arab, and non-Arab Muslims are responding, and will respond should the Israeli attacks continue for much longer.

Already Egypt has become rather strong worded and has opened it's border to allow the wounded to flow through. Egypt, of course, has a strong interest in seeing peace in the area and it was they who brokered the previous peace agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel that ran out on December 19. Egypt's government faces intense pressure from her people to ensure that the Palestinian people are protected from Israeli attacks, and Egypt also doesn't want to return to conflict with Israel.

King Hussein of Jordan has also condemned the attacks, which is not surprising. Other Arab countries are giving Israel a short deadline before they go to the U.N security council in search of tougher action against Israel. I don't think the security council would agree to it, but it would certainly raise an embarrassing debate for Israel.

What concerns me the most here is that while the government's of the Arab states are mainly tolerant of Israel, many of the people are not. Anything that Israel does to provoke the Palestinians is going to provoke all of the Arab nations of the world and other Islamic states.

It also raises tensions in countries like the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada who all have large Muslim minorities. I'm not sure if Israel realizes that world opinion (even outside of the Muslim states) has already been turning against Israel (Lebanon was a big part of that) and this is going to make it worse.

A worse image for Israel means less security for Israel. Israel might find herself without the friends she once had and without the business, access to technology, trade and military equipment coming in, Israel would suddenly become that much more vulnerable.

Now, I believe that both Israel and Palestine have a right to exist but it's getting really hard to picture how that will ever work. Israel long ago squandered any opportunity for a true partnership between Palestinians and Israelis and has proceeded to carve up Palestine into several incongruous territories that could never really function as a productive nation.

So, I argue that it is in Israel's own self interest to cease the attacks and turn it over to a U.N operation of some sort.


Anonymous said...

In his book My Life, Bill Clinton blames yasser Arafat for the failure of the process which would have created a Palestinian State. As a result Fata in Gaza became weak and was displaced in Gaza by an even more radical group, Hamas. And now we have the current sistuation where the Jewish state has chose not to die by a thousand cuts? Maybe? I suspect this is really about Iran and the nuke program. We will see.

Anonymous said...

I also have my doubts a group of European UN peace keepers could/would stop rockets from flying overhead. As I recall there was a UN presence on the border to Lebanon a couple of years ago.

Craig Williamson said...

I see your point, but I think that there must be another solution. I think the danger to Israel will increase from this, not decrease. The problems go back right from the occupation, but now that that is ancient history, I don't know what the solution could possibly be. However, seems clear to me that the harder Israel pushes, the worse the situation becomes.

Regarding Iran...That is a big problem that threatens the entire region. I hope they start to relax moderate themselves. China seems to be working on that.

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling in the back of my head this is all really about Iran. I would not be surprised if this is a ramp-up towards a strike on Iran's nuke program. Perhaps a distraction,...