Israel-Palestine and Peshawar

So, Israel’s pummeling Gaza. Again.

I’m not going to delve into the historical nuances of the Israel-Palestine question, by the way. For one, I can’t be bothered. Second, despite knowing a fair bit (whee!), I’m fairly certain that I still don’t know enough, and that you cannot come to a stated, non-controversial, or factually correct statement about who belongs where and the like.

Today is the second day of Israeli airstrikes (F16s, primarily) on Gaza. Israeli officials say they are targetting Hamas compounds and security centers. Olmert has come out and said that this operation will probably take longer, and there are reports of an imminent ground operation.

Now, a couple of interesting (and highly depressing points):

1. Elections are around the corner. Binyamin Netanyahu’s party, the conservative Likud, are leading in the elections.

2. The ceasefire being broken was largely Hamas being the complete cunts they are. Make no mistake, Israel’s being extremely heavy-handed but it WAS provoked.

3. Israel’s being heavy handed beyond belief. There used to exist a term called ‘proportionate response.’ Now, seemingly, Israel’s more than fed up of it.

4. Everyone in the world is having a go at Israel for it’s cack-handedness, for it’s disproportionate response to rocket attacks – everyone except the US that is. Well, they are having a ‘go’, but it’s more of a friendly jab to the shoulder rather than the vigorous finger-wagging ala the UK/EU.

Okay, that wasn’t so depressing. But this will be:

You see, Israel-Palestine is mired in a pit far, far deeper than superficially evident. Aside from the obvious fact that Israel’s current action is going to hand Hamas a shitload of family-less men and youth who’ve watched their sisters and mothers and fathers die, it’s also going to strengthen resolve for Hamas. Why would a party with a militant wing so hell bent on the destruction of Israel – when it’s again, bleedin’ obvious that the only way for Palestinians to live anything close to normal life would be extensive talks with Israel – continually gain support is beyond me. Yes, I know they run a very efficient welfare system, but surely that has to pale in comparison to Hamas’ fuckwittery re: Israel? Fatah, mind you, is little better, but they atleast present a realistic chance for a solution. Hamas only shows you a short film detailing NOTHING but war, and more war, and then some MORE war.

And who the fuck thinks Israel, at any point in time, will say ‘okay, we’ve had it with Hamas. They keep chucking rockets at us. Fuck it. Let’s give them most of the land back.’ Ofcourse, this’ll still not be good enough for Hamas, but my point is that a people who’ve lived through the holocaust and still bear marks of it will not for a fucking second even comprehend caving in on such a monumental state to some retards RPGs.

Israel has every right, for starters, to have a go at Hamas. It doesn’t have a right to be callous when it comes to civilian lives, and the hypocrisy prevalent in Israel’s actions against Palestinians as opposed to how they’ve suffered themselves is incredible. Ultimately though, as with any nation, Israel’s first priority is the security of their own people. With their funds, and their military might however, you’d expect and hope for them to be less indiscriminate. Yet, there’s an important question here: Hamas are rather brilliant at camoflauging (sic) themselves amidst the civilian population in Gaza. What do you then?

If you have 5 influential Hamas bastards in an apartment complex, amidst 60 civilians, what do you do? Ground forces are out of the question. So are black-ops, as you’d have to be a wee bit crazy to send them into Gaza to take out 5 guys amongst 60 civilians. You could take that risk, but again, few, if any nations would take less civilian lives at the cost of their own soldiers.

My point, fundamentally, is this – Israel has an extraordinary balance of power shift towards itself. Regarding the Palestinian question, it’s not even fair how lopsided the balance is. So, we have two options here:

1. We wait for Israel to grow a conscience. We wait for Israel to grow saner, to grow less violent. Is that going to happen, ever? No. For starters, Israel continues to be surrounded by antagonistic neighbours. Until Iran and Syria coupled with the rest of the Muslim world grow past their ridiculous hatred of jews, fuck all is going to happen here. Also, and this is my opinion, all the bollocks about hating Zionism and not Judaism is fucking bollocks.

2. Palestine ‘give in’. Giving in here, however, doesn’t mean that they lose all. Infact, seeing their current predicament, at this moment in time ANY solution would be incredibly beneficial for Palestine. But that’s not what they’re going to get. They’re going to get MORE. Israel and Israelis know that a non-violent Palestine is a great benefit for them. Not to mention at various times the two state solution offered has been more than enough. Yes, there are questions about settlements (something the Israeli state is becoming harsher on), and the question of Palestinian refugees, but they are solvable. A return to Pre-1967 borders has massive support in Palestine and in Israel. However, for any progress – and I meant genuine progress – to be made here, Hamas has to go.

Palestinians have suffered far too much, and they continue to suffer because of inept, war-mongering politicians and continued interference from the likes of Iran and Syria. Do those countries fund some of Hamas’ welfare programs? Ofcourse. But just what is the worth of that welfare? You get bread today, you get penicillin today, and tomorrow your house gets bombed because next to your house is a Hamas security compound. It is in the greater, long-term interest of Palestinians to reject Hamas. Israel will not negotiate with Hamas, and despite some anal behaviour, Israel has a right to not negotiate with a party whose militant wing continually chucks rockets into Israeli territory.

Unfortunately, there will be nowhere near any semblance of progress on the Palestine-Israel conflict. Violence begets violence, and we’re already seeing Ismael Haniya (I think), calling for another Intifada.

Every time I delve deep into this issue I come out neither angry and aggrieved, nor optimistic.

Anyway, second thing. Peshawar’s just suffered from another bomb blast. Amidst the countless rockets they suffer from (ironically, akin to Israeli towns like Netanya), there has been a rather alarming increase in the amount of bomb blasts in the city over the last couple of months. I really hope for that city, and for it’s people. This time, it’s being reported that the blast is considered retribution for some villagers opposing the taliban and in the process causing some militant casualties. So, my question here is: who do we blame now? I mean it’s not as if the blast was retaliation for drone attacks, right? Or for an extensive Pak-military operation?

Our everday way of life is slowly being destroyed by the taliban and their fundamentalist ilk. Yet, we are continually content to curse away the US, and now it seems India. But, the thing is, the taliban in Pakistan are not a by product of the US war on terror. They’re a by-product of Zia, of the ISI. Our border with Afghanistan – which is being ‘violated by US drones – has been violated since the 80s. Zia’s acceptance of Afghan refugees turned an already controversial border blurry beyond reproach. Our much vaunted sovereignty has, since then, been violated on a daily basis by Afghan smugglers whose products include various opiates, coke, heroin and guns. But we’ll never hear about that, will we?

I understand, and agree, that it is naive to not consider the US involvement in Afghanistan 2001 onwards and from the legacy they left in the late 80s. But there’s a difference between that and blaming them for all our ills. The US was NOT the reason that the Marriott in Isb got bombed. The US is NOT the reason the FIA office in Lahore was bombed. The US is not the reason the militants at Lal Masjid had shitloads of ammunition and guns.

When will we Pakistanis ever take responsibility? The “Yeh Hum Naheen” bollocks, that was set up to show the world that all muslims aren’t terrorists and the majority of muslims oppose it was neat, but it did fuck all at actually cleaning up our society in terms of fundamentalism. It was something to show – a superficial exercise. Look at me, I’m not a terrorist and I don’t believe in terrorism – but my local Imam preaches terror and I can’t be arsed to do anything about it. Infact, fuck it, it’s the American’s fault! Oh and 9/11 didn’t happen!

It’s ironic that Pakistani media is having a go at India and saying that they are unable to secure their own people and look at their faults, when the State of Pakistan and Pakistani media are just as fucking incapable of doing that!

Anyway, as always, my posts tend to descend into disheveled rants. This one is no different (except that it might’ve even started as a rant in the first place).

I hope today is the last day we see of Israel bombing the shit out of Gaza. I really do.

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24 thoughts on “Israel-Palestine and Peshawar

  1. You are way off with this one man. Way off the mark.
    Aur kuch nahi to go and open up a translation of the Qur’an. The issues about the Jews and the Muslims and how the latter perceives the former should be fairly clear. Aur baki fighting kay liay look up material on defensive jihad and individual and collective obligation in Islam. Continued antagonism kay liay iss pooray issue kee history paro. The US ka criticism isn’t even a poke.
    “A return to Pre-1967 borders has massive support in Palestine and in Israel. However, for any progress – and I meant genuine progress – to be made here, Hamas has to go.”
    Read academic material on the fundamentalism movement in Israel. It’s simplistic to say Hamas has to go. That’s what fox, cnn and all kinds of bullshitters have to say. Phir tum provocation kee baat kartay ho. Provocation implies something not justified. I think we should all be clear keh any attack on Israel at this point is pretty damn justified. Forget political intricacies for a minute. Someone comes to your house to take it over and steal everything of value you have. So you throw a punch. And he hits you back. Hard. Did you provoke him?
    I think you need to decide what you write as. A blogger? A Pakistani? A Muslim? A political analyst. Kion keh analysis kee koi coherence hee nahi hay as far as framework goes. It’s just Asfand talking.

  2. It IS just asfand talking. I’m non-existent as a political analyst, non-existent as a muslim. I’m just a Pakistani with a viewpoint, hence my statement at the end that what I write always ends up incoherent.

    Second, I made it clear at the start I wasn’t going to be dabbling on historical issues. History in the Israel-Palestine issue is irrelevant when it comes to finding a solution. The balance of power there does not permit any discussion of history. Israel holds ALL the cards. Besides, now, the Arab League’s plan is gaining substantial ground amidst Israeli politicians and it has been reported that Obama’s going to support it so we just might have a way in.

    Academic material on the fundamentalist movement in Israel? You’re making a mountain of a molehill. Aside from Yigal Amir and the NRP’s haphazard state of affairs, Jewish fundamentalism doesn’t prompt a quarter of an obstacle towards achieving peace in the region.

    Also, I can’t forget political intracacies for a moment. You’re reducing an incredibly complex issue with religious, nationalist, economic, humanitarian and about a dozen other overtones into a simple ‘guy comes into house’ metaphor.

    Any attack on Israel is justified on what basis? Their heavy-handedness? Perhaps. But then, isn’t Israel’s response – as over the top as it is – also justified on the basis of continued rocket attacks by Hamas in violation of the cease fire? But then Hamas’ behaviour is justified on the basis of Israel’s occupation of Gaza despite Sharon’s promise that the IDF would move on circa 2005. blah blah blah, it’s cyclical. THAT is my point. The onus is on Hamas because Israel is above reproach. To use a simplistic metaphor, if you’re having the shit beaten out of you, and you really can’t fight back except for pathetic jabs aimed at the air, do you continue or do you say, ‘stop, we’ll talk?’ Hamas is fighting a losing battle. And here’s the thing, you, and I, and the muslim world is general should NOT care about what Hamas thinks or any principled battles it may think it’s fighting: our obligations (if there are any) are to the Palestinian PEOPLE. And conflicts like these, do no favour to THEM.

    Also, I don’t need to look at the Quran to find that Jews and Muslims are brothers and the like. But, if you’d notice, I never said Islam’s hatred of Jews. I said Muslims. Zionism aside – and despite the ‘nakab’, Zionism is hardly a grave and lecherous nationalistic belief – we tend to hate jews in general. Not the state of Israel, but jews. And maybe you’re not wild enough to contemplate that 9/11 was a jewish conspiracy and so was the war in Afghanistan etc etc, but a shocking amount of people are.

    Anyway, like I said. It IS me talking. There is no coherence, unfortunately.

  3. Should one have a context in mind before one reads something or does one understand the context after reading the piece? I thought you made a lot of valid points Asfand. As far as the situation in Pakistan is concerned, I think we’re in for a agonizingly slow, painful ride.

  4. Hey read this last night, and wanted to answer then but the light went out before i could.

    Just a few points i find myself wanting to make about the Palestinian issue. Firstly, the ceasefire was broken on dec 18.

    Hamas offered to renew it in the condition that Israel reopened Gaza’s border crossing. Now i do not know how much you

    know about the Israel situation, but i do hope you know that the Gaza strip is an economic/ideological/political siege on

    the palestinian people. Closing off the land in a veritable jail-like situation, having over 50% of its inhabitants only live due to humanitarian aid, have incessant malnutrition flourish in it’s children, to have industry continually disrupted because you don’t have enough oil to run it, to be depending on life-giving medical supplies on the “generosity” of the israelis, etc. Gaza strip is a veritable hell hole.

    I totally understand why the Palestinians support Hamas. Besides the fact that they see Mahmoud Abbas as an

    apolologist/israeli-usa backed puppet, the fact that his regime commited preposterous state corruption doesn’t help. lets

    not forget that the Hamas is not just terrorist organization that runs the Gaza strip. It was democratically elected. Yet the

    west and Israel convinently like to ignore that fact. And here’s why i think Hamas has great support: the Israeli colonies are

    still being made, Arab settlers are still being pushed out of their land, Isreal continues to EXPAND it’s land. The

    palestinians see a militarist reaction as the only viable solution.

    Ofcourse it isn’t in reality. A military solution is no solution, we pakistanis are familiar with that. Hamas will go on firing a bunch of rockets, israel will continue to bomb, which will make hamas fire, israel bomb… etc. This currently is a never ending cycle. But i understand the palestinians when they look towards a militarist solution. They have been systematically and instituitonally repressed for decades. How in the FUCK does one expect them to act rationally anymore? How do you expect a people whose fathers, mothers, sons etc have been injured/killed to act or think rationally anymore? Having a few home grown examples, I can understand perfectly if they act in defense of what they think is the best response. We dont know how it feels, to have our loved ones kills for a brutal coldblooded reason. thats why is is easy for us to sit and think “rationally”.

    Also, you pointed out that Hamas provoked that attack. Indeed it did. But lets not kid ourselves. The Hamas firing over a

    few homemade off-target rockets no way in HELL justifies this shamefully killing of civilians. In the last 8 years, Hamas

    rockets have only killed twenty israelis. In one day, israel wipes off 300 people off the planet. So you are right when you say the balance of power is off-the-charts with Israel. Palestine does not have the f18s and Godknowswaht killing apparatus that Israel has and is not getting any any time soon. But this attack of the Israel, by which they want to teach Hamas a lesson, will only end up recruiting more and more for its cause. No one wins. But Palestinians die.

    Its a shame, that the election on feb 18 is playing such a big factor for the lives of these palestinians. I dont know what the solution is, when it will come, who will bring it. I expect nothing from Obama in this regard. I don’t know who will deliver. I pray the killing stops soon.

  5. I think Essam doesn’t mean to offend but was dissapointed with that lack of compassionate tone for the Palestinians in this post. (as was I).

    But you’re right, your blog, your space – your right to write however you please.

  6. I understand the lack of empathy on my part. It isn’t true; I naturally empathize. The only people who cannot empathize with Palestinian suffering are nutjob Israelis who feel they need to do anything and everything (regardless of Palestinian casualties) to protect Israel.

    Fatah aren’t perfect, but you have to be a little bit insane to say Hamas are better. We’re talking about a political party who engaged Fatah and systematically routed them out of Gaza. I’m certain you’re more than aware of the Fatah-Hamas phadda.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1536721/Hamas-blamed-by-rivals-for-%27inhuman%27-killings.html <- This. Yeah blah blah blah Hamas deny it, ofcourse they would. But in the midst of Fatah-Hamas fighting, do you think someone just decided to kill his children instead? For fun?

    The West and Israel refuse to recognize Hamas because:

    1. When they were voted in, Hamas’ charter had the destruction of Israel written in.
    2. They’ve been, from day 1, violent towards Israel.

    I’m sure if the BJP won in India in the coming months, refused to recognize the right of Pakistan to exist as a state and decided to chuck a few thousand rockets at us, we’d be pretty miffed too.

    However, over the past year or so Hamas HAS acknowledged Israel’s right to exist.

    As for the ceasefire, after reading it again I unwittingly seem to have come across as putting all the blame on Hamas. Thing is, Hamas negotiated with Israel that they would stop their rockets if Israel lifted the blockade. Israel didn’t. Hamas continued. Israel said enough is enough.

    Israel doesn’t continue to expand actually. Israel has a settler problem itself, with violent settlers on various outposts that have even engaged the IDF. That said, I think the settler issue is a major thaw and even most sane Pro-Israel ‘types’ agree that a complete revision is necessary from Israel on that point.

    Also, Sidrah, the 20 killed as opposed to 300 doesn’t count. 10,000 rockets in 8 years. Most of Israel’s towns close to Gaza have bomb-shelters. Does anyone in Pakistan have a house with a bomb shelter? Those 10,000 rockets may have only claimed 20 lives, but they’re an utterly reprehensible terror tactic. Everytime you step out to head to the pizza parlour, you aren’t sure if you’ll be walking back with your limbs intact. Countless times your sleep is disturbed as rocket warnings blare through the night. This isn’t a normal life. Can you tell me that if over the past 8 years 10,000 rockets were fired in Lahore, that you and the people of Lahore would still be at ease all the time?

    I’m not justifiying the 350+ deaths, not in the least. I’m just saying it isn’t a simple number comparison here. Regardless, and I’ve stated this too, the numbers are ridiculous. Also, lets be clear on one thing, the numbers so far – which are very tentative – aren’t showing there to be a sort of 50% Hamas militia, 50% civilians. Anyway, i’m sounding like a douchebag again and I don’t really don’t mean to.

    But all this isn’t even my point. My point is, as your blog post said, ‘bring on the intifida’ or something, you cannot and should not promote MORE violence. Would an intifida be justified? Probably. BUT IT WILL DO ABSOLUTELY NO GOOD. Israel can afford to not want to break the cycle because they have the fucking US with them, but Palestinians can’t afford to continue the violence.

    You and Essam are both arguing normatively. Yes, in an ideal world, we’d have pre-1967 borders (which btw Israel is perhaps under international obligation to do so, but keep in mind they got the Golan Heights and Sinai after Arab aggression. Not because they decided to go exploring), and a sovereign, prosperous Palestine and Israel. And yes, we’d love for Israel to come out and apologize for the Nakba, for their mistreatment of Palestinians. But it will not happen, not in the next 50 years anyway, if we keep going on like this. It’s upto the Palestinians to break this cycle. I know this seemingly sounds unbelievably harsh. I’m not saying it’s their fault and they should stop etc. I’m saying Israel won’t.

    There are only two slightly glimmering hopes for Palestine. First, there’s a strong historical revisionist movement in Israel, precipitated by foreign born, or foreign studied Israelis who are looking at the conflict from glasses that aren’t embodied in state propoganda. Second, the Arab League’s proposal, for once, seems rather good. Obama’s already talked about giving it his full backing, and the Israeli govt has welcomed the plan. Whether that was a real welcome or just a ‘ooh look we’re talking that’s good’, I don’t know.

    But we can hope.

  7. Having personally known a whole bunch of Palestinians for the last 10 years or so, it’s highly likely that things will not change.

  8. I have in no way stated that the Hamas is a “better” option then Fatah. I only underlined a number of points supporting why the Palestinians support them OVER Fatah.

    And i say this once again, i totally understand when the Palestinians look to a milatarist solution/organization. I suggest you read Sara Roy’s piece in the LRB to get a semblance of what kind of terrorized state of living they have been living under. the more i read up on this tradegy the more i get the sickening feeling that Israel has pushed Hamas to this corner, knowing it will fight back, all in the name of their domestic political situationn. the 6-month preparation and institutinalized restriction on the gaza strip in the past few months, all point to this. again, read Sara roy’s piece.

    I have also never stated that 20 killed to 300 (which is actually 375, and which unfortunately will rise since Ehud Barack has said he is not interested in a ceasefire and wants it to go to the end — and this is a memeber of a leftist party speaking!) is not an act of terror. every death that is caused this way is an unnecessary death. yet this is the only way Hamas can retaliate – they have no F18s to retaliate with, or perhaps they’d be selective and name their military operations after season too. (summer rain? autumn clouds?).

    And then here’s another thing. Which i’m rather offended by. You claim that by blog post is inciting for more violence by saying bring on the intifada. Let me make clear that that post was written in a fit of rage, in the kind of rage where i did infact effectively comprehend palestinians wanting to pick up arms in the answer. when stuff like this is allowed to happened in the world, my first reaction is always of anger and rage unfortunately, and not your “sophisticated” reasoning and logic. But thats not the point. the point is that that blog is read by an invite-only of 10 people. hence my promoting isn’t really effective is it.

    A few more readings that may help:

    – Tariq ali’s peice in the guardian today
    – ed hussain piece in the guardian
    – robert fisk (obv.) his latest piece esp.
    – ralph nader’s peice in counterpunch regarding just how “effective” obama will be

    But it doesnt matter does it? the violence rages on.

  9. wow sidrah. I see your snarky side is out in full force today. ‘sophisticated logic and reasoning?’ nice. despite my apparent attempts at implying that i’m, well, a n00b as well. I suppose I should be clearer next time eh?

    Sara Roy’s article is brilliant. It is also irrelevant, read by people like us; who too are irrelevant. You seem to believe that I’m completely unaware of the hell hole Gaza is. My bad, I may have come across as thinking they had waterparks the size of University campuses and flowing rivers of honey, wine, and lemon flavoured snapple iced tea.

    Again, THAT, is irrelevant. We can moan and whinge about the unmitigated humanitarian disaster Gaza is, but it’s irrelevant to the power brokers. All we’ve had so far is meek condemnation from the EU, and the Arab world surprisingly has lost it’s initial anger.

    Yes, that’s the reason Palestinians in Gaza support Hamas. However, it makes me consider how, unfortunately, support for Hamas now will continue to grow. That though, is Israel’s fault.

    Israel pushed Hamas to what corner? Hamas brought upon itself Israel’s wrath the day they were elected with a charter that specifically stated the destruction of Israel, and in 2006 that was removed but they still didn’t accept Israel’s right to exist. In a situation as volatile as that, I bet Hamas set themselves off really well.

    My point, for the umpteenth time, is that the ball lies with the Palestinians for no other reason but the fact that everyone else is a cunt. THEY need to step up. That is not a moral decision, that is not a rational decision. It is a survivalist decision. No one is going to come help Palestine. No one. Palestinians have to rise above the violence, not because they’ve done wrong or something of that ilk, but because no one else will. We can hold Israel responsible as much as we want, but their dalliance with the US makes them above reproach. You can’t get a fucking UNSC resolution passed that has a go at Israel till you attach an equal swipe at Hamas! Despite all the justifications they might believe they have for continuing this cycle of violence, it doesn’t do THEM any favours if they continue.

    For the love of god Israel regularly flouts international law while at the same time posturing and pointing out that Hamas doesn’t. They’ve built a wall alongside non-recognized international boundaries!

    Also, the ‘further reading’ you posted is nothing new, since it might surprise you, i’m not in love with Israel and the considerably left-leaning media is my best friend.

    The worst part (perhaps) of it all is that the civilian casualties and the egregious number of deaths so far is itself a by product not only of Israel’s rather callous targetting, but of their continued repression of Gaza which has rendered, what is it that TA quotes, 80% of the Palestinian population in a land hardly fit to house half that percentage.

    But as you say, it doesn’t matter. Kouttab and others like him are right. This is only going to further strengthen Hamas.

    shahzad: apparently they’ve already started 😦

  10. oh, also I couldn’t find the Nader piece. And yeah, i apologize for going guns blazing at you about your blog post. sorry about that :$

  11. It seems improbable to appreciate a little balance, I suppose. But you could be blamed for that, Asfand. Sidrah isn’t completely wrong in assuming that you seemed a little apathetic to the people of Palestine in supposing that “Palestine ‘give in’. ” Clearly that is not going to happen and clearly that isn’t a viable option for them. Giving in wouldn’t mean Israel hands them a clean slate to start over. It would probably mean a beginning of a new reign of suppression and chaos, not something that any Palestinian would have on their gift list after all these years. Tell me, please, that you don’t think that ‘giving in’ of the Palestinians to Israel is not going to start another wheel of misfortune for the Palestinians?

    I have to, really have to, agree with Sidrah’s point of view on the state of mind of the Palestinians and I think that’s the same point you’re making for the Israelis as well. Peace is non-existent for either one of them; however the loss of lives is the trump card and it doesn’t matter if it’s fifty percent Hamas or civilians, does it? The current rate of casualties prove who’s got more of a chance to create further casualties.

    I am no political analyst either. All I can say is that as long as America continues to jab its friendly jabs at Israel, there will be no intervention at all. As long as Israel continues to bomb Palestinians, the Hamas will continue to retaliate (and please, you really cannot blame em anymore, hadd hai!). As long as Israel refuses to let some of its high-minded notions for peace in the region, the war will continue. And no, never the twain shall meet.

    It is depressing, yes. But they will continue to bomb each other until they have nothing left to bomb but Ehud Barak and pretty much any insect left in Gaza or Nablus or anywhere else they can find anyone who can croak the H.

    As for Peshawar, I’m only waiting for the backlash to begin in the rest of the countries. Our ISI is probably the stupidest and the most disloyal force in the country. After the Army of course.

  12. “That is not a moral decision, that is not a rational decision. It is a survivalist decision. ”
    Asfandyar,
    I absolutely agree with you that there is really no option for Palestinians but to give in in some way to Israel, i.e. accept Israeli hegemony. I realize this sounds harsh, but anyone sitting outside Palestine who argues otherwise is essentially condemning them to death.

  13. Pingback: Grand Trunk Road / Some blog posts

  14. I agree with almost all of what you say, but the sunshine of your empathy did not shine on a few dark corners of the palestinian experience.

    My argument is not along the lines of what Sidrah and Essam have ‘generally’ been arguing about: mainly that the Palestinians are morally right in doing what they do. Bringing in morality in such a debate is pointless, and biased.

    Pointless because like you said, it wont matter one bit who wins the ‘morality’ argument since the balance of power is the overriding determining factor. Biased because through such blanket conjecture, you are completely ignoring (even the possibility of if not the actual existence of) any mischief on the Palestinian side, and any sanity from the Israeli side.

    What I would like to say is merely the following:
    you are terming a diplomatic solution to be the only viable option for the Palestinian and you cite the general consensus within the broad Israeli community being one which is different from their fundamental platoon, and the hope in Barack.

    The hawkish elements in Israel get a boost whenever such altercations take place, and there is a burden lingering on from the times of the Hezbollah ‘defeat’ for the Israeli army to redeem itself. In such a scenario, it can be argued that the fact that the issue is being settled militarily and not diplomatically, and whether it may actually change or not, is determined not by the Palestinian people, but rather by the Israelis. We all know who is more powerful, and there is absolutely no guarantee that Israel will stop the air raids even if the rocket fire is stopped. Expecting that they would implicitly implies that you believe that they have a moral justification for their air strikes (not saying that you believe it is a valid justification or not) and that it is not just an aggressive foreign policy (they do it because they can) since they are the more powerful ones. While me and you(and probably anyone else for that matter) are not the ones who can say which out of the two is the actual truth, it is easy to see that the palestinians have reasons to believe the latter to be the case. Be it the PLO, a democratically elected Hamas or whatever, their distrust in the whole notion of diplomatic peace talks stems in part from the hypocrisy and double standards of the respective Israel and US governments over the course of history.
    Also, opinions about Obama are a bit varied, and you can not expect people to share the same optimism you have towards him, less so from the Palestinians who have learnt not to trust any idle conjectures, the hard way.

    Thus, you may be right in saying that a diplomatic solution is the ‘only’ feasible option for the Palestinian people. Or you may be wrong. However, it would be wrong to not account for why the Palestinians would possibly not consider a diplomatic solution to be relevant. That was just my two cents on your post.

    Brilliant post btw (Y)

  15. Nice post. I want to write 500 words in my comment just like all of the above, but I don’t see why I should.

    You know, I’m inventing this ‘magic wand’ – I’m still going through the trial process, it works at times but it gives up at times when I really want it to work, so once it’ll be perfected, I’ll use it to make this world beautiful. Your ‘hope’ will comes true, just wait until I invent the freak n’ wand 😎

    See you then 😉

  16. really brave post – considering that you are going against the one issue where secular bleeding heart liberals and militant mullahs converge upon – hating israel and supporting palestine.

    i did want to qualify that fatah is perhaps more reprehensible than hamas, if no other reason than the fact that they’ve been ossifying for so long that they had to get out of the picture. the take over of gaza was also directed largely against mahmoud dahlan, the cia sponsored fatah ‘security’ chief in gaza.

    that said, i think i would grudgingly accept most of what you say. its well said, and if we don’t wake up to it, we won’t be able to understand why things are happening the way they are.

  17. In the context of geo-political techtonics, the concept of morality and justice pale in comparison to the perception of truth, power and eco-political leverage.

    There is no way to spin this, Israel has the leverage (by virtue of its inherent power) and the right to defend their borders – the manner in which they do so depends upon the manner in which they bend their perception of reality as it relates to this conflict.

    The ball will never be in Hamas’ court, nor on the Palestinian court. Now, if the Arab countries can unite behind one cohesive message, perhaps than we can talk about morality and proportionality – until then, Hamas means nothing and frankly, no one gives a shit.

    If Asfand sounds ‘apathetic’, well at least realism hasn’t escaped him. Unfortunately, the Muslim ummah just complain and condemn, but never make attempts to ‘out-strategize’ their problems. Where is Khalid bin Walid when you need him?

  18. you just reminded me of why i quit my poli sci major – effing political realism. thou speaketh like an asshole, but though speaketh the truth (unfortunately).
    however, a few minor points:
    1. israel may have a “right” to go after hamas, but that right does not extend to bombing gazan to ashes and strewn limbs. when israel does that, it is acting beyond its rights as a sovereign state.
    2. you will probably say it is inevitable because hamas use civilians to protect its strongholds. but lets pretend for a second that hamas did not want to do that. considering how inhumanly crowded the gaza strip is, that wouldn’t be possible even if they tried. so thats a redundant point imo.
    3. you say that the claim that anti-zionism and jew hate are different is bullshit. (which i think is bullshit.) so, do you seriously mean that, or is there some contextual clue that i am missing?

  19. hira: since there doesn’t exist, legally, a sovereign state of Palestine, Israel is within it’s remit to bomb it to pieces. Though, paradoxically enough, bombing Gaza to pieces means breaking about a gazillion international laws that are in essence humanitarian. Problem here is, who is really going to question Israel? They are incredibly brazen, and the only nation that can call them on that and influence them is the US. Though that Philip Slater article was a bit OTT, he got one thing spot on(amongst others), it is an incredibly dominant power, and has been since 1948.

    2. I think they still can. There’s a difference between using civilians as shields and being amongst them because of population density. Nizar Rayan, one of the military heads of Hamas was told 3 days in advance that he’d be blown off the face of the earth. 3 days, by the IDF. That’s a substantial amount of time. You and I, and anyone else, would’ve told our families to pack up and go. He didn’t. When he was bombed, 18 family members went with him. Now my point is, that’s 18 casualties that Israel doesn’t have on it’s conscience. Yet, many will add that to the total tally. How many other civilian deaths could possibly be of such a nature? I’m not saying ALL of the civilian casualties are of this nature though. Annoyingly, and this is one of the those completely helpless situations; the tunnels that go out of Gaza into Egypt have been bombed too. Gazans escape the fighting, as warned by the IDF, are dying because of those bombings. Why? Cause Hamas is bringing in weapons from there as well. What do you do then? Israel has a right to bomb those tunnels, just as Hamas has a right to (in the terms of conflict) to bring in weapons. And in this battle between two asshole dicks, the people suffer. The people always suffer.

    3. By that I meant we tend to hate Jews, rather than Zionism. The saner amongst us can make that distinction, but a lot don’t. So, instead of hating the Zionist ideology and those who largely proffer it, we tend to blanket hate every jew. Again, this is me talking out of my ass via experience and not on any basis on empricism. But that’s what I see.

    One thing I’m not seeing the IDF do is differentiate collateral from pure fuckups. Collateral, in my opinion, is when your house crumbles because the rubble from the four-story building next to you falls on top of it. That’s collateral, because it cannot really be avoided.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/10/un-human-rights-gaza-zeitoun <– This though, isn’t collateral. There’s talk of an ‘investigation’ but I really really doubt it’ll turn up good. Besides, even if it does, it’s highly unlikely they’ll get punished.

    Ironically about the human shields thing, Israel used Palestinian civilians as shields in the ’02 Battle of Jenin. There’s a video of it floating around actually.
    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=285_1230135976

    Also this:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7818122.stm

    and this:
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=kBYtij4Q7sE

    Though both are doing it so, just goes to show they’re both scum.

  20. I think it’s Netanyahu who said some time ago:
    “if the Hamas will drop their weapons – there will be no war, if Israel will drop their weapons – there will be no Israel”.
    can anyone convince me he’s wrong? i’m pretty sure NOT.

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