January 07, 2009

Arab - Israeli conflict

Hopefully this article will provide some clarification of the situation- and may provide interest reading for some that do not know about the recent events in detail. This situation is not about being one side being right and the other being wrong - ITS SO MUCH MORE COMPLICATED.

This was amazing procrastination btw!

The first paragraph is an introduction, 2 paragraphs are on the failings of Hamas- and how they have really been the catalysts for this war. The next one is on the reaction of Israel, and last couple are concluding remarks, including my own personal views on the solution.

My friend, Jonathan Hasson described the immediate build up quite nicely. Although I don't usually agree with his views, I did agree with him on this one. The situation was compared to that of 2 siblings. The younger brother would continuously poke the older brother, and the older brother would carry on warning the younger one to stop. One day the older brother lost it, and punched the younger one in the face.

Now don't all start jumping and raving, because what he said is true. Hamas' continued missile attacks into Israel are unacceptable- that's the bottom line. How would you feel if you were living in Israel and rockets were coming in at random times, to random places- with the possibility of one hitting you anytime. The world should be lucky that Hamas were using their pretty useless short range rockets, and so there weren't more casualties. The number of rockets fired tell a story- over 8700 rockets have hit Israel since 2000- over 1 million Israeli people live within striking distance of the rockets. I don't need to say more on that. I will get onto casualties in a bit, but it is not only casualties that should be considered- it is the potential for casualties as well. The potential for casualties due to Hamas' rockets is enormous- and Israel and their government, have the right to protect their people from this violent attack.

Let us now move onto Hamas. Hamas is a terrorist organisation- plain and simple. No one can deny that, and if you do you are only kidding yourself. The atrocities they have caused are again- unacceptable. A history/political lesson for those of you that may not know. Hamas was founded in 1987, which was at the same time as the first Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas are not here for peace. Their long term aim is for the establishment of an Islamic state on all of historic Palestine- which a lot of which is within the borders of Israel since 1948. Worse, their short term aim is to violence against all Israeli's in order to drive Israeli forces out of the occupied territories. Hamas and all its leaders were expelled by King Abdullah II- the group's HQ was closed down- and the majority of the leaders were then in Qatar, but won the Palestinian Autority legislative elections in the occupied territories in 2006. Hamas REFUSED to follow the Oslo accords- which was a US-sponsored peace process which oversaw the removal of Israeli occupation in return for the protection of Israeli security. Hamas PLEDGED to never to sign up to a permanent ceasefire while Israel occupies Palestinian territory and its troops are responsible for the deaths of Palestinians. Hamas still do not recognize Israel.

Separate to Hamas is the Palestinian Authority. It was formed in 1994, pursuant to the Oslo Accords between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the government of Israel. According to the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority was designated to have control over both security-related and civilian issues in Palestinian urban areas (referred to as "Area A"), and only civilian control over Palestinian rural areas ("Area B"). The remainder of the territories, including Israeli settlements, the Jordan Valley region, and bypass roads between Palestinian communities, were to remain under exclusive Israeli control ("Area C"). East Jerusalem was excluded from the Accords. The Palestinian authority was led by Mahmoud Abbas from 2005 (after Arafat), who deplored the use of rocket attacks against Israel, predicting what eventually happened. Abbas said that the rocket attacks although not causing harm to many civilians, will enrage Israel and cause them to strike against them. In March 2007 a Unity government was formed to govern Palestine, and consisted of members from Hamas, Fatah (who controlled PA) and other parties, but after Prime Minister Haniyeh denounced and failed to recognize Israel, and with Abbas believing there would be a Battle of Gaza, he himself dismissed the Hamas led government and declared a state of emergency. In June 2007 there was a clash of the Fatah and Hamas forces, with Hamas seizing control over most of the Gaza Strip and the PA governing the West Bank.

From this we can see 2 things. 1) Hamas is not here for long-term peace as this divulges against its main aims. 2) They are not afraid to kill innocent civilians if it means their goals would be met 3) There is internal-conflict within palestine and the occupied territories. THE VIEWS OF HAMAS ARE NOT THE VIEWS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE. The PA under Abbas is continuing to work for the peace of Palestine.

Israel deserved to provide its citizens protection- but I disagree in the way that it was carried out. In all wars, in all battles, it is the innocent that suffer. That is what we have learnt in the 20th century, and unfortunately, we're still learning today. However, I believe the days of "Si vis pacem, para bellum" can be gone, atleast against the innocent. I spoke of statistics in my first paragraph, the second one is even more chilling. Over 600 dead, 3000 injured, approximately 205 of the dead are children. We still seem to be in the age of an eye-for-an-eye, a tooth-for-a-tooth. For the thousands of missiles fired into Israel, Israel decided to hit back with air strikes, but with devastating consequences. Yes, they got a Hamas leader- but what are the implications of these air strikes? Israel have the capability to target buildings within 5m accuracy- this wasn't an operation to destroy buildings and bring Hamas down- this was a random array of bombings used to bring the Palestinian people to their knees. The culmination of this random barrage of rage came in the bombing of the UN school in Gaza. The reaction was therefore also unacceptable. If you want to bring Hamas down- bring them down- the world wouldn't weep their loss, but this aerial campaign has bought shame and blood on their hands. Hamas don't preach cooperation and democracy, but Israel does- and that should have been considered. The government and the forces just as bad as Hamas, and if we use that saying, and if we call Hamas terrorists, the Israeli government must be held under the same banner for this reason and this reason alone.

I would further like to say, that it is quite disgusting of the reaction of some people to this. This is not a simple yes to palestine and No to Israel, or vice verca. This is a war against people- innocent people- in order to gain a political advantage! This has been preached in the name of religion for too long. Both sides hold blame in this conflict- and the cuts and issues go deeper, some of which I discuss in the next paragraph. The fact is this: Hamas wants to control Israel, and will do so at any cost- the cost for Palestine has been the lives lost due to Israel's counterstrike- which itself was an unacceptable act. Peace is hard to come by in this situation- and for it to come, I believe that Hamas needs to go, and a peace treaty made. I have given some points on this treaty below.

I believe in a two-state solution. However, in regard to the disputed territories: I believe that the Gaza Strip should be under the control of Palestine, and the West Bank, minus the huge Jewish areas, should also be under the Palestinian control. I do not believe Jerusalem should be under the control of the Israeli's or the Palestinian's as both have been accused of damaging monuments of the other's religion when in control of the area. Jerusalem is inhabited by a significant amount of Jewish and Muslim civilians. I believe it should be under the control of UN forces, working in collaboration with the Israeli government and PA for the time being. I also believe that under UN Resolution 194, that Palestinian refugees do have a right to return to Israel. However, I also understand the concerns of Israel in regard to an influx of Palestinians. The problem is exacerbated by many non-Arab countries unwilling to provide citizenship to Palestinian refugees. I would wonder how many Palestinians would actually want to live in Israel? The solution I feel, is working with other Arab states to provide them citizenship in those countries. The right of return can be excercised if there is no alternative that provides equal benefits to the people.

I further believe that Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza to be illegal, and feel that they are a roadblock in the development of peace. If Israeli communities wish to live in this area, I believe it should be discussed once a peace is achieved. In the peace treaty I feel that Israel should leave "Area B" under the Oslo agreement, and put in long term plans (around 10 years) to demobilize from Area C of this, and subsequent agreements.

There should also be a mutual recognition of each state.

1 comment:

  1. this is a good descriptive analysis of the current middle east crisis. However, nothing can ever justify the slaughter of innocent ppl. I understand, in a war like situation, civilian causalities r bound to occur, but the stats from the current crisis show unacceptable ratios. As far as HAMAS or Hizboullah or for tht matter Al-Qaeda r concerned, they do not represent the muslim community. Be it Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia, Afghanistan or Iraq, muslims hav suffered in the name of religion. The Palestinians demand peace and the occupied territories. Their generations hav grown through the war. and we all here kno wat happens during the war..children being molested, women being raped, men being tortured to death. I blv in one simple sentence, "those to whom evil is done, do evil in return".. so ya Israel has been facing rocket attacks, which caused only nominal damages but the consequences tht hav been imposed on the women n children who mite not even kno wats happening r gruesome..On one hand, every terrorist attack is connected to the muslims, on the other hand if muslims face these terrorist attacks themself, nobuddy really makes the effort of condemning them in strong words. Look how irresponsible is the US and the UN acting..This is wat causes much more anguish and pain in the muslim world. Anyway, a well written essay, and i like the idea of Jerusalem being controlled by the UN but I would suggest more in-depth research on the causes tht has triggered this war.