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Sat Nov 24, 2012, 05:35 PM

Israel and Palestine's leaders and cheerleaders have failed them

Jonathan Freedland:

....So yes, I'm weary of those who get so much more exercised, so much more excited, by deaths in Gaza than they do by deaths in, say, Syria. An estimated 800 died under Assad during the same eight days of what Israel called Operation Pillar of Defence. But, for some reason, the loss of those lives failed to touch the activists who so rapidly organised the demos and student sit-ins against Israel. You might have heard me make this point before, and you might be weary of it. Well, so am I. I'm tired, too, of the argument that "We hold western nations like Israel to a higher standard", because I see only a fraction of the outrage that's directed at Israel turned on the US a western nation for its drone war in Pakistan which has cost an estimated 3,000 lives, nearly 900 of them civilians, since 2004....

But when I turn in the other direction, to the actions of Israel's leaders, I feel no less exhausted. For I'm weary of an Israel that persists in believing it has a military solution to every problem, that suffers from the impaired vision so well defined by the novelist Amos Oz: "To a man with a hammer, every problem looks like nail." It makes the same mistake again and again. It bombarded Gaza four years ago to "restore deterrence", but it didn't work: the rockets resumed until Israel had to restore deterrence again. Thursday's headline in Haaretz is correct: "Ceasefire agreement almost identical to that reached in Operation Cast Lead." In which case, what was the point? Why did all those people have to die?

The two sides could have used the intervening years to do what former Mossad head Efraim Halevy and several other leading Israeli ex-security figures have long called for: to talk to Hamas. Of course the organisation is brutal, its charter peppered with vile antisemitism, but that's why it is Israel's enemy. If Hamas were the Mothers' Union, the two sides would not be at war. Israel needs to remember that most basic truth: you make peace with your enemies, not your friends....

And I'm weary of the two sides' followers, waving the flags of Israel and Palestine as if these were rival football teams: black v white; my team all good, their team all bad: my team the perennial David, the pure, unblemished victim; their team a permanent Goliath, capable only of wickedness and immune to pain. Those who feel anything at all for these peoples, or even just for one of them, need to end this wearying, deadening obsession with scoring points and winning righteous vindication and focus on the only question that matters: how might these two peoples live?


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Reply Israel and Palestine's leaders and cheerleaders have failed them (Original post)
LeftishBrit Nov 2012 OP
leveymg Nov 2012 #1
oberliner Nov 2012 #2
leveymg Nov 2012 #3
oberliner Nov 2012 #4

Response to LeftishBrit (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 05:44 PM

1. So, this guy starts his diatribe against ME war partisans by waiving the flag for the FSA?

Cheez-itz. Does no one have any sensitivity to their own irony and hubris, anymore?

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Response to leveymg (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:24 PM

2. Not really

Just notes that a lot of people have been killed in Syria.

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Response to oberliner (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:45 PM

3. Suggest you re-read the first two sentences, together.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 05:32 PM

4. I've read them

Not sure what I'm missing. Can you be more explicit?

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