News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Barroom Logic and the Israel-Palestine Turf War

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Barroom Logic and the Israel-Palestine Turf War

Anyone familiar with barroom brawls understands how difficult it is to discover who started the fight. Ranging from a slight spoken against one antagonist's mother or sister to someone sleeping with the other's wife or girlfriend--once the fight starts all bets are off that you'll discover who "started it."

Unfortunately, the current battle between Israelis and Palestinians has reached such a point that the effort to discover who said what to whom and so on will never solve the problem. The point now is to separate the brawlers, cool down tempers, and then sit them down for some conflict management classes. ...

According to Haaretz (via Just World News) the blame game is the current lingua franca among the disputants:

Gaza is in serious trouble, ruled by death, horror and daily difficulties, far from the eyes and hearts of Israelis. We are only shown the Qassams. We only see the Qassams. The West Bank is still under the boot of occupation, the settlements are flourishing, and every limply extended hand for an agreement, including that of Ismail Haniyeh, is immediately rejected. And after all this, if someone still has second thoughts, the winning answer is promptly delivered: "They started." They started and justice is on our side, while the fact is that they did not start and justice is not with us.
This is a start. Now that some Israelis realize that pointing fingers and saying "they started it" is not going anywhere, perhaps their Israeli confreres will begin to see that Hamas' decision to recognize Israel is more than adequate to sit down and talk.

On the other hand, It's conceivable that there's more to the invasion of the Gaza strip than simply getting back a kidnapped Israeli soldier. As an excellent analysis from Against the War on Terror shows, the Israelis expect to undermine and destroy the democratically elected Hamas government. Accordingly,
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned that the Israel would strike down supporters of terrorism, saying that “None of them will be immune”. The Wall Street Journal reads this as a thinly veiled threat against Syria, but there have been more disturbing contours in Israel’s official rhetoric. The BBC reports that Olmert made the following remarks at the border town of Sderot, “This is a long war. It requires lots of patience, sometimes endless restraint. We have to know when to clench our teeth and to deal a decisive blow.” Similar remarks also surfaced from Cabinet minister Roni Bar-On, "It's safe to say…the sky will fall on them if Gilad Shalit is harmed…If he is killed, we will react in ways the Palestinians haven't seen before."
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