Sunday, January 04, 2009

If Obama is serious he must get tough with Israel

When in the middle of writing an article someone more eloquent gets it right you concede. Here is such a piece from Newsweek magazine by Aaron David Miller . The link is below.


Anonymous said...

I don't think the Newsweek article makes a compelling case for Obama to 'get tough' on Israel. Getting tough for the sake of it doesn't sound like a policy position to me. To be frank, it does seem like the typical impotent and idealistic sentimentalism you get from many liberal commentators in the US. I actually think it'd be more effective if Arab States got tougher with Hamas and Hizbollah and tackled the issues from its roots-you obviously have nothing to say about the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Hamas-beyond that, what precisely has been done in the Gaza strip since Israel pulled out to make life better for Palestinians? How much has been contributed by these States to get things going, to show an example of what a Palestinian state might look like? Finally, apart from pointing out the messiness of war-which is quite obvious-what EXACTLY do you suggest should have been the appropriate response to the firing of rockets into Israeli territory?

Onibudo said...

I kind of knew that when the article was posted this kind of response was inevitable. First thing is that the most recent rocket lobbing is a response to mass imprisonment and gradual strangulation of Gaza. If the same kind of commitment to a military response was given to the humanitarian condition I think it is more likely to put a distance between the genuinely extremist element and the general populace. The second thing is that the organisations you mention i.e. both Hamas amd Hizbollah only have currency so long Israel depends on its disproportionate military capacity. You do remember that before Hamas emerged, Yasser Arafat a partly benign leader and one time partner to Israel was the Bogeyman who was humiliated, largely isolated him what has followed is now worse. Many warned and foretold that there was no wisdom in Israel's treatment of Arafat. If Hamas is destroyed what will replace it will be worse until the whole world is drawn into this bone headed conflict.

If I was the leader or one of the leaders of Israel I will stop building settlements completely and develop a strategy of engaging my enemies. I believe that Arab hatred of Israel which is both real and potent finds new life in their consistent humiliation through the military might that she uses. I will honestly think about the rockets itself and provide a specific response. I believe that the less humiliation the more reduced risk that rockets will fly and if they do, then a prospering Gaza population is less likely to tolerate not to talk of voting its perpetrators into power.

I have a sense your post is part of a well orchestrated response to postings in even obscure sites such as this. i sincerely do not feel it will work. On the longer term because there are so few Israeli deaths compared to the people of Gaza only confirms that what is going on is a massacre. It is not a battle of equal sides. The more moderate world watches in horror and know that there is a corrosion in the soul of Israel that is spreading fast that uses its intelligence to blind it from the wisdom that is required in this circumstances. It is not fair that its citizen suffer rockets but is it justice that over 500 Palestinians are dead compared to 5 Israelis?

Onibudo said...

By the way I think the Newsweek article makes a compelling case for the National interest of the United States of America in a multi-polar world what you guys think in Israel frankly does not matter a jot.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I'm flattered that you think my humble post might be "..part of a well orchestrated response to postings.."-perhaps part of a Mossad Psych-ops campaign? On the specifics of your response:

1. It gets tiresome hearing this baseless insistence on the rationality and sincerity of groups like Hamas. Why must anyone insist that all Hamas wants is for Israel to leave them alone and they'd stop firing rockets, kidnapping and suicide bombing? You did't address my question on what exactly has been done by Hamas and the Arab world to improve conditions in Gaza since Israel unilaterally pulled out some years ago? Do you realise how much has been spent on digging tunnels and buying arms since then-do you know what the ratio of that is to what has been spent on schools, hospitals etc Humanitarian conditions? Could you please compare how much is provided in Aid to the Palestinians by the West with what Arab states contribute? why must you from your distance in Lagos insist that Hamas is actually a good-faith party in the process when the ENTIRE philosophy of its existence is based on the destruction of Israel(mind you, I do make a distinction between Abbas's secular govt and Hamas); surely you realise this commitment to the eradication of Israel is rooted in HAMAS's charter as a matter of ideological commitment which is taught in schools etc?

2. You state: "You do remember that before Hamas emerged, Yasser Arafat a partly benign leader and one time partner to Israel was the Bogeyman who was humiliated, largely isolated...". This is exactly the kind of either disingenous or just misinformed revisionism you often get. I'm not too sure about the word benign in describing Arafat-maybe he did cut the image in his later years but that's irrelevant-the fact is that HE turned his back on the Palestinians' greatest chance for peace in recent times with the round of negotiations pushed by Clinton(and please factor in Clinton's concerted and focused effort before you blame it all on the lack of effort by George Bush)-Reference Clinton's account and expression of disappointment in Arafat in his memoir "My Life"-and you can also review the history of those negotiations by other players and independent analysts. People so easily forget that he was sidelined after that when it was concluded that he just wasn't a sincere party-those negotiations went on for several years and he practically had a peace agreement and some 95% of the territory the Palestinians wanted as their land; you conveniently forget Arafat's reputation for corruption, constant allegations that aid funds were being diverted to arms smuggling,the double-dealing, the double talk about peace-the truth is that He simply stopped being a credible partner in the peace process-and the second Intifada follwed these failed talks.

3. You appear to suggest the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel is justified because the Israeli have more arms, right? Is this your actual view or do I misread you? You use the word massacre based on the number of deaths-i find that simplistic. What do you make of weapons stored in schools, mosques and homes? Or do you deny that is happening at all?

4. War is always horrible and messy and no rational person would consider it justifiable. The fact remains that the specific history of this conflict btw the Israelis and Palestinians is such a complex one that simple explanations and answers wont work.

Blue in Green said...

Israel, I think, may be many nations and presently there are about 3 Israels. The US and England (not the uk as a country) may be two of the 3. The 3rd is the Israel to which your post refers.
This may be a very difficult one.

.Blue in Green said...

Happy New Year

'Yar Mama said...

Happy New Year.

Onibudo said...

You argue very well your position but some point are deeply flawed. The reason I think you are part of a campaign is that you remain anonymous for such an intelligent intervention. It is such a shame. By the way my argument is not from Lagos but that is by the by.

1) Your first point is irrelevant because the blockade of Gaza reduces and provides excuses for Hamas obvious failure. In fact there is ample public record that as a ruling organisation they did more for the Palestinians in Gaza until Israel started stopping funds from coming into Gaza. It is also true that none of the main funders provide any direct funds to Hamas because they claim it is a terrorist group. This was especially true since the fallout between Hamas and Fatah. It is inaccurate to link Hamas with grants and funds from the EU or anyone else. All you have to do is do simple search on the subject.When you sound like a talking points that the nattering heads on Fox news trott out in ever boring rounds then you are suspect as part of a broader effort.
This eradication of Israel thing is far more bluster than reality what does Hamas have that can destroy the state of Israel? It is far more the fact that all actions of the Israeli government appears designed to totally obliterate the people of Gaza and the West Bank that seems more worrying even though that is not their stated intention. For me actions speak louder than words and Israel has the capacity and continues to deliver with a policy of collective punishment.

2) You had to deal the Camp David card from the bottom of the deck (another talking point favourite) but no offense it is full unmitigated misrepresentation. Arafat was given an Hobsons choice a state of non-contiguous lands and no right of return for refugees, no leader of his people can accept such conditions and either survive it or deliver on the agreement. It is typical that you quote observers with vested interest and allude to unamed independents.My point is that with every leader you reject comes one that appears to be more dislocated from your stated position and purpose. Abbas has very little political capital left and far less to show for his position of accommodation. By the way what happened to the last Israeli leader who had courage to buck this general trend towards total humiliation of the Palestinians , he was killed. Both sides are co-creators but it is only reasonable to expect the stronger to exercise justice with mercy.

3) Nothing can excuse the use of rockets to make any point but it appears there are reasons for it. If your people are going to die of starvation , hunger and disease then desperate people take desperate actions but it is neither excusable nor as we see is it effective. The use of profound violence to address that is even more unwise. I do not dispute Israel's justification but i challenge the wisdom of its choice.

4) We are both agreed on this point. I also believe any set of issues is capable of many different perspectives. No perspective is completely the truth. Every life is an end onto itself whether Israeli or Palestinian, we all watch with horror at this ritualistic tribal dance of death. In my life of meeting both Israeli and Palestinians i am amazed by how similar they are, really. Both intelligent , entrepreneurial and adaptive people deeply passionate, extremely stubborn and very world aware. I pray that both can disagree without dehumanising each other , that they can fight vigorously and compete robustly whilst accepting that two reasonable people can come to two different but equally credible positions. I pray that this is done without war, domination or humiliation of each other. The truly brave will be those who lead such an effort whilst at least understanding the position of the others especially when they disagree with them.

Thank you for your contribution I hope you will come back and comment on things other than war , pain ad humiliation if you are part of a concerted effort or not. I am truly curious about who you are.