Monday, January 12, 2009

"the whole conflict could be avoided if the Palestinians said one small thing"

Daniel Finkelstein in the UK TimesOnline:
The poverty and the death and the despair among the Palestinians in Gaza moves me to tears. How can it not? Who can see pictures of children in a war zone or a slum street and not be angry and bewildered and driven to protest? And what is so appalling is that it is so unnecessary. For there can be peace and prosperity at the smallest of prices. The Palestinians need only say that they will allow Israel to exist in peace. They need only say this tiny thing, and mean it, and there is pretty much nothing they cannot have.
I wonder, is this true?


Anonymous said...

They probably could say that if Israel did not occupy their habitats, did not carry out a systematic ethnic cleansing, did not build Jewish settlements, etc.

Cameron said...

Yet in Gaza, Israel did not occupy habitats, did not carry out ethnic cleansing, and did not have settlements. Yet this earned them thousands of rockets shot into their civilian neighborhoods.

Some would argue that Gaza was the test of Finkelstein's theory.

Anonymous said...

Saying it would not be enough. Somewhere in there the Palestinians would have to quit firing rockets and mortars into Israel to show that they meant it. Israel has pulled back many times but they continue to get fired upon - that's not making Palestinian lives easier or encouraging Israel to give them more liberty.

Cameron said...

Hamas would argue, and has argued, that while Israel pulled out of Gaza, they still maintain almost complete control of it because they control all airspace, sea ports, and border crossings.

When Hamas and Israel signed the cease fire last year, rocket fire from Gaza dropped from something like 2000 over 6 months to about 65 over 4 months.

That represents a very big drop off, but still, 65 is a lot of rocket fire. So Israel felt compelled to continue to restrict traffic to and from Gaza. A decision which Hamas used to excuse their rocket firing.

But I can't get past the idea that if Hamas had assumed control of Gaza, and worked towards actually governing it rather than smuggling in rockets to shoot at Israel, that this whole thing, and perhaps the entire Israel-Palestinian question, could have been resolved without gunfire.