Thank goodness for Robert Fisk. He reminds us that it was Israel that broke the ceasefire with Hamas. I know I know it’s childish to always look for blame, when what’s needed is a solution. But this seems to define public discourse on this topic and act as justification for the continued massacre of Palestinians in Gaza. (I think Deborah Orr’s item is a better examination of the current crisis in Gaza – see: There wouldn’t have been Gaza rockets without the blockade)
Fisk’s item points out that the IDF has gone totally overboard:
Yes, Israelis deserve security. Twenty Israelis dead in 10 years around Gaza is a grim figure indeed. But 600 Palestinians dead in just over a week, thousands over the years since 1948 â€“ when the Israeli massacre at Deir Yassin helped to kick-start the flight of Palestinians from that part of Palestine that was to become Israel â€“ is on a quite different scale. This recalls not a normal Middle East bloodletting but an atrocity on the level of the Balkan wars of the 1990s.
Hamas (and Fatah before them) are liberation movements that were… uh… hard to love. They seem tactically not very adept. It’s beyond me why would you do anything to provoke an enemy infinitely stronger and utterly uninhibited in the use of that strength.
But on the other hand I don’t honestly know how else they would react when the IDF just bombs at random, ceasefire or no. No doubt the families of the ten Palestinians killed in the two November attacks would have wanted their government to do something in retribution.
Israel has no compunction around targeting civilians and neither does Hamas. Indeed when you lack the tanks, artillery, helicopters, fighter jets of the IDF, what other kinds of targets could you actually hit? It’s just when the IDF does it, hundreds die.
I do think it’s incumbent on Israel to unilaterally stop their assault. They started it this time.
I also think the Israeli government is to blame for driving Gaza’s population into the arms of Hamas. The balance of power favours Israel and Israel uses its power to bully, humiliate and destroy Fatah. You get the neighbours you deserve, it’s often said. So it shouldn’t be a shock that a frustrated and desperate Gaza population voted for retribution-promising Hamas over reconciliation-promising Fatah.
I don’t actually know – once you take everyone’s fingers off their respective triggers – how you climb down from these parapets of hell and create peace. If past efforts are any indication, they’ll probably be imperfect, favour the powerful over the powerless, and still be unsatisfactory to the zealots.
I hope someone has the strength and a firm enough conviction in the art of the possible to give it a go. The brutality and violence of the images coming from Gaza are of the sort I hope to never have to see again.