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There was a cease fire, brokered by Egypt. Israel kept it for 24 hours, while Hamas ignored it. Why? Because Hamas knows that it is to their political advantage to have Israel slaughter their children. They sacrifice their children for that political advantage. And Israel is only too happy to oblige.

So here's what you need to know about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:

"The enemy of your enemy is not your friend."

What does that mean? Think about it. Stalin and Churchill had a common enemy: Hitler. But they were not friends. And so it is in the Middle East.

Those of you who oppose the actions of Israel, you share a common enemy with Hamas. But Hamas is not your friend.

Those of you who oppose the actions of Hamas, you share a common enemy with the Netanyahu Administration, but the Netanyahu Administration is not your friend.

Those who choose to destroy Jewish homes and businesses in France and throughout Europe, well, you simply were looking for an excuse to act on your hatred for Jews from the last war. Hamas is not your friend either.

In fact, Hamas, and the Netanyahu Administration, both have the same common enemy:

Peace.

But they are not friends.

I wrote an article in Tikkun Magazine 14 years ago, before the Intifada, in the last year of the Clinton Administration, when there was still hope for a peaceful resolution in which I wrote:

The relationship of both secular and traditional Jews to the land changed severely after the 1967 war. With the annexation of new territory, the traditional culture that sought to preserve the land as an extension of G-d's will quickly became a culture that worshipped the land itself. Believing the land was theirs to rule, both secular kibbutsniks and religious Jews too easily accepted the role of occupier. Yeshayahu Leibowitz in his essay 'The Territories,' written shortly after the war, predicted that this decision to retain rule over the occupied territories would have tragic consequences. He suggested that the religious traditionalists, in arguing that the land has biblical significance, were actually idolizing the land, thus corrupting the very religion they strove to maintain. Instead of Jews working together on the land and in all levels of society, the process of maintaining rule over a hostile population of 1.5 to 2 million foreigners within the territories would have significant social repercussions. Arguing that hierarchical relationships would necessarily develop between Jewish Israelis and the Others, he predicted that in a few years there would be no Jewish workers or Jewish farmers, that Arabs would be the working people and Jews the administrators, inspectors, officials, and police. In short, he predicted the dissolution of Israeli social fabric and boundaries as surely as the boundaries of the country itself.
Dr. Leibowitz proved to be omniscient. The greatest military success in the history of Israel turned into its greatest failure.

Yes, the Occupation is horrific, dehumanizing, and has been oppressing innocent Palestinians for decades. It has to end, for many, many, obvious reasons. For that to happen, though, Netanyahu must have a personality change, and Hamas must agree that Israel, with borders to be agreed upon, has the right to exist.

In the meantime, Netanyahu knows that any peace settlement will involve giving up land that he has no intention of losing as Israel's PM, so any chance he has to gin up conflict with Hamas will be taken, so that the people of Israel will agree that negotiations would be ridiculous.

And, at the same time, Hamas has no interest in living peacefully, side by side, with Israel, and is sacrificing the Palestinians living under its rule in order to strengthen itself and its cause.

There are many, who are disenfranchised, abused, and oppressed, and will bear the burdens without taking actions against their oppressors. IF, however, they lose loved ones due to the bombings, now they potentially become aggrieved avengers of the murders, willing to risk their lives for the destruction of their enemy.

It is in Hamas' best interest to create such aggrieved avengers, as long as the aggrieved believe that Israel was wholly responsible for the murders.

The losers in all this? The poor Palestinians, who have been oppressed and living with this, in varying degrees of intensity and oppression, for the last 47 years.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Interesting (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Diane Gee, cailloux, mickT

    I am not aware of a single sober leftist who views Hamas as an ally.  Hamas promotes Islamic nationalism, which runs contrary to every conceivable leftist impulse, be it some form of American liberalism, social democracy, socialism or anarchism.  Hamas reciprocates, both because they do hate leftists and also because they are competing with other resistance factions that are even more stridently reactionary. But of course they are also competing with the PA and with more leftist elements within the Palestinian resistance, so they can't simply allow ISM activists to be killed, for example.  All of this simply illustrates that Hamas is subject to political constraints that are both strategic and tactical.  But the constraints on Hamas are formidable, and the constraints on Netanyahu (or whatever government is at the helm to be honest) are very weak as long as the US enables the ISraeli government.

     What you ignore is that there was no actual chance for peace during Oslo, because neither Oslo I nor Oslo II stopped the construction of settlements and were in fact a delay mechanism to facilitate Israeli territorial expansion.  In 1993, the West Bank settlers numbered 111,600; by 2001, they were at 200,297.  In 1993, there were 152,800 settlers in East Jerusalem; by 2000, there were 172,250.  When you add in the remaining settler communities, you go from a total count of about 281,800 in 1993 to 387,859 by 2000.  And that's all before the breakdown of the "peace process."

     Moreover, Hamas did not emerge out of a vacuum, it was fed and nourished by Israel as an alternative to left and nationalist factions.  And now the left is dead and Palestinians are choosing between collaborator regimes in the West Bank, unaffiliated salafis or a fusion of Islamism and nationalism in the form of Hamas.  And the left is also dead in Israel, where ultranationalists chant "Death to the Leftists" while also calling for Arabs to be murdered both beyond the Green Line and inside of it.  The signs of fascism in Israel multiply every year, and the Israeli right condemns the "parasitic" ultra Orthodox viewed with suspicion by the secular middle class, calling for them to do their fair share in military service and allegiance to the Jewish state.  

     Unfortunately, there is only going to be one democratic way out of this: One person, one vote.  Equal rights, inside and outside of the Green Line.  As you say, there's no political will for an alternative, which is why Palestinians have turned to BDS.

    •  The operative word is "sober." (0+ / 0-)

      I know quite a few leftists who are sympathetic to Hamas because they also oppose the policies and/or the existence of Israel. We find them particularly in the boycott movement.  Whether they are "sober" or not is in the eye of the beholder.

      •  Define "sympathy" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cailloux, mickT, Alhambra

        Agreeing that Hamas should be part of a governing coalition or included in settlement negotiations is not equivalent to supporting their political positions or their military actions. And my understanding of the ISM position, for example, is that they support legitimate armed resistance but oppose targeting of civilians, and I don't think that they accept Hamas' definition of "civilian" either.  A number of them openly criticize Hamas.

         Anyway, I am wondering what your response is to settlement expansion during the Oslo period.  Doesn't this suggest that the "two state solution" was illusory from inception? And if not, how do you propose to explain how Israel could be a partner for peace while eroding the basic infrastructure requirements for the two state solution? Mind you, under the direction of non-Revisionist Labor Zionists.  

        •  For many, alas, support for Hamas is not distin... (0+ / 0-)

          For many, alas, support for Hamas is not distinguished between their right to govern and their policies. Not all, but many. Some, yes, are critical.

          Settlement expansion during the Oslo period - during ANY period - was, and is, counter-productive, to understate.

    •  Wrong on settlements (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jersey Jon

      I got banned before for pointing this out, but I'll say it again because it is the truth:

      Rabin's election in 1992 meant the end of the "Greater Israel" settlement enterprise. While settlements already approved were allowed to be built, there has not been a single new settlement approved since then. Even Netanyahu and Sharon did not return the Begin/Shamir policies. Sharon even uprooted all the settlements in Gaza and northern Samaria, the first time since the treaty with Egypt that this had been done. The result was the Second Intifada, and wars with Hezbollah and Hamas. The pro-peace bloc in Israel, which had an absolute majority in the Knesset 20 years ago, has basically banished into oblivion, the biggest single casualty of the suicide bombings, rocket attacks, and tunnel infiltration.

      There are still people who hold the Greater Israel delusion; Naftali Bennett is one of them. And unfortunately he is now probably the most powerful politician in Israel and might actually become the next Prime Minister -- the longer the rockets fly, the more likely that becomes.

  •  Hamas cannot recognize Israel (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jersey Jon

    because of their Islamic Fundamentalist religious belief that no non-Muslum country can be allowed to exist in a formerly Muslim land. So they continue to wage jihad against Israel.  

    •  Hamas would certainly have to change its ideology (0+ / 0-)

      in order to allow it to accept any permanent peace whatsoever. If it won't do that it needs to be destroyed for peace to happen. And so far even Israel doesn't seem to want to do that.

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