Israel and Palestine

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Israel and Palestine

Postby pierreo on 06 Jan 2009, 19:58

I feel sick and helpless when I listen to the news about what is happening in the Gaza Strip right now.
I am sickened even more by the number of commentaries and interviews that only look at one single side of this very complex issue.
It is easy to accuse Israel for a very violent offensive against "defenseless" population disregarding the fact that Hamas has been terrorising the innocent Israely population for years.
It is also easy to blame the Paletinians for a situation that they were forced into many years ago, with no hope for an ultimate solution.
A friend told me a few years ago: "How do you compromise, how do you negociate with people who are willing to give up their life for a cause?" It is even truer today.

So what is the answer? What should the "International Community" (whatever that is???) do today?
NIcolas Sarkozy calls for a rapid ceasefire. That makes for good press, but will not achieve anything ...
Tony Blair (representing the Group of 4 - UN, US, EU and Russia) indicated that a ceasefire is possible if the smuggle of arms into the Gaza Strip from Egypt can be stopped. Great discovery! Why did I not think of that? ...
The European Union sends a delegation to Egypt and other countries in the region, but they have given no indications as to what this delegation is supposed to discuss, what they can propose or what position they will take ...
The US are in an impossible situation where they cannot withdraw their support for Israel, but at the same time cannot support the current fighting ...
The Arab world remains unconditionnal in their condemnation of Israel and exhoneration of everything the palestinians do ...
Egypt and Jordan, the only two muslim countries which have had the courrage to recognize Israel, are in a no-win situation, and are incapable of doing anything anyway ...
The UN Security Council is totally ineffective, as always ...

The US will never be viewed as an 'independent' player.
The Arab Nations cannot either.
Europe is in a unique situation to make a difference here, but as usual have been totally unable to do anything positive.
Why not propose an evenly ballanced UN Security Council Resolution? European nations represented on the Security Coucil do not even have the courrage to vote against the 'one-sided' resolutions proposed by the Arab Nations - they know that the US will veto anyway and therefore they do nothing.

I would like to know what you think of the current situation. I have my own views, but as moderator I do not want to influence the discussion at this early stage.
I am especially looking for views on what Europe has achieved, and what Europe should or could do to improve the situation.
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Re: Israel and Palestine

Postby pierre on 10 Jan 2009, 14:43

Who is kidding whom?
After 2 weeks of deliberation, during their 6063rd meeting (1/2 probably on Israel and Palestine) the United Nations Security Council finally comes up with a 'resolution' asking for a cease fire between Isreal and Hamas. Have you read this resolution? I did - and if this is the best that the world's best diplomats can come up with, we are in deep trouble!
The resolution calls for a cease fire. Period! It repeats that war and terrorism are really bad - wow! It reiterates earlier resolutions that were all ignored by Israel and the Palestinians. It calls for more humanitarian aide from all member countries.
The resolution does not offer any means for controlling or enforcing a cease fire; it does not offer any means for protecting against terrorism; it does not offer any ideas how to improve humanitarian aide.
Within hours, both Israel and Hamas publicly refused to abide by the resolution because it is 'unworkable' - should this surprise any one? Did any one really believe that such a weak resolution from the UNSC would actually lead to anything?

Apparently yes... The Secretary General of the UN today called the Israely Prime Minister to find out why they did not immediately abide by the resolution. What did he say? "But we said Please!" or "We asked so nicely!"

I heard recently some one say: "If Isreal stops to fight, it will mean the end of Israel; if Hamas stops fighting, it will mean the end of fighting". It sounds very true, but looks at only one side. The reverse is also true, because the end of Israel will also mean an end to the fighting, and without fighting against Israel, Hamas has no reason to exist.

Both parties are fighting for survival, and only STRONG intervention from the rest of the world will resolve this situation. Diplomacy has failed for 60 years - maybe some force by neutral nations is necessary! Europe needs to take the initiative - but that will probably take another 60 years!
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Re: Israel and Palestine

Postby pierreo on 10 Jan 2009, 19:54

Anonymous Contribution...
"The Israël-Palestine conflict is unfortunately another illustration of the normal evolution of humanity. The only way to avoid other events with the same origin and same effects is to encourage the leaders of our world to stop looking for the motivations of their actions in the Bible, the Coran and the Thora.
All they need is to look for and find explanations and inspirations in the writings of Jared Diamond, especially the last one : "Collapse" (Subtile: " How societies choose to fail or survive").
Jared Diamond was nominated Doctor Honoris Causa of the KUL (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium) last october."

It would be worth reading this book to find out more about the problem.
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Re: Israel and Palestine

Postby pierreo on 18 Jan 2009, 19:01

Overnight (on 17 January), Israel has declared a unilateral cease fire in the Gaza strip.
This is a significant step as even the UN resolution did not call for a unilateral cease fire but required all sides to stop the fighting.

Now we will know if other parties in this conflict really want peace and a long lasting resolution to the current crisis.

Al Jazeera English website has a series of 'reactions' the the ceasefire announcement.
There are NO reactions from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan.
The reaction from Egypt President Hosni Moubarak mentions that Israel continued to fight even though there was a ceasefire resolution. He indicates that he still demands the full withdrawal of the Gaza Strip and that Egypt will not accept any international monitors on its territory. There is no mention of Hamas in his text.
Saeb Erakat, senior negotiator for the Palestinian Authority said: "If the troops remain in Gaza, then I don't think the ceasefire will last. Because of that president Abbas asks the international community to pressure Israel to implement the withdrawal from Gaza very soon. We need the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza because there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza that needs to be resolved." There is also no mention of Hamas.
There are also reactions from Ban Ki-Moon, Condoleezza Rice and David Milliband.
All these are very positive. None (as reported by Al Jazeera) mention Hamas.

Al Arabyia reported the cease fire so late that it had already been broken by palestinian rockets and Israeli retaliation. Therefore the Headline reads "Israel, Hamas trade fire despite unilateral cease fire". You have to read half of the article to find out that Israel declared the unilateral cease fire.
The one comment, so far, to this story is, surprising enough, negative towards Hamas ...

AFP, in its article announcing the ceasefire also gives a reaction from Fawzi Barhum - a Gaza-based Hamas spokesman - who said "We will not accept the presence of a single soldier in Gaza" before restating Hamas demands of a complete withdrawal and opening of Gaza's border crossings.

AP announces the cease fire, but by that time there had already been 5 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel! AP does mention that Ban Ki Moon urged Hamas to stop sending rockets towards Israel, something Al Jazeera seemed to ignore The report from AP on reaction by Fatah - Saeb Erakat - is similar to that reported by Al Jazeera - Israel's cease-fire is not enough and there is no mention of Hamas.

Israel seems to have taken a very significant step. And yet all reactions from the Arab world is: "Not enough!"
And as yet, there are no reactions from European Countries. What are they waiting for? An announcement from the US so they can criticize it again? A statement from the Arab League so they can ignore it again? When are they going to do something that is relevant?
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Re: Israel and Palestine

Postby pierreo on 15 Feb 2009, 17:44

Dino writes - see translation at the bottom:
La mia risposta e' un poco pessimista, penso che questa non e' l'unica guerra, e non sara' neanche l'ultima.
Purtroppo in periodi di crisi economica le tensioni aumentano, spesso sostenute da gruppi religiosi, etnici, di potere, etc.
Istinto di sopravvivenza
L'Uomo ha nel suo DNA l'istinto della sopravvivenza attraverso la lotta e il controllo del territorio.
E' un istinto che ha permesso alla razza umana di sopravvivere durante la sua evoluzione.
In un ambiente poco popolato, funziona benissimo, ma oggi con una popolazione di vari miliardi, inevitabilmente l'aggressivita' si rivolge al nostro vicino.
Da questo punto di vista l'Uomo non ha avuto una evoluzione coerente con l'ambiente che lo circonda. E' dotato di intelligenza, ma reagisce per istinto.
La mia proposta
Nonostante l'attuale situazione di disagio nella quale vengono tenuti gli stessi palestinesi abitanti in Israele, penso che una soluzione potrebbe essere quella che consenta / obblighi tutti gli abitanti di Palestina e Israele di condividere lo stesso territorio. A prescindere da razza e religione devono abitare la terra dei loro avi. Tutti sotto un solo sistema di governo multirazziale e multireligioso.
L'Europa potrebbe favorire questo processo di aggregazione tra palestinesi ed israeliani, ma la stessa Europa e' una entita' incompleta, una unita' economica con ancora una forte tendenza nazionalista che richiedera' molti anni prima di confluire in un governo transeuropeo.
My reply is rather pessimistic. I think this is neither the only war nor will it be the last.
Unfortunately, in periods of ecenomic crisis, tensions can oncrease often supported by religious, ethnic or power groups.
The Survival Instinct
Man has built into his DNA the instinct to survive using struggle for and control of its territory.
It is this instict that has allowed the Human race to survive and evolve.
In a sparsly populated environment, this works very well - however today, with a world population of several billion, this aggressive behaviour is inevitably addressed at a near neighbour.
From this point of view, Man has not evolved in a way that is consistent with the environment that surrounds him.He is intelligent but still acts on instinct.
My proposal
Regardless of the poor conditions in which Palestinians live in Israel today, I think that a solution could be to agree / force all inhabitants of Palestine and Israel to share that land. They should forget about Religion and Race if they want to live on the land of their ancestors. They should be ruled by a multi-racial, multi-faith government.
Europe should favor this process of unification between Palestinians and Israeli, but Europe istelf is incomplete, it is an economic entity that still has strong nationalistic tendencies and will require many years still to create a true pan-European government.
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