Many people in Israel are celebrating the success of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) in crushing Hamas during the invasion of Gaza. The assumption of these individuals is somehow a “victory” was attained in Gaza. For a moment, let us examine the premise that killing 1,300 people at a cost of 13 Israeli lives represents a “victory” over an enemy. Hamas most probably lost a few hundred of its soldiers in the battles, but aside for a few leaders being killed, the top leadership of the organization is intact. If the aim of the invasion was to “teach the Arab world a lesson that Israel is strong and can inflict pain,” that message has been conveyed, but will it result in desired results of peace and reconciliation? There is no question the most important “lesson” of the Gaza invasion is not to arouse the fury of the IDF unless one seeks bombing, death, and destruction.
In the end for all Israelis and Palestinians is some sort of peace agreement under which each group can live in peace and their children can live normal lives without fears of bombing and death. The Gaza invasion showed vividly that a significant portion of the Israeli population now accepts the death of hundreds of children on ground it will provide “security” for their own lives. Is such a view in accord with the experience of Jews over thousands of years in which they endured prejudice and death from individuals who regarded them as a threat to their “security?”
Israelis, understandably, view the world from the position of being in a small nation which is surrounded by enemies seeking their destruction. To believe using might to inflict pain will somehow remove the reality of being surrounded by enemies it so live in fantasy land. The Arab League offered peace and recognition of Israel based on 1967 borders and removal of illegal Jewish immigrants from the West Bank. It was not a perfect offer, but certainly was the basis for further negotiation. Does killing 1,300 people enhance the possibility of a better peace offer? I doubt it. Each dead Gazan produces several Gazans who hate Israelis and may not seek peace, but prefer vengeance.
The United States of America has been led for eight years by a man(most probably the worse enemy Jews have known in their history) who believed in war and destruction rather than negotiation and peace. For example, in 2001, the Iranian government of Khatami provided intelligence support to the American campaign in Afghanistan and offered to negotiate a peace agreement under which Iran would cease aiding terrorists, recognize Israel and cooperate on nuclear energy issues. Bush turned them down. I wonder how many Israelis today would prefer if Bush had accepted the Iranian compromise offer or do they believe using might like bombing Iranian nuclear facilities as a more intelligent approach to peace?
Life is never “either/or?” There are always alternative paths. Allowing West Bank settlers to control Israel foreign policy is a choice, not a must. Israel lacks leaders and, apparently, now it lacks a population which is committed to peace. We propose the following actions on the part of Israel:
1. An apology to the people of Gaza for the killing of innocent civilians.
2. Providing medical care to all Gazans who were injured in the attacks.
3. Financial compensation to Gazans for the destruction inflicted on them.
4. Immediate evacuation of the West Bank and acceptance of the Arab League proposal.
5. Ask an impartial international law group to investigate any examples of criminal behavior during the Gaza invasion on the part of Israel or Hamas soldiers.
Might provides the illusion of victory.