Friday, July 07, 2006

The New Intifada?

Palestinian-Israeli tensions have greatly exacerbated in recent weeks. After Palestinian militants captured Cpl Gilad Shalit on June 25, Israel launched its largest ground offensive in the Gaza strip.

Israel’s reaction reveals some interesting observations.

The US has used human rights abuses as excuses to intervene in conflicts around the world while at the same time satiating their ulterior self-interests. The US has done that exceptionally well in Iraq, claiming to remove a tyrannical regime while it accumulates petrodollars and oil supplies in the process. It appears that the US places a valuable premium on human life yet as argued in my previous post “Iraq: No Chance of Perpetual Peace?” a double standard surfaces once Abu Ghraib, Haditha and Guantanamo are mentioned.

A similar case goes for Israel. Israelis place a very high premium on human life (since the population of 6.2 million is only slowing growing at a 1.18% population growth rate with approximately 20% of the population being Arab and 16% being Muslim – these figures exclude Gaza and the West Bank – and thus the country cannot afford to lose its citizens) and would make headlines for a single soldier captured.

Or would they?

In the past, there have been Israeli prisoners of war held by Palestinians for longer and under worse conditions yet Israel has not reacted the same way. It seems that the capturing of Shalit was merely a symbol of action, a spark (a la Franz Ferdinand’s assassination in June 1914 which sparked WWI) and an excuse for Israel to drive back in to Gaza.

A major problem when discussing who’s to blame in this case rests on several factors:

1) Where does the story start? Should one go back and assess Israel’s inhumane treatment of Palestinian women and children as well as those held in captivity or is it merely that Palestinians are savages and that the world needs to sympathize with the captured Israeli soldier and place the blame on the Palestinian Authority? Should one take the ‘easier’ way out and merely blame Hamas since they do not want to recognize Israel and continue to encourage militant attacks? Or should one step back and think why Hamas refuses to recognize Israel and try to dig deeper in to the reasons?

2) Should one view the conflict in a quid pro quo manner? In other words, should an observer equate the Palestinian perpetrators to those of Israel and vice versa? How should standards be set?

Israel has certainly gained incredible media attention for the captivity of the soldier. Despite the fact that acts of terror against Palestinians gain media attention, they are not of the same intensity as their Israeli counterparts. This is in part due to the general bias of the Western media towards Israel as well as Israel’s much lower damage-infliction threshold (i.e. they won’t tolerate large losses of their citizens and large infliction of damage on their society).

On the other hand, Palestinians (with a 'nothing-to-lose-mentality') have a much larger damage-infliction threshold indicating that they will continue to fight Israel and lose thousands of their citizens (as martyrs) in order to establish a state and gain back the land which was rightfully theirs.

The escalating events could very well trigger a third intifada, Israel needs to be very careful of their responses and Hamas should take up the offer of a roundtable discussion. Until then, the situation will continue to exacerbate and any progression made will be rendered entirely futile.

6 Comments:

Anonymous eee said...

> The escalating events could very well trigger a third intifada

Israel drowned the second intifada in pal. and hebr. blood, and
there no reason not to repeat it, if it happened ever.

> Israel needs to be very careful of their responses

Israel robs - far more important - and kills Pal. with impunity
since decades. So - why be careful, when you control the media?

> and Hamas should take up the offer of a roundtable discussion.

If you didn't got it - why should someone - who can rob and kill
to achieve all his goals - look for a "discussion"? Grow up.

> Until then, the situation will continue to exacerbate and any
> progression made will be rendered entirely futile.

What progress? Where do you live? Elaborate.

5:24 PM  
Blogger shlemazl said...

"...while it accumulates petrodollars and oil supplies in the process"

You've got to be kidding. This is costing the US billions and billions. Much easier way to get oil would have been to buy it from Saddam. He wasn't averse to selling.

"Israelis place a very high premium on human life (since the population of 6.2 million is only slowing growing at a 1.18% population growth rate with approximately 20% of the population being Arab and 16% being Muslim – these figures exclude Gaza and the West Bank – and thus the country cannot afford to lose its citizens) and would make headlines for a single soldier captured."

Nothing to do with population growth rate. Israel (and all developed countries) value human life. Therefore it's not O'K to launch Qassams or try a few terrorist attacks every now and again. That is not "peace". I wasn't aware second intifada ended (?)

"an excuse for Israel to drive back in to Gaza. "

Israel does not want to be in Gaza. No doubt about it. It is forced to by kidnappings, Qassams and terrorist attacks. What else would you recommend Israel should do to stop attacks?

"Should one go back and assess Israel’s inhumane treatment of Palestinian women and children"

Can you be more specific? Israel never targets civilians, but it has to fight "militants". "Militants" use kids as their shields.

"Israel needs to be very careful of their responses"

Israel needs to keep escalating the fighting as far as it can without risking a large increase in civilian victims. Force is the only language terrorists (including the Hamas Government) understand. This has been demonstrated time and time again.

10:29 AM  
Blogger The Egyptian Observer said...

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/07/11/opinion/edfarra.php

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Palestine better be careful. They are rapidly losing even the sympathy of the looney lefties. Tell me why Israel and the world should care about them when we see them celebrating the kidnapings as a victory?

Equating the crimes of a few soldiers who are guilty of war crimes is not the same as what the Pals are doing as a collective society.

The civilized world controls it's population unlike the uncivilized world. We try not to breed like rabbits, of course we aren't trying to raise sucide bombers or anything like that that would require more soldiers.

Our holy book tells us to "beware of false prophets"(mad Mo?) and that the "tribes of Israel" which christians and Jews are members of will rule the world forever. Get used to it or die trying. There is no heaven for those who follow the false religion that Mo created after living in Italy studying Catholism. Ever wonder why your religion resembles a crazy violent version of Catholism?

10:47 AM  
Blogger The Egyptian Observer said...

@eee. The remnants of the second intifida still exist and will be blown out of proportion because of recent events. Israel's bombing of Beirut today will further exacerbate it, Hezbollah and Hamas are acting irresponsibly yet Israel is out of control.

France and Russia have already condemned Israeli responses to Palestian militants and Hezbollah so statements from such countries could send ripples of condemnation across other prominent and significant governments/cabinets. This is why they need to be careful.

Moreover, if Israel seeks to keep its lobby burgeoning in the US, it better start thinking about how the US will explain the actions of its utmost ally to other governments. The US does an incredible job of using euphemisms to cover up for its ulterior interests, the events of today and the last few weeks are a blatantly obvious act of overwhelming aggression from Israel - again I am not saying Hamas and Hezbollah are any better.

Hamas have not been achieving their ultimate goal - completely liberate Palestine. They have certainly been able to gain incredible concessions (i.e. trade POW and prisoners in Israeli jails for bodies of dead IDF soldiers) however in the grand scheme of the conflict, such gains are minor compared to the essential goal. Thus, giving roundtable discussions a chance might lead Hamas to achieve more concessions than they are already receiving. Israel withdrew from Gaza last year and that was a momentous milestone in Palestinian-Israeli history, such concessions will stop Hamas from continuing their militant activities.

Think about the progress made since 1948. Borders have been redrawn, Egypt and Jordan are at peace with Israel, Israel withdrew of Gaza etc etc etc.

8:46 AM  
Blogger The Egyptian Observer said...

@shlemazl. While it is costing the US billions and billions, equity in defense industry is skyrocketing and the House of Bush and House of Saud are both profiting immensely - who cares about the country when you personally are benefiting off of the expenses? The Bush administration will be gone in a mere 18 months so this is a much better deal - go in to Iraq, spend on defense and try to secure an oil supply for the future.

It is not OK to launch Qassams but it is not OK to occupy Palestinian territory, tt is not OK to claim to attack militant Hamas and Hezbollah posts yet kill scores of families and civilians in the process and it is not OK to strip Palestinians of their dignity, their sovereignty and their recognition in the world. So, a few Qassam rockets and one soldier is NOT OK to abuse one's power if they so dearly value human life.

I recommend Israel conceed, I recommend Israel pull out its troops from Palestinian territory. Israel would DO anything to at least control Gaza and place security around the borders so yes they do want to be involved so as to preempt any Qassam rocket attacks and Hamas' activities.

As aforementioned, Israel claims to attack militants yet ends up killing women and children in the process. When Israel mistakens children for militants, this reveals their sense of irresponsibility, in essence they would fire carelessly in Palestinian territory with no regards to civilians.

Israelis claim that Hamas uses children as human shields and that Hamas murders them but the real truth is that these children have no choice but to fight, to fight for the liberation of their country - period. Those who choose to fight and die during attacks are not Israel's responsibility however the scores of families dying during Israeli attacks are definitely Israel's responsibility.

9:11 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

iopBlogs.com, The World's Blog Aggregator Blog Directory & Search engine