Time to make Peace

As I move into the thirteenth year of regular web use, I found only a handful of sites I have continously read.  Haaretz is one of them. 

I would not normally do this because but I think this editorial is very important and should be echoed.

 

Haaretz Editorial 11 Jan 2009

A big shudder on the wing

By Haaretz Editorial

Around two weeks after the start of fighting in Gaza, there are only vague reports on Israel’s success in damaging Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure. On the other hand, statistics on the harm done to civilians accumulate. More than 800 Palestinians have been killed and around 3,000 have been wounded, an overwhelming majority of them from air strikes. According to UN figures, half of those killed are civilians, and half of the civilians killed are women and children. 

Alongside reports on the number of dead and injured are reports of doctors being denied entry, the inability of aid groups to reach refugees and give them food, and a serious shortage of medicine and supplies. Blame does not rest with the Israel Defense Forces for all these issues. Hamas and other Palestinian organizations deliberately fired at a food convoy heading to Gaza because it sought to enter the Strip through a different crossing than what Hamas had desired. Hamas also liquidates its adversaries at home and is not ready to adopt the Egyptian cease-fire initiative. But these cannot serve as a pretext for a cruel, all-out war against 1.5 million Palestinian civilians. 

Yesterday Israel announced, by dropping leaflets into densely populated areas in Gaza, that it plans to escalate its military operation. This stirs concerns that, similar to what occurred during the Second Lebanon War, the reason for going to war has been forgotten and replaced by an unrealistic desire to topple the Hamas regime in the Strip. If a few years ago the public cried out in protest over the bombing of a home in Gaza and the statement by former pilot and chief of staff Dan Halutz, who said he felt a “slight shudder on the wing” when he bombed a house, today it responds indifferently, even satisfactorily, to the harming of Palestinians. The lessons of previous wars, during which the IDF destroyed infrastructure targets and the homes of civilians but did not gain the quiet it had sought, have not been internalized. Israel’s justified rationale in acting against rocket launchers has been increasingly damaged over two weeks. The legitimacy and understanding extended to Israel melt away amid the pictures of killing and ruin. Accusations of war crimes are already being bandied about in Israel. This war needs to move immediately to the diplomatic track and agreements that will end the fantasies and delusions of both sides

On the same day Haaretz has reported that IDF has decided that the attack on the UN School where 42 people were allegedly was the result of a missfired mortar. Martars as a weapon are imprecise, they are not accurate, they are not supposed to be, because they are supposed to be cheap. Use of mortars of course makes a mockery of any claims that the IDF makes limiting civilian casualties. Originally the IDF claimed that militants were in the school, then they were near the school now it is a whoopsie.

Johnboy from Sydney said it better than I could –

Title of of response

    You apologists amaze me

Your ability to spin on a dime as the Official IDF Spokesmodel changes her story is simply breathtaking!

The first Big Lie:
OF COURSE we were aiming at that school!
OF COURSE we meant to hit it!
We were allowed to, because Hamas were in that school!!!!

Apologists [in unison]: The IDF has nothing to be ashamed of! The IDF were right to target that school! Hamas were there!

The Fallback Lie:
Ummmm, no, Hamas weren`t in that school.
We never said they were.
We never aimed at that school.
We never said we did.

Apologists [in unison]: Shit happens. The IDF never aimed at that school. Never ever ever ever.

FACT: Hamas was never *here*, but were *there*.
EXCUSE: Well, yeah, sure, I did start by saying that we were aiming *here*, but now I`m telling you we were always aiming *there*.

And if tomorrow we find that Hamas where in Location (C)?

Well, *that* was where the IDF was aiming, and we never said otherwise!!!

Boutros Ghali – “Israel Has a Habit of Closing its Eyes to Hard Facts”

From Der Spiegel online. 5 Jan 2009
Boutros Boutros Ghali interview

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What has led you to this conclusion?

Boutros-Ghali: Israel has a habit of closing its eyes to hard facts. In geographical terms, the Gaza Strip represents almost exactly 2 percent of the total area of Palestine. There is no getting around the fact that this area would have to be greatly expanded as part of the scope of a genuine peace agreement. An additional fact on the ground, which the Israelis prefer to forget about, is the 1.3 million Arab Palestinians who remained in their villages and cities when the state of Israel was founded in 1948 and who make up about one-fifth of Israel’s current population. By around 2060, the Palestinians will account for roughly half — if not more — of the inhabitants of Israel and the areas occupied by Israel.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: According to that theory, this demographic development will put an end to the dream of having a state with a majority Jewish population, something which greatly concerns the Israelis. But does it have any bearing on the current conflict?

Boutros-Ghali: The growing imbalance between Jews and Arabs in the area controlled by Israel is of decisive importance for the near future of the Jewish state. Already today, you can see that the Zionist idea of having a purely Jewish state is not going to work out and that this (demographic) development renders the idea no longer tenable. The fuse is already lit. Emigration from Israel is already on the rise — and not just in the wake of crisis situations. More and more parents are losing faith in the future and want to spare their children from having to live a life marked by constant fear and a lack of peace. But Israel’s current leadership appears to be solely motivated by a concern for election tactics. Given the scale of the damage that has already been done, that is irresponsible.

 

But wait there is more

Boutros-Ghali: Working together, the Arabs put a good peace plan on the table that envisioned recognizing Israeli sovereignty within the pre-1967 borders in return for an independent Palestinian state within these borders. Israel made the mistake of ignoring this offer.

One of the questions that must arise, is Zionism possible without a purely Jewish state? Can Zionism exist where all citizens are equal before the law regardless of religion? (Israel currently avoids these issues by not having a formal constitution.)

Boutros Boutros Ghali because of his association with the ruling elites of Egypt could be said to be putting forth an unofficial line. Egypt is warning Israel of the rise of the radical forces in the Arab world and that just as Israel monitors Egypt, Egypt too monitors Israel and it is in Egypt’s interests to have peaceful neighbours.

Boutros Boutros Ghali comes from a prominent Egyptian political family. He was formerly the Secretary General of the United Nations.