Sunday, January 04, 2009

Obama Must Get Tough With Israel to Achieve Peace

The title of this post was a bit of a surprise when I saw it as the teaser headline for an article in Newsweek, If Obama Is Serious: He should get tough with Israel. Most of the United States media has followed the previous mantra of the Bush administration that it is all the fault of Hamas and if Hamas would just accept the living conditions Israel has inflicted on them and stop bombing, things would get better.

While the article points out that the United States will most likely always give Israel preferential treatment (yesterday's UN session comes to mind)the jist of the article is that President Obama is not expected to be quite as blind as past presidents to the Middle East:
The issue at hand is to find the right balance in America's ties with Israel. Driven by shared values and based on America's 60-year commitment to Israel's security and well-being, the special relationship is rock solid. But for the past 16 years, the United States has allowed that special bond to become exclusive in ways that undermine America's, and Israel's, national interests.

If Obama is serious about peacemaking he'll have to adjust that balance in two ways. First, whatever the transgressions of the Palestinians (and there are many, including terror, violence and incitement), he'll also have to deal with Israel's behavior on the ground. The Gaza crisis is a case in point. Israel has every reason to defend itself against Hamas. But does it make sense for America to support its policy of punishing Hamas by making life unbearable for 1.5 million Gazans by denying aid and economic development? The answer is no.

I think part of the reason for the shift in media/editorial response is the growing numbers of Palestinian dead and the move from "strategic bombing" to the ground invasion.

The Jerusalem Post is still reliably entrenched in their editorial opinion, when you read this piece a sorrowful Israel regrets what the evil Hamas has forced it to do:

No matter the suffering its insistent attacks on Israel had caused the Palestinian people it has sought to govern, Hamas had kept firing those rockets for eight days, deeper and deeper into Israel, bringing 800,000 Israeli civilians into range.

Haartez continues it's position, which has always been a bit less "hawkish" than the Jerusalem Post, one example, Abbas calls IDF Gaza offensive 'brutal aggression' which is being echoed in other Middle Eastern nations:

Egypt condemned Israel's ground offensive and called for an end to Israel's "savage aggression" against the Palestinians.

In a statement from the Egyptian presidency seen on Sunday, Egypt said it "places the onus on Israel for the innocent civilians martyred and wounded."

In the "not really a smart thing to say" department, Hezbollah urges Hamas to 'kill as many Israeli soldiers as they can' during Gaza op . It is fairly well known that Hamas has prepared for the possibility of a ground invasion, some of targeted bombing by Israel was an effort to take out locations that would have been used.

That's one of the ironies about the relationship between Israel, Fatah and Hamas, members of Fatah have infilitrated Hamas and are giving information to Israel to help Israel kill their own people. It's one facet of the demonstration that while Hamas is often stated to be the one responsible for the deaths, that there is a much larger political game being played here, one in which none of the three, Fatah, Hamas or Israel places the lives of innocents in the Gaza in regard.

1 comment:

Scott G said...

I still like my idea of putting tropps on the border and shooting both ways if anyone tries anything to the other side. Then they unite in their hatred for us and start getting along.

If only it were that easy though.