Thursday, January 8, 2009

Gaza

I would love to see no war in Israel at all, but since the end of world war 2 there has been no time when there was war or threat of war in the region. There has been no time when some segment of the Arabic world has not been actively seeking to destroy Israel. Think about it, this has been going for generations now.

Through being strong and willing to take on their enemies where ever they are the Israeli government has managed to either get various governments to negotiate or to at least a defacto peace.

Israel is the only country in the region that has been a democracy at all times, it is the only country in the region that respects freedom of religion and allows freedom of speech and freedom of the press. It has managed to do this even though the country has been threatened with a war of extermination for generations.

Even with no natural resources and the constant threat of war, Israel is the best country in the middle east for Arabs. It is the only country where they can rely on the rule of law to protect them, where they are allowed to vote in elections. Israeli Arabs also have the highest standard of living of all the Arabs in the middle east.

Israel's neighbours have come terms with the country existing there and have recognized the country formally or defacto. Even the Saudi's and Syria have found a way to accept Israel existing. Even the Palestinians have managed to come terms with the idea of Israel. But all this is put into jeopardy by Iran and Hamas and their call to destroy Israel.

Destroy Israel really means extermination of the Jews.

Israel is expected to live next door to hard core fascist anti-Semites and accept them building up their resources to kill Jews. On which planet does this make any sense?

Gaza is one of the worst places on earth to live, but this is not something new, it has been going on since 1948. When Gaza was under the control of Egypt, it was hardly a wonderful place. Since 1967 till 2005 it was occupied by Israel and not a stellar place to be, but this did not improve once the occupation ended.

Hamas has in 18 short months destroyed the vestiges of civil society in Gaza. There is no freedom of speech, there is rule of law, there is no free press. Gaza has been run by thuggish bullies since Hamas took over. Yes, Hamas was elected, but Hamas has no intention over ever allowing a free election in Gaza. They have dismantled or destroyed all opposition avenues to have a political debate. Anyone that is educated and open minded has had three options since Hamas came to power - they could leave, they have been arrested or killed, or they are in hiding either real or defacto. Certainly all the Christian Arabs have been driven out of Gaza.

Not only has Hamas destroyed the civil society, they have destroyed the economy. Hamas is not allowing people have any faith in businesses because there is no way to be certain that you will be able to operate your business from one day to the next.

Hamas has constantly attacked Israel with rockets and is using the people of Gaza as shields to stop Israel from taking action. We have seen how many people have been killed in Gaza because Hamas made sure weapon stores were located close to people.

Hamas clearly has been at war with Israel for ages now, but whereas Israel seeks out military and political targets, Hamas chooses to only attack non-military targets. Hamas started this fighting and have been ruthless in their targeting of civilians over the military.

Any peace that comes has to include Hamas not only recognizing Israel, but Hamas choosing to take every action possible to ensure that there is no threat to Israel from Gaza. Any future government in Gaza has develop a constitution that has core civil societies values. A future government in Gaza has to ban fascist and anti-Semitic groups. Advocating the end of Israel, promoting hatred of Jews, having weapons of any sort, and advocating for one religion to have primacy needs to be legally banned.

Hamas should also take responsibility for the damage they have inflicted on Israel and really should be held accountable for the costs Israel is incurring in stopping the attacks on Israel. Since Hamas has nothing, it should fall to Iran to pay for all the costs incurred by Israel.

Honestly, the only way out of this problem at the moment is a global campaign to end Hamas, to ban it and try the leadership in the way that was done in Germany with the Nazis.

Since Israel responded to the constant attacks from Gaza there have been global demonstrations on the left against Israel defending itself. I am trying to figure out what sort of insanity is going on here to have the left supporting Hamas when Hamas is opposed to virtually everything the left stands for.

Israel has been a beacon of hope in the middle east, a place where women have rights, labour unions have power, and where people have a voice. Israel keeps showing what a determined and organized people can do to defend themselves even though they are badly outnumbered by hostile nation states. Israel has one tool since 1948 to ensure its survival - if you attack Israel, you will see the full might come down on you in response. Israel is the small kid being picked on by the gang of bullies. Israel knows they have to kick the bullies hard in the nuts to survive and they do so every time.

The Israeli actions in Gaza are proportionate to the bullying they have had to endure since mid 2007. The ones to blame for all of the deaths are Hamas for doing nothing to have peace with Israel and going out its way to ensure that civilians get killed in Gaza when Israel tries to stop the continued attacks on itself.
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