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July 31, 2014


Peter G

Politically unrealistic and getting more so. I've been taking a hard look at Israeli demographics, which population groups are growing and who is emigrating to and from Israel. I haven't believed for some time now that a two state solution is the goal of the Israeli hardliners. (Left and right have little application here). The people coming in tend to be sympathetic to hard line positions . One might even class them as refugees. The leavers? Guess who? The culture of Israel is being reshaped to suit Netanyahu et al.


Not sure why you say that such an action by Israel would stop Hamas from sending rockets into Israel. Just like the only thing Hamas stopping the rockets would do is stop the bombing by Israel, but would do nothing to change the conditions which serves as a hotbed for what Hamas offers.

Both Hamas and Israel, right now, see benefit for themselves in the violence. Israel is serving as Hamas' biggest recruiting agent right now, and Hamas is providing Netanyahu's government with its whole raison d'etre.


all Israel need do is renounce its policies of illegal settlements and brutal blockades and earnestly commit to a two-state solution. Such an act would end the rockets,

No it wouldn't. Hamas doesn't accept Israel's existence at all. How big Israel is, isn't the issue.


Rockets from Hamas are a small threat next to the existential threat to Israel of being an apartheid state, which is what it is today.

Failure of Hamas to recognize Israel's right to exist is not the cause of the conflict, but an excuse to inflict continuing savagery on the Palestinians. Hams is not a nation, and as such is under no obligation to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, especially when Israel has made it clear that it will never end the blockade of Gaza, and never negotiate in good faith to allow a Palestinian state.

Yes, Israelis have self selected and self deported. Anyone with a conscience needs a lot of fortitude to remain and serve in a military they no longer believe is fighting a just cause.

I know that the 1982 Lebanon war made it hard for me to stay. The hypocrisy of the war (I was told that it was scheduled 6 weeks before the "official" cause of the war happened), the bombing of Beirut that killed over 14,000 mostly civilians, the massacres at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps put me in a state where I had a great desire to end my 10 year stay and military service as a reservist in a tank unit. After the war, I packed up, left my kibbutz and moved back to the US.

I guess we will never know whether peace was possible because Israel isn't going to change until it's too late for a 2 state solution. If Abu Mazen begging for any kind of a peace settlement wasn't enough to accomplish a breakthrough, the future prospects can only be worse.

Peter G

Indeed, Hamas is not a nation. They are however the people who are attacking Israel. And they are not under the control of the Palestinian Authority which is the only body Israel with which can negotiate anything but short term cease fires. I have yet to see any external proposal to force Israel to cease combat operations that does not involve imposing economic blockades or sanctions or other measures that are not punitive of the entire Israeli polity, man woman and child. Which is exactly what they object to the Israelis doing to the Palestinians.


There is no equivalence here. If Israel were to be subject to sanctions, those sanctions would be removed the instant Israel acted in compliance with international demands. But if Hamas stopped firing missiles and declared a cessation of hostilities, the blockade and siege would continue unabated.

Furthermore, Israel will not negotiate an end to hostilities with either Hamas directly nor with the Palestininan Authority on their behalf. As I recall, Hamas offered a 10 year truce with cessation of hostilities for an end to the blockade, and international inspectors to oversee points of access to Gaza. Maybe not perfect, but actually a reasonable offer. Israel ignored it entirely.

Hamas did honor its previous cease fire going back to November, 2012 until provoked by extreme Israeli actions after the murder of the three Yeshiva students, leading to the current conflict. The 2012 conflict was sparked by the targeted assassination of a Hamas leader. The cease fire before that war goes back to the 2008-2009 conflict, which again was triggered by an Israeli ground incursion into northern Gaza.

In all of the previous cease fires, there was no lifting of the blockade, and no attempt to negotiate a more permanent arrangement.

Finally, if the blockade were to be lifted, and Hamas subsequently returned to attacking Israel, then Israel would be fully justified in defending itself.

Peter G

Israel cannot negotiate with the PA involving Hamas because Hamas does not recognize the authority of the PA and would not be bound by any such agreement. The PA can't make them. I am sure the kind offer of Hamas of an extended ceasefire in return for being allowed to import whatever weapons they like unimpaired received the attention it deserved. Your mistake I believe is in giving credence to the idea that Hamas differs from the PA merely in strategies for achieving a common goal. That is simply not true.

Peter G

In case anyone is interested this is worth taking a look at: Pay particular attention to the graphic on the right and the list of parties in the Knesset. Clicking the names of those parties will provide information on their history and polices. This is important. Please note that two of the key opposition parties are Ultra-Orthodox.

Americans sometimes fail to appreciate the differences between their own system of government and a multiparty parliamentary system such Israel uses. The key difference is that government can dissolve at any time under a vote of non-confidence. Now start asking yourself how long any government of Israel could last that did not respond to violent attacks. I'd give them about five seconds.

Now the only way for a coalition to form receptive to honest negotiations with the Palestinian Authority is for the threat posed by the independently operating Hamas to disappear. And for an extended period of time. Politics do not change overnight. These conditions are no guarantee of success but the failure to address this issue is a guarantee of failure.

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